Wellbeing & Community

Wheatfields Infants' & Nursery School - Butterflies

As part of our focus on life cycles and their understanding of the natural world, children in Reception and Nursery have been observing how caterpillars turn into butterflies. Each class has its own butterfly net and the children have been recording daily changes. The children have been amazed at how quickly the caterpillars have been growing. The caterpillars will be moved into nets when they start to build cocoons.

Wheatfields Infants' & Nursery School - Wellbeing Award

We are delighted that Wheatfields Infants' & Nursery School is once again part of National Schools Wellbeing Partnership working together to improve children and young people’s wellbeing in schools.

Garden Fields JMI School - School Dog

In June we welcomed our new school dog, called Doodle, who will be a regular attender at Garden Fields Primary School. Doodle is a 13 week old Cotton Noodle (Coton De Tulear cross Miniature Poodle). Cotton Noodles are a breed of dog that are known for their mild temperament and hypoallergenic coat. Doodle's main place of residence in school will be a secure office area and she will be only coming into school for short sessions initially. 

Whilst moving around the school, Doodle will be kept on a short lead and will always be with an adult. Please understand that we will do everything we can to reassure children who are fearful and that under no circumstances will they be forced to meet with Doodle. The breed has been carefully selected because of its ideal temperament, and is known for being a fun-loving, playful dog that is smart, sweet-natured and very responsive. They are very social dogs who love everyone and thrive with people around.

There are many benefits to having a school dog including:  a calming effect on pupils,  improved behaviour, attendance and concentration, reduced stress and improved self-esteem, encouraging expression, participation and confidence for all children, help with work undertaken with the most vulnerable children; and to further promote our ‘Well Being’ agenda for pupils.

Sandringham School and Verulam School - Alumni

We are delighted to say that two former Sandringham students have gained their first UK number 1 album. Guitarist,Rory Clewlow, and drummer, Rob Rolfe, make up half of the band Enter Shikari, along with ex Verulam students Chris Batten and Rou Reynolds.

You can read more about their fantastic success here and read Chris' story here. We hope that this news of Sandringham Alumni inspires  musicians currently at our school.

Sandringham School - Local Concert

At the beginning of June a group of Year 10 and 12 students visited Jersey Farm Day Centre to perform a concert to the members. There was a lovely range of solo and small ensemble performances and at the end, our students spent time talking to all the visitors to the day centre.

We had lovely feedback including this comment from Mr Marsh ‘I am in absolute awe of their musical ability and lovely singing. They were all so confident in coming forward in quite a close situation!'

Wheatfields Junior School - Charity Acts

Tommy from Year 4 held a cake sale on the last day of term in aid of CMV Action, a cause very close to his heart. The cakes sold very quickly and Tommy raised a fantastic amount of £196.92! Tommy was very grateful to all his friends for their support. Congratulations Tommy!

Lydia and Freya, also from Year 4, recently donated their hair to The Little Princess Trust, a charity which carries out research into childhood cancers. The charity also uses hair donations to make beautiful wigs for children suffering with cancer. Well done to both girls!

Wheatfields Infants' & Nursery School - the Little Princess Trust

Ada from Pinecones has raised an amazing £450 for charity as well as donating 25cm of her hair to The Little Princess Trust. When Ada found out that some children lose their hair through illnesses and that a charity makes wigs for them she told her mum “I’d like to help poorly children who need new hair and mine is long enough for two people.” The Little Princess Trust provides real hair wigs, free of charge to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or to other conditions such as alopecia. The charity is also one of the largest funders of childhood cancer research in the UK.

Wheatfields Junior School - Outside Space

There was great excitement  when the children saw the newly installed outdoor gym equipment which has replaced the old and worn tyre area in the playground. This project has been funded by a combination of PTA funding, grant funding and match funding through a parent’s employer.

Comments so far from the children have been ‘It’s fab’; ‘I think we will all have lots of fun at breaktimes on it’ and ‘I’m going to use it to keep fit in school.’

Children have also been enjoying learning in our refurbished ‘Courtyard Garden’. Two new tables have recently been installed with herbs and shrubs being planted. Thank you to Mrs Antippa for her hard work in creating the lovely sign on the wall. What a wonderful space for the children to work in and learn.

Sandringham School - Whole School Read

We have just launched this year’s Whole School Read: You Don’t Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietska.  It’s a short but powerful diary account of the outbreak of the war in Ukraine written by a 12 year old girl as she flees the country. So far, we have had a large number of students and staff read the book, each commenting on what an important book it is.  We always like to encourage families and friends of students to also read the whole school book – it’s always really powerful when the whole community come together to read the same book and particularly this year to understand the experiences of our Ukrainian students. 

Verulam School - Artist visit to celebrate BAME

On Tuesday 13 June, artist Kay Rufai returned to Verulam School for this year’s exhibition to celebrate the BAME boys that participated in this worthwhile project.  Over a series of weeks, Rufai worked with a group of BAME boys from Year 9 to explore identity, masculinity, culture, mental health and happiness. 

The project, seeks to create a safe space for boys to speak; empowering them to feel a sense of worth and belonging.  At the end of the project all boys select a colour for the background to their own professional portrait where they show their smile.  The images, once collated and exhibited, counter-act the disproportionate negative images of this group perpetuated by the Media.

Rufai spoke at the exhibition, sharing with attendees the purpose of the project, its components and impact.  In addition, the boys shared the impact that participation had on them.  We look forward to welcoming Rufai back in 2024 for the next cohort!

                                                                                                                                                                       Miss J Richardson

Garden Fields - Nature Area

We are excited to announce, however, that we have now agreed funding for school to build a yurt in the nature area! We are so lucky at school to have a large nature area and the school were keen to develop the area into one that could be used throughout the year, and by all children. The project has only been made possible with the support of the PTA and geneorsity and support at PTA events.

Part of the vision was to include a weather-proof outdoor classroom which will allow the children to learn about the natural world through STEM activities and spark their creativity by being in a different learning environment. As well as being a year-round classroom that all classes will be allocated time in, the yurt will also help the mental health of our children; from being a place to withdraw to for the many neurodiverse children who need a quiet space, to children needing therapy.

Gemma Scanlan and Gill Gumby, PTA Co-Chairs

Wheatfields Junior School - Isabel Hospice

We are proud of Emmeline in Year 3 who recently completed a 20.20km circular walk around Welwyn Garden City to raise money for the local Isabel Hospice. Emmeline made it round in just under 5 hours and was the youngest walker of the full distance option. She has raised around £300 for the hospice and smashed her personal steps record with 40,000 in one day!

Wheatfields Infants' & Nursery School - International Mud Day

International Mud Day was brilliant, I stood on the playground and watched the children, listening to the buzz as the children were totally engrossed and engaged in mud!!! Effective teaching involves children being inspired, engaged and encouraged to take a risk, challenging themselves to try something new, working collaboratively, problem solving, developing creativity and having the opportunity to make links and reflect and improve their ideas. Mud day had all of these things in abundance! Thank you to all of our amazing staff team who fully embrace all these days and inspire and motivate children demonstrating a commitment to having a curriculum that dares to be different! The children had so much fun covering themselves in mud, creating mud tattoos, painting on trees, and those who weren’t so keen on getting messy, enjoyed working with clay and sand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Miss Clare Cockburn

Verulam School - Reward Trips

This year has seen a new format to our rewards programme. A series of trips and events was introduced to reward students who have shown an outstanding commitment to behaviour, attendance and progress.

Split into Gold, silver and bronze, students have experienced activities such as a visit to the Escape Room, an exclusive screening at the Odyssey cinema and Thorpe Park.

Locked Escape Rooms sets students a series of challenges to get out of their room. Requiring ingenuity, cunning and guile, Year 7s were a huge success, getting out with 7 minutes to spare. All students then had lunch at Nandos, a big favourite.

The Odyssey cinema is a landmark in St Albans, a beautiful art deco cinema with the extra comfort and style. Students had a screening of ‘Ant-Man – Quantumania’, experiencing the whole cinema to themselves. Staff were amazing, made the students feel really special. On the way back stopped off for ice cream in Clarence Park then a quiz in school.

Our final reward trip was to Thorpe Park. The weather behaved itself and a great day was had by all. At the end some very happy, and some very wet, students. Plus the biggest cuddly toy ever known to man. Thank goodness there was space on the coach for him.

Next year even bigger plans are in place to ensure there at least two trips per term and we have been working closely with student counsellors and class reps to come up with rewards that students will appreciate and deserve.

Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - Bikeability

Congratulations to our Year 5 children on their excellent efforts throughout their Bikeability week at the start of term. Bikeability is the national cycle training programme that is rolled out to schools all over the country. The instructors gave us great feedback on how polite, co-operative and enthusiastic our pupils were throughout the week. Well done Year 5!

Curriculum News

Sandringham School - STEM news

Sandringham students competed in a National Engineering Competition at the end of June, having made it to the top 5 out of 178 schools. This was an event organised by The Institution of Engineering and Technology. 

Alice G, Zainab S, Arhaan S, Rose O, William S and Siya M performed brilliantly, designing and building a prototype system for receiving drone deliveries. As well as competing at the Aviation centre at Cranfield University, the students heard talks from professional engineers, took part in activities including flying a drone and learning about aeroplanes, and spent time with other Year 8 students from around the UK.

We are planning for two Sandringham teams to enter the competition again next year. Well done to everyone involved!

Sandringham School - Biology

Year 12 Biologists travelled to Dorset in May to complete fieldwork for their A Level practical endorsement. Students learnt about stream ecology, followed by a trip to the River Wey to collect lots of interesting data about the species found at different points of the river. They spent the day at Studland Bay, investigating Psammoseral succession over the sand dunes. This was followed by an afternoon of rock climbing and some incredibly competitive racing! On the last day, the Biologists visited the rocky shore at Osmington Bay to collect samples using a belt transect. Each evening students analysed their data using statistical tests to determine if their results showed a significant correlation.

The group showed real enthusiasm throughout the trip and have worked hard to develop their practical skills. Well done for being such amazing Biologists Year 12!

Ridgeway Academy - Science

British Science Week took place over 10-19 March this year and the theme was ‘connections’. The science department worked hard and collaboratively on what this meant, and to us, we wanted the students to experience a field of science that many people take interest in… Forensic Science. We wanted the students to be able to find the ‘connections’ between various pieces of evidence that they had to piece together to work out whodunnit.

The students investigated how to lift fingerprints and how to identify the different patterns, how to determine the time of death and how to use microscopy to match hairs and fibres to the crime scene and suspects. The students engaged well with these sessions and many have expressed an interest in studying forensics further in the future.


Wheatfields Junior School - Science

Year 3 Science: There was some very active Science learning taking place in Year 3.  As part of their Skeleton topic, Tudor Class did star jumps, lunges and squats. They then discussed which muscles they used. The children measured the circumference of their arms before and after they had flexed them. They discovered that when our bicep muscle contracts it shortens and fattens and therefore increases in size. The children learned about how muscles work in pairs.

Verulam School - Art

The year 10 art group were lucky enough to be invited to Bernards Heath Primary School to meet the year 3 and 4 pupils and help out in their art week.  All Verulam students were asked to bring some work and give a little talk to the primary pupils about how they made their work, the different materials they used and how they are inspired by other artists.  The year 3 and 4 pupils were so impressed with the quality and range of different work. 

Verulam students then got stuck in helping the pupils form artwork from onomatopoeia  words – shaping the letters, cutting them out, making borders and printing backgrounds. It was a fantastically artistic afternoon!  A big thank you to Bernards Heath for having us.

Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - Outdoor Learning

Our children had great fun during Outdoor Classroom Day held in May, enjoying a range of activities designed to promote outdoor learning. Some of the children pitched tents whilst others enjoyed minibeast hunts. We are eager to take this a step further next year, introducing an even greater range of forest schools’ activities and setting a designated ‘forest schools’ day’ in each half-term. Resources such as our new school pond and our planned ‘den area’ will support this initiative. 

Ridgeway Academy - Design Technology

In GCSE Product Design, students completed the practical part of the coursework. As required every year, students had to choose one of three ‘Design Subject Focus - Design Technology Contexts’. This year these were; ‘Studying and working from home’,  ‘A souvenir from a place of interest and ‘Caring for animals’. As you can see from the photographs, students produced wide variety of creative solutions for their final designs!

Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - French

Our Year 5 pupils have been incredibly creative in their French lessons, writing colour poems to apply their learning about colours. Well done to all of Year 5 for your wonderful efforts.

Sandringham School - Mathematics

In April, some 140 students in Year 7 and 8 took part in the Junior Mathematical Challenge run by the UK Mathematics Trust.  The aim of the UK Mathematics Trust is to advance the education of young people in mathematics. The Junior Mathematical Challenge is a 60-minute, multiple-choice competition aimed at students across the UK. It is open to all students in years 8 and below.  This was a fantastic opportunity which offers students the chance to develop their mathematical problem-solving skills. It encourages mathematical reasoning, precision of thought, and fluency in using basic mathematical techniques to solve interesting problems. 

Taking part in the Junior Mathematical Challenge is a stimulating and rewarding experience for all students.  To recognise the highest performers in the Challenge, students are awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze certificates. Students that are 'Best in Year' or 'Best in School' will also receive a badge to denote this on their certificates.

Our students did very well with 36 receiving Bronze, 33 receiving Silver and 10 receiving Gold certificates.  In addition, Oliver S was best in Year 8 and Caleb M was best in school.Well done to everyone.

Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - Art

Our Year 3 class have continued to produce some stunning artwork in their unit on ‘drawing from nature.’ The children looked carefully at a range of leaves, mapping out their patterns and drawing in great detail. Here are a few fantastic examples of well-observed drawings. From left to right (top to bottom) these sketches were made by Pippa, Nancy, Lexi, Betsy, Charlie H-J and Jonas.

The children found out about different types of sketching pencils and also learnt techniques to show the contrast between the vein and the leaf when the veins are lighter, as illustrated in Charlie’s amazing sketch. The textures of fernlike leaves have also been captured beautifully by Nancy, Jonas and Charlie.

Wheatfields Junior School - PE

In May we were lucky to be invited to send a group of Year 4 and Year 6 children to compete in the Young Saints cup against Maple School. This cup is contested each year between the two schools who have the most Young Saints members signed up with St Albans City FC. The teams played on the pitch at Clarence Park and both Wheatfields teams came away winners! Well done to all who took part.

Verulam School - Languages trip to Barcelona

I am thrilled to share an exciting update on our recent school trip to the vibrant city of Barcelona. Our journey was filled with captivating experiences, cultural exploration, and unforgettable memories. Here's a recap of our adventure!

On the first day of our trip, we gathered, dressed in our smart Barcelona Trip polo shirts, ready to start our expedition. The coach departed, heading towards Luton Airport. After a remarkably smooth check-in, we boarded our flight to Barcelona.

Excitement grew as we landed at Barcelona Airport and embarked on a short coach transfer to our accommodation, Generator Barcelona, which everyone absolutely loved. To satisfy our hunger, a delightful dinner of albóndigas (meatballs) awaited us too.

Day two commenced with a hearty buffet breakfast. We then dove into a Spanish language class, where the boys practised their language skills. Afterwards, we explored the enchanting La Boquería Market, indulging in a diverse array of culinary delights for lunch. The iconic La Rambla offered us an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll and some shopping.

In the afternoon, we visited the legendary Camp Nou, the hallowed home ground of FC Barcelona. The interactive museum at Camp Nou allowed us to delve into the rich history of Barça. As evening approached, we embarked on a guided tapas tour, savouring the authentic flavours of Spanish cuisine. The highlight was the seafood paella, devoured by all 37 of us, plus our three guides. We then took an evening walk to the Barceloneta beachfront to enjoy the scenery and see the sea.

On day three, spirits soared as we journeyed to PortAventura, one of Europe's largest and most thrilling theme parks. The boys experienced adrenaline-pumping rides and enjoyed the park's attractions, getting drenched on some of them!

Day four marked our final day in Barcelona, where we immersed ourselves in the enchanting wonders of Parc Güell, adorned with Gaudi's unique architectural masterpieces. Later, we marvelled at the awe-inspiring Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s world-renowned unfinished church. With some free time to explore the distinctive Eixample district, we bid farewell to Barcelona, cherishing the memories we made.

Our Barcelona adventure was a resounding success, thanks to the enthusiasm and participation of all students and staff involved. Barcelona, with its captivating charm, has left an indelible mark on our hearts. Until our next thrilling expedition, keep exploring!

Awards & Achievements

Sandringham School - District Championships

DISTRICT CHAMPS: What a brilliant performance from the Sandringham squad, with every athlete playing their part.   We had an impressive 9 County Champtions winning at their respective events. In addition there were 4 Silver medalists and 2 Bronze medalists. Well done to everyone who took part.

Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - Netball Success

Congratulations to our school netball team, who won their Spring Term Netball League with a 100% record against other schools within the league. After facing tough challenges against schools such as the High School and Wheatfields back in the autumn term, the leagues are re-organised in the new year and this gave our team the opportunity to come up against similar sized schools. It is a great measure of the team’s commitment and improvement over the year to go on such an impressive run and claim the league trophy for the first time in over seven years. Well done!

Garden Fields JMI School - Ballet

Matilda in Year 5 has successfully auditioned and gained a place at the Classical Ballet Academy at Tring Park School. Places on this programme are very limited. Last year Matilda auditioned and wasn’t successful but she didn’t let the rejection stop her achieving her goal. She worked hard this year and we and her family are so thrilled that her resilience and determination has been rewarded with this amazing opportunity. Contragulations Matilda!

Sandringham School - London Marathon

Well done to Lily T in Year 13 who completed the London Marathon in an impressive 3hrs 34 minutes!. Here is what she had to say about the experience:

On Sunday, I ran the London Marathon which has been on my bucket list ever since I ran the mini marathon when I was 12 years old. The atmosphere was fantastic and I really enjoyed the support from the crowds. I am raising money for Cancer Research UK. 

Also taking part, in what was very hot conditions,  were James C in Year 12, raising funds for the Motor Neuron Disease Association. He was joined by Henry C and Harry Y, also Year 12, for the run.  

Ridgeway Academy - LiFE

I had the pleasure of attending the pass out parade for the LiFE course that Frank and Rhys have been on.  LiFE (Local Intervention Fire Education is a 5 day course delivered by firefighters. Based on the role of a firefighter, young people get the chance to take part in practical activities like hose running, ladder climbing and incident scenarios. They learn to: work with others, see the consequences of anti-social behaviour and fire setting, build confidence and self-esteem, improve communication skills.

On arriving, the first thing the Leader said "Do not underestimate the sheer determination and strength these young people have shown this week". Out of the 14 enrolled on the course from various schools, only 8 made it through to the end. 2 of those were ours!

Some dropped out because they simply could not do it and others were asked to leave as they were unable to meet the expectations. Rhys and Frank not only made it to the end, they passed with flying colours. They were a real credit to the school. Their mentors for the week have sung their praises and challenged them to use their skills in school. 

They have proved to themselves that they can be resilient, they can focus and they can follow instructions. They both overcame many obstacles, mostly physical, to reach the end of the week. During the parade there was a competition drill. Using skill, determination, strength and teamwork, Frank not only made it to the final but alongside his partner, won. Well done Frank!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mrs L Rossington, Inclusion Coordinator


Wheatfields Junior School - The Royal Academy Young Artists Show

Huge congratulations to Bertie in Year 5 whose artwork has been selected for The Royal Academy Young Artists Summer Show in London. His fantastic painting “Bristol Air Show” was selected from 21,000 entries!

Wheatfields had some wonderful entries and the ideas, creativity and skill shown were appreciated by the judging panel. Well done to every child who entered.

Wheatfields Infants' & Nursery School - Wellbeing Award for Schools

We are incredibly proud that we have successfully been re-accredited with the Wellbeing Award for Schools for a further three years. The assessors noted that all stakeholder feedback was highly impressive, including that from staff, pupils and governors, but the most impressive feedback was from parents. Discussions with them demonstrated how often staff go above and beyond to support not just the children in their care but their parents and families as well.

Huge thanks go to Mrs Chalk and Mrs Norman who champion mental health and wellbeing in school, and who have both worked incredibly hard and been instrumental in achieving our re-accreditation. Recognition should also go to the whole school team who ensure that the well-being of our whole school community is always the key.

Verulam School - County League Final

On Tuesday 4 July our U16 (Year 9&10) athletics team represented us in the County League Final, qualifying 3rd in our division.  This is the first time we have qualified for this event in a decade.  Despite a number of the team being absent on the Barcelona trip or injured, the lads who stepped up represented well.  The team finished 5th out of top 8 schools in the county, with a very strong St Clement Danes side winning the title.

Despite the wet and miserable conditions we had some notable performances from Nikolai C in the 1500m, Michael B winning the Javelin & a very tired Oscar N coming in 2nd in the 800m after representing Hertfordshire in the ESAA Championships over the weekend.

Garden Fields JMI School - Netball Coaches

It’s Official! We have Hertfordshire Schools Most Outstanding Netball Coaches at Garden Fields. I hope you will join me in congratulating Miss Elson and Miss Kirton for being honoured at a recent ceremony as having made the most outstanding contribution as netball teachers.

They won £250 towards netball, which should keep us going for a while! 

We also need to celebrate that their team of netballers won their league and the accompanying cup (proudly on display in school). Another of our teams came second in their tournament and were awarded medals.

I am so glad for you all that all those 7.40am practices on bitterly cold winter mornings - with stinging hands and frozen courts - paid off!

Ridgeway Academy - Civic Award

The Civic Awards 2023, now in their 17th year, were held on Monday 22 May and winners were announced by the new Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield, Councillor Pankit Shah, and his predecessor Barbara Fitzsimon.  

Rhianna R in 6th Form was nominated and represented Welwyn and District Bowls Club and England. She was recognised for her outstanding success achieved. Rhianna was also awarded a £250 cheque and the honour of being one of the youngest at age 16 to be awarded a civic award.

The following text is drawn from the nomination form submitted by Peter Bowyer and Mike Poole:

Rhianna has achieved outstanding success at Bowls. She has been a club member of Welwyn & District Bowls Club for 6 years and played for Hertfordshire in the last few years. In 2022, Rhianna reached the national finals at Leamington Spa, the home of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth games. She helped club members reach the quarter finals and went on to be crowned Ladies National Two Bowl Singles Champion 2022. Rhianna qualified for the finals by becoming Hertfordshire Champion, played five games in the run up to the National Final including the semi-final where she beat the reigning champion. In the final, a closely fought contest she won, to become the youngest ever champion. Rhianna has a natural ability to help all in her team, encourage new bowlers to improve and other club members. She has helped with our open days promoting sport to all ages, from 8 to 80 and at bowls taster events with St Mary’s primary school, she is really able to connect and promote enthusiasm. In January 2023, she represented England in the BIIBC Mixed U18 International Series in Solihull where she gained a bronze medal in the pairs. Rhianna has now been selected to join the England squad and play for her Country at BIIBC in Frith, Wales for the U25 Ladies International Series on the 11th and 12th February 2023.

In addition to winning Rhianna also received a £250 cheque and the honour of being one of the youngest at age 16 to be awarded a Civic Award.

Well done Rhianna!

Wheatfields Junior School - Football Tournment

We were thrilled to hear about the success of Erin in Year 4’s football team (Under 9 St Albans City Youth Wildcats) who won the Under 9 Girls tournament at Welwyn Garden City Youth FC. Well done to Erin and her team!

AAT working together

AAT Middle Leaders Training Session

On Tuesday 6 June we held our second Middle Leader training event.  Our focus was on developing leadership to drive school improvement.  We were delighted to have Paul K. Ainsworth as our keynote speaker. 

Paul has held Director of School Improvement roles in four multi-academy trusts.  He is the author of nine books and his latest work is No Silver Bullets: Day-in, Day-out SchoolIimprovement. He has spoken at many educational conferences and a TEDx.  He shared with our Middle Leaders key practical strategies to drive school improvement within our subjects and departments and stressed the importance of day to day actions and consistency from which small changes could make the big difference.  As a Trust we aim to promote collaborative working and sharing expert knowledge and practice.  After the keynote presentation, staff enjoyed an afternoon tea where they were able to reflect on and have discussions around their subjects and departments. 


Some key takeaways from staff were:

‘It helped solidify some ideas and thoughts around approaches to effective leadership, including 'nudges' and 'why'.’

‘That ideas need to be kept simple, easy to implement and a real reason given based on how it will benefit the children.’

‘Finding cross phase common ground about the purpose of the subject; this can be used to drive our planning throughout each phase.’

‘Very relevant key note to all levels of leadership.’

‘I found the whole hour very thought provoking. Much of what Paul said resonated with me. Discussing the importance of ‘why’ we do what we do was powerful, along with how collaborative/coaching style approaches to subject leadership is perhaps the most effective.’

‘Very useful, having sandwiches after encouraged everyone in our Music group to stay and chat and we spent quite a while discussing ideas for future collaboration. We are planning on trying to meet later this term and trying to collaborate on something next year to continue to build the relationship between the schools.’

School Councils Working Together

Skyswood School Council has been working closely with the School Council from Wheatfields Juniors and hosted a joint-meeting earlier this month. The two councils discussed ideas on environmental projects and the Wheatfields children were particularly interested to find out about our class pets and our new school pond at Skyswood.

 It has been lovely to see the two councils sharing some great ideas and we hope that some joint meetings can now become part of the regular practices for both schools.

Early Career Teachers Celebration Event

Congratulations to our second year Early Career Teachers from across the Trust who have successfully completed their Early Career Framework programme through the Alban Teaching School Hub.  This cohort of teachers were the first group to be part of a new national programme of professional development aimed at enhancing evidence-informed practice in the classroom. The teachers attended a celebration event on Wednesday 12 July  to recognise this significant landmark in their teaching careers.

 A huge thank you to all their mentors and induction tutors for the support and guidance they have given colleagues during their first two years of teaching.

Karen Taylor-Paul: Director of Alban Teaching School Hub


Wheatfields Infants' & Nursery School - Coronation Celebrations

Wheafields Infants' & Nursery School held a fun afternoon of crafts and cakes to celebrate the King’s Coronation. Year One hosted a bake sale and there were also lots of fun activities for the children. We also had a themed lunch provided by The Pantry which included a King Charles Coronation Cake.

The children celebrated by dressing red, white and blue. We managed to avoid the rain showers and create a whole school choir on the field to sing our special Coronation Song, “To the sound of Trumpets”. Year 2 looked amazing wearing their special tie dyed T-Shirts and there were plenty of crowns on display! 

Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - Hertfordshire Gala Concert

Congratulations to our Upper Junior Choir for their brilliant performance at the Hertfordshire Gala Concert, which took place in April at the Royal Albert Hall. The choir performed Jonathan Dove’s Seaside Postcard, a large scale choral and orchestral composition that included three movements; The first movement depicted a calm sea, it then moved on to a ’wish you were here’ theme, before concluding with everybody ’having a lovely time’ at the seaside., The choir also enjoyed the concert finale, which began with an outstanding performance of ’From Now on’ from the Greatest Showman, followed by John Miles’ famous song ’Music.’

The concert also featured local band ‘Princes and Kings,’ who recently appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show as the ‘unexpected guest.’ Our choir were among several school choirs, with around a thousand children from Hertfordshire performing within the choir and orchestra. It really was a special occasion and a big thank you to Mrs Salway for her fabulous efforts in working with our choir, and to Mrs Morrish and Mr Oswin for helping out on the day.

Garden Fields JMI School - The Kings Coronation

During the week beginning 1st May, we took part in The Big Help Out. The King asked for volunteers to make a difference in one of 8 categories. We volunteered in the Sustainability and Environment category to make a difference to the Garden Fields’ site, field and wildlife area.

Verulam School - Verulympics

After missing 2 years due to Covid and the extreme summer heat wave of last year, Verulympics returned this year in superb fashion. Revamped with A and B races the weather was perfect for competitors, with all boys competing in at least 1 event. Great performances from the boys culminated in 5 school records being broken.

Amazing records were broken by Nico B in the year 7 100m, Thomás B-D in the year 8 200m and in year 10 Thomas H in the 100m, Nikolai C in the 1500m and Michael B throwing 45.93 in the javelin.

Well done to all that competed and all the members of staff who helped to make this a successful day.

Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - Snowdonia

Our Yr 6 pupils enjoyed a fantastic week in Snowdonia and threw themselves wholeheartedly into an incredible range of activities; from rollercoasters and zip-wires to gorge scrambling, orienteering and trampolining in the incredible Bounce Below caverns in Llechwedd. The children were so supportive of each other throughout the week and their behaviour was impeccable throughout. We are so proud of this group, members of the public, activity providers, hotel staff and our coach driver, Ian, have all commented on how polite, enthusiastic and determined the group have been. The weather was ideal throughout the week, allowing for several visits to the beach and wonderful views as the group made their way up to the third lake on the Miner’s Track.  It has certainly been an experience to remember and our Year 6 children have been an absolute credit to the school. 

Sandringham School - Royal Albert Hall

The Arts team were delighted to take a group of around 50 students to the Royal Albert Hall at the end of April for an exciting and prestigious eventproviding an incredible opportunity to sing and dance at this amazing venue.  Music and dance was based on the theme ‘Give Life to Music’ featuring repertoire including ‘I Was Glad’ by Parry and ‘Lux Aurumque’ by Eric Whitacre. One of our Sixth Form musicians, Zac Pile, also performed an original song with his band ‘Princes to Kings’ as part of the programme. 

Ben E in Year 12 wrote the following of his experience. "It was a real privilege to sing in such an iconic venue last Sunday night. We performed a range of different music from choral pieces to pop songs, all of which were extremely enjoyable to sing. The acoustics in the hall were amazing and it was great to sing among other schools and a talented youth. The dancers beautifully showcased the music we performed and it was an amazing experience.

and Mylo W said " My experience at the Royal Albert Hall was nothing short of entertaining. The amazement and joy to sing in front of a huge crowd was an incredible experience, one which I won’t forget."

A huge thank you to Mrs Beaton, Miss Davies and the Arts team for organising such a great opportunity for our students. 

Ridgeway Academy - Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Celebrating the Success of our first Duke of Edinburgh Silver Practice Expedition between Friday 9th and Sunday 11th June, six Yr 10 students embarked on their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award Practice Expedition - an adventure requiring a commitment to teamwork and a resilient mindset to learn from mistakes, persevere through difficulties and embrace the literal plus metaphorical highs and lows. The expedition began at Westcott and concluded at Shalford, covering a challenging yet rewarding trail over farm, forest and field. Despite the challenging hot weather conditions, our students thrived as they trekked through the picturesque Surrey Hills. The route provided much-needed respite with its enchanting conifer woodland, allowing the team to enjoy the beauty of nature while staying cool and energised.

For Miss Syed and I, one of the most remarkable aspects of the trip was the positive values and character demonstrated by the students involved. Alfie, Daniel, David, Jon, Kaci and Rose worked seamlessly together, supporting and motivating each Duke of Edinburgh other every step of the way. In the heat, this included regularly prompting each other to drink and looking out for signs of heat exhaustion: excessive sweating, fatigue and weakness, dizziness, headache, rapid heartbeat, muscle cramps, nausea and fainting. For the students, the memories created and lessons learned will undoubtedly prepare them to be successful during their Qualifying Expedition scheduled for July which is based in the Peak District. Notably, that includes bringing squash or Vimto to make water more palatable!

Finally, I would like to extend thanks to Miss Syed, Mrs McKenzie and Mr Briggs, a volunteer Mountain Leader who joined us on the expedition, along with all families involved, without the support from whom this expedition could not take place.

Sandringham School - University Visit

On Thursday 18th May, 12 students from Year 8 went to Cambridge to take part in a graduation for Brilliant Club (a programme in which you get treated like university students.) Zainab in Year 8 wrote the following about her experience.

It was a fun day in Cambridge where we got to look around the University and learnt about its history and what it is like to be a student there. During the day, we heard a talk from students about their learning experience and we got to ask questions. In the afternoon, I was the only student to do a speech as part of the graduation ceremony.

My essay was about how to fix malaria in rural areas in Mali, and my speech reflected different ideas on how to solve it. I learnt a lot about problem solving and how to compile research from doing the course and would recommend it to other students.

My favourite part was the tour of the university and I think it would be somewhere I would like to go in the future. 


Skyswood Primary & Nursery School - Environment

Phase two of our pond project has now been completed and we have introduced a wide range of pond plants, along with our first official pond residents; a large bag of water snails! The plants include submerged and semi-submerged oxygenators, along with shallower pond plants. Our School Council have led this project and are excited about the next steps, where we will be fencing off a specific pond area (within our Environmental Area) to encourage greater diversity. Our plans are to use the pond as an outdoor learning resource, which ties in well with plans to develop a wider range of forest schools and outdoor learning experiences for our children.