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We are looking forward to getting back into routine after what seems to be a long period away from ‘normal’ school days. However, in the next two weeks the public exam period is upon us and we will be adopting the usual exam timetable. Therefore from Monday 16th May we will be running the 3:2 lesson split. Break will be at 10.00am and lunch at 12.25. We finish school at the usual time but have two lessons after an earlier than normal lunch. Swedish Visitors We welcomed the last week of the Spring Term, colleagues and students from our partner school in Finspang, Sweden. A big thank you to those parents who hosted a student. The Swedish students (aged 17 and 18, all speaking wonderful English) visited Hertford, made cups at “Manic Ceramics”, visited London and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. The Swedish school really appreciated the warm welcome we gave and are eager to develop friendships and links further. In addition, their Principle and local Director of Education visited Simon Balle, Hertford Heath JMI, Hertford Regional College and Birchwood High School. They wanted to look at wider educational issues, how to promote a school, school ethos and school leadership. We hope to continue to meet and share ideas. Believe it or not the airfare from their nearest airport to Stansted is less than a peak hour return to London! Dates for your diary 12 May 30 May-3 June 12-17 June 13-17 June 23-26 June 27 June 30 June 12 July 13 July 14 July 15 & 16 July 18 July 21 July

Year 8 Parents evening Half Term Year 7 Bude trip Year 12 Work experience American visitors Lower school fundraising ‘Fun run’ Languages festival Art Exhibition Transition evening 7pm Transition Day for Year 6 School Production ‘Les Miserables’ Stevensons Uniform Sale 3.30 -8pm End of School

Please note school starts for all students at 8.45 am on Monday 5th September

Transformation of the Lecture Theatre This is our next big project. About nine years ago we redecorated and reupholstered the seating and at the time it made a great difference, however, after so much use, it is time for us to reconsider what we need and the lessons learnt from the library work are helping us to visualise what we want. Thanks to the generosity of the PSA and through them the support of some of you, we are able now to completely gut the room and start again. We are planning to extend the floor platform, re-upholster the seats, and have the latest ICT equipment plus flexible seating. The room will then be a first class resource for teaching and performing. Just as the library is used and benefitted by all students, so will this room. Communication With the cost of postage and paper ever increasing we hope to send as much communication as we can by email. If we do not have your current email address could you please send it to We will, of course continue to send paper where necessary. Thank you in advance. Governors Grapevine Hello, I am Judith Swindell, and have been a Parent Governor for over 6 years. I have two children at Simon Balle, currently in Years 10 and 13. I serve on two committees: Attainments & Standards and Environment & Community. My particular area of expertise and experience, through my work at County Hall, has led to me being the nominated governor for Child Protection and Children Looked After. Every term I meet with the members of staff responsible for these two specific areas to discuss any new concerns, and to ensure school policies are being followed, this is then reported back to the full governing body. Should you wish to contact me, please email

Free School Meals If you receive one of the following benefits, you could be eligible for free school meals worth over £300.00 per child per year. • Income support • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance • Child Tax Credit with a taxable income of no more than £16,190 and not in receipt of Working Tax Credit • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 • Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after employment finishes or after you start to work less than 16hours per week. Don’t miss out, apply now! We recommend you apply online at Online applications are easier, faster and more convenient. In most cases, you will not need to provide paper proof of benefits or reapply. If you do not have access to the internet at home, you can obtain access and support at any of the following locations: • Public Libraries • UK Online Centres • Your child’s school If you require assistance with your application, please email or call the customer service centre on 0300 123 4048 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm Saturday). Assessment Review – Key Points Many thanks to all those who took the time to respond to the questions in the Assessment Review. All the comments have now been collated and are currently being discussed with staff, to look at changes for next year. Full details will be published in due course but a few points emerged: • Many of you would like more information about how Data Capture marks relate to overall achievement • Sometimes Data Capture information is not recorded in the planner and you would like a more reliable ‘failsafe’ method to make sure all the information gets home • It would be helpful to be able to match achievement to targets and national averages so that there is more of a context for the information you receive. • Timings of parents evenings sometimes mean a long gap in contact Many thanks Liz Ellis, Deputy Headteacher Library Events in May Friday 13th May Speaker's Corner with Mr. C. Wakely. He will be giving a talk on 'Recommended Reads' to students and staff. Wednesday 18th May Lower School Book Club visits Nicholas Breakspear School to take part in the Red House Children's Book Awards Discussion Day including a talk by author, Cliff McNish. Monday 23rd May Visit to the Library by historical fiction writer, Lucy Jago who is author of the recently published Montacute House. Lucy will be speaking to all Year 7 and 8 girls and there will be a book signing session at lunch time in the Library for all students. This event has been organized with books@hoddesdon. For further details regarding the above events please see the Library staff. Isabel Hospice At Simon Balle we like to get involved in the local community, so before the end of last term our Year 7 and 8 students put their creative skills to the test and made some wonderful Easter cards which the RE department arranged to be sent to some of the nursing homes and charities in the local area. We were therefore very pleased to receive a response from the Isabel Hospice who said “the patients were delighted to have them on Easter morning,” and thanked the students for their kind thought and for the “lovely Easter cards” they had made.

The Canterbury Trip On the 1st March the Year 13 English Literature class set off to visit Canterbury to aid their study of the Canterbury Tales. After a long journey we finally arrived to wind and an overcast sky, nothing more fitting for the Gothic genre we were studying. The Cathedral was our first destination after a little travelling through the town’s winding streets we held the spire in our sights. We had a keen guide who took us on a tour explaining a range of information from the architectural challenge of the original construction to the murder of Thomas Becket. We strolled around the Cathedral and were able to gain a good insight into the experience of the pilgrims who journeyed to the shrine of St Thomas Becket in Chaucer’s time. We learnt a lot about the martyr Thomas Becket. At the exact location where he died, we were taken through the tale of his rise and fall, from being a loyal subject to the King to being his enemy tragically struck down by knights. Remembered as a man who stood and died for his religion, Becket was transformed into a legend as a man of miracles. We followed our guide deep into the Cathedral and were privileged to view his crypt below the great building. The importance of the shrine for the pilgrims who made this journey was clear when we witnessed the deep grooves in the steps leading up to where his tomb had stood. All in all the tour provided excellent contextual knowledge for the tale our class shall write about in our summer exam. After lunch we headed for the second part of the trip. We arrived at the Canterbury Tales experience, a walk through museum of wax-work models of characters from the Tales. Nothing like dark rooms with eerie figures to get a real sense of the plague. It was pretty interesting with each member of the class having a phone that told tales. The doors, lights and models were programmed to move in sync with the Tales creating a creepy atmosphere that delivered a combination of suspense and education. All in all it wasn’t half bad, allowing the class to be informed of all the other Canterbury Tales opposed to simply the Pardoners Tale which we are studying. We also had a pretty good insight into how the Tales were intended to be told and received at the time. We piled back into the minivan and headed home after an enjoyable trip with a far better sense of context that definitely aids our understanding of Chaucer, the historical significance of the pilgrimage and the Tales themselves. Ted Upton-Newall Year 13 The Americans are coming! We are looking for Simon Balle families to host our American Visitors between Thursday 23rd and Sunday 26th June 2011. This is a great opportunity to help build Simon Balle’s cultural and education link worldwide while also helping to raise funds for the school. For further information please look at the PSA page on the website (under Parents category) or contact Mr Pooley at

District Aquathlon Championships Simon Balle hosted the District Aquathlon championships. All competitors were greeted by fantastic conditions and the event ran smoothly thanks to the Sports Partnership which organised the Aquathlon. Simon Balle had 20 competitors competing across three of the four age groups. First was the Year 7/8 boys and Simon Balle got off to a great start with Patrick Tarry winning in a time of just over 6 minutes. Patrick was third out of the pool and managed to close down the front two to come away with a win. The boy’s team finished 2nd overall with great runs from Jonathan Goodson and James Murphy. Bailey Williams had a fantastic run also competing for the first time for Simon Balle School. Our fantastic Year 7/8 girl’s team were once again victorious with Sophie Rawlinson leading from the front straight out of the water maintaining her lead all the way to the gold medal. Sophie is surely one to watch for the future. Just behind Sophie in second place was Bethany Baxter who ran strongly to take comfortable silver. Chloe Ring and Maddy Twyning followed closely in 7th and 8th positions respectively. Well done girls.

The Year 9/10 boy’s team competed well to finish 3rd team with Philip Murphy coming home in the gold medal position. In a very exciting race Philip was down by 20 metres after the swim but managed to close the gap and win in a very close finish. Philip is another great talent having already competed in a number of triathlons for his club. Jordan Kimsey, Alex Doyle and Scott Glynn finished strongly wrapping up the bronze medals. Sophie, Patrick and Philip will now represent the school at the East Herts championships. County League Athletics For the first time in a while we have entered the County Athletics League. This is a prestigious competition and will be a valuable experience for our students. Last Monday the first league meeting took place at Wodson Park where Simon Balle performed strongly to pick up valuable points. Dan Morton won the U14 boys javelin with a throw of 31.26m. Sameer Adbalhamid was a close 2nd in the shot putt. The U14 girls had a good competition with a number of 1st positions which included Chloe Ring (75mH & LJ), Florence Fyffe (100m), Elle Yeardye (200m), Sophie Rawlinson (1500m) and the relay team. For the U16 boys wins came in the form of Josh Brown (75mH), Hugh Brady (100m), Ollie Fyffe (800m) and Ayrten Abbess in the High Jump. Alice Twyning won the High Jump in the U16 girls. The next County League meeting takes place on Monday 9th May at Welwyn. The remaining County League fixtures are as follows; Wed 25th May – St. Albans Thurs 9th June – Stevenage Tues 14th June – St. Albans Mon 20th June – Stevenage Football County final The Year 8 Girls play against Parmiters in the County Final today in St. Albans. Kick off is at 5.30pm. Good luck girls. Please check all fixtures on the PE website

French Exchange The 6th April marked the successful completion of the 5th exchange programme with Brantôme in the Dordogne. Many thanks again are due to the UK host families who welcomed the French Students into their homes and gave them such a memorable experience.

Some comments by French students: On vous remercie pour tout ce que vous nous avez apporté. On espère vous revoir et garder contact ! Cette semaine avec vous était formidable, une expérience à recommencer. Fanny, Clara, Clara et Andréa Les familles étaient très gentilles, elles nous ont donné bien à manger et ont essayé de nous donner ce que nous aimons. La visite de Mme. Tussaud était vraiment bien. Londres est manifique ! Merci beaucoup à tous! Adrien, Léo, Jules, Léo, Maxime, Morgan Nous remercions nos familles d’accueils de nous avoir si bien accueillis. Nous avons passé. Nous avons passé un très bon séjour en Angleterre. Caroline, Carine, Emilie

Many thanks for all that you did for us. We hope to see you again and keep in touch. This week with you was great, an experience worth repeating The families were very kind and gave us plenty to eat and tried to provide us with what we like. The visit to Mme Tussaud’s was really good. London is magnificent. A big thank you to everyone. We would like to thank the host families for having welcomed us so warmly. We had a very nice time in England.

The 2011-2012 programme will shortly be launched. Outward stay in France in October and French partners returning in March / April. Exact dates to be confirmed. Travel by coach and aeroplane. Cost £250 including all transport, admissions and insurance. If you would like to know more, previous exchange programmes can be viewed at the following web address: To register your interest in the 2011-12 programme, open to students who will be in Years 9 and 10 in September 2011, please e-mail your contact details and child’s name and form to: .