Nothampton High School
High News

High News 19 January 2018

Learning the new shorthand is a barrier to employability

For our fore-mothers, learning shorthand as part of a repertoire of secretarial skills was considered a vital attribute in preparing them for a world of work. Women with such skills had an advantage in many realms of the employment market.

The arrival of digital communications has rendered obsolete the conventional skills of shorthand writing. Why laboriously notate speech when you can record it and convert it into a written document at the touch of an icon? And, this done, endlessly reproduce it and publish it at will.

As with so many aspects of the digital revolution, however, we have replaced the challenges of scarcity with those of superfluity. So, the focus of difficulty has shifted away from the creation of documentation to its storage and security. The quest to locate scarce information, locked away in paper archives, has given way to the search for worthwhile information amid clouds of words free floating in the ether and all competing for our limited attention.

And what if that search becomes not an active process but a passive one – as we feed on the information we are given rather than actively seeking what we need?

Click to read the full blog post.

Dr Stringer, Headmistress

Week Ahead

Events and activities

Monday 22 January – Friday 2 February

U5 Tutorials

Monday 22 January

U5 A Level Taster Lesson
Young Musician of the Year Competition – Heats
South Africa Sports Tour Information Evening

Tuesday 23 January

World Challenge Pupil Briefing

Wednesday 24 January

6.1 Economics Trip to Adam Smith Institute
L5 – 6.2 Theatre Trip to see Wicked

Thursday 25 January

Engineering Society Trip to MTC
Sport Teams Photographs in the Sports Centre
Whole School Production Rehearsal (Weekly Event)
U4 parents’ evening

Friday 26 January

World Challenge cake sale

Sports Fixtures

Wednesday 24 January

Swanbourne House School, Netball (H) U12A U3, U13A L4

Saturday 27 January

Regional Netball Finals, Netball (A) U14A U4, U16A U5

HER Productions – University of Northampton

On Tuesday 16 January the L4 and U4 were treated to a performance by HER Productions on Body Image. This play explored concepts linked to how we see ourselves and how we respond to our inner voice. The L4 followed this up with a workshop designed to further explore body image and the power of positive thought. They came away determined to be as kind to themselves as they are to others.

Miss Hurst, Key Stage 3 Guidance Coordinator

Piano Exam Success

Many congratulations to Gigi Howard (6.1) who has passed her Trinity Grade 7 piano with Merit. This is a great achievement and the examiner’s comments reflected on how musically she performed throughout the whole exam.

Mrs Miller, Music Coordinator

GoCode Academy

During February half term, GoCode Academy are running a coding camp in Northampton High School from 10am to 4pm each day. It is open to 11-18 year olds in the Senior School and 6-11 year olds in the Junior School. They are offering a free taster session on Tuesday 30 January from 3.45 pm to 4.45 pm in Senior School and 3.30pm to 4.30pm in Junior School. To find out more information about the camp, please visit their website

If you would like your daughter to join the taster session please contact indicating her name and year group.

Mrs Heimfield, Teacher of English

EPQ Top Grades

Congratulations to our ‘Magnificent Seven’ EPQ students who are celebrating 100% A* to A success after submitting their essays or artefacts in November 2017. These covered a wide range of topics and interests, including designing and teaching a lesson (The Queen’s Codebreaking Catastrophe: A code breaking workshop for Key Stage 2 pupils), composing a symphony for a string group (Pythagorean Philosophy and how it can be Applied to Music), investigating beyond the syllabus in Physics (The Observer Effect: does observing a system change the measurement obtained; if so why does this happen?) and a topic for an aspiring medic (Are non-surgical cosmetic procedures significantly medically safer than surgical procedures in aesthetic plastic surgery in the United Kingdom?).

The EPQ (Extended Project Qualification, worth half an A Level at A2) is one of the enrichment choices on offer for the girls as they move into the Sixth Form. A response by AQA to university complaints about students’ lack of research skills, it allows candidates to choose a topic they wish to explore which isn’t covered in any of their exam subjects or to take a subject of interest beyond the curriculum. Students develop skills similar to those required to write a dissertation at university where the end product comes out of academic research, but candidates are also credited for their learning journey, not just the end product. Students could also be inspired to create an artefact which can be pretty much anything from making a film to designing and building a hover board, with a 1000 word report instead of a 5000 word essay. The EPQ will develop excellent organisation and time management strategies, academic rigour when researching and using resources, facilitate the acquisition of new skills and resourcefulness in overcoming problems and ultimately teach students how to benefit from evaluating the learning process.

Candidates have the opportunity to learn how to work at university level whilst having support within the school environment and the EPQ is proving a popular qualification with our students, particularly with incentives of reduced grades and even bursaries offered by certain universities if an A is achieved.

Well done! The ‘Magnificent Seven’ will certainly agree that the EPQ requires commitment and passion but is very worthwhile and an opportunity for independent learning at the highest level.

Mrs Cantwell, Director of Sixth Form

Former Pupil's Experience of Volunteering in Nicaragua

Having spent the past three months volunteering on an ICS program in Nicaragua with Raleigh international, I have now returned back to the UK, happy with my rather last-minute decision to take a gap year. I knew I wanted to travel as part of my gap year, however I also wanted to do something worthwhile, which I felt would make a difference to the lives of the people who I was working with. With these criteria in mind, I decided to embark on the 12-week Livelihoods project in Nicaragua. This is a program for 18-25 year olds, with the aim of improving the standard of living in less developed areas of the world by providing training and mentoring to young entrepreneurs, helping them to set up their own business with access to the financing they need. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere and this, combined with my passion for the Spanish language, convinced me that Nicaragua would be the ideal destination for me.

Whilst in Nicaragua, I lived with a host family in the highland community of El Pegador, close to the Northern border with Honduras. The community itself was very basic, with no running water or sanitation system in place. Despite this, it certainly did not feel like we were living in poverty. Although the houses were made from materials such as mud, and they had outdoor latrines instead of toilets, the community did not resemble the typical image we have in mind when we think of poverty. Furthermore, the people in the community were very welcoming, and eager to get involved in our project. This led to great attendances at all our training sessions, and ultimately over 20 people who pitched their business idea at the end of the program. The sessions themselves focused on the structure of business plans, as well as the development of important skills such as leadership, sales, creativity and accounting. The prospect of having to deliver the sessions in Spanish was very daunting to begin with, however I found that it definitely helped me to develop my Spanish skills throughout my time there!

We also put in place a mentoring scheme, which involved us working on a one-to-one basis with the entrepreneurs to help them develop their business plans. This was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the program to begin with, trying to build relationships with people in a different language, however I also found it one of the most rewarding parts of my experience. The bonds that we created not only helped the project, but also enabled me to learn more about the very different way of life in the community, and fully experience their culture.

Working in a multicultural team, with people from the UK, Sweden, Spain, Nicaragua, France and Costa Rica, meant that most of the time we were speaking in Spanish. This really allowed me to improve my Spanish, whilst also having a more authentic experience of the country. From making tortillas with my host mum, to even experiencing a traditional Nicaraguan wedding, there were plenty of opportunities to get involved with the local culture. Although the program was challenging at times, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Nicaragua, and would undoubtedly recommend my experience to others who are considering taking a gap year.

Lauren Cunild, Class of 2017

Charity Quiz Rescheduled

The Senior School Charity Quiz Fundraiser event has been rearranged and will now be held on Friday 9 March 2018. The event will begin at 7.00pm, hosted in the Senior School hall. Tickets will cost £10 per adult and £6 for students.

To enter as a team you will need a maximum of 8 people per table. The entry fee will include pizza and hot dogs during the interval, and a Peroni beer or canned drink of your choice. On the night, there will be a raffle taking place and a licensed bar.

All of the funds raised from the evening will go towards the whole School charity, Plan International UK: Because I am a girl.

Plan International UK is a children’s charity that strives to advance children’s rights and equality for girls all over the world. 58 million girls have been reached through their global ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign and 93,000 children in 50 countries are currently being sponsored through Plan International UK. As a school we are currently sponsoring Monique Boni Dassogui, a 12 year old girl from Benin, West Africa. Our sponsorship has enabled Monique to attend a primary school which takes her less than 30 minutes to reach. As a result of our sponsorship, we have not only benefited the life of Monique, but also the area of PU Nord by investing in projects for the whole community that include:

• Provision of medicines and supplies
• Activities to raise awareness on the health of children below 5 years of age
• Training for adolescents on reproductive health
• Provision of play and arts materials for schools
• Capacity building and support to women’s self-help groups

To place an order for the tickets, please email We look forward to seeing you there.

Bethany Saunders, Head Girl Team

Music Open Week

We would like to invite you to come and attend your daughter’s individual music lesson during the week of February 5-9. This is an opportunity for you to meet with her teacher, sit in on the lesson and discuss her progress. Please ask your daughter to let you know the time of her lesson and report to reception five minutes before the lesson begins, where your daughter will meet you and take you to meet her instrumental teacher.

Mr Nathan, Director of Music

Five Students Offered a Place at Cambridge University

6.2 are currently working hard for their mock exams which will take place after half term. Offers from universities are coming in thick and fast and many girls are now in a position to choose which university to make their firm choice.

We are delighted that 5 students have been made offers to study at the University of Cambridge this year:

Emma – Philosophy at Trinity Hall
Caitlin – Engineering at Newnham
Annabel – Medicine at Newnham
Lara – Linguistics at Gonville and Caius
Ellen – Modern and Medieval Languages at Peterhouse

We wish them and all members of 6.2 every success as they work to achieve the A-level grades they need to take up their place.

Julia Cantwell, Director of Sixth Form

Book Review

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Crow has lived her whole life on a tiny, starkly beautiful island. Her only companions are Osh, the man who rescued her from a washed-up skiff as a baby and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their neighbour across the sandbar. But it is only when a mysterious fire appears across the water that an unspoken question of her own history forms in Crow’s heart, and an unstoppable chain of events is triggered. Crow sets out to find her lost identity – and, ultimately, to learn what it means to be a family.

Miss Buxton, Librarian

Sports News

It was wonderful to start the term with 10 teams playing last Saturday. The result of the day was from the U15 team where both the A and B team won emphatically. Both the U14 and U15 continued with their winning ways this week both beating Wellingborough School on Tuesday evening. We are looking forward to welcoming Akeley Wood in the morning for this week’s fixtures.

Sports Tour — Just a reminder that it is the South Africa Tour Information Evening on Monday night starting at 6pm in the Senior Hall; we would like all tourists to attend with parents, where possible. All staff going on the Tour, as well as representatives from the tour company and the clothing company (with kit samples), will be there, to allow girls to confirm their kit order for the trip.

We drew the first number for the 50/50 draw this morning and the first winner of £52 are the parents of Hannah Smith from L4S. The draw will continue to be done weekly from now for the next 9 weeks and any winners will be notified.

Mrs Hackett, Director of Sport



On 13 January, the U12 A team played King Henry VIII School at netball away. It was a well fought, close match with each team scoring well. In the first quarter the High School started strongly and gained a quick, decisive lead. However, the opposition came back and the score at the end of the quarter was 6-6. The match continued to be close but piling on the pressure King Henry finished the half 9-8 up. Determined to win, the NHS team went out in the second half strongly, defending well as a unit and being more clinical in their attack, we gained the lead and from there never let it go! The final score was 17-14 to NHS. Notable performance from Evie King and Bella Spokes for their shooting and from Charlotte Johns for her round the court play. Well done to all involved.

Miss Fraser said that ‘Player of the Match was Phoebe Haynes for outstanding defending’.


On the 13 January the U12 B team played King Henry VIII. The team played well in their first fixture with good play in the defense from Janice Huang and Laibah Choudary, who turned the ball over well, keeping King Henry’s score low. In attack there was excellent shooting from Anjola Ogunsola and Grace Rivers-Lambert. Well done to all who played! The final score was 12-4 to Northampton.

Player of the match was Janice Huang for excellent defense and marking.

Phoebe Haynes, U3


On Saturday 13 January, the U14A netball team played their first match of this term against King Henry VIII School. It was an exciting game, which we led at the start, winning the first three quarters. However, King Henry fought back hard which made it a very exciting fourth quarter! We held on all the way through, resulting in a score of 22-22. The game was very useful to show what we need to focus on in training.

On Tuesday 16 January, the NHS U14A netball team played an exciting match against Wellingborough School. We won the first quarter and continued to play well, winning all the other quarters convincingly, resulting in an end score of 27-7. In the game we worked on using the whole court and taking more time before we passed, which are areas that had been highlighted in our previous game. Also, in the circle we created space for the other attacker to run into, which we will continue to work on in training.

Miss Fraser said, ‘Well done to Lily King who got player of the match and to the rest of the team who had a great game, resulting in a great win’.

Lily King, U4S


The first match of the season for the U15Bs was a cold one, but despite both the weather and some last minute changes, the team managed to secure a victory with a score of 16-4 against our opposition, King Henry VIII School.

The girls worked well together from the beginning, turning over the ball quickly and using good lead runs to make the most of their passes. There were some fantastic interceptions from King Henry VIII, but our girls quickly regained possession. With quick passing in and out of the circle from a couple of the centre-court players, Chloe Mercer, Hemali Shah and Anna Sigobodhla scored some excellent goals.

Overall, the girls all played really well and are very excited for the rest of the netball season. Well done to everyone, especially Chloe Mercer, who scored 8 out of the 16 goals, and Sophie Coombes who was chosen as Player of the Match by the opposition.

Sophie Cox L5G

Bedfordia Cross Country

Three teams from the High School attended the Bedfordia Cross Country event on Tuesday 16 January.

It was a bitterly cold and blustery day, not the best conditions for cross country, however, the girls did not let this affect their enthusiasm and determination.

Most notable performances:


Ella Darby had an impressive start forging to the front of the pack. She maintained this lead throughout and finished first out of 215 girls.


Strong finishes from Phoebe Haynes 7th and Gemma Watts 14th.


Milly Thompson came 11th.

Well done to all the girls who ran and endured the arctic conditions.

Mrs Littlewood, PE teacher

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