Year 9s take on Summer Snack Maths challenge

Year 9s take on Summer Snack Maths challenge

Two teams of Year 9 students headed to City of Norwich School on Tuesday 5th July to compete in the Year 9 Summer Snack Maths competition. This is the first time the competition has been held since the pandemic and is based on the Year 10 Maths Feast, organised by the Advanced Maths Support Programme.

The weeks prior to the competition saw the two teams get together at lunch times, along with reserves, to prepare and practice possible rounds for the day. Already there was an air of competitive spirit with one team made up of students from 9Archimedes and the other from 9Newton.

The day came and there were some nerves to begin with. Josh, Nathan, Poppi and Ewan made up Team Archimedes whilst Amy, Chris, Emmanuel and Ollie made up Team Newton. There were teams from a number of other schools including Wymondham College, CNS, Diss, Thorpe, Thetford, Hellesdon and Framingham Earl.                            .

Then it was time for the competition to begin. The first round was called ‘What, no word!’ and involved diagrams, shapes and all sorts of problems with no words or instructions. This round seemed a bit odd to begin with but the teams soon got the hang of what they needed to do. They distributed the problems between them and carefully checked each other’s work for mistakes. It was a positive start for both teams with 9Arc scoring 20 out of 40 and 9New taking a slight lead on 32 marks.

Round 2 was called ‘Four for Fifty’, which consisted of four problems with questions related to them and fifty marks were available. One problem was rather aptly related to tennis and was a high scorer for both teams. All our competitors showed excellent determination, working on tasks individually and then more collaboratively when it got more challenging. There were some tough questions here however both teams showed real resilience, with 9Arc scoring 33 and 9New scoring 22 out of 50.

The third round was called ‘Comprehension Card Sort’ and consisted of some information which the team had to use in order to sort sets of cards. This round really tested special awareness and geometry and tests students on some Maths that they had not come across before. With some good team work (and a bit of luck) they had a good go at the challenge. 9Arc scored a high 18 marks out of 23 and 9New scored 19.

The final round was the most intense and high pressured. Working in pairs, one pair answered a question and passed the answer to the other pair. They then used this in their problem and passed the resulting answer back. This continued for 16 questions, with the opportunity to gain bonus points for each string of 4 questions in a row that were correct. This round was also against the clock and so quick but accurate work was important. Again, there was some unfamiliar Maths in this round but once more, the determination shone through. 9Arc managed a very respectable 17 out of 20, whilst 9New scored 11.

Overall, Team 9Arc triumphed over 9New and managed to come 8th overall in a really close scoring contest for a number of the teams. Huge congratulations go to all of our competitors as this was exactly the same competition as the Year 10s had completed earlier in the year and so the standard of Maths involved was very high!

Miss Theobald said, ‘it was great to see the team work and collaborative thinking on display, with both teams working incredibly hard on all of the challenges. There were some aspects of Maths that they had not seen before, however this did not phase them and they showed true Northgate resilience. They demonstrated commitment both in the run up to the event, attending 3 practice sessions, and at the Summer Snack itself.’

It was certainly a very enjoyable competition and hopefully inspired our students to think about their mathematical learning in the future and consider studying A-level Maths and Further Maths. A big thank you to CNS for hosting the event and the Advanced Maths Support Programme for the challenging but enjoyable rounds. We look forward to taking part again next year!

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Northgate show garden awarded GOLD at Royal Norfolk Show

Northgate show garden awarded GOLD at Royal Norfolk Show

Students and staff at Northgate High School were delighted to be awarded Gold by the Head judge for their show garden at the Royal Norfolk Show. The judges were very impressed by the garden and all the effort everyone had put in to develop and create it. Students guided the judges round the garden, explaining the different features within it. They were incredibly proud to receive the award.

Receiving the gold award from the Royal Norfolk Show judges.


The garden was based on the themes of ‘local living’ and ‘home grown’, provided by the show judges, and featured nine different sections. At the front there was a solar powered windmill, made from an old bin, with recycled plastic sails. It represented Dereham’s famous windmill and certainly caught people’s eye. The garden also featured a mini allotment with vegetables and herbs, grown in an old pallet, as well as a bug and insect ‘hotel’, and repurposed old wheelbarrow, made into a garden feature. Many aspects of the garden had been made by students in some of their lessons and afterschool sessions including clay ladybirds and bees, butterflies and origami flowers.

An insect and big hotel made from logs and grasses – decorated with clay ladybirds and hedgehogs made from old library books.

A pyramid of colour, painted tins were sources from the school canteen.


There were also a couple of jubilee inspired aspects including a jubilee tree of trees which also featured recycled plastic bird boxes, and a crown of conservation rising high in the middle of the garden, with beautifully decorated old water bottles and cascading plants. An important message that students were able to get across in the garden, was how items can be reused, recycled or repurposed. Bean tins from the canteen were painted to make colourful plant pots, old library books were made into mini hedgehogs, and books and bottles were made into flowers. These were just a few of the ideas on display.

Our take on the Jubilee tree of trees. Recycled plastic bird boxes were later hanging from the tree.

The crown of conservation made from old plastic bottles.


You can have a quick tour of the garden by clicking the link below.

Northgate show garden – Royal Norfolk Show


There were many visitors to the garden over the two days, including Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, The Lady Dannatt and Lord Dannatt. Students proudly gave guided tours of the garden to members of the public and were keen to explain how everyone had contributed. There were plenty of lovely comments from the show goers, which included, ‘Excellent display with some powerful messages, confidently explained by the lovely pupils, well done!’ and ‘Some great ideas for wildlife and diversity, many of which can be replicated in home gardens, well done!’

Meeting the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, The Lady Dannatt


Take a look at the great feedback we received in our comments book below:


Mr MacDonald and Miss Theobald, who planned and coordinated the project said, ‘it was such an amazing team effort. Several classes were able to get involved in making items for the garden, with fantastic creative support from the Art and Design Department. It was lovely to see our Environment Team members and Green Influencers proudly and confidently engage with the public when talking about the garden over the two days.’ A big thank you to everyone who helped with the project – students, the whole Art and Design department and to Johnny Fox (Johnny Plantman) and Tim Green (Acorn Hut Farm Shop and Plant Centre) for donating some of the plants.

Miss Theobald and Mr MacDonald with one of the show stewards.

Heads of School, Dr Hone and Mrs Galley commented, ‘We are incredibly proud of our students and staff. The garden represents everything we believe in at Northgate High School and Dereham Sixth Form College: community, hard work, innovation, and teamwork – and all with minimum impact on the planet we all share. The garden was a true labour of love, and it was a great experience for our pupils under the watchful eye of dedicated staff.’

Take a look at more photos below:

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Northgate Council – July Bulletin

Northgate Council – July Bulletin

We are pleased to introduce our July bulletin. In our bulletin this month there’s news about our new Head Boy and Head Girl team, pictures from our Art and Design exhibition and plenty of links to recent blogs and Northgate News interviews.

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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Women in Engineering Challenge

Women in Engineering Challenge

Last week a team of Year 8 students attended a ‘Women in engineering’ challenge day in Norwich, with students from a number of other schools. The challenge focussed on skills for energy.

Esme, Seren, Amilie, Kyra and Maisie tell us what they got up to. ‘We started the day by having a talk about renewable energy, designing and engineering. Then we had to construct and plan how to make a wind turbine. We had to think about the size and length of the propellers as well as the shape of the base. Our goal was to have the most spins of the turbine in a set amount of time.’

‘Next, we had a talk about nuclear energy, how nuclear power plants work and what jobs they offer. For this task, we made a pylon. We decorated it and made it fit the theme of renewable energy. Afterwards, when it was all over, awards were handed out. We also had the opportunity to ask any questions we had. The day was really fun and we had a great time. We learned lots about the jobs available in the field of renewable energy.’

Team Northgate races electric car at Lotus Test Track

Team Northgate races electric car at Lotus Test Track

On Sunday 19th June, a team of Northgate students headed to the Lotus test track at Hethal to race their electric car. Louie, one of the excited team members, tells us about the experience right from the beginning.

‘It all started when we were designing what the car would look like: what colour, what shape should the nose cone be etc. We settled on a sliver outside which had the old plates turned inside out. It looked really cool and we went for the name “silver arrow”.

It came to making the nose cone and we designed it to be made out of foam and to be a quarter-cylinder shape with plastic covering its front curve. This took about 2 sessions and eventually we got it done. We put a big Northgate logo on the front.

Another of our plans consisted of making the chair more comfortable and easier to get in and out. We slotted a block of foam in the back and cut some lines for the seatbelt strap. On the side of the car’s inside we lined it with polystyrene and made sure we didn’t move around while driving.

Testing day – 15th June

After school we went out with the car to test it out with all the driving gear on. We also were testing mine and Ollie’s team radio.

We went round the running track and past the trees and then went back the same way. Everyone got to be either pushed or the driver of the car.

Near the end when the battery was running a bit low, Paige had stopped halfway round her drive. So, we had to push her back up the hill and to the crew!

Me and Ollie stayed behind and were given the task of replacing the battery. We got it in and out fine and screwed everything in and we tested to see if the horn worked.

But then, and I don’t even know how it happened, one of the red wire screws started glowing orange and then caught fire! Luckily Mr Logan put it out fairly quickly and saved it from a lot more harm.

Race Day – 19th June

‘Today we arrived at the Lotus test track and had a look at the track and some of the new Lotus cars. We met Mr Mottley and Mr Logan at our area and had our car scrutinised so that it was ready for the race. We headed out for some pre-race testing to get used to the track. The other cars there were insanely fast, well some of them. For the first race me and Joe were driving. Each driver is only allowed 45 minutes out of the 90 minutes in the race and then you have to pit and change drivers. I was in the second stint and I think the 2nd one is better because you can just breeze past everyone. At one point I was wheel to wheel with a car exiting the pits and we were next to each other round the hairpin. Then at the turn before the straight, the other car braked early and tried going down the inside line, but I had a better exit out the corner and took the position! It really was a great day – we all had a lot of fun.’

A big well done to the team – those who drove in the race and those who helped design and make the care back at school. Also, thank you to Mr Mottley and Mr Logan for giving our students this amazing opportunity. We are please to report that the Northgate team finished a very respectable seventh out of the 23 schools that took part!

You can see a video clip of the team racing round the circuit below.

Northgate News Team – Interview with Mrs Graves

Northgate News Team – Interview with Mrs Graves

Members of our Northgate News Team have decided to find out a bit more about staff at Northgate. Damien, Year 11 has completed his final interview as part of the News Team, by speaking with Mrs Graves. Mrs Graves teaches English at Northgate but is also Head of Year 7 and Transition. She may be a familiar face to our upcoming Year 7s as she completes transition visits this half term. Here’s what she had to say.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

I didn’t always want to be a teacher. I thought about being a vet, but I am squeamish so that didn’t last long! I also considered being a police officer. I knew I wanted to do a job where I made a difference to people and I love English, so that’s why I became a teacher.

If you didn’t teach, what other job could you see yourself doing?

That’s a really difficult question. I enjoy writing, so I would love to be an author. Or a jeweller because I like sparkly things!

Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite book?

Again, a tricky question because there are so many. Favourite author: a tie between Jane Austen and Margaret Atwood. I couldn’t choose a favourite book: I would have to have about ten on the list!

What is your favourite poem to teach?

My favourite poet is Carol Ann Duffy. But my favourite poem to teach at GCSE is probably ’Remains’.

Do you have any hobbies outside of school?

I don’t have lots of time for hobbies outside school at the moment. But I enjoy yoga, baking and gardening.

What do you enjoy the most about being a Head of Year?

The thing I enjoy most about being Head of Year is helping students to become confident and settled at Northgate. It is so rewarding.

Describe Northgate in 3 words

Caring, community, ambitious.

Do you have any pets (if you do, what are their names?)

I have a cat called Branston. He is very handsome and very gentle, but he also likes Wotsits and cake!

Tell us about the Literary Society that you run – what can students get up to?

At Literary Society, we create beautiful writing. We have completed a project on Holmes and Kable, which is the incredible story of two of the First Fleeters in Australia, originally from Thetford. Our work was displayed in Thetford Guildhall. We write poetry and short stories and we’re currently working on pieces for the Summer Showcase. We also go on theatre trips: ‘A Christmas Carol’ this year, and more planned for next year.

Would you like to stay as an English teacher in the future- if not what else would you like to teach?

I have taught Media Studies in the past, as well as English. But I can’t imagine teaching anything else; I love my subject.

What is our favourite cleaning product?

I think my Year 11s all know the answer to this! It has to be Zoflora 🙂

A big thank you to Damien and Mrs Graves for doing this interview – it is always nice to find out a bit more about our Northgate staff. Our upcoming Year 7s will see Mrs Graves a lot over the coming year as she sees them through their first year as Northgate students.