Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 24 March 2023

Plant Therapy and Reconnecting with Nature

The Rowan tree outside my classroom has just started to show signs of life. It is not the first tree to blossom in the spring but it is one of my favourites because they have, what garden centres nationwide would describe as, “Three seasons of interest!”. It sits next to another tree which I think (having trawled multiple dendrological websites), is a Northern Capalta, more commonly known as an Indian Bean Tree, which also offers an impressive floral display in late spring and follows this up with the production of abundant slender seed pods which look like runner beans. I have grown particularly fond of these two individual trees because they have framed the view from my classroom for the last 11 years. The bright green buds that burst forth from the Rowan at this time of year, are a sure sign that spring has officially sprung and warmer climes are on their way. Today, as I write this, there is not a cloud in the sky and the hopeful, watery warmth from the March sun promises a very different outlook on this season from the sudden and somewhat aggressive flurries of snow that hit us a fortnight ago. 

As a keen gardener, I love this time of year. The reappearance of daffodils with their hopeful yellow glow, or feathery shoots from the peonies reassuring us that they have survived another cold and wet winter are wonderfully affirming that new life is on its way. For many of my students however, this time of year is not as joyful. The looming exams that will start in earnest after the Easter break are a hurdle that must be faced head on for all our GCSE and A Level pupils. A certain level of concern, and even anxiety, is natural and to be expected at this time of year as they prepare for these important assessments. However, there are things that can be done to alleviate some of this worry. 

Getting outside and reconnecting with nature is an effective and easy method of reducing some of the anxiety associated with exams. There is a reason that GPs and other medical professionals are starting to prescribe time outside to their patients. Not only for physical exercise and fresh air, but also for positive mental health and wellbeing. You do not have to be particularly green fingered to enjoy the positive impact of getting outside and even sitting in the garden for half an hour can be hugely calming and rewarding. 

There is plenty of available research around the positive impacts of plants on our wellbeing. Horticultural therapy, sometimes referred to as ‘Plant Therapy’, is a technique that relies on plants and gardening to help people overcome health issues such as high blood pressure and memory disorders. It can also greatly help those battling depression, anxiety, addiction, and for survivors of abuse. This form of therapy is connected to the concept of ‘biophilia’, which is the idea that people are genetically connected to nature and plant life. The goal of horticultural therapy, or ‘Plant Therapy’, is to help patients build self-confidence, social connections, increase compassion, and get out into nature more frequently. Watching the latest David Attenborough series, which focuses on the British Isles, I am reminded of the beauty that is on our doorstep and would actively encourage anyone to get outside and explore and enjoy the benefits of reconnecting with our natural environment. 

To read the full entry, please click here.

Mrs Kneen
Deputy Head Pastoral

The Week Ahead

Tuesday 28 March
Orchestra Day
Eco Team tote bag workshop

Wednesday 29 March
NHS Dance Festival

Thursday 30 March
Y7 Showcase partnerships
Music examinations recital

To view a list of the spring term clubs and activities, please click here.

Finding Nature

This week we marked the arrival of spring, and in the weekly Monday staff briefing, I commented what a magical time of year it is as we see trees start to bud, the flowers begin to bloom, and the birds return from their winter migrations. As humans, we are deeply connected to nature, and the arrival of spring can be a powerful reminder of our place in the world. 

Spring is my favourite season as it is a time of wonder and joy. After a long and cold winter, the warmer temperatures and longer days can have a profound impact on our mood and outlook. We feel more energised, more optimistic, and more eager to engage with the world around us. We want to spend time outside, soaking up the sunshine and breathing in the fresh air. 

The National Trust published a document called ‘Noticing Nature’. One of their key findings is that for many people nature is no longer an integral part of their life, and the results are quite sad. Just 19% of children regularly notice wildlife and in the past year, 57% of adults rarely or have never watched the sunrise, whilst only 27% frequently watch clouds. As a geographer, I am genuinely not even sure how that’s possible! Listening to birdsong and looking at the stars are things humans have been doing since the dawn of time and these activities are free. Nature is constantly changing and evolving and yet too often, just goes unnoticed. 

The report also uncovers a powerful link between nature, happiness and feeling that life is worthwhile. Connecting to and noticing nature has a significant impact on our wellbeing, both physical and mental. In fact, it was found that the top 25% of people who connected to nature had scores of general health that were 9% higher than the rest of the adult population. Spending time in nature can lower our stress levels, boost our immune systems, and even improve our cognitive function which in turn, makes us feel more grounded and connected to the rhythms of life. 

The key message here is although encouraging people to spend time in nature is a good thing; however, it’s only a first step, for maximum benefits to human and nature’s wellbeing, there is a clear need to encourage people to spend time with nature. The National Trust’s Noticing Nature project is all about starting small. By spending time with nature, noticing the natural world, such moments are a defining factor when it comes to taking pro-nature conservation action. Noticing nature in small ways every day could lead to radical results. This also suggests that modest, everyday and attainable connections can help support the kind of connection which then translates into greater action to protect nature. Moreover, simple activities such as actively listening to birdsong, smelling wildflowers and watching butterflies and bees are activities that are strongly linked with taking action. 

‘There are always flowers for those who want to see them’ – Henri Matisse. This quotation might be understood more symbolically as a commentary on the way we perceive life overall. We can become overwhelmed by anxiety and no longer open our eyes to see the positive in our lives. As such, connecting to nature is deeper than just spending time outside; it is about feeling part of the natural world and not separate from it. So, let us experience nature first-hand this spring and through that encounter, gain a new perspective on our own lives and on the world around us.

Dr Lee

Head's Commendation

A huge congratulations to the wonderful students who received a Head’s Commendation today.

On behalf of everyone at Northampton High School, we would like to congratulate you on your hard work, kindness and dedication to school life, it has not gone unnoticed.

Sophie – “For always looking for ways to improve her work and for demonstrating excellent team work”. Miss Gill

Amelie – “For her engaging short story inspired by ‘The Promise’ by Nicola Davies.” Mrs Fordham

Hattie and Emma – “For their support of a new student arriving at an unusual time in the school year for Year 11. Their kindness and empathy are noted and much appreciated”. Mr Rickman

Miley – “For her high quality prep work and huge effort in all lessons. She has a particularly individual way of using her creativity to illustrate her work and support her understanding and a number of her pieces of work have been used in displays.” Dr Lines

Lucy – “She has an exceptional work ethic and her recent end of unit essay reflected her hard work and enthusiasm. She addressed her individual progress targets and her essay demonstrated previous collaboration, risk taking and her independent approach. It was a pleasure to read.” Mrs Earl

Elouise – “She consistently requests and completes additional work and has such an enthusiasm for learning that it is infectious! Her kindness and support for her peers is admirable and she takes pride in absolutely everything that she does.” Mrs Latimer

Dr Lee

Dame Andrea Leadsom visits Northampton High

We were delighted to welcome Dame Andrea Leadsom to Northampton High School this morning!

Upon arrival, she was greeted by Dr Lee and Mr Rickman before enjoying pupil-led tours around our Nursery, Junior and Senior School. Our Student Senior Leadership Team were delighted to learn more about her role as South Northamptonshire’s MP in an exclusive seminar session.

We would like to thank Andrea for a wonderful visit!

Miss Price
Digital Marketing Assistant

Eco Team support Marine Conservation Society with bake sale fundraiser

On Wednesday 22 March, the Eco Team held a charity bake sale for the Marine Conservation Society in order to promote environmental work to improve the quality of our oceans. The bake sale was a tremendous success and the Eco Team raised £175 in total which has been donated to the charity.

The Eco Team is also requesting that if anybody has any old, clean t-shirts that can be reused into making a tote bag during an Eco Team workshop on Tuesday 28 March, please could they be donated to Reception at the start of the week.

Mr Earp
Head of Humanities Faculty

Year 10 Festo STEM Trip

On Thursday afternoon, Year 10 travelled to Brackmills to take part in a STEM workshop.

They found out all about Festo and it’s work with automation and AI. They enthusiastically tackled pneumatic circuit problems, showing great resilience and resourcefulness. The engineers in charge of the programme complimented the girls on their collaborative approach, and the high level of problem solving skills they showed.

As a teacher, it was a proud moment for me, and I am delighted to share with you some reports from the students below:

“We were apprehensive at the beginning as we didn’t know what we were getting into, but we really enjoyed ourselves. We worked together, persevering through the challenging moments, and overall we learnt a lot about ourselves and engineering”. Lexi, Erin and Lucy

“I really enjoyed looking at all the different robots. The CD one was the best. Overall I think it was a great experience”. Maisie

“I enjoyed collaborating during the hands-on experiences and seeing different aspects of subjects I have taken for GCSE combined under one umbrella”. Arna

Mrs Vizor
Subject Leader Physics

High Sports: Student Spotlight

We are delighted to shine the sporting spotlight onto the external succcesses of our students.

Firstly, last weekend Poppy attended Corby Amateur Swimming Club’s annual long course Open Meet. Poppy enjoyed a great swim, winning a silver medal for her 50m back stoke with a personal best of 38.20s – a solid regional tier 2 time. Huge congratulations Poppy!

Huge congratulations also go to Sarah who attended the local GLK Gymnastics Competition last weekend and was crowned the overall winner. Her team also placed first, meaning Sarah brought home all the gold! Sarah was marked as 9.6 on Vault and 8.9 on Floor, scoring 18.5 out of 20 overall. Great results – well done Sarah!

Miss Fraser
Physical Education Teacher

High Sports: vs Bablake

U14: The final match of the season saw our U14 team playing against Bablake on Saturday 18 March.

From start to finish, the team played their best netball using the lessons they had learned from the previous week’s game against Wellingborough. The team excelled with both Anna and Suki shooting consistently and Evie led by example and commanded the play in the centre court.

Well done for a fantastic team effort!

U15: Last week, our U15A team had their final match against Bablake High School! Considering this was our final match we wanted to finish on a high and we did – winning 23-10!

I would like to start off by thanking all those who played today. In defence we had some brilliant interceptions throughout from Isla, Ashana, Kirsten and Jasmine. With the help of the defence, midcourt carried the ball down to myself and Lucy-Mae in the shooting circle. In the first quarter we started off very strong with many interceptions and lots of goals. Each quarter the team stepped up the standards with more and more goals being scored. Roja was awarded player of the match for lovely work through the court in centre position. I want to thank everyone who has supported, or been part of, this team this year!

I have thoroughly enjoyed being captain and leading the team to some excellent victories! I couldn’t be more proud of the effort we have put into this season and I can’t thank my team enough! Gemma S

High Sports: vs Wellingborough

2nd VII: Last Thursday, Northampton High School played an away netball match at Wellingborough School. The 2nd VII team did amazingly well, taking feedback on board and cooperating well with other members of the team. It was an incredibly close match, drawing in the first quarter and leading by one goal in the following two quarters. Unfortunately, Wellingborough took the lead in the final quarter and won 22-20.

We know what worked well for us as a team and how to improve ready for our next game. Amy H

Book Review

The Light in Everything – shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2023

Tom is still quiet and timid, even though his dad has been gone for nearly two years now.

Zofia is the opposite. Inside her there’s a raging storm that makes her want to fight the whole world until she gets what she wants. And what she wants is for scaredy-cat Tom to get out of her life. Tom hates loud, unpredictable Zofia just as much, but he’s moving into Zofia’s house. Because his mum and Zofia’s dad are in love … and they’re having a baby.

Tom and Zofia both wish the stupid baby had never happened. But then Tom’s mum gets ill, and it begins to look horribly like their wish might come true …

Find out more about the Carnegie shortlist 2023 The Yoto Carnegies

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Save The Date: Speech Day 2023

Save the Date: Spring Arts Exhibition 2023

Creative Arts Festival

Turning 'can we?' into 'we can!' - Open Morning, Friday 28 April

We look forward to welcoming so many lovely families to our upcoming Open Morning on Friday 28 April. The event promises to be a superb showcase of life at Northampton High School.

If you would like to come along, please do feel most welcome, and should you have family, friends, or neighbours keen to visit us, please encourage them to book their place here and join us!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Manager

Personal Cricket Coaching in Northampton

Dance Festival - Wedensday 29 March 2023

We warmly invite you to save the date for our annual Dance Festival, which will take place on Wednesday 29 March.

This year our show will take you ‘Through the Decades’ and include performances from students across the school from Reception to Sixth Form. Pupils have also been invited to attend auditions should they wish to perform a solo, duet or group dance with their peers.

Our PE Staff will be working with Junior School classes, as part of the curriculum, to create and rehearse an exciting display of class dances.

We are also incorporating our House System into the Festival, to showcase a House Dance and involve pupils from Year 5 upwards to collaborate and work together.

We have some superb Dance Leaders choreographing the House Dances and I am positive the evening will be an inspiring performance of talent and expertise in the Arts.

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

The Knight Frank Schools Triathlon Series

We are delighted to have been invited to take part in the The Knight Frank Schools Triathlon series, hosted by Oundle School and organised by Restless Development, on Sunday 14 May.

7 events ran last May, with over 6,000 children taking part from 120 prep schools such as Cheam, Cothill House, Dulwich Prep, Farleigh, Feltonfleet, Port Regis, St Hughs, The Dragon and Thomas’ Battersea. The children raised an incredible £1.2 million for both the organising charity and each prep school’s chosen charity.

The events are for Senior and Junior School pupils in Years 3 to 8 and there has been a fantastic response from schools to date, with both the pupils and parents really enjoying the day. It is first and foremost a fun event, with a team element rather than the normal individual triathlon format. The children form teams of 4, come up with suitably amusing team names, with all 4 teammates performing all 3 disciplines as a relay. This has really appealed, not just to the keen sporting pupils, but also to those who want to give a triathlon a go with their friends in a safe and fun environment.

Maya, from Restless Development delivered an assembly for our pupils in Years 3 to 8 on Tuesday 7 February to inform pupils about this fun opportunity. This is a parent-led event, with parents registering the children directly and taking them on the day. Any questions from parents can be sent directly to

We hope that many of our students will choose to be involved in this fun, physical, charity event.

Miss Hair
Head of Junior School

Save the Date: Parents Afternoon Tea - Friday 7 July

We invite you to save the date for this summer’s Parent Afternoon Tea event, which will be taking place on Friday 7 July, from 2 – 3.30pm. The cost for this event will be £15pp, and bookings can be made via ParentPay, with a deadline of Wednesday 31 May.

More information will follow over the coming weeks and months, but we do hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a lovely afternoon.

Miss Hair
Head of Junior School

Community Nursery Sessions

Reach Lectures: Spring 2023

Term Dates

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