We believe in the development of the whole person, and we have a longstanding emphasis on what is now being termed ‘character education’. This is so important to us, it is reflected in our school motto
– Living to Learn | Learning to Live.
Living to Learn: Core aim
In 2019 (the last year when results were published nationally), NHGS was ranked the highest achieving post-16 centre in Calderdale, based on 19.4% of A-level students achieving three grades of AAB or higher, including at least two facilitating subjects (compared to an average of 13%). In 2022, 25.6% of students achieved three grades of AAB or higher, including at least two facilitating subjects.
We offer a wide variety of courses, including all the facilitating A Levels, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Geography, History, English Literature and Modern Languages, plus a wide range of specialist subjects including Art, Politics, Media Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Product Design. The full range of courses can be viewed here >>.
All of our students are expected to study a minimum of three A Level courses, with the option to study a fourth A Level where suitable. All external examinations are sat at the end of the two-year course, with the exception of Further Mathematics where an AS may be sat at the end of Year 12. Students are also given the opportunity to demonstrate broader research-based skills with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
All students complete the VESPA programme to support their own independent study skills. This is completed via the online platform allowing an individualised programme for each student based on a psychometric test.
We use specialist teachers who have experience of teaching both GCSE and A Level, therefore ensuring that the link between the certificates is understood and that work is appropriately structured to best manage students’ transition between the two.
Almost half, 45%, of our teaching staff have been part of the school for over 10 years, giving both a breadth of specialist subject knowledge but also a wealth of experience to support each student.
All of our courses are taught on site at the school and we do not outsource our teaching.
Learning to Live: Enrichment
Our Core Enrichment Programme is followed by all Year 12 students and includes the choice of school based activities, such as touch typing, sign language, technical theatre, online super-curricular courses and sports; or volunteering/work experience externally depending upon their specific career goals. There are further Optional Enrichment activities which enable students to follow their own interests outside their academic study. The full range of activities can be viewed here>>.
Students are encouraged to develop their leadership skills working with our younger students and fulfilling responsibilities within the wider school.
Careers Support & Pathways
Students are assigned a specific Pathways Programme at the start of the Sixth Form. All students receive tailored PSCHEE with external providers, talks from former students and university representatives and regular one-to-one meetings with a Student Progress Tutor. Additionally, students who are looking to follow a medical career pathway, or who are interested in future study at Oxbridge are placed in relevant forms and supported throughout their sixth form journey by an experienced sixth form tutor. Support with work experience, understanding the application process - including preparing for entrance examinations and interviews - are available to ensure that our students are given the best opportunity to succeed. The Pathways Programm enables students to consider their future options early, to take advantage of the opportunities presented and to develop the skills and experiences most relevant to their career goals.
Students gain valuable employment skills at our annual enterprise conference and complete a week’s work experience at the end of Year 12, with some students opting to do this through volunteering on the Year 9 camp, working alongside NHGS staff.
Students also take part in a full careers guidance programme provided by the Calderdale Careers Service. This is supported by a variety of presentations and events, hosted by the school, designed to highlight both university and apprenticeship opportunities. A UCAS evening and an Apprenticeships evening for parents so they too can gain an insight into the options available following post-16 study.
In 2022, students from Year 13 went on to study at 58 different universities around the UK – 42% Russell Group university places.
Numbers taking up higher level apprenticeships and employment saw an increase again following the pandemic, with students joining companies such as BDO, PWC, BAE systems and West Yorkshire Police.