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 - “NHSG Inspiring Alumnae Business Network”

NHSG Inspiring Alumnae Business Network

March 20, 2020

We have recently been working with a group of our Inspiring Alumnae to establish a business network for former pupils of NHSG, Central High and Church High, as well as former pupils of other GDST schools living in the region.

Having set up a committee, chaired by alumna Jane O’Mahoney, we held our inaugural event for the NHSG Inspiring Alumnae Business Network on 11th March at School. This first event saw alumnae of all ages who are working in business join together to hear from inspirational speaker, and global mind-set coach, Dr Maurice Duffy. This was followed by an opportunity to network with one another to see how our alumnae working in the region can help one another in their businesses and careers. NHSG Sixth Form girls were also invited to attend to take advantage of this unique support group. Overall, the event proved a huge success and probably couldn’t have come at a better time, just before we all turned to our communities and networks to support each other in the following weeks and months.

In this touching article, committee Chair Jane O’Mahoney, explains more about the ethos of the group and how it aims to be cheerleader for the empowerment of women in business.

YES, you can! The three most important words you can say to a young learner. When I think back to my time at an all-girl school I realise that behind everything was the message that we could achieve whatever we wanted to. Of course, grades are important but what you understand as you get older is that mindset is the most important tool of all. Yes, you can be a CEO, yes, you can be an engineer, yes, you can be a politician! When you have this mindset, you have a burning desire and drive that naturally delivers first class results. Embolden the young throughout their primitive years and they will challenge anyone who questions their ability to achieve greatness.

The Newcastle High School for Girls Inspiring Alumnae Business Network Group was established with the aim of continuing to empower and support fellow alumnae from Central High, Church High and NHSG as well as those from the Girls’ Day School Trust living in the region as we make our individual journeys in business. The group is also open to current NHSG sixth formers as they are the future and we must support them in any way we can.

Our inaugural event, held in March, was a roaring success and it was phenomenal to see the number of women who turned up with such enthusiasm and passion. We are each other’s cheerleaders. Too often, women are pitted against each other but we can achieve far more when we celebrate success and push each other forward.

Many people believe an all-girl education puts the emphasis on gender differences when actually the opposite is true. It removes gender bias from the offset. I will never forget sitting in the common room in Year 12 with the entire Year Group and the Head of Year asking where we wanted to be in ten years’ time. The range of ambition was remarkable. The memory still pops in to my head from time to time and makes me smile. There is no life direction that is more important than any other and the most honourable one is the one that makes you happy and not the one you think you should take. Yet, it still makes me tingle to remember sitting in a room full of women so empowered and full of belief that they have what it takes to be the best in anything they tackle. It is essential to build an army of women who support each other and
relate to the issues many of us face in business.

Today, we still face struggles that are historically related to our gender. The resounding issue I heard discussed most at our new group’s inaugural networking event was the challenges women face when it comes to having children and a career. How long did you take for maternity leave? How did it affect your career? This issue is more prevalent in certain sectors than others and no doubt it will take time to change the tide but the more we support each other, the sooner these questions will become obsolete.

We are in unprecedented times but the connections we have made will continue to support us as we navigate through unchartered waters. We may not be able to meet in person for the foreseeable future but the power of communication runs deep and will see us through to better times.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A showcase of sartorial craftsmanship in iconic Fashion show”

A showcase of sartorial craftsmanship in iconic Fashion show

March 10, 2020

Tuesday 11th February saw Newcastle High School for Girls stage its annual Art and Design Fashion show.

Garments and full collections designed and made by Senior School girls from 13–18 years old graced the catwalk in two shows that were entirely choreographed, staged and modelled by the girls themselves. The event marks the conclusion to the hard work, dedication and commitment the pupils put into producing an array of contemporary fashion looks. All garments were designed with the catwalk in mind, which forced the girls to combine their creativity with consideration for how best to showcase their work alongside music, movement and lighting.

This year’s catwalk looks found inspiration from artists such as Barbara Kruger, Barbara Hepworth, Victoria Villasana, and embodied an array of global, pop-cultural and scientific themes from Tokyo to Peaky Blinders to human biology. Spectators of the show were amazed by the creativity of our girls and the professional execution of their ideas, clearly evidenced by the exquisite garments on the runway.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Year 6 Festival of Sport”

Year 6 Festival of Sport

March 10, 2020

Year 6 girls enjoyed their first sports tour weekend in the form of a GDST triangular festival between 31st January and 2nd February. We were playing against Wimbledon and Northampton High Schools and were kindly hosted by families from Northampton High. The girls arrived at the tournament slightly nervous but excited at the prospect of meeting their host families from the GDST sister schools. After a lovely greeting from the Head of the Northampton Junior School it was time to socialise and make some new friends.

On Saturday morning, the girls were ready and raring to get onto the Hockey pitch. There was an A and a B strand tournament and despite the blustery conditions, a high level of Hockey was played by all. Hannah Reichard was phenomenal in goal for the B team, making strong saves across her circle and even stepping forward to take on attacking players; as a result, she earned the title of NHSG Player of the Hockey Tournament. Well done, Hannah!

After a much needed lunch break to recharge their batteries, the afternoon was split between a swimming gala and fun team games in Northampton High’s sports hall. Girls who took part in a swimming gala were put through their paces in competitive races. Autumn Vaulkhard swam an exceptional length and won her race. As a result of this, she was awarded NHSG Swimmer of the Gala.

The gala finished with some fun races that required problem solving and tactics. NHSG girls really came into their own and won these relays! To round off an eventful day, girls spent the evening with their host families, who had planned for everyone to go for dinner and then bowling. Feedback from the girls was that the evening was full of laughter and fun.

By Sunday morning, the girls were mixing with pupils from their sister schools with ease, creating lifelong friendships. Many of the parents supporting the Netball tournament were cheering for the NHSG girls who had been staying with them as well as their own daughters. It made for a lovely atmosphere.

Within the Netball competition, all of the teams played each other. The girls were mindful that the games were evenly matched when playing for an A team against a B team. At one point our B team and the Wimbledon High A team mixed together to play with each other and the girls thoroughly enjoyed this game! Charlotte Grimes was named the NHSG Player of the Netball Tournament due to her improvement over the course of the day.
Overall, the Festival proved to be a fantastic weekend of sport and the girls made great new friends, highlighting the benefits of being part of the strong and supportive GDST network.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Science is My Superpower”

Science is My Superpower

December 20, 2019

The Science is My Superpower STEM scheme in conjunction with Newcastle University is a new initiative led by Miss Penny that aims to raise aspirations of local primary school children through an exciting series of Science projects, held here at NHSG and at Newcastle University.

With the help of various NHSG staff and Year 12 volunteers, the first workshop took place on Saturday 9th December. There were 60 pupils from schools around the North East taking part. We welcomed girls from Brighton Avenue, Hazelwood Primary, Hotspur Primary
Kingston Park Primary, Tyneview Primary, Usworth Colliery and Wingrove Primary.

Their mission? To build the most aerodynamic car possible. It was an action-packed morning as girls were split into teams of two or three, supported by an NHSG Sixth Former. They were tasked with following a challenging project brief from start to finish and the results were quite extraordinary. We observed ambitious adaptation, daring designs and some outside-the-box thinking. The day was a real success all round and we’re looking forward to the next workshop on 5th February at Newcastle University.


Newcastle High School For Girls - “Festive cheer at our biggest Fair yet!”

Festive cheer at our biggest Fair yet!

November 30, 2019

Saturday 30th November saw our biggest and best NHSG Christmas Fair to date! It is always a popular family event and one of the highlights of the School’s social calendar (and Santa’s of course, he always seems to know when it is!).

With over 30 stalls from local businesses in attendance, Christmas shopping was in full flow. There was everything from woolly hats and samosas to luxury Christmas gifts for sale. Friends, family and girls of Newcastle High bustled through the Hall to browse and buy before promptly heading to the Dining Area to enjoy some festive refreshments.

Girls from the four houses of Acadia, Carpathia, Mauretania and Turbinia had a busy morning as the sweet treats they were selling in aid of The Bubble Foundation proved to be very popular with visitors spending their pocket money. Year 12’s Tycoon Challenge companies It’s A Vibe and Posh Poms were also trading, using their enterprise skills to draw in customers.

Throughout the Fair, Mr Newey led some beautiful carol singing around the piano and crowds gathered to watch Junior and Senior girls’ display of musical festive cheer.

The Fair concluded with the traditional draw of raffle prizes announced by Mr Tippett with the help of some eager ticket-pickers!

Thank you to everyone who joined us, it was lovely to see our community coming together, especially during the festive period.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG: The Sunday Times Northeast Independent Secondary School of the Year”

NHSG: The Sunday Times Northeast Independent Secondary School of the Year

November 22, 2019

Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) has been awarded the accolade of The Sunday Times Northeast Independent Secondary School of the Year.

The leading all girls’ school has received this prestigious award as a result of our outstanding improvement in the Sunday Times Parent Power League Table position, and because of the wider holistic aspects of the education provided.  The annual Sunday Times Parent Power supplement will be published on Sunday and is described as the definitive secondary league tables for the most academically successful schools in the state and independent sectors.

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Schools Guide, Parent Power, said:

“An outstanding summer in the examination halls has seen Newcastle High School for Girls regain its place as the Northeast’s leading girls’ school in the Sunday Times rankings. With more than 80% of all A-level grades securing A*, A or B grades, pupils scaled heights not seen for a number of years making the school’s nomination as Northeast Independent Secondary School of the Year one of the easier ones to make.

“The dedicated teaching staff and new leadership of the school deserve immense credit, alongside – of course – the gifted children who performed so well.”

Commenting on the award, Head of Newcastle High School for Girls, Michael Tippett, said:

“I am absolutely thrilled that the achievements of the School, staff and girls have been recognised in this way.  NHSG is on an exciting journey and we have made a tremendous start.  We will continue to focus on academic improvement across the whole school, delivering an education where girls achieve outstanding academic success as well as instilling them with confidence and self-belief and empowering them to be leaders, trailblazers and world shapers.

“We will be celebrating this award with our whole school community over the coming days.”

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A focus on observation in Year 4”

A focus on observation in Year 4

October 24, 2019

Junior School have recently achieved the Primary Science Quality Mark, Gilt Standard, following some amazing Science initiatives led by Miss Williams. During some of the training sessions, provided by the university, an array of scientific skills were examined. Year 4 have been focused on improving one particular aspect of their ‘Scientific Superpower Skills’: observation.

After emptying a fruit tea-bag into a glass of water, the girls observed very closely and verbalised their thoughts as to what they thought would occur.

“Before we did it I thought the water would just turn red. After watching it, I wanted to find out why some bits floated; why some sank down and even why some bits went back up again!” commented Katie Humpish.

“It reminded me of a lava lamp,” said Rebecca Sharp.

“After a few seconds I could see some of the particles sink to the bottom and a bit of red seeping through the water,” wrote Aarya Shastri.

“After a few minutes I observed the liquid had some flakes floating forth and back. They swiftly fell down but floated back up,” stated Charlotte Wright.

The girls watched closely then repeated this process via the slow motion film they took of the experiment, using their new iPads. The level of detail they later described was incredible.

The girls found recording their work pictorially and articulating their verbal observations on paper quite a challenge but after some careful consideration they succeeded in creating their Scientific report. You can see some super examples of drawings on the next page.

By making systematic and careful observations and recording their findings using simple scientific language and diagrams, the girls are developing important aspects of being able to work scientifically.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A Sixth Form Summer in the Wildnerness”

A Sixth Form Summer in the Wildnerness

October 24, 2019

In July 2019, a group of Year 12 and Year 13 girls embarked on an adventure of a lifetime, a trip to Southern Kenya to experience the culture of remote villages and tribes.

Amber Soakell, now an NHSG Alumna, having completed her A Levels this Summer, gives us her moving account of the trip.

From arriving in the thriving city of Nairobi, to camping in the wilderness next to the Maasai Mara, the country offers so much to learn, see and do. Throughout our stay, we were introduced to people of the Maasai tribe and their varied lifestyles: girls and boys from local schools, the head teacher of our partnered school Hellen Nkuraiya, our guide John Blissett and the Maasai team who travelled with us throughout our stay. We were so grateful to be welcomed and immersed into their communities, take part in cultural activities and receive blessings from the tribe.

Upon meeting Hellen at the Enkiteng Lepa School (Purple Cow School), she told us the history of her school, why she set it up and how she plans to expand her community to help rescue children from greater distances to receive an education. The school motto “don’t exchange girls for cows, give them an education” is a primary focus for Hellen’s mission. Girls as young as nine are often exchanged for cows and livestock in an arranged marriage to a man who could potentially be three-to-four times her age, and is expected to stay at home and do housework. This therefore gives them restricted access to receive an education.

We were also informed about how girls manage their periods. Sanitary products used in Western countries are not readily available in rural areas, including Narok. It is therefore common for girls to miss a week of school to take care of themselves at home, often in an unsanitary manner. Hellen’s school is working on this issue by making reusable sanitary pads made from fabric. A pack can cost £3 and lasts up to two years. This option for girls gives them back a quarter of their education, keeping them on a level playing field with boys.

As well as being a Maasai pioneer for girls’ education, Hellen is an ambassador to remove the stigma around Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and prevent its act within the Maasai tribe. FGM is a painful procedure which is performed as part of ancient tradition, often to prepare the girl for an arranged marriage. The consequences of the procedure can be life-threatening and life-long as it is often carried out in unsanitary conditions without medicines or professional aftercare. Hearing of the brutal reality these young girls’ face, it became apparent what the hardest part about being a Maasai girl was inheriting her culture.

The life for girls and women in the Maasai tribe became the primary subject for our Kenyan video project as we felt it was vital to help Hellen in her mission to overcome these boundaries to create a better future for girls.
You can watch the video we created on YouTube via this link.
Another important community issue that we hope to spread awareness of, came to light around the campfire one night. One of our Maasai guides, Moses, told us of his objective to make his village financially independent. He explained the livelihood of both men and women in the village, how water was difficult to retrieve, and how the nearest primary school was miles away from the village, forcing children to walk in the dark from 5.00 a.m. to get there. The pivotal moment in the conversation that convinced us to act was learning about the tragic event of a child’s death on the way to school caused by wild elephants. This could have been prevented if the child had not been walking alone in the dark.

Since then, his community has built a local borehole to collect clean water, and opened a new school for the local children. Moses is currently setting up a campsite as a tourist destination to create revenue for the village. The stunning location, his welcoming team and his exceptional knowledge of the area will surely give him every success in his mission.

The trip opened our eyes to the true lifestyle within the Maasai community, and as a group we recognised that bringing attention to these issues could greatly benefit both Moses’ and Hellen’s communities. By making a video, we can hear the important messages and stories we discovered throughout the trip directly from the people who are trying to make a difference. We hope the video will inform people about what it’s like to live in Kenya, and how small acts of support can change someone’s life.