Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 3 February 2023

Digacy: The modern classroom

In a blog, software engineer and net entrepreneur Nartey Ephraim says that the classroom ‘isn’t just a room full of desks and books’. He comments that it is also ‘an online community and a place where students can receive support from their peers and teachers.’ Indeed, schools are moving ever more rapidly towards the wider use of educational technology (or EdTech) to support learning. This is both to deliver content in more experimental and/or adaptive formats, and also to allow students and teachers to connect with each other within and beyond the constraints of the traditional dusty classroom ‘box’. But how do we go about making sure we are using technology in the best possible way to build the kind of classrooms that are fit for the modern world?

EdTech comes with some clear benefits. It allows teachers to develop themes before lessons start, so students can engage with topic information in advance. It encourages and supports shared working and, arguably most importantly of all, it enhances the way feedback and pupil/teacher dialogue can take place. Done well, all of this leads to continual improvement in skills and understanding, and ‘learning without limits’, a golden principle in the High School’s educational philosophy.

We refer to all things digital in school under the banner of Digacy. This programme works from the core principles of digital literacy, including online awareness, computational thinking and the creation of content, to ensure that pupils have the adaptability they will need in the future. You can read more about the programme on our website here. To support this, we use shared platforms in school, Firefly and Google Classroom, which allow us to offer seamless learning approaches, ensuring all pupils have the resources they need and access to their teachers’ expert advice, at home as well as at school.

Our access to the GDST is hugely beneficial as we move forward on our digital journey. We benefit from the support of a dedicated Consultant Teacher for Digital Innovation, Fee Kempton, based at Norwich High School. She works across the Trust, encouraging teachers to develop their skills via Google courses and building awareness of the ways technology can improve teaching and learning. Furthermore, through GDST-led research we retain a laser-like focus on the wider issues that link to technology, specifically the future skills that pupils will need to be successful. In the recent GDST Girls’ Futures Report, girls speak about how they want to be armed with practical tools for the future, knowing that they require the skills to navigate social media, with the ability to tell fact from fiction. They also want roles that make a difference to society and the environment, whilst allowing for family life to flourish.

At its best, EdTech supports these ambitions because it facilitates truly transformational approaches to teaching and learning. By this I mean approaches that cannot be replicated by traditional means, perhaps most significantly, the increased and varied opportunities for collaboration and innovation in the form of apps and software. Indeed, since we introduced the 1-to-1 device policy in 2020, we have expanded the range of additional software that teachers and pupils can use through the Google platform exponentially.

To read the full story, please click here.

Mr Rickman
Deputy Head Academic

The Week Ahead

Monday 6 February
Children’s Mental Health Week (all week)

Tuesday 7 February
London Art Trip to Tate Modern
Netball: vs Kimbolton U14 & U15

Thursday 9 February
Symposium & British Museum Trip
Linguistics Olympiad
Netball: 1st VII & U18B vs Akeley Wood


Friday 10 February
GCSE and A Level Textiles Research Trip
House Dance
Ceramics Creature Workshop

Half Term begins

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

Head's Blog: The power of asking questions – and getting the wrong answer

How long does it take to sail around the world? And why did the wrong answer to this question have a profound effect on human history?

There is a reason to pose this question, and questions like it, right now. At the beginning of term, we launched our Reach lectures and already this new initiative has proven to enliven and animate study for our Year 9 to Sixth Form students. Our students learn to ask hard questions, distrust easy answers, and think for themselves. The lectures are led by our brilliant teachers from the Senior School, exploring their array of expertise and subject specialisms. These range from Maths in Music to Elon Musk’s brain machine interface technology to leadership in sport and life lessons from the ancient world. Although there is a wide range of topics available, the idea is always the same: intriguing questions, surprising answers, and higher-level creative thought.

Fun, sparky, challenging, rewarding and memorable, the Reach lectures are a world of learning and enquiry beyond the confines of any curriculum. Each and every lecture celebrates learning for its own sake and explores the space between subjects and space far beyond them. Above all it encapsulates the joy and individuality at the heart of human intelligence. This is further exemplified by my weekly learning walk, where I can see, feel, and witness our teachers explore a subject in more depth, let a student discussion run, take on a challenging topic for the sheer fun of what it can teach us, they are naturally living the High School approach wheel. Intellectual character dispositions such as curiosity, risk taking, and independence happen here every day.

So – how long does it take to sail around the world? Well, this answer is fairly easy – it depends on your boat and the weather. The Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation in 1519 took three years. Just over five years ago, François Gabart, a single-handed sailor, set the record by completing it in a shade under 41 days – as verified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

The second question, why the wrong answer matters, is where it gets interesting. When Christopher Columbus set sail, neither he nor any of his sailors had any fears about falling off the edge of the world, because they, like more or less everyone in human history, knew that it was round (the reason why many modern people believe our ancestors thought it was flat is another interesting question of its own). However, Columbus was wildly optimistic about how far round it was.

Read Dr Lee’s full entry by clicking here.

Dr Lee

Northampton High School hosts Learning Ambassadors Conference

On Wednesday 1 February, Northampton High School were delighted to host our first ever Learning Ambassadors Conference, a collaborative event almost 2 years in the making.

For this event, we were delighted to be joined by our friends and fellow GDST member school Oxford High, to present and discuss the findings of 18 months of disciplined and vigorous research. The day began for our students with a whistle-stop tour of the school, in which our Sixth Formers hosted our visitors from Oxford. After an introductory lunch in the dining room, our teams of students were tasked with presenting their research to an audience of their peers and teachers.

Each of the 6 teams took it in turn to present on their topic of choice. From Northampton High; Flo, Tendo and Abhi talked about ‘Learning Characteristics’ with Lilia and Rose discussing ‘How Effective is Google Classroom as a Learning Platform’. From Oxford High, we were treated to thought-provoking presentations on ‘Year 7 Homework Management’, ‘What effects do Rewards Systems have on motivation and ambition’, ‘Exploring how student behaviours in KS3 and 4 impact summative assessments’ and ‘Effective study methods for essay based subjects’.

Each of the 6 teams, made up of students from Year 7 all the way up to Year 13, spoke passionately about their chosen subjects. They articulated their reasonings, what they aimed to achieve, their outcomes and reflections, along with their ideas and proposals for next steps and how they can be implemented – which sparked fantastic discussions amongst the audience. The quality of each of the presentations was outstanding. It was evident that each of the teams, and in turn, each team member, were passionate about their work, and the confident and composed speeches delivered are a testament to all of their hard work and efforts.

After what was an event filled with expression, collaboration and teamwork, we thank all of our amazing groups – from Northampton High and our guests from Oxford High – for creating a memorable afternoon. We are excited to see how the research compiled as part of this conference influences the way that our students learn moving forward!

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Manager

High Sports: Match Reports

LTA U18 Schools Competition: On Tuesday, our school tennis team consisting of myself, Eliza A, Lilli T and Janice H travelled to Uppingham School to play their team and a team from King Edwards School, Birmingham, in the first round of the LTA U18 Schools Competition.

Despite the blustery weather, we played some fantastic tennis and had a very successful day. Each member of the team won all of their singles matches and we won all of our doubles matches too! This win has given us a place into the next round, so a big well done to everyone who played! Ella N

Netball: On Monday, our Netball team played a tough game against Kimbolton School. We showed great persistence and perseverance throughout the game, and worked together as a team very well.

At one point in the game we were 4 down, but we managed to score 5 goals in the last quarter which resulted in a high scoring draw. The end score was 16-16, and Ellie and Kara showed some amazing defensive skills toward the end, getting lots of rebounds and turnovers consistently.

In conclusion we played great netball and all the players had shown great skills and clearly tried their best all the time. Safiya C

Netball: The U12 A and B teams travelled to play Akeley Wood on Monday. We worked very hard and everyone played their part to help us win.

Lucy made amazing interceptions in defence, Jael was fantastic at GK intercepting rebounds and passing them on to the attack. Mollie, Evelyn and Esme played GS and GA showing amazing shooting skills, scoring lots of goals.

Overall we worked so well as a team and feel very proud of ourselves. The score was 12-4 to Northampton High School. Emily S & Esme S

Book Week at Northampton High School

Book Week in the Senior Library has been a busy one as ever with the focus being on encouraging the love of reading through a variety of activities and games which highlight the range of stories available in the Library. The competitions, including a Tik Tok based word search have been fiercely contested and the girls have had great fun in these lessons.

Teaching staff have also been making book recommendations to their classes during the week, either linked to their subjects or personal favourites. Dr Lines for example loved White Boots by Noel Streatfield as a child and is currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; Mrs Curtis recommended Holes by Louis Sachar, describing it as funny, clever and fast paced. For older readers Mr Donaldson chose one of his favourite books, The Road by Cormac McCarthy about a father trying to keep his son safe in a post-apocalyptic world whilst searching for safety and a better life; Miss Kneen’s recommendations by Richard Osman are on the lighter side and this week’s Books of the Week.

The highlight of the week was The Murder Most Unladylike Party on Thursday lunchtime, hosted by Mrs Fordham and Miss Buxton, girls from Year 5 to Year 7 gathered in the Wake Wing to enjoy quizzes and various murderous activities. The Robin Stevens books are highly entertaining, with a couple of feisty girls solving mysteries over a series of books and a great source of creative inspiration.

We hope all activities will be helpful with half-term in sight and the prospect of down time reading!

Miss Buxton 
School Librarian

Book Review: The Thursday Murder Club books, by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club books are a refreshing take on the classic murder mystery. They are told largely from the perspective of a lady called Joyce, who is in her mid to late 70s. She lives in a retirement complex in Kent, and soon discovers a small and unlikely band of friends who quickly become like family.

The humour that accompanies each of the 4 main characters is outstanding, with each character completely believable in their mannerisms. Their age means they are beyond caring in many aspects and so are gutsy in the dangerous situations that they find themselves in.

Assisted by a local DCI and his trusty DC, they invite themselves into the middle of a murder investigation and, in true Miss Marple style, much to the annoyance of the professionals, successfully reveal crucial clues to the case.

Amongst the hilarious ‘one liners’ from Ron and Elizabeth, and the charmingly innocent remarks from Joyce and Ibrahim, there is also a sobering undertone of the fragility of life and the inevitable impacts of age. They are well written and the twists and turns in the plot make them a ‘must read’ for the holidays. If reading is not really your thing, they are also available as audio books and therefore great for long car journeys!

Recommended for Year 9 and above by Miss Kneen.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

'The Aspect' - A podcast by Shef Nandhra

We are proud to announce an exciting initiative from one of our recent alumnae, Shef Nandhra, and announce her brand new podcast.

Available on multiple platforms, the podcast explores sustainability across different industries, and the youth’s involvement in these ventures. Individual episodes will feature guests and experts from a broad range of industries who will share how their work contributes to sustainable futures and harnesses the power of the youth.

Episode 1 is now available and can be downloaded below. Please do listen and subscribe!

Links to Episode 1: Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, Google Podcasts.

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing & Admissions

'Dress to Express' Mufti Day - Friday 10 February

Next Friday 10 February, we are delighted to be holding a special mufti day as part of Children’s Mental Health Week. Donations raised as part of this fundraising activity will be donated to Place2Be, a charity that helps to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.

One in six children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem, and many more struggle with challenges from bullying to bereavement. This means Place2Be’s work has never been more needed. We want to help them work towards a future where no child has to face mental health problems alone.

Place2Be are leading special initiatives next week, which can be read about here, and we have set up our own JustGiving page in which donations towards mufti day can be made. Please click here to take a look.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch.

Mrs Giordano
Wellbeing Practitioner

Turning 'can we?' into 'we can!' - Spring Open Mornings at Northampton High

We look forward to welcoming so many lovely families to our upcoming Spring Open Mornings on Friday 3 March and Friday 28 April. The events promise 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

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

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

Tuesday by Alison Carr - Thursday 14 March 2023

Community Nursery Sessions

Reach Lectures: Spring 2023

Hope Centre Donation Box

Home Start Northampton: Volunteers needed!

Term Dates

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