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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 2021: Liyanah’s Results Well Worth The Wait!”

GCSE Results 2021: Liyanah’s Results Well Worth The Wait!

August 12, 2021

It took Liyanah Riyaz, understandably, a few moments to compose herself on discovering she had achieved the highest possible grade in every one of her GCSE examinations, setting a sterling foundation for A Level studies. Speaking about how she felt on the morning of results day, she said: “So excited! I couldn’t wait to get here and find out, regardless of the results. I am so impatient, I just needed to know!”

Liyanah knew she had worked hard in preparation for her internal examinations but was a little apprehensive for her French result. “The listening test on the last day of term was really difficult so I left school feeling really unsure about how I had done.” She also explained how she found revising over the lockdown period: “It was tough to stay motivated when I knew I wasn’t going to be sitting formal exams. Also without the routine of school it was hard to know when to revise and also when to stop. I would put my phone on do not disturb mode but then I would burn out after intense revision periods. It was a tricky balance to get right.” Her best advice for those sitting GCSEs in future would be making your revision materials as you go and not leaving it until study leave as you end up spending too much time creating and not enough time revising.

Liyanah is going to be studying English Literature, History and Politics at A Level and is looking forward to focusing on interesting subjects under what she hopes will be “normal circumstances.” Speaking about her time in Year 11 she says “It all happened so fast, it’s a bit of a blur! I was using the same four classrooms on one corridor for nearly a year so I can’t wait to be moving around school normally.”

In the future she hopes to enter into either Journalism, Law or Politics as she really enjoys essay-based subjects. We’re very confident that Liyanah is going to achieve everything she wants to and more!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “GCSE Results Day 2021: Elated Eleanor Scoops Superb Results”

GCSE Results Day 2021: Elated Eleanor Scoops Superb Results

August 12, 2021

Eleanor Francis was absolutely thrilled to find she had achieved eight grade 9s, one grade 8 and one grade 7 when she opened her GCSE results surrounded by family today.

“I just feel so happy! I have struggled to get to sleep over the holidays – I think it’s taken me an extra half an hour to just switch off each night and stop thinking about my results.”

While Eleanor’s approach to revision has clearly worked, she admitted it took a little bit of trial and error to figure out the best techniques for her, especially over lockdown. “It’s easy to try and copy the way your friends are revising but there were certain things that just didn’t work for me. In the classroom I would have tested my knowledge on teachers so at home I began to teach myself in the mirror, talking through my notes. I just had to adapt the things that usually work well for me in school.” Her biggest piece of advice for the next cohort sitting their exams would be to “go at your own pace and don’t avoid your worst subjects – you just have to knuckle down with them and overcome your fear.”

Eleanor has chosen to study Economics, Religious Studies and Geography at A Level, and looks forward to life in Sixth Form with optimism: “I am really looking forward to more independent learning and focussing my attention on my favourite subjects.”. Eleanor’s true passion lies in Religious Studies and has big dreams to study Theology at Cambridge with a view to going into the field of Law.

Big dreams call for big celebrations – Eleanor thought she was spending the rest of the day helping in her parents’ office but little did she know she was about to be whisked away for a surprise meal at Six with her family. Enjoy every moment Eleanor, you deserve it!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A Level Results Day 2021: Amina Achieves Amazing Results”

A Level Results Day 2021: Amina Achieves Amazing Results

August 10, 2021
Amina Hayat was feeling shocked and grateful this morning as her place to study Modern Languages and History at the University of Birmingham was confirmed. Amina said: “My grades are so unexpected. I didn’t know what I would get and the impact of the pandemic on A Levels has made it so much more unpredictable as we weren’t able to know what grades we had achieved in our assessments. It was difficult to know how well I was doing and I am just so grateful that all my hard work has paid off.” Amina, who achieved an A* in Spanish, A in History and C in Biology, says her success has been down to “keeping a positive mindset, being patient and also resilient”. Looking to the next stage of her educational journey, Amina said: “I chose my course at university because I have always loved both Spanish and History since Year 7. I love learning about different periods in history and the study of Spanish has been so much more than learning about the language, I have enjoyed also learning about the culture of Spain. Birmingham is such a diverse city too and the degree course I have chosen offers a variety of options so I am excited about all of it.”
Newcastle High School For Girls - “A Level Results Day 2021: Chloe’s Moment In History”

A Level Results Day 2021: Chloe’s Moment In History

August 10, 2021

Chloe Summers was “over the moon” when she opened her A Level Results envelope this morning, to discover she had achieved a sensational three A*s. “I walked into school this morning with such butterflies but it’s just such a relief to know my hard work has paid off.”

Chloe will be heading to Newcastle University to study History, a subject she realised her true passion for after a deeply moving trip to Auschwitz concentration camp in Birkenau. “It was during this experience that I decided I wanted to explore the past further. I am delighted to be studying History in Newcastle, a city which is so rich in history itself.” With most universities only offering virtual tours, she feels lucky she is so familiar with the campus already, having seen it many times in the city centre.

While Chloe says she is looking forward to the changes that living in Halls will bring about, she is happy to be staying close to home after what has been a rather turbulent year. “I think it will be comforting knowing that I am still near family. I will miss school a lot and I’ll be running back through the gates at the very next opportunity!”

You will always be welcome at NHSG, Chloe! Good luck with your next chapter and it sounds like we’ll see you at the Carol Service at Christmas!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A Level Results Day 2021: Maya Makes Drama Dreams Come True”

A Level Results Day 2021: Maya Makes Drama Dreams Come True

August 10, 2021

Performing, whether it is acting, dancing or singing, has been a huge passion throughout her time at school for Deputy Head Girl Maya Torres, so it’s no surprise that she will be continuing to develop her skills in Acting at the Leeds Conservatoire from September.

As well as winning a much coveted place at drama school, Maya also has collected two A*s in Spanish and Dance and an A in History at A Level, meaning that she ends her school career at NHSG on a high.

Reacting to the news of the results Maya said: “I am feeling shocked – it’s so easy to catastrophise, and obviously the pressure was off in many ways because I had already confirmed my place at Leeds Conservatoire, but obviously I still wanted to do well.  I feel really proud to be able to complete school with these results.”

Alongside coping with the challenges of Covid-19 throughout the past 18 months, Maya has had the added responsibility of being one of the Head Girl Team at NHSG and playing a role in helping the other girls in the school cope during these unprecedented times.  Maya said:

“It’s been a lot of pressure to be part of the Head Girl Team particularly during this time, but it has also been a source of motivation.  I have had a front line view of how hard everyone has been working so it has motivated me too.”

When talking about a career in acting, Maya added:

Initially I had always considered that my interest in Acting would be a hobby and wasn’t sure if it was a viable career, but as I got older I have been able to explore the options and in the future I am hoping to have the opportunity to perform in other people’s work as well as creating my own work – really whatever it takes to pay my rent!”

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A Level Results Day 2021: Triple A Grades For Sadie”

A Level Results Day 2021: Triple A Grades For Sadie

August 10, 2021

The choice of Psychology has been hugely popular this year with some outstanding results across the board. Seven girls have achieved places to study Psychology at universities across the UK, from Durham all the way to Belfast. The subject provides an excellent starting point for careers in both Science and the Arts, accounting for its status as a highly sought-after discipline. Sadie Hackett was “thrilled” to discover she had achieved three As in her A Levels this morning, meaning she will be studying Psychology at the University of Leeds.

While she did feel some nerves this morning due to the uncertainty about Results and not being able to sit formal examinations, she found the experience quite affirming. Sadie was relieved, not surprised, upon seeing her excellent grades. “History has always been challenging for me and I found it especially difficult revising over lockdown without the work and social balance I had in Year 12. However when I opened my envelope I didn’t feel too shocked as I knew I had put my all into my revision.” Sadie’s resilience and determination have clearly seen her through any struggles and she now cannot wait to experience all that Leeds University has to offer. “I attended a virtual open day and tour but as soon as I accepted my place my Dad and I went to visit. I felt at home straight away!”

Good luck Sadie and we hoped you enjoyed the lovely breakfast celebrations with family.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Davina Nylander: Taking steps toward an anti-racist society #DiversityWeek”

Davina Nylander: Taking steps toward an anti-racist society #DiversityWeek

June 23, 2021

To celebrate Diversity Week we asked pupils, alumnae and staff to share their thoughts on why diversity and inclusivity is so important in today’s society. In this article, UCL medical graduate and NHSG alumna, Davina Nylander, shares her thoughts on how we can all contribute to an anti-racist society.

It might feel to many as though the Black Lives Matter movement is something fairly new – something that first hit the headlines last year. However, while it was the first time the headlines, social media and society in general were proactively and consistently engaging with the idea, it certainly wasn’t a new idea in itself.

The tragic murder of George Floyd was, as we all know, the driver behind the Black Lives Matter movement becoming a huge talking point in 2020. Sadly, however, it wasn’t the circumstance that was unique or new, it was simply the fact that it had been caught on camera and shared on a viral scale. There have been many people prior, and many people since, this horrific murder, who have also experienced brutality or discrimination due to the colour of their skin. There have been many lives lost.

As a black woman myself, I am pleased that the issues were brought to the fore, but it was also incredibly traumatic to know about, to watch and to repeatedly talk about. It became quite heavy to carry this responsibility where people were asking me questions about it on a daily basis - how do I feel about it, how can they make a difference, what should they read up on… But the fact that these conversations were happening was obviously a significant step in the right direction.

We now need to ensure that every single one of us takes accountability for nurturing an anti-racist society and calling out bias and discrimination.

If we all play a part, we can take steps together as a united front, to dismantle the institutional structures of racism that are still present today. While we may not have the influence within a corporate or educational environment to make those changes directly, when a unified voice lobbies for change those in influence can’t help but listen – and hopefully act.

There has become a fear around using the words ‘racism’ or ‘discrimination’ – they’re seen as dirty words and people are therefore eager to distance themselves. But racism and discrimination happen every single day. We can’t turn our backs to what is happening and that is why we have to acknowledge it and call it out. And that starts with challenging ourselves.

The ‘All Lives Matter’ (ALM) issue is an important one to address. I’m sure that there are many people who believe themselves to be kind-natured and big believers in equality who are sharing the ALM sentiment – but we need to think about why the Black Lives Matter movement exists in the first place. If you encourage others to challenge it by promoting ALM, you’re actually diluting a simple and powerful message of equality – a fundamentally good statement that in itself is telling the world that all lives do indeed matter. If you truly are committed to understanding injustice and tackling oppression, surely it’s clear to see? Why distract from a very clear and obvious problem that Black people and people of colour face on a daily basis?

Everybody has a role to play in empowering people to share their story. I know personally how difficult it can be to embrace your identity when you don’t see it reflected in the culture around you. Growing up, I rarely saw black girls in magazines or on TV and so I became ashamed of the colour of my skin, the shape of my nose and the texture of my hair. Thankfully, that is beginning to get better, and it is this more diverse representation, as well as the conversation being at the forefront of everyone’s mind that I am now able to really embrace who I truly am. Being asked to speak about my experiences for NHSG was also a boost for me – and I hope it will help other black girls who might be growing up with some of the same feelings and concerns that I had.

The simple act of talking about these things openly is a really big step in the right direction. But it is only one step. We must all acknowledge where obstacles lie and help to remove them, whether that’s from a racial point of view or in terms of other forms of oppression – such as gender bias or homophobia. We all need to talk and we all need to call out injustice and reflect and challenge ourselves, too.

We should never leave it to the victims of oppression to deal with the problem alone. When you’re under fire, standing up on your own and challenging it can be really frightening and make you even more vulnerable. Be an ally. Commit yourself to doing the work and the reading. Listen and be aware of the people around you. Don’t disengage because you think you’re already anti-racist and so you don’t need to participate. You have a vital role to play.

Our unique identities should be something we are proud of celebrating, and we all need to work together to ensure that everybody feels respected and accepted for who they are.