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It doesn’t really take much to make me feel so proud of our students. This is an excellent school with such talent in so many areas. Our musical reputation continues to grow with so many young people taking part in a wide variety of musical activities. Last Thursday our Big Band performed the evening entertainment at the Hertfordshire Secondary Headteacher’s conference. Although confident of their ability, I did at one point suddenly feel very nervous and wondered what my fellow Headteachers would think. I didn’t have to worry, they were amazed, impressed and in many cases jealous of what we have here. It is so unique and something I never take for granted. The concert last week at Broxbourne Civic Hall was another reminder of this extraordinary talent and the importance of having such a strong and talented team of staff who organise, lead and encourage our young people. My special thanks to Debbie Kemp and her community choir who were truly astonishing. The finale of John Rutter’s piece ‘For the beauty of the earth’ brought a spiritual dimension to the concert.

Auction of Promises May I urge as many of you as possible to come along and support the Auction of Promises, run by the PSA on Saturday March 26th. It looks like being great fun. Mr Miller will be the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ and many staff, as well as parents have donated a promise: A golf lesson (Mr Pooley), afternoon tea (Alison Saunders), Hand made jewellery (Jo Baynham), Tennis coaching session (Mike Moss), and even the opportunity to conduct the Big Band (I’m after that one!), as well as tickets to the theatre, restaurants, Eden Project, Hatfield House, Duck Tours etc. Take Note the School Community Choir and Musical Theatre will be entertaining between bids. A full catalogue will be sent out by email later this week and postal bids will be accepted. This will be our major fund raising event for the year and all money raised will go towards projects that will benefit every student. We are currently looking at refurbishing the lecture theatre in a similar way to the library. Tickets are £1 and include a light snack. I look forward to competing against your bids!

End of Term A reminder that the last day of term is now Thursday April 7th, students are not expected to attend school on Friday April 8th unless parents request this. All staff will be in school to use our new ICT system to ensure that they are confident in using it straight after Easter.

Dates for your 24 March 26 March 30 March 30 March – 6 April 31 March & 1 April 1 April 4-8 April 7 April 11-25 April 26 April 29 April – 2 May 3 May

diary Yr 12 Parents Evening PSA ‘Auction of Promises’ EPQ Exhibition French Exchange House Performing Arts Competition Stevensons Uniform Sale 3.305.30pm in the Dining room Swedish visitors End of Term Easter Holidays School resumes Bank Holiday Weekend School continues

Swedish Visitors We still need several families to help host students from our Swedish partner school. They arrive on Monday April 4th and go back home on Friday April 8th. The Swedes will be in school or on day trips and will only require 2 evening meals in addition to bed and breakfast. If you cannot support us at the Auction of Promises, perhaps this is something you can do. We cannot let the Swedes down and we need our parents to welcome these visitors. Do not be shy – I may even be contacting you directly!


Governors Grapevine Name of Governor and status: Loucas Xenophontos, Parent Governor Length of service: 3 years Committee: Finance I am a parent governor with children in years 12 and 13. As an accountant and a bit of a geek when it comes to numbers I make most of my contribution to the governing body via the finance committee. I try to understand the complexities in the schools finances without getting lost in the detail so that we get the big decisions right. If we are too cautious with our budgeting we end up not spending enough on maintaining our buildings, or pupils have fewer books and other resources, or the school is under staffed. If we are too reckless in our budgeting we end up with a deficit and have to make painful cuts to deal with it. So the job is to strike the right balance and keep things on an even keel. With a school budget of around £6m per annum and uncertainties over future funding because of the national debt crisis, these are testing times for the finance committee. The finance committee meets every half term and I also visit the finance office twice per year to do more detailed hands on work so that I can ask questions and see how reports are produced and how invoices are paid. I also attend full governing body meetings once every term. Being a governor means regularly coming in to school in the evening. I am always amazed at how many activities are going on in the music block, the hall, the sports pitch etc. It makes it easier to give up the odd evening when you see the dedication of staff at Simon Balle who regularly do the same! The governing body is made up of people who care about the school and their community and I now consider some of them my friends. Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Mike Moss one of our Deputy Heads attended a celebratory dinner at the Royal College of Physicians on Monday 7th March in recognition of the school’s achievement in the 2010 GCSE and equivalent examinations. The evening started with a talk by guest speaker Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education. Mr Moss said “It was a privilege to be able to represent Simon Balle at this event, it is a tribute to the hard work of both staff and students that we achieved these high academic standards.” EPQ Exhibition – Wednesday 30th March 17:0019:00 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 sixthform@simonballe.herts.sch.uk

House Performing Arts Festival 7pm in the hall on 31st March and 1st April. Tickets are £4 for students and £5 for adults - Mimram, Ashbourne and Lea are performing on Thursday 31st March and New, Rib and Beane on Friday 1st April. Awards and full adjudication will be on Friday. Assessment Review Dear Parents/Carers, This term we are looking carefully at how we assess students’ work, how clearly they understand what they need to do to improve and how effectively we communicate with parents about their child’s progress. We are trying to gather information from everyone who is involved in this process, so we are asking you to let us know your views on the following questions: 1. Is the information you currently receive about your child’s progress, in the form of a written report at the end of the year, a data capture sheet at parents’ evening and information in the student planner, as clear as you would like it to be? 2. What further information, if any, would you like to have about how your child’s work is assessed? Please take a few moments to let us have your views, either in a letter or by email to admin@simonballe.herts.sch.uk . If possible, please let us have your response by the end of term and indicate which year group your child is in. Many thanks for your support with this. Liz Ellis, Deputy Headteacher


Year 5 Gifted and Talented Global Awareness Day On Wednesday 9th March we welcomed 30 Year 5 students from a number of our feeder primary schools to take parting a Global Awareness Day. Students came from Abel Smith, Duncombe, Hertingfordbury Cowper, Mill Mead, Morgans, and Wheatcroft. The students were chosen as representatives for their school on their academic ability and their enthusiasm for global issues. We started the day by looking at photograph of children around the world and asking questions about the situation the children had found themselves in. The issues ranged from child soldiers to children living in poverty. We then played the trade game. In teams students tried to make as much money as possible with the resources and equipment they had. They also had to contend with the Bank (me!) recalling loans and other countries stealing things as well as being given aid to help them on their way. The game shows how hard it is for developing countries to make enough money and the students could really see how this is emulated in real life. We then tried something called Philosophy for Children. Starting with a stimulus, in this case photos of children, students think of big philosophical questions that can be discussed. Then a question is voted for and the one chosen is then discussed. We ended up talking about the issue of water and access to water. Is it right that some children have to walk miles to get a drink? The level of discussion was outstanding and I was very impressed with the thoughtful responses the Year 5s gave. We finished the day by making poster to put up in school to try and make a difference to children around the world. Two of the Year 5s wrote the following: Today a group of yr 5’s got together to learn about people in other countries. We learnt about people in poverty and people who are rich and poor. My favourite part was when we played the trading game. We had a discussion about how you would feel if you had to walk all the way to get water and no water came out. At the end we had to make a poster to make people aware of poorer people. I had a very enjoyable day and now I will be more aware of how much water we are using and if there is anything I can do to help. Josie Pegram, Abel Smith. Today some groups of year 5 from different school’s came to Simon Balle to learn about life in other countries. My favourite part was playing the trading game because we learnt that some countries are rich and some are poor. Then we had a vote on what to discuss. Most of us had great ideas then we made posters to stop people wasting water. Now I will save water and try not to waste water. Peter Flanagan, Morgan’s J.M.I I would like to thank all of the Year 5 students for their contributions to the day. We held a very impressive discussion and I hope we will be able to continue it in the future. Miss Baynham, Director of Humanities Specialism

Spring Concert at Broxbourne Civic Hall Over two hundred performers took part in our Spring Concert at Broxbourne which showcased a wide variety of the Music Department’s ensembles. Concert Band, Orchestra, Guitar Ensemble, Junior Wind Band and Saxidentals provided a diverse musical programme from Dvorak to Coldplay via Harry Potter and Outer Space. The Big Band reprised two songs from their highly-acclaimed appearance at the Secondary Headteachers’ Conference with Musical Director Mark Taylor. Our singers were a major feature of the evening with lively numbers from Young Voices and Coro, together with the newly formed Pop Choir who were a great hit with the audience. Our community choir Take Note gave a confident performance to cheers from their fans, including many proud children!


“A” Level student Lucie Norbury brought the house down with her stunning rendition of “Make you Feel my Love”, which was followed by the finale where Coro and Take Note joined the orchestra for a superb performance of John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth”. Headteacher Alison Saunders complimented all those taking part and thanked families, teachers and helpers for their continued support which makes these wonderful evenings possible.

It has been an incredibly successful 10 days for sport at Simon Balle School achieving an unprecedented number of trophies across a variety of sports which included cricket, football & trampolining as well as qualifying for county championships in a number of sports. Year 10 Girls – District 7-a-side Hockey Champions On Thursday the year 10 girls became District 7-a-side champions beating Broxbourne and John Warner and drawing against Presdales. The girls performed very well and topped their group by four points. The winning girls were: Judith Pickett Jess Glock Alice Twyning Mel Harvey Charlotte Gettings Sarah Benham Vicky Bolton Kealey Haylett Victoria Andrews Year 7 girls A & B teams perform well to finish in the top 3 in district tournament Two teams were representing Simon Balle School; A team and B team. A team – beat Broxbourne, lost against Haileybury and drew against Presdales and John Warner to finish 3rd overall. B team - beat Broxbourne 1-0 and drew against Sele, Presdales and Haileybury to finish 2nd overall. Well done to all the girls who participated, this is a fantastic achievement. Year 7 Girls win 6-a-side District Football Cup The girls performed very well winning all four matches to come away with the trophy. The victorious team was: Tor Hill, Emily Hook, Abbey Conroy, Ella Prizzy, Victoria Moore, Rebecca Hill, Joanna Woods and Olivia Fawbert County Trampolining tournament Mrs Noblett had the following to say about this fantastic achievement; “Simon Balle girls are just going from strength to strength at the moment! We had 3 teams in the county trampoline finals last Thursday and results are just in. Mae Pearce, Josie Lumley and Helena Page came runners up. This is a brilliant result and totally unexpected. They were up against teams with national trampolinists and lost out to them by 3/4pt, what can I say! Also Laura Huttlestone,, Aimee Higgs and Lucy Thomas won bronze in their competition what stars! The year 9's Grace Durbridge, Lily McMurray, Charlotte Adams and Emily Judd finished 4th in their competition, again at county level this is a great result. This is our first year in which we have reached the county competition, so please congratulate the girls when you see them. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!” Cricket – U13 & U16 girls dominate county finals Another trophy in the bag for Simon Balle Girls! I had the pleasure of taking an U13 and U16 team to the Lady Taverners Cricket competition at Herts University. Our teams were unbeaten in the group stages, comfortably winning their sections. Both teams played John Warner in the semis and progressed to the final. The U16s had a very hard match v Hitchin Girls School and lost. However this team achieved way beyond our expectations and deserves so much praise for reaching the final.


The U13 team met Queens School in the final and having bowled them out in the group stages, again bowled them out to win the final at a canter. This now makes them county indoor champions and will represent Hertfordshire at the London and SE England regional competition in a couple of weeks time. I am so proud of these two teams, who conducted themselves throughout the day with such maturity, fun and good sportsmanship and once again ensure that our school name is known throughout the county. Mrs Noblett Boys Football Results - Saturday Results are as follows; Year 8 v Beaumont – lost 4-3 Year 10 v Beaumont – lost 4-0 Year 9 v Beaumont – lost 4-1 The remaining fixture is against Sele School on Saturday 26th March. Year 7 6-a-side tournament The year 7 Boys represented Simon Balle at the Turnford 6-a-side district tournament. The boys conducted themselves very well and just missed out on reaching the semi-finals, results are as follows; SBS 0 Richard Hale 2 SBS 0 Chauncy 0 SBS 0 Sheredes 0 Richard nets 4 as 1st XI Boys beat county champions to progress to the semi-finals of the District Cup Our senior boy’s football team beat Richard Hale (COUNTY CHAMPIONS) 5-2 with 4 goals from Ryan Richards putting the boys through to the semi-finals of the district cup. It was a very tight match with SBS going 2-0 up after 10mins, however Hale replied with 2 before half-time going into the break level. The second half began with a closely contested 10mins, however it stayed level and with 15mins to go Ryan scored 3 goals to send Simon Balle through to the sem-final against St. Mary's School. The lads were fantastic and worked extremely hard and were a credit to the school. County 7’s rugby – Year 8 boys make a good account of themselves Year 8 boys took part in the prestigious annual County 7’s tournament last Thursday, they started strongly against Tring and competed well in the group stages aginst QE boys, Queens and Verulum. The boys improved throughout the tournament and will build upon this experience for next year. Sportshall athletics The Year 8 Girls finish top of the District league finishing one point ahead of Presdales. The girls now compete in the District finals on Thursday 24th March at Wodson. Year 8 Girls reach county football final The Year 8 Girls reached the County Final after a closely contested match against John Warner. The sides were level after full time, however the girls dug deep to come away with a 4-2 win and now play the final against Parmiters School on the 10th May. HERTFORD & WARE SSP AWARDS 2011 Simon Balle had a very successful awards evening having been nominated for four awards. Our successful Year 8 girl’s football team were joint winners of the team of the year award with Pinewood cross country team. This year the girls reached the last 8 of the national cup, won two district cups last year and followed this up with another district 6-a-side cup this year. They are currently in the District and County cup finals. So I think they were well deserved winners. The runners up on the night were; Nick Sheffield - KS 4/5 Sports Leader / Coach • Nick has organised intra-school competitions, assisted in the running of the Year 7 boys football team and worked with pupils with additional needs. Georgina Braggins - KS4 Effort/Improvement • Georgina has shown a great attitude to PE in lessons attends extra-curricular clubs and has assisted in the running of a number of girl’s basketball clubs. Alice Twyning – Elite Performer • Alice is a member of the England U15 basketball squad. She is a role model for girls PE and shows a great attitude to PE lessons.


newSBytes 21st March 2011