Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


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Languages Festival


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A team of 25 NHEHS students have been  up to Northampton High School to participate in the annual GDST Languages Festival.

As well as enjoying the range of activities on offer, they seized the opportunity to develop their confidence and competence in their languages.  Special congratulations go to Aria, Isabel, Amelia and Amber who won the Year 9 Spanish Play category and to Zareen  who won the Year 10 French Poetry prize.  

Thank you to Northampton High for hosting such a great day.

GDST Public Speaking


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On Friday 9th March, five talented students competed in the final of the GDST Chrystall Prize*, a public speaking competition for Year 11 pupils from across the Trust.

After battling through a number of heats to get the final, which was held here at NHEHS, the finalists faced an impressive panel of judges: Stephen Sakhur, the award-winning BBC presenter; Jane Garvey, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour; and James Coomarasamy, BBC television and radio presenter.

The challenge was to talk for up to seven minutes on their chosen topic, followed by three minutes of questioning from the audience.

The five finalists did not shy away from tackling controversial issues. Serena from Newcastle High School for Girls, opened proceedings with ‘The truth is overrated’ and she was followed by Ashley from The Royal High School, Bath with ‘Feminism has gone too far’, an apt topic for the week of International Women’s Day.  Streatham & Clapham High School’s Elizabeth posed the questioned ‘Is there any magic left in the world?’, whilst Flossie from Notting Hill & Ealing asked ‘Should statues be removed if they offend current sensibilities?’ Josie from Croydon High School closed the final with her speech, ‘Does social media have a detrimental effect on young people’s mental health?’

The judges were deeply impressed with the quality of the arguments put forward and the poise and composure of the speakers. They awarded the runner’s up prize to Flossie, praising her thoughtful and persuasive style, while the winner’s prize and trophy went to Serena with a special mention for her warmth, humour, lightness of touch and success in engaging her audience.

*The 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.

 

Visit from Lord Winston


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To Launch Science Week 2018 NHEHS was captivated and thrilled by a wonderful visit from Lord Robert Winston.

The Hall was  filled to capacity with students and staff as we were taken on a wonderful trip, from simple, individual specialised cells and their adaptions, right through to cutting edge gene editing and CRISPR.  Lord Winston then fielded questions on a huge range of topics, from ethical minefields  to life in the House of Lords. Conversation continued over tea in the Headmaster’s office with two of the sixth form Biology Representatives. 

 

Page to Screen


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On March 1st, as the “Beast from the East” took hold in London, World Book Day fever was in full swing at NHEHS.

Our sixth form English Reps, dressed as the Famous Five, gave an entertaining presentation in assembly on the theme of the day – “From Page to Screen”. They spoke about the Harry Potter franchise before moving on to other film/book crossovers, including a link between Shakespeare and The Lion King! We were then treated to a talk by our visiting author for the day, Irena Brignull, author of “The Hawkweed Prophecy” series. Irena has also had a very successful career in screenwriting and her credits include “The Boxtrolls”, “Shakespeare in Love”, “The Little Prince” and the Sky adaptation of “Skellig”. She talked to us about her own experiences of embarking on a screenwriting career, and her message of the importance of self-belief was inspiring.

Some of our Year 10 students were also lucky enough to have workshops session with Irena later in the day. Based on how books can be effectively converted into screenplays, the workshops featured some clips from Irena’s films and exposed the students to ideas about the power of storytelling. Irena shared the idea that everyone is a storyteller, and went on to discuss how it is important to consider the need to show action in a screenplay as opposed to characters narrating their thoughts and feelings. A moving montage from “The Little Prince” really helped the students to appreciate this. They then embarked on their own attempts at converting a page from Irena’s first novel, “The Hawkweed Prophesy” into an idea for a scene in a screenplay.

Later on in the lunch break, students from throughout the school were able to join Irena in the library for a Q&A session. There were some profound questions, such as “What is the role of fiction?”along with more practical queries about how to get into screenwriting as a career. Irena spoke in an inspiring and motivational way, and the students left armed with the knowledge that they can succeed if they persevere with their writing.

Fancy dress always plays an important role in World Book Day and over 30 members of staff dressed up as book/film characters, with a range including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cruella de Vil, Tintin and a whole host of Hogwarts professors and students. Of course, the students all dressed up as well, and at lunchtime there was a large gathering in the atrium for the eagerly anticipated fancy dress competition. Judged by Mr Shoults (aka Paddington Bear) and Irena, the winning group entries included a Quidditch team and the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

 

CTRL ALT Believe


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On Saturday 24th February 2018 the NHEHS robotics team competed in the FIRST Lego League national robotics finals at the University of West England. After winning the London regional heat back in December, the team of 7 girls from Years 7 to 11 under the name CTRL ALT BELIEVE, had had two months to prepare themselves. The team were coached throughout by sixthformers who had been part of the NHEHS team, CTRLX, who themselves had made it through to last years’ finals, and the girls headed to Bristol ready to take on some of the UK and Ireland’s best and keenest roboticists.

There are 3 main aspects to the First Lego League competition: Robot Game, Project and Core Values. The theme for the competition this year was ‘Hydrodynamics’, with each task on the robot game competition mat based around water. Robots have to be programmed to move autonomously around the mat undertaking specific tasks and challenges, gaining as many points as possible, whilst also maintaining high levels of accuracy. Over the Christmas holidays the girls worked extremely hard on the mechanical attachments for their robot with each designed to be specifically suited to completing a task on the mat. Building secure and mechanical systems out of Lego is not the easiest task but they succeeded at this element and impressed the judges with their innovative robot design. The robot games themselves were also successful and the girls managed to have a consistently high scoring robot and on the day beat their own personal best from the regional event.

The team was also successful in the Project element of the competition.  The brief was: ‘Identify a problem within the human water cycle and design a solution to help this’ and they came up with a concept named S-Alt Water. This product is designed to help in the current refugee crisis by attaching to boats and filtering sea water for drinking by using the heat of the Mediterranean sun. As well as making a prototype the girls had further supported their design with calculations of the salinity of the sea and the evaporation rate.

The team performed well in the Core Values section. On the day they were given a task they had to complete as team in front of the judges, which was to build a Lego wall so that the judges could no longer see them. Teams also have to prepare a poster and give a presentation to the judges about how they’ve worked in the team throughout the process. To serve as a visual representation of their teamwork and creativity the NHEHS team had each produced a cube to represent themselves as a team member. The cubes were of varying size according to the age of the individual member, with each cube having the individual’s photograph on the outside and  a description on the inside explaining their involvement in the team. 

We are very proud that they did so well in the finals and delighted that they received well deserved acknowledgement by winning the Judges Award for ‘Most passionate about STEM’. 

Music Trips


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Two weeks and two musical trips, the first with Year 11 and 13 to see one of the A level set works, ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Stravinsky played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. Also in the programme was Ravel’s ‘Concerto for the left hand’ written for the Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein (brother of the famous philosopher) who lost his arm in the First World War and Delibes ‘Idylle de Printemps’. The students were also able to attend the pre-concert talk where the conductor spoke of Stravinsky’s folk music influences and how he approached conducting the ‘Rite of Spring’.

Our second trip took Year 9 music students to see a new adaption of ‘Carmen’ directed by Barrie Kosky at the Royal Opera House. The students were enthralled to hear the music live but debated the need for José to act so rashly by killing Carmen!

Tudor Times


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Year 8 enjoyed a trip to Hampton Court Palace  to complement their studies of the Tudor Period. It was very atmospheric as we toured Henry VIII’s state apartments, taking in the Great Hall with its expansive tapestries on the walls and hammer and beam ceiling, all adorned with stag antlers. We saw the chapel where Henry and Catherine Parr were married, and got to marvel at the painted ceiling of this chapel, ornately decorated with golden orbs and the words Mon Dieu et Mon Droit.

We also enjoyed a warming roaring fire in Henry VIII’s royal kitchens, which would have been ready to roast large pieces of meat on spits, infused with herbs gathered from the grounds. As well as our Tudors focus we explored some of the later Georgian parts of the Palace including William and Mary’s more homely apartments and their chocolate kitchen.

A real highlight was the work shop led by a very charismatic Dan who explored the nature of evidence with us, culminating in investigating several artefacts found at and linked to Hampton Court Palace.  These included a small piece of crockery which  through careful deduction Hannah and Charlotte  correctly identified as part of a chamber pot.

PRE Trip


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As part of their work for GCSE on different faiths Year 11 PRE Students visited the Jewish Museum at Camden Town followed by an Orthodox Synagogue at Marble Arch. At the museum students had the opportunity to take part in different activities regarding Jewish festivals and practices. It was an excellent opportunity for them to consolidate their existing knowledge as well as obtain a new understanding of the beliefs and celebrations within the Jewish faith. There were many interesting artefacts to discover in the gallery and the festivals workshop covered the different varieties of the Shabbat celebrations. The students particularly enjoyed tasting the challah bread and grape juice as well as having a go at getting a note out of the shofar horn with some students demonstrating real talent!

At the Synagogue the Rabbi was very welcoming and pointed out the key features within the building. It was a great opportunity to see the Torah scrolls inside the Ark and we were fortunate that the Rabbi also removed one and read and sang in Hebrew to show how it would be used during a service. The students confidently asked many pertinent and sometimes challenging questions which will all be extremely useful in clarifying their understanding of the Jewish faith.

Poetry Live


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On Friday 23rd February, Year 11 ventured across London to the Apollo Theatre, Victoria to enjoy GCSE Poetry Live. The setting for the day, which is the same theatre that stages ‘Wicked’, was certainly an apt description for a day of great poetry performances.
 
Once we had taken our seats in the stalls and had our notebooks ready, the day began with a session from a GCSE examiner on how to deal with poetry in an exam. Exam-technique mastered, we were then treated to readings from a range of poets starting with the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy sharing the stage with Gillian Clark. We were then entertained by Daljit Nagha’s powerful writing as well as the eminent poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage. The audience was given the opportunity to ask all the poets some questions throughout the morning, which really brought the sessions to life. After the very important lunch break, we then heard from poet and documentary maker Owen Sheers and excerpts from the emotive work of poet and documentary maker Imtiaz Dharker. The day was then rounded off by a characteristically exuberant performance from John Agard.
 
To experience poetry being spoken by the writers rather than being simply as words on a page was incredibly enriching for all involved. The importance of the day though was perhaps best summarised by the closing words of John Agard: “… this room may be filled with future neuroscientists and athletes, but no matter what you do you cannot avoid the power of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Words and communication matters.”

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