Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 5 February 2021

Work – but not as we know it

There is nothing like the perfect storm of a pandemic and a Brexit to make one reassess many things, not least of which, since enforced home-working has become part of so many workplaces, is the world of employment.

Around 18 months ago, I heard Dainel Susskind, co-author of A World Without Work (2020), speak at the GDST summit.  I have since heard him ‘in conversation’ at the How To Academy and purchased the aforementioned book.  The premise of his book is that, whilst there have been fears of a dystopian future where machines take over the world ever since the industrial revolution, it is here and now that technology has developed to a stage where this really is a possibility. Or at least, it is highly possible that a range of professions could be fundamentally and irrevocably changed by developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In my opinion, Susskind makes a compelling case for a world without work; after all there are already algorithms in use that can determine whether a person in court is guilty, with 90% accuracy, which is significantly higher than the average human who manages 54% accuracy.

Read more here

Mrs O’Doherty
Deputy Head Pastoral

Welcome to Northampton High, Katie Milne

I am absolutely delighted to have joined Northampton High School and it has taken me only a few days to realise what a special community it is, where excellent teaching and learning are underpinned by friendly and caring relationships.

Although working from home at present, I have received a very warm welcome from colleagues and I really look forward to meeting them, in person, when school reopens. It will be equally wonderful to get to know Junior School pupils and also to have conversations with you, their parents, when I am on site.

As you may remember from the September edition of Headlines, Mr Bailey identified 2020/21 as a year of opportunity in the Junior School. I am very excited about working alongside Mrs Davis and the staff in achieving our school’s vision and together we shall ensure the girls have abundant opportunities and experiences which enable them to develop the skills and character essential for their future.

Having attended St George’s School for Girls in Edinburgh and taught at The Perse School for Girls (now The Stephen Perse Foundation) in Cambridge, I feel very much at home within the GDST and fully committed to its ethos. What a privilege it is to share ideas and best practice about the unique ways in which girls flourish as active thinkers and learners, challenge themselves, embrace life and contribute to society.

Since retiring from headship, I have joined the governing body of a prep school in Suffolk, become a mentor for new head teachers in IAPS schools, trained as a Youth Mental Health First Aider and taken on the role of independent listener for sixth formers in a school boarding house setting. In my spare time I enjoy Scottish dancing, singing, gardening and travelling – when that’s possible, of course!

Katie Milne
Consultant Head of Junior School

Guided Home Learning in action!

This week in Nursery...

This week the girls have been busy with making play dough and then using the playdough to make different shapes and pictures. There was flour in the tuff tray with different animals and alphabet rockets. The girls liked mixing all the play dough ingredients together, taking turns in small groups to mix and add different ingredients. Some of the girls were commenting on the flour, they said it looked like snow and then we started to talk about when we had snow and how much fun it was. One of the girls was pretending to make cupcakes.

The girls have also been exploring the alphabet rockets in the classroom this week; some of the girls have been able to recognise some of the letters in her name; this has also been encouraged with our new name tags for our water bottles.

Joining with the Get Active programme that is running within the school, we extended the PE lesson, adding extra gymnastics equipment. We practised our balancing skills on the beam and walked up and down, rolled and slid on the ramps.  Some of the girls knew they needed to have ‘aeroplane arms’ to help them balance. Some of the girls then created their own gymnastics activity in the garden, to continue practicing to balance. In ballet we had good and cheeky toes, shaky hands and pretended we were snowflakes.

On our walk to Forest School the girls were observant of the environment around them and found some different leaves, sticks and flowers. At home the girls could practise their number skills by counting objects during everyday routines, such as how many people are sitting at the table for tea or how many teddies they have at home.

Voice of the child: Whilst playing in the flour: Yazmin: “It looks like snow”. Mikayla: “A lion!” Playdough: Iris: “Is it my turn?” Annabel: “Mixing all up”. Alphabet rockets: Annabel – “That one is A for Annabel”. Ula: “Look that one, an Apple!”

Mrs Bing
Nursery Manager

This week in Pre School...

In Pre school this week we have been celebrating National Storytelling Week. The girls have used props that are connected with the story to act out the storyline and create their own stories, The Gruffalo being a favourite. We have looked at books independently and in small groups. The girls have initiated this and they have also created their own stories using their imagination and a soft toy as a starting point.

Another interest was making dens for their teddies from the stories, and also themselves, where we had a classroom of hideouts.

You could share the experience of storytelling with your daughter through looking at different books or using imagination to create your own unique stories.

An opportunity arose for the girls to feed the birds which was exciting. The girls carefully broke the bread up and laid it out for the birds. Then the girls watched as the birds came to eat the bread, leading to many comments of what the girls observed. Some of the comments the girls made: “They eat the bread”, said Maya-Rochelle; “look at that bird, it’s getting the bread”, commented Lily; “that bird is getting it!” exclaimed Grace.

Next week we will be focusing on celebrating Chinese New Year!

Mrs Bing
Nursery Manager

This week in Reception...

Reception enjoyed taking part in lots of fun activities for the RSPB Big School Bird Watch, which began officially on Friday. After lunch, Year 1 and 2 students joined in too for a Big Bird Watch on the back playground and surrounding areas, as you will see pictured below.

Students have also spent time over recent days making Gingerbread! Everybody did a fantastic job, and I’m sure you will agree that the finished products look amazing!

Alongside this, the girls also had great fun making and exploring kinetic sand – and then had even more fun playing with it once it was ready!

In Science, the girls have continued to explore materials. They explored the material wood and looked for wooden items in and outside the classroom. The girls then used used wooden items to design a bridge for The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the traditional tale we have been focusing on this week.

Mrs Shaw & Mrs Howell

Birdwatching with Reception, Year 1 and Year 2!

This week in Year 3...

This week, Year 3 showed excellent understanding of their dates in French during our game of Blockbusters! They are now ready to make pretend birthday party invitations in our last lesson of the topic next week. Great work everyone!

Mrs Morgan
Teacher of French & German

The highlight of the week for Year 3 has been the Forest School-style activities set for us by Mrs Waters. As you will see from the photographs, there has been lots of jumping in puddles and generally having fun finding the items on our scavenger hunt list. Some of the girls have made rain catchers and looking at the weather forecast, they will have plenty of that to capture in the coming days!

We have also been finding out what a Census is, in readiness for the 2021 Census on 21 March, the first one Year 3 girls will appear in. Next week we will be continuing on the theme of data collection in Maths, working with statistics and drawing bar graphs.

Well done to the girls for another excellent week of learning. Try to have a break away from your screens over the weekend.

Mrs Dadge
Class 3 Teacher

Year 3 enjoy a scavenger hunt around Forest School!

Years 3 and 4 create paper jewellery in Art!

This week in Year 5...

Like the rest of the country, Year 5 found last week quite tough from a wellbeing point of view. The girls were missing their friends and the novelty of working at home had really started to lose its appeal. And then, like they always do, the girls picked themselves up and decided that this week was going to be brilliant. They did some stunning Anglo Saxon diaries at the start of the week and then had an amazing GDST webinar led by a team at the Royal Institution. Here’s what the girls had to say:

“Science with the Royal Institution was very cool and I liked watching it when they were projecting all the different colours and we were guessing what colour it would be if they mixed. It was very exciting and very bright.” Esme

“I was a bit surprised when they sprayed the liquid elements like barium and borax into the flame and it made different colours. I didn’t know fire could go green!” Matilda.

“I really liked it when they had a big bowl of oil…it looked like it was empty and then she pulled out loads and loads of things out, but you just couldn’t see them because when the oil filled the glass tubes they became invisible.” Ellie

“One of my favourite bits was when they had two cards that were the same size but different colours. Your mind played tricks on you because when the big curve was next to the little curve the shape looked bigger.” Lottie

“I found it really interesting that you could put a sparkler in liquid nitrogen and it formed a bubble – the sparkler was so hot that the nitrogen couldn’t go through the bubble and put it out.” Mollie

“I liked the big finale when they used onion rings as the fuel. I was amazed that you could use food as a fuel and I liked the big fire!”

Miss Brandon-Jones

Year 5 Class Teacher

This week in Year 6...

It is fair to say that life in Year 6 is never boring and the last week has certainly proved this! From decimals, fractions and percentages to learning about women from the Medieval to Renaissance period, to witnessing flashes of light and explosions at the Royal Institution, as well as calmer activities including the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch we have certainly seen it all! 

Not forgetting, of course, deep and meaningful conversations about how we would like our world to look outside our window for future generations, in relation to our Head’s Challenge and sending our ’Living Library’ presentations across the Atlantic Ocean, to students at Academy of Our Lady of Peace, in San Diego, California!

Following our Year 6 Rubber Band Car STEM Challenge, we are proud to announce that Isla H (6N) won, her car travelling a record breaking 220cm!

Next week we are particularly looking forward to meeting our ‘Big Sisters’ in San Diego at 4pm on Wednesday via Microsoft Teams. as well as enjoying a Drama taster session with Mo Lomas and meeting Ross Welford to learn more about the creative writing process and to learn a magic trick or two! 


Wishing you all a good weekend. 


Karen Fordham and Nicola Taylor 

GDST Light it up workshop at the Royal Institution 

We really enjoyed the workshop; we learned all about fire, making colours with lights, flash cotton, refraction and lots more! Dani and Jemma, our amazing hosts, demonstrated lots of experiments. We had lots of questions and got very clear answers.  

One of the exciting experiments was where you sprayed different elements on a blowtorch and became different colours, such as green, white and orange. The flash cotton was a special type of cotton that had been soaked in nitrogen it was set on fire and it flashed up in flames. Another experiment Dani and Jemma showed us was making colours using light, we made purple, green, blue, red, orange, yellow and white; all the colours of the rainbow! 

Ameyal and Amelie
Year 6 Science Captains 

GDST Year 6 parent talk - Supporting your daughter with Maths

We warmly invite you to the next in our series of parent talks, on Thursday 11 February; we would be delighted if you were able to join us.

The talk will be hosted by Rebecca Brown the GDST Maths Trust Consultant Teacher. She will be talking about how to support your daughter in Maths, at home, at school and in life and discussing mathematical mindsets, misconceptions and mastery. The talk will take place at 6:30pm on Zoom. This event is suitable for parents with children in Year 6, and if you would like to attend, please click here.

We do hope you will be able to join us. Please note that although there are a limited number of tickets for this event, we will be recording it and making it available to GDST parents afterwards.

Mrs Davis
Acting Head of Junior School

Junior School Achievements

Sophia B: Congratulations to Sophia, who has achieved a Distinction at Grade 1 in her first ever Musical Theatre singing exam (this was recorded virtually!) and also for achieving Distinction Grades for her recent ISTD examinations Grade 2 Modern and Grade 1 Tap. Well done Sophia!

Mrs Davis's Weekly Challenge - Week Two: Through my window

U3 conduct Science experiments at home

In Science lessons, U3 student have been practising experiments that can be completed in the home. The current topic is Forces and Friction, and this video clip shows it in action wonderfully. Well done Lucy!

Mrs Pearson
Teacher of Biology

Students selected to take part in Maths Masterclass events

We would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the following girls for earning a place at the upcoming Maths Masterclass event, hosted by the Open University.

Laura C, Tevini D,  Anika K,  Mia L, Emma  N, Leona R and Varnikaa S will take place in the events during February and March, with the Masterclasses set to be hosted by experts from industry, academia and education. They offer students in-depth investigations of topics in Mathematics, combining theory with interactive exploration.

Congratulations on being selected for this fantastic and rewarding opportunity.

Mr Ball
Head of Maths Faculty

'Overreacting' - First edition of the STEM magazine is out now!

The Overreacting STEM magazine club was launched in Autumn Term 2020, with the aim of bringing together students in Lower 5 to work together to promote STEM subjects at the High School. A lot of hard work has taken place behind the scenes, and we are delighted to share the first edition of the magazine with you here.

The students meet once a week and carry out a range of activities from researching, writing, designing, testing home experiments and coming up with ideas for new content. The students this year have been very innovative and creative, and work is now underway for Issue 2, which we look forward to sharing with you upon completion.

Miss Parboteeah
Teacher of Chemistry


Book Week at Northampton High

We are experiencing a very different Book Week this year for obvious reasons, whilst the importance of books and reading has never been more important. The significant rise in book sales reflects our present home-based circumstances; we can’t escape physically but can disappear into a good book which might take us to the moon and back or just around the corner. Reading also has the advantage of not only being enjoyable but, as has been widely documented, can play an important part in maintaining good mental health.

Despite not being in school we have focused on recommending a wide range of books during Book Week, via booklists, presentations and discussing our reading both in class and in various book groups. One huge positive is the enormous range of fantastic fiction and non-fiction available, partly because authors are mostly home workers and our present circumstances will have changed their working lives very little!

The younger girls in Senior School and Year 6 girls in Junior School are reading voraciously. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan is ever popular, as are fantasy stories in general including His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, very nice to read as well as watching the excellent tv series.  Series of books, whether Harry Potter, Percy Jackson or Enola Holmes are also being devoured.


It is good to see how the girls are naturally being drawn to reading non-fiction too, including books about the incredible women in science and Barack Obama to name just a couple of examples.

The older girls’ tastes are incredibly wide ranging; in Book Club we have discussed The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to the latest YA fiction, of which there are many fantastic newly published books about and should make for a very competitive Carnegie Medal shadowing season, when it begins in March.

Members of staff also share thoughts on their latest reads in the Staff Lockdown Book Group; Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis are particularly popular.

Whilst taking advantage of the extra reading time we have at present I think we all look forward to a return to school and being back in the Library!

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Public Speaking and Debating

It’s been a busy few weeks for the High School’s debaters and public speakers.

In late January, our 6.1 debating team prepped rigorously for the ESU Schools’ Mace competition, with Zara K, Freya T and Jodie W narrowly missing out on a spot in the regional semi-final. They performed very strongly against Stamford Endowed Schools, arguing for the retention of educational information on CVs, and were especially commended by the judges for their firm responses to questions. On Monday 8 February at 5pm they will be joined by Sarah H, Korena K and Sophie T-L for a set of friendly debates against other GDST schools.

Last Friday, Hannah S (U5), came runner-up in the semi-final of the GDST’s Chrystall Carter Prize for Public Speaking, with a very well-received speech on Artificial Intelligence (Grace from Howell’s pipped her to the post). Hannah deserves all the more praise, for being the only competitor to have been in the midst of her GCSE spring assessments! The High School hosted the event and we were very grateful to our judging panel of Annabel Amos (BBC Radio Northampton), Maggie Halsall (Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce) and Chris Powis (University of Northampton) for giving up their time and providing us with their expert feedback.

On Tuesday 2 February, two U4 public speaking teams competed against Caistor Grammar School in the first round of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition. The speakers for the High School were Anika K (on cancel culture) and Anushka T (on diversity in the history curriculum), with Mary A and Mia H questioners, and Tevini D and Leona R chairpersons. The presentations were truly first rate.

Retired Air Chief Marshall Sir Michael Graydon, in the audience, noted that these were “some of the best” performances he had had the pleasure of hearing over the course of many years. We were delighted that Anushka, Leona and Mia are through to the regional semi-final, while Tevini won best chairperson of the evening and Anushka won best speaker of the evening.

Mr Viesel
Teacher of English

‘Languages for the Future’ hosted by Bath High School

On Wednesday Lunchtime, I attended ‘Languages for the Future’, a GDST event hosted by Bath High School.

It featured four students from the school who have gone on to study and work in Languages. Each of them spoke very enthusiastically about their university experience and especially about the year living and working abroad as part of their course. One of the girls studies Spanish but also started Japanese at university and she now uses Japanese all the time in her work. Each of them have amazing jobs, using their language skills in a variety of different fields. It was super inspiring!

Thank you Bath High School for this fabulous event, and Mrs Morgan for recommending it to me.

Hannah S

6.2 students host a virtual Mocktail Evening!

Last Thursday, the 6.2 students held a Mocktail Evening, an event hosted by myself, where I taught the girls how to make a Virgin Cosmopolitan and a Virgin Mojito.

We all had a lovely evening, chatting and drinking our creations over Zoom. It was a nice change to see girls from not only our lessons and to socialise like we would in the Common Room.

Ellen K
Head Girl Team


Guided Home Learning in the Art Department

We are delighted to share with you some more examples of fantastic work created by our students, as they continue to study at home as part of Guided Home Learning.

This week’s first example (opposite), comes from Holly. Inspired by a dream she had during lockdown, Holly has created this wonderful piece of digital artwork and has aptly named it ‘private island’. It also happens to be one of Holly’s favourite pieces. Well done Holly – fantastic work!


Our next piece comes from Alexis, who, too, has used technology to create this wonderful digital piece. Using tools such as Procreat, an Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro, Alexis has drawn this amazing picture of an eye. Well done Alexis!

Next up is Indi, who has shared with us this wonderful work in progress drawing of a snake! Using acrylic paint, Indi has captured the likeness fantastically, and we can’t wait to see the finished piece when its ready! Great stuff, Indi!

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Creative Arts Faculty

Circle Time!

Calling all Upper Thirds and Lower Fourths to the Circle Time club run by Molly and Sophie in Lower Sixth!

Come and discuss, debate, reflect on and challenge your ideas. So far, we have been discussing gender roles and identity in society and robots and technology! We really enjoyed using our transferable skills like active listening, critical thinking, and teamwork. We want to celebrate Millie and Annabel who have already formed convincing and mature arguments in our discussions!

Come along during Thursday REC (13:40) on Google Meet. Interested? Just send me an email! (

See you there!

Miss Robinson
Subject Leader Theology & Philosophy

Book Review

Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant – Costa Children’s Book Award Winner 2020

In the aftermath of World War One, everyone is trying to rebuild their lives. If Ben is to avoid being sent back to the orphanage, he needs to find his brother Sam, wounded in action and now missing.

Lotti’s horrible aunt and uncle want to send her away to boarding school (when she has just so successfully managed to get expelled from her last one!). And Clara, their young teacher, is waiting for news of her missing fiancé . . .

Just as they think they’ve found their feet in the new order, disaster strikes, and Lotti and Ben must get away. And so they hatch a plan – to cross the Channel on Ben’s narrowboat and find Sam. And there’s something in France that Lotti is looking for, too . . .

Buffeted by storms, chased by the police, Lotti, Ben, Clara and a growing number of dogs set out on an epic journey, on the search for lost loved ones and a place to call home.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

GDST Talks: How to be a tech role model for your child

We are delighted to confirm that our GDST Talks event on the subject of ‘How To Be a Tech Role Model For Your Child’ takes place on Monday 8 February, at 6pm. Our speaker is digital rights activist and YouTuber, Charlotte Robertson, who can regularly be seen campaigning in the media, in parliament and in schools and organisations around the world to empower young people to survive and thrive online. To mark Safer Internet Day 2021, this event will be hosted on Zoom, and is

suitable for parents of children in Year 3 to Year 13. To book your free ticket for the event, please click here.

We look forward to welcoming you on Monday.

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

GDST Lockdown Dance Competition!

Term Dates 20/21

Term Dates 21/22

Northampton High School
Newport Pagnell Road, Hardingstone Northampton NN4 6UU
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