Welcome to our latest edition of AAT News, which covers our work in the Spring Term 2022.

It has been wonderful to welcome Skyswood School to the Trust, and we really look forward to the work we can do together in the years to come. The Headteacher, Mr. Bridle and all of the staff, students and governors have been incredibly welcoming and excited about this new partnership.

As you will see from this edition, there has been an amazing breadth of activity taking place across all of the schools despite the constraints of covid. I would like to thank all of the schools for their work with young people and in helping to improve outcomes for everyone.

Have a very enjoyable Easter Break.

Awards & Achievements

Sandringham School - Welwyn and Hatfield Dance Festival

A huge congratulations to Skye G and Rose O from 7J who recently won medals at the Welwyn and Hatfield Dance Festival. Skye won a silver medal for her Hungarian dance, the first time she had ever performed it. Rose won a gold medal and the Junior National Solo cup for her Russian dance and is now looking forward to dancing in the All England Finals. Both dances involved a lot of fast turns and footwork in traditional leather boots so well done to the girls for such a fantastic effort. Skye and Rose have both done really well to get back into the swing of performing after such a long break whilst festivals were on holds so we are really proud of them.

Ridgeway Academy - Indoor Bowls

Congratulations to Rhianna R in Year 11 who became Hertfordshire U25 indoor bowls champion. What an amazing achievement!

Garden Fields - Chorister

Imogen, Y6 Curlew Class, has recently worked towards and been awarded the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) Light Blue Voice for Life Chorister ribbon. She is part of the choir at St Nicholas Church in Harpenden. Congratulations Imogen for receiving this prestigious award!

Garden Fields School - Gymnastics

Evie in Year 5 recently took part in a cheerleading championship representing Twisted Cheer & Dance. Placed 2nd, she has won a summit bid to the Nationals later this year.  Evie also represented Sapphire Gymnastics at the SAARDI advanced gold level floor and vault competition. She achieved first place in the vault, securing the gold medal! She also won an overall 6th place ribbon.

Congratulations Evie—highly successful on both fronts!

Sandringham School - British Bench Press Championship

Well done to Oliver P in Year 11 who recently competed in the British Bench Press Championships and put in a fantastic performance to win gold in the U18 category and bronze in the U23 category. He also achieved a new U16 record in the bench press with a weight of 130kg in the heavyweight category. His next step is to compete in the Powerlifting championships where he will compete across bench press, deadlift and squat to get the highest total. Amazing work Oliver- we are so proud of you!

Ridgeway - National Poetry Competition

‘Take back some control over their lives’ was the thought behind the National Young Writers Poetry Competition, which is exactly what our students at Ridgeway Academy did. The English department has received the fantastic news that from the staggering 12,000 entries nationwide, five of our very own budding poets have been selected to have their poems published in a national anthology! We would like to congratulate Alyssa (y7), Lucy (y9), Jasmine  (y7), Jayson (y10) and Joziah-Ray (y7) for their excellent poems. 

Wheatfields Infants' and Nursery School - Pupil Achievement

Congratulations to Sophie who achieved the Rainbow Gold Award; this is a very special achievement and you should feel very proud!

Verulam School - BBC Euro Challenge

One of our own, Tom Galvez in Year 11, has won the BBC’s Match of the Day Wonderkid Challenge.

Tom plays left back for Watford U18s and has now played for Finland three times.

With Watford getting promoted to the Premier League, Tom has had a great season and is an excellent ambassador for the school.

Tom’s feature on the Match of the Day Euros challenge can be viewed here

Verulam School - Fencing Euro U17 Championships

Congratulations to Tom Y12 who finished as the top GBR fencer and was ranked 21st overall at the Euro U17 Championships in Serbia. He is now ranked as the GBR#1 and has also been selected for the U17 World Cup in Dubai.

Garden Fields - Netball Tournament

Garden Fields’ netball team have had a great season this year, culminating in winning the annual St Albans and District Netball Tournament held at St Albans High School in Wheathampstead. The team has worked really hard this year to achieve this and are also currently in contention to win the district’s Super - League as well. They have been superbly led by our coaching team of Miss Kurton and Miss Elson, with support from Miss Gallagher and Mrs Rowland!

Wheatfields Junior School - Times Table Rock Stars

The whole school recently took part in the Times Tables Rock Stars national online times tables battle as part of the NSPCC ‘Number Day’ fundraiser. I am pleased to tell you that the school raised £363.50 for the NSPCC.  Wheatfields children rocked their way to finish 7th (out of 2,423 other primary schools!!!) in the tournament by answering 197,215 correct multiplication and division questions in just 12 hours; a fantastic achievement!  Across the school, pupils also spent the day solving number puzzles and playing number games. A great day was had by all.

We would like to thank all the parents and carers for supporting the children to learn their times tables as well as with their ‘rock star’ costumes on the day.

Skyswood School - Cross Country

Congratulations to Lilia in Year 6 for her excellent achievements in cross country. There have been a number of cross country meets within the district over the course of the year and, despite having only just returned to school following illness, Lilia maintained her record of always finishing in the top ten, winning the third placed trophy for the overall season.

Well done to Lilia, and well done to all of our cross country team, who have represented the school superbly and improved as a team with every race!


Verulam School - UKMT Individual Intermediate Challenge

Each year, selected Verulam mathematicians across all year groups are given the opportunity to participate in one of the UK Mathematics Trust’s (UKMT) Challenges.

Most recently, seventy students from years 9, 10 and 11 sat the UKMT’s Individual Intermediate Challenge virtually, during lockdown, on 4th February.

The competition was undertaken by students across the UK, testing their mathematical reasoning, precision of thought, and fluency in using mathematical techniques.

Students prepared for the challenge individually and with support from Mrs Cornmell and Ms Rosler through Google Classroom.

The school is incredibly proud of all students who participated in the challenge this year and congratulates every one.

The top-scoring 40% of participants across the UK are awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.  Across the Verulam group, 64% of students were awarded medals this year – an amazing achievement and a reflection of their talent and dedication.

Wellbeing & Community

Sandringham School - Sign Language Club

We would like to feature two of our amazing Year 12 students, Emma and Maddie- who run a fantastic Sign Language club at lunchtime on a Wednesday. It is great to see such a wonderful turnout each week and such enthusiastic students. The club is a chance for students of all ages to learn a bit about deaf awareness as well going through the basics of BSL and playing lots of sign language games. During this session students were learning sign language for various animals and the everyone was enjoying themselves.

What a valuable and fun life skill that enables students to communicate with the deaf community, whilst also connecting with other year groups across the school. 

Garden Fields JMI School - Charity work

Congratulations also go to Emily, Y5 Kestrel, who was 1 of 3 shortlisted for Heart Radio's young hero award in our county for all of her charity work. This is a great achievement as I know that a lot of children are up for consideration for this award. Here is Emily with her guest Angie. I hope you both had a great evening!

Skyswood School - Cycle Training

Year 5 Bikeability

Our Year 5 class have enjoyed their Bikeability training earlier this month and have been refining their cycling skills whilst also learning about road safety. The trainers have given the school excellent feedback on the positive engagement and wonderful effort from all of the children who are taking part.


Wheatfields Junior School - Charity Fundraising

We are immensely proud of Keira in Year 3, who recently had her long hair cut to raise funds for two charities: The Little Princess Trust and the H-abc Foundation. Keira has raised the incredible sum of £1,557!

Wheatfields Infants' and Nursery School - Little Princess Trust

A big well done to Livia for kindly donating her hair to the Little Princess Trust. This will make a real difference to those young people and children who suffer hair loss. 

Sandringham School - Local Litter Pick

One of our lovely Year 7 students spent a day during the Christmas holidays doing something wonderful in the community. Conrad from 7A went out to pick up litter from around the local area.  It was a great way to improve his observation skills, learn the environmental impact that litter would have, look after the local community, work as a team and get some fresh air!  He noticed the most picked up items were sweet wrappers, McDonalds packaging and face masks, as well as tins and bottles which were put into recycling.  Conrad mentioned that he felt appreciation for those that pick up litter for a living, but also a sense of pride at his own handiwork when he passed the areas the following day. 

He is aiming to do a litter pick again in the Spring. Amazing work Conrad! We love to hear about our students going above and beyond and hope that he inspires other students to do the same.

Ridgeway - Herts Sports Partnership

Over the past few weeks, the students who have been participating in the RAA programme, which has been fully funded by the Herts Sports Partnership, have further developed their cooking skills and have got stuck in with a sports/activities ranging from Performing Arts to Boxing! The students will continue to develop these skills for a little while before the Year 7 group have their turn with the program!

Wheatfields Infants' and Nursery School - Sensory Room

At the end of January our Sensory Room had the flooring installed and final decorating was completed. Thank you to James and Amanda Rodea for organising this work, it is so very exciting.

Mrs Fitzgerald with the help of Mrs Kirsch have been researching the most appropriate equipment to get for this space.

AAT working together

AAT Annual Conference - February 2022

The annual AAT Teaching and Learning Conference: ‘Make It Connect’ was held on 10th February 2022; it was attended by 350 members of the AAT and was the first live conference as a cross-phase Trust.  This year’s conference was all about connections and The Great Teaching and Learning Framework.  We were delighted to host three inspiring keynotes: Professor Rob Coe, Director of Research and Development at Evidence Based Education and Senior Associate at the Education Endowment Foundation; Musharaf Asghar, a motivational speaker who appeared on Educating Yorkshire, and Adrian Bethune, founder of Teachappy, a charity that inspires and develops mental health and wellbeing in schools.  Delegates had the opportunity to develop their understanding of effective teaching through a wide variety of workshops the vast majority of which were led by staff from across the Trust.  A number of external workshops led by Rachel MacFarlane  from  Herts for Learning, Tracey Adams from the Birmingham Research School, Natasha Palladino and Kate Wescott from Voice 21, Oliver Caviglioli and Rachel Cosgrove also took place.

AAT Annual Conference - February 2022

Feedback from delegates was overwhelmingly positive and confirmed the conference was a huge success.  We’d like to thank everyone who took part in the day, delegates and facilitators alike and look forward to the AAT Teaching and Learning Conference 2023!

An excellent conference which I thoroughly enjoyed - thank you to the conference team and all facilitators. (RA)

It is always nice to have a chance to reflect on the bigger picture - thank you for arranging! (Sand)

A great event. Ran like clockwork! Great to be able to network with others. (WFI)

Best speakers so far, thank you! And excellent job! (Ver)

I just wanted to say thank you for yesterday. I was buzzing when I went home and felt so inspired by everything that I'd heard and all the contacts I'd made. It was such a successful event and reminded me of why I love my job!  (GFS)

Curriculum News

Wheatfields Junior School - D&T

Year 5 pupils have been busy completing their Design & Technology projects. They were tasked - in groups- with building their own street scene which needed to include a moving car model and a working traffic light. First, the children needed to learn the algorithm for how a traffic light works. They then programmed a Crumble (computer software) to run a traffic light sequence using batteries, sparkles and wires. Their next task was to design and build a moving toy car using the resources provided. They had to consider the design of the car, how to build a symmetrical and robust supporting structure out of wood and to ensure the wheels rotated. Next, they had to build a wooden 3D traffic light structure to house their Crumble. Teachers were very impressed by their sensible teamwork, their maturity at using hot glue guns and saws and their determination in succeeding in their task.

Design and Technology is fantastic for allowing the children to learn new skills as well as allowing them to be creative in their designs. The children completed this project by evaluating where they were successful and how they might adapt their design to ensure a higher quality product in the future.

Wheatfields Junior School - Geography

Year 5 went on their second seasonal field trip around Jersey Farm Meadow. The focus was on Geography and putting skills they have learnt from their Geography unit about six-digit grid references into real life practice. The children created their own maps in advance of the walk on Digimaps and included markers with the six-digit grid reference found on Ordnance Survey maps to take photos of the view at various points on their walk.

They thought about words that describe each viewpoint, alongside looking at that area from the perspective of another user, such as the elderly or a toddler. Back in class, they used their photos to make predictions of what it will look like in the spring and then the summer.

Ridgeway Academy - PE

Our Year 10s have had a very successful last few weeks.  On the playing field the year 10s have got through to the District Final in which their opponents will be Onslow St Audreys. In netball the year 10 girls won their respective tournament defeating very strong opposition. Theyexcelled on the basketball court doing the treble. They first won their respective basketball rally and after a tough game against Onslow St Audreys won the District League. The team also for the second time won the County Plate final beating Samuel Ryder in the final. Excellent results!

Garden Fields - History

In Y5 ’s Portal to the Past workshop, the children learnt about the different beliefs and practices of the Ancient Greeks. The year group helped to create role plays of myths and legends such as the story of Medusa. They were also able to handle replica artefacts based on the period.

Ridgeway Academy - Extended Learning Day

On 3rd  March, Years 7 - 11 were off-timetable to take part in a range of activities, events and workshops with a focus on co-curricular, relationships, sex education and personal development. This was the first Extended Learning Day of the academic year and, following the restrictions and limitations brought about by the pandemic, was a particularly exciting opportunity to invite in external companies and speakers to further enrich and supplement the curriculum provided for Ridgeway Students. 

Year 7 had an International Day and were introduced to a range of different languages including British Sign Language, Swahili, Afrikaans and Italian. They also worked in teams to design iconic skylines with modelling tools. Year 8 worked with the English Department and guest speaker Adam Kammerling, a former UK poetry slam champion, to devise their own poetry on the theme ‘The Two Sides of Me’. Year 9 developed their knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust and had the opportunity to listen to a testimony by Mala Tribich MBE, Holocaust survivor and a member of the Holocaust Education Trust.

Year 10 worked in teams through a series of study and enterprise skills activities, including a workshop with Dr. Martijn van der Spoel, The University of Hertfordshire and a highly competitive ‘Tyre Challenge’. They also spent Friday with ‘The Tip of the Iceberg’ theatre company in a day's workshop entitled ‘S-Factor’, exploring themes such as consent and coercion. Year 11 worked on building confidence in communication, engaging with the organisation Talk the Talk with a focus on oracy and presentation skills. Lastly, on Friday 4th March, 6th Form spent the morning with a focus on Global Citizenship as part of their Personal Development and Religious, Spiritual Education. 

Thank you to all the staff who made this day possible, notably Ms Mullins, Ms Carter, Ms Picariello, Ms Merrigan, Ms Maddocks and Mr Beka.

Skyswood School - History

On Monday 14 March our Year 3 children enjoyed a trip to Roman Verulamium where they were able to further enrich their learning about Romans through an artefact handling session that gave great insights into everyday life in Roman Verulamium. They visited the gallery and learned about worship, recreation, merchants and markets, mosaics and pottery.

The class walked up to the Hypocaust, which was once a thirty-roomed Roman house, to look at the mosaics. They went on to the Roman Gateway and looked at the foundations of the Roman gate.

All the children had a fantastic day learning about the Roman town of Verulamium, which existed two thousand years ago. They found out about the team of archaeologists who  unveiled many of the Roman treasures back in the 1930s.

The class were highly praised for their behaviour, interest and excellent knowledge about the Romans.



Verulam School - Maths

Celebrating National Pi day on 14 March, Verulam students were inspired to create circle timelines of how national borders start, develop & change. They produced venn diagrams to show bordering nations and to see which event was the overlap that made the conflict

Garden Fields JMI School - D&T

It is fascinating to see the difference here between bridge building in Reception and bridge building in Year 6. Our ‘spiral’ curriculum, using the Curriculum Maestro framework, seeks to ensure that prior learning from children’s earlier periods in school, is built upon as they progress through the school. The new curriculum topics that we have adopted this year have really rejuvenated our curriculum and it has been a pleasure for example to see a lot more Design Technology taught across the school.

Sandringham School - PE news

A huge well done to our u16 netball team who finished 4th place in the East Region tournament 2022 . This is further than any other netball team at Sandringham before, so we are so incredibly proud of how hard they have worked. We will be back next year to win it! 

Wheatfields Infants' and Nursery School - Music

In Feburary the children competed in the latest house music challenge. In each class, each house group recorded their own music video for us to watch and the children voted for their favourite one. It is always lovely to hear the children performing and with different groups. Each class picked their own class winner and then each class then picked their favourite one from those class winners. The winning musical challenge was performed by Maple, Jersey Farm with Rainbow Kind of Day. This put Jersey Farm in the lead for this challenge with a total of 330 points. The children are holding a piano mat that was the prize for this challenge. 

Skyswood School - Science

Year 5 Levers, Gears and Pulleys!

Our Year 5 children are really enjoying their current science project on levers, gears and pulleys. The children have been working in small groups developing a wonderful range of systems through which they can apply their learning. This has included working with Lego Mindstorms as well as tackling some practical challenges, such as finding the most efficient way to lift a heavy bucket!



Sandringham School - Low Carbon Week

During Science Week, Sandringham students enjoyed a vast array of activities including talks from Dr Phil on climate change, tree maintenance, charging phones using bike power, taking part in a Biodiversity survey of the school grounds. There was also the brilliant Chemistry Show, a Mock Climate Summit and the Sixth Form Clothes Exchange. 

A huge thank you to Mr Tattersall and all of the staff involved for arranging such a fun and thought-provoking week. We are sure the students gained a lot from it and have taken away new knowledge and ideas to help lower their carbon footprint.

Wheatfields Infants' and Nursery School - Energy and Recycling

Children from our Sustainable Ambassadors group met and have produced a series of posters to put up around school to remind us to “switch-off” to conserve energy. They also wanted to remind families to bring in crisp packets, batteries and bread bags for recylcing.

Wheatfields Infants' and Nursery School - Willow Den

Thank you to Mr Evans for creating a Willow Den, photographed here by Joshua in Year 2. This is a living structure that will grow over time for the children to enjoy.