Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 22 March 2024

Character development, education and growth mindset

The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC) made significant and lasting contributions to nearly every aspect of human knowledge, from the intricacies of logic to the nuances of biology, ethics and aesthetics. At the core of Aristotle’s philosophical inquiry lies a fundamental question: what constitutes a good and fulfilling life? He observed that it entails the acquisition and cultivation of particular virtues of character.

Aristotle delineated virtues such as courage, patience, generosity, friendliness as important characteristics that would benefit not only an individual’s wellbeing, but society as a whole, epitomising the age-old adage that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. The unification of the behaviour of disparate parts can be seen within our school community. 

At Northampton High, we have designed a coherent approach to nurturing pupils’ academic and personal development, exemplified by our well-respected ‘Northampton High Approach’ Learn-Reach-Coach programmes. Across the whole school, our pupils know and can explain the educational ethos of this programme; collaboration, curiosity, perseverance, independence and risk taking, recognising these intellectual characteristics serve as guiding beacons, helping to keep them focused throughout their school career. 

The ‘Northampton High Approach’ lies at the heart of much that we aim to do in our curriculum, classroom and culture. Here, our pupils develop their self-worth, self-confidence and self-knowledge, evidenced through active participation in competitive events, group participation (a shining example being the recent Year 3 and 4 ‘Ocean Commotion’ production) and by presenting to fellow pupils in assemblies. 

However, Aristotle also recognised that we cannot change our behaviour just at the drop of a hat. But change is possible, eventually. Moral goodness, says Aristotle, is the result of habit. It takes time, consistent practice (like mastering a musical instrument), encouragement and good role models from whom to learn. Aligned with this philosophy, our ‘Northampton High Approach’ instils a set of dispositions and behaviours that empower our pupils to successfully approach problems and challenges in the classroom and everyday life. The overarching goal for the whole school is to ensure that these intellectual characteristics are developed. Thus, when pupils are faced with an answer that they do not immediately know, they display these characteristics in order to manage the situation intelligently. 

Coupled with our emphasis on fostering intellectual characteristics, we also aim to develop pupils with a growth mindset. This is a mindset that we can grow and improve our abilities over time, the opposite of a fixed mindset which may stop us from even trying. If we have the belief that we can improve (which we can), we are more likely to put in the effort actually required to learn and grow. That does not mean that everyone has the potential to achieve top grades in everything with the right amount of effort (a damaging mindset), but that from whatever our initial skill level or starting point we can make meaningful steps forward in learning and our personal development. 

This is of course good news! And it is also backed by science researcher and writer David Robson in his recent book ‘The Expectation Effect’. In this he makes a clear case for how expectations shape our experience in many aspects of life and can be self-fulling prophecies, for better or for worse depending on those expectations. We can bring about change, not through ‘magical’ thinking but by reframing our thoughts which change our habits and behaviours.

The challenge we all face is to develop a more ‘can do’ as opposed to a ‘can’t do’ attitude particularly in those areas we may find more personally challenging. If our young people at Northampton High can cultivate good habits of minds now, it really can make a difference to their ability to learn and develop greater resilience in an ever changing world. 

As Carol Dweck aptly puts it, ‘People with a growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower’. It is not about immediate perfection but rather the steadfast commitment to confronting challenges and effectuating incremental progress. This philosophy resonates deeply with the enduring ethos of learning and growth that permeates every corner of life at Northampton High. 

Dr Lee

The Week Ahead

Monday 25 March

Tuesday 26 March
Dance Festival

Wednesday 27 March
House Singing
End of Spring Term

Please click here to view the spring term’s Clubs & Activities list and timetable

Evelyn becomes Head for a day!

It has been a very exciting day for Year 8 pupil, Evelyn, who took on the role of Senior Head for a day! Having won the silent auction prize at our Christmas Fayre in December, it was finally time for Evelyn to discover what it takes to be Head at the High School!

Dr Lee and Evelyn have enjoyed a very busy day, tackling a jam-packed diary and taking on lots of important responsibilities. The programme of activities began first thing this morning, with Evelyn invited to sit alongside Dr Lee and the Student Senior Leadership Team in assembly. Afterwards, she had a very special tour of the school’s ‘forbidden areas’ with Mr Brett, exploring the off-limit areas that pupils are not usually allowed access to!

A true highlight of the day was attending a meeting with Dr Lee and Mrs Cheryl Giovannoni. Together, the group discussed Evelyn’s exciting day and spoke about what it takes to be the GDST’s Chief Executive – a conversation Evelyn will remember for a very long time! The pair were then joined by the Head Girl Team for their weekly meeting, where they reflected on an awesome term and spoke more about their new positions in school!

In the afternoon, the pair embarked on a Learning Walk around school and popped into a variety of lessons along the way. Finally, it was time for Dr Lee’s Year 11 geography lesson, in which Evelyn did a fabulous job of assisting and supporting!

Congratulations on a brilliant day, Evelyn! We truly hope you enjoyed this special experience and learned a little more about life as Head teacher!

Normandy Trip reflections

On Sunday 10 March, Mrs Atwood, Miss Lycett, Miss Knight, Nurse Dunkley and Mr Pietropaoli embarked on a trip with our Year 8 students to the 39th residential to Normandy. We left the school at 6.15am and arrived in Dover on time for the ferry crossing after a smooth journey. The students enjoyed the trip and had the chance to do some shopping and go up on the deck.

We reached France at 3pm and stopped at a service station where our students bought local snacks before having dinner/lunch where most of our students had their first experience of ordering food in French. We arrived at our centre at 9.30pm, settled into our rooms, and had a good sleep before a busy first day in Normandy.

On Monday, we visited Juno Beach Centre, commemorating Canadian troops’ involvement in D-Day Landing. The students watched immersive films about D-Day, then we went to Arromanches to see the Mulberry harbours. That evening, students had time to relax after their activities.

On Tuesday, we visited Villedieu-les-Poeles market where our students practised French while buying lunch for a picnic. We later enjoyed the meal on our trip to Mont-Saint-Michel. In the afternoon, we explored Mont-Saint-Michel and its abbey before returning from another exciting day.

On Friday, we visited German and American war cemeteries and had a picnic in Bayeux before exploring the tapestries and cathedral. We then returned to the centre for a journal session to wrap up the day.

The next day, we tidied our rooms and headed to Le Havre. In the morning, we visited the modern art museum where we saw rare modern art pieces and impressionist paintings. Students then had time to buy lunch at a café or restaurant of their choice and do some shopping. We returned to the centre for our final journal session and room inspection.

For the last day of the trip, we left the centre at We had our breakfast at the same French service station as on the first day of our trip, and then returned to the UK in the evening. The journey back was as enjoyable as the one to France, and we arrived at school at 11.15pm, where we were greeted by Dr Lee.

I would like to thank the students for their excellent behaviour throughout the trip, the teachers who stayed at school to cover our lessons, and of course the trip staff who gave their time to ensure the success of the 39th residential to Normandy.

Mr Pietropaoli
Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages

Spring Art Collective

On Tuesday 19 March, we had the pleasure of hosting our third and annual Spring Art Collective for our school community to enjoy. It’s a true honour to watch this event evolve and we feel immensely proud of everyone for their creative contributions this year.

The Spring Collective marks the beginning of the arts season here at Northampton High School, making it an important event for the entire Creative Arts Faculty and the many students involved. We were delighted to begin the evening with introductory speeches from our Head of Faulty, Mrs Beacroft, and members of staff from Northampton Hope. On top of providing a brilliant experience for our talented and aspiring artists, the collective is also an opportunity to raise money for a local student-selected charity, with this year’s choice being the Hope Centre.

The Art, Craft and Design exhibition featured over 150 pieces of art, carefully created and professionally framed by our talented school community. The standard of work produced by students is always exceptional, reflecting the time and dedication that has gone into their projects. We would like to congratulate everyone who exhibited their work at this event.

This year’s collective was particularly special as it played host to our very first ‘Mini Masterpiece’ lucky dip. Guests were especially enthusiastic about this portion of the event, with lots of the artwork selling quickly! We are pleased to share that all proceeds from the lucky dip will go towards the purchase of a greenhouse for the Food Department. A huge thank you to everyone who made a donation.

Once again, we are thrilled by the overwhelming success of this event and would like to thank everyone who played a part in making it so brilliant!

Year 7 Showcase Event

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of hosting our very first Year 7 Showcase Event for parents, grandparents and siblings to enjoy! The special evening aimed to spotlight what the students have been up to so far this academic year, and celebrate their successful transition into Senior School!

The event was thoroughly enjoyable for all, with students demonstrating excellent collaboration and risk-taking skills. A huge congratulations to the pupils and staff for all of their hard work in making the event such a success! We look forward to watching the girls as they continue to grow and flourish here at Northampton High School!

Festival de la Francophonie in Milton Keynes

Every year in March, the 88 members of the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF) celebrate the French language they share and the cultural and linguistic diversity they represent. They also share common values (promoting peace, democracy and human rights) and support education, training and gender equality.

The UK network of Alliances Françaises and the Institut français du Royaume-Uni dedicate the whole month to celebrating la langue de Molière, Maryse Condé and Léopold Sédar Senghor.

The event is taking place at York House Centre, from 3pm until 6pm on Saturday 23 March should you wish to attend. For more information please click here, or view the Facebook event here.

Classical Art Competition

All students in Y3-13 are invited to enter a regional Art Competition on the theme of Landscapes of Roman Britain. The judges are looking for creative entries that explore Roman Britain in a visually interesting way, using any medium from pencil to collage, oil, watercolour, ink or photography. As well as your art piece, you need to submit a description of your work (up to 500 words), explaining how it links to the theme.

There are cash prizes for the winners! The last date for entry is Monday 3 June. For information on how to enter, pupils should check their email from Miss Kilby. Get creative and have fun!

Miss Kilby
Subject Lead Classics

Safety reminder

We would like to remind parents/guardians to avoid parking in the disabled parking spaces when picking up and dropping off unless you hold a blue badge. It is vital that these bays are kept empty for those who need them to ensure our school remains accessible for all.

For the safety of our passengers, pedestrians and school community, we also kindly ask that you drive slowly and with great consideration in the school car park and near the pedestrian crossings. Thank you for your cooperation.

Mr Stubbs
Operations Manager

Book Review

Prophet Song by Paul Lynch – The Booker Prize Winner 2023

On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother-of-four Eilish Stack answers her front door to find the GNSB on her step. Two officers from Ireland’s newly formed secret police are here to interrogate her husband, a trade unionist.

Ireland is falling apart. The country is in the grip of a government turning towards tyranny and when her husband disappears, Eilish finds herself caught within the nightmare logic of a society that is quickly unravelling.

How far will she go to save her family? And what – or who – is she willing to leave behind?

Exhilarating, terrifying and propulsive, Prophet Song is a work of breathtaking originality, offering a devastating vision of a country at war and a deeply human portrait of a mother’s fight to hold her family together.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Sport Photographs 2024

Please click here to view and purchase our new Sport photographs.

Mrs Rose
Sports Centre Administrator

Save the Date: Speech Day

Diversity and Inclusion Calendar 23/24: March

Code Ninjas Northampton

PQA Stage & Screen sessions

Made for Girls

Term Dates

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