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Newcastle High School For Girls - “Managing Eco-Anxiety”

Managing Eco-Anxiety

October 20, 2023
You might not have heard the term eco-anxiety before, but you’ve more than likely seen the effects of it. Eco-anxiety has actually been around for some time, but it’s only quite recently that we’ve started talking more about it. Understanding what eco-anxiety is and how serious and prevalent it can be can help us more effectively support the children and young people affected by it. What is eco-anxiety? Eco-anxiety describes a specific type of anxiety where somebody feels distressed or frightened about climate change. Of course, everybody experiences a degree of anxiety from time to time, but when it impacts on day to day life, it can become overwhelming and quite serious. And it’s the same with eco-anxiety. It might be something that your child is worrying about at night, causing them to lose out on sleep. Or perhaps it is distracting them during the day, taking their focus away from the things that make them happy or that help them to learn and grow. While we have been discussing climate change for some time, we need to acknowledge that the level of information – much of it frightening – received by our children can be all consuming. Whether they’re seeing it on TV, in newspapers or on social media, there are many doom and gloom scenarios related to climate change that are, frankly, terrifying. The problem, however, is very real. So how do we maintain the conversation about climate change to make the future brighter for our young people, without negatively impacting on their wellbeing in the present? The NHSG approach Because sustainability is a topic that is threaded through almost everything we do – from the curriculum to how we dispose of litter or the food that we eat at lunchtime – it’s important that we embed these messages from a very early age. However, we don’t want pupils to feel scared every time we bring up the subject – which is inevitably what can happen if they feel bombarded by relentless images of polar bears losing their homes or rainforests burning down. So, instead of picturing what will happen if we carry on as we are, we try to explore the more positive effects of activism. This might include how beautiful and fulfilling the world will be if we plant more trees, recycle and save energy. Of course, we can’t shy away from the facts, especially when it comes to topics that are covered in the curriculum. For example, in Geography, pupils might learn about Brazil and deforestation – which of course can be hugely concerning. However, rather than skirt around this, we try to normalise the conversation, as well as making sure that we follow it up with a solutions-focused lesson that enables pupils to feel empowered and able to play a part in protecting the planet. For our younger pupils, we also ensure that they are able to see how these solutions fit into daily life in school, so they are supported in making those connections between what they are learning about in their lessons, and what they are already doing on a day to day basis (for example, using recycling stations in classrooms, or using iPads instead of paper). What drives eco-anxiety? In addition to the overwhelm of information received, one of the biggest causes of eco anxiety is this idea of relentless sacrifice i.e. to make a difference you have to stop this or that. Sometimes these sacrifices can seem to big and daunting. For example, giving up meat or giving up riding in the car. This is why the onus needs to be on the sustainable lifestyle changes individuals can make that will make a positive difference. We have meat-free Mondays at school – it’s not about encouraging everyone to become vegan, but about showing how just a small change to your diet on one day of the week can help the environment. We also know that eco anxiety is fear of the unknown. Children these days are so much more apprehensive about being outside – many simply don’t go out and play and spend time amongst nature. That’s why we are lucky to have the NHSG forest school for our early years pupils, and challenges like our ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ initiative that encourages children to spend some time outdoors doing something they wouldn’t normally do such as camping or hiking with the family. Finally, anxiety can be borne of feelings of hopelessness. Many girls have told us that they are weighed down by this feeling of pointlessness – what difference can they, as an individual, make to this huge global problem. This is why we teach our pupils about the ripple effect – how that actions of one person can ripple out to inspire others, building on and amplifying the impact they are making. The younger generation are used to living a more sustainable life so they are well-placed to make good choices, but we have to facilitate the opportunities for them to do so. We also need to talk about eco-anxiety – so that girls who are experiencing it don’t feel alone in it. This isn’t something that will go away any time soon, but if we make a concerted effort to support our pupils at home and at school by looking at solutions-focused approaches to learning about climate change, and empowering them to make a small difference both directly and as a result of the ripple effect, we will be contributing to their wellbeing both now and in the future. By Mrs Abi Shaw, Junior School Teacher and Junior School Sustainability Coordinator
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Thea ready for A Level challenge after success at GCSE”

Thea ready for A Level challenge after success at GCSE

August 25, 2023
Thea ready for A Level challenge after success at GCSE Thea Jeffares is ready for the challenge of A Level study at NHSG after receiving top grades in all her GCSE subjects. She said:I have been really nervous over the last week and imagining the worst, so it’s a big relief and I feel very happy.  A big thank you to my teachers for always pushing me and believing in my ability. They helped me to reach my potential. Now I can put GCSEs behind me and properly move on.” With one grade 9, eight grade 8s and a 7, Thea has an excellent foundation for Sixth Form at NHSG where she plans to take A Levels in English Literature, History and Politics. Explaining the reasons for her choices, Thea said: ‘I’ve always loved English so that was an easy choice. I hadn’t originally selected History for GCSE but had a last minute switch and absolutely loved it, particularly the topic on the Cold War topic. There’s a Russian unit in the A Level syllabus so I am really looking forward to learning that.’ Thea is thinking about studying Law at university so added that “Politics feels like a good fit”. Planning on throwing herself into Sixth Form life, Thea also expects to be out on the school courts and pitches: “Sport is my thing so I will be getting involved over the next two years.” ‘When I was in Year 7, I thought Sixth Form looked cool and since then I have always wanted to be in it, and now it starts next week! In Sixth Form you are treated more like an adult and you have a bit more independence. So it’s like starting again while still being at NHSG.” “Being at an all-girl school is the best environment - 100%. No-one is afraid to be smart and it’s the most nurturing environment. Coming to Senior School here was THE best decision.”
Newcastle High School For Girls - “GCSE Celebrations for Catherine”

GCSE Celebrations for Catherine

August 25, 2023
Catherine Brettell was still taking it all in on GCSE results day as her results envelope revealed an outstanding set of grades - four 9s, five 8s and a 7. She said: “My GCSEs have been out of mind for most to the summer but obviously I have been thinking about them more over the past few days. I am particularly pleased with my 9 in Geography and grade 8 in Chemistry!” Catherine also took a moment to praise her teachers who helped her achieve such great grades: “They are always involved and dedicated to you doing well,  They want you to do as well as you do so I am very grateful.” Now Catherine is looking forward to studying her chosen A Level subjects of Biology, Geography and Psychology in more depth in NHSG’s Sixth Form. She explained more: “I enjoy trying to learn how things work so these subjects appeal to me. Biology and Geography are my favourite subjects and my older sister Eleanor studied Psychology A Level here at NHSG and now also at University so she gave the course a glowing review.” Without a firm decision on what the future beyond Sixth Form holds, Catherine is planning on enjoying Sixth Form and seeing where the next two years take her. She’ll be focusing on her studies and her love for Drama and Singing. “I’ll definitely be auditioning for next year’s School Musical Legally Blonde where I would love to be Emmett.”
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Nerves replaced with joy for Afefa”

Nerves replaced with joy for Afefa

August 24, 2023
While Afefa Aymon Zamil admits to being a little nervous before opening her GCSE results this morning she says her parents were more nervous than her. Nerves soon gave way to joy, as Afefa and her parents learned she had collected all top grades at GCSE with two 9s, six 8s, and 2 7s. Afefa said: “Going into my exams I felt I had done everything I could and I am really happy with my results particularly English Literature where I have more than exceeded my grade prediction." She added: “All my teachers have been so helpful and put in extra time and care for me -  reassuring me as well as encouraging me to have high expectations for myself. Everyone wants you to do well here.” Planning on taking three A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Politics, Afefa says she is keeping her options open. “I am aiming to be dermatologist as I have real interest in skincare and it seems like it would be a great profession for me. I have also selected an essay based A Level to keep my options open too as I am also interested in taking a Law degree. I am going to be doing lots of work experience over the next two years to help me with my decision.” As she contemplates what Sixth Form at NHSG will be like for her, Afefa aims to “have some fun and remain calm throughout Year 12 as well as to stay on top of my work."
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Top grades at GCSE means Iona is running on a high”

Top grades at GCSE means Iona is running on a high

August 24, 2023
Cross County runner, Iona Johnstone, was on a high after learning she had achieved all top grades at GCSE today. After receiving seven grade 9s, three grades 8s and a grade  7, Iona said: ”I was quite nervous this morning but I was excited to see what I could achieve. I’m in shock as my results are better than I thought I could ever achieve and I have exceeded my own expectations. “I am particularly pleased with my English and Spanish grades as I found these subject hard, but also very happy with my Science and Maths results as I love these subjects.” Starting at NHSG’s Sixth Form in September, Iona will be taking A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry.  “There is so much to explore in these subjects which help explain how the world works to provide a greater understanding of the universe.” Iona is an outstanding Cross Country athlete and competes for the North East in inter-county and national competitions and she is aiming to remain at the top of her sport while at Sixth Form as well as taking her learning to the next level. “After A Levels, I would like to go to Oxbridge to study Physics or Maths.  What I have achieved today will give me a great foundation for that and I am so excited for the challenge of A Levels.” With obvious high aspirations, it’s no surprise that Iona has also set herself another challenge to achieve Grade 8 in Music while in Sixth Form too. Iona plans to celebrate her success with her sister Sophie who collected outstanding A Level results from the school last week. She said: “NHSG provides a really supportive environment – we never worry that our ideas are irrelevant and or inconsequential. The staff and pupils all help each other and it’s these relationships that make a huge difference to what you can achieve.” And, if you are about to start your GCSEs this year, Iona’s advice is: “Know that you will be building on your skills throughout the course. You will shock yourself with what you can achieve – there’s no limit if you work hard and consistently.”
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Wing Sum sings the praises of her support system after superb results”

Wing Sum sings the praises of her support system after superb results

August 24, 2023
Wing Sum Lee, who joined NHSG in Year 11 from an international school in Malaysia, could not thank the school enough after receiving outstanding grades at GCSE this morning. Wing Sum, who gained all Grade 8s and 9s, said: “Thank you so much, I never thought I would get these grades and I definitely wouldn’t have without the help of my teachers.  I have had so much support since joining the school, the teachers have been very approachable and always available.” The timing of the move to England for Wing Sum was far from ideal for GCSE preparation but was unavoidable for the family. Mr Lee, who was thrilled for his daughter, said: “Work meant that we had to make the move but Mr Tippett provided so much support during the transition – we owe him a lot. NHSG has been so accommodating and we very much appreciate that.” Wing Sum will be continuing her studies at NHSG’s Sixth Form where she will be taking A Levels on Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths and plans to pursue Medicine at university. She explained: “My parents are scientists so I have grown up in that environment. Medicine is always progressing and there’s always something new to learn alongside the development of new technologies – that’s what excites me.” With the intensity of her GCSE experience behind her, Wing Sum is now looking forward to getting more involved in the wider school life. “When I joined NHSG I had to focus on getting up to speed in my GCSE studies, but in Sixth Form I’ll be taking advantage of the sports on offer at the school as well as putting myself forward for the Sixth Form leadership opportunities. I can’t wait.”
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Emma’s GCSE preparation reaps phenomenal results”

Emma’s GCSE preparation reaps phenomenal results

August 24, 2023
Celebrating a phenomenal seven grade 9s and grade four grades 8s, Emma says her planned revision schedule kept her on track in the lead up to her GCSE examinations. She said: “The exam period was stressful and with my first exam just after Easter it was a long time to keep focused. My organised schedule helped a lot as did my Mum.” As well as providing the usual parental support during the exam period, Mrs Cowie also helped by listening to Emma recounting and talking through her past paper practices. “I learned a huge amount myself, and reminded myself of a lot of what I had forgotten too!” says Mrs Cowie who is delighted with Emma’s GCSE achievements. Emma’s GCSE results put her on a very firm foundation for Sixth Form at NHSG where she will be taking Physics, Maths, Further Maths and German. Emma explained: “I chose these subjects because I find them really interesting and easy to learn so they seemed to be a logical choice. I am considering a degree in Computer Science, Maths or in Languages.” The recent school trip to Berlin helped in her decision to take German at A Level.  Emma said: “I like the German sentence structure and also the country is so interesting.” With the new school year just two weeks away, Emma is looking forward to being able to focus her studies on the subjects she really enjoys as well as the independent study aspects. She’s already thinking about her Extended Project Qualification where she is planning to explore the difference between AI and human Intelligence. Alongside her academic studies, Emma will be taking full advantage of the schools co-curricular programme with Netball, Badminton, Football, Hockey, school musical, Piano and Gold D of E all featuring. With so much to fit in, Emma’s skills in creating an organised schedule are going to be very useful for Sixth Form too!
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Girls’ Glee at GCSE as NHSG Celebrates their Success”

Girls’ Glee at GCSE as NHSG Celebrates their Success

August 24, 2023
Excited students from Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) were more than a little gleeful this morning as they opened their GCSE results at the school while parents and teachers watched on. With 38% of all GCSE grades awarded at 8 and 9, and 80% at grades 6 to 9, alongside excellent individual results, NHSG has continued to demonstrate the outstanding academic support it provides each and every one of its pupils so that they can achieve their best. Over a quarter of the NHSG students taking their GCSE exam this year also achieved top grades of 7 to 9 in nine or more subjects and there were strong results across the whole range of GCSE subjects offered at NHSG, from the Arts to Sciences and Humanities to languages. – highlighting the strength of breadth across the school. The GCSE results come just one week after outstanding A Level results were reported at the leading all-girls school in Jesmond. Mrs Amanda Hardie, Acting Head at NHSG, praised the students and their teachers for securing such successful results. She said: “I am so delighted for this Year Group who have worked so hard and with determination in the lead up to their GCSE exams. They have coped admirably with the turbulent times that Covid brought and also with the additional challenges of the GCSE years. I am extremely proud of them. “As their thoughts now turn to Sixth Form at NHSG, I know they have an excellent foundation on which to build upon for A Level study. Our aim is to continue to support each and every girl academically as well as to develop further their wider skills and confidence so that they can go onto fulfil their dreams. “Today however is focused on celebration and my congratulations to the students and also to their teachers who have supported them brilliantly.”