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Newcastle High School For Girls - “Double success for Newcastle High School for Girls in The Independent Schools of the Year Awards”

Double success for Newcastle High School for Girls in The Independent Schools of the Year Awards

July 4, 2024
Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) has been shortlisted for two awards in the prestigious Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2024, coming hot on the heels of the school being shortlisted for the TES Independent Senior School of the Year Award. The Awards, which are organised by the Independent School Parent magazine, are designed to showcase our school’s success stories and celebrate the extraordinary and compelling student experience they provide. NHSG has been shortlisted for the coveted Independent Prep School of the Year Award and the Marketing Award for Brand Communication. Speaking about the Independent Prep School of the Year Award, Emma Barnett, Head of Junior School, said: ”I’m absolutely thrilled that our Junior School has been shortlisted for this award. Our school community embodies the core belief that girls can do anything and the experience at Junior School prepares girls for the rest of their school lives and life beyond school. “Our vision across school is to be champions of excellence in all-girl education, empowering girls to be leaders, trailblazers and world shapers.  This vision underpins all academic lessons and interactions in school. We are educating the future female leaders through a carefully created and forward-facing curriculum, in an outstanding setting where girls feel safe, empowered to be the very best version of themselves without facing any prejudice from others, regardless of their ethnicity, gender of beliefs.” NHSG’s vision to champion excellence in all-girl education and empower girls to be leaders, trailblazers and world shapers has also been at the heart of the School’s marketing and brand messaging. Janice Graves, Director of Marketing, said: “Last year we launched the NHSG ‘Dream making to Trailblazing’ campaign.  When developing the campaign, we focused on creating more than a series of impactful adverts and videos. We wanted to embed the messaging fully in the school community and provide the opportunity for NHSG to further develop the trailblazing spirit of our pupils so that they can go on fearlessly into the world to help shape it for the better.  I am delighted therefore that this has been recognised by the judges and that we have been shortlisted for the Marketing Award.” The Independent Schools Awards will be chaired by Dr Helen Wright, international Education Adviser and past Vice Chair of the ISC, supported by a panel of judges which includes leading head teachers and representatives of the professional associations and the finalists will be announced in the autumn. Amanda Hardie, Head of the all through 3 – 18 school, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Newcastle High School for Girls GDST recognised for excellence through prestigious award nominations for the second time this academic year.  It is testament to the outstanding, future-facing education that we offer here at NHSG enabling us to deliver our vision.”
Newcastle High School For Girls - “In praise of teaching”

In praise of teaching

June 26, 2024
A blog by Mrs Amanda Hardie, Head of NHSG We recently had the honour of attending the prestigious TES Awards in London, with over 1,000 education professionals in attendance. It was a truly glorious event, celebrating all that is outstanding in the sector – and there was certainly much to shout about. Every single day I am reminded of how much I love my job and how rewarding a career in teaching can be. I feel unbelievably privileged to be able to do what I do for a living. Yet all too often, when it comes to education, the media headlines focus on the negative challenges teachers face – the pressure, the scrutiny, the overwhelming responsibility. Of course, I’m not going to pretend that these challenges don’t exist – they absolutely do. But in the right school environment, with the right support, teachers can thrive in fulfilling careers that have the potential to positively transform not only the lives of the pupils they teach, but their own lives too. As a profession, teaching is often portrayed in a negative light – workloads, increasing pastoral demands and scrutiny from external agencies are all regularly discussed topics. This has had a detrimental impact on the recruitment of a new generation of teachers nationally, and this is something that I feel will hinder potential teachers and pupils alike if we don’t challenge perceptions. On the other hand, teaching is sometimes considered a walk in the park due to the holidays that we have. But we need to remember that, in addition to the fact that most teachers are in fact working at points during those breaks, the intense nature of teaching during term time means that taking the foot off the pedal from time to time is a pre-requisite for wellbeing. Returning to start a new term feeling refreshed and energised will undoubtedly benefit the children and young people we teach – never mind the longer-term health and wellbeing of our staff. It’s a win-win. Teaching isn’t for everyone. But if you’re passionate about your subject area, and passionate about changing young lives, then it’s a career worth pursuing. Schools are all unique, so to consider the sector as one homogeneous environment would be inaccurate. As Head of NHSG, I know that, while schools have statutory obligations and frameworks to adhere to, we also have autonomy to create our own culture and ways of working. If we can get that right, no teacher needs to feel alone or overwhelmed. Fostering a culture of praise, collaboration and support can make all the difference in terms of job satisfaction, and this is passed on to the pupils who learn with us. We’ve always encouraged pupils to embrace their inner cheerleader, to discover their unique abilities and to see failure as something to learn and grow from, rather than a setback. But just as every pupil is unique, so is every teacher. If we can instil a culture where teachers are able to focus on their passion – just as our subject specialist teachers do in both junior and secondary schools – this passion will rub off on our pupils. And if we can ensure that teachers feel able to say when they are struggling and share their challenges with colleagues – without feeling like they’re going to be criticised - then their happiness, satisfaction and motivation will again be passed onto the pupils. If a teacher is struggling with a particular class or pupil, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t ask their peers how they have managed the situation. And if they are dealing with traumatic pastoral issues, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t ask for wellbeing support for themselves. We need to walk the walk when it comes to classroom culture – and ensure that the behaviours we are encouraging in our pupils are replicated in the staff room. This in turn creates a ripple effect of mutual respect and praise that makes teaching the truly special and rewarding career it’s supposed to be. It’s never going to be plain sailing. As teachers, we hold so much responsibility and sometimes it can be a lot to carry. But I know that, if ever I am having a bad day, all I have to do is walk into a classroom to be reminded of why I do what I do. Simply chatting to the girls and seeing them inspired by my colleagues is all I need to regulate a little before I have to deal with whatever challenge I am facing. Schools are in such powerful positions in terms of being able to shape the life of a young person and at NHSG we give them myriad opportunities that will allow them to move forward into the future and be the girl they’ve always wanted to be. And as teachers, being able to play a part in that process is simply magical.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “In conversation with Emma Barnett – NHSG’s new Head of Junior School”

In conversation with Emma Barnett – NHSG’s new Head of Junior School

May 15, 2024
Following a competitive recruitment process, Emma Barnett has been appointed as Head of Junior School for Newcastle High School for Girls’ (NHSG). We chatted to her about her career, her future plans for the Junior School, and what makes NHSG such a special place. Can you tell us a little bit about your career to date. I’ve actually been with NHSG, or at least with Church High one of its founding schools, since I graduated. That’s over 25 years and I’ve loved every moment. I began as a class teacher and am absolutely delighted to now be the Head of the Junior School; it’s a real honour. Over the years, I’ve seen pupils join our Junior School, continue right through NHSG until age 18, go on to achieve great things beyond school, and then return as parents bringing their daughters back to the school. That really is testament to how special the school is. You’re clearly passionate about the Junior School at NHSG. So what is it that makes it so unique? The sense of community is really special – we have great relationships with both the parents and the pupils which we build on from a girl’s very first steps into Nursery and school at age 3 or 4. We work in partnership to support the girls to develop a real love of learning and intellectual curiosity from day one, and then we nurture it to set the foundation for all future learning. We do this brilliantly at NHSG. Another trait of NHSG that really stands out for me is how progressive we are. We embrace change, for example, we’ve always been clear that the role of tech isn’t simply confined to computing skills - it’s an enabler to learn in more flexible, dynamic and creative ways across all curriculum subjects. You can find knowledge at the click of a button these days, but it’s what you do with it and how you apply it that really sets young minds up for the world. Our Junior School classrooms are stimulating places that encourage lively discussion. A classroom where the girls are talking more than the teacher is a genuinely exciting place to be. Why are you passionate about an all-girl education? Despite great strides, sadly, there are still some barriers faced by girls and women. Our new generation of girls are too young to see those barriers but with the absence of boys competing for attention and opportunities in the classroom, they are free and confident enough to pursue whatever they want to do. Nobody is going to suggest to them that they shouldn’t become a scientist or a footballer one day. They literally have the whole world at their fingertips from the age of three and, as they grow older, they’ll be better equipped and empowered  to compete for those roles because they’ll have never doubted their right to succeed in traditionally male-dominated sectors. The world is their oyster. What are your future aims for NHSG Junior School? For me it’s about ensuring that what we are teaching and how we teach it remains dynamic and future focused. So this will involve keeping abreast of what’s going on in the world, and continually auditing, reviewing and reflecting on what we are doing. This extends to the the pastoral system in school too. Technological development, particularly connected to social media, means that new challenges are faced regularly, even for younger girls, and we need to acknowledge and address these issues.  Society is changing rapidly all the time, and we have to change with it. As long as the girls are happy, feel safe, secure and confident in their learning environment they will do well and achieve great things.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG shortlisted in TES Schools Awards”

NHSG shortlisted in TES Schools Awards

May 3, 2024
Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) has been shortlisted in this year’s TES Schools Awards – a prestigious awards programme dubbed the ‘Oscars of Education’ that celebrates the best of education across the UK. NHSG is shortlisted for the Independent Senior School of the Year award and is the only North East school to be shortlisted in that category. The TES Schools Awards recognises the very best teachers and schools from UK state and independent schools, across early years settings, primary and secondary. The shortlist was compiled by a panel of judges including school leaders and experts. The schools and teachers they chose showcase the best of education across the sector within 21 award categories, covering all areas of school education. Amanda Hardie, Head at NHSG, an all-through 3 to 18 all-girl school, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for this award, and it is an honour to have the work we are doing here at Newcastle High recognised nationally in this way. It is an incredibly exciting time to be at Newcastle High as we deliver on our vision of empowering future-ready girls who are leaders, trailblazers and world-shapers, paving the way for themselves, and those who come after them.” NHSG’s submission focused on its three current priorities: academic excellence, growing pupil numbers and innovative curriculum design. Able to evidence impact through its pupil voice feedback and consultation schemes and driving its strategy forward with a newly formed Academic Leadership Team, the school is working with teaching staff to develop pedagogy and to ensure effective and inspiring teaching and learning takes place across the school. Its innovative curriculum design, including a forward-looking STEM curriculum, informed by NHSG’s collaboration with regional universities and Sage, is ensuring that pupils are equipped with the future-facing skills in tech, including coding, cyber-security and AI. By reaching as many girls as possible through increased pupil numbers and outreach work, NHSG is ensuring that more girls are able to pave the way for themselves and to shape the world around them for the better. Jon Severs, Editor of TES Magazine said: “Congratulations to all the shortlisted entries – the standard was so high this year despite the challenges schools face. It is critical we celebrate excellence and share it widely so we can ensure that the fantastic work happening in education is properly recognised.” Winners will be announced on 21st June at a glittering awards night at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane in London. This year also marked the first time TES operated this awards programme internationally with the TES Awards for International Schools. To view the full shortlist online, please visit https://www.tes.com/en-gb/schools-awards.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Do you have a passion for girls’ education? School Governing Board Opportunity”

Do you have a passion for girls’ education? School Governing Board Opportunity

April 30, 2024
If you have a passion for empowering girls through the delivery of an outstanding education and are able to give time and expertise to supporting a school in delivering its aims then please read on. We are looking to recruit a new member to the NHSG School Governing Board (SGB). This is an advisory board where you will have the opportunity to contribute to the future success of NHSG by:
  • Considering and providing constructive feedback into the strategic development and performance of the school through the context of a local lens and overall GDST strategy
  • Acting as an Ambassador for the school, and for GDST, within the local community
  • Supporting the Head and school Senior Leadership Team by acting as a critical friend, and by having an active interest and presence in the life of the school, including supporting events and fundraising initiatives
As a member of the SGB, you will be expected to:
  • attend termly informal and formal SGB meetings
  • scrutinise SGB papers and reports as appropriate
  • take an active interest in, and contribute to, the life of the school for the benefit of the pupils and all those within the school community.
  • Attend GDST-led training and events
In return, you will join an engaged and friendly board and staff team who are focused on the delivery of the school’s vision to be a champion of excellence in all-girl education and to empower girls to be the leaders, trailblazers and world shapers of the future. What skills do I need? We are seeking applications from a wide range of professions and commitment and dedication to the role, plus a passion for NHSG and girls’ education, are the prerequisites. You should be an experienced professional who is highly regarded within your field and able to fulfil the strategic requirement of the role. Role Job Description GDST At a Glance Guide SGB Council Regulations What else do I need to know? This is a voluntary role with a tenure of three years. How do I make an application? If you would like to apply for the role, then please submit your CV along with either a covering letter or a personal statement explaining why you are interested in the role, to Ms I Williams, i.williams@ncl.gdst.net There are no restrictions to the format you use for your application. The deadline for application is: Friday 17th May 2024. The SGB Nominations Committee will review your application and successful applicants will be invited to discuss their application further on Tuesday 11th June 2024. Final stage applicants will be invited to meet the Chair of the SGB as well as the Head of NHSG on Thursday 13th June 2024. If this is an opportunity that excites you, and you believe you can contribute to the ongoing success of NHSG, we’d love to hear from you.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “GDST Creative Writing Competition success for Talulah”

GDST Creative Writing Competition success for Talulah

April 4, 2024
We are delighted to announce that Talulah, Year 7, has won the Year 7, 8 and 9 category of the GDST Creative Writing Competition for her entry ‘The Village of Kindness’. This year, the theme for the GDST Creative Writing Prize was ‘Kindness'. The entries were judged by Ewa Jozefkowicz, an alumna of Notting and Ealing High School. Ewa Jozefkowicz was a student at Notting Hill and Ealing High School (Class of 2005). She always loved writing and is now a children's author. Her debut novel, The Mystery of the Colour Thief, published by Zephyr (Bloomsbury), was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. She has since written five other mystery books for middle-grade readers. Her new series for early readers, The Woodland Explorers Club, is launching in May 2024. The judge said, about Talulah's entry, "A treasure of a story. Dystopian yet hopeful. It made me so sad to think that our memories could be replaced by The Cloud or AI, but it's a topic that you handled brilliantly. The emotion was palpable and the characters so vividly drawn. I was truly impressed!" Congratulations Talulah. You can read Talulah's winning story here.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Newcastle High School for Girls appoints new Head of Junior School”

Newcastle High School for Girls appoints new Head of Junior School

March 21, 2024
Following a formal recruitment process that attracted a strong field of candidates from across the UK, we were delighted to announce the appointment of Emma Barnett as Head of Junior School at the beginning of March. Emma Barnett is already known by the school, its pupils and parents, having served as Assistant Head of Junior School since 2022 before being promoted to Acting Head of Junior School in September 2023. Amanda Hardie, Head at NHSG, an all through 3 to 18 all girl school, said: “As a long-standing member of the Senior Leadership Team Emma brings with her an in-depth understanding of the school and its pupils meaning she will really hit the ground running as she takes over the reins. Emma’s passion for all-girl education, dedication to the success of the school and exciting vision for Junior School shone through at interview and I am very much looking forward to working with her as we build upon the success of NHSG and continue to shape an exciting future for our school and the girls.” Emma Barnett said: “I’m thrilled to have been appointed as Head of Junior School – it’s such a special place and I look forward to leading the school forward and continuing to build relationships with parents and girls to ensure our Junior School remains the leading choice for girls in the North East. “My vision is for our Junior School to be a trailblazing school with an outstanding academic offer, delivering a future facing and dynamic curriculum focused on prioritising the needs of individual pupils alongside an innovative personal development programme to ensure every girl is happy, focused and empowered to be the very best version of herself.” With an outstanding Early Years provision, NHSG welcomes girls aged 3 and above to its Junior School which is situated in a stunning woodland setting in the Sandyford area of Newcastle, has access to dynamic indoor and outdoor classrooms and programmes a vast range of clubs and activities. All Junior School pupils also enjoy a seamless transition to NHSG’s Senior School in Jesmond, with regular introductory days on site, and lessons delivered by subject specialists from the senior school. NHSG is one of a family of schools, the Girls’ Day School Trust, which has 25 schools across the country.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Giving Girls the Competitive Edge in STEM”

Giving Girls the Competitive Edge in STEM

March 8, 2024
It goes without saying that girls and women need access to cutting edge, dynamic teaching and learning programmes if they want to succeed in the traditionally male-dominated world of STEM. Cutting through the pervasive stigma about women in STEM requires a competitive edge. Which is why at NHSG we’re proud to go over and above when it comes to our innovative academic programmes and industry collaborations. But we also know that girls and women need another secret ingredient to succeed: confidence. And that’s something that NHSG girls develop in spades. NHSG alumnae have been trailblazing in STEM for over a century – and they continue to make waves today. From the revolutionary engineering scholar, Rachel Mary Parsons (an alumna of Central Newcastle High at the turn of the 20th century) who not only instructed thousands of Tyneside women in engineering factories as men went to war, but also lobbied for women’s career rights, to more recent NHSG alumnae such as Rosie Hurcombe, who has just completed a 13 month Car Build Industrial Placement for the Mercedes-AMG Petronius Formula One Team. The impact, prestige and importance of the work that NHSG alumnae go on to achieve is testament to our investment in STEM and confidence building – but how do we do it? Confidence Confidence needs to be nurtured from an early age as girls develop their curiosity and educational preferences. If a three-year-old girl displays an interest in building blocks and construction, she needs to be encouraged and empowered to build on that (excuse the pun!). This is where all-girl schools come into their own. In 2022, the GDST commissioned the Girls’ Futures report, a piece of research that indisputably confirmed that ‘girls only’ education can and does have a measurable impact on gender bias when taking part in activities. In response to the statement ‘I avoid some activities, subjects and hobbies because of my gender’, only 9%of GDST girls agreed with this statement, compared to 37% of girls nationally. This is perhaps because, while there isn’t a lack of female role models in STEM, they are not adequately communicated in wider educational settings. For example, Teach First’s research found that not a single woman’s name explicitly featured in the national curriculum for GCSE science, yet, in contrast, over 40 male scientists were mentioned. At NHSG we work closely with our alumnae community to ensure that girls are able to engage with inspirational role models. In fact, as part of our ‘Trailblazing in….’ assembly programme, Dr Emma Milner, Class of 2014, spoke to girls across school about her PhD in swarm robotics as part of  preparations for NHSG STEM week in March It’s also important to note that, when girls are learning and developing in all-girl settings – from nursery right through to Sixth Form – nobody will ever suggest that an activity ‘isn’t for them’. This builds confidence that not only encourages more engagement in STEM subjects and activities from an early age, but also embeds confidence and a belief that girls and women deserve their rightful place in STEM just as much as boys and men. Developing a competitive edge Of course, even with this confidence it helps to stand out above the rest, and this is why our curriculum is packed full of dynamic opportunities for girls to develop their skills and interests. According to PWC, only 5% of leadership positions in the UK tech sector are currently held by women. The conscious or unconscious bias to recruit ‘people like me’ can make it harder for women to cut through in these circumstances. Which is why we support girls to build a CV and portfolio that is genuinely undeniable. Other examples of initiatives include our cyber security programmes, and the fact that this is further embedded into our GCSE Computing curriculum. We are one of the few schools in the country able to deliver this, and our links with Sunderland University have also enabled our pupils to access exciting projects such as a cyber security escape room. We also teach robotics and take part in the VEX robotics competitions, as well as enjoying a link with Nissan that allows pupils to visit the manufacturing site and observe how robotics is transforming production in the car industry. The Wonder Challenge for KS3 and KS4 is another great initiative that we have signed up to, challenging Year 9 and 10 pupils to form mini construction companies, and F1 in Schools is a fantastic educational project and competition designed for teachers, informed by engineers and endorsed by Formula 1. In November 2023, two teams of NHSG pupils won the overall Regional Championship as well as the Best Engineered Car and Fastest Car awards. Our annual STEMpowerment Exhibition, held during British Science Week, brings some of the biggest names in STEM to NHSG to demonstrate and share some of the brilliant new technologies that are shaping our world. And in Junior School, our Science Fair sees pupils working with parents to create their own STEM Exhibits. All of this is done with a combined aim of exciting, inspiring and empowering girls in STEM. We are 100% committed to transforming the future for girls in STEM at NHSG and we will continue to identify exciting collaborations to be part of, while developing our increasingly competitive and ambitious core curriculum. With only 17% of women working in the tech industry, it is clear that without the intervention of initiatives to bring about positive change, men will continue to dominate the sector. That’s something we simply cannot settle for. If girls and women feel unable to take their rightful place in the world of STEM, then the world will be missing out on some of society’s brightest talent and creativity. We’re here to make that change.