Newcastle High School for Girls - News

News from NHSG

Read our latest news stories, or explore our archive - it's a great way to learn in more detail about some of the activities at NHSG. There's always something happening!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Increasing Year 9 intake places due to unprecedented demand”

Increasing Year 9 intake places due to unprecedented demand

February 16, 2024
Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) is holding an extra Open Day and inviting additional applications for entry into Year 9 after taking the decision to expand. In response to unprecedented demand for places at the school, NHSG has decided to expand from a three form entry to a four form entry from September as it gears up to welcome additional pupils. This means that Year 9 will now house four form classes instead of three. Newly appointed Head at Newcastle High School for Girls, Amanda Hardie, said: “We have received unprecedented demand for this year group which has meant we were forced to operate a waiting list based on our school’s policy of no more than 25 pupils in a class. As demand to join NHSG has continued unabated through this year, we have passed the critical point to enable us to make the decision to expand.  This means that from September we will be able to take up to 100 pupils in Year 9, compared to the previous cap of 75.” She added: “Not only does the move mean that we are able to meet current demand but also that we have the capacity to take even more pupils who will benefit from the outstanding education we offer here at NHSG. Year 9 is a critical year, it is the foundation for the GCSE work that starts in Year 10 and being settled into your chosen school early enables this important work to begin in earnest.” In response to the expansion plans, NHSG has planned a Year 9 Open Day on Friday 15th March, where parents and pupils can tour the school, and pupils can experience lessons on site for themselves. Anyone wanting to find out more or to register can click on the link https://newcastlehighschoolgdst.applicaa.com/enquiry_events/30
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Newcastle High School For Girls: Legally Blonde”

Newcastle High School For Girls: Legally Blonde

February 13, 2024

A talented cast of 83 students from Newcastle High Schools for Girls performed the stage version of Legally Blonde to local audiences at the beginning of February.

Newcastle High School For Girls Legally Blonde performance took place between Thursday 1st and Saturday 3rd February at NHSG’s senior school, making full use of the professional stage facilities the school’s performing arts department enjoys.

Two casts were created which attracted audiences of 1300 across the four-show run.

Legally Blonde tells the story of sorority girl turned law student Elle Woods. Jess Grayson  is one of the two NHSG pupils who shared the star role.

Jess said:

“I can honestly say this has been one of the best experiences of my life! As a blonde myself, Elle is such an inspiring character to play. She challenges the stereotypes and shows everyone how intelligent she is while still being true to herself. Even when you leave the stage, a little bit of Elle stays with you.”

Minnie Dobson took up the lead part for the second cast. Now preparing for her A levels, she has taken part in every show since she started at the school seven years ago.

Minnie said:

“I am beginning my process of applying for drama school and taking that step into the world of theatre and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had this experience and to be part of such a strong community and family.

“I will be so incredibly sad to be moving on from this but I believe Legally Blonde and all the fantastic shows that our school put on have not only guided my career aspirations but have also shaped me as a person, and for that I will forever be grateful.”

Anna Dobson, Head of Drama and Legally Blonde Musical Director said:

“Legally Blonde explores the power of determination, friendship and embracing your true self – and our cast took the audience on an unforgettable journey filled with laughter, catchy tunes and some seriously impressive dance moves.

“I want to express my gratitude to the 83 incredibly talented cast members who have embraced their inner Elle Woods. Their dedication, energy, and enthusiasm have truly brought this production to life. Together, they have shown the world that they, like Elle, can do anything they set their minds to.”

Jess added:

“I have developed my stage craft through this experience and learnt so much – including all the little things like where a prop needs to be placed and how to rapidly change costumes in less than a minute!

“I’ve also developed as an actor, singer and performer and I’d love to start a career in acting or musical theatre. There is no better feeling than before you walk on stage right through to your final bow. It’s just magic!”

NHSG, part of the Girls Day Schools Trust, has an outstanding Performing Arts department. It includes Drama, Music, and, in partnership with Gateway Studio, Dance.

The NHSG annual musical showcases the excellent talent within the school. Every year several NHSG pupils take up places at top performing arts schools. Many then go on to achieve further success on the stage. This includes alumna Maya Torres, who started at Leeds Conservatoire in 2021 and won a BAFTA in 2023 for ‘How to be a person’ in the Short Form category.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG Shares Excellent ISI Inspection Report”

NHSG Shares Excellent ISI Inspection Report

February 2, 2024
It’s with pleasure that I share the excellent report from the Independent Schools Inspectorate following their visit last term, and which is linked below. This letter provides some guidance on the structure of the report as well as the main findings, and I recommend that you read this letter first before diving into the report itself. We welcomed inspectors in September to undertake our scheduled inspection, which was one of the first to be completed under ISI’s new inspection framework. The new approach has not only changed the process of inspection but also the wording and language style used in the reports, which are markedly different from ISI inspection reports issued before the summer of 2023. It has taken slightly longer than usual for the report to be finalised because ISI wanted to ensure consistency between the first tranche of reports published within the new framework. We have been unable to share the outcome of the report before now, although we have been bursting to do so since the excellent verbal feedback we received back in September! For NHSG, the ISI inspection provided an opportunity for our staff and pupils to demonstrate the brilliant work that takes place at NHSG every single day and I am therefore delighted that the report encapsulates and articulates so well our school ethos and lived experience. How the new ISI Framework, structure and wording of ISI school inspection reports have changed The structure and wording within ISI reports have changed and schools are no longer given headline judgements such as ‘excellent’; instead they are assessed as to whether they meet the expected ISI standards relating to five key areas. I am delighted to report that NHSG has, in formal terms, met the standards required in every one of these areas. But the report makes it clear that the school didn’t just meet the standards; they exceeded them by a considerable margin. Report findings in detail Within the attached report you will find a summary of the main findings followed by more in-depth findings relating to the five areas within the inspection framework. The very nature of the new-style report for all schools means that the written report is not as effusive as the outstanding verbal feedback we received from the inspection team back in September, and the language and style differ considerably from the old-style reports. Within these editorial constraints, however, I could not be more pleased with the outcome. Summary of inspection findings It is clear from the verbal feedback we received and the written summary in the report, that the ISI inspectors clearly recognised the NHSG culture of high expectation and performance.  Inspectors found that NHSG has a ‘strong learning culture’, and that our teachers ‘prioritise extremely positive relationships’ with our pupils. The summary also highlights the culture of pupil ‘collaboration and co-operation that exists across all age groups’. I am thrilled that ISI praise our ed tech approach, saying that it is ‘highly effective and contributes to the progress made by pupils’ across the whole school. Additionally, it’s very important for pupils that we create a seamless transition into EYFS, Year 7, Year 12 and further education and it is therefore pleasing that the ISI report notes that NHSG ‘pupils are well prepared to progress from each stage of their education’. The report covers wider aspects of an NHSG education in the summary and states that ‘pastoral leaders actively promote pupil well-being .... developing a caring and nurturing environment’.  Also included in the main findings section is that pupils of all ages ‘are tolerant, caring and sensitive towards those from different backgrounds and traditions’, that pupils ‘speak highly of the value of pupil voice’ and are ‘keen to help others and make a positive difference’.  These themes of learning culture, engaging teaching, transition, wellbeing, inclusion, pupil, voice and the wider community feature strongly through the detailed sections as you will be able to read for yourself.  Here are some of my highlights: Section 1 Leadership and management, and governance It’s a wonderful endorsement for our school, and all our staff, to read that the school’s culture and ethos is strongly promoted and most importantly that we inspire the pupils to have high aspirations and embrace challenge. This is further endorsed in the point that at NHSG the ‘atmosphere is both calm and relaxed, whilst fostering a purposeful approach to learning. This is reflected in the pupils’ enthusiasm for their lessons and their healthy ambition to perform well’. Section 2 Quality of education, training and recreation In this section, inspectors report that NHSG pupils make good progress across all areas of learning and that most teaching excites and challenges pupils.  I was also delighted to read that due to the clear and structured lessons, our pupils are ‘confident in asking questions and contribute to class discussion, are self-motivated and respond with enthusiasm to the opportunities to improve their understanding’. The imaginative use of ICT in lessons at NHSG contributes further to our pupils’ ‘highly positive approach to their work’. I’m so proud that inspectors were able to observe that NHSG pupils ‘relish the opportunities’ made available through our co-curriculum.  I certainly see examples of this every single day in school! Section 3 Pupils’ physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing NHSG is a school that provides exceptional pastoral care, where every member of the community is valued as an individual and is encouraged to be the best version of herself. As educators of girls, we understand that confidence is a key factor in empowering them to achieve their dreams, and therefore it’s a real pleasure to read that inspectors found pupils at all ages to have high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.  In the verbal feedback, inspectors added that this was not combined with any sense of arrogance or conceit. It was also wonderful to see recognition of our embedded focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, where our pupils are individually ‘seen and celebrated’. It’s critical within any school environment that standards of behaviour promote a positive learning environment, so it was heartwarming to read in the report that at NHSG ‘pupils are kind to each other, do not tolerate poor behaviour and are confident to call out unacceptable behaviour’.  It reports here and in section 4 that our staff deal well with issues brought to their attention and that good behaviour was noted in all areas of school. I’m proud that inspectors recognised our community of kindness and the supportive relationships that exist across school. Section 4 Pupils’ social and economic education and contribution to society I am passionate about ensuring that NHSG girls know that nothing is off limits for them in terms of their future career choices and that they will go on to make a positive difference to our future society. This was reflected in this section, where there is praise for our respectful and inclusive culture, pupil voice and the way in which the girls are encouraged to contribute positively to the lives of others in school and more widely in the local community and wider society. There is also a focus on the quality of our careers guidance programme, as well as our school’s approach to challenging the girls to think about their future role in society. Safeguarding Safeguarding and pupil welfare are at the heart of everything we do and the ISI report comments on the strength of the safeguarding procedures we have in school and also states that ‘our dedicated and well- trained pastoral team have established a caring and nurturing environment within the school’. To receive an ISI inspection report of this calibre, within the rigorous new ISI framework, in my view is outstanding.  I would like to congratulate our staff, girls, and the wider school community, for everyone has contributed to this outcome. Rest assured that we are far from complacent and will continue to drive progress, through a culture of continuous improvement and reflection, so that our school is blazing a trail in its own right as a beacon of excellence and supporting your daughter to be the very best version of herself. Yours sincerely Mrs A Hardie Head Click here to read ISI School Inspection Report 2023     
Newcastle High School For Girls - “New Head announced at Newcastle High School for Girls”

New Head announced at Newcastle High School for Girls

January 29, 2024
Newcastle High School for Girls is delighted to announce that Mrs Amanda Hardie has been appointed by the Trustees of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) as the new Head of Newcastle High School for Girls. One of 25 schools in the GDST, Newcastle High School for Girls is an independent all-through day school (age 3 – 18) located in Jesmond and Sandyford in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne. Mrs Hardie has been at Newcastle High School for Girls since its formation in 2014, and prior to that at Church High School since 1997. She has been a long-standing member of the Senior Leadership Team, most recently in the combined role of Head of Junior School and Senior School Deputy Head Academic. Amanda Hardie has been Acting Head of NHSG since September 2023 and following a rigorous recruitment process has been appointed as Head with immediate effect where she will continue to champion girls’ education within the independent school sector. Speaking about her appointment, Amanda said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new Head of Newcastle High School for Girls. Newcastle High is a wonderful community where every pupil is celebrated as an individual and enabled to be the best version of herself, every teacher a guiding force, and every challenge an opportunity to learn and grow. It is a privilege to lead this incredible independent girls' school and I look forward to continuing to work with the amazing pupils, staff, parents and alumnae as we secure the future of Newcastle High as a beacon for excellence in girls’ education in the region and beyond.”
Newcastle High School For Girls - “December 2023 Sustainability Update”

December 2023 Sustainability Update

December 19, 2023
As part of our commitment to environmental awareness and responsibility we have implemented a number of initiatives this year that we would like to bring to your attention. In particular, the completion of the EduCate Bronze Award and Queen’s Canopy Award have provided valuable external recognition of our commitment to integrating climate change and biodiversity threat education into our core values. Members of our staff sustainability team have completed comprehensive UN-accredited training and this has been cascaded to the whole staff team via a number of internal training sessions. One significant step this year, as part of our drive to improve our waste management processes, has been the installation of a large scale wormery at Junior School that is intended to enable us to process a large proportion of our food waste without it ever leaving our site. The addition of our Worms at Work has sparked much excitement amongst staff and pupils but also draws attention to the issue of food waste and valuable lessons on responsible consumption. Pupils actively participate in the process by depositing food waste into designated “worm-food” bins. In time, we intend to utilise the nutrient-rich compost produced by the worms for landscaping and horticulture across all of our school sites, creating a tangible connection between environmental consciousness and daily practices in our school. Our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint extends to various initiatives, most notably, over this summer break, including the replacement of all of our lighting, throughout school with LED alternatives. We have also encouraged pupil participation in a number carbon buster challenges, introduced recycled paper for printing and encouraged the use of online exercise books to reduce paper usage. In addition, we have made further progress in sustainable travel, with increased uptake on the school transport system and plans for new routes in the upcoming year (see separate article). This concern, highlighted by Senior School pupils in a recent pupil forum cycle on sustainability, will be a focal point for the next 'Touch of Green Week' in May 2024. We promote sustainable living through annual events like the 'Touch of Green week,' focusing on various aspects of eco-friendly living and engage in external initiatives, including contribution to a Government white paper on independent schools' journey to Net Zero and Sustainability; raising funds for the charity 'Just One Tree', resulting in the planting of over 600 trees globally; and the introduction of accredited carbon offsetting contributions to all of our school trips. In 2024, we have further ambitious projects on the horizon, including aiming to become a plastic-free school, attaining Green Flag school status, collaborating with the Woodland Trust, and partnering with 'Energy Sparks' to significantly reduce our energy consumption. We are busy integrating sustainability into co-curricular activities too, particularly during the first week of December, where various clubs have been highlighting developments at COP 28. Finally, we are exploring new avenues to protect and enhance biodiversity on all four school sites. This has commenced with vital pond maintenance carried out by our keen eco team on a very cold and snowy Saturday this December, with the intention to improve the wildlife habitat value of our school pond. To support increasingly threatened urban bird species, such swifts, sparrows, and starlings, we intend, in the Spring Term, to initiate a pupil-led fundraising campaign to support the introduction of a greater diversity of native planting to improve wildlife habitats and installing bird and bat boxes across all of our school sites. Engaging the school community and external supporters in this initiative is intended not only to enrich the biodiversity of our school sites but also to help illustrate to pupils the collective impact that community engagement can have on preserving and promoting the natural world. We would be very pleased to hear from any parents who would be interested in supporting this initiative. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting venture as NHSG continues to strive towards creating more welcoming and nurturing environments for diverse forms of animal life.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG Transport Services”

NHSG Transport Services

December 15, 2023
At the beginning of the Autumn Term 2023/2024, we were very pleased to be able to introduce a new daily chaperoned bus service from Morpeth, adding to the six daily chaperoned bus routes we offered already. We understand the importance of providing reliable transportation options and the extension of our transport offer is part of our ongoing commitment to providing convenient and safe transportation options for our pupils from around the North East. Following the success of the new Morpeth route and increased uptake across all of our services, this year, we are actively exploring the potential introduction of three more routes from Wearside, Derwent Valley, and along the South Bank of the Tyne Valley. These additions would not only provide additional options for existing families but would also open doors for new families to join our school community. Here's why these expansions matter: 1. Accessibility: By broadening our transportation network, we are making it easier for pupils from diverse areas to access our exceptional educational environment. 2. Community Connection: Extending our transport network fosters stronger connections within our community, allowing families from across the North East to join the NHSG community. 3. Flexibility for Parents: The additional routes provide parents with more options, accommodating various schedules and commitments while ensuring that your daughters can attend school reliably. 4. Environmental Impact: Consolidating transportation services helps minimise our environmental footprint, aligning with our commitments to sustainability and responsible citizenship. If you have any feedback on our proposals please get in touch with our school Transport Coordinator, Tom Dryden at t.dryden@ncl.gdst.net
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Success at the F1 in Schools Competition as NHSG are crowned Regional Champions”

Success at the F1 in Schools Competition as NHSG are crowned Regional Champions

December 11, 2023
On 28th November, two teams of our Year 9 pupils went to Newcastle University to compete in the 'F1 in Schools' competition. We are very pleased to announce that Team Dynamix won 1st Place and are the Regional Champions! They also won the Best Engineered Car award and the Fastest Car award. Team Trex won the Future Stars award and the Research and Development award. The pupils put a tremendous amount of work and effort into designing and marketing their racing cars. Their success is hugely deserved. Well done girls.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Empowering Girls to be Trailblazers at NHSG. Why an All Girl Education Matters.”

Empowering Girls to be Trailblazers at NHSG. Why an All Girl Education Matters.

November 24, 2023
By Amanda Hardie, Acting Head, Newcastle High School for Girls This month we were delighted to host GDST’s Director of Innovation and Learning, Dr Kevin Stannard who, as the author of multiple research reports, presented and spoke passionately to parents about the positive, life-changing consequences of an all-girl education and particularly an all-girl education in a GDST school such as Newcastle High School for Girls. Naturally, this is something we consistently bang the drum for at NHSG, as we know that being in an all-girl learning environment nurtures confidence, happiness and success. What Kevin was able to relay in his presentation was the indisputable evidence with regards to this and I wanted to use this blog to both reflect on and to reiterate some of his most powerful messages. First of all, I think it’s important to remind ourselves about the history of the GDST.  In 1872 four radical women, fighting for the right of girls to have an education, not only set up a group of girls’ schools, including ours, they transformed the educational landscape for girls in an era when it was virtually unheard of for any girls to have a formal education after the age of 11, let alone go to university. Fast forward 150 years and much has changed. Kevin therefore posed the question, “Is there still a place and a role for girls only education in the 21st Century?” Echoing Kevin’s answer to his own question, I passionately believe that not only is there a place for girls only education, but it’s only in schools like ours that we can truly tackle issues relating to gender equality and drive societal change. The simple and sad fact is that gender inequality still exists in the UK in all walks of life - in society, careers, leadership and pay.  We read about inequality in our national media almost every day. At NHSG, and in all GDST Schools, we remain as focused on bringing about equal opportunities for girls as our founders were in the 1870s, and what’s more, Kevin shared clear evidence of the significant impact an education at a GDST school is having on girls and young women today. We CAN and DO make a difference. The astonishing findings from the GDST’s Futures Report 2022 evidences pervasive inequality. Focusing on just some aspects of the overall report, which surveyed 1358 nationally representative children from across the country, Kevin explained that the survey found significant gender differences in confidence. In fact, boys scored much more highly than girls in every single statement made about how they feel about the future. For example, feeling optimistic about getting their desired job, or generally being positive about the future. The vast majority of girls in this survey attended coeducational schools, and the findings reflect the wider societal landscape and the gender gap we know exists. What was fascinating, however, is that when 3000 GDST girls from across the country, including from the two academies within the GDST family, were asked the same questions, the survey showed GDST girls to be…
  • more confident, more self-assured, more politically aware, more empowered, better able to pursue their ambitions, and feel unhindered by their gender.
  • more comfortable taking risks.
  • more willing to embrace flexible careers...
when compared to girls at other schools. Indeed, GDST girls’ scores were much more closely aligned to the boys, and in some cases scores were better than the boys. Kevin then went on to share further findings from the report, with equally concerning results for boys as well as girls, flagging the inequalities that exist at both Primary and Sixth Form stage. When faced with the statement “I avoid some activities, subjects and hobbies because of my gender”, at the tender age of 9, 37% of girls and 31% of boys agreed with this statement. I find that heart-breaking. Its telling that only 6% of GDST girls agreed with this statement. The significance of the GDST scores cannot be underestimated. Is there a place for girls only schools in the 21st century? Too right there is! Does an all-girl education support gender equality? Without a doubt. As Kevin explained in his presentation, when touching on the reasons for the GDST difference, GDST schools are girls’ schools by design. I couldn’t agree more. NHSG is an all-girl school by design. Everything we do is focused on ensuring our girls have every opportunity for future success by building their confidence, encouraging them to take risks, providing them with the space to develop and learn, preventing them from being drowned out in the classroom, and ensuring they know that nothing is off limits in terms of their future career choices. This is how we deliver on our vision to empower girls to be the next generation of leaders and trailblazers and to understand they have an equal and important role in shaping our world for a better  future. Girls need to know that they have a fair and equal chance, they deserve to be in leadership positions, to be paid as much as their male counterparts and to have their voices heard. Once they understand their own potential, and truly believe in it, there’s really no stopping them from being the girl they want to be. And our world will be a better place as a result. Click here to read the GDST Futures Report 2022 in full.