I am delighted to report that following an External Audit we have received an excellent report, with only one minor finding relating to a part time teacher’s pension contribution, which was not entirely our responsibility. Great credit must be given to Shirley Taylor, our Bursar, her finance team, the Personnel department and the Governor’s Finance committee. This is a wonderful result and demonstrates that the school is very well managed and follows all procedures. As there is so much talk about public sector budgets at the moment and knowing that many of you work in schools or for the Local Authority, we thought we should communicate something about Simon Balle’s financial state. As the Auditor confirmed, the school has been well managed and has been prudent with its finances, always mindful of best value. Over the past few years when income has increased, the school has not greatly increased its staffing but rather spent its money on improving its buildings and resources. Schools will not get their budgets for 2011-2012 until March 11th, somewhat later than usual. We still are unclear as to what we will get, as all secondary schools will lose over the next few years considerable funds for post 16. This year it looks to be in the region of £90,000. However, we will take into the new year a healthy surplus which will help us to offset this and trust that by looking at natural wastage and managing such areas as energy costs and day to day administration more carefully, we should be in a satisfactory position for the coming months. Obviously we know that the cuts will continue and we will plan as to how we can manage this in future years. Important information There has been publicity about how certain grants are no longer being given to Local Authorities. One of these is the money paid for schools to be connected to broadband and to have the necessary firewalls and securities. In addition, Hertfordshire LEA are no longer supporting RM Easymail, our email provider. Whilst we will for 2010-2011 be buying back our connectivity, we have decided to look for a provider that actually meets our needs, - email, learning platform and other digital tools. We have chosen SMART ASSESS which uses google applications alongside other tools. We believe that it will transform what we do, both in terms of student learning, staff and parent communication. As this is a ‘new’ system, using a ‘smart cloud’ staff need to be familiar with this quickly as the old system will disappear at the end of this term. We are running some training and support sessions but are concerned that with the ‘disrupted’ start to the summer term (3 bank holidays in 6 working days) that this could be an obstacle. Therefore, in order for staff to become familiar and efficient with the new system, the Governing Body have agreed that: • The last day for the Spring Term will now be Thursday 7th April (not Friday) • The school will still be open and available for students to attend. They will be supervised and be involved in learning activities but no formal lessons will take place. KS4 students should bring their own examination work. KS3 students will be with Cover Supervisors. This facility is available if parents request this. • Thursday will be a normal 5 lesson day, but we will be following a Friday Week 2 timetable as we are conscious that students miss a number of Fridays throughout the year. • The school will be open from 8.00am – 2.00pm before it closes for the holiday. We are confident that using this time will make such a difference. Dates for your 15 March 17 March 24 March 26 March 30 March 31 March & 1 April 7 April 11-25 April
diary Spring Concert Broxbourne Yr 13 Parents Evening Yr 12 Parents Evening PSA ‘Auction of Promises’ EPQ Exhibition House Performing Arts Competition End of Term Easter Holidays
29 April – 2 May 3 May
Bank Holiday Weekend School continues
HOST FAMILIES NEEDED At Simon Balle we put great emphasis on the need for our students to understand different cultures and be able to participate fully in an ever changing world. Many of you will be aware that we have several partner schools including one in Sweden. In January three of our staff visited a school in Finspang, a small industrial town surrounded by a beautiful lake and woods in South East Sweden. They visited a number of educational establishments in the region to understand how they operate. This visit and the ideas they brought back has already had an impact on our school. A small group of Swedish students will be visiting Hertford, arriving on Monday 4th April and leaving Friday 8th April (the last week of the spring term). We are looking for families who can accommodate a student. This will involve offering bed and breakfast for four nights and dinner on three nights. During the day the students will either be in school or on organised trips. They all speak excellent English and will be accompanied by two Swedish teachers. This is a great opportunity for our students to learn how other teenagers live and to support our school. If you feel you could offer accommodation or would like more details please contact Mrs Harman in the school office (01992 410400 X241 or firstname.lastname@example.org). We will need to know whether you can host a male or female student. Many thanks.
Payment of Music Lessons with Childcare Vouchers It is now possible for parents to pay for extra-curricular music lessons using childcare vouchers which may be purchased from a parent’s employer, although not all employers are registered with a scheme. Simon Balle School is now registered with three childcare voucher companies – Computershare, Care-4 and Edenred. There are tax benefits for higher rate taxpayers who are signed up with a scheme before 1st April 2011 which will be lost after that date, when all tax benefits will be at the basic rate. If you wish to pay your child’s music lesson invoice using Childcare Vouchers please contact me in the Finance Office and I will give you the relevant Carer Registration Number. Shirley Taylor, Bursar
Events in the Library On Friday 4th March we held our first Friday Lunch Time Talk in the Library. Ms Ellis (Deputy Head) launched this new series with a fascinating presentation on Central America. About thirty students and staff attended and there was a great atmosphere. We will regularly be holding this event. This Wednesday, 9th March was the first meeting of the Lower School Reading Club, led by Mrs Howells. The Club is held weekly for anyone in Year 7 or Year 8 who enjoys books and talking about reading. Please have your lunch first and then come along to the Library for a 13.40 start. Mrs Syme and Mrs Howells
EPQ Exhibition – Wednesday 30th March 17:00-19:00 in the Sixth Form Our Sixth Form Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) students would like to invite you all to attend the EPQ Exhibition. Our students have been busy all year planning, researching and writing up an extended project on a topic of their choice, including: ‘What are the long term effects of the BP oil spill?’, ‘What impact did the French Revolution have on fashion?’, ‘Where have the bees gone?’ and ‘Real life escapism: where do we draw the line?’ There is truly a rich diversity of themes to satisfy everyone’s interests. The students have developed a range of skills from this experience and many have forged links with higher education institutions. They would relish the opportunity to share with you details about the project process and their research findings. If you would like to attend, please contact the sixth form on 01992 410 400 Ext. 252 or email@example.com Mr Tzellos, EPQ Coordinator
Science Success Ellie Vaughan has reached the national finals of the National Science and Engineering Awards. Her project involved studying the effects of long-line fisheries on a soft coral reef in South Georgia. She will showcase her entry at the awards of the Big Bang science fair in London next month. We wish Ellie every success in the finals, needless to say, we are very proud of her achievement.
Ski Trip 2011 The Simon Balle ski trip was a fantastic success and it was a pleasure for me and the rest of the staff to spend the week with the students. It was an experience that none of the students will forget and they were all an absolute credit to the school. Mr Pooley As a result of much nagging from many students, Mr Pooley decided to revive the Simon Balle ski trip, to Zell am See, Austria. February half term arrived, 44 students and 6 teachers set off, for what was to be the maiden skiing experience for many. The accommodation was ideal: a private common room provided a place to relax, sports facilities kept everyone busy, next door were shops and food outlets; all within a 5 minute walk of the slopes. The beginners had to have a little patience at the start whilst watching the intermediate and advanced groups shine but all showed great progress as the week continued. The evening entertainment was varied and enjoyable for all: ice skating, basketball, ice hockey match, karaoke, quiz, bowling and were just some of the week’s many highlights. Despite a few accidents towards the end of the week, everyone came away with good memories of a great trip. We would all like to thank Mr Pooley for his efforts despite leaving him in Austria with one of the wounded. It truly was a week that we will ‘never forget’. Richard Andrews 12DA
Gym and Dance Evening On Wednesday 2nd March over 110 pupils at Simon Balle School took part in the first ever Gym and Dance Display. The event was co-ordinated by Anna Palmer and James Pooley and was the result of many hours of hard work and rehearsing. The evening got off to an exciting start with members of the trampolining squad performing their complex sequences; particularly impressive as they had achieved success earlier in the day at the county championships. Next came the newly formed cheerleading squad who have been working under the guidance of their Saracens coach, Claire. They performed with confidence and finished strongly with three pupils held high in a supported lift. The gymnastics team consisted of 4 Year 8 girls; Amy Brown, Talia Francis, Megan Sende and Ellie Yeardye. The audience was suitably impressed by their high level of skill and poise. The remainder of the evening was a fantastic programme of dance performed by students from Year 7 up to the highly skilled A Level dancers in Year 12. The audience was entertained with up beat tributes to Michael Jackson, sensitive ballet numbers, lively modern jazz and contemporary exam pieces from the GCSE and A level classes. A number of the dances performed were choreographed by the dancers themselves, whereas others were the result of commitment to one of the many extra curricular clubs led by Nicole Savage, Anna Palmer and Chloe Jones. It is certain that this will become an annual event in the schools calendar and a big well done to everyone involved.
Simon Balle PE News Year 9 District Hockey Tournament Simon Balle hosted the Year 9 District Hockey Tournament last Thursday. We beat Turnford 1 – 0, drew with John Warner 0 – 0, and narrowly lost 1 – 0 to Broxbourne and Presdales. The girls played to a high standard and were unlucky to lose these two matches.
District Trampolining Tournament Congratulations to the following girls who won the U16 District Trampolining Tournament, as a result they will now compete in the County Championship on Thursday 17th March. Mae Pearce, Lucy Thomas, Helena Page, Josie Lumley, Laura Huttlestone and Aimee Higgs. Boys Saturday Football Results: Year 7 v Sheredes – lost 5 – 0 Year 9 v Sheredes – won 2 – 1 Year 8 6 – a – side Girls Football Our girls have yet again gained more success at district level by winning the district 6-a-side football tournament last week. The girls began the tournament slowly with some narrow wins, however as they progressed through the rounds they began to run away with the cup. A fantastic achievement girls, well done. Athletics Update Chloe Ring was selected for the Hertfordshire U13 team who took part in the Aviva Sportshall Regional finals which took place in Norwich a few weeks ago. Chloe had a very successful competition winning two gold medals in the standing long jump and the 4x1 lap relay and she also finished 2nd in the 8 lap Paarlauf. Overall Hertfordshire finished 2nd to Norfolk which was a fantastic achievement. A big well done to Chloe. Upcoming Competitions • Tuesday 8th March – Year 7 Girls 5-a-side football • Wednesday 9th March – Year 7 Boys 6-a-side football • Thursday 10th March – Sportshall Athletics at Wodson