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 - “GDST Junior Maths Conference”

GDST Junior Maths Conference

October 24, 2019

October sees the annual trip to Oxford for the GDST Junior Maths Conference. Six intrepid Mathematicians made the long journey to meet up with 21 of our GDST sister schools at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University for a fun and challenging day of maths-based activities.

This year, the theme was ‘Our World in Numbers’ with girls focusing on their knowledge of data in the fabric of the modern world. After an incredibly thought-provoking introduction from Mr Nick Tiley-Nunn (Head of Prep School, Norwich High School for Girls) the Year 6 pupils were quickly thrown into their first task. Collaboration was a key objective for the day so NHSG girls worked closely with other schools bringing about new friendships and a huge sense of team and community spirit.

The Andrew Wiles building at Oxford University is truly inspirational and the girls were awestruck by everything the institute had to offer. Learning that the building was designed specifically for mathematicians allowed the girls to understand some of the more unusual features including the Escher inspired staircases and the fascinating sculpture designed on the mathematics of a drum beat.

We were amazed by the students’ common room in which there is a “no surface is ‘off-limits’ policy”. This means that if you suddenly have a mathematical ‘lightbulb’ moment you can, quite literally, write down your thoughts and ideas anywhere you like, including the windows and tables!

Every single girl took away valuable knowledge from their day, including the belief that they have the power to shape a more positive future for themselves and us. Until next year, girls!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A Day for GDSTEM”

A Day for GDSTEM

October 24, 2019

On 24th September, our Year 8 STEM ambassadors attended the GDST’s inaugural GDSTem Conference at Imperial College London. This event, specifically aimed at GDST girls in Year 8, was designed to communicate the diversity and value of STEM careers, and enable girls to develop the confidence and leadership skills to promote STEM in their own school as STEM Student Ambassadors.

The event featured some of the best and brightest women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths in a series of inspirational lectures and workshops.

Throughout the day, there was a focus on networking, collaboration and communication which equipped girls with the tools they  need to act as champions for STEM futures. Here’s what some of the girls had to say about their STEM-tastic excursion.

“GDSTEM saw budding female Scientists, Engineers, Technicians and Mathematicians from all over the country unite for one big Science adventure. We were treated to many exciting and inspiring lectures on subjects we didn’t even know existed. Our first lecture was from the first ever British Astronaut to go into space, Helen Sharman. Throughout the day we were reminded of how much science benefits your life but more importantly; how girls can do STEM too. It was a day we won’t forget and we can’t wait to apply what we learned to our futures.”  Emmy Dobson
“For our carousel activities, we were put into groups: Oxygen, Hydrogen and Nitrogen. I was in Oxygen and, first, learned about Rolls-Royce engines and how a plane’s wing was made. Later, I was given a lecture about the role of a Bioengineer and their wide-ranging responsibilities such as fixing bones and ligaments. We were given fascinating thermal rulers which turned a different colour depending on how warm our fingers were. Our final talk was about Geoscience which informed us about the layers of rocks to make oil and fossil fuels. Overall, my experience was amazing because I was able to meet inspirational women and think more deeply about STEM careers for the future.” Shannon Leung

“I loved hearing the first British astronaut speak and learn about her journey as well as attending three amazing lectures that informed us about career routes I’d never known existed. There is so much potential for bringing STEM to life at NHSG and I hope that we can bring back the buzz we felt on the day for the benefit of other girls.” Megan Huggins

“The GDSTEM trip was really interesting as there were so many inspiring people there to help us develop our passions in STEM subjects. My favourite talk was the one we had from the first British astronaut, Helen Sharman. It was fascinating to hear about her previous job at a chocolate factory and insights such as the way food works in zero gravity conditions! I also found the Bioengineering talk brilliant as I never realised things like making prosthetics could be associated with science! Overall, it was really fun as well as informative.” Betsy Reed

“I would like to thank our teachers for taking us to the event, I am so happy that I am part of the GDSTEM ambassadors group. The event was truly inspiring and the talks were amazing. My favourite was Helen Sharman and her speech about her journey of becoming an astronaut. I wish we could bring all the speakers back to NHSG so that everyone can be equally mesmerised by their talks!”  Laxmi Malhotra

It certainly sounds like Helen Sharman (pictured top right) was a firm favourite with the girls! We look forward to learning more about our STEM ambassadors in our next STEM feature for In the Picture and how they have applied their new knowledge to their role at NHSG.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “An evening of celebration”

An evening of celebration

October 24, 2019

This year’s prestigious Prizegiving ceremony was held on Thursday 12th September at Sage Gateshead.

The evening event provided the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the girls’ academic achievements from 2018 – 2019 as well as for Mr Tippett, to report on the previous academic year.

Throughout his report, Mr Tippett focused on the benefits of an all-girl education, explaining that the success of NHSG is due to its complete dedication to the education of girls and highlighting that the School’s facilities, curriculum, pedagogy, co-curriculum and pastoral programmes are built solely around the needs of girls.

He added: “Underpinning this is the NHSG ethos, our unique whole school culture which respects, nurtures, challenges and empowers girls.
“It’s all of this together that gives NHSG girls that ‘certain something’ that many recognise as confidence. We work to build every girl’s self-esteem - to give her that unshakeable inner belief that she can learn without limits.

“Over the course of our history, thousands of girls have benefited from the ethos surrounding an all-girl education and have grown into amazing women who have shaped their own world and the world around them for the better.”

These points were very much in evidence later in the proceedings when the Guest Speaker, Central High Alumna and former Head Girl, Olivia Potts took to the stage. After leaving School in 2006, Olivia went to Cambridge to read English Literature, and was one of the few women to be elected president of the Cambridge Union. She studied Law in London and was called to the Bar in 2011. However in 2016, in pursuit of happiness, she changed direction and took up a career in the food industry. She is now a celebrated food writer and this summer launched her first book A Half Baked Idea.

She gave an inspiring and rousing address which reflected the NHSG ethos in her conclusion. Talking to the girls, she said: “You are brilliant, you are the next generation of leaders, you are the future, you hold the world in the palm of your hand.”

The evening was rounded up brilliantly by Head Girl, Katie Dixon, who delivered a word perfect and heartfelt vote of thanks to Olivia. As we said our final farewells to last year’s Year 13, we did so safe in the knowledge that they remain within the NHSG and GDST family as Alumnae and look forward to catching up with them soon.

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.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A natural approach to numbers for Year 1”

A natural approach to numbers for Year 1

October 24, 2019

Year 1 have been working on their Mathematics objective, ‘to read and write numbers from one to twenty in numerals and words.’

We know the girls engage better when counting in meaningful situations so we explored the beautiful autumnal grounds of Chapman House to find natural objects to represent numbers one to twenty. Collecting in the autumn sunshine was so much fun!

The objects counted varied in size, colour and position. Using these concrete resources helped to deepen the girls’ understanding of counting, ensuring future mathematical learning is built on solid foundations.

Once collected, the girls then organised their natural objects into a number line, labelling the numbers represented in numerals and words.

The girls benefited from the enrichment and deepening of content in this activity and because their work was so beautiful, we made it into a classroom number line which they can now refer to during their future work.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Girls encouraged to be fearless at North East conference aimed at our next generation of leaders”

Girls encouraged to be fearless at North East conference aimed at our next generation of leaders

September 13, 2019

Hundreds of girls from across the region will be encouraged to ‘be fearless’ and take a leading role in whatever career they choose, at a special conference at Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Organised by Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG), the one-day biennial North East Women (NEW) Leaders Conference on Monday 16 September will bring together teenagers from NHSG, Whitburn Academy, Monkseaton High School, Dukes Secondary School in Blyth and Walbottle Campus.

NHSG is working in partnership with Northumbria University, Newcastle and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to organise the event, which will bring together female leaders from both within and outside of the region to share their knowledge and experience with the aim of challenging gender inequalities and inspiring young women to take a leading role in whatever career or profession they choose.

The NEW Leader Conference theme is ‘Be Fearless. Be You’ #nolimits and in addition to hearing from inspirational women, the young delegates will spend part of the day focusing on what leadership looks like now and in the future, and how they can develop their own personal authentic leadership attributes.

They’ll also attend a series of Power Up Workshops offering tools to boost the girls’ futures, focusing on areas such personal branding, jargon busting and getting the best out of people.

Key note speakers will talk candidly about the challenges and successes they have encountered on their rise through the ranks as well as the many opportunities that are opening up across a range of sectors and in the region.

Speakers include:

Ann Francke, the Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute and an expert on gender balance in the workplace; her book on gender balance is published on 26th September 2019.

Debbie Edwards, the CEO of FDisruptors - a careers platform to help emerging generations to navigate the radical changes in how they will live and work successfully in this age of fast paced innovation.

Sarah Glendinning, the Regional Director CBI who is passionate about raising aspirations in the region’s young people and is involved in a range of diversity initiatives including running a Future Leaders and Women in Leadership Group. As a result, she has been named as a ‘Northern Power Woman’ and in 2018 won an award recognising her as a ‘Women of Influence’.

The student delegates will also form the audience for a lively interview session with a panel of young women who are starting to make their mark on the world, including an entrepreneur and a rap singer.

Talking about the aim of NEW Leaders Michael Tippett, Head at Newcastle High School for Girls, said:

“Our ambition is to create the next generation of female leaders, trailblazers and world shapers.  We want the region’s young women to be fearless, while still being true to themselves and working to their own passions and strengths.  Above all we want them to believe that there are no limits to what they can achieve.

“Working in partnership with Northumbria University and the North East LEP we have through NEW Leaders created an excellent vehicle to boost our ambition and we are delighted to be able to share our work to reach girls from across the region. Further support from Ernst Young, along with the backing of so many leading women who have given up their time to share their expertise, has enabled us to deliver an outstanding NEW Leaders programme.”

Speaking on behalf of Northumbria University, Senior Lecturer Natalia Blagburn said:

"Northumbria University Business School is thrilled to host NEW Leaders conference in partnership with Newcastle High School for Girls. The conference has been designed to inspire, empower and support young women from across regional partner schools. We are keen to spark conversations, create new connections and cultivate passions about building futures."

The event is supported by the North East LEP.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP, said:

“This event offers a great opportunity for young women to hear first-hand about the career journeys of exceptional, hard-working and brilliantly successful females and I hope they will be encouraged and emboldened by what they learn.

“We want all young people to be ambitious about the career opportunities that await them, no matter what their background or gender. Through our North East Ambition programme, we’re all supporting schools and colleges across the region to offer a range of high-quality careers activities and experiences and achieve the government’s Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks.

“North East Ambition also links schools and employers more closely together, to identify and meet the skills demands of the future and support our aim of driving an uplift of 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.”

Read our exciting NEW Leaders programme here!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Liv’s hard work pays off with top GCSE grades”

Liv’s hard work pays off with top GCSE grades

August 22, 2019

Liv Urwin’s nerves didn’t kick in until she woke up this morning to prepare to collect her GCSE results from Newcastle High.

“I had put my exams behind me and so was just in the mode of thinking that they were over and I had done what I could,” explained Liv. “This morning however while I was still thinking what will be, will be, I was suddenly very worried that my nightmares might actually come true!”

Liv however felt a flood of relief as she opened her results envelope at school this morning to discover that she had gained seven grade 9s, one eight, one A* and a grade 7.

“The results were everything that I wanted – this is what I have been working towards and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a sustained effort although I was really flagging towards the end of my exams and my parents had to keep me motivated until the last exam. I knew I couldn’t have done more.”

Liv already has fixed her sights on the future and hopes after A levels to study AI and Engineering, possibly at Cambridge, Kings, Imperial or UCL hence her choice of Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics at A Level at NHSG

Liv said: “I am going to start Sixth Form with high expectations of myself and just go for it. I have proven today that hard work can deliver results and that I also have the potential to do well. I have always loved Science and when I was in Year 7 at NHSG, one of the teachers suggested I look into engineering. I did and just loved the whole idea of it and it has become a real passion. I have been fortunate to win an Arkwright Engineering Scholarship which has further fuelled my interest.”

Asked about what Liv is most looking forward to in Sixth Form at NHSG, she answered: “I am just raring to go and want to take every opportunity to develop as many skills as possible and continue with my debating and public speaking activities. There’s so much support here at NHSG and I feel like I can do anything and go anywhere!”