Headteacher’s Blog

The latest edition of the Headteacher’s Blog has been published and is available here. This time, Mrs Saunders writes about the benefits of wellbeing and the importance of sleep.

‘Youth Speaks’ District Semi-Finals

YS District SemiY9 students Ruby-Leigh S, George G and William M, having won the Hertford and Ware Rotary Youth Speaks competition, gave an outstanding performance at the District Semi-Finals. Nine teams battled it out for a place in the finals. Other teams were from Dame Alice Owen’s, Aylesbury Grammar School, Etonbury Academy, Hitchin Boys’, Hitchin Girls’, and John Henry Newman. The parents and I marveled at the confidence of all the students and the quality of their speeches; this was a challenge that would have terrified many adults after all!

The topics ranged widely from ‘self driving cars’ to ‘are we real?’. Our team gave a crafted, passionate and thought-provoking presentation on the failure of Grammar Schools and why inclusive schools, like Simon Balle, are better for children and for society in general. Although the competition was tough, we are delighted that Simon Balle is through to the District Finals, which will be held in March. Our students’ parents make a big difference too and I’d like to thank them for juggling other commitments to bring their children to the competitions and for helping them prepare. Your support is invaluable!

Congratulations to Ruby-Leigh, George and William!

County Cross Country Champion!

Cross Country EGBefore half term Simon Balle athletes competed at the Herts Schools Cross Country Championships in St. Albans. Four athletes travelled and competed courageously facing tough competition.

Trixie Wraith, George Rumbold and Max Eland all ran well finishing in the 30s. However, the performance of the day came from Y12 student Elspeth G.  Running in her first County Championships she started steadily in the top 10. After 2km Elspeth was the first Senior Girl and comfortably maintained this position for the rest of the race  to become the Senior Girls County Champion.

Elspeth will now represent Hertfordshire at the National Cross Country Championships in Norwich later this year.

‘People Who Help Us’

We have had a very busy and interesting half term in Reception, learning all about the ‘People Who Help Us’.  Last week the Squirrels and Hedgehogs were thinking all about fire safety, and Firefighters.

On our “Welly Wednesday” we made our own pretend bonfire, sang campfire songs and even enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate. We have been thinking about how to stay safe around fire, and spent some time writing our own set of fire safety rules.

Reception Feb 17 1 Reception Feb 17 2


Poetry Evening Success

poetry eveningAt the end of January Simon Balle posted its first ever poetry evening.  In the first half students and staff read their poems – many were self-penned and all were wonderfully recited.  Professional poet Keith Jarrett performed some of his work after the interval. This was wonderfully received and Keith was equally impressed with the confidence shown by the students.

We decided to hold a Poetry Festival to challenge the notion that poetry is difficult or obscure and celebrate the power and playfulness of language. I couldn’t have been prouder of the students who wrote and then learnt their own poems off by heart and performed them with such passion and pride. I know from feedback, that many members of the audience weren’t expecting such an entertaining evening so we certainly challenged some preconceptions about poetry. Keith Jarrett’s performance was wonderful too – lyrical, relevant, humorous and thought provoking. We hope he’ll be back again next year. Thanks also to Y8 student Jack B for his excellent hosting!
You can see below a selection of the comments from the evening:

Brilliant evening – such a variety of poems and read so confidently by the students (and teachers!)

Bravo!! Quelle belle soiree.

So proud of all the youngsters who wrote and performed.  Another excellent show put on by the school.

Y10 Theatre Trip

Please see below Y10 student Emma Liddle’s reflections on the recent English trip….

An I Calls‘In January the majority of Y10 went to the Playhouse Theatre in London to see a production of J.B Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’, a text which we are studying for GCSE English Literature.

The play, set in 1912, opens with an enclosed house on stage. The sound of the Birling family holding a dinner party to celebrate the engagement of their daughter Sheila, can be heard.  The condescending upper class guests are oblivious to what they are about to face.  A mysterious policeman called Inspector Goole comes to inform the family that a young girl named Eva Smith has committed suicide and chillingly goes round to each of the characters in turn, revealing how each of them were involved in the chain of events that led to her death. As the play progressed the setting became a central part of the play. The house opens up and then collapses in sparks, to symbolise the Birlings’ demise.  

The entire play was full of suspense and presented in a unique way, with the Inspector often interacting with the audience. Overall it was a really enjoyable afternoon and a fantastic opportunity to enhance our understanding of ‘An Inspector Calls’.