Amada Hardie NHSG

Inspiring a Generation with Amanda Hardie of NHSG

Amanda Hardie is the newly appointed Head of Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG). We sit down to have a chat about plans and the future of NHSG

Amanda Hardie is as Head of Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) as of January this year. She is 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.

As staff, what we value the most is seeing the girls grow into talented young women, from their early days with us in Nursery and Junior School – right through to waving them off as university life beckons and then hearing of their success as they become part of our active alumnae community.

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.

NHSG

You have most recently held the combined role of Head of Junior School and Senior School Deputy Head of Academic – as well as serving as Acting Head since September 2023. How has this experience influenced you so far in your role as Head?

Having such 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 with this all-through educational journey in mind means that every stage builds effectively and seamlessly on the one that went before it, and pupils will be ready for what comes next as they move into the year above.

Why is an all-girl education so important to NHSG?

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 less negative 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 we see so much success in traditionally male dominated subjects, particularly STEM subjects, where NHSG alumnae are forging dynamic careers. We regularly invite alumnae back to speak to our current pupils and their talks are genuinely inspirational.

Hearing from impressive women who once attended the school talking about their careers and experiences highlights to our pupils what they are capable of achieving in the future.

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

As everyone who works in education knows, going through Inspection is a major undertaking. For NHSG, it provided an opportunity for us to demonstrate, and receive endorsement for, all the great work that happens on a daily basis.

It was therefore a very positive experience and I was happy when the inspectors said that our teachers are delivering great lessons and that our pupils want to challenge themselves and 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.

NHSG

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, we encourage them to follow their passions and learn without limits.

Alongside this 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 up opportunities, as well as industry partnerships including Nissan and Sage.

We still don’t see enough female representation in industry and I want to ensure that Newcastle High is at the forefront of that change in our region.

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

STEM is important but so are other disciplines and we will never lose sight of that. Whether a girl’s passion is for 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 worthy of the West End and historians who are perceptive in their analysis of the past and who show curiosity and insight.

Whatever it is that sparks the intellectual interest and passion of each girl, there are opportunities for her to pursue this and to take her learning way 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.

That means that NHSG will be continually evolving, particularly in terms of our academic offer and our award-winning facilities, generating impactful external partnerships and a future-facing education for every girl.

Applications to join the school are open for September 2024 and NHSG’s next Open Week is 3 – 7 June. For more information please visit here.