Nothampton High School
Junior News

Junior News – 24 February 2023

As we today welcome our Year 3 and 4 children back from their successful residential trip to Stibbington, I have taken some time to reflect on the benefits of residential experiences.

During our children’s journey through Junior School we offer four opportunities to benefit from a residential visit but what are our reasons for ensuring these feature so prominently in our offer. Formal research aside, you only have to stand in the privileged position of a Headteacher welcoming back a group of children from a residential trip to truly understand the benefits. The tired, happy faces that can be seen through the windows of the coach as they pull up. The marked difference in the children’s confidence and independence as they disembark. The giggles as they happily recall events of the trip. The reunions between the returning children and their parents. All of these rapidly observed moments along with the positive recount from the staff encapsulate the benefits of these residential experiences.

A wealth of evidence suggests that outdoor learning in the form of residential programmes can be a major contributor to good health and mental wellbeing for our children. Children taking part in activities often display improvements in their resilience, self-confidence, and their ability to get on with and relate to peers, which in turn boosts their sense of belonging. Teamwork builds trust, as well as skills such as collaboration and communication – all of which can support attentiveness, concentration, and performance in the classroom.

Studies carried out by Dr John Allan, the head of learning and impact at the award-winning company Inspiring Learning, show that carefully constructed and facilitated outdoor learning can bring lasting benefits to primary children, especially when it comes to preparing them for transition (Slee and Allan, 2019; Allan et al, 2014). Dr Allan’s study into the effectiveness of outdoor activities and residentials – entitled Getting the right fit (Allan et al, 2014) – found such activities promoted self-determination and high levels of autonomy, resulting in feelings of independence and control, as well as motivation. He continued: “Pupils feel proud and content of their accomplishments, become more independent, build confidence and competence, and feel valued as a member of their group.

“Building bounce-back and bounce-forward ability – resilience – applies to primary school children at all key stages of their education,” he added.

Taking in to account the strong evidence research base and the experience I have each time I welcome back a group to school I can say confidently that residential trips have an important place in a child’s development, and we will continue to highly value these at Northampton High as part of our broad and balanced offer.

Miss Hair
Head of Junior School 

Dates for your diary

KS2 Outdoor Learning 

Monday 27 February – Year 5
Monday 6 March – Year 6
Monday 13 March – Year 4
Monday 20 March – Year 3
Monday 27 March – Year 6

Class Assemblies – Please join us from 8.20am for your child’s assembly 

Wednesday 1 March – Year 2
Wednesday 8 March – Year 1
Wednesday 15 March – Year 6
Wednesday 22 March – Year 3

Forest School open sessions for parents/family members to attend

Nursery – 9 March 10-11.30am
Pre-school and Reception – 10 March 1.45-3.15pm
Year 1 – 16 March 1.45-3.15pm
Year 2 – 7 March 10.15-11.45am
Year 3 – 20 March 1.45-3.15pm
Year 4 – 13 March 1.45-3.15pm
Year 5 – 27 Feb 1.45-3.15pm
Year 6 – 6 March 1.45-3.15pm

Other dates to remember

Games Night  – Monday 27 February 3.30-5pm
World Book Day – Thursday 2 March – in pyjamas (bedtime story theme)
Hatching Experience – Monday 6 to 17 March
Mothers Day Afternoon Tea – Friday 17 March
Easter Craft Workshop – Monday 27 March 3.30-5pm

School Blog: How can spending time outdoors affect Children’s Mental Health?

Dr Alex George – TV doctor, Youth Mental Health Ambassador to 10 Downing Street and author of Children’s Book ‘A Better Day’ – explained his Top Five Tips for Good Mental Health and Wellbeing. His number one Top Tip? Get outside!

Whether it’s the rows of small wellies lined up, anticipating a fresh coating of mud or the hustle and bustle of children eagerly pulling on their waterproofs, ready to head down to Forest School, here at the Junior School at Northampton High, our passion for the outdoors is evident!

But why is it so important?

In recent years, we have welcomed more awareness of the importance of mental health, including children’s mental health. Since 2015, February has brought with it Children’s Mental Health Week. This year the theme was ‘Let’s Connect’ as it is known that, when we make meaningful connections with others, we stand a greater chance of holding the tools and resilience to be able to navigate the challenges that can affect our emotional wellbeing.

But did you know that there is increasing evidence to suggest that creating connections with nature can also have a significant positive impact on our mental health? A study conducted by the Government adviser for the natural environment, Natural England, found that ‘people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological well being than those who don’t visit nature at all’.

Sadly for many, modern-day life brings obstacles when it comes to children accessing the outdoors for extended periods. Busy roads, concerns of ‘stranger danger’ and fewer green spaces are just a handful of reasons why many children simply do not have the same opportunities to ‘play out’ as previous generations might have done.

To read the full entry, please click here.

Mrs Cartlidge
Class 6 Teacher

A final chance to donate books for our World Book Day Sale

Do you have lots of pre-loved children’s books, but don’t know what to do with them? We would like them!

We are looking forward to World Book Day, which we will be celebrating in the Junior School on Thursday 2 March 2023, after half term.

Pupils have been invited to come to school dressed in pyjamas (with sensible footwear please!) and engage in a number of activities to support our love of reading. Many thanks to those families who have donated to us some books for our sale next week.

We need books suitable for all ages between 2-11 so if you have not had a chance to donate, please can you have a look through your shelves at home this weekend and see if there is anything that can be added to our donations.

These books can be dropped off in the Junior School Hall (or handed to your class teacher) by next Monday please.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

News from our classrooms: Nursery and Pre School

Our story this week has been ‘Great Fairies of the World’, which shows fairies are more than just sparkles. At the end of the story the girls have been asked what type of fairy they would like to be. Phoebe is adamant she is the Queen, Carex and Aaradya would like to be doctors. Felicity has changed her mind daily from a mechanic, a fire fighter, a scientist and a inventor. We took our story ideas to Forest School and tried building a fairy house.

During half term, some of the girls encountered dinosaurs at museums and restaurants and this has made dinosaur play popular in. A swamp was created and the girls explored this area in a variety of ways.

This week, the girls have been busy getting involved in our pirate and mermaid theme where they have become mermaids and pirates demonstrating fantastic imaginative skills. Boats have been created with a range of resources, the main purpose being will it float or sink? Some girls had the opportunity to put their boat on the pond at Forest School to test this out!

On Tuesday we also learnt about Shrove Tuesday and got to eat some yummy pancakes.

In PE the girls worked as a team to create an obstacle course, with the question being who will walk the plank?

In Maths we have been focusing on visual aids to help develop their counting skills. This was incorporated in play asking the question ‘can you match the amount of fruit to the number written down?’

News from our classrooms: Reception

This week we have started to think about and collect our ideas on ‘Superheroes’. We have also decided that a Superhero helps someone and therefore people who help us are also Superheroes.

This led to discussing who helps us at home and how they help us, some interesting points and great sentences were produced.

In Maths the numbers 9 and 10 are the focus of the activities, with composition, labelling and sorting being some of the tasks.

The class enjoyed making their own cakes this week, weighing, mixing and spooning out the mixture.

Our role play is now an opticians, involving making appointments, eye testing with the letter chart and trying on glasses.

Our observational drawing this week was a bike made mostly from metal.

Year 1 Speaking and Listening Focus

In Year 1 we have been continuing to reinforce the value of orally rehearsing sentences as a precursor to writing. Being able to think of a sentence and say that sentence out loud before writing it down is an important three step process for writing to embed at an early stage.

Often children will forget to say the sentence out loud in their eagerness to record their great idea on to paper.

Slowing this down and adding in the oral rehearsal is really beneficial to the outcome of children’s written work.


This week we focused on taking each of these three steps when writing our wanted posters in our mission to find the green monster who visited our classroom when we were at playtime on Tuesday.

Have you seen the green, furry monster? If you have, please let Miss Hair and Year 1 know. Do not approach the monster as we are yet to find out if he is friendly!

Year 2 Speaking and Listening Focus

Year 2 have been working very hard this year on their listening skills. In PSHE, our Jigsaw Charter states that we take turns to speak and even if we are very excited about our idea we must learn to wait our turn. The girls are becoming more patient but can occasionally still forget in their eagerness to tell everyone their thoughts!

We are also getting ready this week for our next class assembly and will need to speak slowly and clearly to get our words across to the audience. This takes practise for some but is easier for others, and we are learning to encourage our friends who are more nervous speaking in public. We hope you enjoy our assembly next Wednesday.

In many lessons throughout the week the girls are asked to share their views, opinions and suggestions and they are becoming more confident doing this in front of the class. Although, some girls still find it easier to speak in smaller groups. They are all starting to understand that no opinion is wrong even if it is different to everyone else’s and it doesn’t matter if you get an answer wrong, just have a go.

Year 3 Speaking and Listening Focus

In Year 3 we were introduced to our new Science topic of ‘Plants’.

We had a speaking and listening session to look closely at tulips which everybody enjoyed.

We tried to identify the different parts and talk about what we thought each part did and why it was important. Great work everyone!

Year 4 Speaking and Listening Focus

Year 4 have enjoyed writing a job advertisement for a tutor for Cinnamon this week.

The students then read their job advertisements out loud to the class.

They listened to each other and gave feedback to one another on whether it matched the criteria needed.

Year 5 Speaking and Listening Focus

This week, the Year 5 girls have continued reading ‘Beowulf’, the great Anglo Saxon poem rewritten by Michael Morpurgo.

The girls have been writing and delivering heroic speeches and eulogies.

Year 6 Speaking and Listening Focus

As part of our history topic ‘The Changing Role of Women’, Year 6 interviewed a female family member or family friend from an older generation.

We used our speaking and active listening skills to find out all about what life was like for women in recent history.

Back at school, we shared our findings with the class, allowing us the opportunity to present in front of an audience, listen carefully and ask relevant questions.

News from outside of our classrooms: Year 3 and 4 Residential to Stibbington

Years 3 and 4 have been having a wonderful time on their Stibbington residential – it has been a real adventure!

After arriving and enjoying a delicious lunch, the girls went on a treasure hunt round the beautiful village. In 3 groups, using a map, coordinates and clues, the girls explored the village on the hunt for the pirates’ treasure.

For a treat in the evening, we roasted marshmallows outside and played games of ‘What’s the Time Mr. Wolf’ in the dark with their torches.

After an exciting night’s sleep in their rooms, the girls worked together as a team of detectives to solve a crime of who stole the treasure chest. Using their skills of observations, the girls compared handwriting, fingerprints, fibers and hairs; used chromatology to test the ink of the suspects’ pens; looked at the bottom of the suspects shoes and made rubbings, as well as, comparing fingerprints and taking our own. Finally, as groups they decided who they thought had done it and presented their findings to everyone.

Thursday afternoon was spent outside working in teams to complete three fun challenges. Could they save the polar bear cub stuck on the ice? Would they stay dry in the shelter they built? Could they get the golden snitch in the treasure chest?

The final evening activity will be a Beetle drive; I wonder who will be the winner?

Awards for this week

Star Learners of the Week – Amelia C-L, Luna D, Zehra S, Rayna N, Amari A, Rosie B, Cordelia B, Lily C, Amélie C

Swimmer of the Week – Aurelia M

External Achievements:

Marine A – achieved her Drawing and Story Telling badges
Ella K – learnt how to ride a pedal bike
Siéna-Louise – competed at the Milton Keynes Dance and Drama Festival and received the following medals – 1st in Ballet Solo, 1st in Character Duet, 1st in Junior Character Group, 1st in Junior Greek Group, 3rd in Character Trio, 3rd in Character Solo, 3rd in Junior Modern Group, 2nd in Drama Verse
Lily C – awarded Star of the Week in Gymnastics
Cora S – came 8th out of 12 in a ski race
Varnikha K – achieved Gymnast of the Week
Maya R – achieved a Bronze medal for reciting a poem, a Bronze medal for performing an acting monologue and a Gold medal for performing a prepared reading from a book at the Milton Keynes Festival of Performing Arts

Birthdays for this week

This week, we wish a very Happy Birthday to the following members of our Junior School family:

Ellie A and Sri V

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

Junior Bake Off

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

Turning 'can we?' into 'we can!' - Spring Open Mornings at Northampton High

We look forward to welcoming so many lovely families to our upcoming Spring Open Mornings on Friday 3 March and Friday 28 April. The events promise 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

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

Community Sessions

Term Dates

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