Year 6 pupil at Northampton High School accepts invitation to Buckingham Palace

Posted 5th March 2024

Angelie, 11, enjoys experience of a lifetime after placing in the top 50 of the UK’s largest children’s story writing competition

Northampton High School is the leading all-through girls school in the county and prides itself on providing exceptional educational opportunities to its students, aged two to 18.

Their excellent-graded Junior School is home to many aspirational girls who, like Angelie, are already achieving outstanding things. This week, the local GDST school is celebrating Angelie’s fabulous entry in BBC’s 500 Words competition, which led to her once-in-a-lifetime visit to Buckingham Palace!

The BBC contest encourages children to write a story they would love to read themselves, and naturally, Northampton High’s Angelie constructed a powerful narrative about girls in coding. Entering the largest children’s story writing competition in the UK, Angelie received news that her submission ‘Nira and the Sphinx Adventures’ had placed in the top 50 of over 100,000 entries, making her a finalist in this prestigious competition.

In a beautifully written piece, the Year 6 pupil combined her interest in computer science with her knowledge of the wider world and the perception of women in society. Her story follows the protagonist, Nira, an 11 year old coding-enthusiast who feels isolated and ignored as the only girl in her coding club.

After Nira simulates Ada Lovelace, history’s first computer programmer back to life, the 19th century mathematician discovers that Charles Babbage has been credited for her work. The characters – nearly 200 years apart in age – connect over their struggles to be recognised in a male-dominated field.

The striking entry, conveying an impressive understanding of gender inequality and feminism across the centuries, won Angelie a sought-after invitation to Buckingham Palace for the 500 Words final.

Reflecting on her visit to Britain’s most prestigious royal residency, Angelie described the experience as “an unforgettable honour” and shared her delight to be amongst the other finalists. She also reported meeting a number of famous faces, including Roman Kemp, Romesh Ranganathan, Alex Jones, Alisha Weir, Oti Mabuse and even Her Majesty The Queen! The final took place on Wednesday 28 February and was filmed for a special 500 Words programme with The One Show, which will broadcast on Thursday 7 March to mark World Book Day 2024.

Creative Writing is a prized skill at the all-girls school, with applicants for their Flair Scholarships coming through to Senior School with this passion. Northampton High School is renowned for academic excellence and takes pride in fostering students’ educational and cocurricular abilities, offering three branches of scholarships – Reach, Spirit and Flair – to further enrich and support students.

Having attended Northampton High throughout her primary years, Angelie, now Junior School Council Chair and Year 6 Cricket Captain, looks forward to enjoying the endless opportunities on offer in Senior School from September.

When asked about her future aspirations, she shared her desire to embark on a career in computer science, crediting her school’s coding club for igniting this passion and removing the stereotypes from the subject. Angelie added that, eventually, she would like to be added to the ‘Wall of Inspirational Women’ that decorates the Junior School corridor, and serves as a reminder to its pupils that anything can be achieved in a school that is Made for Girls.

Mrs Thompson, Head at Northampton High Junior School, commented “I am totally thrilled for Angelie and couldn’t be more proud. This phenomenal achievement pays testament to her dedication to learning and beautifully marks the closing of her Junior School chapter. Her achievement is a first for Northampton High School and is a promising indication that Angelie will continue to pave the way in whatever she decides to pursue.”