Bunting Aiding Revision

Y11 revision Nov 2015The time is fast approaching for the Y11 mock GCSE exams. Our Historians will sit a paper on Russia 1905 to 1939. To help with their revision and to decorate the classroom the groups have been making bunting of all the key events that happen over the time period.

They then  had to sort out the bunting into chronological order which was challenging in some places as not all events had the dates on to help them. A timeline helps the students to work out when events occurred and help them to figure out answers to questions by working backwards and forwards over the time period.

Good luck in your mocks Y11 – you’ve had some useful revision sessions and tips in school!

Victorious Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders Nov15At the weekend our Y8 & Y9 cheerleaders competed at the Saracens’ School of Cheer competition in Watford. The girls have trained really hard, coming into school some days at 7:30 am to train.

A big thanks to their coach Hollie who has worked really hard with them. The girls were excellent and finished winners of the secondary competition! This is a fabulous achievement – well done to all.  Please watch the video of their winning performance below.

Alumni Inspires Future Writers

Christian Darkin lunchDuring the school’s ‘Ready, Steady, Book!‘ literary festival, the Journalism Society and the school’s student librarians were fortunate to share lunch with a published author and animator. Christian Darkin, a former Simon Balle student during the 1980s, had earlier delivered an inspirational presentation about his writing and animation careers to Y8 students. Providing a reading of his novel aimed at children and teenagers, The Skull, his talk was topped off by a wide ranging Q&A session, with questions varying from Christian’s writing process to whether he’s noticed when out and about!

Following this, fourteen students and I were treated to a lunch provided by the canteen and an extremely interesting conversation with Christian. The ex-student surprised all of us by bringing with him original copies of the school magazine which he contributed to and edited. Our conversation took in a discussion of the value of social media and its hazards; Christian’s, and the students’, favourite genres of fiction; and some invaluable advice for the students regarding how to break into the writing industry.

All of the pupils relished the opportunity to meet a successful published author, especially one for whom Simon Balle was where it all began. We look forward to welcoming Christian back in the near future!

Autumn 2015 Charity Update

poppyWe are delighted that we raised £267.13 during this year’s Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

The Macmillan Coffee Morning in September raised £234.89  Our non-uniform day in support of Motor Neurone Disease raised  £1,144.15 and Children In Need day raised a total of £1,915.36

Our last fundraising event of 2015 will be on Friday 18th December.  In support of Crisis At Christmas students and staff are invited to wear a Christmas-themed jumper for the day (usual uniform applies apart from jumper).  A minimum donation towards the charity of £1 will be asked for each jumper worn.

Headteacher’s Blog

The latest edition of the Headteacher’s Blog has been published and is available here.  Mrs Saunders’ returns with her ‘Advent blog’.  The blog will go ‘on tour’ with other members of the Senior Leadership Team in 2016!

An Athletics Masterclass From Lesley Owusu

Last Friday we were fortunate to have a visit from Lesley Owusu, an international 400m runner who has represented Great Britain at European, World & Commonwealth level.

Lesley ran five very engaging Athletics sessions with our most able athletes from Y7-13. Students took part in technical drills which focused on their body position whilst running as well as pure speed work. Most of the students present have competed for the school at District, County and – for some –  at Regional level.

Students had the chance to ask Lesley questions about her training, diet and the mental aspects of competition. The day finished with Y13 A-Level students taking part in a power circuit which included sprint starts, hurdle jumps, medicine ball work and power lifting. The session was related to the A-Level PE course.

An enjoyable and informative day was had by all. These sessions will help prepare our athletes for the upcoming Sportshall and Indoor athletics competitions in 2016.

Lesley Owusu Masterclass November 2015

Mayor Presents Writing Challenge Awards

Simon Balle book week winners 2015One of the highlights of Simon Balle’s ‘Ready, Steady, Book! A Festival for Readers and Writers’ was its second Writing Challenge Awards Evening, kindly hosted by our local Leaf Cafe on Wednesday 18th November. Awards to the winners were presented by The Worshipful Mayor of Hertford, Cllr. Dr. Linda Radford, who congratulated the 6 young people and gave them some words of encouragement for their future writing.  Chair of Judges was Melanie Taylor, a published writer from Cambridge who has been Guest Writer for the Festival.
Last Thursday London poet, Clare Pollard gave a moving poetry reading to Y11 students which was a new experience for most of them. Christian Darkin lunchSimon Balle was also pleased to welcome back writer and animator, Christian Darkin, who is a former student of the School. Since he used to be responsible for the school magazine he had lunch with Mr David Brinicombe (English teacher) and the current Journalism Society he leads. The Library’s team of hard working Student Librarians joined them for the lunch also.

Supporting The Community

Shoe box posterEncouraged by Katie Hill, Head of PRE, staff and a few sixth form students decided to support a local women’s refuge this Christmas. This builds on the Five Steps to Well-Being introduced in our INSET day in July and really focuses on the “Giving” step.

Wrapped shoe boxesWe have been collecting items under three categories – really useful basics, helpful comforting things, and nice things to have. At lunchtime on Friday a number of staff put the donated items in to the boxes and the A level Sociology students wrapped them this week ready for collection and distribution at Christmas.

There has been a fantastic response from the staff and we now have over 50 boxes wrapped and ready to go.