Schools news round up (Including Hemel MP marks start of new era for ‘outstanding nursery)

The great outdoors: Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning with (L-R) Mia Hobson, Sadie Hobson, Howie Lee, practitioner Denyse Evans and Geneva Allen at the Lime Grove Day Nursery
The great outdoors: Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning with (L-R) Mia Hobson, Sadie Hobson, Howie Lee, practitioner Denyse Evans and Geneva Allen at the Lime Grove Day Nursery

The latest news from schools in your area.


Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning marked the start of a new era of 
‘outstanding’ learning and play at Lime Grove Day Nursery after the end of a seven month building and refurbishment project.

Joining children at the twice Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ day nursery in Park Road, the MP created shapes at a craft table and enjoyed a story in the garden before cutting a ceremonial ribbon.

“Thank you for having faith in Hemel Hempstead and investing in its future,” he said.

“I am delighted to see the emphasis placed on outdoor learning and play and the variety of equipment and opportunities available to the children in this marvellous nursery.”

The nursery said large, bright and imaginative age-appropriate playrooms with state of the art toys and learning equipment provide easy access to outside separate and secure special interest areas.

Even babies are encouraged outside to the fresh air where a separate, decked area provides safe, clean play and crawling all year round.

Lime Grove manager Charlotte Lucas said her dedicated team were delighted with the new facilities and the opportunities created for the children in their care.

She said: “We are continually looking at ways to improve the opportunities available to our children. The emphasis is always on fun and learning through play whether it is at the very latest interactive smart board or at our growing beds where children can pick up ideas in maths, science and environmental messages as they plant, tend and harvest vegetables and herbs.”

Special guests at the celebration were Claire Hobson, a deputy director at the government department for Business Innovation and Skills, and her daughters who attended Lime Grove.

Sadie, 13, and Mia, 11, met practitioner, Denyse Evans, who looked after them when they were young and presented them with flowers and chocolate.

“It was fascinating to learn that Sadie, who was interested in everything and always so precise as a child, is a keen scientist today and that her very creative and active sister, Mia, wants an acting career,” said Denyse, who has been at Lime Grove for 22 years.

Mum, Claire Hobson said: “I have often said that my eldest daughter would still be there if she had been offered the choice to stay. Both my daughters absolutely loved it and I never once worried or felt guilty about leaving them in such a high quality care environment, with people who clearly loved them.

“I have always been struck by the focus on quality staff training and the commitment to full employee ownership. Staff are valued and this clearly results in a better quality of childcare,” she added.


Nine members of the Ashlyns School 1962 Sixth Form are meeting next week for a meal in celebration of their 70th birthday years.

All currently live in England and some are travelling from different ends of the country. Two are making the journey from Cumbria and The Lake District and two are travelling from Cornwall and Devon.

A few of the group have kept in contact since leaving school but the rest got back in touch through Friends Reunited at the time of the Ashlyns School 60th year celebration weekend in May 2011. They have all remained in contact from that time and now meet up periodically. But this is the first time this number of the class have managed to get together since leaving in 1962.

The group will be joined by one of the teachers, Tony Tindall, who married one of the pupils in 1965. One other member living in England is unfortunately unable to join them otherwise all of those still in contact would be together for the first time for 52 years.


Pupils from Year 3 to Year 11 took part in a spectacular Gym and Dance Display over three nights in the Judi Dench Theatre at Abbot’s Hill School.

The display included a wide variety of performances including Haka, street dance and gym duet.

School head Elizabeth Thomas said: “It was wonderful to see girls from the Prep and Senior School come together for this fantastic display which showcased the skills of our talented dancers and gymnasts.

“The evenings were very well supported by family members and we received lovely comments about the performances. Well done to everyone involved.”


Berkhamsted Pre-Prep held an exciting, whole school Maths Problem Solving Day for children from Reception right up to Year 6. The aim of the day was to raise children’s expectations of what they can achieve in maths and to help them develop a range of problem solving skills.

One of the most popular activities was the Puzzle Challenge Workshop where pupils tried their hand at large 3D puzzles and challenges. They all looked easy …. until the children started to try and solve them.

As they worked on the puzzles, the children improved both their maths thinking and logical reasoning skills.

In addition, it helped to boost their confidence and raise their belief in themselves and what they can achieve in the classroom. Another exciting activity was the Problem Solving in the Outdoors, which took place in the woods. At the ‘spider’s web’ the children had to work out how to get from one side of the web to the other without touching the ropes.

They developed some great problem solving strategies including overcoming difficulties through teamwork and communication. Even the youngest children were able to rise to the challenge and no-one got caught in the web!

Mrs Robinson, maths subject leader, said: “This event was a unique and fun approach to learning, designed to foster curiosity and excitement, whilst helping our pupils to improve their ability to solve problems.”