Students and staff come together for celebration of high school’s history

Students and staff come together for celebration of high school’s history

 On Friday 24th September, Northgate High School and Dereham Sixth Form College welcomed members of the Dereham community, past members of staff and alumni to a very special event held at the school.

The Past, Present and Future’ exhibition showcased and celebrated over 100 years of education at the school in various guises. A large array of photographs, artefacts and work from throughout the decades were on display for guests to explore and reflect on the history of Northgate, Dereham Sixth Form College and DESA in the community.

As part of the celebration, current Northgate and Dereham Sixth Form students displayed their talents with drama and music performances, which depicted significant moments in the school’s history, including the delayed school opening in 1915 because of a Zeppelin and in more recent history, school closures due to covid-19. Our catering students were also involved in the evening, creating canapés and refreshments, which were themed around old school dinner staples, under the supervision of Mr Tim Fair, Head of Catering and Dr Tim Kinnaird, Chair of Governors and MasterChef finalist.

Staff from across all three institutions got involved in a variety of ways, and one member of staff, Mr Guy, teacher of History, has written a book detailing the history of the school and its place in the Dereham community. He was inspired by the archives, but in particular the book “Youth in the Making: The History Of Dereham Senior School 1915-40” written by then-Headmaster Mr W Tebbutt.

The event gave us the opportunity to invite members of the local community to celebrate with us. Northgate and Dereham Sixth Form has a long and successful history of connecting with those around us. From careers- and financial-advice, to sporting expertise or matters of faith and culture, the students at Northgate and Dereham Sixth have gained much from visits from those who have generously given of their time to come into lessons. The Police and local councillors have proactively visited the school for many years to ensure that the connections between us are strong.

During the evening, we were very privileged to share with guests the news of our recent Laboratory School accreditation with the University of Bolton, and the role it will play in the future of the school and college. We are the first educational establishment in Norfolk to be invited to become a Laboratory School.

Working with The University of Bolton, the Laboratory School programme is an international initiative which enables us to build upon an already strong foundation of good practice through research-based development of classroom practice, to ensure every student has the best learning experience possible during their time at the school and college.

A central element of being a Laboratory School is working with partner schools in other parts of the UK, as well as in Australia, China, India, Sweden and the USA. This gives us the opportunity not only to share our strengths and successes, but to learn from those who have gone before us and become even better equipped.

A key part of our approach is the use of coaching as a way of helping both staff and students set long term goals for improving their skills in learning. For staff this means having the chance to work closely with teachers from other areas of the school and other schools to develop high quality learning strategies for lessons. For students, trained sixth form students from our College work closely with our younger high school students to develop ambitious goals for their future, and to put those ambitions into practice.

During the summer of 2021 extensive surveys amongst staff, staff, parents and carers and other stakeholders, as well as invitational visits from other educational leaders, enabled us to build a clear picture of life at Northgate High School and Dereham Sixth Form College. This is the foundation upon which the Laboratory School scheme will build.

John Baumber, Head of the International Centre for Educational Enhancement at the University of Bolton, said ‘It is always a pleasure and a privilege to come here because of that sense of wellbeing and the relationships that there is at Northgate.

Northgate and DSFC students join forces at Virtual Earth Summit

Northgate and DSFC students join forces at Virtual Earth Summit

Members of Northgate and Dereham Sixth Form College’s Earth Summit Team headed to the Sixth Form on 12th October to take part in the much-anticipated Virtual Earth Summit. They were joined by students from four UK schools and two schools in Sweden. The aim of the day was to present how each team is getting on with their project goals but also to inspire each other further moving forward.

The first task of the day was the presentations. Our team had previously met to put together our presentation – we were limited to 5 slides, each of which had to answer a specific question:

  • What are your ‘Take Action’ goals for 2021-22?
  • Why are these goals important to you and your community?
  • What are the challenges that you’re likely to face and how do you plan to overcome them?
  • How will you know if you are on track to meet your goals?
  • How will you share what you have learnt with your community?

Our team had a number of goals, set out in their action plan from last March – these included a focus on our recycling schemes, raising awareness with a social media campaign, planting trees, upcycling filing cabinets into planters and reducing the paper waste at school. There are plenty more ideas in the pipeline but in the time we had before the Earth Summit these are ones students felt would be manageable. They wanted actions that lots of people could get involved in, with everyone feeling they can contribute in some way. They also wanted to educate and influence others through the use of social media as well as changing mind sets – change comes through small actions. The host of the summit was impressed with what had been achieved so far and another school said they particularly liked out #TopTipsTuesday social media posts and their school might now do something similar.

It was really interesting for students to listen to the presentations of the other schools and to get further ideas of projects we can put into place at Northgate. Everyone was so passionate about their ideas and knowing that all the schools are having an impact, however big or small, felt really good. It has definitely given our team some further ideas and we can’t wait to get working on them.

In the second session we heard from Claire Wallenstein from Cornwall Climate Care. She showed some short documentaries about the work going on in Cornwall to highlight the climate change emergency, making it relevant to the local people and reaching unengaged audiences. She talked about how storms impacted the seal population, the growing of different seaweeds and kelp, which can be incorporated into the local cow’s feed, meaning they burp less and create less methane gas! There was also a company making artificial reefs from 80% recycled material, not only to help protect the coastline but also the habitats as well. Claire said that we all have skills to help fight the climate and ecological emergency and spoke about a huge variety of ‘green’ jobs. She concluded her inspiring talk by saying, ‘if you are passionate about something and have a good idea, you can make it happen.’ This certainly rang true with our students.

Before lunch we looked at an online platform called Lyfta. We were immersed into an interactive 3D story world, where students could explore videos, 3D images and texts. We explored Andrea’s yard, where Andrea, who lived in Argentina, worked on a garbage heap. She sorted the waste and used it to make items she could sell. It really made us think about what we throw away and the environmental impact. We live in such a technological and throwaway lifestyle now and perhaps ought to be making better choices – do we really need the latest phone, a new pair of trainers, new computer game?

After lunch it was time to test our knowledge in a fiercely competitive ‘Who wants to be a sustainability champion’ quiz. There were some really interesting facts to make you think, which our team will be sharing as part of our #ThinkEcoThursday posts on social media. Our team managed to score a respectable 15/25, however the main takeaway from this part of the day was that small changes can make a big difference and it is everyone’s responsibility to do something.

Miss Theobald, School Council Coordinator said, ‘attending the virtual earth summit was a great opportunity for our students. They are passionate about doing their bit for the environment and were excited to share their progress with the other schools. It was really inspiring to hear about the projects in the other schools and know that we are part of something bigger. We know it is not just about educating people, but taking action that is important as well. We hope that some of the projects our team have been working on and will work on in the future, will inspire others to do their bit.’

Milo who is part of the team, commented, ‘Despite enjoying every aspect of the day, I personally enjoyed the ‘Who wants to be a sustainable champion?’ quiz the most. The questions really got me thinking, and some of the answers to the questions were shocking. It was a fun and interactive way to learn about the severity of our climate crisis. I learnt a lot from the experience. I learnt about what small things the other schools have been doing to help improve our planet and with all of us involved, it can turn into a big improvement and we know that we were a part of saving our globe. I learnt that our actions as a MEDC have consequences, as seen when exploring Andrea’s yard, on LEDCs such as Argentina. We, as a country, don’t realise that when we throw things away, they end up in places like where Andrea works, sorting through our rubbish and making a living from it. It’s shocking that people across the world have to endure the brunt of our actions.’

Emma said of the day, ‘I learnt so many facts about the climate crisis at the Earth Summit meeting, some stunning and some rather distressing facts. However, there is a chance that if we work together and collaborate as a community, for us, our children, future generations, and the world we live in, to enjoy a happy and healthy future.’ She revealed, ‘I think the main thing I will take away is to look on the positive side. There are certain ways you can try to get people involved, however, if it’s all doom and gloom, what’s the point? Before the meeting, I was thinking very negatively towards the environmental concerns of our planet. But afterwards, it changed me, and the whole working together part of it, increased my positivity.’

Emma said, ‘My favourite part of the day was listening to the other schools and seeing the commitment that some people put into their projects. It is commitment that we need. If we were all committed to solving global climate change, we would have done it by now. It’s only small steps for a small carbon footprint.’

Year 7s Plant Trees to mark High School Start

Year 7s Plant Trees to mark High School Start

A couple of years ago some of Northgate’s School Council decided they wanted the Year 7 tutor groups to plant some trees when they arrived at school, not only for environmental reasons but also to mark their time and journey through the school. Then the pandemic stopped us in our tracks.

Fast forward several months to June 2021 and our Earth Summit Team met to put together their goals and action plan for the time ahead. This project idea was raised again and all were in favour. So, plans were put in place for this to be carried out as the new Year 7s arrived at Northgate in September.

We were able to obtain 7 four-year-old oak trees from a kind member of the community, grown from acorns from Scotland. Fred and Lewis, part of the team, spent time at break time, lunch time and after school making special plaques to commemorate the tree planting. This involved making use of an old pallet, using the laser engraver, metal work and finishing off with a Danish oil. Thank you to Mr Mottley, Mr Logan, Mr MacDonald and Miss Theobald for assisting with this part of the project.

Then the time came to plant the trees. On two, very sunny days in October, the tutor groups headed out to the field to plant their trees. Excitedly, two students from each tutor group planted their tree, ably assisted by the Earth Summit Team, tutors and Head of Year, Mrs Graves. A big thank you to Miss Theobald and Mr MacDonald for digging all the holes and supporting the project. Everyone is looking forward to seeing their trees grow during their five years at Northgate.


Northgate Council – October Bulletin

Northgate Council – October Bulletin

We are pleased to introduce our October bulletin. In our bulletin this month you will find out all sorts of information and updates. There’s comments from our new Year 7s about settling into Northgate, information about a new recycling scheme and pictures from our recent Past, Present and Future event.

We hope that you are able to take some time to have a look at all the goings on at Northgate from the last month and enjoy seeing what we’ve been up to. Please share with your friends and family via our Facebook and twitter pages.

Miss Theobald (School Council Coordinator) + Northgate School Council.

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