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 - “Queen’s Jubilee Honours for Central Newcastle High Alumna”

Queen’s Jubilee Honours for Central Newcastle High Alumna

June 28, 2022
We are delighted to learn that leading cancer researcher Professor Ruth Plummer’s dedication to raising the profile for cancer research and her instrumental role in establishing the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has been recognised in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours. Ruth Plummer is Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine, Newcastle University and an honorary consultant medical oncologist in Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  She is Director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre within the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, which is a dedicated clinical trials unit based within the regional cancer centre. She leads the Newcastle Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and also the (Cancer Research UK’s (CRUK) Newcastle Cancer Centre and at a national level, she chairs the MRC Experimental Medicine Panel, and sits on CRUK Research Careers and Clinical Research Committees as well and the NCRI Strategy Advisory Board. Ruth attend Central Newcastle High School 1970 - 1983. She trained at Cambridge and Oxford Universities obtaining both a medical degree and scientific PhD before moving to Newcastle to train medical oncology and cancer drug development. She was appointed Senior Lecturer and Consultant Medical Oncologist in 2004 and Professor in 2008. Her clinical practice involves running the early phase cancer trials unit as well as treating patients with skin cancer. Her research interests are in the field of DNA repair and early phase clinical trials of novel agents, taking the first in class PARP inhibitor into the clinic in 2003, ATR inhibitor in 2012 and MCT1 inhibitor in 2014, as well as investigating potential causes for the toxicities of novel cancer agents. She has made a significant contribution towards extending and enhancing the lives of those with cancer, including being part of a Newcastle team which developed Rubraca®, an ovarian cancer drug that has been approved for use on the NHS. A further medical advance has been her assistance in developing the drug, vismodegib, which provides enhanced treatment for patients with a cancer that causes tumours to grow on the face and neck. Ruth was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2018 for her work developing PARP inhibitors as novel cancer treatments and in 2021 was awarded the ESMO-TAT Lifetime Achievement award for her work is early phase trials. Research like Ruth’s is vital in translating scientist’s drug discovery research from the lab into real patient benefit. Finding new, more efficient cancer treatments will be crucial to boosting the number of people surviving the disease. Much of this research is carried out at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle which Ruth launched fourteen years ago with the legendary former Newcastle United and England football manager. In her letter of support of Ruth’s nomination Sir Bobby Robson’s wife, Lady Elsie Robson wrote describing the beginning of their relationship: ‘Professor Ruth Plummer was my husband’s oncologist and Bob and I trusted her judgement implicitly as she guided us through those terrible months. She is also the reason we began the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Or, as my husband jokingly put it during one particularly dull charity legal meeting, ‘This is all your fault.’’ It was Professor Plummer’s dedication to raising £500,000 to set up the cancer trials centre which inspired her late husband to set up the charity which Ruth now fronts. The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised more than £16 million since 2008, far exceeding its initial target of £500,000. Described as a woman of ‘tremendous empathy, courage and professionalism’ she is a world-leader in her field, admired among her profession for her unwavering commitment to fighting the disease who successfully manages to juggle family life in Northumberland with an extremely demanding work schedule that takes her across the world – and still manages to give her time as a Governor of Newcastle High School for Girls. Professor Plummer has been awarded a richly deserved MBE in recognition of her outstanding service and contribution.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Early Years. A Learning Journey of Discovery at NHSG”

Early Years. A Learning Journey of Discovery at NHSG

June 7, 2022
As published in Living North July 2022 edition. Set within five acres of leafy grounds in the heart of Sandyford, NHSG’s Junior School is a welcoming, safe and stimulating environment, it offers a unique environment for unforgettable learning experiences for girls aged 3 and above. We meet up with Kate Gingles, the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Phase Leader at NHSG, to learn why an Early Years education is important and what makes it so special at NHSG. An expert in Early Years education with over 19 years’ experience, Kate joined NHSG last September, and she hasn’t looked back. One of the things that strikes you most on meeting Kate is her passion for her role. She’s single minded in delivering an exceptional start to the educational journey for her young charges. She’s confident, calm and in control. At the same time you are immediately put at ease by the way she listens and responds revealing a warm and caring personality; all the qualities you would hope for from someone leading the Early Years phase at NHSG. Reflecting on her first year at NHSG, Kate says: “This year has been incredibly busy but very exciting. As an early years specialist, I’m passionate about making the first few years that girls spend at our School truly magical and the wonderful staff team I have here, the supportive parents and the stunning school environment make it a special place to work. Most importantly, the girls themselves are just phenomenal, they are capable of such extraordinary things.” Educational journeys at Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG), a member of the Girls’ Day School Trust, begin with the School’s Nursery and Reception classes. In these crucial years, the School’s youngest pupils are encouraged to explore and flex the many exceptional skills they are born with – and to do it in a way that is fun, social and multi-disciplinary. Talking about the importance of a high quality Early Years education, Kate is clear: “Getting the first few years of school right is vital. We are building the foundations on which everything else can grow and these have to be strong. We are also nurturing those early attitudes to learning that the girls will carry with them for the rest of their lives.” “Many parents don’t realise that girls can join NHSG from their third birthday, which means they can benefit from up to five terms in Nursery before starting Reception. Our girls have some amazing experiences prior to joining school. They are lucky children. In terms of school however, the earlier girls start their journey with us, the sooner they will start to benefit from the educational experiences we offer and the stronger foundations they will build. “When girls join in the term they turn three, fees don’t become payable until the beginning of the following term. For obvious reasons, alongside the 8-6 wraparound care we offer all year round, this is a great benefit for parents.” It’s a compelling proposition especially when you learn more about what’s on offer. In their EYFS classes, NHSG focus on learning characteristics such as collaboration, creativity and risk taking. Every learning experience at NHSG provides the opportunity to develop the girls’ confidence and build strong academic foundations that pave the way for more formal learning further down the line. “For us, EYFS learning isn’t about pushing children harder; it’s about nurturing who they already are and what they already know, and protecting those exceptional skills before they are encouraged to ‘un-learn’ them by adopting more ‘adult’ ways of learning in later years,” explains Kate. One example of this is how NHSG’s expert Early Years teaching teams work with their pupils to develop skills such as subitising – seeing numbers without counting them. Subitising is something children can do naturally from a young age but, all too often, this skill is stifled if we don’t recognise its benefits. Kate adds: “We are developing our own, bespoke, playful Maths curriculum, which allows girls to explore and be more confident with numbers, to see them as exciting and fun and, importantly, not to fear them. Making arrangements and patterns and playing with natural materials and interesting objects indoors and out is central to our provision as girls build their early number sense.” This forward-thinking approach is reflected across the whole of the Early Years curriculum and Early reading also has a high priority at NHSG. Kate says: “We’ve invested heavily in a brand new, research based, phonics programme as well as training for staff on phonological awareness, the building blocks of learning to read. This is supported with high quality and progressive reading books that the girls and their parents are really enjoying. Alongside this, we have a superb, well stocked library full of wonderful and diverse picture books that support our learning across the curriculum.” It’s not just the approach to teaching and learning that makes NHSG stand out. The learning environment at the School is stunning. Kate shares more: “Prospective parents are taken aback by how beautiful the setting is when they come to visit. It certainly has the wow factor. What’s more important, however, is how our classrooms and outside space shapes the curriculum and teaching. There really are no limits to what we can offer; it’s as inspiring for the team as it is for the girls.” The Early Years classrooms are located on the ground floor of the Junior School. They are spacious and packed with high quality resources with plenty of natural light coming from wall to ceiling windows. Wide doors open onto a fabulous and safe outdoor play area. The rest of the school grounds lay beyond and they are impressive. A mud kitchen (bigger than any indoor kitchen) with its mixing stations, giant pans and utensils provides ample opportunity for exciting play. And then there’s the rest of the five acres in which NHSG’s Junior School is set; the perfect location for Forest School with its designated woodland, firepit and wild life pond. It’s idyllic. Explaining how the grounds are used, Kate says: “The natural world is a key element of our curriculum and is the inspiration for many projects and activities, with girls exploring seasonal changes through Art, English and Maths. Girls in Early Years are encouraged to get messy in the mud kitchen and enjoy all the tactile and sensory experiences that nature has to offer. The girls, and the staff, absolutely love being outdoors.” As we draw the meeting to a close, Kate concludes: “Underpinning our Early Years provision is the happiness and wellbeing of our pupils and the positive relationships we build with them and their families. We want every girl to enjoy her first years of school, to make memories that they will cherish for a lifetime. We know that happy girls learn best and that comes first for us.” If you would like to meet Kate Gingles and the EYFS team, and learn more about NHSG’s unique Early Years provision, please register to attend our EYFS Information Morning on Friday 10th June. https://newcastlehigh.gdst.net/open-days/ 
Newcastle High School For Girls - “A critical time for Mental Health Awareness Week”

A critical time for Mental Health Awareness Week

March 3, 2022

The last week of this term was Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) which provided an important opportunity to tune into our feelings and the feelings of those around us. This year MHAW feels more important than ever. Covid-19 has now had a far reaching impact on people right across the world and it has affected many of the normal coping strategies we use to deal with stress, as well as on the everyday activities that underpins our emotional wellbeing.

To recognise Mental Health Awareness Week in a virtual space, Nurse Wilson and School Counsellor, Miss Stewart, very cleverly coined the concept “Stall in Your Hall(way)”, an adaption of our termly Stall In The Hall event held in School. Using Microsoft Teams as our discussion platform, girls were invited to browse the various channels and contribute to content and conversations along the official theme of kindness. Among the resources available there were anonymous Acts of Kindness surveys, online meditation sessions, Kindness playlists, thought-provoking theory from teachers across a range of subjects (did you know there is a mathematical theory for altruism?) and topical videos.

One such video showed Miss Stewart’s insightful interview with Mr Tippett to obtain his thoughts on the complex and multi-faceted construct of kindness. Mr Tippett touched upon more abstract ways to show kindness, such as helping the environment, which will serve to benefit future generations. It was a poignant reminder as to just how many ways there are to show kindness.

Nurse Wilson and Miss Stewart also hosted a live chat on Wednesday lunchtime, taking questions and talking in detail on what kindness means to them.

We concluded the week by circulating an Acts of Kindness video which was a montage of girls’ submissions on how they have demonstrated kindness recently. Mrs Barnett also shared a video on the MHAW Teams channel to showcase the kind behaviours that Junior School girls had been exhibiting, as well as some uplifting messages they wanted to share with friends.

It was great to see so many girls taking an active role in the exercises and discussions throughout the week and reinforced how important it is to dedicate time to check in and connect with one another.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “We’re All In This Together!”

We’re All In This Together!

February 15, 2022

The talented Performing Arts pupils of Newcastle High were thrilled to return to the bright lights of the big stage for four staggering shows of High School Musical on Thursday 3rd February - Saturday 5th February. High School Musical (HSM) at Newcastle's Northern Stage was NHSG's first major production since Grease which took place in early January 2020 at school, just before Covid struck. Time away from Musicals made our school community appreciate it all the more and High School Musical, with its fast-paced, feel-good energy, proved to be the perfect choice to get the audience back into the spirit of live entertainment. The story follows two high school students, Troy Bolton, captain of East High School’s basketball team, nicknamed the Wildcats, and Gabriella Montez, a shy top student. Both of them try out for the lead roles in their school’s musical (and quickly fall in love in the process) despite the lack of support from the rest of their classmates, one of them being Sharpay Evans and her brother sidekick Ryan.

Over 75 pupils from different Year Groups in Senior School worked together to produce the spectacular show resulting in two equally brilliant casts: Team Tiger and Team Lion. Families and friends flooded to the Northern Stage for the four performances in Northern Stage's main 450 seat auditorium and had the pleasure of watching the pupils sing and dance to their hearts' content...Something that Zoom could never recreate!

Mrs Dobson, Head of Drama and Director of HSM, had her reservations about this Disney-based musical comedy until she remembered just how catchy the uplifting numbers were and the power they have in bringing everyone together. "On the surface it may seem like an easy, cheesy little show but this has been one of our most challenging musicals to date! Not a day goes by when one of us isn't singing as we walk down the corridor. It may not be Ibsen but it is a tale about friendship and being true to yourself. What's so bad about that?"

We look forward to NHSG's next theatrical triumph with great anticipation.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Learning Without Limits”

Learning Without Limits

January 11, 2022
Firmly established as the leadings girls’ school in the North East, Newcastle High School for Girls fuses the traditional with the contemporary to create a learning experience that meets the needs of a 21st century. NHSG is uniquely placed in its innovative approach, not least because it is the only North East school that benefits from being part of the wider Girls’ Day School Trust, the leading family of independent girls’ schools, enabling every pupil to learn without limits and be whatever – and whoever – they want to be. Despite the challenges of the past two years brought by the pandemic, NHSG has ensured that girls have continued to progress extremely well academically and to benefit from NHSG’s enrichment and pastoral programmes. During this period of national and world-wide uncertainty, staff at NHSG are committed to providing stability, excitement, creativity and hope in and out of the classroom. In turn, the girls have demonstrated their GDST spirit through grit, determination and a can-do attitude. Throughout the periods of Covid-related restrictions, the school has remained unwavering in its approach to exceptional teaching and learning, alongside it’s high quality pastoral care. The girls have been challenged and stretched in new and exciting ways, including through its academic extension – ‘Bright Sparks’ at Junior School and ‘Proten’ at Senior School – where they explore academic subjects way beyond the curriculum. The introduction of Junior School Leadership pathways for the youngest pupils provides further opportunities for girls to develop leadership style skills as they establish foundations for their transition into the Senior School and beyond. Technology has played a critical role in ensuring the seamless delivery of a diverse curriculum and co-curriculum amidst a landscape of unpredictability. At the beginning of the pandemic, NHSG was able to deliver online live lessons immediately by drawing on its already established and innovative use of technology for teaching and learning. Being ahead of the game meant that the pupils were immediately connected and learning. Since then NHSG has continued to harness innovative and future-proofed digital strategies into the classroom. All areas of school life have continued apace from timetabled lessons, assemblies, clubs, careers and House events, GDST-wide conferences to pastoral-led initiatives such as dedicated Diversity and Mental Health awareness weeks. Video conference tools continue to enhance the taught aspects of the curriculum and co-curriculum, while websites, apps, shared files, online quizzes, video response tools and digital exercise books allow girls to respond to and submit set work entirely online. Most importantly, in the face and pace of significant change, the girls have been able to connect with one another not just in their class but across the school, which is critical to their social and mental wellbeing and the basis of a strong education. The learning curve has been steep but challenges have been met with resilience and fearlessness as well as a resounding commitment to the ‘new normal’. Consequently, the school is an incredible force for change and girls at NHSG are equipped with the expertise and confidence to navigate an uncertain future. A future in which they are prepared to accept a greater degree of change and find their place in an ever-evolving world. Discover more about limitless learning opportunities at Newcastle High School for Girls or begin your daughter’s educational journey with NHSG now by registering for the Year 7 Entrance Examination on Saturday 15th January. Visit www.newcastlehigh.gdst.net/admissions or contact Admissions on 0191 2016511.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Welcome Back, Dr Brash!”

Welcome Back, Dr Brash!

November 26, 2021
On Monday 15th November, we were delighted to welcome Dr Claire Brash, Central High Class of 2011, back to Newcastle High School for Girls to speak to aspiring Medics in Years 12 and 13 about how to navigate the application and interview process for Medicine. During the lunchtime MedSoc session, Claire’s insightful talk was centred on the “10 key rules of survival” from “Learning The Lingo” to “Finding Your Tribe”. The girls were incredibly engaged with her advice, so much so, we plan to invite her back to school for a second session very soon! Dr Brash’s energy and enthusiasm for this field of work is truly infectious and reflected in her impressive career. Claire graduated with BSc(Hons) in Medical Sciences with Neuroscience and Mental Health at Imperial College in 2015 and was selected as Undergraduate Research Trainee by McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Hospital, Canada. In 2018, Claire graduated as a Medical Doctor from Imperial College London School of Medicine and she is passionate about clinical research and the interconnected nature of the brain and mind.  Her interests expand to Global Mental Health, Policy and Ethics, competing regularly in Model World Health Organisation Simulations. Notably, Claire won Best Delegate at McGill University’s Montreal Model WHO, National Scholarship to American Model WHO at Emory University and was Chair for Nordic Model WHO at United Nations City Copenhagen, before Co-Founding London Model WHO at LSHTM. Furthermore, Claire was part of the winning Imperial College team at the Institute of Medical Ethics National Debating Competition and on Committee for the Royal Society of Medicine Student Policy Initiative on medical student mental health. In addition, she has worked at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience, researching Psychophysics on a Nuffield Foundation Bursary and Newcastle University Vacational Scholarship. More recently, Claire was a Co-Investigator for the University of Oxford’s Covid-19 Vaccine Team, at the forefront of global efforts in the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine.  She has also worked as Academic Foundation Programme Doctor in the Clinical Academic Office of Newcastle University at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, conducting research in the field of Dementia with Lewy Bodies, with Alzheimer’s Research UK Pump Priming Grant funding. She is now a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia at their Johor Bahru campus as well as currently working clinically in London. It was wonderful that Claire was able to see the School’s admiration for her work with her own eyes, her framed portrait sitting proudly among those of inspirational alumnae in Newcastle High’s Main Reception. Our ‘Alumnae Through the Decades’ display honours the fascinating and remarkable women that have passed through the doors of our school, all of whom have played a part in advancing the educational opportunities of women. We are very fortunate to have Claire in our community to share her extensive Medical expertise with current pupils.
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Resilience Delivers Results for Class of 2021”

Resilience Delivers Results for Class of 2021

August 12, 2021
Today, at NHSG, we are celebrating the excellent achievements of every one of our pupils in their A Levels this summer and I could not be more proud of the Class of 2021. The grades received are hugely well-earned and well-deserved. This has been another extraordinary year, and a very difficult time for everyone; the pandemic has impacted on three quarters of the girls’ Sixth Form experience and they completed their A levels in unprecedented circumstances. They have faced lockdowns, self-isolation and a great amount of uncertainty during this time. And in response, the girls at NHSG have shown their resilience and adaptability, as well as their compassion for others, alongside a dogged determination to meet the demands placed up on them with regards to their studies.  They have risen to the challenge of the new grade assessments that they were required to complete in order to provide robust evidence of their level of attainment. There is no doubt that the girls have been put through their paces in this respect, as have all pupils in England. So with all this behind us, today is a chance to focus on the girls and their excellent achievements and it’s a real delight to be able to do this in person with both the girls and their parents. For most parents, this will be the first time they have been able to pass through the school gates since March 2020, so it feels like a hugely significant milestone in so many ways. For the girls, today also means that they can start to move on with the next stage of their life and at NHSG, for the vast majority, this means university and higher education. I wish them all the very best of luck. I also want to pay tribute today to the herculean efforts of our staff who have supported the girls so well throughout the past two years, and in particular for their work throughout the pandemic where they have gone over and above to ensure the girls have continued to have the very best teaching and learning possible.  When all this began in March 2020, we were able to move very quickly to an online Guided Home Learning programme and this stood us in good stead for what was to come, providing the foundation for us to be able to continue to teach throughout the pandemic. As we look to the next academic year, I remain cautiously optimistic that we will not face the levels of disruption in education that we have had to deal with as a result of Covid-19 and I am very much hoping that we can return to near normality.  The past 18 months have been stretching but at the same time the innovation that we have seen in school has been remarkable and we will be looking to build on that in what I hope will be a post pandemic environment. Mr M Tippet Head  
Newcastle High School For Girls - “GCSE Results Day 2021: It’s Written In The Stars For Phoebe”

GCSE Results Day 2021: It’s Written In The Stars For Phoebe

August 12, 2021

A 12 mile walk yesterday as part of her National Citizenship Scheme programme proved to be just the ticket to keep Phoebe Black’s mind off her GCSE results. This morning however she walked in to school to discover that she had gained a superb set of GCSE results which included nine grade 9s and a grade 8.

Commenting today Phoebe said: “I feel pretty happy with these results and am particularly surprised about my grade in German.  Even though this year’s assessment process was long, I actually preferred it to the exam system. It meant that if you knew you hadn’t done well in one of your assessments you had a chance to recover.  I felt quite confident therefore about my results and it was not as stressful waiting for the results to come out as it would have been if we had sat exams.”

In addition to Phoebe’s excellent GCSE results, her family have also been celebrating her brother’s A Level results which he collected on Tuesday.  Phoebe was looking forward to a little bit of friendly sibling rivalry on whose results were better!

She is also looking forward to greater independence in the Sixth Form at NHSG as she embarks on the next stage of her education, and has opted for A Levels in Physics, Maths, Further Maths and History.

“I chose these subjects because I want to study aeronautical engineering or astrophysics at university. I have always like Space and knew I wanted to do something in Science ever since Year 4. I am thinking about applying to Imperial College London after Sixth Form.”

Phoebe’s top tip for girls taking their GCSEs is: “Reduce the stress by counting down to the tests being over rather than counting down to when the tests are, and remember you will be able to say for some subjects – I will never have to study that again!”