Friday 14th June

Co-headteachers’ welcome

I am always astonished at how quickly the school year goes by. We are already moving quickly through June but there are so many events coming up for our All-through school. For example, you may be scheduling your calendar around the Olympic Games but Simon Balle’s own talent is firmly in the spotlight with the annual sports day coming up on the 28th June for the secondary and 12th July for the primary phase.  On the music front we can also see all that practice and dedication being displayed in the Saffron Sounds all-through music extravaganza! 

As the nation gears up for the upcoming general election on the 4th July 2024, high-profile figures, such as Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are actively engaging in TV debates, presenting their visions for the future and vying for the public’s support. This exciting period of democratic engagement serves as a fitting backdrop to our own school event and activity this term. We are thrilled to announce that our school will be hosting student hustings and conducting our very own general election across Key Stages 2, 3, 4, and 5. This initiative aims to engage our students in the democratic process, allowing them to experience firsthand the excitement and responsibility of voting and standing for election. During the hustings, student candidates will present their platforms, debate key issues, and share their visions for positive change within our school community. This event not only enhances their understanding of political processes but also develops essential skills such as public speaking, critical thinking, and respectful discourse.

Following the hustings, students across all key stages will then have the opportunity to cast their votes in a school-wide general election. This immersive experience is designed to teach students the importance of participation in democracy and the impact of their voices in decision-making processes. By simulating real-world elections, we hope to inspire a lifelong interest in civic engagement and empower our students to become informed and active citizens. We look forward to seeing the enthusiasm and thoughtful discussions this event will undoubtedly generate, and we encourage all students to participate fully in this unique educational opportunity.

Please look at the school calendar as there is so much to support and for students to participate in. Finally I would like to say how proud we are of our students who are participating in external or internal exams.  Our public exams are past the halfway mark and the Key Stage 2 exams are finished, but we know how much effort students put in and our key values shine through.

Finally, we would like to thank our whole Simon Balle community for coming together over the last few days for our final Ofsted visit. Once again, students were phenomenal in every way with student voice, visits to lessons, work scrutiny and the way that they daily demonstrate our Simon Balle values. With many thanks for parental support, governor dedication and, of course, our incredible staff team. We look forward to sharing the Ofsted report with you in the coming weeks.


Educational trips are not only about having fun outside the classroom; they also offer valuable insights into potential career paths for students. Recently, our year 8 students embarked on an exciting journey to McMullen’s Brewery, where they got a taste of the brewing industry and learned about the various career opportunities it offers, showcasing the symbiotic relationship between educational institutions and industry. This experience not only enriched their understanding of the brewing process but also connected them with potential career paths. By opening their doors to our students, McMullen’s were able to showcase their operations, foster interest in their industry, and highlight career opportunities. For employers, this translates into early access to potential candidates who have already shown an interest in their field.

At McMullen’s Brewery, located in Hertford town centre, students were greeted by enthusiastic professionals eager to share their knowledge and experiences of the hospitality industry. The tour began with an overview of the brewing process, from sourcing ingredients to packaging the final product. Students witnessed first-hand the meticulous steps involved in creating different types of beers, from traditional ales to innovative craft brews. The visit highlighted the importance of teamwork and collaboration, as each department played a vital role in ensuring the success of the company. This trip also exemplified how educational experiences can support the Gatsby Benchmarks, which outline best practices for career guidance in schools. By providing encounters with employers and employees, our students gained valuable insights into the world of work. By providing encounters with the world of work, employers directly support students in making informed decisions about their future careers – a crucial aspect of career development.

Visits to employers such as McMullen’s play a crucial role in career education by offering students first hand exposure to various industries and professions. These experiences allow students to explore different career paths, discover their interests, and develop a deeper understanding of the skills and qualifications required in the workforce. By engaging with professionals in real-world settings, students gain valuable insights into potential careers and the pathways to achieve their goals.

Our visit to McMullen’s Brewery was not just a field trip; it was a journey of exploration and discovery. By immersing themselves in the world of brewing and hospitality, our year 8 students gained valuable insights into potential career paths and learned how their interests and skills align with various roles within the industry. Through experiences like these, we strive to empower our students to make informed decisions about their future careers.

Please click here for our latest careers 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

Year 10 National Scientific Thinking Challenge Awards

Year 10 took part in the National Scientific Thinking Challenge on Thursday 25th April, period 5. The challenge lasted 50 minutes and involved a series of multiple choice questions, which students had to complete online using their Chromebooks. The questions did not require recall of taught material. Students had to look at data, graphs and text and make deductions, spot trends, suggest hypotheses and identify anomalous results. Congratulations to the following students, who achieved awards in the Challenge.


10H: Benjamin, Louise, Jenna, Ellie, Enzo, James; 10A Tatiana, Jakub, Mateusz, Emma, Laurel, Zara; 10C Evie, Nicoly, Evie, Ewan, Elliott; 10D Eloise, Carolina, Allan.


10H Eva-Mae, Isabella, Robin; 10A Lucas, Mitchell, Samuel, Robert; 10C Chloe, Adam, Charlie, Dominic; 10D Bobby.


10H: Bors; 10A Ryan, Isobel, 10A Bethany; 10C Naomi, Thomas; 10D: Charlie, Reubin, Leon, Lorenzo, Sophie, Keo.

Art exhibition

Primary art ambassadors have been over in the secondary school learning different printing processes. They have had great fun creating hanging installations for the art exhibition (Saturday 13th July at the Slice of Summer event). Well done to all, they look amazing!

Calculators wanted

For any students leaving, businesses or families at home that may have any unused calculators going spare, any donations would be very much appreciated in school. Please hand in to reception. Thank you!


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

What parents need to know about friendly-competition

What parents need to know about Palworld

Young Carers

Library news

Sports Writing Workshop with Alice Hemming

On Tuesday 4th June the author Alice Hemming held a Sports Writing Workshop and launched the Sports Diary Entry writing competition to celebrate National Writing Day and the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

In preparation for the writing competition, we looked at lots of different Olympic and Paralympic sports and shared our ideas on how the athletes might be feeling using all the senses and emotions. There were lots of creative ideas.

Upcoming events – click on the images below to find out more



Well done to Mr Pooley for being named coach of the season for all his hard work with Hemel Aces FC Under 9 Lions. He tends to keep this kind of news to himself, so make sure you ask him all about it when you see him…

Reminder about parking

Please remember to be courteous to our neighbours and other road users when accessing the school site. We have had reports from both the cricket club and local residents about parents becoming abusive when asked to move their vehicles. In all but the most exceptional circumstances there should be no need to drive to the school site.  If a student needs collecting by car they should walk down to the London Road car park and be collected there. Thank you for your support on this matter. Local residents are a valuable part of our school community and we want to maintain our fantastic relationship.

PSA news

Frozen Friday and Slice of Summer – Volunteers needed!

We currently do not have enough helpers to offer Frozen Fridays, especially on 5th and 19th July.

If you are able to 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.

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

All funds raised from the Slice of Summer will go towards a shade and shelter project for students in both phases of the school.

Please support your year group at the summer fair, by taking a volunteer slot. Sign up today

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

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.

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. Secondary online orders can be collected from the office, once marked dispatched. Primary students have received a pack.  Just remember to then return completed counterfoils to either school office by 12th July!

Summer All-through Bake Off – 12th July

Drop off your nut-free Summer bakes for the Slice of Summer on Friday 12th July, to the staff room (secondary) or Larch office (primary) between 8am and 8.35am in a sealed, named container. Come to the Slice of Summer on 13th July to enjoy an afternoon of games, Summer fun, candy floss and cakes! Vote for your favourite bake online. The winning bake wins a £20 Amazon voucher!

Larch Summer Accessory Day – 10th July

Wear a summer accessory with your uniform to school on Wednesday 10th July and bring in a bottle donation to support the Slice of Summer. Bottles can be dropped off at Larch reception, or into the playground crates.

Ideas: Own shorts OR shirt. Own skirt OR t-shirt. Flower garland. Hair accessory. Non uniform sun hat. Summer shoes (not flip flops or sliders). Beach bag instead of book bag.

Family Magic Show – Save the date!

Amigo’s Magic will be visiting Simon Balle on Friday 18th October, offering two family shows after school. Early bird tickets will be released in July; be sure to take advantage of the discounted rate.  This is an event for the entire family to enjoy.  More information to follow.

Dates for your diary

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

  • w/b 17th June: Y7 assessment week
  • w/b 17th June: Y10 Mock exams
  • Mon 24th June: Sixth Form Induction
  • Mon 24th June: Year 6 Ultimate Frisbee Festival at Sele School
  • Weds 26th June: District Athletics Championships
  • Thurs 27th June: KS2 District Athletics
  • Friday 28th June: Foreign Language Friday Food Fiesta
  • Fri 28th June: Secondary Sports Day
  • w/b 1st July: Silver DofE expedition departs
  • Wed 3rd July: Year 2 Deer Class Development Day 
  • Mon 8th July: All-through Awards Evening
  • Mon 8th July: Year 2 Rapid Fire Cricket
  • Weds 10th July: Sports Presentation Evening (Invitations to follow)
  • Weds 10th July: Larch Summer Accessory Day
  • Fri 12th July: Larch Sports Day (more details to follow in due course)
  • Friday 12th July: Doughies and All-through Summer Bake Off
  • Sat 13th July: Slice of Summer 12-4pm

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

Yours sincerely,

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