Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 18 December 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

“If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.”  Seamus Heaney

Unsurprisingly, this has been a rather unusual end to the term, and to a challenging year for all. It hasn’t dampened spirits, however, and over the past few hours students and staff have enjoyed virtual celebrations from their respective classrooms, offices or homes. Treats have included a showing of Mrs Hodgetts-Tate’s ‘Chemis-tree Extravaganza’, Year 2’s ‘Zoom Nativity’, a ‘Shakespeare Christmas Sketch’ and a staff performance of ‘12 Days of Christmas’, for which I was persuaded to play the recorder for the first time in over a decade – and it showed!

We have also enjoyed U3 House Storytelling, an outdoor performance of ‘Frosty the Snowman’, virtual Christmas Concerts in both the Senior and Junior Schools and ‘Northampton High’s Got Talent’. Many of these were devised and run by the students, but our amazing Creative Arts Faculty have also had much input, too. I thank all involved, including alumna Teni, for reminding us just how amazing the community at Northampton High School is.

The end of term would usually include a ‘Celebration of Giving’, too, and Mrs O’Doherty reflected on this as she introduced this afternoon’s virtual event. Considering the ways in which we have (metaphorically) ‘wrapped our arms around others’ during the term, she spoke of the gentle ways in which we have cared and of the bigger fundraising events, too, including ‘Jeans for Genes’, a MacMillan ‘Coffee Morning’, and Medical Detection Dogs.

The biggest event of the term, though, was ‘Challenge 24 for Pancreatic Cancer’, which culminated in a whole-school ‘purple day’ on 19 November. Having been rocked by the news that Mr Chris Bailey, Head of Junior School, had been diagnosed with the disease at the start of term, the entire community came together to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK. To date we have raised almost £10,000 and Chris sends his thanks and his love to all. He is “missing everyone and thinking of [us] constantly”.

In Mr Bailey’s absence, the Junior School is in the very capable hands of Mrs Marissa Davis as Acting Head, and I was delighted to welcome both her and Mrs Agnes Chiano, director of Finance and Operations, to the Senior Team this term. Sadly, there have been a few goodbyes, too, including Mrs Caroline Perry and Mr Alfonso Garcia from the Languages faculty, Miss Eden Brown from PE and Mrs Sue Eggleton from the Junior School. I will reflect more on their time with us and all that they have given in my newsletter to parents after Christmas, but for now I know that you will join me in wishing them all the best in the next stage of their lives.

As I draw to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to thank students and staff for everything that they have done to keep themselves and others safe this term and you, too, for all your support. As things stand, we expect to reopen for live teaching on Monday 11 January as planned. This means that we will avoid the staggered start that is being suggested for schools due to open earlier in the month, although this could change again. I will monitor the situation and await further information on this, the rollout of mass testing and other changes over the festive period, and update you in a timely manner.

In the meantime, my warmest wishes to all for a happy and safe holiday and a peaceful New Year, 

Caroline Petryszak

This week in the classroom

Week ahead

Monday 11 January 2021
Spring Term Begins

Tuesday 12 January 2021
U4 GCSE Information Evening

Thursday 14 January 2021
6.2 Parents’ Evening

Celebration Assemblies

Over the course of this last week of term, we have started off our mornings by holding special Christmas Celebrations Assemblies.

Each year group in the Senior School have had the opportunity to spend time reflecting on the year so far, and spread Christmas cheer with their peers in a number of expressive ways. From poetry readings to piano recitals, Christmas memories to autumn reminisces, the assemblies have proved to be a wonderful opportunity for the students to spend time together, share stories and showcase talents ahead of the festive period.

On Thursday, it was the turn of the Sixth Formers to hold their assembly, and amongst the wonderful performances was a beautiful poetry reading of Maya Angelou’s ‘Amazing Peace’. The poem was written in 2005 for the White House tree-lighting ceremony, and is very poignant not just for this time of year, but also for the current way in which we are living, and we would like to share it with you today.

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Northampton High School Christmas Concert 2020

As you will know, one of the feature events in the Northampton High calendar is our marquee Christmas Carol Concert. Normally hosted at All Saints’ Church in the heart of Northampton, the event brings staff, students, friends and families together for an evening of festivities, in which we delight in showcasing the vast array of wonderful musical talent our school community has to offer.

Sadly, we have been unable to bring you the concert in it’s normal form this year, but in true Northampton High School fashion, ‘the show must go on’ and therefore we are delighted to bring you the 2020 Northampton High School Christmas Concert virtually this year. Over the course of this term, staff and students have spent time preparing and filming for this event, and we are excited to share the result with you here.

A huge thank you to Mr Nathan and his team for putting together this wonderful festive production for us, with special thanks also going to Avani, one of our A Level Music students, who played a huge role in making the concert a reality.

We hope you enjoy!

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing & Admissions

(this video has been uploaded to YouTube as ‘unlisted’, meaning it is only accessible via this link)

House Storytelling

On Thursday afternoon, it was fantastic to celebrate the end of the autumn term with one of our favourite events in the school calendar, House Storytelling.

In time-honoured fashion, each of the 4 houses, Artemis, Demeter, Hestia and Selene, spent time learning and rehearsing a play to showcase to the peers, with the aim of spreading festive cheer in hope of clutching the trophy!

Students are involved in all aspects of production, from choreography to set design, sound and lighting and a whole lot more, and this year’s competition will live long in the memory.

We were treated to performances of ‘The Grinch who stole Christmas’ by Hestia, ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’ by Artemis, ‘The Nutcracker’ by Demeter, and ‘The Elves’ by Selene, all of which were superb, with a judging panel consisting of Miss Buxton, Mr Laubscher and Mr Viesel commenting that the competition was one of the best in recent memory. There could, however, be just one winner, and after much deliberation the panel awarded the victory to Demeter.

Congratulations to Demeter but also to all of the students involved in making this year’s House Storytelling one that will not be forgotten. A fantastic afternoon of entertainment filled with fun and laughter – Merry Christmas!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

See all photos

Ele-Mental Chemis-Tree Virtual Extravaganza!

At Northampton High School, Christmas is always a special time of year. We relish hosting fun activities and exciting events for our students to enjoy, and in recent years, one of our most anticipated events is the Ele-mental Chemis-Tree Christmas Extravaganza! Masterminded by Mrs Hodgetts-Tate, the event takes staff and students on a journey through the world of Chemistry, consisting of mind-blowing experiments and jaw-dropping potions, all tied up in a Christmassy theme.

In any ‘normal’ year, the Senior Hall would be packed out with staff and students for the event, and although that unfortunately cannot be possible this year, this hasn’t stopped Mrs H-T and Mr Turney from bring us the event this year! Taking place in the classroom, this year’s event is virtual, and we are delighted to share it with you here. Featuring experiments such as the ‘Whoosh Bottle’, the ‘Ethanol Rocket’ the ‘Dichromate Volcano’ and more, this year’s event is one not to be missed.

A huge thank you to Mrs Hodgetts-Tate and Mr Turney for putting this event together for our entertainment – we hope you enjoy!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

L5 students perform 'Frosty the Snowman' for Reception students!

Last Friday afternoon, Reception students were rewarded with a special treat, as they made their way down to Forest School for a special live performance of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ performed by L5.

One of the many advantages of being an all-through school is that we can host events involving students as young as 2 years old all the way up to our students in 6.2, and our L5 Drama students had a fantastic time putting together their play for the enjoyment of our Reception class. A fantastic time was had by all, with the play doing a wonderful job of getting people in the Christmas spirit, and we are delighted to share it with you here. We hope you enjoy!

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing & Admissions

High Sports: Autumn 2020

We are delighted to share with you the latest edition of of our High Sports publication for the Autumn Term.

In this edition, we look back over the summer months and reminisce about Guided Home Learning, in particular our first ever Virtual Sports Day, moving on to the autumn and how the world of sport at Northampton High has adapted to the current environment. We look at individual and team successes, and discuss our wellbeing curriculum that will continue into the spring term.

You can view the newsletter by clicking here.

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Creative Arts Spotlight

This week, the Creative Arts Spotlight falls onto the U3 Textiles group, and Nicole and Mia in U4.

The girls have spent time this week creating some lovely festive decorations, and we are delighted to share images of them with you below.

Well done girls for all of your hard work!

Miss Lycett
Subject Leader for Textiles


Book Review

Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J. R. R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the

dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Inaaya creates bespoke Christmas cards in aid of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

In last week’s newsletter, we brought you news that Inaaya in U3H had been crafting her own Christmas cards this year, to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness.

We are delighted to update you, and let you know that Inaaya raised £21 in total for this fantastic cause, and we thank her for your wonderful efforts. Well done, Inaaya!

Miss Robinson
U3H Form Tutor

Backchat update

The Backchat team has been hard at work this term organising our latest edition. We are an independent school newspaper run by the students, for the students and the wider school community. We cover a variety of topics such as current affairs, science and technology, creative writing, art, photography, geography, history, film and book reviews, interviews and more!

Most importantly, we want to hear from you! Whether you are an aspiring creative writer, journalist in the making or a photography fanatic, we really value your contributions as it is what keeps us going! Backchat publishes an edition twice a year with a special publication in the summer which

showcases the arts. Currently, our next publication date is February half term, which will be on the theme of change. Whether it may be change due to COVID-19, to the high street, political, social, economic or environmental factors, we are really looking forward to what you have to say.

So get those thinking caps on! Whether you are looking for that extra line in your UCAS application, or you have just made the big leap into life in the Senior School, or somewhere in-between, we cannot wait to hear from you!

Please send in your amazing contributions to or follow the link to our WordPress site,, for more ideas. If you would like to hear more from us about our latest editions and the daily lunch menus, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

Best of luck and happy publishing!

The Backchat Team

Travel and COVID reporting over the Christmas period

As this week has seen a reduction in the number of days that we are required to self-isolate, the introduction of the ‘Test to Release for International Travel’ system and a requirement for schools to remain contactable at the beginning of the holidays in order to support NHS Test and Trace, I would like to take this opportunity to outline our procedures:

Travel over the Christmas period

I am sure you are aware, the Government introduced a ‘Test to Release for International Travel’  system yesterday for people who need to self-isolate on arrival in England because they have travelled to a country not currently on the travel corridor list.

The scheme, which only applies to England, gives travellers the option of reducing their quarantine period to a minimum of 5 days, providing they take a private COVID-19 test and this gives a negative result.

As this scheme has been put in place by the Government, the GDST recognises it and will allow staff and pupils to return to school after foreign travel, providing that the requirements of the scheme have been followed in full and schools are provided with a copy of the test results for each pupil / member of staff.

In the event that a person tests positive they, and members of their household, must self-isolate for 10 days from the date when they took the test, or when their symptoms started.

In the event that a person receives an inconclusive test result, they must continue to self-isolate for 10 days, but other members of their household who did not travel are not required to self-isolate.

The ‘Test to Release for International Travel’ contains a useful graphic explaining how the system works; it also gives various examples of self-isolation periods and when you can take a test.

Parents are asked to inform us as soon as possible if travel is likely to affect their daughter’s return to school on Monday 11 January.

COVID reporting over the Christmas period

If a pupil or member of staff develops coronavirus symptoms in the 48 hours after they were last in school, I ask that I be informed directly using or I ask that you do this immediately, even if it is over the weekend. I will need to know the following:

* The date the symptoms started

* When the COVID test is booked for

* For staff and senior school students, a list of close contacts during the last 48 hours in school

At the time of writing we are seeing the turnaround of tests, locally, within 24-48hrs. As soon as you have the test results, please send a follow-up email to let me know whether it is negative or positive.

This will allow me to follow up any close contacts as soon as possible and let them know about self-isolation, should this be necessary.

If a pupil or member of staff develops Coronavirus symptoms more than 48 hours after the end of term and subsequently tests positive you would need to follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.

We would then ask that you let us know before the school reopens in January, using the same email addresses as above. I hope that none of this will be necessary.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy break!

Caroline Petryszak

Car Park Safety

We would like to politely remind staff, parents and visitors to be mindful of the 5 mph speed limit in the school car park.

Pedestrians have right of way, so please continue to remain vigilant of people crossing the roads at the crossings and other points. When driving from the Senior School side towards the exit, please be mindful of cars exiting the Junior School car park.

Thank you for your continued assistance in this matter.

Mr Stubbs
Operations Manager

SchoolBlazer January Sale!

Term Dates 20/21

Term Dates 21/22

Northampton High School
Newport Pagnell Road, Hardingstone Northampton NN4 6UU
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