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Watch out Mary Berry!


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The NHEHS bakers were busy last week putting their creative and culinary skills to the test in our heat of the GDST bake off.

Divided into two age groups (Years 7-9 and 10-11), our bakers brought new levels of originality and creativity to the table for this year’s competition. The event kicked off with the class heats judged by the form tutors and co-tutors. From these heats, 11 girls’ creations made it through to the NHEHS Bake Off final at morning break.

Armed with pen and paper, our judging team of Mr Shoults, Mrs Irwin, Ms Bushell, Miss Silvester and Mrs Esler lined up in the dining room ready to award marks for presentation, technique and taste.

Our finalists for Years 7-9  showcased the world in their cakes including the seasons of the year, flowers, through to Japanese sushi and a relaxed beach scene. The Years 10-11 bakes took themes as diverse as their favourite things at school, sport, winter and baking.

Choosing the winners was difficult, but judges declared there were no “soggy bottoms” although plenty of “great texture” and “depth of flavour!”

In the end, Heather McManus was declared the winner for Years 7-9 for her excellent carrot cakes with commendations to Agnes Hall and Matilda Jones. Lian Tan from Year 10 was the winner in the older category for her cakes depicting her favourite things about life at NHEHS (classics, cricket and water polo), with special mentions to Imogen Laurence and Georgia Wells.

Good luck to Heather and Lian who will go on to represent NHEHS in the semi-finals next week. The final will be held at Sydenham high school in December where girls from all over the GDST will baking cakes under bake off conditions!

 

 

Year 6 Captains Trip to Parliament


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By Natasha Bennett, 6S

On 14th November 2018, the Year 6 Team Captains, Vice Captains & two Councillors travelled to Parliament to learn what it was like to be a Member of Parliament and the rules and regulations they need to abide by. We were all eager to arrive and extra ecstatic to discover that the last time the Captains and Councillors went on a trip was over 7 years ago!

We travelled to Parliament on the tube and some of us enjoyed the challenge of the Metro crossword which we solved with the help of some commuters! We arrived, then after going through a brief security check, we marched up to the Jubilee Room to listen to a lecture on ‘The Practice of Parliamentary Procedure in the House of Commons.’ The Jubilee Room itself was a true sensation. As our guide articulated her speech, we all gazed in awe at the intricate designs the room had to offer. It was such an honour to be there.

During the lecture we learned about the parliamentary ‘bible’ called the Erskine May which stated all the rules and regulations. If you were a clerk making a point in the House of Commons you would have to specifically link your comments back to this book. We were allowed to see and hold a copy of it afterwards. Finally, we learned about the Table and Journal Offices which write the legal documents, noting down what they think will happen in Parliament and what has happened already.

Following the lecture, we were lucky enough to pick up some free Parliament souvenirs (thank you, Mrs Ferguson) and walked downstairs. As we were running early, we asked Security if we could go further into Parliament. Luckily, we could, so we wandered towards the House of Commons. Crowds were beginning to pour into the hall, as today was no ordinary day for Parliament as it was the day Theresa May was trying to get her Cabinet ministers to support her Brexit plan.

We entered a hall with distinctive paintings and jaw-droppingly beautiful marble architecture. All of a sudden, police officers entered the room followed by the Speaker of the House of Commons for the ceremonial opening of Prime Minister’s Question Time! The crowds streamed after them but we were not able to follow them. However, we noticed that the BBC were filming ‘Parliament Live.’ Acting in an orderly fashion as we took in the atmosphere and looked at the walls and ceilings, we wandered into the back of the shot praying we would be on live television! Unfortunately, we had to leave a few minutes later, not that we wanted to, of course!

Overall, I found this whole experience so memorable and sensational. I was particularly pleased to see some of us in the background on the BBC Politics Live show on the BBC I Player later that evening! We owe a HUGE THANK YOU to Mrs Ferguson who is a legend for organising this whole amazing trip for us.

 

Half the World in Half Term


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China, Russia, Italy! Three amazing trips in two weeks.

Ten days in China

A once in a lifetime opportunity! 41 girls from Years 10, 11 and 12 travelled to Beijing, Xian and Shanghai with five of their teachers in a cultural extravaganza designed to put their enthusiastically learned Mandarin to good use. 

First stop Beijing where the girls visited Tiananmen Square, wandered the Forbidden City, saw the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace (after a boat ride), saw Pandas at the zoo and went to the Olympic Park. They also walked part of the Great Wall of China and learnt to drink tea the Chinese way!

An important part of the trip was a visit to Beijing No 80 High School, with whom NHEHS has an exchange relationship. The girls met their fellow Chinese students for a language exchange (and some Mandarin lessons).

An overnight sleeper train took them to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors. They also cycled along the ancient City Wall, visited the Bell and Drum towers and even had a calligraphy lesson. Another overnight train to Shanghai where they saw the Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai Museum, the Bund, cruised the Huangpu River, spent time looking at the street art in Tianzifang, navigated the subway and experienced shopping in a local supermarket. Mandarin skills were then put to serious test in the local street market where prices for keepsakes were haggled hard and fast!

 

Back to Europe, through Russia

Moscow and St Petersburg next! 23 girls from Years 11-13 travelled to Russia on a 6 day History trip to complement their work in A Level Russian History while for GCSE students it was a chance to see some key Cold War sites.

From Red Square and the Kremlin in Moscow, they then boarded an overnight train to St Petersburg, where they saw life through the eyes of Tsars with guided tours of the city and famous palaces such as the Winter Palace. A final night of folk dancing rounded off this amazing trip.

 

And on the way home, via Italy!

Celebrating their love for Latin, 31 girls from Years 9 and 10 took a whistle-stop tour of classical Italy taking in Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum in just four days! 

In this culture packed trip, the girls revelled in the majesty of the key sights of Rome; the Pantheum, Coliseum, Capitoline museum, Paletine Hill and Spanish Steps. They also made their wishes at the Trevi Fountain and re-enacted scenes from their Latin learning in the Forum. 

From Rome to a beautiful villa in Oplontis and then on to explore the extensive site of Herculaneum with an overnight stay by the sea in Sorento. Final stop, Pompeii for another vibrant snapshot of classical life.

Plenty of time was allowed throughout for gelatos galore, pizza and for chic shopping! When in Rome, after all…!

Going for Gold!


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Congratulations to Imogen from Year 13 – the first NHEHS girl to achieve her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award this academic year!

Imogen started the challenge in September 2017, having already completed Silver & Bronze alongside girls from NHEHS. This time, however, she was doing her DofE outside of school with a group of people she had never met before.

There are 5 parts to the Gold DofE award; the Expedition (including a practice and a real one of 3 nights and 4 days of walking), the Residential (a 5 day and 4night experience), the Physical, the Skills and the Volunteering.

To complete the Physical and Skills part of the Award, Imogen practised hard on her tennis and flute over the 12-month period. Some of the NHEHS girls may recognise her as a familiar face from Imogen’s year spent volunteering at the school’s swimming pool alongside Mr Bent to meet the Gold Award Voluntary requirement. This followed Imogen’s year as a volunteer for Oxfam for her Silver Award. For the Residential part of the Gold Award, Imogen took part in a 5-day conservation and outdoor activity residential at Sayers Croft in Surrey.

The most challenging part of the Award by far was the expedition where participants had to walk as a group for 18 km per day for 4 days, then camp for 3 nights.

Imogen took part in a practice expedition in May as part of a group of 17, where they camped for 3 nights and 3 days on Dartmoor. Despite good weather, the route was tough and the expedition physically demanding, as the group had to rely on their own map reading and carry all their equipment with them, including tents, clothes, food & cooking equipment.

Returning to Dartmoor for the real expedition itself in the summer, however, circumstances were quite different. Alongside the expedition, Imogen had to work with a group of people she had never met before, putting together a project on exploring the myths and history of Dartmoor. This in itself caused its own challenges with a lack of phone connectivity/3G or Wifi with the group having to rely on old fashioned methods of research (aka calling their parents) to complete the project!

This time, the challenge of the expedition itself was far more of a mental one, with Imogen just one of a group of four taking part in the challenge and faced with atrocious weather.

With fewer people and constant rain, there was a totally different dynamic as the group had to pull together as a team to keep each other motivated to the end. One of the lowest points was when Imogen fell into a river midway through the day but had to continue to their destination to keep on track. Despite being drenched, the team then had to pitch their tent on rain-sodden ground and got even wetter as the water flooded the tent at night. Team spirit and hot food got them through it however and they completed their challenge.

 

What did Imogen learn about herself over the year?

“I can get myself motivated. I’ve learned that a lot of how you deal with a challenge is mentality. Motivation, helping others and teamwork were so important to finishing all the challenges.”

Would she do it again?

“Yes! If there were a Platinum Challenge, I’d be up for that!”

Middlesex Champions


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The U18 Hockey Team competed in the  U18 Middlesex Hockey Tournament facing teams from Latymer Upper, Godolphin and Latymer, St Benedict’s and Mill Hill.  With some superb leadership from  Nathalie W and Philippa J and a fantastic team effort, the girls won the whole tournament and were  crowned U18 Middlesex Hockey Champions.  Now we look forward to following their progress and cheering them on in the Regional Hockey Finals in November!  

World Culture Week


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World Culture Week kicked off with an “olé” and went on to feature African dance, a treasure hunt which involved hunting for clues in different languages and ended with a multilingual Poetry Slam.

Immersing our girls in the languages they are learning through a series of exciting and fun cultural experiences, was very much the focus last week. As Simon, our Head of Languages puts it, “having a Global perspective is very much in our DNA”.

What better way then to understand Lorca’s “La Casa de Bernada Alba” which our A-level girls are studying, than a Flamenco workshop? That’s exactly what our Year 13 girls suggested would bring the text to life so, a focus on Flamenco, literally kicked-off the lively week long cultural programme. Girls from Year 7 and above, were shown how to tackle this complicated dance by a professional dancer, with instructions delivered in Spanish.

French culture was delivered on a plate with a lunchtime session making crêpes and raclette which attracted long queues. Extending the French theme, the music and languages department hosted an evening of French music which closed with a powerful performance by the Lower School Choir of the theme song from a classic of French cinema: `Les Choristes’.

The Atrium came to life again on Thursday this time with the sounds of Africa. Blindfolded initially, girls and their teachers, listened and danced freely to the mixture of lively East African and Angolan rhythms before following a  dance choreographed and led by Spanish teacher, Boris.  Meanwhile those not tempted by the beat took part in a world literature themed Treasure Hunt  with the three winners all coming from Year 8.

Poetry rounded off the week. With an exciting twist for World Poetry Day, all girls put their linguistic skills to creative use in a competition to craft multilingual poems on the overall theme of change. The three finalists had the chance to  deliver their poems in Spanish, Mandarin and French in assembly and visiting poet, Frances Leviston, inspired our girls with the theme of metamorphosis and gave a series of workshops throughout the day.

A Poetry Slam brought crowds to the Atrium at lunchtime and provided a rousing finale to a week of cultural and linguistic endeavour !

 

Watch Out Lord Sugar!


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Putting their leadership skills to the test, our six strong Head Girl Team (Phyllis, Rosie, Cameron, Sharuka, Francesca and Rinda), took part in an Apprentice style team challenge in Bath during the last weekend in September, in a special annual event organised by the GDST, the Young Leaders Conference.

During the three days, “Young Leaders” from across the 25 schools within the GDST listened to inspiring talks by female role models and in a task reminiscent of the popular entrepreneurial TV show, demonstrated their leadership skills by participating in an Apprentice style challenge. Split into groups with girls from other schools, the teams were tasked with devising a campaign for a charity using social media to raise awareness and produce a promotional video. And just as they do it on TV, the girls then had to prepare presentations to pitch their ideas to the charity and to the sponsors. All this in an extremely tight time frame!

“We had from Friday evening until Saturday evening to submit our campaign ideas and then on the Sunday morning, we actually pitched our ideas to the charity and also to potential sponsors” explains Cameron, Games Captain at NHEHS. “It was a really fast paced couple of days because there were so many elements to consider. We also had to find time to conduct market research in Bath”.

Phyllis, Deputy Head Girl added: “We very quickly learnt that we all had to pull together as a team. Tasks were allocated according to our skillsets; putting everyone in their strengths and working to each other’s strengths. We learnt how not to micromanage and how to respect everyone’s roles”.

A couple of the campaigns the girls devised included a #Tap4Tap app to enable Frank Water, a charity installing taps in villages within Nepal and India to easily receive donated funds and a #LeanOnMe campaign for the Rainbow Trust, a charity that raises funds for terminally ill children and their families, using the slogan “we can’t stop time but we can make the most of it”. The social media campaign included a competition asking entrants to take pictures of the people who they have felt supported them to capture the #LeanOnMe sentiment.

As part of the conference, the girls heard from Ann Daniels, one of the first women in history to reach the North and South Poles as part of an all woman team who has been described by The Daily Telegraph as one of the Top 20 Great British Adventurers of all time. They also heard from Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute who said:

“It’s vital we give young women the leadership skills they need early on to fulfil their own potential and unlock the potential in others. The reality of today’s workplace is that young women are faced with a `glass pyramid’ where men dominate the majority of senior roles. Equipping young women with confidence, resilience and the skills to lead, will help give the next generation of female leaders the chance to thrive and benefit from a more gender inclusive environment”.

“One of the best things I’ve ever done”


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World Challenge Team 1 – By Tara Bains, Amy Turner & Lucy Whittock

A “leech camp,” wading through waist deep water, ant bites and negotiating treacherous muddy slopes as the rain lashed down were just some of the unique hurdles Team 1 of the NHEHS World Challenge faced this summer.

The 17-strong team enjoyed quite a contrasting trekking experience from their Team 2 colleagues and from what they had expected themselves. After a few days in Phnom Penh, they swapped hostel rooms for hammocks in the jungle as they set off on a five-day jungle trek.

Excitement and anticipation ahead of the physical challenge however soon turned into a mental test. The team struggled to keep their feet (and backpacks) on the 4-hour daily trek amidst the mud and the most rain that Cambodia’s Ratanakiri province had seen for 14 years, made worse by a dam bursting in neighbouring Vietnam. One camp contained so many leeches it became known as “leech camp!” The hammocks which they had so naively looked forward to sleeping in became drenched from the sheer deluge of water that fell from the canopy, with the structure of one even collapsing due to the weight of the water. Waking up in the morning some girls found leeches attached to their legs while everyone had to remember to check their shoes for scorpions!

Understandably, morale wavered from time to time but the girls all looked out for each other and lifted their spirits with chapters from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and songs. But the girls agreed that the trek had brought them all closer together, particularly as the Year 12s & 13s had not known each other that well before the trip and all felt extremely proud to have completed the trek as a group in the conditions.

 

Leaving the jungle behind, the group moved on to Siem Reap (including visiting temples, street markets and watching a circus) which came as a huge contrast, making the girls appreciate even more the daily struggle of the Cambodians who lived in the jungle.

As part of their voluntary work on the trip, the team spent several days painting and renovating a school in Surin in Thailand. In the afternoons they played football and taught English through songs to local children whose English was very limited as they lived in such a remote part of the country.  As the girls were leaving, the children brought them flowers from the jungle and homemade cards as they lined the road to say goodbye.

Team 1 World Challenge Classroom

The team also visited the harrowing Genocide Museum to learn about the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields. There was a definite sense of outrage and guilt among the group that the atrocities were not better known throughout the western world, particularly as the sensitivities surrounding recent history were never very far away. The visit to the museum in the Khmer Rouge’s secret Security Prison 21 (S-21) put it into context – explaining why the team’s guide was only willing to discuss history and politics when in the jungle, with less chance of being overheard. 

 

Returning to London, the girls expected things to have changed hugely in the three weeks they were away and disconnected from their connected worlds, but in fact very little important had changed. Some girls even said they hadn’t missed their mobile phones but the trip made them appreciate many of the things we take for granted such as being able to turn on a drinking water tap whenever they wanted to or to choose whatever they wanted at a café.

Some of our highlights:

Scariest moment: When one the trees collapsed in the jungle onto the tarpaulin as the girls were sheltering one day from the rain.

Most disgusting moment: The smell of jackfruit (which we thought was a gas leak)!

Funniest moment: Miss Cagnino misjudging the depth of the river and falling in!

Best moment: Snorkelling at the beach.

French Music Evening


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Wednesday 3rd October saw a collaboration between the French and Music departments as they presented  ‘An Evening of French Music’

Year 12 and 13 French students led us through the evening which showcased solo, ensemble and choir performances including the first performance by the newly formed Year 10 piano trio and there was also wine, cheese and a French quiz. 


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