Northgate Council – December Bulletin

Northgate Council – December Bulletin

We are pleased to introduce our December bulletin. In our bulletin this month there’s news from our Orchard Committee at a recent awards ceremony, Computing awards, GCSE presentation evening and Northgate’s Remembrance service.

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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Northgate News Team Interview – Mr Masango

Northgate News Team Interview – Mr Masango

Mr Masango teaches music at Northgate and was recently interview by Jack who is a new member of the Northgate News Team. Here’s what Jack had to say after his interview.

I want to tell you some things about Mr Masango. Well, he is practically everyone’s music teacher, and I have interviewed him and done some research on him. This has been a long time in the making and I have selected some interesting answers he gave.

What is his favourite instrument?

His favourite and first instrument is the balafon, an old instrument from the times of the West African Mande, Senoufo and Gur peoples. The first balafon was most likely produced in the 12th century or earlier, it has 21 keys and is considered to be related to the xylophone.

What did he do before teaching in school and what is he doing today?

During our interview, Mr Masango said that he had actually played professional football for a short period of time and he now plays music and goes to concerts as a professional. His genre is considered “Afro-Fusion”.

What is his background?

During my time researching Mr Masango, I discovered that he has quite an interesting back story. He was born in Cameroon, and for much of his childhood he was mainly focused on football. He later moved to Bishop Rogan minor seminary where Mr Masango would be introduced to classical music for several years. He was soon discovered as a xylophone virtuoso, doing well at school, becoming a music prefect for the majority of the years there. He later moved to Abu Dhabi and went on to study music further at the New York University Abu Dhabi.

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What would he teach if he did not teach music?


Does he have any other hobbies apart from music?

Music is not a hobby to me. It is a lifestyle and a companion. My hobbies are football, reading and silence.

What is his favourite song and is there an artist that inspires him?

‘If I die young’ by the band Perry and I am inspired very much by the creativity of Bobby McFerin.

Did he have any other jobs before becoming a teacher?

I have always been a teacher from immediately after secondary education either full time or part time but I have also worked as an IATA flight operations officer and Airport operations

What is the best thing about Northgate?

Most of the children are the loveliest Teletubbies ever!

Mr Masango’s story is truly inspiring, and as I finish this article, I want you to encourage you to be the best version of you. Whether you want to be a footballer, a musician, a teacher, or something else!

GCSE Awards Evening 2023

GCSE Awards Evening 2023

Thursday 16th November saw our Class of 2023 return for their GCSE presentation evening. A chance to celebrate their achievements and catch up with those who have gone on to different Sixth Forms or colleges. The evening was organised by Mrs Bone and commenced with words from Heads of School, Mrs Galley and Dr Hone. They talked about the student’s achievements and resilience, particularly as they did not have an easy KS3 with home learning due to the Covid lockdowns. GCSE certificates were awarded by UET Trustee and former Northgate student, Bobby Copping, and Chair of Trustees, Mr Alan Jones. Progress award certificates were also awarded to students that had made exceptional progress from their starting points.


Congratulations to Zoe Bartram – Theo Bourner – Kai Cassidy – Charlotte Clarke – Emma Daines – Philippa Ellen – Logan Everett – Alyssa Henderson – Tahlia Herring – Jamie Home – Lewis Makcrow – Milo Milton – Joschka Molenaar – Brett Norton – Charlie Palmer – Jude Sampson-Munday – Aimee Skipper – Dexter Speed – Callum Stoker – Josh Tree

Then came the Subject Awards. Each Head of Department has consulted with their members of staff to nominate who they feel deserved their Subject Award. The student’s results were considered in the process, along with their general attitude towards learning and their achievements compared to target grades. Each winner collected their trophy and certificate. Congratulations to:


Fine Art – Phillipa Ellen

Drama – Emma Daines

Religious Studies – Isla Hamilton

French – Arnita Murton

History – Brett Norton

Physical Education – Olivia Hunt

Design Technology – Jude Sampson-Munday

Photography – Theo Bourner

Textiles – Aimee Skipper

Dance – Carrie-Ann Singleton

English Literature – Josh Tree

Geography – Milo Milton

Mathematics – Joschka Molenaar

Food & Nutrition – Kaed Hogbin

Spanish – Maressa Abreu

English Language – Callum Stoker

Science – Tahlia Herring

Computer Science – Alyssa Henderson

Music – Dexter Speed


Mr Darlow who was one of the Heads of Year for the Year 11s spoke about their time at Northgate. Dr Hone and Mrs Galley presented the Head Teacher’s Awards to Head Boys Milo and Oscar, Head Girl Emma and Deputy Head Boy Dexter as a thank you to them for their service to the school. A wonderful evening to celebrate a fantastic group of students.

The final awards of the evening were special prizes presented on behalf of Dereham Lions, Tim Kinnaird (former Chair of Governors), Governors and Trustees.

Contribution to the Community – Emma Daines

Dereham Lions Club Prize for Services to the School – Dexter Speed

Governors’ Prize for Personal Progress – Ruby Syer

Trustees’ Award for Resilience – David Silva

Tim Kinnaird Award for Integrity – Milo Milton

Northgate News Team Interview – Mr Masango

Northgate News Team Interview – Miss Theobald

Colette and Poppy from the Northgate News Team recently spoke to Miss Theobald who is second in the Maths Department and runs the School Council and rewards system. Here is what she had to say in response to their questions.

Have you had any other jobs before you started teaching?

I worked at Tescos and at HSBC during the holidays when I was at university.

How long have you been teaching at Northgate?

At the end of this academic year, it will be 18 years so quite a long time now, although it has gone really quickly!

We hear you belong to a litter picking group – what is the most amount of litter you have picked?

Yes, I belong to Dereham Community Litter pickers and we go out around Dereham every fortnight, keeping the area clean. Lots of students have said they have seen me doing this so I would encourage them to come along and get involved! The most amount of litter we picked on one litter pick was 143Kg – 31 bin bags full. Worryingly, since June 2022 we have removed over 3 tonnes of litter from Dereham – imagine that all piled up!

What is your favourite thing to do at school?

Apart from teaching Maths, probably the Orchard Committee because it’s a club that everybody can get involved in and it’s great to do something outside.

You are also a Brownie Leader – is there a link between being a teacher and a Brownie Leader?

It’s quite different because of their ages, but there are a few links between the two. It’s nice to do all the activities and crafts which makes it different to school. Lots of my Brownies have also come through Northgate too!

What is your favourite subject other than one that you teach?

At school one of my favourite subjects was chemistry, so I think I would say that, however I did also enjoy French and German.

Tell us an interesting fact about you that no one knows.

When I received my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at St James Palace, it was given to me by Prince Phillip. Me and my twin sister both collected the awards and he asked us are we twins (we are identical)!

What is your favourite song?

I don’t really have a favourite song but I love 80s music and songs that you can sing along loudly in the car to.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have a hamster called Dottie and 4 guinea pigs called Pip, Willow, Hattie and Primrose.

Who is your favourite Mathematician?

Alan Turing, he helped crack the enigma code in WW2. I like anything to do with code breaking!

What is your favourite topic in Maths to teach?

Definitely algebra, but I also enjoy problem solving.

Can you describe Northgate in 3 words?

Community, opportunities and friendly

A big thank you to Colette and Poppy for taking the time to come up with the questions and to Miss Theobald for answering them. It is always interesting to find out a bit more about staff. We look forward to the next interview.

Year 11s attend Mathematics Symposium

Year 11s attend Mathematics Symposium

A number of Year 11 students, along with students from Dereham Sixth Form, attended the Norfolk Mathematics Symposium at the Space in Norwich on Tuesday 7th November. While at the event their got the opportunity to listen and interact with three speakers who use mathematics as part of their day-to-day jobs.

Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Bath, spoke about how mathematics is used to model historical data and use this alongside known variables to map the planets climate over thousands of years, whilst also predicting current patterns moving forwards.

Sophie Maclean, a mathematician, and experience mathematics communicator who is currently studying towards a PhD in Maths in London, spoke about the mathematics used in predicting trends in the stock market and how our knowledge of topics such as provability can be used in the real world by companies and individuals to make profits (and try and minimising the risk of loss). One student comments: “I enjoyed this talk a lot due to the opportunities to interact with the questions posed by the speaker relating to financial models.”

The final speaker, Colin Wright, is a mathematician working within the fields of Combinatorics and Graph Theory. Colin spoke about how his work is used in shipping in ways very similar to the modelling used with radar for tracking planes to predict model and avert incidents between vessels. He also spoke about how his knowledge in this filed is used in solving mathematical problems and how we can use mathematics to model and create tricks used in the art of juggling. A student noted that it was nice to see maths being used in a more unusual setting.

Poppi, who attended the Maths Symposium said, ‘It was a chance to hear from guest speakers with a real passion for Maths, and find out more about Maths in the outside world and its applications. The guest speakers were Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Bath; Sophie Maclean, a mathematician and experienced maths communicator currently studying for a PhD in Maths in London; and Colin Wright (aka The Maths Juggler), a mathematician working in the fields of Combinatorics and Graph Theory.’

Amy commented, ‘I really enjoyed listening to all of the speeches and how maths applies to many aspects in life. My favourite speech had to be the juggling one as it showed how maths can be used in things that you would least expect.’

Alex mentioned, ‘It was very interesting and eye opening to see how many things maths aids, for example I never would have thought that juggling balls would be affected so much by mathematical patterns.’

Chris said, ‘The first speech on using maths to predict climate change and weather was my favourite, as we saw how maths can be applied in such a useful way.’

A big thank you to Mr Carter and Mr Lound for organising the trip and giving our Year 11s an opportunity to see maths used in different contexts.


Northgate News Team Interview – Mr Masango

Northgate News Team – an insight into GCSEs

Our Northgate News Team recently interviewed some Year 11s (Poppi – Head Girl, Abi – Deputy Head Girl, Blake – Deputy Head Boy and Chris – Prefect). They wanted to find out a bit more about coping with GCSES, how best to manage workload and top tips to revise. Here’s what they had to say.

How should I approach my lessons during KS3?

Poppi: Make sure you have a positive approach to every lesson, and enjoy them! In lessons, the content will build the foundations for the things you need to know for your GCSEs, so everything you learn will help you in the future!

Blake: Always try your hardest! I know that the younger years may feel very far away from GCSEs, but trust me, the time flies. Make the most of the early years and always give 100%. It’ll be worth it on results day!

Abi: Enjoy, learn, have fun, study, focus.  Be prepared for every lesson! Like Blake said, being in the younger years feels like ages away from being in GCSE years, however trust me you will be in year 11 sitting them exams before you know it. 

Chris: I would approach all my lessons with curiosity and an open mind, because you may find that you really enjoy a subject and this helps you learn and remember things.

How does the workload shift from Year 9 going into GCSE years, and how can I manage this?

Poppi: There is an increase in the work going from KS3 into KS4, but it’s definitely manageable! Aim to do your homework the day it is set if possible, this means you have more time to do the things you enjoy! Try not to leave things to the last minute- always give yourself plenty of time. Also, your friends will be doing a lot of the same subjects as you, you can revise or work together and make it more fun.

Blake: When you transition to KS4, there will be some more work yes, as you’re approaching mock exams and GCSEs, but the trick is to not get overwhelmed. I would recommend doing any homework on the day you get it if possible so you have more time on other days to relax. Don’t leave things until the last minute, it’ll just cause you to stress out and panic.

Chris: The workload itself does not shift very much, however if you previously haven’t been paying the most attention in lessons then I would just change my attitude towards it and you should be fine.

What are your biggest tips for the transition into GCSEs?

Poppi: It will seem scary at first but you will have so much fun! Try your best in every lesson, and don’t be afraid to ask for help – some things get tricky but everyone in your class is doing it together. Some subjects offer clubs at break / lunch / after school, these can be super helpful if you want to work on different areas of each subject.

Blake: It’s not as scary as it seems, so don’t feel intimidated. Think of it like you now get to study the subjects that you want to do! Keep trying your best and giving it your all; the later years are extremely important when it comes to revision and improvement, so I would recommend putting aside a little time in the day or week to study, as it’ll help you remember what you’ve been learning and really hone your memory, to help you in exams.

Abi: Enjoy the younger years, getting to know the school, teachers and making friends. However making sure you are still focusing in lessons throughout the years the transition to GCSEs aren’t as bad as it seems. You will be revisiting everything you have learnt in the younger years. 

Chris: You’ve got to realise that from then on anything you are learning in lesson could be in your GCSE exams, so making lots notes and clear writing in your book will help you remember and revise.

How can I revise effectively?

Poppi: Revision doesn’t have to be done independently! Sometimes it is nice to have some quiet time to revise by yourself but revising with friends is super fun! They can help you in subjects you are in together, and question you on subjects that you don’t do together. Another tip for understanding topics and revising is to try and teach someone, it means you have to understand a concept in order to teach it. You just need to find the technique that works the best for you! Also, you don’t need to revise for 6 hours straight the night before a test! Try revising for a week or so before the day of the test in short chunks, taking breaks to give yourself time to recover.

Blake: First of all, find a revision technique that works for you. That could be creating mind maps, reading from textbooks, online videos, just anything that you find helps you remember and understand the subject area. I would also highly recommend setting yourself goals, and rewarding yourself for them. For example, you could study for an hour and then have an hour of free time. And the most important one: Please take breaks!!! Studying for three 30 minute sessions with a 10 minute break in between will be a lot more effective than one session of 1 hour 30 minutes, as your brain has time to process the information.

Abi: firstly GET ENOUGH SLEEP! This helps massively. Do not overload your brain, split your work/revision up over a week into smaller chunks. This then also allows you to have time away to rest and enjoy your other hobbies. Little and often it’s more effective then cramming loads of work in the night before an exam. Another main thing is do make sure if you are stuck or unclear with anything ever, ask your teacher. It will help your understanding of the task clearer and I’m sure the teachers would be more then happy to help! 

Chris: Personally I like to utilise the various resources and websites the school has subscribed to such as Seneca, because they are programmed to get you to learn and memorise information.

How can I balance my school work with things I want to do?

Poppi: Make sure you take time to do things you enjoy! School is important but so is looking after yourself. Make a revision timetable, or set aside specific nights to do homework or revision. This way you can still do things you find interesting! Try out different routines and find what works for you!

Blake: Allow yourself to have that time! Just because you’re in the GCSE years it doesn’t mean you have to study 24/7. Just try to find time to study or revise, and get into a routine. You could study in the morning, and have the evening to yourself, or you could break it into chunks throughout the night. Just don’t burn yourself out, as that’s as good as not studying at all. Give yourself breaks, and let yourself process the information you’ve taken in.

Abi: Balancing study work and free time can be hard. However it’s so important to have time away from studying and revising. Relieving stress within your body. It’s so important to not worry and to have time away doing either sports or crafts, anything you enjoy doing even if it’s only for half an hour. 

Chris: I have never had a problem with not having enough time to do homework and other school work despite playing 2 instruments attending several clubs and rugby on Sundays, so you should be fine.

And finally, do you have any other advice or tips?

Poppi: Enjoy your time at school! My friends have been super helpful and I’ve had so much fun with them. Make the most of every opportunity available to you, and just have fun!

Blake: Don’t let the prospect of GCSEs scare you. As long as you find out what works for you, and don’t overwork yourself, I’m sure it’ll be a breeze. 

Abi: Start preparing yourself early however, have fun throughout school and take each and every opportunity that is given to you!

Chris: Approach every subject with curiosity and interest.

A big thank you to Poppi, Abi, Blake, Amelie and Chris for giving such valuable advise. Remember, if you are struggling at all with revision, workload, exams or something else, please speak to someone. There are plenty of people at Northgate that can help and give you advice and support you.