Schools News (Including a trip Into The Woods for Abbot’s Hill actors)

Into the Woods at Abbot's Hill School. Witches and wolves, from left, Kitty Roberts, Georgie Shelley, Alice Johnston and Emma Hackett
Into the Woods at Abbot's Hill School. Witches and wolves, from left, Kitty Roberts, Georgie Shelley, Alice Johnston and Emma Hackett

The latest news from schools across the Dacorum area.

Abbot’s Hill actors take a trip Into The Woods

Author Cathy Cassidy visted Hemel Hempstead School on Wednesday. PNL-150402-141026009

Author Cathy Cassidy visted Hemel Hempstead School on Wednesday. PNL-150402-141026009

The latest Senior School drama production at Abbot’s Hill took place last week.

Musical theatre production Into the Woods was performed at the school’s Judi Dench Theatre last Thursday and Friday along with two performances on the Saturday, after weeks of rehearsals.

‘Into the Woods’ is a musical which intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests.

The main characters are taken from ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, ‘Rapunzel’, and ‘Cinderella’, as well as several others.

The musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a Witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.

What begins as a lively irreverent fantasy musical eventually becomes a meaningful tale about responsibility, the problems that come from wishes, and the legacy that we leave our children.

A new Walt Disney film based on the musical was launched in December, featuring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden and Johnny Depp.


Back to school for children’s author Cathy Cassidy

Children’s author Cathy Cassidy stopped by to meet pupils at The Hemel Hempstead School last week, while on tour promoting her latest book.

Sweet Honey is another instalment in her Chocolate Box Girls series.

She gave a talk to Year 7, Year 5 & Year 6 from South Hill School, and visiting groups from Adeyfield School, Cavendish School, Parmiter’s School and Francis Combe Academy.

She entertained the students with stories of her daydreaming schooldays and talked about the writing process and how she creates her characters.

She showed them several slides from her website and encouraged them to contact her with questions or to obtain the secrets of daydreaming without your teacher finding out!

Chorleywood Bookshop were also present to sell books and Cathy spent the lunch break before her talk signing books and talking to the students.

There were a number of very excited girls who were delighted to be able to meet their favourite author.

Great Gaddesden Primary receives funding to improve outdoor sport facilities

Great Gaddesden Primary School has received a major boost in sport and play equipment after it was successful in gaining £19.950 to develop new outdoor sports facilities at its village site.

The funding, which is part of Sport England’s £18m National Lottery funded Primary School Facilities Fund aims to provide outdoor multi-activity play areas to over six hundred schools across the country.

The investment is designed to specifically support schools which have limited outdoor space for sports and who are in greatest need of facility improvements. The Sports Funding will benefit both pupils at the school and the wider community. This fund builds on and complements the Government’s £150 million a year Primary PE and Sport Premium.

The new investment has meant that pupils of Great Gaddesden Primary School are able to enjoy new sports facilities including a traversing wall, a small multi-surfaced area with net and goal for nursery and infant pupils and a larger multi-sports and activity area with net and hoop for junior pupils.

Headteacher Nikki Comer, said: “The Sport England funding we have received has been vital in providing our pupils with enhanced opportunities to play sports. The children have been able to improve their skills and co-ordination by having defined areas, markings and goals to practice on, which were not available previously.

“These fantastic new multi-sport facilities are impacting positively on physical activity in the school each day.”

Olivia, in Year 1 at the school, said: “Our new sports equipment is fantastic and brilliant, because we get to play football and basketball in a proper area and it’s really fun.”

Nick Bitel, Sport England Chair, said: “Having the right space to play sport and be physically active as a child is vitally important. We are delighted to be investing this funding in Great Gaddesden School to improve the spaces that will give children the space to start enjoying PE and sport.”

The new sports equipment which was completed at the beginning of January is already proving popular with pupils who are utilising the facilities to play sport during PE Lessons and at After School Sport Clubs, and also for recreation during lunch and play times.

Grove Road’s Young Voices perform at the O2

A total of 120 children from Grove Road Primary School performed to a sold-out arena at the O2 arena on Friday, January 30 as part of ‘Young Voices’, - the world’s largest children’s choir.

Around 7,500 school children from across the region took part in the concert and performed alongside artists Lucy Spraggan of X Factor fame and Liverpool boy band Mic Lowry, led by internationally acclaimed conductor David Lawrence. The children performed various medleys, from pop, to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and even a tribute to South Africa.

They performed dance moves to go with the songs, taught by one of the country’s leading street dance teachers. Clever use of lights and the children’s torches created some spine-tingling effects when combined with the beautiful sound of the children’s voices.

This was a life-changing experience for the children: to be able to perform in one of the world’s greatest arenas where their idols perform regularly, with all their friends around them for support.

Sharon Sanderson, Head at Grove Road, said:“We are immensely proud of what our children achieved at the O2 Arena.

“Such experiences are invaluable in helping to increase the children’s self-belief and confidence, we well as inspiring a love of music.

“It is an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives”.

Through taking part in Young Voices, the children gained a huge sense of achievement from rehearsing hard over so many weeks and finally being able to perform in such an amazing venue to their families.