Nov 24, 2022

I wanted to start by thanking you for responding to the recent survey on the school, conducted by Kirkland Rowell. We had nearly 500 responses and 95% of you rated your overall satisfaction as 'Good' or 'Very Good'. For parents where their child had been with us last year, 36% of you thought the school had improved over the last year. Almost every category you rated as Good or Outstanding. Nearly 900 students responded to their questionnaire and 85% rated the school as 'Good' or 'Very Good'. We have emailed summaries of the reports to parents to give a bit more detail and also to respond to some of the free text responses and questions we were asked. 
 
We would love to do more of what you asked for - more trips, more sports teams, more healthy food, even better facilities. However, schools are facing acute financial challenges as inflation continues at an unprecedented level and the recent pay award for teachers and support staff has not been matched by increased funding from the government, so we have had to find this money from existing budgets. Trips and sports training and fixtures rely on the goodwill of staff volunteers who give their time unpaid to support the development of young people, so there are limits to what can be done. I would also ask for your support with the healthy eating concern that has been raised. I eat in our canteen every day and it is possible to eat healthily as vegetarian options, salads and fruits are on offer, but young people make free choices and you should talk to them about this. We will work with the student council on menu choices, but again, food price inflation makes this a challenge and we have had to be creative to stick to a main meal price of £2.60.
 
As we approach the festive season, we would welcome your support at the Carol Service on 12th December at 7:45 at St Mary's and the Parents' Society Christmas Fayre on the 15th December at school at 6pm (more volunteers needed to help as well as to attend.)
 
Final shout outs go to the Year 11 students who conducted themselves admirably during their recent mock exams and the Year 13s who made a very positive impression with our Talk the Talk trainers who were focussing upon developing oracy, confidence and communication. A useful set of resources can be found here: https://talkthetalkuk.org/resources
 
Fergal Moane, Headteacher

Coming up

Over the next few weeks

House points

As of 24 Nov 2022

School news

Christmas Fayre
After a two-year absence, the annual HBS Christmas Fayre, hosted by the school and the Parents' Society, will return this year on Thursday 15th December from 6 - 8 pm. Please join us for festive food, music and drinks, live bands, games, raffle, and the Christmas Lights switch on.
 
We are looking for volunteers to help organise the event and staff the stalls.. We are also looking for a company to sponsor the event, and for prize donations. If you can help, please contact Michael Mitchell at Chair.PS@hitchinboys.co.uk 
 

Join us at this year's Christmas Fayre!

A tree delivery for HBS
At the beginning of the new school year, the Eco Committee put in an application to the Woodland Trust for some trees to plant on the school grounds. The Woodland Trust is the UK's leading woodland conservation charity that inspires pupils and students to love woods and trees. We were successful in our application and last week, we received a pack of 105 wildlife trees (including 15 x hawthorn, 15 x hazel, 15 x silver birch, 15 x rowan, 15 x sessile oak and 30 x blackthorn) and 30 hedgerow saplings (including hawthorn, hazel, holly, dog rose and crab apple). All packs arrived with bamboo canes and 60cm spiral guards which protect the young trees from rabbits and other small mammals (as well as, hopefully, the trampling feet and footballs of HBS students!) This week we set to work planting the trees and hedges. Thank you to all the students who got involved (from Year 7 to Year 13) in helping to improve the biodiversity on the school grounds. 
 
Shortly we will be launching a ‘name a tree’ competition for all those that have been planted. This will be printed, alongside the student name, and added to the stake. Students can then help to monitor and take care of their tree as it grows.
 
The benefits of the trees planted:
 
  • Hawthorn provides a valuable food source for many small birds and insects. The dense thickets provide shelter for small mammals such as wood mice.
  • Hazel trees provide food for small mammals such as dormice and squirrels as well as various species of birds. 
  • Silver birch provides food and habitat for more than 300 insect species. Woodpeckers and other hole-nesting birds often nest in the trunk.
  • Sessile oak has green catkins and red flower buds that turn into acorns. This tree offers a habitat for more than 280 species of insect, which provide food for birds and other predators.
  • Rowan produces bright red berries in the autumn which are a rich source of food for birds, especially the blackbird, mistle thrush, redstart, redwing, song thrush, fieldfare and waxwing. 
  • Blackthorn foliage is a great food source for caterpillars and birds often nest among the dense thickets. In autumn, the tree produces sloes which act as a food source for the birds.
Mrs Graham - Associate Assistant Head, Environment and Sustainability
 

Students from all year groups helped to plant the trees

HBS received 105 trees and 30 saplings

Library News
Next Page Wish List
Thank you to everyone who donated to us through the Next Page Books Wish List button. You raised
£70, which Liz and Julie at Next Page increased by 10%, so we had £77 to spend. We’ve spent that on
some lovely books, including several interesting dyslexia friendly titles from Barrington Stoke.
 
Christmas Competition
Our 12 days of Christmas Competition starts next week, on 1st December. Every day there will be a
new clue on the Christmas tree that students will use to identify a book. At the end of the 12 days,
they must enter their form, collected from the library, to be in with a chance of winning a prize. This
is hugely popular every year, so make sure to enter!
 
Book Trust School Pack
We recently received our Book Trust School Pack. This is sent to us free by the Book Trust, along with
resources to support the future classics sets. The Book Trust do wonderful work to support literacy
for children, including their Christmas Appeal, where donations ensure that vulnerable children or
those in care can experience the joy of reading.
 
Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, @HBSLibrary
 
Mrs B and Mrs R, Librarians

HBS competes in the F1 in Schools competition
For the first time in the school’s long history, we are entering the F1 in Schools STEM challenge. The DT department, led by Mr Hassett, have organised an F1 in Schools club, and now has officially enlisted the school in the competition. There are two teams, each consisting of four dedicated Year 8 students. 
 
F1 in Schools is an international-level competition, in which each team designs and creates a miniature Formula One car, powered by a standard compressed gas cylinder that all teams must use. Along with this, each team must use a no-go zone to build onto. Each team must also present a two-page long document regarding their car and have a marketing plan. As in a regular F1 race, each team needs to have sponsors and a budget to fund the project, so the competition not only involves core STEM factors, but also draws on business and economics.
 
The two teams representing Hitchin Boys' School must first form a prototype of their car in foam, using a wide variety of tools, then use the new CNC router combined with CAD modelling to create the actual car, before doing the final additions.
 
One team already has a name, and it is team ‘REVVengers.’ The REVVengers are nearing the end of the first phase of construction, the foam prototype, and are now moving on to create the actual model and devising marketing plans and strategies. Each of the four members of the team has been given a specific job, in which they specialise. Elliot was voted by everyone else as the team leader, and he supervises all other jobs, as well as brainstorming ideas for the team. Fred is the chief engineer, as well as being the head of IDEAS (the ‘thinking’ department of the team). As Fred is the head of engineering, it was also decided that the car should be named in honour of him, therefore the name of their car was established as “Fred’s ginger streak.” Next, we have Aditya, who oversees website maintenance and design. And finally, we have Iyaadh, the youngest member of the team, who is the head of marketing, fundraising and finances.  
 
As the 2023 F1 in Schools season draws closer, both teams are working tirelessly as the race to produce the best car heats up.
 
If you would like to know more about F1 in school, you can visit their website, at https://www.f1inschools.co.uk/secondary.html
 
If you would like to know about the team REVVengers, visit their website, https://sites.google.com/hitchinboys.co.uk/revvengers/meet-the-team?authuser=0
 
By Iyaadh Mohammed
 

Team REVVengers

Team 2

Christmas Campaigns
We are supporting two Christmas appeals this year. Firstly, we will be supporting the Hitchin Christmas Hamper Appeal, now in its eighth year, which is aiming to support to 160 families by providing a supermarket voucher for their festive shop and present sacks for the children with toys and extra treats. We are asking students in years 7 to 11 to donate selection boxes that can be included in the hampers. If you can help, please drop any selection boxes into Reception by Monday 12th December.
 
Secondly, the Sixth Form will be supporting the local food bank with donations of non-perishable items such as cakes, biscuits, tinned fruit, long life milk and fruit juice etc. There is a collection box in the Sixth Form for donations - please send in any donated items by Monday 12th December.
 
Thank you in advance for your support.
 

Hitchin Hamper Appeal

HBS Sixth Form Christmas Appeal

Radcliffe Day
Thursday 10th November was Radcliffe Day. The day started with a house assembly learning about the history of Radcliffe and celebrating successes from events this year so far. Radcliffe students in years seven and eight enjoyed time off timetable to create some house banners that will feature at sports day and Founders' Day. We had a fantastic cake sale and outstanding busking performances from our ever talented musicians at break and lunchtime, when combined with donations from non-uniform has raised over £700! Follow us at @HBS_houses on twitter for regular updates.
 
Mr Bedford, House Co-ordinator
 

The basketball free throw competition

Students made banners for Radcliffe House

The banners will be used on sports day and Founders' Day

Parents Society Update
We have received lots of positive feedback from parents and carers who purchased items of preloved uniform at our sales last month. Thank you to everyone who supported us, and to our wonderful organisers and volunteers. We raised £547 for the school.
 
If you wish to hear about upcoming events and contribute your ideas, please join our mailing list by completing the Google form: https://forms.gle/G64X8ZoitkN7kUBD8

Severe Weather Arrangements
In certain circumstances it may be necessary to close the school due to severe weather events, e.g. heavy snow or at short notice for any other reason.  Our aim is always to remain open for our young people; however, clearly there are times when health and safety are compromised and closure is the only sensible option.
 
If you think this might be the case please do the following:
 
  • Check our website, our Twitter feed @hitchinboys and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/hitchinboysuk/ for announcements.
  • Listen to BBC Three Counties Radio or Heart Radio.
  • We will also endeavour to contact parents directly via Edulink, email or text.
If we are forced to close the school site due to severe weather or any other emergency situation, we will endeavour to set work for students via Google Classroom. Students should monitor their classrooms and the year group classroom for announcements and assignments.

HBS Book Club December 2022
The next meeting of HBS Book Club will take place on Wednesday 14th December, 7pm at Kite at the Red Hart in Bucklersbury, Hitchin. The book to discuss this time is Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin. All are welcome - please email Ms Robertson on the email address below for more information.

HBS Book Club December 2022

Musical Events at HBS
Earlier in November we held 'An Evening at the Musicals' at HBS, where students and staff performed a number of well-known (and less well-known) songs from the shows. A short video of the evening is available to view over on our YouTube channel here. On Wednesday 9th November we held our Autumn Concert, which offered a good opportunity to see all our music groups in action early in the year. More photos from both events can be found on our social media channels, https://www.facebook.com/hitchinboysuk and https://twitter.com/HitchinBoys
 
Coming up in December is our Christmas Carol Service, which takes place at St Mary's Church on Monday 12th December at 7.45pm. All are welcome.
 

An Evening at the Musicals

Autumn Concert

Can you guess?
A sneak peak of the amazing work from year 11 this half term, Miss Rainbow is so proud of the the boys and the high quality pieces they are producing. From these small sections of their larger exam prep paintings, can you guess what food and drink related items the students have been painting? Answers below.
 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Geography Trip to Iceland
Thursday 20th October 2022
It was an early start as we had to be at school for 6:45am, travelling by coach to Gatwick airport. After a 3 hour flight (and a delay!) we touched down on Icelandic soil at about 5.30pm and went straight to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is a man-made geothermal spa in southwestern Iceland - the water is a byproduct from the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi where superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Iceland. Iceland is home to about 347,000 people, and will welcome approximately 2.3 million tourists this year, or about 6000 to 7000 people per day. To put those numbers in startling context, international visitors outnumbered locals by about seven to one this year! After a relaxing time in the lagoon, we then headed for all you can eat pizza. We headed to our accommodation, Hotel Ork, in Hveragerdi, which had a pool and a games room!
 
Friday 21st October 2022
Today we had an early start to the day at around 7am; we had a nice breakfast and packed a lunch for our day of activities. We then headed on to the coach and enjoyed the Icelandic scenery on the way to the Lava Centre. When we arrived at the Lava Centre we all experienced the exhibition which included displays of magma and a floor to ceiling model of the lava plume which is underneath Iceland and responsible for its creation. We all got involved in spinning the interactive round tables which showed Iceland’s formation over time. After this we went back to the coach to head to Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It was a 60m, magnificent waterfall where we could even go behind the water - we needed our waterproofs for this! It was incredibly wet and it took a while for those of us who went behind to dry out! When we were finished taking our group photos, we set off for Skogafoss. Also standing at 60 metres tall, the heavy veil of water is impressive and walking close also envelops us in a cloud of spray! Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces a single or double rainbow on sunny days, and some of us were lucky enough to see this.
 
Our next stop was the Black Sand beach of Reynisfjara. This beach is also famous for its basalt stone columns in the cliff side. The pillars offered a prime spot to eat our lunch looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. After this we all went off to the main attraction of the day, the Sólheimajökull glacier, this large ‘black’ glacier comes from the Myrdalsjökull icecap and is extremely impressive. Sólheimajökull is covered by a blanket of black ash, leftovers from volcanic eruptions in the past. We arrived at the car park where we met our tour guides who set us up with crampons and ice axes.  Then we had to do a reasonably short walk to the glacier snout where we would put on our crampons and start going up the glacier. On the glacier it was incredibly beautiful as we could see into the distance the surrounding mountains and a sunset. There were very large crevasses with some going down around 100m according to the guide. One highlight would be the fresh cold water which we could drink, some said  it was the freshest water they had ever had. We carefully descended the glacier to head back to the hotel and have a buffet dinner and go out to the heated pool where we had fun until we had to go to our rooms by 10pm.
 
Saturday 22nd October 2022
Our second activity packed day started early when we headed downstairs for a pre-made breakfast due to the extra early start that morning. We then headed out on the coaches to the ferry that would take us to Heimaey. Heimaey is the largest island of the Westman Islands and the only one that is inhabited. Our first destination was the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary. Inside, we saw some rescued puffins and two giant beluga whales. This beluga whale sanctuary, which is the first of its kind, aims to provide a more natural habitat to beluga whales who would not be able to survive if put back into the wild. The two whales are called Little White and Little Grey, they are the Sanctuary’s first residents and they travelled 6,000 miles from their previous home in a Shanghai water park to the Sanctuary, located in a large, natural bay on the island.
 
After the visit to the sanctuary we then headed towards a park with what can only be described as a big bouncy pillow that we all had fun on for a while and then we met the tour guide who would take us on a guided tour up Eldfell volcano - his grandparents lost their house in the eruption. Once we reached the top we took pictures of the incredible view and felt the heat still being emitted from the volcano's eruption that took place in 1973, 52 years later! After pictures were taken we made our way back down to the bottom where we then visited the Eldheimar Museum, which enabled us to get a glimpse into people’s lives on Heimaey before the 1973 eruption that would change their lives forever. Once we finished looking around the museum we took the ferry back to the mainland of Iceland and back to the hotel where we ate dinner and spent some time in the pool before bed.
 
Sunday 23rd October 2022
Today we had to check out of the hotel quite early. We packed up the coach and headed off to Gulfoss. When we arrived we walked over the cliff side where we could see a massive waterfall that stretched 175m across and 30m down. After this we headed down some steps to get a closer look and the further we went down, the more mist you could feel from the falls. When we were done admiring the views, we headed off to the next destination. We arrived to the smell of sulphur and we headed to Geysir. The geyser would go off around every 5-10 minutes and it would sometimes reach a height of  15m. We then headed to  the Thingvellir National Park. Þingvellir is one of the most important sites in Iceland, both historically and geographically. Nowhere else in Iceland is the rift between the European and North American plates, more obviously, with long deep cracks running from the north-east to the south–west. Many students took the opportunity to take photos standing in between them and helped to ‘push’ them apart!
 
We then headed to Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel which is where lava from an eruption creates a channel as it flows. Inside the tube, the guide turned all the lights off! Without the lights on our helmets or the lights on the walls, it was pitch black and we couldn't even see our hands in front of our face. A lava tube is formed as lava from an eruption forms a channel, which stays hot as the land around it cools. This hot lava may eventually develop walls around it, which can crust over and/or flow beneath previously cooled lava, forming a tube. From here we headed to Hotel Cabin in Reykjavik.
 
Our final activity was a tour of Reykjavik - we couldn’t come all the way to Iceland without experiencing the capital! Some of us firstly enjoyed the local swimming bath before walking around the city. Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland! The city was officially founded in 1786 as a trading town and grew steadily over the following decades, as it transformed into a regional and later national centre of commerce, population, and governmental activities. It is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world. During our tour we saw Hallgrímskirkja, which is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in the country. We also saw the ‘Sun Voyager.’ - It is a common misunderstanding that Sun Voyager is a Viking ship. It is actually a dreamboat and an ode to the sun. It represents a dream of hope and freedom.
We set off from Reykjavik airport early on Monday morning to return home. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and made some unforgettable memories - the highlight for many being the glacial walk.
 
by Reuben Tanner and Harrison Winters (Year 10)
 

Arriving at the Blue Lagoon

Two of the waterfalls were 60m high

Glacier Walk

Gulfoss

Reykjavik

Remembrance Day 2022
The whole of Hitchin Boys' School gathered on the Quad at 10.45am on the morning of Friday 11th November for our annual Remembrance Assembly. Mr Moane addressed the students and read out the names of former students who lost their lives in the Second World War, and Head Boy Feranmi Olusanya read 'In Flanders Fields', by John McCrae. The Last Post was played, before all those present observed a two-minute silence. 
 

Students gathered on the Quad

Warm Rooms and Winter Support
Hertfordshire County Council’s ‘Here for You’ campaign aims to support residents to stay safe and well this winter, in addition to providing information around services and support to help manage the cost of living. For more information visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/hereforyou or call HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044 to find out what support is there for you.
 
Part of the campaign is the Warm Spaces initiative, which provides a list of public and community buildings across Hertfordshire where people can go to keep warm this winter. The current list can be found here and is constantly being updated as more organisations sign up. Locally, the team at Hitchin library are offering their building as a safe, warm space, and the North Hertfordshire Museum is also open for people to come in and use.
 
From 1st December, Churches Together Hitchin will be providing a warm space every day of the week for a few hours for people to visit and meet others in a friendly environment, sometimes with refreshments provided. The proposed list can be downloaded below.
 
The council has also published a guide containing key information on how to receive the flu and covid vaccines, support to deal with the rising cost of living, advice on how to access NHS services and much more. It is compiled in partnership with the NHS and is being delivered to households, but you can also read it online here www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/news-archive/your-guide-to-staying-healthy-this-winter
 

Help from HCC this winter

What is the Race and Ethnic Diversity Group?
The HBS Race and Diversity Group is a collective aiming to achieve a great goal of informing, empowering and supporting conversations and ideologies surrounding vital social issues. 
 
Who is it for?
Started by Mr Mudaly, the Senior Prefect team and other students meet every Wednesday in room 4. We give everybody a safe space to articulate themselves in a manner where they will not be judged and can speak freely about issues and concerns they may have around race and ethnicity issues. All students are encouraged to attend regardless of race or ethnic background. 
 
Why should you attend? 
In the words of the great Dr Martin Luther King “darkness can not drive out darkness, only light can do that”. We should all be able to come together and support one another on issues we face on the subject of racism. Moreover, ideas are always helpful and welcome so if there are any changes or something people want to see please come to the meetings. Everyone is welcome.  
 
Harman Minhas

Musical Evening in support of Stand-by-me
Kingshott School are hosting a musical evening withe pianist Iain Farrington on Friday 2nd December at 7.30pm in aid of local charity Stand-by-me. The evening starts at 7.30pm and there will be a licensed bar available. 
 
Iain Farrington is a British pianist, organist and composer who regularly performs with some of the country's leading singers, instrumentalists and choirs. The evening will be full of well-known Classical, Jazz and Modern music as well as some familiar Christmas tunes too. 
 
Tickets are available via this link. All the proceeds from the event are in aid of Stand-by-me Bereavement Support, a charity which supports bereaved children, young people and their families in North Herts and Stevenage.
 

The evening is raising funds for Stand-by-me

Coats 4 Kids
With colder weather on the horizon, all students will need warm clothes for school. With lots of our families worried about the rises in cost of living, please contact Coats 4 Kids Herts if you are worrying how you will afford one. They have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/coats4kidsherts 
 

Coats4Kids

Summer 2022 exam series - Btech, GCSE and A Level
Certificates for the above can now be collected from Reception. If you wish to nominate someone to collect your certificates on your behalf, please provide a letter of authority. Replacement certificates can only be obtained from the Exam Boards who will charge for copies so it is important that you collect them now and keep them safe. 

Springboard Letchworth Open Day
North Hertfordshire College will be holding an open day at Springboard Letchworth on Monday 28th November from 1pm – 4:00 pm. This is an opportunity for professionals, parents and prospective students to meet the team and find out more about the Springboard programme. 
 
Springboard is a one year full-time course for young people aged 16-24 with a diagnosis or traits of higher functioning autism and associated difficulties who need an additional year of support before moving on to mainstream college or employment. 
 
The event will be held at Letchworth Town Hall, SG6 3BX, and the nearest car park is Morrisons. If you would like to attend please RSVP to Mickaela Windsor on 01438 728938 or email mwindsor@nhc.ac.uk Please confirm what time you are planning to attend.

Latest apprenticeship list published
The November 2022 edition of the Higher & Degree vacancy listing has recently been published. It contains information on over 300 Higher and Degree apprenticeship vacancies from more than 60 employers including eight separate opportunities within the NHS, nine vacancies with Virgin Media and O2 (Telefónica UK), a variety of positions with police units across the country, nine positions with Jaguar Land Rover across the West Midlands, opportunities with NatWest in Bristol, Birmingham, London, Leeds and Manchester, 14 separate vacancies at Amazon and 25 positions at Kier Group. 
 
The listing is published twice a year, with the next publication due in February 2023, and can be downloaded below. You can also search for an apprenticeship via the gov.uk website here.