Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 18 September 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am pleased to report a really positive start to the term, with students enjoying being back together and face-to-face teaching for most.

Despite some initial teething problems, the vast majority of students are working happily on their own devices, both in school and at home, using Google Classroom to access the curriculum and to share and collaborate with each other. We have also had the pleasure of welcoming students who have been self-isolating, but otherwise well, into our lessons via video calls (see below for photographs of this in action).

At the time of writing we have not had a confirmed case of Covid-19 in school, but it is important that we continue to mitigate against significant impact or spread, were this to happen. As such, there are a number of factors that we must all continue to action and I ask for your help in reminding your daughter of this, too. These include general hygiene, including regular hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or elbow and wearing a face covering in corridors or areas where social distancing may be difficult. Please remind your daughter to stay in her designated teaching or break out area, use allocated washroom facilities, allocated entrance and exits, and not be tempted to visit other parts of the school other than for specialist teaching.

Your daughter should not attend school if she is displaying one or more of the key symptoms of Covid-19 (a new continuous cough*, a high temperature or a change in smell or taste**). In this situation, we ask that you arrange a test as soon as possible, calling 111 for advice as necessary; your daughter should not come to school until she has received a negative result or has self-isolated for the required isolation period. We kindly ask that you keep the school informed in such situations.

Please may I ask that you, too, adhere to the rules and expectations whilst on the school site, maintaining social distancing at all times. Parents and guardians of Junior School and Nursery pupils are asked to clear the site as soon as possible after having collected their daughters, and are reminded that the outside play equipment is out of bounds for health and safety reasons.

Unsurprisingly, with fewer clubs running and more parents keen to drop and collect their daughters at the start and end of the school day, the car park has been very busy indeed. Although I had previously suggested that Senior School parents pull over as close to their daughter’s assigned entrance as possible, this is not proving effective and, in some cases, has the potential to be quite dangerous. So, with apologies, I redact that suggestion and ask instead that you park safely regardless of location. I ask, too, that you only open your car door when you are in an assigned parking space and that you keep to the 5mph speed limit at all times. I thank you for your tolerance here and we prioritise the safety of all our students and the effective movement of the school buses.

In a rapidly-changing situation, both educationally and logistically, direct and open communications between parents, pupils and staff have never been more important and I have enjoyed seeing many of the Junior School parents on our various Zoom calls this week. I write more about effective communication below and ask that you consider this, especially in light of the current situation. The mutual partnership between us is key to your daughter’s safety, success and wellbeing, so please be assured that we are here to help at all times.

Very best wishes

Caroline Petryszak
Headmistress


 

*coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours

**no sense of smell or taste, or things smell or taste different to normal

Week Ahead

Wednesday 23 September
Sixth Form Assembly
Reception Virtual Parents Information Evening

Friday 25 September
Sixth Form Leadership Training

This week in the classroom

Communication with school

We welcome open communication and your involvement in your daughter’s education – we want this to be a great partnership between home, school and your child; we know that when we get that partnership right, it is a very powerful influence for success.

Email communication usually works well for our busy parents, however, as you will understand, teachers are only able to respond to emails when they are not teaching.

We aim to respond to all emails within 24 hours, unless it is the weekend in which case our staff will respond when they are back in school on Monday.

Should you wish to reach any of our teaching or support staff, please email junioradmin@nhs.gdst.net for the Nursery/Junior School and nhsadmin@nhs.gdst.net for Senior School/Sixth Form in the first instance. Our administration team will forward your email to the appropriate colleague for swift action.

Should you wish to contact me, please email my Executive Assistant, Mrs Natalie Bodily on n.bodily@nhs.gdst.net or 01604 547803. This is applicable from Tuesday 22 September.

As per the specific Covid-19 document for parents, please contact us via absence@nhs.gdst.net should your daughter be unwell and unable to come to school.

For any issues causing significant concern, please pick up the phone or arrange a virtual meeting – there is so much we can resolve with a face to face meeting (via Zoom or equivalent at this time) and with early intervention. Our administration team will be able to direct your call to the appropriate member of staff. Our telephone numbers are  01604 765765 (Senior School and Sixth Form) and 01604 667979 (Junior School and Nursery).


 

We value direct and open communications with our parents, pupils and staff. May I politely request that you address any concerns about your daughter’s education or any school issue to our staff (via our administration team) directly?

While I fully accept and understand the convenience of parents’ WhatsApp groups for routine arrangements, WhatsApp groups are less effective in addressing issues taking place at school.  We have experienced that issues discussed in WhatsApp groups can escalate individual concerns, and other parents, well-meaning as they are, are not best placed to advise you; please do feel welcome to contact the school team directly and we will gladly assist you wherever we can.

Please contact your child’s class teacher (Junior School) or Form Tutor or Head of Year/Key Stage (Senior School and Sixth Form) via the email addresses above so that we can resolve any concerns arising swiftly.

Our mutual partnership – between school, home and pupil – is a key success factor for your daughter’s sense of security and stability; we are keen to work respectfully with you to resolve any issues, however small, that crop up during your daughter’s journey with us.

Should you have any questions or need any support, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Caroline Petryszak
Headmistress

Covid-19-related student absence

We are happy to share a quick reference guide with our parents to help answer any questions regarding a possible Covid-19-related student absence. We hope that this will help to answer any questions you may have, but if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please click here to read the reference guide.

Caroline Petryszak
Headmistress

Welcome to the team!

We are delighted to welcome new staff members into our school community.

In this first edition of High News for the 20/21 school year, we wanted to introduce you to your daughter’s new teachers and our new colleagues, as they start the next chapter of their careers with us at Northampton High School.

Welcome to the team!

Mrs Langhorn
Assistant Head (Staff Development)

Kathleen Eldridge – Teacher of Theology & Philiosophy

Before working at Northampton High School I taught Religious Studies at Redborne Upper School, a co-ed comprehensive in Central Bedfordshire. It was a very large school (14 form entry!) with students starting in Year 9. I also trained PGCE students from the University of Bedfordshire to become teachers of the future.

I am looking forward to teaching Year 7 and 8s for the first time since I trained. The smaller classes mean I can really get to know my students and I love the fact that the girls come from such diverse heritages, which makes discussing religion so much more interesting!


 

Anna Kilby – Teacher of Classics

It’s hard to believe that I began teaching Classics more than 20 years ago – the decades have flown by!  For most of that time I taught Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation to students from U3 to U6 at the Stephen Perse Foundation, an independent school in Cambridge. I have also worked for an educational charity for young people who are not able to attend mainstream school because of trauma and mental health issues.

I am delighted to join Northampton High School; the pupils and staff have given me a wonderfully warm welcome and I already have a strong sense of the school as a caring community. I am really looking forward to becoming part of this community and to sharing my passion for my subject with pupils throughout the school.


 

Katie Dunkley – School Nurse

For the last 5 and a half years I have been working at Stowe School, however whilst the school was closed during the pandemic, I’ve been helping out at Northampton A&E. Before I started specialising in schools I had a number of unique experiences, from being a medical officer in the last Iraq war to post-tsunami relief work with MSF in Indonesia, not forgetting a few years in a East London A&E department. I’ll bore you with the details some other time!

I look forward to bringing my individuality and extensive experience to the role of Nurse at Northampton High. I love a new challenge and I’m really excited by this one! Mostly though I am looking forward to creating some great relationships with students and staff, all through being approachable, understanding and fun!


 

Linda Leadbetter – Teacher of Classics

Before coming to Northampton High School, I was working in a wide variety of schools in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. I have mainly taught in the independent sector and have also been heavily involved in boarding schools throughout my career. My teaching of Modern Languages has been greatly enhanced by my training in Classics and Latin.

I have been delighted to start teaching at this school as I have always taught boys and girls together, and I am looking forward to the experience of working in a girls-only environment.

Mrs O'Doherty creates mask pouches in aid of our Staff Charity!

I have found myself inspired to dig out the sewing machine recently, after continuing to forget to take my face covering out with me! To help myself remember, I made a pouch to keep my mask in, which also clips onto bags or clothes so it’s more difficult to forget, as well as protecting the face covering from dirt.

The pouches proved so popular with friends and family that I was soon batch-producing them and I brought a large selection into school.  Pupils and staff are welcome to take a free pouch (in a box at Reception) which come in a variety of colours and patterns and are made from washable fabric.

However, if you would like to make a donation, we have set up a JustGiving page (here) for our staff charity, Medical Detection Dogs.

The charity has been training dogs to detect a range of illnesses for some years now, but recently have realised that some dogs are sensitive to the smells related to Covid-19 and are working on training for that purpose. I am particularly interested in this idea since my normally loving Cockapoo, Billy, exhibited very strange behaviour early on in lockdown when I was poorly with suspected Covid-19. Billy may have a calling with the Medical Detection Dogs!

Mrs O’Doherty
Deputy Head Pastoral

Virtual Open Day - Saturday 3 October 2020

As you know, we would usually have a whole school Open Morning in early October each year. However, given the current Covid-climate and because the health and safety of our pupils and staff is paramount, we have taken the difficult decision to close our physical doors to external visitors at this time, and to offer a virtual event.

We will therefore be hosting our Open Morning online this year. Prospective parents are most welcome to register their interest to ‘attend’ this event; should you have any friends and family who would like to get to know the school, please do encourage them to book a place.

To make a booking please click here. We do hope to be able to host personal tours of our school soon. In the meantime, we would ask that families register their interest for a personal tour on the booking form, or contact our Admissions team at nhs.admissions@nhs.gdst.net or 01604 765765 (option 2).

The Virtual Open Morning will comprise:

  • presentations from our Headmistress and senior staff, providing insight into life at the High School
  • films from our students and Student Leadership Team
  • a virtual tour of our fabulous facilities on our 27-acre site, as well as
  • lots of information about our school.

On the morning, we will be hosting live Q&A sessions (via Zoom) with our senior team, inviting you to ask any questions you may have about your daughter joining us as follows:

Nursery and Junior School Admissions

Please join us at 11.00am for a live Zoom meeting with our Headmistress, Mrs Caroline Petryszak, and Head of Junior School, Mr Chris Bailey.

Senior School and Sixth Form Admissions

Please join us at 11.45am for a live Zoom meeting with our Headmistress, Mrs Caroline Petryszak, and Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Julia Cantwell.

We look forward to welcoming families to our virtual event.

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Admissions and Marketing

High Sports

We have been pleased to welcome back to the Sports Centre students from both the Junior and Senior Schools for their PE and Games lessons. In what has been a tough few months, we know many of the students and their families have used the time to develop resilience and adaptability. We have been told about many families going for daily walks, cycle rides and/or playing socially distanced sports, which will have been fantastic for both physical and mental health.

While we are super excited about being back, we have worked hard over the summer to risk assess and develop our curriculum so that it meets the needs of all of our students and takes on more of a wellbeing format, keeping as Covid-secure as possible. With our new procedures in place, we have had a successful first two weeks back and I hope that, as we move forward, we can continue to engage and motivate all our students. Extracurricular activity evenings have begun and we hope to see more students from next week on their designated year group after school session.

It has been great to hear about stories of sporting success during lockdown, most notably Georgie F jumping at the British Athletics Championships as you will read about below, Ella D developing an entirely new skill of hurdling and a couple of our Senior Hockey players being selected for the JRPC. We also have Isobelle B training with the Midlands region in Hockey and Annie S being selected for Midlands trials in Rugby. Good luck, Annie.

We hope, and ask, that students and parents continue to share with the PE staff students’ sporting achievements – no matter how big or small – so that we can celebrate the successes.

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

Georgie achieves a personal best at the British Athletics Championships

A Year 13 student has made a big impression on the world athletics stage, after competing in the British Athletics Championships in Manchester. Georgie F competed in the triple jump at the showpiece event, televised live on the BBC on Saturday 5 September, and was the youngest competitor in her event, jumping to her outdoor personal best in the process.

Georgie competed against athletes 10 years her senior at the prestigious competition, and will only grow from the experience, having competed against the best athletes in the country. We are so proud of Georgie for this magnificent achievement!

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

Tennis Success at Club Championships!

Last weekend saw many Tennis Clubs across the country hosting their internal Club Championships.

We are delighted to report some successes from our students, including Ella N, who performed exceptionally well at her club, Northampton County Lawn Tennis Club. She played in three categories, coming runner up in all three –  the U14, U18 and Ladies’ doubles.

This is testament to her hard work and dedication. Not only did she have such a successful weekend, she was also presented with the club’s prestigious ‘Most Improved Player Of The Year Award’. Well done, Ella!

Emma N and Hattie F also played in their Club Championships at the weekend. Emma was U14 girls’ singles runner up and Emma and Hattie were, together, U14 girls’ doubles runners up. Well played, ladies.

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

The Great European Day of Languages Bake Off

As you may be aware, the European Day of Languages is fast approaching and over the past couple of years we have had some fantastic, creative and delicious cakes and biscuits in our Bake Off!

Obviously, things will have to be a little different this year, but we are excited to announce that The Great European Day of Languages Bake Off 2020 will still go ahead. The theme of the baking competition is European Day of Languages, of course – and you can interpret this as you wish!

Unlike in previous years, students will not be able to bring their finished bakes into school.

Instead, we would ask that students submit two photos – one of them with their bake, the other  of just the bake – by email to me (e.morgan@nhs.gdst.net) by noon on Monday 21 September.

The photos of just the bakes (totally anonymous) will feature in the European Day of Languages Assembly, and this year students will vote for the winning entry via Google Forms after the assembly has taken place.

The countdown is on; it’s time to start planning your Bake Off 2020 entries and we cannot wait to see what you come up with this year!

Mrs Morgan
Languages Teacher

Book Review

Lark by Anthony McGowan (recommended for U4 and above)

Winner of the Carnegie Medal 2020

Things are tense at home for Nicky and Kenny. Their mum’s coming to visit and it will be the first time they’ve seen her in years. A lot has changed since they were little and Nicky’s not so sure he’s ready to see her again. When they head for a trek across the moors to take their minds off everything, a series of unforeseen circumstances leaves the brothers in a vulnerable and very dangerous position. There might even be a chance that this time not everyone will make it home alive…

Lark is the fourth and final story in this dyslexia friendly series by Anthony McGowan. Click here to find out more about the 2020 Carnegie Medal Shortlist.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Coming soon: Northampton High celebrates Black History Month

In October, Northampton High School looks forward to celebrating Black History Month.

We are excited to share more details with you closer to the time regarding the fantastic speakers and assemblies that we have planned throughout the month. Stay tuned for updates!

Miss Robinson
Head of Theology and Philosophy

Term Dates 20/21

Term Dates 21/22

Northampton High School
Newport Pagnell Road, Hardingstone Northampton NN4 6UU
T: 01604 765765 nhsadmin@nhs.Gdst.Net