March 10, 2023

Winter seems to have exerted an icy grip again this week and I think we are all pining for more clement weather and the chance to get back on the school fields. That said, those that have taken to the fields and the courts have had great success recently. All year groups from 7 - 10 were district basketball champions and are competing in forthcoming grand finals, whilst the senior team confirmed their status as district winners this week. The Year 9 rugby team fell just short 27-33 against Rugby School in the national quarter finals, but what a fantastic run to be within the top eight in the country. Year 7 and 8 won the district sportshall athletics and Year 7 were runners up in the T1 Herts Hockey tournament to qualify for the regional finals, with the U16 hockey team similarly finishing as runners up to qualify for the East final. Also huge congratulations to Tom S, our 1st XI hockey captain and England U18 who won the Hockey Writers' Club Youth award last month.
World Book Day was enthusiastically celebrated by our staff (above), with some incredible outfits and door dressing designed to inspire a love of books and reading. We are fortunate to have two excellent librarians to lead the charge on this, and Miss Garner, who leads on literacy across the school. We have had a careers focus for National Careers Week, with visiting speakers in Science and the Get Work Ready Day for Year 10. We also celebrated women who changed the world in arts, science and beyond for International Women's Day this week - what a week to learn that NASA's new head of science, Dr Nicola Fox, hails from Hitchin!
We say goodbye to some incredible servants to Hitchin Boys' School at Easter. Mr Bajak has been at the school for over 20 years, and has inspired generations of sportsmen and colleagues. He has taken the school teams to national and international success in his specialisms of rugby, basketball and athletics and we are delighted that he has been appointed Director of Rugby at Mill Hill School, continuing his link with Saracens by being responsible for their pathway programme. We also say farewell to Mr Philippou as Head of History and Politics after 13 years at HBS. Mr Philippou is a very popular teacher and history is the most chosen optional GCSE, largely down to his work on creating a diverse and engaging curriculum and inspiring young people. He has also been a support and help to many students over the years, particularly with pastoral care in the sixth form, and he will be missed. We also salute Miss Carty, our head of Food Technology, who retires at the end of April and has been with us six years. Miss Carty has taught the boys of Hitchin how to cook and take care of their physical health and nutrition. The number of boys who have taken Food Tech and now Hospitality and Catering has grown strongly, and many have gone on to careers in professional kitchens. Mr Mudaly also leaves us as Head of Computer Science and is pursuing a career in the data analytics industry. He has had a big impact during his four years at HBS, most recently by leading our Race and Ethnic Diversity programme and student support group.
We have been receiving more concerns around changes in staffing, and we understand that this can be disruptive to learning and relationship building with young people. However, we are in an unprecedented crisis in terms of teacher recruitment and retention, with the numbers entering Initial Teacher Training falling and HBS, like all schools, is seeing fewer applicants for vacancies. Although the current NEU industrial dispute is about the erosion of pay and conditions, the government also needs to make teaching an attractive graduate profession and this is the long term prize - well-qualified and fulfilled teachers in every classroom. We are trying our very best to retain and recruit the best staff in all roles and I ask for your patience and support while we contend with pressures that face many aspects of public service at the moment. I can reassure you that the welfare and progress of your children are at the heart of decision making.
Fergal Moane, Head Teacher

Coming up

Over the next few weeks

House points

As of 10 Mar 2023

School news

F1 in Schools success
After over 18 weeks of relentless designing and building, both teams went to Harlow College on Thursday 2nd March to compete in the regional F1 in Schools Finals, where over 20 different teams from schools across Hertfordshire competed in three distinct categories - the Entry Class, the Development Class, and the Professional Class - vying for the chance of taking part in the national competition, and (for the Professional Class) a chance to compete alongside 60 other teams in the international competition. The competition itself is a STEM challenge, where teams design, manufacture, market, and race miniature F1 cars, powered by compressed CO2 canisters, which can travel up to 75 km/h. Since this is Hitchin Boys' School’s first time taking part in the STEM challenge, the Year 8 teams were entered in the Entry Class category.
Team REVVengers managed to secure the prestigious 'Future Stars' award, and was also nominated  for the 'Best display stand in all classes', meaning that the display stand that was created by Team REVVenger’s graphic designer Aditya, with the help of DT Technician Mr Knowles, was among the best in all classes. The display stand consisted of a miniature F1 pit-lane, and highlighted the different iterations and models that  were used for testing the car, before the actual car was built ready for race-day. It also displayed the design process of creating several CAD models, running both virtual and real tests on these models before making slight improvements, with the aim of making the car more aerodynamic and faster than before. The second Year 8 team, ‘The Fast and The Fusionous’, won the 'Lightning reaction time' award, after Max on their team recorded a reaction time 0.6 seconds (half a blink of an eye).
Hitchin Boys’ School was one of the most dominant schools in the competition, winning all the prizes in the entire entry class, including the 'Best engineered car' award. Both teams have secured a place in next year’s regional competition as  Development Class teams, giving them a chance to enter the national competition, and from there, the international competition. For now, however, both teams are striving for success in next year’s development class regional competition. The REVVengers team were kindly sponsored by; ‘Cloudai+’, ‘EMH Technologies’ and ‘Realise Potential’ all based in Hitchin. The Fast and Fusionous team was kindly sponsored by Codicote Motors Ltd. 
Written by Iyaadh in Year 8

Team REVVengers

Team Fast and The Fusionous

Year 10 Sheringham Trip
As part of the Geography GCSE, 105 Year 10 Geography students, split into two groups, have undertaken two days of fieldwork in Sheringham and Cromer in North Norfolk. These locations have provided them with the opportunity to conduct both physical and human geographical enquiries. We set out in a coach and spent the day investigating how effective coastal management is in Sheringham. We visited four sites, looking at what coastal engineering strategies were in place at each and the cost and benefits of these. At our first site, we visited revetments that were put in place in 1976 - it was evident these were no longer being maintained and students considered the reasons for this. Slightly further along the coastline, in front of the town of Sheringham, many coastal management techniques could be seen, including rock armour, rock and wooden groynes and sea walls. At each site, students conducted wave surveys to discover the height and frequency of them and also completed bipolar surveys on the management strategies to gauge how effective they were at protecting the coastline. Students also conducted groyne profile surveys, completed field sketches in two contrasting locations and a land use survey in the town to ascertain what was being protected. They had the opportunity to explore the town and buy some chips and ice cream whilst conducting their land use survey. Later that day, we walked to the YHA Sheringham, to check into our rooms - some of the students were happy to find there was a pool table and a fully stocked vending machine! That evening we had dinner and completed some evening work, as well as heading to Tesco to stock up on snacks!
The next morning, after a cooked breakfast, we headed to Cromer to investigate to what extent the town has been influenced by tourism. This involved students creating and conducting a questionnaire to members of the public, completing another land use survey and conducting pedestrian counts. Students will use all the data they collected to complete the enquiry process back in the classroom. This will involve them presenting their findings from both enquiries, concluding their investigations and evaluating the success of their investigations. The boys were excellent ambassadors to the school whilst on the trips and we were delighted with their conduct. They coped very well with the weather conditions which at times were challenging. Well done Year 10 Geographers!
Mrs Graham - Trip Leader

Two groups of students visited Sheringham

Students conducted wave surveys

The weather was challenging!

Students carried out research in Cromer

National Careers Week
This week has been National Careers Week, and students were sent a bulletin with lots of opportunities and links to further information. On Wednesday Year 10 students had a Get Work Ready Day where they were introduced to the options open to them after Year 11.  North Herts College came in and gave an overview of the college and the new T Level qualification. More information for parents about T Levels can be found here.  Students also got a chance to meet a variety of employers and hear about their roles.  A big thank you to Willmott Dixon,the enterprise partner for HBS, who helped to support us throughout the day. 
The Hertfordshire Opportunites Portal has amazing local opportunities and virtual insight evenings and is a great tool for both parents and students.  There is a virtual careers fair as part of National Careers Week which is a great tool - have a look here. The Parents' Guide To... website also published a guide to coincide with National Careers Week, looking at T levels, apprenticeships, options after GCSEs and A levels and work experience, which can be viewed here. North Herts College have a couple of open days coming up in April and June, and more details can be found here.
Last week a group of Year 9 students were given the opportunity to take part in an employability workshop and took part in an interview workshop where they had some really positive feedback. A group of Business students from Year 9 and 10 took part in an Enterprise 'Dragons' Den' today at Chesfield Downs Golf Course.  They successfully gained £50 from the Dragons to help raise money for the Garden House Hospice. Watch out for future fundraising events as their business plans are very impressive! 
Mrs Dare, Careers Leader

Y9 & 10 students in the Young Enterprise Challenge

Green Week is Go!
Hitchin Boys’ School celebrated ‘Green Week’ during the week commencing 20th February. We know that as a school, we need to do our bit to tackle the climate crisis and we believe the best way to do this is to involve and educate our student body about these challenges. We have been working towards our Green Flag award and are taking steps to hopefully gain our Eco School accreditation for the second year. The three topics we are working on this year are ‘Waste’, ‘Biodiversity’ and ‘School Grounds’. Where possible, we have tried to link our Green Week activities to these topics. 
Our first activity of the week involved Charlotte from 'Plastic Free Hitchin’, part of the Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Communities movement, who ran a workshop for some of our students on the role and aims of the organisation. As part of the initiative, they support local businesses on their journey to reduce their waste, by signing them up to become Plastic Free Champions. They also engage with schools and other community groups and local organisations, to spread the word and help them reduce their single-use plastics. Charlotte challenged the students to come up with practical ways to reduce the school’s single use plastic
To raise funds for our Green Flag application, the Eco Committee made recycled plastic bookmarks with the help of Mr Bedford from the tech department. These bookmarks were made out of the sweet/chocolate tubs that many of you have donated to the school. We are delighted to have repurposed this plastic, a lot of which would have otherwise gone to waste. These bookmarks were sold next to an eco theme display put together by our librarians, Mrs Baugh and Mrs Rushton. To raise further funds and awareness we had a fairtrade cake sale - thank you to the parents and students who donated. The sale of cakes and bookmarks generated an amazing £150 for our Green Flag application!
During the week we also completed a series of planned litter picks, both on the school site and in the community. On Wednesday at lunch, we had the ‘Big School Clean Up’. We litter picked areas of the school that needed attention and encouraged students to take responsibility for their litter in assemblies. We also completed three community litter picks, which enabled us to take action on an issue that we care about whilst giving something back to the community by helping to create a nicer, cleaner and better looking environment. In total we collected 11 bin bags filled with litter. 
To improve our school grounds and biodiversity, we used this week to start clearing up our Woodlands garden. This is going to be a focus of our Eco Committee in the near future once the weather starts to improve. There is a way to go yet, but we are hoping to turn this space into a usable one and improve the biodiversity of the school grounds. As part of Green Week, we planted over 200 seeds to create some planters around the school once the seeds have germinated.
In lessons, topics inspired by Green Week have been included where possible. These activities range from Year 7 in science researching different types of bug hotels for different types of insects and then building hotels in the plantation, to Year 12 looking at the role of minority influence in bringing about social change in relation to reducing single use plastics in Psychology.
A massive thank you to all the students and staff for supporting and engaging in Green Week. If we all continue to work together at Hitchin Boys’ school and take steps to improve and learn about our environment, we can make a difference.
Mrs Graham

Students sold bookmarks made from recycled plastic

They collected 11 bin bags of litter in total

Library News
World Book Day
World Book Day proved as popular as ever, with students and staff embracing their inner book characters! For the first time we had the ‘Masked Reader’, which students had fun watching and guessing who was beneath the mask at the start of each lesson. As is tradition now, we had the library lunchtime quiz on World Book Day itself – the winners for the second year running, ‘The Hat Men’. They were the recipients of the coveted Big Dave mug and related booky things. Completing our World Book Day week was the book fair from Next Page Books, which we had a great selections of titles to choose from. We also have the ongoing ‘Blind Date with a one-star review book’ competition, which will run until Easter. The prize is an easter egg, but not just any egg, a M&M’s Brownie easter egg!
Next Tuesday is the North Herts Schools Book Award ceremony at Highfield School, and we are delighted to have Elle McNicoll joining us as last year’s younger category winner. We are looking forward to attending with our students, and there will be news of the event and the winners in the next newsletter. There is still time for students to take part in the Excelsior! Award for graphic novels, and this is the one where students decide the winner. Remember graphic novels aren’t just about superheroes! Please visit the library to find out more.
Ebooks - we need your help!
We’d like to get more eBooks for the library but want to know what you’d like to see on the ‘shelves’. Is there a great series that the library absolutely should get? Would you like to see non-fiction, or graphic novels? We can’t promise to get everything but think of it as giving us your very own wishlist.
Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter @HBSLibrary.
Mrs B and Mrs R, Librarians

The library quiz took place on World Book Day

HBS Book Club
The next meeting of HBS Book Club will take place on Wednesday 29th March at 7pm, at Kite at the Red Hart, Bucklersbury, Hitchin. The book to read this time is We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker. All are welcome. Please contact Ms Seabrook on the email below for more details.

HBS Book Club March 2023

Art competition entries
Earlier this term students were invited to enter the Centre for Personalised Medicine Art competition, where they were asked to create an artwork that visualised measuring things to do with health and disease. The students took into consideration why measurements are important in healthcare and identified that they can help work out why people are feeling ill, help plan treatments, help test new medicines and new vaccines and look at the health of communities. They then discussed what sorts of things can be measured within medicine. With the support of Mrs Faulds a number of students entered the competition, producing artwork independent of their classroom learning. While we weren't winners this time, Harry Hornsey and Alex Whitmore's entries were recognised by the judging panel and we are so proud of them!!
Ms Rainbow

Harry's competition entry

Alex's competition entry

Safer Internet Day 2023
Last month was Safer Internet Day,  based around the theme ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online’. The NSPCC have a range of excellent online resources for parents including this blog written specifically on that theme. It lists practical tips for starting a conversation about life online:
  • Be positive and open minded about the internet.
  • Talk early and often.
  • Create a safe space for conversations.
  • Keep it relevant.
  • Be proactive.
It also includes a section on "How to talk about difficult topics" and "My child has said something worrying – what do I do?".  We will continue to push these topics in lessons and hopefully you can have these conversations at home too.
Mr Rayner

Safer Internet Day took place in February

Lessons from Auschwitz project
As part of the Holocaust Memorial Trust's Lessons from Auschwitz project, two of our Sixth Form students recently had the opportunity to visit Poland for the day to learn about the history of the Holocaust and the role of camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau. Here is their report:
We visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Southern Poland on Tuesday 21st of February. The Lessons from Auschwitz project is aimed at re-personalising the numbers we are prone to overlooking when considering the atrocity of the Holocaust. Six million is an incomprehensible number of deaths, but the project aims to show that the millions of Jews, Roma and Sinti people, people with disabilities, Poles, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay people, and Soviet prisoners of war all had livelihoods before they were dehumanised in concentration camps. 
Auschwitz is made up of three camps, Auschwitz I, Auschwitz-Birkenau II and Auschwitz-Monowitz III, with each camp serving a different purpose. Auschwitz I was the main camp, initially built to hold political prisoners in 1940. The camp also served as a training centre for SS personnel, who were trained in the ideology and methods of the Nazi regime. Auschwitz-Birkenau II was the largest and most notorious of the Auschwitz camps, constructed in 1941. It was built primarily as an extermination camp, where the majority of the victims were Jews. Auschwitz-Birkenau is how people would picture a concentration camp, similar to camps in the Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Schindler's List. Auschwitz-Monowitz III was a labour camp established in 1942 to provide forced labour by the German company IG Farben. On our visit, we only saw the first two sites. 
Visiting the actual camps remains relatively incomprehensible for a number of reasons; the scale of the camps themselves, the number of people murdered and the motivation behind it. Auschwitz-Birkenau II's size is immense. It is over 150 hectares going beyond the horizon; reconstructed wooden barracks stretch both left and right as far as the eye can see. The field is plagued with chimneys where barracks would have once stood and at the bottom of the field sit the ruins of two gas chambers where around 4,000 people would have been systematically killed each day. When embarking on the death marches the Nazis aimed to destroy the whole camp in an attempt to eradicate any memory of the atrocities that occurred.
Auschwitz I isn’t on the same scale but what is held within the buildings is possibly more poignant. Upon entrance, the harrowing sign of Arbeit macht frei (work sets you free) reminds you of what the prisoners thought they were coming to the camp to do: work. Perhaps the most unsettling thing is the hair collected and sold by the Nazis; when the Soviets liberated the camps they uncovered two tonnes of female hair which the Nazis were sending back to Germany to commoditize into household items such as rugs or curtains. The shoes are a key point in Auschwitz as well, particularly the 8,000 children's shoes, which upon looking at you begin to focus on individual shoes. You question what the shoes say about their character, something they were later stripped of. The shoes are a painful reminder that 1 in 5 people murdered in the Holocaust were children.
In Auschwitz I there is a book displaying four million names; the names of the people recorded to have died in the Holocaust. Looking through the book you begin to focus on individual names and remember that they had a life before they were murdered; they aren’t just a number and they have an individual story. Trying to picture six million people is impossible but reading through each name brings life to such a vast number of people. It is easy to get lost in the enormity of the Holocaust and to view the victims as a faceless mass, but the book of names reminds us that every life lost was an individual tragedy.
During the early 1900s, the Germans came to see Jews as a threat to their vision for Germany, viewing them as outsiders who could never truly be part of their nation. The economic turmoil of the time led to resentment and scapegoating of the Jews for causing the hardship of others. As the demonisation of people for economic hardships out of their control returns, it is important to remember the sentiment the Nazis used to whip up antisemitism and to ensure the demonisation of minorities doesn’t creep back into our society. We need to ensure that xenophobia and racist rhetoric of any sort doesn’t escalate or return, we need to unite against it. By learning from the past and working together to promote tolerance and inclusivity, we can create a better future for all.
This was a visit that everyone should do at some point in their lives. We would like to thank Mrs Spruce for the opportunity and to the Holocaust Educational Trust for taking us.
Finley and Stanley, Year 12


Auschwitz 1

The book recording 4 million names

Children's shoes at Auschwitz 1

FT Schools Digital Event
Whether students plan to go to university or straight to work, leaving school can be a daunting step. Understanding what options are available, how to apply for jobs and issues such as office culture are key for helping prepare for the next step. On 27th March, FT (Financial Times) Schools is hosting a digital event, led by FT senior journalists, alongside leading recruiters and employers to give students expert insights and practical advice on skill building, career planning and future personal development. From CVs to interview tips to dress codes, this event will help to equip them as they look ahead to making decisions about further study and entering the world of work. The event will be available to watch on-demand after the event, so those who register will be able to gain access to the recording.
There are three sessions taking place from 2 - 3.30pm: Entering the world of work, Application Workshop and Spotlight on Careers. The detailed agenda can be viewed here and students can register here.
The Financial Times is offers free online subscriptions to students aged 16-19, their teachers and schools around the world, and to colleges of further education in the UK. Reading the FT could help in study, essay writing, exams and broadening knowledge to improve performance in interviews for further study and provide guidance on employment. Students can sign up for free here.

FT Schools is hosting a digital event for students

New Menus at HBS
Herts Catering have recently launched their new menus at HBS, which runs on a two-week cycle. There is still a roast on Wednesday and chips on a Friday, and a vegetarian option every day. A two-course meal costs £2.60 a day, and students can pay using their fingerprint, as the catering system is cashless. Full details of the new menu can be found below.

Download the new menus below

HAPpy Holidays
Looking for something to keep your children entertained this Easter Holiday? Through DfE funding, Hertfordshire County Council and Herts Sports Partnership have co-ordinated a huge range of activities running at different venues across the county. Each activity will offer a nutritious meal and all of this is free for young people in receipt of benefits-related free school meals.

Eligible families can book for free using your unique HAPpy Booking Code, which has been emailed out by HBS. If you have not received a code and think you should have done, please contact 

You can search for activities using your postcode or child’s age – places are limited and strictly on a first come basis so book online at Additionally, there are a range of online activities to look through, with ideas for learning more about history, music, and theatre, plus ways to keep your family active for 60 minutes each day at The information page also has links to a variety of organisations and advice you and your family may find useful. Visit this at

Activities are free for eligible families

Golf Day Reminder
Just a reminder about the Golf Day that HBS Board of Trustees are organising on Friday 24th March at Aldwickbury Park Golf Club in Harpenden, to raise funds for the final pieces of essential equipment for our new fitness suite. There are a few tickets left, if you have not yet signed up and wish to take part - more details and a booking form can be found on our website via the link below. The closing date for entries is Friday 17th March.

Year 7 Pancake Race
Year 7 took park in a pancake day race on Shrove Tuesday (21st February) during tutor time, with 7SR being the overall winners with the least time penalties for dropped pancakes. 7SR student Caden writes:
"When 7SR won the pancake race it was a huge relief. We all thought that we had come second but then Dr Nuttall announced that we had won and we began to celebrate. Unfortunately, during our race someone dropped the pancake twice which gave us a 10 second penalty and also split the pancake in half which made it much harder to flip. As soon as we won we began to celebrate and a huge crowd of people formed and started jumping. After we had won some forms claimed to have won themselves but it was decided that we had won.
The best part about winning was that we won a breakfast which we enjoyed on Friday 3rd March. People who got good results in their school report in either progress or just good standards in all subjects were also invited to enjoy the breakfast. The breakfast was made up of an assortment of pastries, cookies and brownies. We also had a drink to go with it."

Students enjoyed a free breakfast

DSPL Local Services Round-Up
The latest round-up of local services and support available to local families, including mental health support, parenting issues and support for children with additional needs, can be downloaded below. 

Are you looking for flexible work?
North Herts College have a number casual job opportunities which may be of particular interest to parents looking for work part-time and around school hours, including exam invigilators and learning support assistants. More information can be found on their website at, where you can also register your details to be notified if a suitable vacancy comes up.

NHC are looking for casual staff