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 - “Introducing Our Head Girl Team 2020”

Introducing Our Head Girl Team 2020

November 13, 2020

Samantha Rocks - Head Girl 2020-2021

Hi, I’m Samantha and I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry and Religious Studies at A Level, as well as studying an EPQ about the world of Parapsychology.

I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded the position of Head Girl. I have deep respect and warmth for what Newcastle High has to offer, and I profoundly feel that our school offers not just academic development, but moral and spiritual growth. The school presented me with a plethora of impressive opportunities, from going to Australia on Sports tour to volunteering for Shine and Science Is My Superpower, programmes in school which aim to spark a love for science for children from underprivileged areas. I currently help to run a relaxation and organisation club, as well as tutor younger girls. I hope to be a dignified, professional and kind role model who paves the way for younger girls and embraces differences within our school community. I am also striving to build stronger bridges between Year Groups.

Truly, Newcastle High has encouraged me to reach for the stars, I believe it is now my role to ensure every girl appreciates their time here and aspires to be the best version of themselves, just as I do. In the future I hope to study Law at university, and eventually fulfil my dream of becoming a barrister.

FUN FACTS ABOUT SAMANTHA!

My favourite book is ...
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

My happy place is…
Walking with my dogs on a rainy day in Jesmond Dene.

I relax by...
Going to cafes with my Mum.

I love to watch…
Period dramas.

If I could eat one meal forever it would be...
Vegetable stir fry with gyozas.

Any phobias?..
Deep water.

Weird and wonderful fact about me...
I have two pet budgies named Honey and Pea.

My favourite quote is...
“The cost of procrastination is the life you could’ve lived.’

Maya Torres - Deputy Head Girl 2020/2021

Hi I’m Maya! I am currently studying Dance, History and Spanish, and I’m hoping to audition for Drama schools in the coming months to train in Performing Arts after leaving school. I am hugely passionate about all my subjects, but also our incredible school community as a whole.

When I’m not practising Dance, Drama and Music both inside and outside school I can often be found with Sam and Hafsah in the corner of the Common Room planning our next project or initiative. Having been lucky enough to assume a number of leadership roles in school from the more traditional like House Captain and Forum Rep to getting to co-choreograph last year’s whole school production of Grease, I was enthusiastic to apply for the Sixth Form leadership team and consequentially the Head Girl team, excited by the prospect of being given the platform to enact whole-school positive change and development. Undoubtedly this has been a term like no other but it has pushed us to work creatively and find new ways to reach the girls and ensure the NHSG community remains as vibrant and buzzing as ever.

We are working hard in a number of areas, specifically diversity and inclusion in line with our strict anti-prejudice policy, and mental health support, especially given the turbulent conditions we find ourselves in at this time. I am greatly looking forward to the coming months as Deputy Head Girl, as I hope you are too!

FUN FACTS ABOUT MAYA!

My favourite book is ...
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu is my go-to feminist book.

My happy place is…
The Dance studio.

I relax by...
Being creative in some way.

I love to watch…
BBC dramas

If I could eat one meal forever it would be...
A veggie burger.

Any phobias?..
I’m scared of school having to close again! I just love it too much.

Weird and wonderful fact about me...
I can sing (almost) all of the periodic table!

My favourite quote is...
“Someone else’s beauty is not the absence of your own.” Hafsah told me this one a few years ago and it has always stuck with me since.

Hafsah Shah - Deputy Head Girl 2020/2021

Hi, I’m Hafsah and I am currently studying Chemistry, Biology and Psychology A Level as well as an EPQ about climate change and infectious disease. I hope to study Dentistry at university.

I have always been enthusiastic about everything that NHSG offers, from Drama productions, public speaking and school forum to Duke of Edinburgh and Go Green society; I truly think that I’ve relished every opportunity. The empowering nature of NHSG has always fuelled my motivation to overcome boundaries and challenges. Our community is truly inspiring as we all strive for our individual and collective success. The endless amount of support available has created such a safe and comfortable environment. I am so grateful to have experienced this during my high school years and I hope that every student at NHSG feels the same way. Being Deputy Head Girl is a wonderful opportunity for me to represent the school and contribute to this positive community. It is so exciting that I can inspire and act as a role to younger girls in the same way that previous Head Girl Teams did for me.

As Deputy Head Girl I hope to create more opportunities for girls to integrate with other Year Groups and create an even more comfortable and friendly environment for everyone.

I am very proud of everything our team has done so far and look forward to everything we will achieve moving forward.

FUN FACTS ABOUT HAFSAH!

My favourite book is ...
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

My happy place is…
Exploring new places with my family.

I relax by...
Baking cookies with my sister.

I love to watch…
Disney movies.

If I could eat one meal forever it would be...
My sister’s Katsu Curry

Any phobias?..
Open water.

Weird and wonderful fact about me...
I really enjoy pottery!

My favourite quote is...
“Nothing worth having comes easy”.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “PE GCSE a welcome addition to school curriculum”

PE GCSE a welcome addition to school curriculum

October 31, 2020

The very first GCSE PE Course at Newcastle High School for Girls is thriving, with an impressive 21 Year 10 girls opting to study the subject this year.

The girls have two years to perfect their practical and master the theory aspects of the curriculum and so far they have made a brilliant start.

The course will see them play in a variety of familiar sports such as Badminton, Cricket, Netball and Hockey, as well as perform in their own individual sports such as Irish Dancing, Ice Skating and Rowing. We also have the opportunity to introduce girls to some new sports and experiences, such as Climbing. All of our GCSE pupils will master the skills and reach new heights!

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Creativity across Year 1”

Creativity across Year 1

October 20, 2020

Girls in Year 1 have been thoroughly engaged during their weekly Art and Dance lessons which ensure that they are developing their creative skills with confidence.

Art lessons have taken place indoors and outdoors, making the most of Junior School’s beautiful grounds. The girls have been putting their drawing skills into practice, taking inspiration from both observation and their imagination. They have embraced the opportunity of exploring charcoal as a creative tool, which they used to draw their own homes. They have also used watercolours and a variety of brush techniques to produce Autumnal pictures. All these wonderful pieces of artwork are now displayed around the classroom which has given it a beautifully seasonal feel.

Creativity in an outdoor setting has been in abundance too. After researching Andy Goldsworthy sculptures, the girls were very excited at the prospect of collecting natural materials to create their very own land art. They worked in small groups to produce these striking sculptures and demonstrated strong communication and cooperation skills too.

The girls have displayed an equally enthusiastic approach to Dance lessons this term, coming up with imaginative ideas and exhibiting careful control and coordination when performing movements. They were also able to express mood and feelings during their dances and have particularly enjoyed using streamers for our focus on patterns. The girls have taken real pride in their performances in front of their peers, evidenced by smiles of delight throughout lessons in the Mauritia Hall. It has been a pleasure to see their confidence levels soar throughout this term and we look forward to seeing them improve even further after a well-deserved week of rest.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Grease was the word!”

Grease was the word!

October 3, 2020
Grease has certainly been the word around Senior School for the last nine months, with the announcement of the musical in June last year and auditions starting as early as September! Between 30th January and 1st February, NHSG was well and truly transformed into 1950s Rydell High to host our very own production of Grease . Over 1400 visitors crossed the threshold of Newcastle High to watch the four show sensation (with Saturday night a complete sell-out) in the Hall’s impressive auditorium space. The company comprised of two casts; the Burgers and the Milkshakes. Mrs Dobson, Head of Drama and Director of Grease, describes the difficulties she faced with the casting process: “With so much talent and enthusiasm from all the girls, we decided that a recall audition would help to single out the most talented performers. At the recall, I asked the girls to really ‘sell themselves’ and avoid modesty. I felt certain that this would help us to eliminate some of the more hesitant performers. But, NHSG girls lived up to their reputation of being confident and ambitious and then proceeded to wow me with their stunning delivery.” The Performing Arts team deliberated over several meetings and after a sleepless night (quite literally), they realised that there was too much talent and too few parts. There was only one option: two casts! The ‘Burger’ and ‘Milkshake’ teams were born and double rehearsals began. It’s safe to say the two gifted casts brought equal amounts of energy, vitality and passion to the ultimate musical classic and the audience was astounded by the fancy footwork and vocal talent exhibited by each and every girl involved. The atmosphere in School prior to the performances was electric, with many friends and family of NHSG opting to gather in our pop-up diner and bar area to enjoy some pre-theatre refreshments, before exitedly awaiting the call to take their seats! The show did not disappoint, bursting with hits such as Summer Nights , Greased Lightnin’ , Hopelessly Devoted to You and You’re the One That I Want, complemented by fun, high energy choreography. The unexpected appearance of Kennicke’s bright red Ford convertible also made a delightful addition to the show; confirmed by the gasps of surprise from across the audience! The girls really gave it their all and did themselves proud on stage but it was particularly wonderful to learn about the friendships that had formed between cast-members off-stage, cemented by their shared passion for delivering a spectacular musical for our School community. The show was an absolute pleasure to watch, and the good news is, there are only three months to wait until the next big NHSG musical reveal!
Newcastle High School For Girls - “Our very first virtual Reunion for Alumnae”

Our very first virtual Reunion for Alumnae

October 3, 2020

It was with a heavy heart that we were forced to cancel the Church High Reunion in June 2020 and the inaugural NHSG Reunion in May 2020. With government restrictions still in place, we were unable to go ahead with the Newcastle Alumnae Reunion planned for Saturday 3rd October which we hoped would be in its stead.

With the pandemic continuing to adversely affect our way of life, we knew we had a responsibility to support our wider community, some of whom have found themselves alone for extended periods over the past six months. We set about arranging an online gathering for all of our Alumnae groups on 3rd October, providing an opportunity for everyone to reconnect with old school friends via a Zoom e-tea party.

We were a little unsure as to how many Alumnae would want to take us up on our offer of a virtual Reunion so we were delighted when the responses to the invitation came flooding in, expressing delight at the opportunity to enjoy ‘elevenses’ with those that may have previously struggled to join a Reunion in person.

The morning of the Reunion soon came around and it was an absolute pleasure to see the familiar faces of Alumnae of all ages, from across the globe (well done to those extremely early risers!), take over our screens when the clock struck 11.00 a.m.

Attendees were greeted with a live video address from Mr Tippett, who touched on how NHSG has overcome the difficulties it has faced during the pandemic. Many of our ‘old girls’ remarked on how interesting it was to find out exactly how the school has been operating in these unthinkable circumstances.
Then there was a chance for school friends to catch up ‘in person’ with a series of private ‘breakout rooms’. As it was our very first virtual Reunion we were a little anxious about the technical hitches we might face on ejecting our trusting participants from the main meeting space into their rooms but, thankfully, all went rather smoothly! The only complaint at the end of the event was that it just hadn’t been long enough.

While our Alumnae had no problem passing the time with nostalgic discussions, some light-hearted entertainment was provided by way of a quiz on the history of both of NHSG’s founding schools.

We are so pleased that the event was a success, and plan to schedule more virtual reunions in the near future, keeping our resilient Alumnae community connected in the only way we can at the moment.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Samantha Rocks talks lockdown, learning and looking to the future”

Samantha Rocks talks lockdown, learning and looking to the future

August 30, 2020

We spoke with Samantha, NHSG Head Girl 2020/21, about taking on the role of Head Girl during a national pandemic. This is what she had to say...

‘Sweet and sour’ is how I would describe lockdown.

Older girls previously buried in books and deadlines re-programmed their lives within minutes. Plenty delighted in the premature end to their studies but my heart sank for those denied an opportunity to exhibit their full potential and robbed of end of school traditions. With no predecessors’ hand-me-down on ‘How to be a Head Girl at home’, it was here I first came face to face with the protagonist of 2020; change. Change, again, is both sweet and sour. I quickly decided I didn’t like change; I was fearful of the landscape of free time in front of me and set out to have a plethora of perfectly productive days.

“Everyone was fearful – however, I thought if I could help somebody become a little less fearful, this would be a significant achievement.”

On reflection, I am very proud of my school. The Guided Home Learning system drew us closer to normality, a new normality. School forum, Mental Health Awareness Week, Diversity Week, a Black Lives Matter assembly, Sports Day, pastoral care, co-curricular clubs, guest speakers and much more, were made very much available to us. The hardship certainly began with lack of structure, yet, as meetings, clubs and a school timetable developed, I recognised a productive utilisation of my time. Change was not so bad.

Now, to summarise the ‘sweet’ experiences. The compassion and kindness, the pure goodness of selfless society when faced with unprecedented challenges. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to reconsider my future and brought about the realisation that I no longer wanted to be a doctor. Now, I am applying for Law and truly excited by the prospect of studying this at university.

Lockdown brought me time to tick things off my to-do list that had been expanding for months. I started to read classic literature, such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, and submitted an essay to a university essay competition. I have also learnt to appreciate. I appreciate that heroes don’t always wear capes, and they often come with IT expertise! I’ve learnt to appreciate my big family unified in my not so big house (perhaps with the exception of when I can’t get to sleep for a noisy big brother and sister). I’ve learnt to appreciate just how lucky I truly am. Most importantly, I’ve learnt to appreciate health.

In early February, I outlined my vision for NHSG and the impact I hoped to have during my time as Head Girl as part of the school’s new selection process.

Mental illness, especially in the form of body dysmorphia and abnormal eating habits is prevalent in young girls. My vision was to address this through various channels, for example, inviting professional guest speakers and dieticians into school to challenge misconceptions and produce a new normal – away from the unattainable ‘perfection’ portrayed so abundantly in the media. Unfortunately, I have had first-hand experience of a family member with eating disorders, and therefore feel well equipped to address this issue.

I would also like to play a part in boosting House allegiance and making House events appeal to a wider array of pupils. I suggested three new house events; a great House Bake Off, an annual Go Green challenge (in which houses compete to improve the environment) and finally, a house style University Challenge to give our phenomenal intellectuals an opportunity to shine. Some other proposals include half-termly trips to different universities – why should five different families travel to the same university? - and increasing the involvement of Alumnae in work experience opportunities.

Finally, I will promote hard work, motivation and drive, as well as inspiring professionalism in school life. I am keen to nurture an appreciation of academic achievement – for me it is something to be proud of in the same sense that drama skills and sports success are celebrated.

We’re already half way through the Autumn term and I know there is a lot I wish to achieve. It is exciting to work towards my aims, and I feel emboldened by the challenges lockdown has exposed me to. Above all it has taught me to embrace, rather than fear, change.

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Newcastle High School for Girls pays tribute to girls receiving A Level results today”

Newcastle High School for Girls pays tribute to girls receiving A Level results today

August 13, 2020

Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) has paid tribute to their pupils receiving A Level results today amid circumstances that no one could have envisaged at the start of the year.

With public examinations cancelled and NHSG moving to a programme of online Guided Home Learning during the lockdown, the Year 13 cohort has risen admirably to the challenges faced in their final year at school.

In recognition of this, as well as congratulating pupils on their achievements, NHSG is celebrating the girls’ impressive resilience in the face of adversity.

Michael Tippett, Head at NHSG, said:

“In these unprecedented times, I commend the girls receiving their A Level results today for their adaptability, their maturity and their determination to remain unfazed in these recent months; they have truly reflected the spirit of an NHSG and GDST girl.

“I am extremely proud of each and every one of them and offer my congratulations to them for their strength of character as well as their A Level results as they now embark on the next stage of their educational/career journey. The majority of the girls will be able to take up their places at university and other higher education institutions and I wish the whole cohort every success.

“I would also like to pay tribute to our staff whose professionalism during this period has been exemplary. Their rapid response in moving to our full programme of online teaching and learning after school facilities were closed to the majority of pupils ensured they provided the very best support for the girls in their final year in school while demonstrating their commitment to delivering an outstanding education for the girls throughout these difficult times.”

Without exams, A Level grades have been calculated differently this year, and although schools have submitted estimated pupil grades to the examination boards, the examinations boards have used a statistical process based on school historical data and national data to calculate the final grades they have awarded.

Michael Tippett added:

“There has been much national debate on the efficacy and fairness of the approach taken by examination boards, and I feel that it is right that schools should challenge any perceived flaws in the system that are affecting their pupils.  At NHSG we are reviewing the grades awarded to each pupil and where we see discrepancies we will make an appeal to the relevant examination board once these processes have been clarified by OfQual and the examination boards.”

“A Level qualifications are critically important in determining our pupils’ next steps, and it’s important that we continue to support every girl in achieving the best possible outcome.”

Newcastle High School For Girls - “Dedication to Diversity”

Dedication to Diversity

July 9, 2020

School Diversity Week has been on the NHSG Senior School calendar for a number of years, and this year it proved particularly timely taking place between the 22nd and 26th June. In the past year, we are delighted to have been awarded the Stonewall Bronze Award, in recognition of our ongoing work to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, and for our commitment to celebrating diversity in all its forms. Taking part in School Diversity Week is just one part of our approach.

Despite the fact that we couldn’t be in school to mark Diversity Week with our usual endeavours, the programme that took place in a virtual space was extremely full and informative.

Although the primary aim of Diversity Week is to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, we always take the opportunity to look at tolerance and diversity more widely at this time of year. Over the past few weeks, we have had an explicit focus on racial prejudice and discrimination across the curriculum in light of current events. Members of the Sixth Form have also shared an assembly with the younger girls, talking to them about the history of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as discussing examples of micro-aggression, and what we, as a school, can do to help tackle racial prejudice in any form.

Throughout the week, we organised various remote activities for the girls in relation to the theme of diversity. This included a number of external speakers, two of whom are alumnae of our school community, who presented to different Year Groups via Teams.

Girls in Years 11-13 heard from Jessica Lynn, world-renowned transgender advocate, educator, and activist. Her experiences as a transgender woman and parent led her to dedicate her life to spreading awareness and acceptance of gender non-conforming communities around the world. She talked to the girls about her life story, from knowing as a young child, coping mechanisms, to finally transitioning later in life.

The following day, alumna Liv Devine (pictured above with BBC's Annie Mac), singer and song-writer, currently signed with Warner Bros Records, shared her experiences with Years 9 and 10 about growing up as gay, and what she would say to her younger self, knowing what she knows now. Liv (pictured above) left NHSG in 2015 so was the perfect candidate to relay her Senior School memories to the girls. It was also a fantastic opportunity to listen to some of Liv’s music, especially as she is making waves on Radio 1’s playlist with her latest single, Don’t Say It.

On Friday 26th June, another NHSG alumna and inaugural Head Girl, Davina Nylander (pictured above) spoke to the girls about her “experiences growing up as a black girl.” Davina is now in her fifth year studying Medicine at University College London. She has written and spoken about her own experiences of growing up as a black girl in Newcastle through a number of mediums and agreed to talk to all of the girls from Years 7-9 to pass on her message of self-love, embracing your own uniqueness and the importance of finding your identity.

The 3 statements that shaped her talk were:

1. The things that make you stand out are the best things about you.
2. Your blackness is beautiful
3. You’re never alone, even when it feels like it.

All the talks were excellent, but Liv and Davina’s had strong resonance with their being former members of our School.

In addition to the planned talks, the Diversity channel on Teams was buzzing with activity throughout the week, with a flurry of quizzes, quotes, pictures and stories all linked to themes of equality and diversity. A number of co-curricular clubs running during the week were also linked to the theme of diversity.

Congratulations to Julianna Zobrist and Emma Walsingham who won prizes for the most creative diversity-themed bakes in cookery club!