Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 19 June 2020

It was a real pleasure to see some of our Lower Fifth and 6.1 students returning to school this week. A school without pupils always seems slightly desolate and, as teachers, we were thrilled to be able to dust off the board pens, fire up the Clevertouch screens and get back to some ‘face to face’ teaching – rather than ‘Face Time’ teaching!

The students, too, seemed relieved to be back in the building. There was clearly a little trepidation at first, with some slightly concerned about how the social distancing would work and others perhaps worried that normal lessons would prove a major challenge after so much Guided Home Learning. They needn’t have worried. The excellent preparations in terms of guidelines and the hard work of site staff in getting the school ready for the new measures, meant that everyone was quickly aware of how things worked. In no time at all, the sounds of happy young people enjoying their learning were again heard from classrooms in the Senior School.

Schools across the country have found different ways to manage home learning. In the GDST, we have supported each other and looked at models that work best, taking into account the fact that learning styles and home circumstances are so varied. Our approach of maintaining live contact during lesson times, whether that be via initial video calls or recorded sessions and live chat, has generally proved very successful. However, it is not the same as ‘the real thing’: groups of students working in school with their trusted teachers.

Needless to say, we will be happiest when our girls can all come back into school and continue their learning with us, in person. That said, we have come a long way in our own education about running successful Guided Home Learning programmes and this will certainly not have been time wasted. There is little doubt that in the short term we will need to continue with Guided Learning, possibly in a hybrid format, with a proportion of students working at home and others in school. Rest assured, we will be ready, and our commitment to students is just as firm whether they are studying from their bedrooms or in our classrooms.

Live video calls

Until the end of this term, most teaching in Senior School will still take place as Guided Home Learning (GHL). Much of this is likely be via live video links for part of the lesson, normally via Teams or Google Meet, and our pupils are becoming very adept at making the most of the chance to see and speak to teachers this way. In some cases, students switch off their cameras, although teachers may prefer that they should be left on, as this can help with ensuring everyone is engaging at particular points in the lesson.

If you would like to discuss this or any other aspect of GHL please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Mr Rickman
Deputy Head Academic

Junior School reopening

Monday 22 June will be a landmark day for the Junior School as we reopen our doors to the whole school for the first time since the middle of March.

A huge amount of preparation has taken place behind the scenes, including liaising comprehensively with staff, parents and pupils, as well as preparing and resourcing the site to ensure it is safe and fit for purpose. The way in which the whole school community has pulled together through this challenging period has been incredible, and shows what can be accomplished within a firmly embedded collaborative culture.

We will continue to use Guided Home Learning as our vehicle of delivery both in school and at home, alongside many of the other enrichment opportunities we have provided thus far. Our staff will be working hard to multitask in delivering learning to those in school and at home; a challenging task as I’m sure you can imagine.

Hearing the happy voices of our girls echoing through the corridors and in our playgrounds will make our school feel complete again. I look forward to welcoming you all at the gate between 8.00 and 8.45 on Monday morning, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Have a lovely weekend!

Mr Bailey
Head of Junior School

The long road home...

As a teacher, the Covid-19 journey has thrown up so many unexpected surprises… some great and some not so great…

Being away from ‘my girls’ has probably been the hardest thing about this whole process and returning the best. Absence, most certainly, does make the heart grow fonder and the past 3 weeks back in school have made me feel whole again.

Spending time with the girls in Year 6 has made me feel so proud to be a part of Northampton High School – they have come back with energy, enthusiasm and a total acceptance of the ‘new norm’, displaying the fighting spirit of our girls and the ability to not only endure but enjoy life to the full!

Mrs Fordham
Year 6 Class Teacher

Reception recreate a Van Gogh masterpiece!

Our Reception class have been busy in the classroom, completing some fantastic pieces of work which we would like to share with you.

Amongst other things, the girls have been practicing art, and have been working on recreating Van Gogh’s famous painting ‘Starry Night’ with great success! You will see some great examples of the work completed below, and you can view full size versions of the images by clicking here.

Well done girls!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Virtual Sports Day 2020

Next Friday 26 June, the PE department will be hosting our first ever Virtual Sports Day and we want you to be a part of it! We have set students 8 challenges to complete during the afternoon of 26 June.

After you have completed all 8 challenges, you should upload your results to the form on the correct page on FireFly. Each House has a separate page, which can be found by clicking here.

We will release a clip of each challenge over the next week on Twitter and FireFly so you can have a look at what you will need to do. We will also deliver two virtual assemblies, one on Monday

22 June explaining the challenges and one on Friday 26 June, introducing you to Virtual Sports Day.

Senior School Lessons on Friday 26 June from 12pm will be suspended so that you can participate in the Virtual Sports Day challenges. However, if you are not able to complete the tasks you should continue with GHL via the enrichment sections. 6.1 lessons in school will go ahead as normal.

Please upload your results before 3pm on Friday 26 June. We would also like you to send us evidence (photos or videos) of you completing the challenges and preferably wearing your House colours so that we can Tweet everyone having fun together (albeit virtually!). Points will be given for every single completion of a task whether you win or lose, so it is strongly advised that you have a go at all 8 challenges to receive maximum points for your House.

We have also set a virtual relay challenge to each House and hope to be able to share the videos of these on Friday in the assembly, so please get involved (you should have received some communication on this from your House captain). A Virtual Sports Day warm up will appear on the firefly page from 12pm on Friday 26 June which you must complete before participating in any of the challenges. It is extremely important that you warm up.

We hope the sun shines and we look forward to receiving your results and photos throughout the afternoon. If you have any questions then please do ask.

Good luck!

The PE Department

Creative Arts Spotlight

In a week in which we have been delighted to welcome Senior students back into our classrooms and workshops once again, the quality of GHL continues to go from strength to strength, and we are delighted to showcase examples during this week’s edition of the Creative Arts Spotlight.

Our first entry of the week (opposite) comes from Sonya in U3, who has produced this superb still life pencil drawing, in which she showcases outstanding tonal work and soft, deep shading. An excellent composition, Sonya.

Next up (below) is Varnikaa in L4, who has produced these wonderful sketches, showcasing use of shading and colour.

In L4 Textiles this term, we are being inspired by American Fibre artist Bisa Butler, she is best known for her quilted portraits and designs celebrating black life. We are delighted to show the two below pieces of work from Rishika and Lois, with both girls showing fantastic examples of creative research.

And last but by no means least, well done to Phoebe who has produced a really dramatic film and provided the accompanying vocal track using a monologue from Invisible Friends by Alan Ayckbourn. Her character, Lucy has an excessive love of orderliness and the speech describes the moments leading up to when her invisible friend, Zara, first appears. Phoebe demonstrates how her character builds up the tension through speed, pitch and tone in her vocal skill and the film shows her frantic response with a fast paced, hand held camera style and complementary sound effects of thunder and footsteps. Superb work Phoebe! You can view her monologue by clicking here.

Another week of exemplary work completed by our fantastic students. As always, you can view full size versions of the images by clicking here, and we look forward to sharing more work with you next week!

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Creative Arts Faculty

Equestrian team host first ever virtual event!

In June, the Equestrian team held their first ever online show.  We were due to be competing at the National Finals at the illustrious All England Ground, Hickstead, and, as we couldn’t compete, I decided to cheer everyone up with an online competition.

We had 15 classes ranging from the traditional prettiest mare and most handsome gelding through to most annoying phrase your parents say at shows and best backwards riding move. We were lucky enough to have two fantastic judges joining our judging panel of Mrs P, Mr R, Mrs W, Miss H and Miss F as we felt they may need some help judging the traditional classes.

Izzy Taylor, team GBR Event rider, currently ranked 2nd in the UK and 26th in the world, joined the judging team to judge the cutest pony picture and then we also had the pleasure of Joe Stockdale, up and coming team GBR Showjumper, judging the best jump class. All the girls found their competitive edge again and the classes were very keenly fought, including some entries from parents.

I was particularly impressed at the girls’ efforts during lock down to learn new skills such as playing a musical instrument whilst riding, sheep shearing, volunteering at a vets during various surgeries and teaching pets to jump horse jumps. I think my favourite class was the funniest fall; this made me and the judge glad that we had two feet on the ground!

Well done to all those who took part and thank you to the judges for their wonderful feedback. At least Mrs P now knows what a gelding is!

Mrs Hodgetts-Tate
Head of Science Faculty

U3 Poetry

As we begin to welcome more and more students into school, Guided Home Learning continues to be vitally important for those students who continue to work from home. We love to share fantastic examples of GHL each week on social media and in School News, showcasing the superb work our students have been completing.

Our U3 students have been writing poetry in their English lessons recently, and we are delighted to share some examples with you. The girls have been using a whole host of techniques and styles with their writing, including personification, onomatopoeia, metaphor and more, as you will see in the examples below.

To view these amazing poems, please click here.

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

KS3 compete in the RGS Poster Competition

We have seen some fantastic pieces of work entered in to the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) poster competition from our Key Stage 3 students.

The competition, titled ‘The world beyond my window’ is highly regarded, and we are delighted with the work we have seen completed. Rosie’s entry (in 6.2) was made in the form of an Esri Story Map, a very creative idea which you can see here. This is just one of the many examples of the work that Rosie has been doing in preparation for her Geography degree and it’s a really thoughtful piece on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales. It’s some of the best use of GIS we’ve had – well done, Rosie.

Mrs Scanlan
Teacher of Geography

Student & Parent Guide to UCAS now available

We are delighted to share with you our new Student and Parent Guide to UCAS.

This guide has been created to help all students who are going through the UCAS process, with useful information such as timelines, tips on how to make a competitive application, the support we offer in school, and much more.

To view the guide, please click here and feel free to get in touch if you have any question.

Mrs Cantwell
Director of Sixth Form

Backchat: Latest edition out now!

The new issue of the student-run magazine Backchat is out now, including an interview with Mr Donaldson that you will not want to miss! Please click 3.2 Backchat Time to read.

Thank you to everyone who contributed and thank you to the editorial team, who once again worked so hard to produce this issue, with Jess C-J leading the team of Elena C, Saskia J, Ruby H, Olivia R and Eeman Y.

We’re starting work on the next issue, and if you would like to get involved, please get in touch with any of the editors or go to our Firefly page. We’re also on Instagram: nhsbackchat.

Mr Viesel
Deputy Director of Sixth Form

Students compete in GDST Virtual Debating Tournament

At 11.04 am on Saturday 13 June the moment finally arrived: the draw for the first round of the virtual GDST Debating Tournament was posted to the Tournament’s ‘draw notifications’ channel on Microsoft Teams. One minute later and the first motion to be debated was released. And twenty minutes after that, ten separate, equally passionate debates kicked off via video link, each involving four teams of two girls from different GDST schools. Three debates later, at 17.27, the tournament was over and South Hampstead High School were crowned overall winners.

In the intervening six hours, our three teams of Grace and Tara, Leona and Tevini, and Eliza and Laura did fantastically well, preparing speeches in under 20 minutes, delivering these off the cuff and rebutting opposition arguments on the fly. The standard of the debates was very high, but so too was the level of competitiveness coupled with courtesy, as debaters sought to win the argument. Congratulations to all the girls for taking part.

Laura (L4S) summarises her experience: “For me, the GDST Debating Competition was mostly a chance to improve my debating and to discuss current events. I had only done a few debates before but as it is such a useful skill to have, I decided to give it a go and represent my school in the Year 9 category. The debates were very engaging as the motions were all focusing on current events and situations. We used the same debating format as the one used in the House of Commons which meant that we were doing the same thing as all the MPs in Parliament, as well as debating some of the same topics.

Throughout the competition, our progress was obvious. With each debate our score improved until, in the last debate of the day, we came first! I learnt so much from this experience as well as getting to know a few of the girls on the opposition. If I got the chance, I would definitely do this again, as it was such a rewarding experience because I learnt so much and definitely improved throughout the competition.”

Special thanks are also due Daria and Katie in 6.1 for judging other schools’ debates and offering constructive feedback to the debaters.

Mr Viesel
Deputy Director of Sixth Form

Northampton High featured in Educating Northants' Innovative Journal!

We are delighted to share with you the first ever edition of Educating Northants’ Innovative Journal!

The Journal contains articles from schools all across Northants, including a fantastic entry by our own Mrs O’Doherty, in which she talks all about MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) and more.

To read Mrs O’Doherty’s article, and to view the publication in its entirety, please click here to be taken to the Educating Northants website:

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Job Opportunities

We have a number of exciting job opportunities available here at Northampton High School, as we look for ambitious people to join our family.

Please find full details of all available vacancies on our website by clicking here, and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Mrs Gates
HR Officer

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