Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 24 May 2024

Do pupils in single sex schools get better grades?

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

We often say, “practice makes perfect”, a mantra that can be as clichéd as it is true. I was reminded of its value recently in very different contexts because it is as valuable for examinations as it is for fostering lifelong learning at Northampton High.  

Exam season is now well underway here and there is a unique concentrated quiet in school at this time of year that accompanies busy minds. Year 11 and Year 13 are in the full swing of their GCSEs and A Levels down in the Wake Studio, and Year 7 to 10 are wrapping up their internal assessments – a special note of praise for our Year 10 students for their calm, composed and focused attitude in their first GCSE-style assessment week. 

I was struck by a conversation I had in the staff room last week in which half a dozen colleagues from different subjects were talking in positive and glowing terms about the active and enthusiastic approach they had been seeing from our girls in lessons in preparation for these internal assessments. They shared their admiration for the girls’ serious approach to revision, whilst also recognising that these assessments serve as an opportunity for them to diagnose areas that might need more support and give them an understanding of how they work in formal test conditions. At Northampton High, we see a motivated learner not simply being about character traits such as grit and resilience, it can be achieved by understanding the learning process and using the most effective strategies and techniques, which can be taught and practised. 

‘They’re taking their revision really seriously’, said one teacher, about Year 7. ‘I’ve been so impressed with their work on practice questions’, said another teacher about Year 10. ‘It’s been great to see them taking responsibility for working out what they need to do’, added a third about Year 8 and 9. I am particularly grateful to Mrs Rimmer, our Examinations Officer, Heads of Year (Mrs Fordham, Miss Fraser and Mrs Down) and the Wellbeing and Medical team for their dedicated support and guidance, helping our students manage anxiety during these internal assessments. It is evident that our students have completed some sensible, well-structured revision and have also managed to maintain a good sense of perspective. 

What a difference a year makes! It is so heartening to see that the work Mr Rickman and our Heads of Faculty have been leading all year on the development of our intellectual characteristics – collaboration, curiosity, independence, perseverance and risk-taking – at Northampton High is paying off and that the mindset of our students is changing. I am delighted that they are beginning to believe us when we say that all assessments, from class vocab tests to full internal assessment papers, should be approached as a learning opportunity – and that the evidence suggests they are confident that they are developing the skills and attributes they need to do so. At the same time, by modelling our assessment processes on a developmental philosophy of continuous improvement, we hope to demonstrate our belief in the pupils and allow them to believe in themselves. 

I am equally pleased that our ‘Northampton High Approach’ to pupils’ academic and personal development is helping to keep our students focused throughout their school career and enabling them to get the best out of their school experience. 

Interestingly, according to analysis by FFT Datalab, girls who attend all-girls schools achieve better exam results than girls with similar backgrounds at mixed schools, as well as surpassing boys at all-boys schools. While girls’ schools have been known to outperform other types of school in England, the analysis found that even after adjusting for background characteristics there was an unexplained boost for pupils at girls’ schools, equivalent to 10 per cent higher GCSE grades last year. These findings attribute to the environment the girls are in and how much attention is given to their success from teachers. We know, and research shows, that boys typically in a classroom demand more of a teacher’s time, so if you remove boys from the question the girls are going to have more teacher’s time, and that is going to be helpful in terms of achievement. 

Fundamentally, single-sex education gives girls a voice. We recognise that essential to any classroom is the ability of the teacher to convey information and engage the class in discussion and debate to assess understanding. In a girls-only classroom, interruptions are less likely, allowing girls to focus and have all the ‘airtime’ to voice their contributions. To that end, girls are more likely to achieve better grades during their time at an all girls’ school with cultural and environmental factors being key reasons as to why this is the case. 

We are already at half term – May always feels like a fast month, being such a dynamic time in school. I wish you all the best for a happy and restful break. I hope you will be able to enjoy the warmer weather and some glorious days of sunshine, as well as some lazy evenings in the garden and BBQs with family and friends.

With best wishes,

Dr. Lee

Reference: Plaister, N (2024) Do pupils in single sex schools get better grades? 12 May 2024, available at [Accessed 15 May 2024]

The Week Ahead

Monday 3 June
Half term begins

Tuesday 4 June
Fixture: U14 vs Akeley Wood
Y7 Residential Information Evening

Wednesday 5 June
U13&14 District Athletics

Thursday 6 June
LTA Schools Tennis vs Wellingborough
Reach Celebration Event

Friday 7 June
Sports Day

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

Head's Commendation

A huge congratulations to the students who received a Head’s Commendation this week!

This special award recognises pupils for their outstanding achievements, demonstrations of kindness and dedication to school life, and we were delighted to celebrate the recipients for their hard work this half term!

During lunchtime on Tuesday, the nominated pupils and their teachers joined Dr Lee in the Senior foyer to commemorate this special achievement with certificates and sweets. A big well done to the group for their positive contributions to school life!

Laura C – For being awarded a place on the ‘Deutschland Plus’ summer school. Not only did she complete a rigorous application form in German, but she will need to complete a follow up project too. It is highly competitive; with only around 24 Year 12 students from the whole of the UK being selected. Well done Laura! Miss Ingrouille

Minni PSJ – Despite finding extended writing challenging, Minni always comes to English in a positive frame of mind. Through her determined approach to improve, and resilience when things do not quite go to plan, Minni has made pleasing progress in this subject and I look forward to seeing her continue to grow and develop in all areas. Well done, Minni! Mrs Fordham

Clara B – Clara has made excellent progress on her fast-track Latin language course and has attended all of her language buddy sessions on Wednesday break times. Mrs Peto

Chanan S – Chanan has consistently demonstrated a proactive and independent approach to her studies, taking initiative to thoroughly review course materials and seek out additional support to enhance her understanding. Chanan deserves to reap the rewards of her hard work in the upcoming summer assessments, but also to be commended for her application to her preparation. Dr Lines

Hope A – For her excellent work in Humanities Transferable Skills, specifically her final project on a topic of her own choice. Hope has produced a presentation on the topic, including her bibliography and using citation. Hope is a very impressive potential medic, mature and considered regarding a fascinating but potentially upsetting subject and working at a level beyond Year 8. Miss Buxton

Holly G-S – The final assignment in English was to write a letter (in the style of Michael Morpurgo) from one of the characters, and end the book. Holly’s ending was perfect! In fact, as a class, we agreed that we preferred it to the original when we read that. Miss Brandon-Jones

Sahitya B – For being an excellent ambassador for the school and generously giving up her time to host a guest on a tour showcasing the spirit of our school. Dr Lee

Anushka T – For being an excellent ambassador for the school and generously giving up her time to host a guest on a tour showcasing the spirit of our school. Dr Lee

Evette B – For representing the school by playing the piano so beautifully at every event and always with a smile on her face. Dr Lee

Menstrual Health Awareness Week

This week, Northampton High pupils have been raising money, and awareness, for Menstrual Health Awareness Week. We’re very proud of our FemSoc group for organising a series of activities to engage Senior students in conversations surrounding period poverty. The High School is incredibly proud to support this important cause ahead of the national Menstrual Health Awareness Day, which falls during the half term on Tuesday 28 May.

In line with this year’s theme, ‘Together for a #PeriodFriendlyWorld’, pupils aimed to remove the taboo around periods with fabulous information boards and a dedicated pink/red themed accessories day! A huge thank you to our staff and students who participated.

The group also raised £150 on Wednesday with a bake sale fundraiser for Eve, a local charity that supports families affected by domestic abuse. We are very grateful to members of FemSoc who gave up their time, during a busy assessments’ week in school, to support the cause. A huge well done to all involved!

We are still gratefully accepting period product donations in the Senior School foyer and would like to encourage our entire school community to help us in collecting vital supplies for Eve. Thank you in advance for your generosity and for joining us in our efforts to end period poverty.


Wildlife Gardening Club awards

We are delighted to share that we have received the Wildlife Trust BCN Gardening Award for the variety of habitats and wildlife supported on site, as well as eco-friendly habits: copses, ponds, shelters and food for birds, bees and bugs, annual and perennial flowers, green corridors, composting and recycling.

In addition, building on our success last year, we have been awarded the Woodland Trust’s Gold Award for taking part in a variety of nature activities celebrating trees, flowers, mental health and wellbeing.

The highlight this term has surely got to be finding out about cherry blossom ceremonies, before trying to make our own paintings whilst we had some matcha tea!

Well done everyone for your help and contributions!

Mrs Peto
Teacher of Classics

High Sports

GDST Athletics Rally

The High School took a team of 31 to the Harvey Hadden Stadium in Nottingham on Friday 17 May for the GDST Athletics Rally. In total, there were sixteen schools in attendance, making for a busy and exciting day! The weather was glorious and so too were our pupils’ performances! Notable performances include:

Year 7: Elizabeth jumped 3.73m in the Long Jump (3rd place).
Year 8: Nathania came 4th in the 100m, Olivia 3rd in the High Jump (1.31m), Melissa came 1st in her Hurdles heat, and the Relay team smashed their race in their heat and came 4th in the final.
Year 9:
Grace came 3rd in the Hurdles final, Lily came 2nd in the High Jump (1.37m), Veronica came 4th in the Long Jump (4.43m), Emily K came 2nd in the Javelin and the Relay team came 2nd in their heat and 5th in the final.
Year 10: Evie came 4th in the Shot.

Overall the Senior team came 9th out of 16. A huge well done to all involved!

U13B Cricket vs Quinton House

A breezy but sunny afternoon greeted the players when they stepped out onto the pitch for the fixture against Quinton House on Monday. Northampton won the toss and we elected to send Quinton in to bat first. Our bowlers did their best but Quinton had a strong batting line up and scored 313 in their innings, only losing 2 wickets in the process. 

Our batters started slowly but soon picked up pace and managed to play a few good shots off some strong bowling from Quinton. Unfortunately, Quinton’s bowlers were just too good for us and due to losing a few wickets we could only add 266 runs to our scoreboard. A great effort girls but just not our day. Congratulations to our Players of the Match, Lydia (bowling) and Safiya (batting) for their brilliant play!

Final scores: Northampton 266/10 : Quinton 313/2

Saints Hockey: End of Season Awards

The end of year awards at Northampton Saints Hockey Club saw two of the High School players receiving an array of awards. Nat S in Year 9 received awards for Breakthrough Player, Players’ Player and the Golden Glove Award! Khushi P in Year 10 achieved Captain’s Pick for the ladies 3s. A huge well done to both students on their fantastic achievements!

Selection News: Netball

Fantastic news for Grace F in Year 7.

This week she found out that she had successfully got into Storm U14 for the 24/25 season. Training will start this week and we wish her the best of luck!

Huge congratulations also go to Evie F who got into Storm U16.

Mrs Littlewood
Teacher of Physical Education

Sports Awards event

At the beginning of term, we communicated that our Sports Awards event would take place on Monday 8 July at 6pm.  This event is a highlight of the sporting calendar and we have regrettably had to rearrange this date – the event will now take place on Thursday 27 June from 6pm.

The Sports Awards event celebrates the progress and accomplishments in a wide range of sporting endeavours for pupils from Year 3.

Invitations will be sent to Sports Award nominees and their families during week commencing Monday 3 June, and further information will follow

Classics and Creative Writing Prize 2024

Oxford University in collaboration with the Ashmolean museum are running a creative writing competition open to ages 11-18. Taking inspiration from one of four objects (Hercules or Odysseus included!), you should write 500 words in the form of a monologue, dramatic description, short story, dialogue or poem. If you want to take part, look at the website and images above, and then follow the advice below:

“Make sure that your entry is no more than 500 words and email it to us at You can attach it as a Word or PDF file, or simply send us a good, clear photo of your creation. Only include your name, age and object number in the email. Don’t write it on your entry because these will be judged anonymously. The last day for entry is Sunday 26 May and entries won’t be accepted after this date.”
Mrs Peto
Teacher of Classics

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

Swap Shop donations

Swap Shop offers a sustainable option for families who wish to donate old uniform or purchase new items of clothing for their daughter. It is particularly well received by new parents of the school and relies on donations from current or past parents. If you have any items of uniform that your daughter no longer wears, please can we encourage you to donate them via the Junior or Senior School receptions. All items will be gratefully received, particularly Junior School summer dresses, as we currently have very little stock remaining! Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Swap Shop

Clothing donations for 'Annie' the musical

The Drama and Textiles departments are asking if you have any checked or floral pyjama bottoms that you could donate to us for our up-and-coming performance of ‘Annie’.

These can be any size and colour and they will be cut up and altered, therefore they will not be returned. Please bring these to Miss Lycett in the Creative Hub. Thank you.

Annie Production Team

Book Review

Where the Heart Should Be by Sarah Crossan – Ireland, 1846.

Nell is working as a scullery maid in the kitchen of the Big House. Once she loved school and books and dreaming. But there’s not much choice of work when the land grows food that rots in the earth.

Now she is scrubbing, peeling, washing, sweeping for Sir Philip Wicken, the man who owns her home, her family’s land, their crops, everything.
His dogs are always well fed, even as famine sets in.

Upstairs in the Big House, where Nell is forbidden to enter, is Johnny Browning, newly arrived from England: the young nephew who will one day inherit it all. And as hunger and disease run rampant all around them, a spark of life and hope catches light when Nell and Johnny find each other.

Recommended for Yr8 and above.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Save the Date: Annie

We are delighted to invite you to this year’s musical production of Annie!

As always, we are thrilled to be hosting our much loved family-friendly production this term, and would love the pleasure of your company at this special event. Our cast and crew are working exceptionally hard and it promises to be a night to remember!

Tickets are available to purchase here and we look forward to welcoming as many guests as possible!

Creative Arts Faculty

Save the Date: Arts Festival

Save the Date: Cultures Day

Save the Date: Speech Day

Diversity and Inclusion Calendar 23/24: May

Northampton Saints - Nathan Dawe LIVE

As a gift from Northampton Saints for hard work in exams this year, they are giving staff and students at Northampton High a 50% off code for Nathan Dawe LIVE on 15th June. The chart topping DJ and producer is set to raise the roof at cinch Stadium Franklins Gardens with support acts including Wes Nelson, Switch Disco, Carly Wilford and Kirby together with other special guests.

Click here to be directed to the ticketing website. Select your tickets, then enter code DAWE50 at point of purchase for 50% off £30* general allocation tickets in both standing and seated sections.

*booking fee of £1.50 applies

Offer closes at midnight on Monday 27th May. T&C’s apply, offer does not include Golden circle or meet and greet tickets. Under 16’s need to be accompanied by an adult. Standing area is strictly for over 14’s only. If under 14 you must purchase a seated ticket.

Northampton Saints

Elite Football Coaching

The One Day Film School

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