Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 25 February 2022

School Governance

Within GDST schools, as with most schools operating under trusts of one kind or another, local governance is quite different from the traditional notion of school governing bodies. I was reminded of this at the recent meeting of our school governing board (SGB) where there was discussion about the role of governors and what skills are useful to look for when recruiting new governors.

Traditionally, school governing boards were accountable for the financial conduct, HR and legal matters of the school; a hefty responsibility to ask of volunteers. Therefore, it was important that governors had strong skills and experience in areas such as law, finance, education and HR because scrutinising the school’s operations and advising the Headteacher were vital roles.

Within an educational trust, the accountability for all of those things lies with the trustees and a central team of experts. So what, you may ask, is the role of the SGB in that case? I can offer insight on this from two perspectives – the obvious one as a Head in a trust school, but also as a Chair of Governors within a primary school that is part of an academy trust. 

I would say that the role of the local or school governing board is very much one of support and challenge. As the local body, they are able to support the Head day to day with advice and provide a sounding board for ideas. They attend school events and provide insight into the local area and businesses from their external perspective. They also offer challenge to the Head and Senior Leadership Team. When making important decisions within a school, it is important to have that external perspective in order that the conversation doesn’t become an echo chamber. Offering a different perspective or asking questions about ideas and plans enables the Head to make decisions, secure in the knowledge that it has been ‘sense tested’ from different angles. It is also important that the governing body understands the school’s position financially, academically, pastorally and in terms of pupil roll. 

As a Head, I find the support of our governing board invaluable and am always grateful for their perspective on matters relating to the school or connections within the wider community. As a Chair of Governors, I am grateful for the opportunity to provide support to other school leaders and teachers, in a very different context to the High School, and to utilise my skill set in a different way. It is a rewarding experience.

At the moment we are actively seeking new members for our school governing board. An interest in education, knowledge of and/or connections in the local area and a commitment to attend and be actively involved in meetings are the main requirements. A whole range of skills and experiences would be valuable. We will need one parent governor from September 2022, but if you know of a friend, colleague or family member who may be interested in being a member of the SGB, we have two vacancies for non-parent governors. 

Please contact my Executive Assistant and Clerk to the Governors, Mrs Natalie Bodily (, in the first instance if you would like more information.

Mrs O’Doherty
Acting Head

The week ahead

Monday 28 February
Senior School Assembly
Y7 Tutorials (All week)
Y10 Tutorials (All week)
Y13 Mock Exams (All week)
Higher Education Evening
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Tuesday 1 March
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Wednesday 2 March
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Thursday 3 March
World Book Day – Drop Everything and Read
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Friday 4 March
Whole School Open Morning
Senior School Assembly
Netball: U11 & U13 GDST Netball Weekend (All weekend)
Spring Clubs (click here for timetable)

Carry on Reading

One of the positives to come out of the last few years has been our continued love of reading. It won’t be a surprise to hear that I read my way through most of the first lockdown in 2020; on returning to school, I discovered that many of our girls had taken a similar approach.

This trend in school reflects the wider reading picture in the UK. More than 212 million print books sold last year, the highest figure for a decade.

A spokesperson from Nielson publishers said, “Overall, the year’s bestsellers show book-buyers seeking out comfort, laughter, escapism, familiarity and a possibly a sense of community. One thing we can be certain about: books are definitely not a pandemic fad.”

During half term I found myself in the new Waterstones store in the Grosvenor Centre in Northampton; chatting to one of the assistants about the excellent selection of books for children and young people, they commented that the footfall in the new store has become noticeably younger which is fantastic to hear.

With World Book Day coming round on Thursday 3 March, I thought it worth highlighting the shortlist for the Older Readers’ category of the Waterstones Book Prize 2022. Diverse and thought-provoking, the winner will be hard to choose.

Fire Keeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley – Eighteen-year-old Daunis has always felt like an outsider with her mixed heritage, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a murder, Daunis reluctantly agrees to go undercover.

The Upper World by Femi Fadugba – After suffering a knock to the head, 15-year-old Esso experiences a chilling vision: that night he will witness the violent deaths of everyone he knows. He writes off the out-of-body experience as a strange dream – until a series of frightening coincidences prove that the vision is just hours away from coming true.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death.

The Crossing by Manjeet Mann – Natalie’s world is falling apart. She’s just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger. Swimming is her only refuge. Sammy has fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe. Every step he takes on his journey is a step into an unknown and unwelcoming future. A twist of fate brings them together and gives them both hope. But is hope enough to mend a broken world?

Not Here to Be liked by Michelle Quach – Eliza Quan fully expects to be voted the next editor in chief of her school paper. She works hard, she respects the facts, and she has the most experience. Len DiMartile is an injured star baseball player who seems to have joined the paper just to have something to do. Naturally, the staff picks Len to be their next leader. Because while they may respect Eliza, they don’t particularly like her – but right now, Eliza is not here to be liked. She’s here to win.

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth – When Aideen agrees to help ambitious class swot Maebh Kowalska deal with her crazy workload, she doesn’t expect to end up reluctantly pushing Maebh down the stairs. With this, Aideen becomes the school ‘fixer’: any problem a student has, Aideen will sort it out, from stealing confiscated mobiles to breaking into parties. Spending more time with the uptight Maebh and chatterbox Kavi, Aideen starts to wonder: can every problem be solved?

More reading suggestions can be found on our school book shop site by clicking here.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Year 8 entrepreneurs design, market and pitch new chocolate bar

On Thursday this week, students in Year 8 took part in an exciting enterprise challenge, where they were tasked with creating a new confectionary range.

Students formed teams and started their challenge by assigning each other roles. CEO, Head of Design and Head of Market Research are just a few of the positions pupils took on, before research began ahead of the 11:30am deadline when pitches would be made.

We were delighted by the level of background research our students put into their ranges. Not only were the teams investigating areas such as taste, design and branding, but also huge global issues such as using Fairtrade products, avoiding cheap labour, and making sure the manufacture and packaging of their product were sustainable and eco-friendly. Students analysed the current market, looking at the profit margins of the market leaders such as Cadbury and Mars, and used this information to help them price up their products fairly but competitively.

After a morning of hard work, the time came to pitch their ideas, with each team taking to the floor for a Dragons Den-style pitch to their peers and the judging panel. Each team spoke eloquently and passionately about their product, and answered a variety of questions about their ranges. Once the nine teams had made their bid, it was up to the panel to make their decision. After much deliberation, the award for Best Presentation was given to Yum, with the prize for Best Product going to Curio. Two fantastic products and pitches well worthy of their accolades, but each of the teams could quite easily have found themselves as recipients, due to the high quality level of their work. Well done everyone!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Manager

High Sports: England Indoor Age Group Championships, 13 February 2022

On the first weekend of the half term holiday, the U15 England Indoor Age Group Championships were held in Sheffield. We are delighted to share with you that the Girls’ 300m Title went to our very own Ella D.

Ella represents Rugby and Northampton Athletics Club and through sheer grit, determination, hard work and perseverance has been rewarded with this title. We are so proud of you, Ella! If you would like to view the race in its full glory, please click here.

If Ella has inspired you to take up Athletics or Cross Country, take a look on one of the following websites for contact details and when sessions are held.

Rugby and Northampton Athletics Club:
Northampton Town Athletics Club:
Milton Keynes Athletics Club:
Kettering Harriers Athletics Club:
Daventry Athletics Club:

Mrs Littlewood
Acting Director of Sport

Thought for the weekend from the Sports Department

SSLT hustings take place this week

In this week’s Senior School Assemblies, we have hosted two rounds of the annual Sixth Form Leadership Team hustings, where candidates deliver pitches to their peers.

On Monday, we were captivated by inspirational speeches by Chelsea, Hannah, Rebecca and Saesha, with Friday’s motivational pitches delivered by Amy, Grace, Jess, Libby and Abhi.

Well done, everyone!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Manager

Creative Arts Spotlight

In the Creative Arts Spotlight this week is Angelina in Year 11.

Angelina is using a cut work technique known as ‘Molas’ where layers of different fabrics are stitched together and then cut away to reveal the layer beneath. This intricate work will form part of a head dress inspired by the costumes worn at Filipino street festivals for Angelina’s final GCSE piece.

Well done Angelina on a fantastic piece of work!

Miss Lycett
Subject Leader Textiles

Book of the Week

Spring Cannot Be Cancelled – David Hockney in Normandy with Martin Gayford

On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquillity for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at La Grande Cour, the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year before, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art.

Spring Cannot be Cancelled is an uplifting manifesto that affirms art’s capacity to divert and inspire. It is based on a wealth of new conversations and correspondence between Hockney and the art critic Martin Gayford, his long-time friend and collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new, unpublished Normandy iPad drawings and paintings alongside works by van Gogh, Monet, Bruegel, and others.

He has much to teach us, not only about how to see… but about how to live.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Science Week: Growth

Open Day - Friday 4 March

Turning “can we?” into “we can!” Come and visit us at our Open Morning on Friday 4 March, from 9.30am to 12noon.

This is a great opportunity to tour the school with our student ambassadors, speak to staff and see the school in action. Feel free to invite friends and family to join us.

For more information, please contact us by email or visit our website. We look forward to welcoming you.

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing and Admissions

Junior Bake Off 2022

Term Dates 21/22

Term Dates 22/23

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