February 2024

The end of my first half term draws to a close and I find myself very much embedded and part of the community already. It is testament to the commitment of the school, staff and boys that far from slowing down, the school continues to work ‘full throttle’ to the end, culminating in the much-anticipated school production this week. Having been privileged enough to get an invitation behind the scenes last weekend, it is so good to see the boys and staff working so closely together, with such care, dedication and most importantly an enormous sense of fun; I am very much looking forward to watching the performance tonight.
The demands upon the boys are high, as they balance their academic work with their many extra-curricular commitments. It is especially busy for those whose public examinations get ever closer, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure they are well looked after and that they are fully prepared in the summer. The start of next half term sees the beginning of the GCSE mocks and a really important time for us all to gauge where we currently are, but more importantly, what we need to do to ensure students are making the most of their potential. I would, as ever, urge you all to raise any concerns you may have in order that we can, together, fully support them. 
Finally, a thank you to parents and guardians for supporting our drive on uniform and ensuring students are coming to school properly dressed and ready for the day ahead. They look so much smarter. We all have a Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence. It is key to their general approach to school and the day ahead that they demonstrate the considerable pride they already have in their school.  This pride is demonstrated not just in how we present ourselves but also in how we act and behave, how we speak to one another, and how we carry ourselves both at school and in the wider community. 
It is nearly time to take a break, to rest, recuperate and spend time with family and friends.  The boys will return home this evening, and once their uniforms are exchanged for their jeans and tracksuits they will be officially on holiday. I wish you a very restful half term week. 
Mr Bennett, Head Teacher

Coming up

Over the next few weeks

House points

As of 16 Feb 2024

School news

Library News
World Book Day
World Book Day is on 7th March this year, just two weeks after half term. We’ll have lots of fun things to do: quizzes, competitions, dressing up, as well as a book fair provided by our lovely friends at Next Page books.  Kep an eye on our social media and email for more information!
Book Fair
The book fair will run a little differently this year. We have a World Book Day voucher which can be used against the purchase of books (great to cover that pesky 99p!), and Next Page are once more supplying our books. However, the books we will have to view will be display only copies, and at the end of the week Liz and Julie will collect all your orders and payment and we will then distribute your purchases when they arrive. We will send out an order form just before the book fair and have printed copies for the students to take home, they then give us their order and their payment (card payment will be available) and we will do the rest. There will be books suitable for ages 11 – adult, so this is suitable for sixth form too, and 10% of all sales will be donated to the school. It runs from Monday 4th – Friday 8th March in the library during all our opening hours.
Evening Event, 23rd April, Time TBC
I hinted in the last newsletter about an evening event coming up. We’re extremely excited to tell you that Robin Ince, best known for hosting Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage with Professor Brian Cox, will be coming to HBS. Robin has a long career in standup comedy, regularly appears on Radio 4, and has written several books about subjects such as mental health, curiosity, and his own love of books. Last year he had two separate shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, won Celebrity Mastermind, and is a two-time winner of Celebrity Pointless. He’s a delightful and engaging speaker, so we are looking forward to welcoming him into our little library. Look out for more information on social media and email.
Follow us for more on Twitter/X @HBSLibrary

The Book Fair is on in March

Robin Ince will be visiting in April

Music Update
Entry forms have now been sent out for this year's Music Competition, which takes place on 11th and 12th March and features around 27 different classes open to all boys at the school. A silver cup will be awarded for the best overall music performance, and cups will also be decided for the best overall brass, woodwind, strings, piano and vocal performances. The competition provides a fantastic opportunity to receive objective but encouraging feedback. There is normally a small charge for entry and boys may enter as many categories as they wish.
On Thursday 21st March, the Spring Concert will take place at 7.00pm in the Auditorium. There will be no tickets issued, and no charge for entry to the concert, but there will be a retiring collection to raise money for new musical instruments for the school. Please note that there will be an interval where refreshments will be available to purchase. We look forward to seeing you there!
Mrs Strachan, Subject Lead, Music

Sign up for the music competition

Careers Update
There is a FREE Health Careers Webinar on Wednesday 28th February at 4pm, where students can join the NHS Health Careers information lead for a whistle-stop tour of all things related to careers in health. The session will provide an overview of roles, entry points, apprenticeship and graduate opportunities, job vacancies, useful resources and latest trends/changes. Students can register here.
The Priory School are hosting an Apprenticeship Fair for all local schools and students to attend on Thursday 21st March from 7 - 9pm. There will be some great local apprenticeship employers attending, so make sure you put the date in your diary.
The National Trust has just launched the Time + Space Award, offering 16 - 25 year olds the chance of time, space, support and inspiration to unlock their ideas at Sir Isaac Newton’s home in Lincolnshire, where he discovered gravity and the famous apple tree still stands in the garden. Each award will be up to the equivalent value of £5000, which will be a bespoke package of mentoring, time with experts and extra support and expenses to help winners realise their big idea. The closing date for applications is 30th April 2024 and more details can be found here.
The University of Hertfordshire will be hosting a live Festival of Ideas on 17th -18th May 2024 in Hatfield. Visitors can discover more than 50 free and diverse events suitable for all ages and interests, including family-friendly activities, captivating performances, exhibitions and galleries, film screenings, and virtual reality simulations. Register your interest here.
The latest opportunities from HOP (the Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal) include a Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship at Kier Group, to join the Natural Resources, Nuclear and Networks team, working towards a Level 6 apprenticeship in Civil Engineering. More details here. There is also a new retail apprenticeship at Tesco, the Stronger Starts Retail Apprenticeship programme. This is one of the few apprenticeship programmes that doesn’t require young people to have any qualifications or experience when they start.  After completing the programme, they will gain a Level 2 National Standard in Retail which is the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes. Applications for the Stronger Starts Retail Apprenticeship open in June but young people can register their interest here to find out more.

TPS Apprenticeship Fair

Festival of Ideas

The Stronger Starts Apprenticeship

Sixth Sense published
The latest issue of Sixth Sense, the Sixth Form newsletter, can be read via the link below.

Download the newsletter below

HBS Book Club
The next meeting of HBS Book Club will take place on Wednesday 28th February at 7pm at Kite at the Red Hart, Bucklersbury, Hitchin. The book to read this time is The Seventh Son by Sebastian Faulks, and all are welcome. Contact Ms Seabrook on the email address below for more information.

February Book Club

Oxford Schools' Debating
After the disappointment of Youth Speaks (which unfortunately had to be cancelled this year due to an overall lack of participants (although HBS had entered two teams)), on the evening of Tuesday 6th February, Dylan M and Tahmid A represented the school (for the first time I believe) in the Oxford Schools' Debating Competition. This is run by the prestigious Oxford Union Society, one of the country’s foremost university debating societies, cradle of many a future leading politician’s debating skills. They took part in two debates against some leading schools from across the eastern region, one on AI in education, the other about ‘affirmative action.’
Although they were not selected to progress to the Finals round, our two heroes acquitted themselves most honourably, and did the school proud, putting forward some excellent arguments. They were ably supported by Dexter W, Humphrey M and Anzar A, who acted as ‘swing’ debaters, ready to be called upon to support any debates that lacked the requisite number of teams, together with Euan T, who turned up to support his fellow members of the Debating Society. It has inspired us to consider a DS workshop on the British Parliamentary style of debating, and we look forward to taking part in future competition.
Mr Newham, Debating Society Coordinator

The team acquitted themselves well

Uniform Sale
Our preloved uniform sale, organised by the Parents' Society, takes place on Friday 1st March from 3.30 - 5pm in the Dining Hall. There will be a wide variety of uniform to purchase at very reasonable prices, and a card machine will be available.

Come along to our uniform sale

National Vase run ends up north
The Year 10 rugby team travelled north to play Durham School in the quarter finals of the National Vase competition last week. Sadly it was not their day, losing 25-14 to a very strong side. The whole school is proud of the team, who represented the school amazingly well. Thanks to Mr Fitts and Mr Goring for their hard work; the early mornings, breaks, lunches, after schools and Saturdays they have given up to make this possible. This is only the third time in our history we have made it this far, and it is a very special achievement, even if it is not the end result that we wanted.

The team played well

Free online ‘Managing Study Stress’ webinar
NHS Herts Wellbeing Workshops are running a free online ‘Managing Study Stress’ webinar for students who are aged 16 and over. The workshop will offer insights into the common triggers and symptoms of stress and provides guidance on cognitive and behavioural techniques which students can learn and use themselves to tackle these symptoms.  These skills can be particularly helpful for students as they are preparing for their exams and/or completing coursework.  The next webinar will run on Wednesday 6th March 2024 from 16:30 – 17:30.
Please note this webinar is open to the public and those attending will be anonymous. More information and details of how to register can be found here.

The webinar takes place in March

D of E Training Day
108 Year 10 boys attended their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award Expedition Training Day on a Saturday at the end of January. They were very well engaged in the sessions, which included route planning, practising camp craft and learning some basic first aid skills in preparation for their Expeditions in the summer term.

Students learnt first aid skills

They learnt about the recovery position

Students also tried cooking outdoors

Athletics Camp
Keen on athletics? The activity below takes place at Jarman Park in Hemel Hempstead and runs for three days from 2nd - 4th April. More details and booking information on the flyer.

Download the flyer below

Nut allergy information
Just a reminder to please not send your children into school with nuts or any products containing nuts, as we have a number of students within school who are extremely allergic to a variety of different nuts. Thank you for your support.

The January Parents & Carers Pack is now available to download here. The pack explores plans for National Apprenticeship Week 2024, a 10-step plan for apprenticeships, the new Medical Doctor degree apprenticeship, T Levels in Agriculture, HTQs and much more.
The January edition of the Higher & Degree vacancy listing was launched at the end of last month. It contains over 1,400 Higher and Degree apprenticeship vacancies from 70+ employers, including British Army, Amazon, Tui, Metropolitan Police, PwC, Transport for London and many more. The latest list can be downloaded here.
Finally, the Parent Perspective Podcast special episode 'One Year On' is now available.The episode catches up with Skills and Apprenticeships Minister, Robert Halfon to find out what progress has been made in widening opportunities for everyone in the apprenticeships world, and what we can expect in the next few months. Tune in now via this link.

The latest list has been published

Do you like drawing?
If you enjoy drawing, you might be interested in this 90 minute mindful art session, organised by The Ollie Foundation, where students and their families can enjoy creating a beautiful and unique piece of art, regardless of artistic ability. The session is free to all and they would love to welcome as many students as possible. More details below - tickets can be booked via this link.

Free mindful art session

SADA Newsletter
The SADA Domestic Abuse Service aims to signpost and support people experiencing domestic abuse. The service is open to anyone, regardless of gender, class, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle, and is also open to families as well as single victims of domestic abuse. Their latest newsletter can be found below. For more information visit https://www.stevenage.gov.uk/town-and-community/community-safety/survivors-against-domestic-abuse-sada 

Download the newsletter below

Triangle Community Garden
The latest newsletter from the Triangle Community Garden can be downloaded below. There is lots going on for adults and young people this spring including Triangle Tribe (bushcraft for teens), Veg Growing workshops and a spring photography workshop, and they also have an exciting job opportunity for a new Project Manager.

The latest newsletter is available

This May Help website
The website 'This May Help' contains over 20 videos offering practical advice which are aimed at helping the parents of teenagers who are facing mental health issues. Fronted by well-known personalities, the videos cover topics such as self-harm, school avoidance, eating disorders and supporting anxiety. More information can be found via this link: https://thismayhelp.me/

The website contains useful information

Citizens Advice Survey
Citizens Advice North Herts are asking people to help shape their future services. Their mission is to ensure that individuals receive the support they need in a manner that suits them best. They value the opinions of their clients and the wider community. If you have a few minutes, please complete the survey here.