First Berkhamsted Citizens Association talk of the year attracts packed audience to town hall

The Sessions Hall of Berkhamsted Town Hall was filled during a talk by headteacher of Ashlyns School James Shapland.

He spoke about the changes that are happening as part of the area’s shift from three to two-tier education.

The event on Thursday, February 6, was the first talk of the year to be organised by the Berkhamsted Citizens Association.

Mr Shapland’s audience heard that the conservation group had organised a similar public meeting in 1969 to discuss introducing a three-tier education system to the area.

Back then, the change aimed to help the education system cope with growing numbers of middle school children – the reintroduction of two-tier now aims to tackle the same problem.

Mr Shapland told the audience how the reorganisation of education in Berkhamsted, from three to two-tier, is progressing.

Berkhamsted Citizens Association member Susan Johnson said: “Half way through the two-year procedure was a good time to take stock; and the assessment was reassuringly positive.”

Mr Shapland then gave an overview of how his school had prepared and implemented receiving 450 pupils in one, huge 3-year intake; and how the former middle schools had coped with becoming junior and primary schools.

The message was that the transition had been almost totally successful; and no pupil had been left with a feeling of being a guinea pig in an educational experiment.

The interviews with new and existing Ashlyns students were upbeat and amusing; particularly with a Year 13 student who had worried where she would park her car, given all the extra members of staff.

Berkhamsted Citizens Association and its guests were pleased to hear the upbeat message; and wished the school well in its future plans.