Guest blog by Erin Skelton, Head of Sixth Form.

It’s been a time of real celebration recently here at NGHS, and a time to be particularly proud of our girls and their amazing achievements. They do fantastic things and accomplish so much every day, and we love to recognise this and share in their successes.

On this particular occasion, I’d like to really stress my pride in the wonderful Sixth Form here at NGHS as the Year 13 girls leave us before coming back for their exams. Their last few days are something special, from the total mayhem of their leavers’ day festivities, to the reflective recognition at the celebrations evening.

The atmosphere at Year 13 Celebrations Evening is always electrifying – a mix of emotions; pride at everything accomplished over not only the year, but the whole NGHS life cycle, and a certain sadness at knowing that your time here is coming to an end. We’re all aware that many people may think “thank goodness, I’m through with school,” when in reality it can be as daunting as it is exciting. I have of course been through this myself, and only nineteen years ago, on a balmy July evening, I stood in a school auditorium not too dissimilar to the one here, standing where our Head Girl, Fiona, stood on this night, giving, what I imagine will be a similar kind of speech. It was 1999, the brink of the millennium, a year of change and possibility. Armed with my results, university offers and a one-way ticket to the UK, I set out to change the world.

Looking back at the young woman I was then, and the woman I have become, there are still many similarities. However, looking back there would be some advice that I would give to my younger self that I would like to give to our Year 13 girls now.

It was so lovely to see the girls applauding each other, laughing and spotting themselves in the presentation slides, remembering the great times they’ve had, and sharing them with friends and families. The pride in these girls and their achievements was evident, and Julie Keller said in her speech: “Over the years I have watched in admiration at the incredible young women you have become – ready now to take on the world.” Echoing my own sentiments, Julie added: “You are leaders, you are well-connected, you are able to make the tough decisions, you will stand up for yourselves and you will always have the desire to be successful.”

The evening was an amazing success and the girls loved hearing from our guest speaker and NGHS alumna, Rebecca Coxon, who is now a self-shooting TV Producer and Director with experience across BBC One, Two, Three and Channel 4 on observational documentaries in sensitive environments – a true inspiration. Take a look at the lovely photos in our album.

The traditional last day of school for Year 13 was taken to new heights this year. Not only did our girls enjoy the usual fun and dressing up, entertaining the whole of the school and anybody who happened to go along Arboretum Street with their water gun fights and colourful costumes, but they also hired a gigantic inflatable assault course! This was a wonderful touch as it offered other girls (and staff!) the opportunity to share the fun and laughter; the Junior School girls were particularly delighted. So I’d like to say a huge WELL DONE and THANK YOU Year 13 for providing such a brilliant day for everybody, showing your true selflessness and generosity. You can view images from the last day here.

As I watch the girls arrive at school for their exams, my heart swells with pride and my fingers are crossed for them. They’ve worked so hard and deserve the success that’s coming to them, and I can’t wait to share this with them in August on results day.