Friday 24th May

Co-headteachers’ welcome

This point in the school calendar never fails to be momentous as we see so many of our students reach milestones and begin to go through those familiar rites of passage. All of which always leaves a mark on students, families and teachers alike, not least in the poignant leavers events of the last few weeks. 

As we reflect, the last half term alone has been a significant one as we have seen Year 6, Year 11 and Year 13 begin the process of engaging with public exams where they have the chance to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have acquired in their time with us in a range of subjects. There is a definite energy around the school at this time and mere moments spent speaking to students during breakfast before each exam, whether students are aged 11, 16 or 18, speaks to their readiness to show they are indeed our educated citizens of tomorrow. 

But as always at Simon Balle, there is so much more on offer and so hard to do justice to the breadth of what takes place in and out of the classroom. There have been ample opportunities for physical wellbeing including our excellent performance at the County League Athletics Competition; the fantastic Year 5 hockey festival; the frolics of the Year 3 and 4 gymnastics event; the Freestyle Martial Arts sessions for Year 1 and above, and much, much more besides. On the music front there has been a veritable feast not least the incredible showcase of music at the Celebration of Wind and Brass which saw 95 performers from Year 5 onwards delight and dazzle the audience. And, when looking ahead for the students, whether it is for the next stage of education or for experiences in later life, we have seen such a range of ambitious opportunities including the McMullen careers visits for year 8, the Young Enterprise event for Year 12 and the Festival of Ideas university visit for year 9. 

And so, in reflecting on all the wonderful things that have taken place, it is time to look ahead to the last half term. We have started the process of welcoming our new families to the Simon Balle fold and begin a final, fond farewell to those who will be moving on. We never take for granted the privilege of our role in each student’s education journey and look forward to beginning this path again with those who will join us in September.

Your Past. Your Journey. Our Inspiration.

At Simon Balle All-through School we are extremely proud of our former students, and are keen to keep in touch with them.

If you are a former student of Simon Balle All-through School then why not sign up to join our Alumni network using the form below. We are always looking for inspirational stories and journeys our students have made since leaving the school, and would love to invite our Alumni to help and advise our current students by sharing their experiences.

Please fill out our Alumni Contact Form

Alumni Contact Form

PE and Sports News

Larch Sport

This week, we were delighted to welcome Chris Barlett from Hertford Freestyle Martial Arts into the Larch. Every class from Year 1 upwards engaged in a taster session where they explored the basics of the sport. Please visit our social media pages for the highlights! 

Despite it being a rainy afternoon on Tuesday, our Year 5 and 6 tag rugby teams showed fantastic resilience and determination when competing at the Hertford and Ware Tag Rugby Festival. Both teams dominated play in their tournaments and won most of their games. 

We were also delighted to see some of our Year 3 children represent the school (many for the first time) in a badminton festival on Wednesday. Again, the highlights will soon feature on our social media pages. Well done to all involved. 

Upcoming fixtures and events are listed in the ‘Dates for your Diary’ section at the end of the newsletter. Please note, not all children can be selected for these events due to limited spaces and letters will be sent out if your child is participating.

Secondary Sport

It’s been a good start to the summer term with our students competing across Athletics, Rounders and Cricket with lots of fantastic performances and so many students competing for the school. For all sports news from this month please visit our monthly sports blog – May Sports Blog


If you would like to speak to a member of the SEND team, you can book a virtual appointment of up to 15 minutes with a member of the SEND team, please use the following booking link: Booking link

Tickets are selling fast for this year’s Saffron Sounds, so you’ll need to move quickly to secure yours. This month’s Musical News is packed full of highlights, including the Rock Gig, the Larch Celebration of Music and Mrs Kemp’s Singing Evening. You can watch the videos and read about the upcoming events here.


The Winning House: 2023-24

Since September our students in the Larch centre and the Secondary phase have been earning house points for demonstrating our school values. Many have contributed to the House events put together by Ms Cannon and the House Leaders. We have had form boards, pumpkins, Christmas cards, House sport, the get rewarded for reading scheme and the Secondary talent show. This week, Ms Cannon and Mr Pooley were delighted to announce the overall winner: ASHBOURNE house. There will be the opportunity for Ashbourne students to attend a reward trip/afternoon in the lead up to the summer holidays.  

Please click here for our latest careers blog

Festival of Ideas

We are thrilled to share with you the wonderful trip our Year 9 students embarked upon at the University of Hertfordshire’s ‘Festival of Ideas’. This enriching experience was more than just a field trip; it was a gateway to boundless inspiration and a glimpse into the fascinating realms of academia and innovation.

The Festival offered an eclectic array of talks and interactive workshops, each designed to ignite curiosity and provoke thought. Among the highlights were:

Cracking the Case: Murder Trial Simulation: Students immersed themselves in the world of forensic science and law, as they participated in a gripping murder trial simulation. This hands-on experience not only stimulated their critical thinking skills but also provided a glimpse into the complexities of the justice system.

The Fascinating Past, Present, and Future of Robots in Healthcare: From robotic surgical assistants to AI-powered diagnostic tools, students delved into the transformative role of robotics in healthcare. They gained insight into how technology is revolutionising patient care and explored the ethical implications of these advancements.

Stars, Planets & Constellations: A Guided Tour of the Universe: Led by experts in astronomy, students embarked on a cosmic journey through the vast expanse of the universe. They marveled at celestial wonders, learned about the intricacies of space exploration, and contemplated humanity’s place in the cosmos.

Widening Access – Pathways to University: This workshop provided invaluable guidance on navigating the path to higher education. Students received practical advice on university applications, financial support, and the myriad opportunities available to them as aspiring scholars.

Worldbuilders – How AI is Creating New Worlds for You to Explore in Games: Venturing into the realm of gaming and artificial intelligence, students discovered how AI is reshaping the landscape of interactive entertainment. They explored the creative possibilities of AI-driven game design and gained insight into the future of immersive storytelling.

The Festival of Ideas was not just an educational trip; it was a gateway to future possibilities. Through engaging with these diverse topics, our students gained valuable insights into potential career paths and the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the University of Hertfordshire for hosting such an enriching event, and to all the speakers and organisers who made this experience possible. May this journey serve as a springboard for our students as they navigate their academic and professional futures.


Please spend a moment reading these two guides to keep you and your children safe online.

What parents need to know about online financial scams & exploitation

What parents need to know about sharing photos online

Learning in the Larch

In Year 1 we held our animal dress up day to support our Geography topic of animals and their habitats. The children have written their own versions of Snail and the Whale in literacy with lots of exciting twists and animal choices. They have begun to create their own animal habitats using junk modelling and craft materials. We have shared non-fiction animal books and engaged in lots of animal discussions of various topics and interests.

In Year 2, the children have been writing their own ‘How to…’ guides based on a text called ‘Monsters’, writing clear instructions and top tips on how to look after their monsters effectively. They have also enjoyed Science, learning about the parts of a plant and what they need to survive. 

In Year 3, they’ve been creating their own stop motion movies using the iPads and Chromebooks and growing plants as part of an investigation in Science. We have been amazed by the quality of writing over the past few weeks in both English and Geography. 

Year 4 have begun their play preparations and are all very excited to learn their lines and songs! We cannot wait to see them perform. They have also been extremely busy practising their times tables ready for the upcoming Multiplication Tables Check. We’re so proud of the progress they’re making and it’s great to see this supporting their Maths lessons too. Please continue to use TTRS and other strategies shared at the recent workshop to support them maintain and improve their recall of this important knowledge.

Library news

Lots to celebrate in the Library this half term, and lots to look forward to in June!

The winners of ‘Get Rewarded for Reading’ have been announced, along with the winners of the book review competition. We’ve also had the Disney quiz, deliveries of new books and regular favourites Speakers’ Corner and Music Monday. On June 4th author Alice Hemming kicks off the diary writing competition with her Sports Writing Workshop.

Head over to the Library News to read more about all of these events

Cheerleading Success

Emilia C from Y10 has recently represented the UK in an international cheerleading competition

  • The competition was called International Cheerleading Union 
  • Team: Cheerleading England – Youth All Girl Advanced (Won the competition)
  • Also competed for her team ‘Twisted Cheer’ (7th place) 
  • Emilia has been cheerleading for 7 years and has been a part of Team England for the past year. 
  • This was her second visit to America to compete. The first was in Year 8 with her team, Twisted Cheer’.
  • Beating Team USA felt like a huge achievement as America is where cheerleading originated and is recognised more widely. 
  • Teamwork was a huge part of their success, hard work and determination played a key role in terms of training weekly in the run up to the competition. 

A student in Y10 competed for the UK in America for a national cheerleading competition and they WON….student is Emilia C

Updating your contact information

Please ensure that your contact details are up to date with us.  You can do this yourself in Arbor (instructions here). You can also send any changes in writing or via

If you don’t already use the Arbor Parent Portal or the Arbor App, you can read about it here.

LAMDA lessons

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Corinne Vallé, from The Vallé Academy of Performing Arts, to offer individual and small group LAMDA Drama lessons for students. LAMDA exams offer students the opportunity not only to build confidence in acting but also public speaking and speaking of verse and prose. Students this year have had great success and we look forward to seeing their confidence and skills continue to develop.  

Looking ahead to September we will have more spaces available for secondary students. 

Should students be interested in signing up for LAMDA or if you would like more information about cost and logistics please contact Mrs Nicki Rooke at by Monday the 1st July.


In another great example of student voice in action, we have updated our uniform policy to allow secondary students to wear shorts in the summer months (after the Easter holidays and until the October half term). Thank you very much to all of the students that have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the democratic process that is our wonderful all-through Student Parliament.

If students wish to wear shorts, then these must be smart black shorts (equivalent appearance to school trousers). They can be purchased from Stevensons (as with all secondary uniform) or the high street (as they are non-logo items) but they must be formal shorts, not sportswear, made of similar material to the uniform trousers. Here is a link to the appropriate item on the Stevensons website.

We have also updated the uniform page on our website with a new, clearer uniform policy and the latest information on how to order uniform in time for September. For Year 6 transitioning to Year 7, please make sure that you keep Wednesday the 12th June in your diary for the secondary uniform sizing event.

Parent Staff Association

Slice of Summer Saturday 13th July – Volunteers needed!

The Slice of Summer VolunteerSignUp sheet is now open! Sign up today to support your year group. Funds raised from the Slice of Summer will go directly towards funding shade and shelter projects in both the primary and secondary outdoor areas. 

Let’s work together to make this year’s summer fair a success. 

  • Year 9, 10, 11 + 6th Form – Prize table
  • Year 8 – Inflatable Archery
  • Year 7 – Ice Cream
  • Year 6 – Human Fruit Machine
  • Year 5 – Nerf Fruit Splat
  • Year 4 – Lucky Lollies/Win a Stanley Cup
  • Year 3 – Splat-the-rat
  • Year 2 – Teddy Tombola
  • Year 1 – Buried Treasure
  • Reception – Hook-a-duck

In addition, other areas that need volunteer cover include: Bar, BBQ Serving, Inflatables, Candy Floss, Admissions, Shortbread Decorating, Bottle Tombola, Pre-loved Uniform.

Student sign ups will receive Housepoints and will be entered into a draw to win a £20 Amazon voucher once they have completed their slots. 

Summer Raffle. Tickets now on sale.

With a top prize of a two night stay in a Whitstable holiday home (kindly donated by a Larch family) for up to six people, don’t miss out on this year’s Summer Raffle!

You can now pay for Summer Raffle tickets via the PSA website where you can also view the most up to date prize list.

After the May half term, secondary orders can be collected from the office and primary orders will be sent home via bookbags.  Just remember to then return completed counterfoils to either school office by 12th July!

Frozen Friday – Volunteers still needed!

If you are able support your year group Frozen Friday sale after school, please sign up to a slot.  Stock will be purchased each week, we simply need help running the sales. We can not do this without your help.

  • 7th June – Year 6
  • 14th June – Year 5
  • 21st June – Year 4
  • 28th June – Year 3
  • 5th July – Year 2
  • 12th July – Year 1
  • 19th July Reception

Dates for your diary

A full calendar of events can be viewed on the school website.

  • w/b 3rd June: Y8 Assessment week
  • Tues 4th June: Year 4 Tri-Golf at Sele School
  • Tues 4th June: Sports Writing Workshop with Alice Hemming at lunchtime in the secondary library.
  • From Tuesday 4th June to Wednesday 19th June: Sports Diary Writing Competition 
  • Thurs 6th June: Year 5 Wodson Park WW Games
  • w/b 10th June: Y12 threshold exams
  • Mon 10th June: Year 5 and 6 Dynamo Cricket at Sele School
  • Tues 11th June: Y7 Parent’s evening
  • Wed 12th June: Stevenson’s uniform sizing event
  • Thurs 13th June: Year 5 BMX day
  • w/b 17th June: Y7 assessment week
  • w/b 17th June: Y10 Mock exams
  • Mon 24th June: Year 6 Ultimate Frisbee Festival at Sele School
  • Weds 26th June: District Athletics Championships
  • Thurs 27th June:  KS2 District Athletics
  • Fri 28th June: Secondary Sports Day
  • Wed 3rd July: Year 2 Deer Class Development Day 
  • Mon 8th July: Year 2 Rapid Fire Cricket
  • Weds 10th July: Sports Presentation Evening (Invitations to follow)
  • Fri 12th July: Larch Sports Day (more details to follow in due course)

Wishing everyone in our community a positive and fulfilling fortnight ahead.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Rachel Kirk and Mr Michael Moss (Co-headteachers)