Happy Summer!

EoY imageWe would like to thank all members of the Simon Balle community for what has been another fantastic year.

A level results day – Thursday 13th August 

A2 results available from 8:30

AS results available from 9:30

Thursday 20th August

GCSE  Y11 results available from 9:30

 

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable break – students in Y7-13 are back in school on Wednesday 2nd September.  The youngest members of our community, Squirrels and Hedgehogs, will come for their first morning in the Larch Centre on Tuesday 1st September.

Please keep an eye on the website during the holidays – there is lots happening during the break!

Ashbourne House Trip

Just before the end of term Ashbourne House, winners of the house competition for 2014-15, went on their rewards trip. All students in Ashbourne who are currently in school and had a positive number of points overall were invited to attend.

We were rewarded with some great weather and short queues at the start of the day so everyone was able to enjoy the rides and games they wanted to experience. The Ashbourne students and staff had a great trip which was no more than they deserved after a year of hard work, great achievements and much sporting and musical success.

Judging by the positive comments and spontaneous thanks expressed by the students at the end of the day I don’t think they will be relinquishing their crown readily next year. Well done to all Ashbourne students and staff!

Ashbourne mascot    group shotFun on the ride

 

Cambridge University Trip

On Friday 17th July a small group of Y10 and 11 students had the privilege of visiting St John’s College Cambridge.  Y10 student Oliver Murphy sent in this report:

Cambridge University Trip Y10 Y11‘We were met by the Student Recruitment Access Officer for St John’s who guided the group around the buildings. We were directed to our meeting room where we were treated to refreshments and were briefed on the history of Cambridge University. The briefing was a great way to consolidate the vast array of courses available to potential students.

Our tour guide then showed us around ‘The Old Library’ which contains books and manuscripts that date back hundreds of years.  After the fascinating exploration of ancient texts the group returned to the meeting room for a buffet lunch,followed by a tour of the campus, led by a 4th year medical student. It was an excellent insight into life as a student  and helped us to understand the everyday routine of the university. 

The trip was a fantastic experience and it was a pleasure and honour to attend such a respected university.’

Library’s Film Quiz Proves Very Popular!

Library film quizIt was standing room only in the Library last Friday lunchtime as over 50 students and staff participated in another of the Library’s popular quizzes. Mr Belsey’s questions covered a range of films and tested both knowledge and spelling! Y9 student Jacob did a fantastic job as Question Master and we now have a waiting list to fulfil this role in future quizzes!

Congratulations to our winners from Y10, Fenner and Max, who won a book, chocolates and 3 House Points each!

Thanks to all who came along to support this event. There will be more quizzes next term….

2015 Ruth Bate MFL Award

Ruth Bate Award 2015The 2015 Ruth Bate Award was recently presented to Y10 students Chloë S and Alex W  in recognition of outstanding performance in the Young MFL Leader programme. The award’s key criteria are personal achievement, commitment, creativity, pro-active participation, enthusiasm, assisting others, initiative and promoting MFL through example.

History of the award – Ruth Bate was a language teacher at Simon Balle School who died in January 1989. In her will she left a sum of money in a trust fund to be used to promote MFL at the school and a permanent award was set up in Ruth’s name. The shield and a list of students who have received the award are permanently displayed in the MFL department.

It is hoped that this award will preserve the memory and some of the qualities of Ruth Bate as well as recognising the achievements of a new generation.

Careers Fair 2015

We held a Careers Fair last Wednesday for Y10 and Y12 students.  Journalism Leaders Yasmin Scott-Gray and Callum Morris-Horne report below:

Careers fair 1 ‘Students had the opportunity to explore future career and academic pathways at a Careers Fair held in the School Hall.  Employers ranging from GSK, The Army, Zoology, WiIkins Kennedy Accountancy to  Santander and Hertford County Council attended.  The knowledge of transferable skills and entry requirements endowed upon us will be valuable in the future when we embark upon our academic adventures and careers.

careers fair 2The businesses advertised work experience placements, apprenticeship schemes and future employment which were particularly beneficial for the Y12 students. It was also helpful for the Y10 students to gain an insight into the diverse employment opportunities available to them, which they may not have previously considered.’

Thank you to Julie Calder and all the businesses for giving up their time and arranging such a worthwhile and constructive afternoon.

Y12 PRE Trip

Y12 PRE students have been studying Buddhist philosophy this year. As part of their study of the Theravada tradition, we visited the Amaravati Buddhist monastery on Friday. As part of the experience, we were shown around the grounds by one of the monks to understand the practical implications of monkhood.

We were fortunate to experience two types of Buddhist meditation. The first involved sitting whilst the monk focused our minds on our breathing. The latter was a walking meditation through the Buddha grove in the grounds.  At lunch, the students joined the monks, nuns and the lay Buddhists. Here we were able to share food with the monks as part of alms-giving.
Y12 Buddhism trip 1  Y12 Buddhism trip 2Y12 Buddhism trip 3
Both students and staff learned a lot from the experience. The student asked some fantastic questions about the beliefs, tradition and practices within the monastery, and as usual behaviour was impeccable. Well done, Y12!

Piano and Keyboard Masterclass

Please see the post below from Jeremy Lovell, Music peri teacher:

Piano and Keyboard MasterclassOur Piano and Keyboard students were treated to a wonderful masterclass last week from Anna Markland, a previous winner of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year competition.  Our performers were Grace B, Ellie S, Harriet D, Sarah K and Max M  who played pieces by composers such as Bach, Chopin and Debussy. 

They were given expert advice that was truly inspirational, as well as being delivered in a completely relaxed and approachable manner.  Both performers and audience were left with plenty of ideas and encouragement with which to go away and improve their playing. 

At the end, Ms Markland treated us all to a mini-recital that left us all wanting more!  A fabulous occasion, that I hope we can repeat soon.

Staff CPD Marketplace

Last week saw the annual ‘CPD marketplace’ where staff share the findings of their reflective inquiry. During the year staff work individually or in small groups to investigate an aspect of teaching and learning. They research around their chosen area, try a range of strategies, reflect on their practice and discuss which have the greatest impact on learning. The topics this year included looking at the impact of peer tutoring, how might we need to alter our teaching and learning approaches to meet the demands of linear examinations, the use of iPads to enhance learning, engaging students with STEM subjects through Robotics and strategies to develop the most able.

Two groups of our second year teachers have been using lesson study to look at how we can differentiate by outcome to promote outstanding progress and how we can build and nurture self-reflective learners. Lesson study is a peer-to-peer professional learning strategy. It requires teachers to work collaboratively to plan, deliver, observe and refine their practice after each lesson and has been extensively used in Japan as a key tool in improving teaching.

It is great to see staff continuing to refine and develop their practice to ensure they continue to deliver engaging and challenging lessons using strategies and techniques that have been shown to have impact on student outcomes.

Staff CPD Marketplace 2015