Friday 19th January

Co-headteachers’ welcome

It is hard to cover in a short co-headteachers’ welcome all that January has encompassed at Simon Balle All-through school – it has certainly been an exciting and busy month. As always, we talk of no tension between high academic expectations (not just our Year 11 and Year 13 cohorts but across our school) and wonderful enrichment – from business to art to MFL trips, and from sporting success to on-site activities such as the Year 6 science Wonderstruck and Year 4 Gaudi workshop. What is important for us as leaders at Simon Balle is that nothing is left to chance – our bespoke and planned curriculum allows us to plot and implement exciting academic and personal development opportunities in each and every year, and to seek student and parent/carer feedback as to every young person’s journey. Please do keep a watchful eye on our social media posts as recent posts include incredible success amongst our Year 13s and their future destinations; celebration of phonics outcomes from 2023 with our Year 1s (thank you Damian!); careers opportunities a-plenty; ‘more to experience’ activities for our Year 6 cohort as they prepare for their transition to the secondary phase; and enrichment from sport to art to music and more. It has been a great month too for our ongoing partnership with parents – with so many thanks for the enormous success of our in-person Year 11 parents’ evening, and the engagement so tangibly felt with Year 9 preferences this week. 

I trust that you have had the opportunity to read our standalone letter in relation to premises developments. We are truly excited to be creating new buildings that are state-of-the-art classrooms, investing in the very best possible facilities for our young people, and, of course, preparing for our Simon Balle four-court sports hall. We thank you in anticipation of your understanding where compromises are required – for example, with parking. 

And finally, for our co-headteachers’ update, it is important to let you know that we are excited to share the possible expansion of our multi-academy trust (MAT) at Simon Balle. You will already know how important our community is to us at Simon Balle – including all of our stakeholders, our local area, our feeder primary schools and more. We value outward facing leadership and partnership with others – always with our young people at the heart of decision making. The Department for Education have granted an academy order for the expansion of our Trust and Mill Mead Primary School are currently undergoing a consultation process with their parents/carers and staff. We look forward to sharing more information with you very soon. 

We hope that this newsletter is informative, exciting, relevant to all and providing great hope for all that 2024 will continue to bring!

Art update

Gaudi Mosaic Day

Year 4 were lucky enough to have a visit from Claire Costello a local mosaic artist who worked with both classes to create individual mosaic tiles, which is the beginning of our Gaudi garden. We teamed this up with a stained glass window workshop. The outcomes were amazing!


We are looking to source some outdoor garden flooring (outdoor tiles or artificial grass) for a small space . Please if there is anyone who works in the gardening business who will have offcuts or anything that is no use to them please can you contact

New kiln

It was exciting seeing the first load of the year 9 pots go on in our new kiln! Thank You again to the PSA for making this possible.

Spotlight in Phase 1 in the Larch

In Reception the children have been thoroughly enjoying our Literary Canon texts ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and ‘How to Catch a Star.’ Using our Talk for Writing approach, the children have enjoyed retelling the stories, creating story maps and then creating their own versions of the stories. We have had some wonderful ideas such as ‘We’re Going on a Crocodile Hunt’ and ‘How to Catch the Moon’! We are very proud of how hard the children are working on their letter formation and beginning to write sentences. We have also been focusing on numbers 6 and 7 along with subtraction in our numeracy. The children have also enjoyed our PSHE learning about staying hydrated and healthy teeth – our role play area of the dentist surgery has proved extremely popular!

In Year 1, the children have been doing brilliant learning in their Phonics as they review the sounds taught so far in Level 5. The children have such a positive attitude to their daily phonics lessons and are always keen to practise their reading and writing! In Maths, we have been learning about odd and even numbers as well as capacity, and we have been encouraging the children to use accurate vocabulary to explore different containers and their amounts. Finally, in Geography, we have been exploring rainforests and comparing this environment to a familiar environment to us.

Computacenter Careers Presentation Y8,Y11 and Y12

On Tuesday last week we were lucky to have Renée Ramsay-Nicol from Computacenter coming into school to give a presentation about Computacenter. They are local employers with a global footprint as an independent technology and service provider (e.g. screens for airports and software for Domino’s). The students learned about the choices she had made and the path she had taken to gain her current position. Even though Computacenter is an IT company the presentation showed there were roles that did not require IT skills and for the right candidate even the IT training could be provided as an employee or as an apprentice.

Please click here for our latest careers opportunity blog.

PE & Sports News

The past couple of weeks have been action packed with so many competition and sports taking place. Our students have participated in the District Indoor athletics championships and Sportshall Athletics league to name but a few. We have also had District and county competitions in Football, Basketball, Rugby, Netball and Hockey, with so many resilient performances. On Saturday our students are representing the school at the Herts Cross Country Championships and we wish them all the best of luck. For more information and reports from a very successful month of sport, please see our January Sports Round Up.

February in the canteen

Our catering partner Accent have published a set of recipe cards for you to use to cook up some healthy meals this month. They’re all based on the theme of Blue February. You can find these recipes (and latest menus and offers) on the catering page of the website.

KS2 Healthy snacks at break

We kindly ask for your support in providing healthy snacks for break time for key stage 2, following on from the healthy offer for our key stage 1 children. A nutritious snack fuels their bodies and minds, enhancing their focus and productivity in class until lunch. Please consider sending in snacks such as fresh fruits, vegetables, breadsticks, crackers, or a small sandwich. By choosing more healthy and substantial options, it helps ensure our students have the energy they need to thrive throughout the day and reduces waste from packaging. Thank you for your support.

Library news

Well done to all those students ‘getting rewarded for reading’. Click on the images below to see the current leaderboard.

The RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch

The secondary library ambassadors joined forces with the Larch and secondary school eco groups on Friday 26th January to take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch which is a nationwide research project that helps the RSPB to monitor how British wildlife is doing throughout the country. Our top 4 birds were the carrion crow, wood pigeon, jackdaw and blue tit. We observed the wildlife on the school playground, school field and woodland and we found different species of bird in each location. Our results have been submitted to the RSPB to add to their national data. Well done to the birdwatching team!

Pedagogy Portal

Educational Expert Dylan Wiliam suggests:

“It’s the commitment we make as teachers to never stop learning that will build good habits, develop great teachers and ultimately move the lives of the young people in our care forward. Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.”

In this week’s blog, we look at two members of our staff body who have recently completed and started some National Professional Qualifications. As they share their journey, we celebrate the progress that they have made and look forward to updating you on many other staff achievements of those undertaking these qualifications.

Parenting Support Programme

Please see the attached flyer for information about the bespoke parenting support programme being run by Leon brown and Colette Marino.

Simon Balle parenting support programme

Parent Staff Association

Bar support needed for Wind and Brass evening.

We are seeking your support for upcoming events in the spring term. We’re in need of bar support for the Music Department’s Wind and Brass evening on April 27th. Your involvement will add a wonderful touch to the musical night and contribute to the success of our school community events. If you’re available and willing to lend a hand, please sign up via this link. Your commitment is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to creating memorable experiences together!

Have you any unwanted bottles gathering dust?

Help us uncork generosity! The PSA welcomes your unwanted bottles of booze, patiently gathering dust. Turn clutter into community spirit by donating them to support our initiatives. Let’s raise a toast to shared goodwill! #SipAndGiveBack

Sponsorship – can you help us?

We are looking for a number of sponsors for this year’s summer fair. Can your business sponsor either of these areas:  The Bar.  The Summer Raffle.  The BBQ. The Slice of Summer will take place on Saturday 13th July, 12-4pm. Save the date!

Securing sponsorship not only adds to the success of our events and fairs but also strengthens our bonds within the local community. Your involvement is a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the school’s spirit and provide much-needed fundraising support for the Simon Balle Parent Staff Association. With your support, we can make our events and fairs unforgettable and continue to build a stronger school community.

Dates for your diary

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

  • Thursday 8th February: Y5&6 Evans Trophy Netball vs St Mary’s – home
  • Thursday 8th February: National Apprenticeships Week information evening
  • Thursday 8th February: Y5&6 Hope Cup Netball vs Mill Mead – home
  • Monday 25th February: Y5&6 sportshall athletics
  • Thursday 15th February: Y4 Roman Britain Workshop
  • Friday 16th February: Ski trip departs
  • Monday 26th February: INSET Day
  • Tuesday 27th February: Y13 Berlin trip departs
  • Advance notice: Y3,4 and 5 swimming to begin w/c 4th March. More details will be sent via letter.
  • Advance notice: Wednesday 6th March Y13 Parents’ evening
  • Advance notice: Reception parent evenings w/c 18th March
  • Advance notice: Monday 25th March Simon Balle’s Got Talent (more details to follow)

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

Yours sincerely,

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