Norwich High School for Girls Senior Prizegiving celebrates achievements from the 21-22 academic year

Posted on 20th September 2022

Norwich High School for Girls celebrated the achievements of Senior School and Sixth Form students at their annual Prizegiving service.

Norwich High School for Girls celebrated the achievements of Senior School and Sixth Form students at their annual Prizegiving service which took place at St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich on Friday 16th September. The event was attended by the school community and invited guests including the Lord Mayor of Norwich Councillor Dr Kevin Maguire and the Sheriff of Norwich and Norwich High School for Girls alumna, Caroline Jarrold.

The service began with a tribute to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, following her sad passing the week before. The school community held a minute’s silence, listened to a tribute by Miss Alison Sefton, Head of Norwich High School for Girls, and joined together to sing the National Anthem.

There then followed the welcome speech by the new Chair of the Governing Body, Mrs Liz Sillitoe. She commented: “As an alumna of Norwich High School for Girls, I was delighted to be asked to stand up in front of the school community to welcome everyone, including the returning Class of 2022 following their outstanding A Level results in the summer.”

“I have yet to observe a school spirit and community quite like ours – strong and resilient, driven and ambitious, but also wonderfully compassionate and totally and utterly devoted to our pupils.”

Chair of the Governing Body, Mrs Liz Sillitoe

Mrs Sillitoe continued: “Our students benefit hugely from this, as well as from our membership of the extended GDST family. I am very confident that, one day, we will be welcoming one of the 2022 prizewinners back onto the stage as guest speaker and ambassador, for this wonderful school.”

Mrs Sillitoe went on to introduce the Head of Nowich High School for Girls, Miss Alison Sefton, for her address. Miss Sefton reflected on highlights from the previous year which included:

  • Sport: With Norwich High School playing over 500 matches in 11 different sports and over 230 senior girls representing the school across the year.
  • The Lego Robotics team making it all the way to the National Finals.
  • The Winter Arts Festival including the Forum Exhibition, European Art Song Evening, Chamber Concert and the Finale.
  • A return to in person performance including History Girls, Made In Dagenham, The Jungle Book and Alice.
  • A return to school trips including the Lake District for the Chamber Choirs, Kew Gardens, the North Norfolk coast, the Peak District, Cardiff and Cadair Idris for Geography, DofE camping trips, the Sixth Form trip to Amsterdam and the Year 8 trip to Normandy.
  • Our GDST award successes including our LEAD Team, student Antonia Rogers who won the GDST Pearson and Silver prize for Academic Excellence in classical subjects, and GDST Select squad sport success from students Erin Wilcox, Freya Tyack, Freya Dolding and Connie Harris.

Miss Sefton commented: “The key message from my Prizegiving address was to encourage students to seize every opportunity while they are at school and surrounded with people who want to see the very best in them. I have long talked about students at Norwich High School being mini-activists. They are willing and have the desire to be change-makers; and I urge them to never stop doing that.”

“Being a change-maker starts in school and at home and works even better when we collaborate and work with others. The power of community is strong and keeps the Norwich High School spirit alive.”

Head of Nowich High School for Girls, Miss Alison Sefton

The Prizegiving followed, with over 300 prizes given out to students from Year 8 to Year 13 including GCSE and A Level certificates. New scholarships were also presented for academic, sport, drama, music, product design and textiles to selected Year 7, Year 9 and Year 11 students.

Mrs Rosie Sexton, Norwich High School for Girls alumna and Founder and Director of Norwich charity English+, presented the prizes and followed with the keynote speech. Rosie said: “I was extremely touched to have been asked to attend the Norwich High School for Girls Prizegiving and to give the keynote speech. It was wonderful to be welcomed by the whole community, and to take the opportunity to celebrate the hard work and various achievements of the students, including presenting prizes for equality, contribution to school life and academic endeavour. Sharing my thoughts and life lessons to the school community following my own work overseas and here in Norwich with refugees was an honour.”


Mrs Sexton continued: “I hope to have inspired others; to welcome new people into their lives; to respond when life is hard – and it will be at times – by not just accepting defeat but being all the more determined to struggle for a better future; to take time to know themselves and who they are becoming; and, finally, to celebrate their achievements.”

Miss Sefton commented: “It was an especially moving time to gather our whole community together, including students, parents, staff, governors and special guests, and to mark the achievements of our students from the 2021-2022 academic year. Our heartfelt thanks go to Mrs Sexton for her inspiring keynote speech and for her time in distributing the prizes. English+ is an incredible charity which is currently working with over 300 people from more than 55 nationalities; supporting them as they endeavour to make Norwich their home.

“Rosie shared her story in a way which really resonated with our students, showing that sometimes a winding path through education and future choices, leads to someone learning more about themselves, their strengths and weaknesses and their true calling in life. She also encouraged us all to activism. I particularly found inspiration from her words below, especially given the reflections we have all made this past week on the life of the Queen:

“Everyone is unique, and the world needs, we need, you, your joy, your energy, your innovation, and your vision for a world where we all stand as equals side by side. But will you use the talents and skills deep within you, that make you unique, to make this world a better place? Where, the least, the lost and the last, the stranger and the outcast, will be valued and we all stand side by side.”

Mrs Rosie Sexton, Norwich High School for Girls alumna and Founder and Director of Norwich charity English+