Schools news round up (including a visit by the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan, MP)

Eight local schools gathered at Tring's Grove Road Primary School for an Inter-School 5000m Relay
Eight local schools gathered at Tring's Grove Road Primary School for an Inter-School 5000m Relay

The latest news from schools in your area.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles! Biscuit firm gives sweet treat to school

Beechwood Park School celebrating the establishment's 50th anniversary

Beechwood Park School celebrating the establishment's 50th anniversary

A school for children with special educational needs has been given a sweet treat thanks to a Herts-based confectionery company.

Staff at Burton’s Biscuit Company have overhauled the children’s play area at Hemel Hempstead’s Woodfield School’s after school club.

As part of its volunteering commitment to Children in Need, Burton’s – which is based in nearby St Albans – rallied its team to redecorate the outdoor playground, which was transformed in just eight hours.

Working with staff at Woodfield School, in Malmes Croft, the area was given a fresh lick of paint, supported by the children who joined in with the decorations with full funding for the materials provided by Burton’s.

The playground is currently used as part of an after school club for children with severe and complex learning difficulties. This provides a respite for parents in the evenings, and the newly decorated area will be a stimulating and creative environment for the children to use and enjoy.

Woodfield’s deputy head manager Beverley Hamilton said: “The playground looks great and it was fantastic that the children could be a part of the day.

“The after school club is really important to both the parents and children and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to give it a new look.”

Burton’s chief financial officer Nick Field said: “I’m very proud of the team for all their effort in relation to such a worthwhile cause.

“If our contribution makes even a small difference to the school and fantastic pupils within it, then it’s time very well spent.

“At Burton’s, we aim to make every day more of a treat for our customers, and supporting projects like this is about extending this philosophy to the communities in which we operate.”

How to write adventure stories – author reveals his secrets to school children

Year 7 students at Hemel Hempstead’s The Cavendish School were recently entertained by author Jon Mayhew, who talked about the characters and inspirations behind his latest series of books, Monster Odyssey.

This series is a modern take on French adventure novelist Jules Verne, and includes underwater action, kidnappers, giant sea monsters, and an evil maniac.

Despite being set in a mythical kingdom most of his monsters are based on dinosaurs and strange creatures that have been changed by their environment.

Students helped demonstrate the enormity of some and create names for other imaginary cross-bred animals.

As well as enthusing students to read the books, Jon engaged them in discussion about dinosaurs and taught them about ‘abyssal gigantism’ a form of deep-sea biology.

Later in the day Jon delivered writing workshops with some Year 7 classes in which they developed the ‘Art of Creating Fear’ or explored ways to create imaginative characters and storylines.

Students weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the day. Jon said: “I really enjoyed working with the students and they did the school proud.

“It was inspiring for me to meet such enthusiastic readers and writers.”

Top rsults for Dacorum schools in 5,000m relay challenge

On the beautiful autumn afternoon of Tuesday, September 30, eight local schools gathered at Tring’s Grove Road Primary School for an Inter-School 5000m Relay.

Teams from Bishop Wood, Bridgewater, Brookmead, Dundale, Grove Road, Lime Walk, Long Marston and St Bartholomew’s competed over the 5000m distance (25 laps of the 200m track).

The event formed part of the World Relay Challenge, a ‘virtual’ competition now in its second year - which allows primary schools from across the globe to record their times on a central website to see who can get the best time.

This year 92 schools took part, most from the UK, but some from as far afield as Hong Kong.

The winning team at Grove Road’s Inter-School Relay was Bridgewater, last year’s champions. They completed the 5000m distance in a time of 14 minutes and 49 seconds. The hosts, Grove Road, came second, with a time of 16 minutes and 24 seconds. Not far behind in third position was Long Marston, in 16 minutes and 29 seconds.

On the World Challenge leader board, Bridgewater is currently 3rd, Grove Road is 7th and Long Marston 8th.

Linked with the World Relay Challenge, Grove Road Primary School held a ‘wear sports gear to school’ day, where children donated £1 each and raised in excess of £385.

The money raised will go the local charity, the Pepper Foundation, a hospice-at-home nursing service which offers specialist palliative care and support to children with a life-threatening or life-limiting illness.

Head of Grove Road School Sharon Sanderson said: “We are delighted to have welcomed local schools to take part in the World Relay Challenge.

“The whole event had a real buzz and the children clearly had lots of fun.

“We are also thrilled to be able to continue to support our chosen charity, the Pepper Foundation, a charity very close to the children’s hearts.”

School marks its 50th anniversary with visit from old boy Sir Alan Duncan MP

Thursday, October 8, 1964 was the opening day of Beechwood Park School - an independent day and boarding establishment that sits in the countryside between Jockey End and Markyate.

Fifty years later, to the day, pupils, staff and parents, governors, alumni and friends marked its 50th Anniversary with a celebration of the school’s history and achievements, at a service at St Albans Cathedral.

Headmasters and pupils - both past and present – recounted and shared their memories and experiences.

The joint choirs of the school were joined by the internationally renowned counter tenor James Laing, an alumnus of the school, who sang a haunting Gaelic Blessing at the beginning of the service.

Following the service, guests were entertained at the school with tea and a commemorative tree planting with the help of ‘old boy’, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan KCMG, MP.