Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 29 January 2021

Dear parents and guardians,

As you know, the Government has this week declared that schools will not return until at least 8 March, two weeks after half term, at the very earliest, and we must all prepare for a longer period of Guided Home Learning (GHL).

As Mr Rickman pointed out in his article last week, we have a huge number of EdTech resources to hand and GHL is going as well as we could hope, with many positive comments from students and parents, although I do appreciate that some find this way of working a real challenge.

Reading Mr Rickman’s article ‘Digacy – redefining normal’ it struck me – not for the first time – just how far we have come, not just as a school but as a society as a whole. Ten years ago few of us had seen an iPad; twenty years ago only about a third of households had a home computer, and it is only just over thirty years ago that the world wide web was invented! Despite the challenges, this is definitely the time to be facing them, technologically speaking.

That’s not to say that we aren’t in a particularly privileged position, of course, with everyone at the High School having access to a device, either personally or on loan from the school. This is not a given, and, at the start of lockdown, 9% of homes in the UK did not have access to a personal computer and still more had a single device with multiple users requiring access. And this is just the UK…

Across the world, up to 1.6 billion children have faced school closures as a result of the current pandemic but still more – mainly girls – have had no school to close. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister appointed MP Helen Grant as a Special Envoy for efforts to support girls’ education, stating that it is his “fervent belief” that improving girls’ education in developing countries is the best way to “lift communities out of poverty”, and the education of women is likely to be a focus of the G7 summit of the major industrial countries this year. Helen’s brief is ‘to ensure that all girls can have 12 years of good quality education’, something that she cannot do alone – but, as Special Envoy, she will champion the UK’s global expertise on education and secure backing for ambitious initiatives to get 40 million more girls in primary and secondary school in developing countries by 2025.

We will all watch progress here with interest, I am sure. Not least because we are, by our very definition, invested in the education of girls, but also because this is such an extraordinary time for young people across the globe, but a true learning opportunity on every level, too.

As Mr Rickman said last week, we will undoubtedly take the best parts of the ‘new normal’ back into the classroom when we return; it is hoped that this is something that can and will play out across the world for the betterment of education for all.

There is much more to discuss and to discover but, for now, I wish you all a good weekend and time away from your screens!

Very best wishes,

Caroline Petryszak

Northampton High in the Snow!

GDST 'Gets Active!'

Throughout the month of February we will be joining with other GDST schools and competing for the accolade of ‘Most Active’ school.

We invite you all to get involved simply by logging the distance you travel through almost any activity you undertake during the month; walking, running, cycling, skipping and rowing are just some examples! 

Every time you undertake your daily exercise, your daughter can log the distance for all family members via our Get Active Form. Ideally we would like everyone to also upload evidence in the form of a screenshot or photo which can be added to the form.

Pupils in Senior School will be able to use their afternoon Games session to Get Active outside as long as they register with their Games teacher first.  You should log your activity each day you complete it (there is no limit to number of entries on the form) because there will be a GDST leader board shared each Friday.

We would love you to share photos of your families Getting Active on social media using #GDSTGetActive and tagging @NorthamptonHigh.

Pupils have received full information about how to join in and as an added element of competition we are logging House totals within school and keeping a leader board.

Join in, connect with the community, and Get Active!

Mrs O’Doherty
Deputy Head Pastoral

Going Global with GDST and the ‘Living Library’

Our Year 6 students will be going global with a project in February, making the most of digital connections and working with students at Academy of Our Lady of Peace, San Diego – a mere 5,400 miles away – in an international collaboration project.

Over the coming weeks, students will be preparing for a ‘Living Library’ event, where girls from the UK and USA prepare a presentation on a topic of interest which they’ll then exchange, hoping to find out more about each other’s interests and gain a greater understanding of their different cultures. At a time when the world feels small and limited to the four walls of home, this project offers pupils the chance to connect with one another through informal after-school gatherings and to broaden their horizons by exchanging stories and experiences of what it’s like to grow up in the UK and USA.

Above: Students have drafted biographies of their teachers and have created these profile pictures to introduce their class teachers to their new friends in California.

The project seeks to empower girls to find their voice, to make new friends and to learn more about growing up in different settings. Mrs Fordham and Miss Taylor, Year 6 teachers, are excited to be able to connect online, “the digital age allows barriers to be broken down and a strong unified approach to be adopted, strengthening our resolve to make the future brighter for all women and girls”, they said. “We are looking forward to leaping across the pond to meet our new friends in California!”

We will report on the project progress in future School News editions. Watch this space!

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing & Admissions

Mrs Davis’ Creative Challenge – theme of ‘Orange’

I am delighted to share with you information on our exciting weekly Creative Challenge!

Using the weekly theme idea, we invite students to portray their interpretation in any way they like. This could include a drawing, writing a poem, a piece of music or even a recipe – girls are free to express themselves in which ever way they see fit!

We will then share the entries in School News, on Flickr and on Social Media each week for you to enjoy! This weeks theme is Orange, and we are delighted to share the entries with you below.

Mrs Davis
Acting Head of Junior School

This week in Nursery...

We were treated to a Winter Wonderland this week at Nursery. The girls have had great fun making snow angels, building a snow baby and, of course, throwing snowballs at the teachers! “I’m going to get you!” teased Ula. “ The snow baby needs eyes,” remarked Florence. They have also been excitedly been telling us about the fun they had with their families at home in the snow.

It was Australia Day this week, and to mark it we made some handprint koalas. We talked about how far away the country was . Yazmin thought “It’s cold there”.

The weather hasn’t stopped the girls thinking about the Summer, however. A theme in the girls’ play at the moment is role playing going on a train on their holidays. They have been busy packing their bags (literally!), arranging chairs and deciding on who is the driver. To build on this, our story of the week is another train-themed one: “Rusty’s Train Ride”.

At Forest School, the girls used handmade binoculars to spot and count birds for the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch. “I saw a black one,” said Penelope.

Mrs Bing
Nursery Manager

This week in Pre School...

In Pre School this week, the girls have had lots of fun playing in the snow. We made a snowman, had a snowball fight, made snow angels and made our footprints in the snow. The girls were very excited. To extend their learning we talked about the differences of the weather and the snow going from a solid to a liquid. We gathered up some of the snow and brought it inside and watched how it changed throughout the day.

The girls celebrated Australia Day on 26 January; we spoke about why they celebrated this day and the girls then had the opportunity to experience the activities we had set up, including a craft area with the Australian flag as the focus; using blue, red and white paint, the children made their own version. There were also some photos of when both Miss Hillery and Miss Hillery went to Australia as a talking point for the children. This led to many conversations. “That’s you, Miss Hillery”, Adaya said. “That’s you with a koala and a kangaroo,” Emily commented.

We embarked on an activity with paint dabblers, card and scissors where the girls could create a boomerang or use the resources to create their own preferences.

A group of girls decided they wanted to act out the story of The Three Little Pigs. They used available props to support their role play and were able to repeat phrases they remembered from the book.

We also said goodbye to one of our favourite cleaners, Zita, who has retired from School. The children made her a special card to thank her for all that she has done to keep the Nursery and Pre School clean.  Thank you, Zita!

Mrs Bing
Nursery Manager

This week in Reception...

This week in Science, the girls have continued to explore materials. They explored the material plastic and looked for plastic items in the classroom.

The girls then thought about how The Gingerbread Man, the traditional tale we are focusing on, could safely cross the river without being eaten by the fox. The girls used plastic recyclable waste to make a boat for The Gingerbread Man.

Reception think about materials in Science, and enjoy Art with Year 1 and Year 2 students!

This week in Year 3...

We began the week sharing snow stories and photographs of us having fun outdoors. We then designed and made our own shoes in our Humanities lesson. In Maths, we were looking at money and playing shop keepers, adding up different amounts. Next week we will learn to give the correct change.

Our English lesson on Wednesday was an exciting storytelling session from the Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’. We have also been competing hard in the GDST Times Table Rockstar competition; the leader board for our Junior School has been constantly changing. I wonder which class will be victorious?

I just want to once again congratulate the girls on their attitude and commitment to Guided Home Learning. I am so impressed!

Have a good weekend.

Mrs Dadge
Year 3 Teacher

Globe Storytelling of The Winter's Tale for Years 3 and 4

Year 3 and 4 were treated to a brilliant storytelling of Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ on Wednesday afternoon by actor and director Scott Brooksbank. This was a joint venture between the GDST and the education centre of Shakespeare’s Globe and several other GDST schools were involved.

During the hour-long session, Scott took us on a whirlwind trip retelling the whole story and using various techniques to portray the different characters. He made it interactive by asking the representative audience in the ‘front row’ questions and improvising as he acted on their suggestions.

The girls really enjoyed the experience as these quotes show:

“I really enjoyed The Winter’s Tale, and the storyteller was very good at even acting by himself; it was still very funny. It was fun being on the front of row as he kept on asking you questions, and you got involved a lot more.” Risara

“I loved The Winter’s Tale story and some things that I liked were when the storyteller asked the front row children their opinion.” Tami

“In the storytelling I liked the puppets when he flipped up the different countries and used a stick for the boat and moved it around.” Maya A

“I loved listening to the story of The Winter’s Tale. It was so much fun watching the play come to life on the screen. My favourite part was when the baby was found.” Jessica

“I liked how the man kept putting pretend beards on because he was a one man show.” Artemisia 

“I like the story time because I got to see some other GDST girls and I really enjoyed the story because it has a happy ending and it had a mean part at the start. I enjoyed bringing in the props and pretending I was opening the king’s suitcase and writing letters to the queen.” Lily

It was such a treat to experience a live performance, something that is so rare these days, and a really valuable learning experience for Year 3 and 4.

Mrs Shaw and Mrs Dadge

Years 3 & 4 take part in the RSPB Big Birdwatch

This week in Year 5...

Year 5 have been working incredibly hard over the last couple of weeks. Their highlights include weighing objects (and pets) to convert grams into Newtons, learning how to bake bread and having lots of fun in the snow. This afternoon, the girls are doing a Science experiment to test air resistance and at the weekend we are taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

We have been doing lots of physical activities too. Mrs Littlewood led the girls in a Bollywood Dance lesson and the girls did some Anglo Saxon craft for our Forest School Enrichment.

Mrs Brandon-Jones
Year 5 Teacher

This week in Year 6...

Last week ended in great excitement, in Year 6, from creating the Chila Kamari Singh Burman-inspired art work shown below to snow falling at the weekend for all to enjoy!

The theme of excitement has continued this week with the arrival of the GDST ‘Top of the Rocks’ multiplication competition and getting nearer to preparing to meet our San Diego ‘Big Sisters’ in a few weeks’ time. We have also enjoyed continuing to solve problems through multiplying and dividing decimals, exploring the importance of Mary Anning’s fossil finds in relation to our understanding of evolution and taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

Next week we particularly look forward to taking part in the GDST ’Light it UP’ virtual workshop, at the Royal Institute, via Zoom.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Mrs Fordham and Miss Taylor
Year 6 Class Teachers

Top of the Rocks: Let the battle commence!

Students in the Junior School have buzzed with excitement over the past four days, learning their multiplication facts, and I am now known as ’Jet Snare’: my newly adopted rock star name! How times have changed, and you may be wondering why…

Well, this week we have taken part in the GDST ‘Top of the Rocks’ competition using the innovative application, Times Tables Rock Stars; an app that makes learning multiplication facts fun and exciting using colourful games and enabling students to challenge each other, as well as students from around the world using their own rock star pseudonyms.

The fact that this app can tailor the student’s learning according to their progress is, of course, a valuable bonus!

So how did we do? As teachers we have been amazed and delighted at the students’ response to this app and this is reflected in their achievements over the past four days. However, a special mention must go to the following students for their exceptional contributions to this competition:

Eloise (Year 6) for achieving 1st place at Northampton High School with 7279 points, Fern (Year 6) for achieving 2nd place at Northampton High School with 6495 points, Safiya (Year 5) for achieving 3rd place at Northampton High School with 5406 points, Angeline (Year 3) for achieving 4th place at Northampton High School with 4857 points, 6N for achieving 66th place in the overall competition, against classes from competing GDST schools.

So far you only have my word that students have indeed enjoyed jamming with their fellow students whilst learning their multiplication facts, so I thought it only fitting to give the last word to our students. I think you will agree this app has received a resounding standing ovation from all!

“I like Times Table Rockstar because you get to choose a new name and character and you are learning Maths at the same time.” Arty

“I have really enjoyed Times because it is fun. It is nice to see yourself on the leader board, especially when you try to get to the top.” Sophia

“I really like Times Table Rockstar because you can create an avatar and you learn times tables. I have got better at my 11 times table and my 2 times table playing this.” Maya

“I enjoyed competing against classes in this school and having the opportunity to do it.” Ellie

Rock on Northampton High!

Mrs Fordham
Year 6 Teacher

Junior School Achievements

Cordelia gained her third Blue Peter badge. She now has the Blue, Sport and Music badges. She got this third badge for writing a letter about her Pancreatic Cancer fundraising, the sport badge for going on lots of bike rides and the music badge for singing.

Jemima took part in a singing & acting workshop with Stagebox over the weekend. The Stagebox casting team contacted them today with her award and have asked her to audition to join their theatre company.

Well done girls!

Happy Birthday Zoe!

We were delighted to celebrate another lockdown birthday in school this week! Zoe celebrated her birthday on Thursday, and was treated to a surprise cake baked by the Catering Team.

We hope you had a great day, Zoe!

Upper Third students perform 'All the world's a stage' monologues

Recently in Film, our Upper Third students have been working on Shakespeare monologues as a part of their Guided Home Learning.

We are delighted to share this fantastic example with you of Lucy and Tiffany performing ‘All the world’s a stage’, using props and costumes from around their homes. Well done girls!

Ms Heimfeld
Subject Leader Film

U3 Textiles 'Sock Monster' Projects!

In U3 Textiles this week, we have been making use of resources found at home with the return of our sock monster project. The girls have had fun creating their monsters, and we are so excited to see the finished creations when they are ready!

Well done everyone!

Miss Lycett
Subject Leader for Textiles

Lower Fourth write poetry on school life

L4 students were asked to write a short poem which contrasted an aspect of school life, whether that be form rooms at break, a courtyard or dining hall – somewhere busy and communal – with an aspect of GHL.

We are pleased to share with you this wonderful poem written by Roja. We hope you enjoy.

Mr Williams
Head of English Faculty

School versus GHL – by Roja 

Lunch time is busy
Lunch time is noisy
Lunch time is tizzy
Lunch time is crazy

The lunch hall is jam packed, plates stacked, pizza attacked sort of place,
The lunch queue is a no space staircase, fast race sort of place,
It’s a food spilled, chicken grilled, little children thrilled sort of place,
It’s two mouthfuls, please just one more spoonful sort of place.

Home learning is tiring
Home learning is cosy
Home learning is inspiring
Home learning is drowsy 

Home learning is fluffy socks, teacher talks, fill in the box sort of place,
Home learning is yummy food, papers glued, always in a mood sort of place,
Home learning is an eyes strained, battery drained, desk chained sort of place,
It’s a self-care time, pie with key lime, 7 o’clock alarm chimes sort of place.  

Senior School students reflect on Holocaust Memorial Day

Students in the Senior School were asked in assembly this week to reflect on the theme of the 2021 Holocaust Memorial Day, ‘Be the light in the darkness’. They heard about the story of Nicholas Winton who, in 1939, arranged for 669 Jewish children to be transported from Czechoslovakia to safety in England, avoiding Nazi persecution.

Even though, when we look at social media and the news, it can seem like we are living in dark times, the HMD theme this year asks us to be inspired by those who shine a light, be it through resistance, words of kindness, or action, like Nicholas Winton’s.

Other figures we can draw inspiration from include; Sophie Scholl – Member of The White Rose movement who distributed pamphlets instructing Germans to passively resist the Nazi government. At her trial in 1943 she said, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”

Josephine Dusaminama, who was a rescuer during the Rwandan Genocide. She saved people by hiding them on boats, and sailing them to the DRC. Her survivors were a mix of women, men and children, many of whom were sole survivors of their families. In response to her critics she said, “You are a human being. If people came to you asking for refuge, would you chase them away?”

Ms Eldridge
Teacher of TP

Art and Guided Home Learning

We always love sharing the fantastic pieces of artwork created by our students, both inside and outside of the classroom.

We are delighted to share with you this superb piece, that was drawn by Year 7 student Ruby. Using charcoal, this drawing took Ruby around two to three hours to complete, and is an amazing piece of work, I’m sure you will agree! Well done Ruby!

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Creative Arts

Lower Fourth students investigate Marine Life in Art

We are delighted to share a few photos of the work done by the L4 Art groups that are investigating Marine Life.

Students have completed these collages during the Guided Home Learning period and have succeeded in creating exciting and colourful images. They had to use all kinds of recycled paper in their compositions. Well done, girls!

Mr Laubscher
Teacher of Art

Book Review

After the War: From Auschwitz to Ambleside by Tom Palmer

Master storyteller Tom Palmer returns with a deeply moving and beautifully told novel of friendship and belonging, inspired by the incredible true story of the Windermere Boys.

Summer 1945. The Second World War is finally over and Yossi, Leo and Mordecai are among three hundred children who arrive in the English Lake District. Having survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, they’ve finally reached a place of safety and peace, where they can hopefully begin to recover.

But Yossi is haunted by thoughts of his missing father and disturbed by terrible nightmares. As he waits desperately for news from home, he fears that Mordecai and Leo – the closest thing to family he has left – will move on without him. Will life by the beautiful Lake Windermere be enough to bring hope back into all their lives?

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

GDST Talks: Encouraging Your Child To Eat Well

We are delighted to announce the next in our GDST Talks series. Nutritional therapist Marissa Carrarini works with clients to normalise and simplify food and healthy eating, and joins us on Friday 5 February at 6pm on Zoom.

In this talk, hosted by GDST Consultant Teacher for Sport and PE Alexis Williamson-Jones, Marissa will speak to parents and students about how to eat optimally for sport and activity, including good things to eat before and after training, and whether there is really any benefit in so-called sports drinks.

Whilst the focus of the advice is on students doing sport, much is of relevance to everyone, and is part of a wider series of talks around addressing disordered eating and encouraging healthy eating habits. A previous talk is available here.

This event is suitable for parents with children in Year 5 to 13, and to book your place, please click here.

If you would like to find out more about upcoming GDST Talks events, there is information here. We would also welcome your feedback on the topics you’d be interested in seeing covered by future GDST Talks.

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Ukulele Club

Please find the new meeting link for Ukulele Club here. This club will run every Wednesday between 13.30 and 14.05.

There is a Google Classroom created for the group, into which Miss Smith will invite you once you attend the meet-link next week.


Mr Nathan
Director of Music

Term Dates 20/21

Term Dates 21/22

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