Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 9 October 2020

Prompted by a number of parent recommendations and lured by it racing up the Netflix charts, I finally caught up with some of The Social Dilemma last weekend and it offered rather more food for thought than I anticipated.

I hold my hand up here – I am a social media user. But I am also way behind some of our Senior School pupils; I cannot get to grips with media-rich social platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat and I believe the official term for most of my Facebook use is ‘lurking’ (that and shouting at the ridiculous posts on my local Facebook page). But enough about my own use. Suffice to leave it here that I think social media platforms can be a fantastic tool to connect people young and old and conduct citizen science research. And I also think they can be insidious timewasting wormholes, twisting reality and taking young people into black holes filled with worrying misinformation.

The latter of my opinions above is where we meet The Social Dilemma, directed by Jeff Orlowski who is well known for his films about environmental disasters.  Are we suggesting that Social Media is the new disaster waiting to engulf society?  It is presented in what is described by Professor Mary Aiken  as a ‘documentary drama hybrid’ and contains numerous interviews with former employees of various social media companies, who have apparently ‘now converted on some Internet superhighway to Damascus’ (ibid). Yet, despite the high drama and the stark warnings, which one could call out as hypocritical when delivered by these former silicon valley employees, there is something unsettling about watching this series.

The adult me understood the warning about usage of personal data, for example, but I know that teenagers do not generally understand fully what this could mean in terms of the post, information, photos and personal information they willingly share in what they think are closed environments.

To read more, please click here.

Mrs O’Doherty
Deputy Head (Pastoral Care & Guidance)

Week Ahead

Tuesday 13 October
U5 Options Breakfast
Sixth Form Information Evening

Wednesday 14 October
Sixth Form Assembly
Junior School Virtual Parents Evening

Thursday 15 October
Junior School Virtual Parents Evening

This week in the classroom

Author Sharna Jackson meets virtually with our students

In our REC period on Monday 5 October, we were delighted to be joined via Zoom by Sharna Jackson ad part of our Black History Month celebrations.

Sharna is an author and Artistic Director who has, among many great accolades, been awarded The Booksellers Rising Stars in 2013. One of her books, ‘High-Rise Mystery’ (the subject of this week’s Book Review by Miss Buxton) was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2020. Sharna is an influential curator of the arts having worked with The Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Design Museum in London, and working as artistic director for Site Gallery in Sheffield.

Students and Staff dialled into the call from a variety of spaces across the school from the Senior Hall or classrooms such as A2, but we were similarly joined by schools across Trust such as Streatham and Clapham High School. Sharna spoke so eloquently about her desire to be a writer, some of the challenges she faced and how she formulates successful stories. Our girls did not hold back by generating a wide variety of questions!

Sharna was equally as generous and candid with her responses, even explaining the money she made from her first book. There were so many questions, and so little time (only 30 minutes) that Sharna kindly agreed to record a further audio to reply to questions posed by students. The original Zoom audio and responses to additional questions are available upon request. Sharna thanked us for having her stating, ‘I had the best time!’

It has been fantastic celebrating Black History Month in school, with other events including hosted special assemblies and displays, and we look forward to sharing stories next week on our virtual meetings with Valerie Vaz MP and June Elizabeth.

Miss Robinson
Head of Theology & Philosophy

Students take part in GDST Sixth Form Leadership training

On Friday 25 September, the Student Senior Leadership Team, Sport Captains and Heads of Houses got the opportunity to take part in the GDST Sixth Form Leaders Day.

This was done with another GDST school, Oxford High, and was led by Amanda Reynolds of Blend Associates and her colleague, a GDST alumna, Niamh Lowe-Davies.

Usually, this event takes place in person, but due to Covid circumstances it was done through Zoom, which was even better, as it allowed us to collaborate with students at Oxford High School.


We started the day by refreshing ourselves, talking through what we had read and watched before the event, and sharing parts of our reflective pieces we produced beforehand. These included talking about what we have learnt as leaders, why we chose to be leaders and what we think makes a good leader. These were all great questions to think about because it really made you take a look at who you are and what you wanted to change about how you lead. During the morning, we were all paired with some Oxford High students and this is where we discussed our reflective pieces and chose two themes/words that we believe a leader needs. Some of these included empathy, conviction, reliance and trustworthiness.

Amanda then introduced us to a game where she separated us all into groups within our school and gave us a map of New York. Our challenge was to then meet all the groups at one of New York’s top attractions, like Central Park, the Empire State Building and Times Square. During the game we weren’t allowed to converse with other groups and wrote down how we got to our spot. To our surprise, the majority of us ended up going to the Empire State Building; I think this was due to how large and iconic this monument was. This game taught us about being confident in our decisions, which I feel is something you need to have as a leader.

In the afternoon, we worked in our school groups to think of a project that would benefit our school or Sixth Form. It needed to be based around what we had learnt throughout the day, being resilience and wellbeing. The leaders and I focused more on wellbeing as we believe it’s very important at the moment during such an uneasy time due to Covid. We came up with ideas to improve one certain room at school and, as well, some pick-me-up packs to maybe start in the Sixth Form. We then presented all our ideas to Mr Viesel at the end of the day.

From the work we did that day we are now thinking of ways to fundraise for our projects; we are hoping to present them to Mrs Petryszak and other members of staff soon. The girls and I were very fortunate we could participate in this event, even though it was a bit different to the usual routine. We found it thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring.

Ellen K

Creative Arts Spotlight

This week, the Creative Arts Spotlight falls onto Riley and her exciting exploration of Abstract Expressionism in her large scale paintings.

Brave, bold and original – well done Riley!

Mrs Beacroft
Head of Creative Arts

High Sports

This week, sporting congratulations go to Isla H and Isla N, who have both been selected for their County Hockey Teams. Well done girls on this fantastic acknowledgement.

Please do continue to update us of any sporting achievements.

Mrs Blake
Director of Sport

Book Review

High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson

The detective duo everyone is dying to meet! Summer in London is hot, the hottest on record, and there’s been a murder in THE TRI: the high-rise home to resident know-it-alls, Nik and Norva. Who better to solve the case?

Armed with curiosity, home-turf knowledge and unlimited time – until the end of the summer holidays anyway. The first whodunnit in a new mystery series by Sharna Jackson.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

Eco Team update

The Eco Team at Northampton High School have been trying to help Senior School Swap Shop to sustainably manage the relatively large supply of old school uniform and PE tops (with the old branding) that have been donated but that we can no longer sell.

We have contacted some local charities and also our school uniform supplier, but so far we have not managed to find an organisation that wants a donation of these clothing items. We are very keen that these items do not end up in landfill and therefore we are contacting you to see if anybody has any ideas of charities or organisations that would be likely to want such items.

If you have any ideas or want more details please contact myself at

Mr Earp
Head of Humanities

Sixth Form Virtual Information Evening - Tuesday 13 October, 7pm via Zoom

Term Dates 20/21

Term Dates 21/22

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