Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 28 June 2024

Learning what you love to learn

Recently, my nine-year-old son’s bedtime reading has largely consisted of reading biographies. The other day, we finished a children’s biography of Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), who won the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. His life was astonishing in continually surprising ways: a talented pianist, he taught himself the practical skills to restore old pipe organs, all the while completing a doctorate in philosophy and theology prior to becoming a vicar. At the age of 30, he retrained as a doctor and, in partnership with his wife, went on to establish a hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon.

There is much that is inspirational about his achievements, relationships and work. Elevated to the status of celebrity after the Second World War due to his philanthropic work, which seemed to offer hope to a war-ravaged world, his legacy in Gabon has been critically reassessed in the light of African and postcolonial approaches, not least by his contemporary W. E. B. Du Bois.

But separate from his fame and later life, what was perhaps most interesting to me was to read about his childhood and education.

In his youth, there were disagreements with parents, worries about fitting in with his peers and concerns about poor grades and lack of focus. There is indeed nothing new under the sun! At the age of ten, Albert was sent away to live with his aunt and her husband to study at a different school. His parents’ hope was that the new school and changed environment would see Albert improve academically. His daily routine underwent a dramatic shift from long rambles in the countryside to something that looked as follows:

06.00 – wake up, breakfast, household chores
07.30 – leave the house
08.00 – school starts
11.00 – lunch at home, followed by piano practice
12.00 – school starts again
14.00 – school ends, return home, household chores
16.00 – piano practice
17.00 – homework
18.00 – dinner
19.00 – reading
20.30 – more homework!
22.30 – bed

It may come as a surprise, but by the end of the Autumn term, the headmaster was asking Albert’s parents to consider withdrawing him from his new school. His grades had not improved, nor had his effort and focus. The new, regimented approach to learning had not been a success.

In due course, however, there was a shift and towards the end of his first academic year, things were improving. Two things, at the very least, seemed to have happened. First, Albert had found that he was quite interested in current affairs; he enjoyed reading about contemporary politics and history. His curiosity led him to read more and the more he read, the more he understood and the more interested he became. This virtuous cycle seemed to then impact his other subjects, as he began to build a more complex picture of the world. Second, he was encouraged to pursue his interests: to read more widely, to make connections, to follow avenues of enquiry where they took him. He had learned what he loved and this, in turn, meant that he was beginning to love to learn.

When students are thinking about A Level choices and university course options, one of the key things for them to uncover is what they love to learn. Is it a particular topic in Biology or the way a poem can be dissected or how best to complete the movements that lead to a successful long jump? There will be something that they enjoy learning and that makes them excited; something that will make them want to do further reading, practice or research, without having to be told that it’s 20.30 and time for another two hours’ homework before bed!

Learning what you love to learn can be an incredibly powerful catalyst for transforming your experience of school and life after school. When it comes to making some of the big academic decisions in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13, in particular, I hope it is a helpful way of framing your next steps.

Mr Viesel
Director of Sixth Form

The Week Ahead

Monday 1 July
Yr9 Outward Bound Residential (all week)
Yr7 Humanities Residential (all week)
Yr10 X Trip
U13AB vs Wellingborough

Wednesday 3 July
Yr8 COACH trip to Go Ape

Thursday 4 July
Yr10 TP Bhaktivedanta Manor Trip

Friday 5 July
Music Scholars’ Concert

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 today!

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 this half term!

During lunchtime, 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 hard work and positive contributions to school life!

Faith P-N and Nisha G:
Faith and Nisha started coming to Wildlife Gardening Club after Easter and have taken over a small raised bed outside the Wake Wing. With very little help from me (other than me giving them seeds!) they have grown peas, poppies, beetroot, radish and sunflowers, and they even come to water them with their water bottles at lunch because we don’t have a big enough watering can! They are very mature and organised, and it is clear that they want to make a difference! Mrs Peto

Aurelia H: I am nominating Aurelia for completing her work experience with a tour company in France and then completing a personal project to demonstrate her learning. This showcases Aurelia’s ability to apply what she had learned and highlights her creativity and initiative. Very well done, Aurelia! Dr Lee

Ava B: Ava has been super helpful to new drivers, assisting them with the route and identifying students. Mr Holmes

Natalie S: Natalie’s work ethic in Spanish is fantastic. She focuses really well, undertakes all the tasks in a timely and thorough manner, asks for clarification and applies what she has learnt. When she finishes ahead of time, which happens often due to her determination, she requests extension work, and demonstrates a real desire to do well in the subject. Mrs Rathore

Jesleen R: Inspired by the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, she used acrylic paint to create a striking image of a flower, showing great concentration to blend colours and add brush stroke detail. Miss Taylor

Simran L: I am nominating Simran for her work in the Year 8 skills lessons. Simran has been working at a very advanced level academically, producing work on protecting the rainforests (a set piece of work) and sundials (topic of her choosing). Her level of research, how she structures her work, thoughtful comments, use of citation and bibliography all make for impressive reading. Miss Buxton

Ques-Li DB and Lucie C: I am nominating Ques-Li and Lucie for their excellent contribution to the Year 5 and 6 production of Wind in the Willows. Their expert choreography of the Year 5 river dance transported the audience into a magical world and left them wanting more. Well done, girls! Mrs Fordham

Sports Awards Evening

The Sports Awards Evening took place on Thursday 27 June where we welcomed many of our excellent sports participants to celebrate their achievements this year. This year’s invitees ranged from Years 3 to 13 and it was fantastic to see representatives from across the school. Thanks to our Year 6 Sports captains – Poppy P, Annabel R, Amelie N, Cora S, Luisa P, Zara J, Angelie B – and the Sports captains in Senior School – Vivien L, Harriet F, Annabel L, Sophie J, Issy H, Prachi P and Emma N – who eloquently delivered carefully written speeches, reviewing the year in Sport. 

Well done to all of the girls who were recognised on the night for their exceptional sporting endeavours. The PE faculty are very proud of each and everyone of you. Congratulations to the following who received the nights headlining awards:

Supporter of The Year: Mrs Jenson
Hockey 1st XI, Players Player: Felicity H
Hockey 1st XI, Coaches Player: Harriet F
Netball 1st XI, Players Player: Jasmine Y
Netball 1st XI, Coaches Player: Janice H
The Vicky Parker Award for Outstanding Leadership: Issy H
The Sarah Hunt Award for outstanding contribution to swimming: Annabel L
The Junior School Team of the Year: U11 Hockey
The Junior School Sports Personality of the Year: Zara J
The Senior School Team of the Year: 1st XI Hockey
The Senior School Sports Personality of the Year: Issy H

Thanks also goes to our amazing speaker, Jazz Turner, a national level inclusive sailor who spoke openly about her inspiring journey in sport. To hear Jazz’s story you can click here. Jazz is walking the 160km length of the South Downs to raise money for Newhaven and Seaford Sailability. She hopes to increase the number of people with disabilities who have access to sailing by buying another boat. If you would like to support Jazz, please follow her Instagram @jazturnersailing and check out her GoFundMe page linked here

Mrs Saunders-Wall
Acting Director of Sport

A tribute from Dr Lee to Jazz Turner

We were thrilled to host a truly inspiring speaker at this week’s dazzling Sports Awards Evening. Jazz Turner joined us and bravely shared how sailing has become her “family”, despite facing a progressive and physically limiting condition since the age of 18. Jazz proudly represents Team GB in Paralympic Sailing, and her journey, as she recounted, is nothing short of remarkable and motivating. She thoroughly deserves the chance to shine on the international sporting arena.

Jazz imparted words of wisdom to our audience, ranging from “how you rise after you fail” to “never let fear hold you back”. She taught us resilience in the face of failure to the transformative power of determination , and how being incredibly stubborn and highly critical can set you on the path to success. She taught us how to navigate challenge, embrace joys and discover true liberation on the water.

Jazz’s fearless spirit and her unwavering pursuit of adventure are breaking barriers in the world of sailing, inspiring countless others. Her dynamic enthusiasm promises to guide future generations of young athletes.

Please consider supporting Jazz as she pursues her Paralympic dreams and contributes to the South Downs Way Crowdfunding campaign.

Dr Lee

Annie photographs

A huge congratulations to the wonderful cast and crew of ‘Annie’ for three unforgettable shows last week! We are delighted to inform you that pictures from the production are now available to purchase and can be accessed via the email shared with parents this afternoon. We kindly ask that you do not share this secure link publicly. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Miss Price
Digital Marketing Assistant

Highly Commended Award

We are delighted to share that our Science Faculty has been HIGHLY COMMENDED in the category of Excellence in STEM (SENIOR) in this year’s Muddy Stilettos School Awards. We would like to congratulate our wonderful Science team on this very well deserved achievement.

Year 8 enjoy dedicated careers day

On Monday, our Year 8 pupils enjoyed a dedicated careers day where they learned important and transferable skills for the workplace. In a fabulous session led by GDST’s Learning and Development Manager, Karen Kimura, students were tasked with designing and marketing a product made from a recycled school blazer.

Presenting their ideas to a panel of judges, pupils were encouraged to practise clear communication skills without the assistance of a script! All teams rose to the challenge exceptionally well and showcased many skills they had learned throughout the day. The groups also produced a promotional video for their product and were scored on their marketing abilities. As always, their exceptional digital skills came to great use, making the competition particularly tight. A big well done to the pink team for achieving first place!

All of our Year 8 students did very well indeed and we were thrilled to see them demonstrating risk-taking and collaboration skills. A huge thank you to Mrs Forsyth and Karen for facilitating a great session!

Year 12 physicists have fun at Tenpin!

On Tuesday 25 June, the Year 12 physicists went on a Physics trip to Tenpin in order to deepen our practical understanding of 2D momentum, through participating in activities such as pool (otherwise known as “the game with the stick things”) and bowling.

We looked at how the impact of the balls in both activities differed according to the masses of the objects involved in the collision. In pool it was observed that with equal masses, Newton’s 3rd law of motion is applied, where the second ball moves and the first ball becomes stationary. However, in bowling, the larger mass of the bowling ball meant that no object remained stationary as the pins fell over and the bowling ball continued its motion.

Notably, Mrs Vizor won with 193 points, quoting “I told you it was all about physics”. Nevertheless, Emma N put up a fierce competition, following with 179 points. Additionally, the J2Os and slushies provided students with much morale as we ended on a high.

Sahitya B
Deputy Head Girl Marketing

Year 7 pupils solve a History mystery!

This week, Year 7 students have used investigatory skills to work out the criminal in a History Murder Mystery challenge! They have all used the evidence carefully to come up with a plausible suspect who had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime!

This coincided with hearing that former student, Emelia (2020) has just passed her first year as a police officer and is now completing a year on response before training to be a DC. Emelia studied A Level History before completing a Law degree and her career journey serves as inspiration for our young Historians!

Mia and Prachi win a visit to Mercedes F1

Northampton High is a partner school with Mercedes, so after winning an in-school competition, we were rewarded with the opportunity to watch the Barcelona F1 race live at the Brixworth Mercedes AMG Centre. We got to ask questions to some employees, who gave us life advice and informed us of how many different F1 related jobs there are. Unfortunately, it was not a very exciting race since no one crashed, but the free t-shirts and snacks made up for it!

Mia and Prachi
Year 12

High Sports

Athletics: Masons Trophy at Stoke on Trent
After successfully competing last weekend at the County Championships in Corby, both Grace and Emily K travelled to Stoke on Trent to represent the County at the Masons Trophy. Emily came 5th in the Junior Girls Javelin whilst Grace came 9th in the Junior Girls 75m Hurdles and 12th in the Junior Girls Discus. This result should be highly commended as this event sees the top contenders from 10 counties taking part! Congratulations to both the sisters!

U13A&U13B Cricket vs Akeley Wood

U13A: On Monday 17 June, the U13A team attended an away match at Akeley Wood school to play cricket. We won the toss and bowled first and we had a good innings, taking many wickets along the way. The Bowler of the Match was Jasmine. In the second half we batted really well with many sixes and fours. The Batter of the Match was Safiya. We scored 347 runs and lost 1 wicket and Akeley scored 253 runs and lost 7 wickets. Well done to the team! Lottie (Cpt)

U13B: The team lost the toss and fielded first. We had a strong start with Adithi getting 2 wickets and Mollie getting a third. Olivia also bowled a perfect over. Akeley finished their batting innings with 265 runs and Adithi was awarded Bowler of the Match. In the batting innings we again started off strong, Adithi scored 16 off the first over and Mollie went on to score 22 from 1 over. We finished with 305 runs and we also had 4 wickets against us. Overall, we won by 40 runs despite having 3 less players than the opposition! Well done all! Lydia (Cpt)

U15A Cricket vs Akeley Wood
On Tuesday, we travelled to Akeley Wood to play a hardball match. We started off strong with our bowling and managed to be consistent throughout with only a couple of extras. Special mention goes to Tess K for a wicket and Charlotte D for 2 wickets. We kept Akeley from scoring runs in the first innings meaning they only got 51 runs. We were very consistent with our batting and managed to run the singles at many different times, putting us ahead and on target for winning the match. Special mention goes to Charlotte F for getting 3 fours. We eventually won by 31 runs. Congratulations to Charlotte D who was named Bowler of the Match and Charlotte F who was named Batter of the Match. Well played everyone! Charlotte (Cpt)

U12A&U13A vs Winchester House

U12A: In our cricket match against Winchester House, we won the toss and bowled first. We had some good bowling and despite a couple wides and ‘no balls’, we were very consistent. Amelie and Harini got some wickets which was great and Preesha got Bowler of the Match. Our batting started off strong, with Amelie and Grace getting a combined total of 3 fours. Grace was awarded Batter of the Match. It was a tough game that finished 280-251 to Winchester House. Everyone fought hard and played well! Grace P (Cpt)

U13A: Lost 175- 234
Bowler of the Match – Jasmine
Batter of the Match – Clara

Rowing – Henley Women’s Regatta
For the first time in the school’s history we have had a pupil compete at the Henley Women’s Regatta. Henley Women’s Regatta is the premier regatta for women in the United Kingdom. Each year more than 2,000 rowers travel from all over the UK, and from across the world, to compete in this prestigious event. Issy H in Year 12 started rowing at the beginning of this year and is already making great progress on the water. She trains with Northampton Rowing Club on the River Nene and is part of the GB Rowing Development Academy. On Sunday, Issy participated in her first race at the Henley Women’s Regatta and reached the quarter finals. Issy hopes to one day represent the GB team at senior level. Watch this space!

U12&13 Combined Team vs Wellingborough
It was a warm and sunny afternoon when the teams took to the pitch. Northampton won the toss and elected to bowl first. Wellingborough got off to a quick start and it took a little while for our bowlers to find their stride. Wellingborough scored 292/4 in their allotted overs. Our opening pair settled in well but boundaries were hard to come by due to some excellent pace bowling from Wellingborough. We scored 251/4 in our innings making Wellingborough the well deserved winners. Our Bowler of the Match was Lottie and our Batter of the Match was Erin. It was hard work but well done to everyone who kept trying until the end.

Mrs Littlewood
Teacher of Physical Education

GDST Alumna of the Year and Trailblazer Awards

It’s that time of the year once again!

Voting is now open for the annual GDST Alumna of the Year and Trailblazer Awards. To find out more information about this year’s fantastic finalists and details on how to cast your vote, please click here. Voting closes on Friday 12 July, and we really appreciate your support.

Good luck to all of this year’s amazing nominees!

Miss Price
Digital Marketing Assistant

RHS ' No Adults Allowed Garden' design entry

Earlier in the year, members of our Wildlife and Gardening club enjoyed designing their own mini-gardens. The group is now hoping to make their garden design ideas a reality, and plant up some mini-gardens before the end of term to take part in the RHS ‘No Adults Allowed’ garden design competition!

We would love to make this project as exciting as possible and would like to ask for your help in collecting a few of the required materials. If you happen to have any of the below and would be able to donate, we would be very grateful!
  • Old wellies/walking boots
  • Fishtank/transparent bowl
  • Plastic trays
  • Large container or buckets (suitable for mini trees)
  • Old colander
  • Any spare plants, e.g. herbs, annuals, basket plants, etc.

If you think you can help, please do email me at Many thanks in advance for your support and generosity.

Mrs Peto
Teacher of Latin

Book Review

The Boy Lost in the Maze by Joseph Coelho – Winner of the Yoto Carnegie 2024 Medal for Writing (recommended for Yr9+)

In his new verse novel, Joseph Coelho brilliantly blends Greek myth with a 21st century quest. In Ancient Greece Theseus makes a dangerous and courageous journey to find his father, finally meeting the Minotaur in the Labyrinth. While Theo, a modern-day teenage boy, finds himself on a maze-like quest to find his own father.

Each story tells of a boy becoming a man and discovering what true manhood really means.

The path to self-discovery takes Theo through ‘those thin spaces where myth, magic and reality combine’. Doubts, difficulties and dangers must be faced as Theo discovers the man he will become.

Find out more about the Carnegie shortlist here.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Save the Date: Cultures Day

Save the Date: Speech Day

Diversity and Inclusion Calendar 23/24: July

Kings Camp

The Lowdown Wellbeing Event

Pink Rooster Charity Event - I am John Clare

Northampton Swim Club Intensive Course

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