Newcastle High School For Girls Looks To The Future With The Appointment Of Head

Issue 101

Amanda Hardie was appointed as Head of Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) in January of this year. She is charged with leading the all through three to 18 school's continued development on behalf of its all-girl pupil community

We chat to Amanda about her plans, what makes Newcastle High so special and how girls and women are forging successful careers that are changing the face of society.

Three months into your new role, how are you feeling about what lies ahead for you and for NHSG?

It’s an incredibly exciting time. I have inherited a school that is already in a very strong position, with excellent A Level results and a firm place in top school rankings. To now be able to build upon those solid foundations is an absolute honour.

Newcastle High is a truly wonderful community where every girl is celebrated for who she is and empowered to be the best version of herself. A huge part of my role therefore is listening to what’s important to the girls, keeping abreast of educational and technological advances that can create increased opportunities for them, and for NHSG broadly, and continually driving innovation in all that we do.

You have held the roles of Head of Junior School, Senior School Deputy Head of Academic and most recently Acting Head. How has this experience influenced you so far?

Having in-depth experience of both the Junior and Senior School environment has been invaluable as it allows me to know every girl across school as an individual and to create a more consistent pathway through education for our pupils. Planning the curriculum as part of an all-through educational journey means that every stage builds effectively and seamlessly on the one that went before it.

Why is an all-girl education so important?

Research shows that there are many benefits to an all-girl education, not least an improved sense of confidence that makes a huge difference. The Girls’ Day School Trust, the family of schools to which Newcastle High belongs, is at the forefront of educational research on this topic, and recent figures show that GDST girls feel more positive about the future, are more comfortable taking risks, and are less likely to avoid certain subjects because of their gender when compared to girls who attend mixed schools. This is why NHSG alumnae are so successful in forging dynamic careers; they are trailblazers in sectors which have been traditionally male dominated.

The School has recently had an Inspection. What was the outcome?

The Inspection meant we could demonstrate, and receive endorsement for, all the great work that happens on a daily basis. I was thrilled when the inspectors reported that our teachers are delivering great lessons and that our pupils are inspired to challenge themselves to aim high. It was an affirmation that we are delivering on our vision to empower girls to be the leaders, trailblazers and world shapers of the future.

How do you encourage interest in STEM subjects at NHSG?

The first factor to consider is that there is zero room for discouragement. Girls can sometimes feel like imposters in mixed environments where boys might dominate certain subjects and take up more space in the classroom. From the moment girls walk through the doors of NHSG, right from their first steps in nursery, they are encouraged to learn without limits.

We have invested heavily in our core academic offer, with the introduction of Design and Tech into the curriculum. Collaborations with Sunderland and Newcastle Universities have also opened opportunities, as well as industry partnerships including with Nissan and Sage.

What other opportunities are available for girls at NHSG beyond STEM?

Whether a girl’s passion is for STEM, Languages, Art, Humanities, Literature – the list could go on! – our broad and exciting curriculum provides endless opportunities for girls to challenge themselves, to learn and to grow.

Our school is alive with artists who show incredible creativity and drive, linguists who are inspired by native speakers and provided with opportunities to develop mastery of their chosen languages, actors who hone their craft with expert guidance and who produce the most phenomenal performances and historians who are perceptive in their analysis of the past and who show curiosity and insight. Whatever a girl’s passion and interest, we’ll take her learning beyond the norm.

Where do you see the school in five years’ time?

NHSG will be a thriving independent school, and the school of choice for girls in the region, where academic success is a given, where there is exceptional pastoral care, where girls have high aspirations and are inspired by strong female role models and know that nothing is off limits for them in terms of their future career choices.

NHSG will be continually evolving our academic offer, awardwinning facilities and impactful external partnerships to deliver a future-facing education for every girl.

Applications to join the school are open for September 2024 and NHSG’s next Open Week is 3rd – 7th June.

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