The 12 Days of NGHS Christmas – guest blog by Katrina Handford-Smith, Deputy Head

20th December 2017

It’s that time of year again as we approach Christmas and the end of the calendar year. It’s a time for celebration and reflection, and while we do so many fantastic things here at school all year round, we’d like to share a summary of some of our more seasonal news from this term, in the style of a certain well-known festive song. Feel free to sing along!

On the first day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: One Christmas Fairy:

The wellbeing of our staff is of huge importance to us as we know that happy staff make for happy girls, and a little acknowledgement and appreciation goes a long way. With that in mind, a ‘secret’ Christmas Fairy has been emailing staff with good wishes and messages dedicated by other members of staff to keep spirits up and spread some good cheer at this busy time of year.

On the second day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Two Christmas Dogs:

Delilah has been such a big hit at the Junior School and now Saffy is proving her worth at the Senior School, and has even become a bookable resource! Girls have enjoyed spending time with her, taking her for walks or just stopping by to give her a cuddle between lessons. Delilah enjoyed her first birthday recently with a party at the Junior School, and both dogs featured on this year’s school Christmas cards.

On the third day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Three Performances of Sixth Form Entertainment:

This is always such good way to end the term – some harmless parody by our Sixth Form during which nobody is safe! They obviously know us well and did a great job performing their show three times over to make sure the whole Senior School got to see it and enjoy it. It’s wonderful to perform high-end Drama productions, but just as important to have a bit of fun.

On the fourth day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: the Four Houses Challenge:

Our House system is a great way for girls across all Year groups to bond and get to know each other, as well as offering the opportunity to get involved in various events and contests. The most recent of these was the Year 9 House Bake-Off during which Bolton won the battle of the biscuits. We also held the fiercely competitive House Quiz in which girls pit their wits against each other in two sessions – Years 7 & 8 and Years 9 &10, the winners of these being Bolton and Skeel respectively. House competitions are very popular with girls and staff alike. It’s always great to have a team to root for and the House system brings out the best in everybody with its family feel.

On the fifth day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: FIVE CHRISTMAS CONCERTS!

We do Christmas spectacularly well here with everybody pitching in to provide some amazing entertainment, and this year has been no exception with both Junior and Senior Schools putting on some great musical shows. The Year 3 Victorian Music Hall was a fabulous and colourful extravaganza of singing and dancing, music and magic. Our teatime concert showcased an ever increasing array of musical talent, and our three most festive offerings – Music at Michaelmas, Winter Lights and Mistletoe and Wine – provided some stunning and atmospheric festive pieces to get everybody in the Christmas spirit.

On the sixth day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Six Christmas Trees Decorated:

Everybody loves to get involved in decorating a Christmas tree as it is a fun and creative pastime with some beautiful results. Our Year 6 girls each brought in a bauble with which to decorate the tree in the Rainbow Room and it looks amazing. The tree in the Dining Hall always adds to the festive spirit, especially on Christmas lunch day! We have a tree in our reception area so that our visitors can enjoy some sparkle when they visit school, likewise the beautiful tree in the Head’s office. But we really must mention the lovely Southwell Festival of Christmas Trees at the Methodist Church, at which we had a tree decorated with the most beautiful paper cranes made by our girls and the Art Department. Simply stunning!

On the seventh day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Seven Year 10 Dancers:

We had a great day at the GDST Day of Dance where seven of our Year 10 girls were selected from a group of 30 who are doing Dance as part of the Year 10 curriculum to represent NGHS. They went to the famous Pineapple Dance Studios in London along with girls from 17 other GDST schools to take part in some workshops with professional dancers, and to perform their dance routine. They’ve been working really hard with Miss Riley who choreographed the majority of the piece, and the girls themselves choreographed the latter part of the routine. It was brilliant, so much so that it was awarded first place overall – fantastic! Our PE curriculum and enrichment activities provide a wealth of ways in which girls can keep fit and active, and gives them an opportunity to take part in local and nationwide competitions too.

On the eighth day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me Eight: Pizza Toppings:

Our school/home partnership is a vital part of our success and we’re very grateful for all of the support the school gets from parents. So we were thrilled when kind donations from fundraising events organised by parents, particularly those of our current Year 7 girls, paid for a fabulous pizza oven for Upnah Wood. The girls launched the pizza oven with a lunchtime pizza extravaganza during which they made (and ate) their own pizzas with their favourite toppings. We’re so proud of all that our Outdoor Learning provision has to offer, and how much girls of all ages benefit from this. It builds confidence, stamina and resilience and offers some outstanding opportunities to see the world.

On the ninth day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Nine pairs of trainers:

This refers to the cross country event in which there were ten runners, but only nine pairs of trainers made it back! Harriet Barker in Year 9 lost one trainer in the mud on the way round, but in true NGHS spirit she kept on going and still crossed the finish line. Adverse weather conditions are no match for our resilient young sportswomen.

On the tenth day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Ten Downing Street:

Former Head Girl, Jenny Raw, was among a group of representatives of the iWill campaign invited to attend the switching on of the Christmas lights at No. 10 Downing Street. Jenny did amazing things while she was here at NGHS and continues to do so during her gap year. Continuing her involvement with the National Council of Women, Great Britain, Jenny has also been involved with the iWill campaign promoting social action among young people. We continue to be proud of Jenny and her mature approach to political and social issues, and we’re also proud that the school and the GDST played such a big part in providing her with these opportunities and a foothold on her chosen path.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Eleven Catering Heroes:

We are very spoilt here under the care of our catering staff and our school lunches are truly remarkable. The team works so hard during term time but also catering for concerts and alumnae events during evenings and weekends, always with a smile and friendly faces. They cooked up a delicious Christmas lunch for staff and girls which was enjoyed by everybody. Thanks team!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, NGHS sent to me: Twelve Local Care Homes:

Our Sixth Form girls did a great job at our annual Christmas Party for Senior Citizens. We invited residents from twelve local care homes to join us for carols and cake, mince pies and even a drop of sherry. Choirs from the Junior and Senior Schools sung for our guests, and even Santa popped by to deliver presents. Our community work means a lot to us and we like our girls to get involved as much as possible, and this Christmas party is always something to look forward to.

This rounds off our festive summary, but of course there have been so many more things like our adorable nativities, carol services, Christmas parties and Sixth Form movie nights and even sleepovers! The school is alive and buzzing with Christmas spirit, fun and laughter. It’s been a long and busy term and everybody deserves a break and a good rest, and time spent with family and friends.

Happy Christmas to everybody, and thanks for your continuing support. From myself, and all of the Senior Leadership Team.

 

 

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