Schools news round up (Including retirement of Abbot’s Hill School’s groundsman after 35 years)

Astley Cooper Dance Company's all-girl team
Astley Cooper Dance Company's all-girl team

The latest news from schools in your area.

Year 3 pupils of Dundale School received a presentation on Tudor times

from Vivianne Child and Grahame Senior of the Friends of Tring Church Heritage.

This programme is designed to cover the Tudor period from the point of view ofTring’s heritage and history.

Henry VIII used Ashridge as one of his favourite hunting domains and Elizabeth I lived at Ashridge house as a young girl. All these stories were brought to life with an interactive programme in the form of a ‘game show’ where all the pupils join in enacting the stories through role play and questioning.


Abbot’s Hill School in Bunkers Lane, Hemel Hempstead paid a fond farewell to Neil Drinkwater, head groundsman at Abbot’s Hill for the last 35 years.

To mark Mr Drinkwater’s excellent service to the school, during which he transformed the grounds to provide a beautiful learning environment, a Copper Beech was planted in his name in view of the Lodge where he and his family lived.

Head teacher Elizabeth Thomas presented Neil with a gift from the school and paid tribute to the contribution he has made to Abbot’s Hill over the years.

Mrs Thomas said: “Being head groundsman has not been simply a job to Neil, but his life’s work.

“When our pupils are asked what they value most about the school not only do they mention the staff, they invariably say how wonderful it was the first day, and every day since, when they travel up the drive and realise how lucky they are to have such inspiring surroundings in which to learn.

“I want to say a heartfelt thank you and good luck to Neil for what we all wish to be a very happy retirement.”

Mr Drinkwater said: “It has been 35 tremendous years and every minute has been a joy. I would like to thank all the staff and pupils because it is not just me who has contributed to the maintenance of the grounds.

“Without the lessons of respect the girls have been given, to pick up litter and to keep the school clean, my job would have been a lot harder.”

Mr Drinkwater also wished Mr Rance, his deputy for the last 8 years the best of luck in his new role as head groundsman.


The Astley Cooper Dance Company- ACDC won First and third place trophies in the Dacorum Dance Competition held at the Hemel Hempstead sports centre.

This is the second consecutive year that the talented company has won first place at this competition. This is the first year that Astley Cooper has entered two groups from the company – an all-girl and an all-boy group.

The theme of the competition was animals. The girls’ piece was called Freak Show and featured students from Years 8 to 13, while the boys group had students from Years 7 to 12 and was called Metamorphosis. Both routines were choreographed by Astley Coopers dance teacher Lindsey Elkins.


Year 11 students at Longdean School took part in a Religious Studies revision conference as part of their GCSE preparation.

All delegates were given a conference pack containing revision materials and guides as well as handouts linked to the speaker presentations.

Throughout the conference the students listened to presentation from Ian Rennie Hospice, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and there was also a SKYPE link streaming directly to presentations from Whipsnade Zoo.

Local organisations were also giving addresses to the conference with the Rev Lauretta Wilson talking about Christian attitudes on many of these moral issues and local magistrates talking about the criminal justice system. Lauretta Wilson said: “It was a very positive experience for me and I hope the students gained more of a personal insight than just learning about the issues from their books.’”

Head and Religious Studies teacher Graham Cunningham said: “We hope that the conference today enabled students to kickstart their Religious Studies revision by allowing them to apply taught theories to real life situations.”

The school acknowledged the work of the speakers by presenting them each with a donation of £50 for their charities.