Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 8 October 2021

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The European Day of Languages, held on 26 September annually, has always been a highlight of the year in the Languages Faculty, but this year in a post-Brexit and pandemic context, it had a particular flavour. For the first time in two years, students from different year groups were able to celebrate the occasion together. Throughout the week students from Junior School to Sixth Form took part in linguistic and cultural activities, ranging from karaoke to scavenger hunts.

When we asked pupils why they thought learning languages was important for them, the most common answer was that they are fun. And fun there was during the week too; the energy and enthusiasm around languages were fantastic. However, while the enjoyment of our students is paramount, let’s reflect on the other benefits of studying languages in today’s Britain and why they have such a special place in our curriculum at school.

The Language Trends Survey published by the British Council paints a bleak picture for language learning in the UK, going as far as talking about ‘a language crisis’ in relation to the number of students choosing to study the subjects at GCSE. While about half of our European neighbours can speak at least two additional languages, the British Council states that only one in three people is able to communicate in another tongue in the UK. This poses a range of challenges and puts us at a disadvantage both economically and in international terms at a time when the UK needs to find its new place outside of Europe. Learning languages is not just about making transactions easier when abroad, it has a pivotal role to play in developing intercultural awareness and skills, which can then offer the opportunity for varied international experiences.

Read more here

Miss Orvoen
Head of Languages Faculty

The week ahead

Monday 11 October
Senior School Assembly
Clubs (click here for timetable)

Tuesday 12 October
Sixth Form Options Breakfast for U5
GDST Rally
Sixth Form Information Evening
Clubs (click here for timetable)

Wednesday 13 October
School Photographs
Silver DofE Assessed Expedition
Clubs (click here for timetable)

Thursday 14 October
Silver DofE Assessed Expedition
Fixtures: 1st VII in County Cup
Junior School Parents’ Evening
Clubs (click here for timetable)

Friday 15 October
Senior School Assembly
Silver DofE Assessed Expedition
Clubs (click here for timetable)
Half Term break begins

Sat 16 & Sun 17 October
Silver DofE Assessed Expedition

Tré Ventour joins us in school to lead seminars as part of Black History Month celebrations

On Friday 1 October, we were delighted to kick off our Black History Month events in grand fashion, as we welcomed a very special guest into school. Writer-poet, speaker, educator and Northampton Male Role Model of the Year (2020) Tré Ventour ( visited the school to lead seminars with students in Years 8, 9, 10 and 11, before hosting a lunchtime Q&A session with students in the Sixth Form.

During the seminar sessions, Tré and our students explored various poems as well as the creation and consequences of race. After showing a video reading of a very powerful poem ‘Wake Up’,

by AFLO (with Priss Nash), Tré spoke to students about ‘whiteness’; its reality and consequences, as well as the context and legacy of empire, colonialism and capitalism and the invention of the concept of race post 1661 in order to enforce exploitation and empire.

How do we question and understand whiteness and how do we challenge the density of language which creates distorted narratives that reinforce institutional racism? Tré then invited participants to consider beauty in relation to ‘whiteness’ and finally to question white privilege as something that is assumed and unchallenged, along with its traumatic impact on the health of people of colour – and not to make it about ‘me as white’, not to whitewash or erase history. Learn, and change the system.

It was a great pleasure to welcome Tré into school, whose honesty, intellect and compassion compelled audiences and opened minds. Thank you Tré.

Mr Williams
Head of English Faculty

Black History Month: Black women in space

This week, in celebration of Black History Month and World Space Week, Years 8 and 9 were treated to an assembly following the lives of two black women who were first in their field. Mary Jackson who was the first black woman to work as an engineer at NASA and Mae Jemison who was the first black woman to become an astronaut and go to space.

Their resilience in overcoming the obstacles in their paths to these achievements is inspirational. They show us that ‘nobody has ever done it’, is not a good argument as to why you should not try.

Mary Winston Jackson graduated in 1942 with a dual degree in Maths and Physical Sciences. After several career changes it was suggested that she enter a training program that would allow her to earn a promotion from mathematician to engineer. The problem was that trainees had to take graduate level Maths and Physics in after-work courses managed by the University of Virginia. Because the classes were held at then-segregated Hampton High School however, Mary needed special permission from the City of Hampton to join her white peers in the classroom. Never one to flinch in the face of a challenge, Mary completed the courses, earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer.

Mary began her engineering career in an era in which female engineers of any background were a rarity; in the 1950s, she very well may have been the only black female aeronautical engineer in the field. NASA have now named a building in her honour.

Mae Carol Jemison was born in1956 in Decatur, Alabama. She entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship and received a degree in Chemical Engineering from the university. She then entered Cornell University Medical College and, during her years there, found time to expand her horizons by studying in Cuba and Kenya and working at a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand. Following her return to the United States in 1985, Jemison made a career change and decided to follow a dream she had nurtured for a long time. She applied for admission to NASA’s astronaut training programme and was one of the 15 candidates chosen from a field of about 2,000.

On 4 June 1987, Jemison became the first African-American woman to be admitted into the NASA astronaut training program. After more than a year of training, she became the first African-American woman astronaut.

When Jemison finally flew into space on 12 September 1992, she became the first African-American woman in space. Following her historic flight, Jemison noted that society should recognise how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity. Stats from 2020 showed that just six black women have launched into space since; of the 350 astronauts in NASA’s 61 year history — a fact that Jemison has expressed frustration about.

NASA has stated that its current lunar exploration program plans to land the first woman on the moon in 2024 and, eventually, Mars. In the most recent astronaut graduate class, there are 11 NASA astronauts and two Canadian Space Agency astronauts. Six of them are women and two are women of colour: Jessica Watkins, a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology who identifies as African-American, and Jasmin Moghbeli, a U.S. Marine Corps major whose parents are from Iran. With these stats, there’s a chance the next person on the moon could be a woman of colour. And that would be progress.

Mrs Vizor
Subject Leader Physics

Year 7 Solar System Model Competition

There has been an amazing response to our Solar System Model Competition for Year 7 students to celebrate World Space Week. We have been overwhelmed by the ingenuity and creativeness that students have shown. We will be very busy next week working out the winners and they will be announced after half term.

Thank you Year 7 for brightening up the Science foyer!

Mrs Vizor
Subject Leader Physics

High Sports: Fixture round up

U18 Hockey v Bablake, Saturday 2 October – It was the school Open Morning and the team were excited to play our first match as a squad. We started the first half strongly with a good shape. Bablake were strong and confident in possession, however we marked well and broke at pace when we turned the ball over. Eloise H in particular used her speed on the counterattack to move us up the pitch quickly causing Bablake to panic. On one of the breaks we won a short corner with excellent pressure in the D and Jodie W scored from a straight strike. Winning 1-0 we felt confident and worked hard to keep the lead. Bablake continued to attack strongly and drew level from a good short corner routine. Half-time was 1-1.

Determined to get the win, we pressed higher up the pitch in the second half. We worked hard to take care of the ball when in possession and put Bablake under pressure when they had the ball. Bablake scored late on in the half with a good passage of play. We reacted well aiming for the draw and went all out attacking for the final 10 minutes. Despite a lot of good shots and pressure the Bablake defence held firm and the final result was a 2-1 loss. A good first game, that showed improvement in structure and teamwork throughout. 

Thanks to the U15’s who stepped up to play and well done to the squad. Next up is the GDST rally on the 12 October, where we are hoping to have some great matches.

U15 Hockey v Bablake, Saturday 2 October – Well done to the U15A Hockey squad who played Bablake School, securing a comprehensive 4-1 victory. The goals were scored by Ruby CF, Anna A and 2 by Grace M. Bablake had a strong defence and put up a good fight, but this was a great first match of the season for us and I hope we can carry this in to later matches. Well done to everyone who played! Grace M

U15 Hockey v Wellingborough, Thursday 7 October – A game of two halves can sum the match up against Wellingborough. The first half saw the team being matched evenly by the opposition, and with the score line tied at 2-2 the game could have gone either way. After a stern talking to by Miss Fraser this seemed to work wonders, resulting in more cohesive play, better vision, communication and team work. The final result was 5-2 to the High School. A fantastic result, with a huge congratulations to the squad. Player of the match went to Katie A.

Mrs Littlewood
Acting Director of Sport

Creative Arts Spotlight

This week, the Creative Arts Spotlight shines on to Sassy, Gege and Tess who are producing imaginative devised performances in Year 9 Drama.

In lessons we have been working on devising in the style of Naturalism and Physical Theatre. All three students have tackled all work with motivation and enthusiasm.

They are all showing amazing directorial skills, supporting their peers when creating their original performances. This week they also showed emotional performance skills when improvising scenes inspired by ‘Chaos’ by Laura Lomas.

Mrs Marriott
Subject Leader – Drama

Meet the Creative Arts Team - Mr Campling

It has been a great pleasure to welcome Mr James Campling into our Creative Arts Faculty this academic year as our Music Assistant.

Mr Campling has made a strong start in the Music Department and has already started playing alongside our musicians, joining the Orchestra. Mr Campling graduated from the University of Nottingham where he studied violin, piano, composition, orchestration, music history, studio recording, sound design and conducting. He has a great deal of interest in a large range of music which has led him to play in orchestras, folk groups and sing in a barbershop quartet.

I know that Mr Campling’s skills and expertise across genres will enrich the musical lives of our students. I am looking forward to hearing him play more as we prepare for our Christmas Concert at All Saints Church, Northampton on Wednesday 15 December.

I do hope you will be able to join us for this special event.

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Creative Arts Faculty

Book of the Week

100 Great Black Britons By Patrick Vernon & Angelina Osborne

Patrick Vernon’s landmark 100 Great Black Britons campaign of 2003 was one of the most successful movements to focus on the role of people of African and Caribbean descent in British history. Frustrated by the widespread and continuing exclusion of the Black British community from the mainstream popular conception of ‘Britishness’, despite Black people having lived in Britain for over a thousand years, Vernon set up a public poll in which anyone could vote for the Black Briton they most admired.

The response to this campaign was incredible. As a result, a number of Black historical figures were included on the national school curriculum and had statues and memorials erected and blue plaques put up in their honour. Mary Seacole was adopted by the Royal College of Nursing and was given the same status as Florence Nightingale. Children and young people were finally being encouraged to feel pride in their history and a sense of belonging in Britain.

Now, with this book, Vernon and Osborne have relaunched the campaign with an updated list of names and accompanying portraits — including new role models and previously little-known historical figures. Each entry explores in depth the individual’s contribution to British history – a contribution that too often has been either overlooked or dismissed.

‘Building on decades of scholarship, this book by Patrick Vernon and Dr Angelina Osborne brings the biographies of Black Britons together and vividly expands the historical backdrop against which these hundred men and women lived their lives.’ From the Foreword, by David Olusoga.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Raise Her Up - Episode 3 out now!

To mark #WorldMentalHealthDay this Sunday, episode 3 of the GDST podcast #RaiseHerUp looks at ways of validating young people’s emotions & reactions – rather than just soothing them.

We speak to Dr Tina Mistry – psychologist, writer, podcaster & mental health expert in this episode, and you can listen yourself by clicking here or by downloading wherever you get your podcasts from.

Mr Nash
Marketing & Communications Officer

Kevin Stannard features on BBC Radio 4's 'Bringing Up Britain'

We were delighted to hear a familiar voice on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Bringing Up Britain’ at the end of September, as the GDST’s Director of Innovation & Learning Kevin Stannard was a guest on the show.

Kevin took part in the episode titled ‘Single Sex Education – is it right for my child?’, which first aired on the 29 September, and discussed the many benefits of single sex education amongst other topics. To listen to the debate on single sex vs mixed education for yourself, please click here.

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Marketing & Admissions

COVID-19 Vaccine

You should have now received the COVID-19 Vaccination e-consent forms. May I please remind parents/carers of students who are aged 12-15 years on or before Thursday 14 October, that the consent forms will stay live for 72 hours after receipt of the form. After this time, your child will not be offered this vaccination at school.

However, there will be details sent after the session by the school nursing team for those parents who missed the deadline or who would rather take their child to a clinic. If your daughter will be receiving the immunisation, please could you ensure they have breakfast in the morning.

Mrs Dunkley
School Nurse

Kings Camp - October Half Term

We’re delighted to be hosting Kings Camps activity camps again this half-term!

Kings will be returning this October following a fantastic summer; getting children active, having fun and learning together. With Multi Active, Teen Active and Rookie Academy offering age appropriate games and activities for 5-17 year olds, Kings Camps is the place to be to keep your child active this half-term. With flexible cover between 8.15am-5.45pm, Monday 23 – Friday 27 October, it’s the perfect holiday cover.

Due to group restrictions by age, places for 5 year olds are very limited, please call Kings Camps Membership Team on 0114 2632160 for the most up-to-date availability. For further details about camp please click here

Mr Nash 
Marketing & Communications Officer

Term Dates 21/22

Term Dates 22/23

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