Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 3 March 2023

Take back control? 

Year 13 students are finishing their A Level mocks today. It marks the culmination of months of effort, with the last few weeks, in particular, characterised by a quiet determination in the Common Room, as students have worked to get themselves into the best possible position to perform well. They are to be congratulated on their focus, which will no doubt bear fruit in the summer exams.

Over the half term break, I was thinking about the degree to which our students ­– supported by teachers and working hard themselves – aim to control the outcome of their exams, to what extent this is feasible and why that matters. My thoughts were prompted by reading a book by the sociologist Hartmut Rosa, The Uncontrollability of the World. I wanted to share a couple of those thoughts with you, as they have helped me to revisit some of the guidance we might offer our Sixth Form students.

In his book, Rosa argues that modernity is characterised by a desire for control and mastery: “Everything that appears to us must be known, mastered, conquered, made useful […] Lurking behind this idea is a creeping reorganisation of our relationship to the world that stretches far back […] but in the twenty-first century has become newly radicalized […]”​. We try to eliminate risk, increase productivity, extend our reach, expand our skills and powers, in what Rosa describes as an “aggressive relationship to the world”. At the same time, however, he notes that the more we do so, the more we find our control slipping away: the “controllable world mysteriously seems to elude us or to close itself off from us, becoming mute and unreadable […] ultimately constitutively uncontrollable”. As a very everyday example, we might think of the way in which the ‘marked as read’ feature of WhatsApp gives us greater knowledge, but might also increase anxiety and highlight our lack of control while the read message remains unanswered…

For Rosa, the reality is that our world is fundamentally uncontrollable and that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (he cites as an example from his childhood the joy of unexpected snowfall). When it comes to exams, however, it is more than reasonable to try to control the outcome as best you can through excellent preparation and consistent effort. But, given the uncontrollability of the world – a bad night’s sleep, a question that throws you – I would want to highlight the importance of making key decisions dependent on one’s values and meaningful intentions, more so than on particular outcomes. When thinking about life after school, for example, perhaps we might do well to ask questions such as, how do I see myself contributing to the world around me in the future? how do I want to spend my time? what matters to me? what kind of a person do I want to be? If we have answers to those questions, we may be better able to respond with purpose to any situation, whatever unexpected things life might throw our way. You might say it’s a way of taking back control.

Mr Viesel
Director of Sixth Form

The Week Ahead

Monday 6 February
Year 8 Parents’ Evening

Tuesday 7 February
Netball: U15 County Cup

Thursday 9 March
GDST Spring Rally: Cross Country, Football Fives, Gymnastics, Netball

Sunday 12 March
Year 8 Normandy Trip

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

Self-Discipline: The Secret Ingredient 

I wonder if you have a lucky mascot. Maybe it’s a cuddly toy, a crystal or even a special pair of lucky socks? It seems even the students on University Challenge have mascots for their teams, perhaps hedging their bets that if everything else fails, then maybe ‘lady luck’ can be harnessed to their benefit. 

I remember thinking the same as I approached my A Levels, and for each exam had my lucky gemstone perched on the desk in front of me. I repeated this during my PhD viva where I had to defend my thesis on urban river engineering and showcased my knowledge to a panel of academic experts. However, let me say now, it was not wholly reliable. 

It is not luck that will help us achieve our goals but diligence grounded in self-discipline which is the ‘mother of good luck’. This means that if you work carefully and constantly you are far more likely to be successful, as if luck had come your way. In fact, self-discipline is often missing in discussions of the drivers of success, overshadowed by intelligence, natural abilities, hard work, personal connections and luck. Yet, self-discipline – the practice of continually pursuing an objective despite the effort required, the obstacles to overcome and the temptations to pursue a less difficult target – is often the single critical influence in ultimate outcomes.

Some years ago, I attended a lecture by Dr Christopher O’Neill, founder of the MYRIAD research project ( in Oxford University which investigates resilience and wellbeing in young people. Dr O’Neill is a psychologist, registered psychotherapist and trained counsellor and he has 40 years’ experience of working with students and staff in schools. He made it clear that outstanding achievement is not so much down to genes, teachers or parents (although these factors can play a part), but down to ‘YOU’!

To read the full blog entry from Dr Lee, please click here.

Dr Lee

Classical Art Competition Winner

Congratulations to this year’s Classical Art Competition winner, Fiona M (Year 9).

Her wonderful piece, ‘Teenage Rebellion, BCE’, has been awarded top prize and will feature alongside other competition entries around the school to celebrate the fabulous talent we have here at Northampton High!

All competition entries were completed to an exceptionally high standard and we would like to congratulate everyone who participated and shared their creations!

Miss Kilby
Teacher of Classics

Year 7 History: 'The Murder of Thomas Becket'

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

Year 7 have been studying the Medieval period of history and our focus in recent weeks has been on the skills required to be a successful monarch, particularly given the importance of religion at this time. The issue of monarchy and succession has also been an important current issue which we have been able to refer and relate to in our lessons.

In order to find out more about a specific challenge faced, the students have performed a short production of the murder of Thomas Becket. Their performances have shown creativity and great collaboration as well as revealing some commanding acting performances. This has given them the opportunity to be active in their learning of history which they have enjoyed immensely. I  have thoroughly enjoyed watching their plays and seeing them learn in a different way to our usual classroom work.

Mrs Curtis
Teacher of History

GCSE and A Level Textiles Research Trip

On the 10 of February GCSE and A Level Textiles students took a research trip to London to visit the Africa Fashion exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum and to look at luxury fashion brands in the world famous store Liberty.

The museum was fascinating as it had lots of different unique styles, patterns and designs. There was a wide variety of sections in the museum to go to. Personally it was one of my favourite trips as you got to explore the museum for yourself and see the intricate items there. Inside the museum was the African fashion exhibition which was astonishing as there were different clothing styles from many parts of Africa. It explored how fashion has changed through time and seeing how they have developed.

It was very exciting as you got further in as new ideas kept popping up in our heads for our textiles book. Phoebe J, Year 10

During our textiles trip to London, we visited Liberty, a luxury department store on Great Marlborough Street in the West End.

When my group and I first walked into the building the stunning tudor-style architecture caught my eyes. The building spans six floors, which are all visible right from the first room.

Firstly, we spent time in the entrance room which houses a colourful array of bags with different textures and designs. As we moved on through the shop, we explored many different departments ranging from skincare and perfume to clothing and shoes. The shop houses a range of clothing brands such as Acne Studios and Loewe. On the second, ground and lower ground floors, there is also a section of designer vintage clothing; the collection stretches from Louis Vuitton handbags to vintage wedding dresses. Liberty is also well known for its huge collection of beautiful fabrics, specifically of botanical and floral prints, and so I enjoyed spending time browsing through the shelves.

During our trip, we also visited the store’s bookshop, which holds a range of interesting books on a range of different topics; I decided to buy the feminist book ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’ by Florence Given.

I highly enjoyed my visit to Liberty London and loved the huge range of products. My favourite department was the luxury homeware, which included items such as ceramics and candles as I found the designs vibrant and eye-catching. Alice J, Year 10

Creative Arts Spotlight

This week, the Creative Arts Spotlight shines on to Lottie and Lydia, who can be seen proudly displaying their fantastic festival flags. We are looking forward to seeing our flags flying in full effect in our sports day later this year.

Miss Lycett
Head of Fashion & Textiles

High Sports: Match Report

U13 B VS Nottingham High School: The U13 B team were in fine spirits for this match; the weather was not great but that didn’t damp our enthusiasm.

The first two quarters were hard fought with Nottingham ahead at the halfway mark, however, it was pleasing to see Northampton fighting back in the third quarter with Ava, Verity and Nisha scoring four goals in total. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to overturn their lead, with Nottingham coming out as worthy winners.

Although we did not win, it was a really strong team performance and we had lots of positives to take away with us as we approach the Condover Hall weekend. Isla M

Music Recital

Last Thursday, we held a recital to showcase some of the wonderful composition work completed by Year 10 and 11 students.

The evening drew special attention to the examination classes, highlighting composition as the pinnacle of the many and varied musical offerings here at Northampton High School.

We were extremely honoured to welcome back Northampton High School Alumnae Théa Deacon, who is studying composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and is about to embark upon a Composition Masters course.

Mr Campling
Music Assistant

World Book Day 2023: Celebrating books and reading!

In celebration of World Book Day, our Senior School pupils enjoyed a morning of reading, using form time as an opportunity to enjoy a good book! This proved an excellent start to the day and a great opportunity for quiet time and focused reading.

Our Year 7 pupils enjoyed spending the morning in the library, immersed in their chosen books and sat together amongst the bookshelves!

The World Book Day token, which all children and young people in the UK are eligible to receive, has been sent via Schoolcomms to be accessed digitally.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Northampton High commemorates Neurodiversity Week

To commemorate this year’s Neurodiversity week (13-17 March 2023), we are delighted to be welcoming two specialists to Northampton High School.

Lesley Lock from East Midlands Autism and Annie Burnett, a trustee from Northampton and Buckinghamshire Dyslexia Association (NBDA), will each be hosting their own coffee morning exclusively for the parents of Northampton High School pupils.

Parents will have the opportunity to meet with both Lesley and Annie and hear about how their charities support local young people and their families. To read more about our guest speakers and their incredible work, please click here.

If you would like to attend this event, please complete the form. We look forward to an informative and supportive event.

Mrs Beezley
Learning Enhancement Coordinator

Book Review: The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews

England, 1937.

Gwen, Noor, Dodo and Vera are four very different teenage girls, with something in common. Their parents are all abroad, leaving them in their English boarding school, where they soon form an intense friendship. The four friends think that no matter what, they will always have each other. Then the war comes.

The girls find themselves flung to different corners of the war, from the flying planes in the Air Transport Auxiliary to going undercover in the French Resistance. 

Each journey brings danger and uncertainty as each of them wonders if they can make it through – and what will be left of the world. But at the same time, this is what shows them who they really are – and against this impossible backdrop, they find new connections and the possibility of love.

Will the four friends ever see each other again? And when the war is over, who will be left to tell the story?

A heart breaking and gripping story of hope, fear and unbreakable friendship; a tribute to Noor Inayat Khan the children’s writer and British resistance agent in France during the Second World War, highly recommended.

Recommended for Year 8 and above.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Save The Date: Speech Day 2023

Science Week Showcase Lectures

'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.

Episodes are now available and can be downloaded below. Please do listen and subscribe!

Links to the most recent episode: Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, Google Podcasts.

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing & Admissions

Save the Date: Spring Arts Exhibition 2023

Turning 'can we?' into 'we can!' - Open Morning, Friday 28 April

We look forward to welcoming so many lovely families to our upcoming Open Morning on Friday 28 April. The event promises 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

Rugby & Northampton Athletics Club: 5 week course

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

The Knight Frank Schools Triathlon Series

We are delighted to have been invited to take part in the The Knight Frank Schools Triathlon series, hosted by Oundle School and organised by Restless Development, on Sunday 14 May.

7 events ran last May, with over 6,000 children taking part from 120 prep schools such as Cheam, Cothill House, Dulwich Prep, Farleigh, Feltonfleet, Port Regis, St Hughs, The Dragon and Thomas’ Battersea. The children raised an incredible £1.2 million for both the organising charity and each prep school’s chosen charity.

The events are for Senior and Junior School pupils in Years 3 to 8 and there has been a fantastic response from schools to date, with both the pupils and parents really enjoying the day. It is first and foremost a fun event, with a team element rather than the normal individual triathlon format. The children form teams of 4, come up with suitably amusing team names, with all 4 teammates performing all 3 disciplines as a relay. This has really appealed, not just to the keen sporting pupils, but also to those who want to give a triathlon a go with their friends in a safe and fun environment.

Maya, from Restless Development delivered an assembly for our pupils in Years 3 to 8 on Tuesday 7 February to inform pupils about this fun opportunity. This is a parent-led event, with parents registering the children directly and taking them on the day. Any questions from parents can be sent directly to

We hope that many of our students will choose to be involved in this fun, physical, charity event.

Miss Hair
Head of Junior School

Tuesday by Alison Carr - Thursday 14 March 2023

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

Junior Bake Off: Applications now open!

Community Nursery Sessions

Reach Lectures: Spring 2023

Home Start Northampton: Volunteers needed!

Term Dates

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