Newcastle High School for Girls - News

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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 - “A passion for STEM starts early at NHSG”

A passion for STEM starts early at NHSG

November 28, 2022
An All-Girl Education at NHSG means that every girl can follow their dreams and be who they want to be without the limitations of gender. That’s why we engender a deep love of learning and for Science from the moment a girl joins NHSG. And it’s been a busy start to the academic year for girls in Junior School........ Our expert EYFS team have been implementing their playful maths curriculum in Nursery and Reception this term and they talk about the mathematical milkshake in this excellent podcast. One example of this in action this term is in Reception where the girls have been exploring the composition of the number 5 inspired by ‘five friends counting’.  Girls counted their own stories about five friends to explore the different numbers and then made a digital class book. In other STEM lessons designed to inspire, Reception received a letter from the gingerbread man asking for their help to cross the river. They set to work to help, and decided a boat would be the best solution.  They designed and created their own boats and then baked their gingerbread men to test the boats! Year 1 are already honing their engineering skills in a number of ways and most recently they’ve been responding to a design brief. Working in teams they have been designing wheels and axels with great success. It’s so important that girls learn to take risks in their learning, understanding that they don’t have to get the answer right first time, and that the journey of trial and error supports their understanding.  The chalk pens we have in school allow the girls to write their answers in a way that can easily be changed and therefore encouraging them to take a risk. Year 2 have therefore had a great time investigating numbers in Mathematics. The chalk pens have been a huge hit and are a super way of facilitating collaboration, risk-taking and enjoyment in Maths! Year 3 have embarked on our Design and Technology journey by exploring the features of castles.  The girls have looked at different castles and analysed what is similar and different about them as well as whether they are stable structures. They’ll be applying their knowledge to build their own castle structure and we can’t wait to see the results. As well as focusing on the investigation of the properties of solids and liquids in Science, Year 4 have also been busy with their own Design and Technology project on pavilions. They’ve made a range of structures to inform their decision making for their pavilion project providing an excellent foundation for the next stage of the project – the build! No Bridge too far for Year 5 means they’ve also been developing their engineering skills in our Thursday after-school co-curricular club, Bright Sparks. As part of the club’s Science focus they have designed a bridge strong enough to hold bright gems. Turning to Science lessons, Year 5 have also been busy learning about the circulatory system.  They’ve been calculating how long it takes for blood to travel from the heart to the site of the injury in an artery and how long it takes or the blood to return to the vein. Year 6 have had an excellent Autumn term exploring STEM opportunities in lessons and beyond.  They’ve even been looking at future career opportunities at October’s Bring it On event and were very inspired after learning first-hand about Engineering opportunities available here in the North East. Innovative teaching and learning continues to excite them and they have recently explored shapes, space and symmetry and how important accuracy is in maths. Working in teams they put their learning into practice by creating wonderful small and large snowflakes. This is just a snapshot of some of the STEM learning experiences and opportunities here at NHSG.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG girls are redefining the meaning of leadership”

NHSG girls are redefining the meaning of leadership

November 16, 2022
NHSG Blog: Michael Tippett, Head. At NHSG we empower girls to be leaders, trailblazers and world shapers – so it’s only right that we listen to their views on what true leadership really means. Long gone are the days when leadership was measured simply by salary and organisational hierarchy. In fact, a major new survey from the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), of which NHSG is a member, demonstrates that girls see leadership as being able to make a difference to the world and being happy – with one Sixth Form respondent saying ‘there’s no point in calling yourself successful if you can reach the top level in your job, but you just aren’t happy.’ In fact, almost a decade ago in 2014, a Forbes article ran with the headline ‘millennials work for purpose, not pay check’ – and that seems to be a trend that Generation Z are continuing to embody. Two thirds of respondents to GDST’s survey said they wanted a career that would enable them to make a difference to society. Of course salary is important – particularly in today’s cost of living crisis - and 75% of respondents acknowledged that they wanted a job that ‘pays well’ too. But passion alone is not enough for success, and girls need to feel confident enough to pursue the careers that will give them the best opportunity to effect change and therefore garner the professional satisfaction they crave. In fact, GDST survey respondents were more likely to feel confident in maintaining and defending their own beliefs during challenging discussions – so there’s no wonder we saw so much positivity in our Sixth Form cohort this summer as they headed off to study at their chosen universities, with students such as Emma acknowledging her school debating experience and passion for feminism in her decision to study politics at Edinburgh. Surveying girls who attend a range of schools nationally, as well as pupils in GDST schools, the research found that those who attend a GDST member school are more likely to want to work in a leadership position (53% compared to 42% nationally), more likely to want to be their own boss (37% compared to 33% nationally) and more likely to feel comfortable and interested in taking risks (66% compared to 52% nationally). This is testament to the impact of an all-girl education, specifically its empowerment of girls to learn without limits and be whoever they want to be – something we have long championed at NHSG. “Attending an all girl school encourages girls to be confident and take up leadership roles without questioning themselves.” Sanya, Year 9, NHSG True leadership is not about fitting into the constructs that society has created – but about challenging those constructs. Debating the norm, breaking down barriers and re-shaping our response to the world. That’s where we believe NHSG girls are going to make a real difference – because they’ve never had to deal with gender stereotyping within the school environment, and as such have had the freedom to always be themselves - so they leave us with palpable self-belief. They are not merely aspiring to do well in a male dominated world, they aspire to approach society’s problems in their own way and with their own brand of leadership. “I wouldn’t have taken STEM subjects for A Level in a mixed school as I would have been in the minority.” Elizabeth, Year 13, NHSG We are still fighting for gender equality in the wider world, and our emerging female leaders will not only tip the scales in its favour, they will also be the shining light for those whose confidence has been stifled due to stereotypes and inequality. As the only GDST member school in the North East, we’re proud of these new survey results that demonstrate the impressive confidence and self-belief our pupils clearly have.  
Newcastle High School For Girls - “The Three Peaks Challenge gets underway at NHSG”

The Three Peaks Challenge gets underway at NHSG

November 14, 2022
Year 12 pupils at NHSG have decided to make their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award a little more adventurous this year, and so have set a challenge to raise money for Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), our school charity this year. The NHSG Gold expeditions are always based in the mountainous areas of the Lake District and the High Pennines with girls historically summiting Helvellyn and Skiddaw for the qualifying expedition. Taking it that next step further this year, the Gold practice and qualifying expeditions will form part of the ‘Three Peaks challenge’ i.e. climbing Scafell Pike, Snowdon, and Ben Nevis (the three highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland) over the whole year.. Th first of the three peaks is already in the bag after the team successfully climbed Scafell Pike (978m, a 7 mile walk), on Saturday 12th November. The girls intend to travel to Wales and incorporate the Snowdon peak for the Gold Practice in April 2023 and to Scotland and summit Ben Nevis as part of Gold Qualifying in June 2023. We are any grateful for any donations supporting these girls on their expeditions and supporting this wonderful charity. If you would like to, please donate here:
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Getting ready for Reception – Top tips”

Getting ready for Reception – Top tips

October 31, 2022
Kate Gingles is an expert in the education of young children. She has worked in Early Years education for over 19 years, and after working as an Early Years Advisor in County Durham, joined the NHSG Junior School leadership team in September 2021 as EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Phase Leader. She has shared her top ‘getting ready for Reception’ tips with us. It’s an exciting time knowing that your child is soon to start school. However, as an early years teacher for 19 years and as a parent of two young children myself, I know that excitement can also be coupled with a touch of worry… are they ready? Can they do enough? Have I done enough? Am I ready?! The reality is, your children are going to surprise and delight you over the next year. All the wonderful things that they have already done in their Nursery setting and all the experiences that you have given them at home in their first four or five years have will pave the way for a great start to Reception, and a lifetime of educational success. These pre-school months couldn’t be more important and I hope you enjoy reading my top tips for a great start to Reception class.
  1. Prepare
Talk to your child about starting school. Once you have made your school choice, show them where the school is. Not once but lots of times! Try to walk past at different times of the day so you can see other children arriving at school or out on the yard. Practise the journey, choose, label and try on the uniform together. Read picture books and watch CBeebies shows about starting school so they can imagine what it might be like. At Newcastle School for Girls we invite new girls for a taster session before they start Reception. If your chosen school offers this opportunity, make sure you take advantage of it. Remember, you know what school is all about, but they don’t yet, and they might have all kinds of weird and wonderful misconceptions. The more familiar your child is with their new school, the more relaxed they will be.
  1. Be excited
Even if you have mixed feelings about this new stage, make it exciting and positive for your child. Your child will mirror your emotions on that first day of school and you want them to feel good. Of course, it’s natural for you to miss them and for them to miss you, so talk about this. Reassure them that you will be back to collect them at the end of the day and remind them how much fun they are going to have. Even if your child has been at Nursery or pre-school for a long time, school can feel very different, so don’t be alarmed if they find the initial transition difficult. They are leaving not only you, but also the setting where they have been so comfortable all this time, so it is a big change. I promise you, even if that first moment of separation at the classroom door is difficult, the vast majority of children are absolutely fine within minutes of being in the classroom. Reception staff know exactly what to do to help children feel relaxed and settled, so trust them and your child will do the same.”
  1. Stand back
Being a parent is hard work. There is never enough time in the day and you will probably find yourself doing things for your child just to speed things along a bit. However, if you can stand back and let your child put on their own coat or shoes, wash their hands, open their snack or tidy their own toys away (with some guidance and instruction of course!) it will really help them to develop their confidence and independence. Your child’s teacher will be seeking to grow and develop these skills in the Reception year, so give them a head start and let them feel like a confident and competent learner from the outset. In addition, encourage them to ask for help if they need it. Let your child know that they should tell the teacher if they are not sure about something, if they need to go to the toilet or if they don’t feel well. Try to find opportunities for them to speak clearly to other adults so that they get used to doing this.
  1. Play
The Reception year is the final year of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which, if your child has been in any kind of pre-school setting they are already part of. A key feature of this is learning through play, and the teachers and teaching assistants in the Reception class will be highly skilled in providing play-based learning opportunities for your child. Don’t feel that you need to sit your child down and work through written workbooks, or practise letter formation before they join Reception. These skills will come in time. Instead, focus on skills such as taking turns, explaining ideas and making decisions as these will all be essential in the classroom environment. As Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research”.  Play develops social skills, problem   solving and thinking skills and important characteristics such as resilience and flexibility. Allow your child the opportunity to play, explore and develop their own ideas and interests so that they are confident to express themselves freely in the classroom and get the most from the activities on offer.”
  1. Read
I don’t mean teach them to read, that’s the Reception teacher’s job and believe me, she or he will do it with great skill and enthusiasm from day one of the Reception year! Read them stories, every day and every night. Just one bedtime story a day equates to nearly 1500 stories by the time your child is four years old! As well as all those opportunities to develop listening and concentration, just think of all the words, sentence structures and ideas that they will have come across. It really is the greatest gift you can give them. At Newcastle School for Girls we don’t expect our new starters to know all (or any) of their letter sounds before they join us as we will be teaching these through our own systematic phonics scheme from the first week of Reception in September. However, many girls do have some prior knowledge of these, particularly the letters in their name. Knowing just the shape of the first letter of their name can be very useful when they need to find their peg, bag or book in the classroom! Alongside reading, playing games such as I spy or singing songs and rhymes together are highly beneficial as these activities develop vital phonological awareness skills that underpin learning to read.
  1. Subitise
In our Reception classes at Newcastle High School for Girls we find that pupils join us with some excellent maths skills, particularly in relation to numeral recognition and reciting the counting sequence to ten, twenty and often beyond! This is wonderful and gives the girls confidence in maths lessons. However early maths is about so much more than this! Subitising is the skill whereby children recognise small quantities of objects without counting them (in the way we recognise dot patterns on a dice instantly) and it is strongly linked with success in maths. Practise this skill with your child by playing dice games and dominoes and most importantly encourage them to notice groups of objects when you are out and about. For example, you might spot a group of two conkers within a larger collection, three parts to a clover leaf or one person walking two dogs. Extend this learning by grouping and sharing real life objects. Children will demonstrate a lot of natural ability in maths when they arrange buttons on a playdough cake or share out four biscuits between themselves or a friend for example.
  1. Communicate
Take every opportunity to tell your child’s teacher about your child. If there are things you are worried or concerned about speak up and if you’re not sure about something, ask! Your child’s teacher will want to get to know them, and you, as well as possible so help them to do that. At Newcastle School for Girls we use an online learning journal called Tapestry and it’s wonderful when parents post photographs and comments about things that the girls have been doing at home, as this helps us to understand the world from their point of view. If your chosen school has one of these systems, make full use of it!  A key principle of the EYFS is that every child is unique, help your child’s school to understand what makes them special. A key principle of the EYFS is that every child is unique, help your child’s school to understand what makes them special. Download our brochure here.  
Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG Girls Taking a Lead with the GDST”

NHSG Girls Taking a Lead with the GDST

October 20, 2022

Endorsed by the London School of Economics (LSE), the GDST LEAD diploma is designed to develop the skills you need to be a future leader and entrepreneur and ideal opportunity for NHSG Sixth Form pupils whose school vision is to empower leaders, trailblazers and world shapers!

To get the project off to a great start, NHSG pupils took part in the GDST Lead Bootcamp held at the LSE in October.  Here they heard from the founder of Girls Talk London, Vanessa Sanyauke. 

Talking about the event NHSG pupils said:  “we found the talk by Vanessa Sanayauke to be not only inspirational but empowering to all young females to follow their dreams and enter the world of male dominated industries. We heard from other young entrepreneurs from LSE and learnt about their experiences in setting up and running their business. They shared with us their dreams and failures and how it is important to adopt a "can do" attitude and not fall at GDST LEAD Bootcamp the first hurdle.”

An inspiring message in both aiming high and being resilient.

As part of the girls’ LEAD journey, NHSG pupils will be working closely with a LSE mentor, who they have been able to meet in person, learning about her business and career path, as well sharing their initial business ideas with her.

We are sure we’ll be hearing more from these young leaders as they progress through the GDST LEAD programme.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “By Land, Sea and Air for Senior School STEM Club”

By Land, Sea and Air for Senior School STEM Club

October 14, 2022
With no challenge too big for the NHSG pupils, girls who attend the NHSG’s weekly STEM Club had their creative engineering skills put to the test as they explored means of travel by land, sea and air (and space). The first engineering challenge was to design the best paper boat, next up was to create rockets and launch them to see whose travelled furthest. Then the girls designed and made their own cars and raced them to determine whose compressed air-powered car could cover the greatest distance. The winner was Martha, whose car travelled the furthest along the science corridor – which is quite someway considering we have a lot of Science Labs! What goes up, must come down (or so the saying goes), so the girls also designed and made their own parachutes. Each parachute gently cradled a mini-muffin and was launched from the balcony and down into the School’s Main Hall. The girls did a great job of ensuring that the mini-muffins fell gracefully to the floor with the help of their excellently engineered parachutes! Challenging, memorable and great fun – all the ingredients for excellent learning and developing a love for all things STEM. STEM Club at Senior School is held every Tuesday at 12.30 p.m. and is open to all Senior School girls.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Looking at the tiny details in Year 12”

Looking at the tiny details in Year 12

October 5, 2022

Essential for human life and delivering nutrients and oxygen to our bodies, we all know what this red liquid is and why it’s important.  But have you ever looked at your own life source close up?

That’s exactly the challenge given to Year 12 Biologists as part of their A Level studies when they have been learning about microscopes.

With many potential medics and future scientists in Year 12 at NHSG, we encouraged them to take a sample of their own blood and look at it under the light microscope and thus providing an opportunity to hone their microscope use techniques in the most personal of ways!

Our brave and curious pupils took up this challenge and were rewarded with incredible images of their own blood. They easily identified red blood cells, white blood cells and even saw platelets.

A most memorable lesson for all.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Our admissions team answer your questions on scholarships, bursaries and exhibitions”

Our admissions team answer your questions on scholarships, bursaries and exhibitions

September 28, 2022
With a wide ranging awards programme on offer, the excellent admissions team at Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) answer your questions on scholarships, bursaries and exhibitions. Why do you offer an Awards Programme at NHSG? At NHSG, our aim is to empower girls to be leaders, trailblazers and world shapers. With this in mind, our awards programme provides transformative opportunities for pupils to join a school where they can develop the confidence to find their own voice and grow into the person they want to be. What awards do you offer at NHSG? We offer scholar and bursary awards for girls joining NHSG in Year 7 and Year 12 in September 2023.  You can also apply for Year 7 exhibition awards for Dance, Drama, Music and Sport. How many awards are given? There is always a high level of applications for our awards and the number of awards given each year varies - it depends on pupil performance and the funds available in a given year. What’s the difference between a scholar award and a bursary? At NHSG, a scholar award is an academic award based on a girl’s performance in either our Entrance Examinations (Year 7) or Scholar Award application process (Year 12). A bursary is a means tested award, so, in addition to performing at a high standard in our entrance processes, a family’s household income must meet our bursary eligibility criteria. How can I apply for a scholar award or a bursary? There’s a lot more detail about the NHSG Awards Programme on our school website but the next step is to make an online application for your daughter to join NHSG and respond to the questions included about the awards offered. It’s worth noting that at Year 7 all applicants will be considered for a scholar award when they sit our entrance examinations in January 2023. After making your application to NHSG, we’ll guide you carefully through the next steps in the awards process.  The deadline for all award applications is Friday 16th December 2022. What difference can a scholar award or bursary make to school fees? As well as the prestige that comes with achieving a scholar award or bursary at NHSG, the awards also include a remission of school fees. Our scholar awards can be for up to 30% per year, and, we also offer a head’s scholar award for the highest performing pupil in our entrance/scholar award examinations for up to 50% per year. A bursary award amount is dependent on household income and can be for up to 100% of the school fees. I am interested in an Exhibition Award, can you please tell me more? At NHSG an exhibition award is an option for girls applying to join Year 7 who can demonstrate achievement, skills and passion in either Dance, Drama, Music or Sport.  Again parents can use the NHSG application form to express an interest in applying for an exhibition award which, if awarded, can be for up to a £1000 remission of fees per year. We’ve seen a reference to Reece Sixth Form Awards on your website. What are these? In partnership with The Reece Foundation we are able to offer the brightest and most able potential engineers, who are currently in Year 11 at a maintained school, the opportunity to join NHSG.  The Reece Awards are means tested and can be for a remission of up to 100% of school fees. The NHSG Admissions Team is here to help you with all your questions. Please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you: 0191 2016511