Speakers’ Corner – Protest Music

SC protest musicMusic, history and politics were the themes of Speakers’ Corner two weeks ago as Y12 student Gwilym T and Y10 student Matteo T helped me to deliver a presentation about the history of political protest in popular music.

The talk covered the traditional folk songs of 1930s America, pop and rock in the 1960s and anti-war songs prompted by American involvement in Vietnam, the growth of punk as a social phenomenon and modern protest music incorporating hip-hop and metal.

A large audience were present to listen to the speakers and enjoy snippets of iconic songs from artists such as The Clash and Woody Guthrie. Matteo and Gwilym did a tremendous job of helping to create and deliver the presentation; definitely future history teachers in the making!

Industrial Cadets March Onward

I am very pleased to announce that on Monday twelve of our Y9 students successfully qualified as Bronze level Industrial Cadets and were also awarded their Silver CREST awards.  Both are nationally recognised awards, supporting excellence in science.

Industrial Cadets 2016 g1We submitted two teams into the competition yesterday, where they had to explain their 10-week science projects to a panel of experts.  It was a tough competition with 17 teams participating from across the South East, the majority from independent schools.  Industrial Cadets 2016 g2However, our students performed extremely well and both teams came joint runners up in the competition, receiving a “highly commended” award. The judges were deliberating for an extremely long time so it was clearly a close decision and both teams should be congratulated for their fantastic efforts.  They got excellent feedback from the judges for the quality of their reports and presentation skills.
Well done to the students and thanks to the mentors at GSK for providing excellent support.  Please wish them luck in the next competition at the Big Bang Science Fair on Thursday 30th June.

Speakers’ Corner – Video Games

nerd-louisville-video-games-1038x1038Many thanks to Y7 boys Jack, Alex and Charles who gave a detailed presentation on their hobby, Video Games. As well as describing some of the more popular ones they gave their opinions on different games. There was also a quiz for the audience to test their knowledge of this topic. With over 20 in the audience this was a very popular subject which appeals particularly to boys of varying age groups.

Well done Y7s – you have practised your presentation skills and earned 2 House Points each in the process!



Last week, Y10s dispelled the myth of the difficulty of physics. Having learnt about GPE and KE they applied their knowledge to design a roller coaster and collect data to calculate the amount of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy at different stages of the cart on the roller coaster track.

Y10 physics 1Y10 physics 2Y10 physics 3





They particularly showed resilience in building the roller coaster to follow the criteria (to have at least one hill and be slow enough for the marble to not come off the end) and also when using formulae to calculate their answers. We then evaluated their roller coasters to discuss how effective they were.

Another excellent week in science!


Cricket County Champions!

On Wednesday Y7 and Y8 girls’ cricketers took part in the Chance to Shine County Super 8 cricket competition. The girls convincingly beat Beaumont School and Hitchin Girls in the pool matches. The girls fielding and bowling was outstanding as they only conceeded 59 runs and 40 runs in the respective games.
The girls then met Tring School in the semi final. They again fielded and bowled brilliantly and stayed calm under pressure with the bat, winning the game with 5 balls to go. The final pitched them against Beaumont for the 2nd time. The girls continued to field brilliantly against a strong batting attack and they were set a target of 56 runs. Our batting was excellent with Jasmine and Kathryn getting 6’s and going for boundaries to get them the win with an over to spare!
County Cricket Champions
The girls were crowned County Champions and now will go to Regional Finals on 14th July. The girls won a cricket bag of equipment and tickets to see England women v Pakistan. This is a great achievement. Well Done to Elsa (Captain), Julianne, Kathryn, Emily P, Emily R, Niamh, Katie, Jasmine and Lauren.

Shakespearean Interpretations

As part of 7L’s study of A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  students explored the characters of Oberon and Titania.

For homework they produced costume designs that reflected their interpretations of these powerful and complicated characters. Here are some of the amazing results.

shakedraw 2shakedraw 1shakedraw 3


The Big Reveal is Here!

Those of you who have been watching the skies…and our website… with interest will already know about the Rocket Seeds experiment that Simon Balle, along with hundreds of other schools, undertook as part of Tim Peake’s time at the International Space Station. (To look back over our seed posts please click here.)

We have received an email from the organisers giving the following update:  ‘Over 5,400 participants entered their data which has now been sent off for analysis. We will present the results of the experiment in the Autumn in our Rocket Science final report which will be available to all schools and groups who took part.

Red or Blue?

Tim Peake seedsIn the meantime we know you are all bursting to know whether the red or blue packet contained the space seeds and we can now finally reveal the true identity of the seeds! Before Tim went to space, he flipped a coin to decide which pack would contain the space seeds and recorded it on video.

Click on the image to watch the video and to discover the space seeds true identity!  

(If you can’t access YouTube, you can also find the video here:) https://www.dropbox.com/s/rxrk37ea9iunjj8/Tim%20Peake%20reveals%20which%20seeds%20went%20to%20space.mp4?dl=0

Sport At Simon Balle

5 in a row ABWhat a couple of weeks it has been for sport at Simon Balle. Last week Y7-10 boys teams participated in the District Calypso Cricket competitions. Y8 & 10 teams both won, with Y7 making the final and the Y9 reaching the semi-finals. This was our best showing for a number of years and is evidence of the talent across all year groups.  Special mention needs to go to Y8 student Alex B for his 5 wickets in a row – an incredible sporting achievement!

In athletics we had 4 teams competing in the County League over the past 2 months. The competition takes place over six rounds with the top 8 qualifying for either a cup or plate final. As a result of their dedication and consistency, all four teams have qualified for the finals. The U14 girls have qualified for the Cup final against schools of the calibre of Dame Alice Owens. The U14 & U16 boys along with the U16 girls have qualified for the Plate final.

The District Tennis championships took place last Friday with 36 students, both boys and girls, representing Simon Balle.  Calypso Cricket 2016All teams performed very well with the U13 & U15 boys’ teams becoming District champions and in the process, qualifying for the County championships next Thursday at Queenswood.

Good luck to all teams who will be competing in County, Regional and National finals over the next 3 weeks.

Alumni News Update

We are delighted to report that Simon Balle alumni Emily Lewis has been awarded a first class degree by Leeds University after studying Psychology for the 3 years since she left Simon Balle.  Emily, who wants to enter primary teaching, will be joining us as a teaching assistant in the Larch Centre in September.

We have also had other update this week.  Michael Nott, who left us in 2008, has been awarded an American Studies Early Career Fulbright Award enabling him to do research at the University of California, Berkeley, for three months.  Michael will be studying Anglo-American poet Thom Gunn during his time in America.

As we move towards the start of our 60th year we are always interested in news of past members of the Simon Balle community!  Please send any updates to admin@simonballe.herts.sch.uk