Newcastle High School for Girls - News

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Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG reaches semi-finals of coveted Chrystall Prize”

NHSG reaches semi-finals of coveted Chrystall Prize

February 17, 2021

The GDST Chrystall Prize is named in memory of Chrystall Carter, long-time Legal adviser to the GDST. It was set up by her husband, Richard, in her memory and to mark her commitment to the girls in the schools she represented, her pleasure in their success and her belief in the power of reasoned argument.

Arguably one of the most prestigious prize across the GDST, it is open to girls in Year 11 who must speak for seven minutes without visual aids, hold the audience’s attention, engage their interest and then take three minutes of questions. This is no mean feat, particularly as Covid-19 prevention measures meant that the competition had to be hosted digitally for the first time.

We are immensely grateful to our IT team and the judges who successfully wrestled with the technology and we should congratulate all the competitors who brilliantly rose to meet the challenge of presenting to a virtual audience from home.

The five finalists did not shy away from tackling issues of the day. Our own Emma Scanlon opened the afternoon on the subject of the UK’s weapons trade ‘To our shame the UK is the second largest exporter of arms in the world. Discuss’. Described by the judges as a ‘force to be reckoned with’, Emma’s powerful argument was strongly supported by her outstanding responses to some very tough questions.

Emma was followed by Hava Janjua from Nottingham High School who spoke thoughtfully on ‘Being young is overrated’. Next up was Millie Sadiq who presented a compelling argument for tackling Islamophobia and the false representation of Muslims and Muslim stereotypes through education with ‘Do the general public think that all Muslims are terrorists’. Next up was Rose Bridsen from Birkenhead who convincingly persuaded us that without money, it is difficult to live in a moral society with ‘Morals or Money: Which one is necessary to survive?’
Last but not least, Jess from Belvedere Academy proposed with great conviction that it was time to disrupt the established educational system with ‘Given the recent focus on alternate ways of assessing student performance, is it time to abolish GCSEs?’

The judges deliberated at length and clearly found the quality of research, understanding and delivery were in all cases exceptional and impressive. In the end it was Millie’s effective use of personal experience and convincing examples in support of her well-considered and purposefully made argument that persuaded the judges to choose Millie as the winner of the regional semi final. Well done Millie and we wish you the best of luck at the final in Portsmouth GDST.

Our brave judges, with the unenviable task of picking a winner of the Chrystall Prize, were:

Beth Ashbridge, an alumna of Central Newcastle High School, Durham University and the University of Cambridge. Beth worked as a Research Fellow in the in the Cell Biology Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City before switching gears and applying her scientific background to the field of intellectual property. In 2019 Beth graduated from Fordham University School of Law with honors and is now an attorney in Goodwin’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group training to be a litigator.

Nicola Candlish, an alumna of Newcastle Church High School, Nicola has a BA Hons in Music and PhD in Electroacoustics from Durham University and is an experienced Company and Stage Manager who has toured the UK and Worldwide with opera, ballet and musical theatre and have included Hamlet’s Castle in Denmark, the London Palladium,The Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, The Royal Albert Hall and many more. After a successful decade in live performance Nicola returned to working in education, running the Opera Department at the Royal Academy of Music. Here she produced 20+ operas and project-managed the course during the construction of a new theatre. Nicola is currently Chief Executive of British Youth Opera.

Cinzia Hardy, a graduate of the Guildford School of Acting & Dance (Musical Theatre), Surrey; Trinity Laban (MSc Dance Science, Hons) London; and trained with Monika Pagneux in Paris. Following a career as an actor and movement director, Cinzia founded performing arts company November Club in 1991,and has produced and/or directed all the company’s multi-award winning productions. Cinzia has led training for National Trust staff and room guides on storytelling and effective interpretation techniques. She stepped down from November Club in December 2020 to pursue freelance projects.

Sowmya Pulle, alumna of Newcastle Church High School is an award-winning communications professional and a qualified journalist with a background in print and radio. She later moved into marketing and PR working with some of the region’s biggest employers in policing, housing and technology. With a passion for supporting equality and diversity, Sowmya has also held a variety of volunteer positions that tackle gender inequality and BME issues, including leading the set up and chairing the first BAME staff network in Northumbria Police, talking about these issues over a decade ago. She is currently a senior marketing and communications manager for technology company SSCL.

Thank you so much to Beth, Nicola, Cinzia and Sowmya for their time and invaluable input.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “NHSG triumph in Top of the Rocks competition”

NHSG triumph in Top of the Rocks competition

February 17, 2021

During the final week of January, GDST Junior Schools took part in an exciting Maths competition. The GDST Maths Junior Rock Out 2021 was open to Years 4, 5 and 6 via an online platform. The friendly competition was designed to be engaging while improving the girls’ arithmetic. Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “You will see children delighted with the sense of achievement which comes from mastering mathematical knowledge.”

Each correct answer to a multiplication or division question earned the girls a point for their class and The Times Tables Rock Stars platform calculated the class average. We were thrilled to see NHSG occupying top spots in the league table throughout the competition and they finished in an impressive 5th place out of all GDST schools. Laila Ahmad, Year 6, achieved an amazing individual performance of 2nd place out of every girl involved! 6J gave the best overall performance out of the six KS3 form groups involved.

Well done girls, we are so proud of our NHSG Maths maestros!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Doing the Debating double in Senior School”

Doing the Debating double in Senior School

February 17, 2021

We are very pleased that one of the activities that has continued unabated during lockdown is Debating. As we found in the summer, it lends itself particularly well to online platforms such as Zoom and Teams and, indeed, all competitions have now been held online since March last year.

As is our custom at NHSG, we entered teams for both the Cambridge and Oxford competitions this year. We have a long and successful history of qualifying for Finals’ Day, which is of course always – until last year – held in the revered Union Society of each university, a streak which was continued last year when Liv Urwin and Jessica Spearman qualified for Finals, only to have it cancelled at the last minute as the country went into full lockdown.

Liv and Jess were back in the ring on this occasion, with Cambridge qualifiers on Saturday 16th and Oxford on Thursday 21st January, along with our other experienced debaters and some brave Year 10 novices, who would probably not have been able to compete had the events been held ‘live’ as usual.

We are thrilled that, from both qualifiers, we have got teams through to both Finals’ Days in March, a feat that we have only achieved once before. Successful in breaking to Cambridge were Emma Gibson and Ishika Jha, who both also made it through to Oxford, with teammates Liyanah Riyaz and Emma Scanlon.

Even though the girls will sadly not have the special experience of attending the competitions in person at Oxford and Cambridge this time round, I am sure they will all rise to the occasion, and have set themselves up very well for next year, when we all earnestly hope that Debating will return to the hallowed rooms of Frewin Court and Round Church Street.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A very merry morning with the Early Years”

A very merry morning with the Early Years

December 20, 2020

The Nativity story is such an exciting one for young children to learn about. The work leading up to the play focussed on countries and the setting in which the story took place.

We discussed in detail whether the story was from recent times or a long time ago. We then talked about advent and the girls created a calendar and learnt why we count down to Christmas. The girls explored the Nativity story further through the lyrics from the songs and acted out the main characters in the role play area where the relevant props were introduced to consolidate their understanding.

The EYFS Nativity at Chapman House on 12th December opened with a song to welcome the huge audience of friends and family into the story. Different girls took to the stage to tell the all-important narrative, demonstrating their confidence and understanding by speaking their words so clearly. Mary (Freya Brignall), Joseph (Anya Niven) and the donkey (Yasmin Egred) were so entertaining, particularly as they went about their journey to find a room to stay!

The leading Angels played by Grace Ledgerwood and Thensia Sinthujan were supported so well by the rest of the rhythmic Nursery angels.

The singing by all of the girls, both on-stage individually and as a whole group, was outstanding and made for some really uplifting performances.

Nursery and Reception demonstrated all the characteristics that make them effective learners; independent, confident, composed, communicative, courageous and collaborative NHSG girls.

The girls asked the audience to partake in a final rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas to conclude the Nativity and there was a wonderful feeling of Christmas cheer to end a very special term.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “A Festive Farewell”

A Festive Farewell

December 17, 2020

The NHSG Senior School Carol Service is a treasured event in the school calendar for many of us and we just couldn’t imagine ending the Autumn term without our traditional festive send-off. With this in mind, we set about getting special permission from St. George’s Church to film a carol concert in a safe and socially distant manner to share with our wider community.

With permission granted and all the necessary precautions in place, the NHSG Choir and staff from the Music Department performed a selection of carols in the stunning setting of St George’s on Monday 14th December. The atmosphere at the Church is what makes our Carol Service truly special so we hope that this comes across as you enjoy the Carols from the comfort of home. In addition to the carols, you will also have the opportunity to view the work of our Senior School pupils as they showcase their Music, Dance and Drama skills. The girls and staff in the Performing Arts department have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to pull this reel of talent together for you so we hope you enjoy it. A special thank you to Miss Penny and Mr Newey for masterminding the logistics behind this wonderful project.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Catnaps Circle Ice, Icecaps Ant Circle, Calcites Carp Nice, Icecaps Tan Cleric”

Catnaps Circle Ice, Icecaps Ant Circle, Calcites Carp Nice, Icecaps Tan Cleric

December 15, 2020

Have we caught your attention? Did you work out the anagram for the real title of Practical Science?

While it has been a little challenging for schools to provide practical scientific experiences during times of social distancing, Year 4 have found lots of creative ways to learn about Solids, Liquids and Gases as well as Sound.

The girls have completed many investigations and concentrated on the skills surrounding investigative work. Firstly, observation skills were introduced to Year 4 by emptying a fruit teabag into a glass of water. The girls watched in amazement as particles floated, sunk, then floated back up again and swirled around, leaving a trail of pink behind. The demonstration was also filmed allowing slow-motion analysis of the event to take place later on in the lesson. It is amazing how a few tiny particles of fruit can lead to unbelievable theories and discussion!

Other skills Year 4 have learned in Science include using a thermometer when investigating melting points. While it is obvious to adults that water freezes at 0°c and boils at 100°c children need to see it with their own eyes and experience it first-hand. Girls in Year 4 also measured how much salt will dissolve into different temperatures of water followed by an investigation on which substances do and do not dissolve. One class were very creative in sourcing ingredients to dissolve from kitchen cupboards at home! The basic principles of investigative science were kept throughout as the girls identified the variables in each experiment and which ones would remain constant to ensure fair testing conditions.

In this year of incredibly challenging firsts, the foundations of STEM learning have been firmly established in Year 4 and we are so proud of them for soaking up all of the Scientific knowledge available to them. N-ice work, girls!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Becca Braves The Bald!”

Becca Braves The Bald!

December 11, 2020

Rebecca McGowan, known as Becca, joined Year 12 in September and immediately demonstrated the defining hallmarks of a GDST girl; in particular, courage.

Rebecca had been thinking about shaving her head for some time but said that moving to NHSG, a different school to her identical twin, finally gave her the confidence to take on this challenge in aid of a really important cause. On 29th November she decided to shave off her long blonde hair so she could donate the money raised to the charity, Samaritans. She explained the significance of this charity: “Mental health is very important to me and has affected me and my loved ones, so Samaritans felt like the right option.Samaritans offers a 24-hour helpline for those facing a crisis.”

In the run-up to the big day Becca admits she felt nervous and “scared about what people would say“ but also incredibly excited, helped by the fact that she was encouraged by friends and family.

How does she feel now she has ‘done the deed’? “Everyone around me has been so supportive. I honestly feel fantastic, despite my head feeling like Velcro!“

Her goal was to raise £500, an ambitious target in itself, but within 24 hours of her JustGiving page going live she had already doubled it. She has now raised over £2800 which she says was “Beyond my wildest expectations!”.

Looking ahead to the future she says she can definitely imagine herself doing something similarly bold for charity but will need some time to think of her next challenge!

There’s certainly no rush, we’re hugely impressed by Rebecca’s brave actions and think she should take some time to reflect on her inspiring achievement. A huge well done from NHSG.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Year 7 Make A Splash in STEM Club”

Year 7 Make A Splash in STEM Club

December 3, 2020

On Thursday 3rd December, Year 7 spent their lunchtime as Marine Engineers. They enjoyed a live virtual session delivered by a STEM Coordinator from the Marine Society and Sea Cadets and learned all about density and the Archimedes principle which states that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially, is proportional to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces.

The girls were introduced to the engineering design cycle and then put their knowledge into practice as they planned their own design for a cargo boat. Then it was time to bring their designs to life. The girls had great fun building their boats to specific dimensions from card, tape and foil and there was some fantastic variation in the resulting vestles. Next it was time to test their boats to see whose could hold the most mass. The excitement in the room was tangible and the girls were delighted to find that their boats, constructed from such fragile materials, floated (well, most of them!) and could withstand a great weight. In many cases we ran out of masses to sink the ship because the designs were so robust!

Sink or float, we all had a great time designing and testing our creations and Year 7 proved that they have all the potential to become magnificent Marine Engineers in future.