July 2023

“Goodbyes make you think. They make you realize what you’ve had, what you’ve lost, and what you’ve taken for granted.” – Ritu Ghatourey
My last newsletter at the helm of the good ship HBS. It has been a really positive final week as we held our awards ceremonies for Years 7-10 to recognise endeavour in academia, sport and wider school life. I am proud of the way that the young men of HBS are learning and growing, and all credit to you as parents and carers who nurture them on the unpredictable journey through teenage years.
You will by now have been informed about the appointment of Mr Tim Bennett as Headteacher at HBS from January 2024. He has a wealth of experience at excellent schools and Trustees are confident that he is a great fit for HBS and will lead the school to new heights.
We have a number of staff leavers and new joiners, and probably too many to recognise properly in this short article. Please read my end of term letter for the details. Thank you and good luck to everyone who is moving on from HBS and welcome to our new starters.
Highlights for me over the last three years include confirmation of our Outstanding grading under a more challenging Ofsted framework in 2021, the achievements in sport (with many local and national successes) and the arts, and some incredible opportunities for travel including my memorable visit to Costa Rica with the Geography department. Lowlights include the Covid-19 pandemic and the constant crisis management, challenges in recruitment and the industrial action forced upon school staff by years of below-inflation pay rises and school budgets that are barely adequate to cope with the demands being placed upon schools these days.
Can I finish by passing on my thanks to all of our parents, carers, students and the wider Hitchin community for your support? The emails of support that I and my staff receive really make a difference, and particular thanks to those that volunteer as governors, the Parents' Society, careers links etc. and those who have generously donated to the various appeals that we have run to support the school and wider charities. 
It has been a pleasure and honour to lead your school for the past three years and I wish you and your families success and good health for the future.
Fergal Moane, Headteacher

Coming up

Over the next few weeks

House points

As of 21 Jul 2023

School news

Times Shield Winners!
Congratulations to Mattocke house, who have just been revealed as the winners of this year's Times Shield at the end of term assembly!

Congratulations Mattocke!

Twitter feed for Malaysia trip
Over 40 students and staff left HBS on Wednesday for the summer expedition to Malaysia. You can follow their progress on their dedicated Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/HbsMalaysia 

A previous expedition

Library News
We come to the end of yet another busy and varied year! Before we recap, a couple of things about recent events.
As part of the Whole School Read of Fake, we had Ele Fountain in for the day and she spoke to all of year 7 before leading two enchanting writing workshops. She talked about how her time living in Ethiopia inspires her writing, particularly her book Boy 87, and how the implications of living in a digital world led her to write Fake. She was interviewed most professionally by Sam for our BBC Young Reporters and spent some of her lunch time signing books for boys who had bought them. Ably assisted by year 9 Student Librarians, Freddie, Sam, Isaac, Albie, Zach, and Arundeep, we had a Comic Con style signing area set up which proved to be incredibly efficient. We had some fantastic ideas budding in the workshops, my own favourite being Nathan’s immortal Viking looking for the only other six immortal Vikings in the world. I’d read that book.
Last week, friend of HBS Tony Frewin, who spoke to us in January about working with Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey, shared the film he wrote about the fraudster who impersonated Stanley in the early 90s, Colour Me Kubrick. It is an extremely funny film which unbelievably didn’t get a cinema release in the UK, despite an amazing cast led by John Malkovich. Tony then took Q&A and gave us a little insight into Stanley Kubrick’s sense of humour.
Our friends at Next Page Books (who incidentally have just won a Muddy Stilettoes Award!) have given us some loyalty cards for anyone to have if they want them. You get a stamp for every £10 spent, and when you have collected 10 stamps you can either have a £5 discount, or £10 will be donated to HBS. We have plenty, and they are in the library, so just send your young reader in to us to pick one up.
We’ve had a busy and exciting year, joing book awards, holding quizzes, and meeting authors. In March we met Elle McNicholl whose book adaptation, A Kind of Spark, has recently been shown on IPlayer, and more recently we met Katya Balen, winner of last year’s Carnegie Medal, at St Francis School.
Have a safe and happy summer, and we look forward to welcoming you all back in September. Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, @HBSLibrary.
Mrs B and Mrs R, Librarians

Mr Moane with Ele Fountain

Katya Balen, winner of last year’s Carnegie Medal

Hitchin Boys’ School is awarded the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award!
We are so pleased to announce that the Eco-Committee at Hitchin Boys' School has been successful in meeting the requirements for the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award! Our application was reviewed and the following was noted:
  • It’s very impressive that you have formed such a large Eco-Committee. It shows that young people in your school are aware of environmental issues and committed to being active and creating positive change. This knowledge and attitude has provided your school with excellent foundations for the many successes that you’ve achieved this year.
  • Your Eco-Committee was elected democratically, which is a fair and mature approach – well done to selected members on their appointment!
  • Your Action Plan shows that your Eco-Committee have carefully considered how they can involve their entire school in their planned Eco-Schools’ activities to achieve maximum impacts and raise awareness amongst their school community. We enjoyed reading about your plans for your focus areas on biodiversity, your school grounds and waste.
  • You have provided practical and fun curriculum examples, which impressively build on the projects you have worked on in your Action Plan. This is a great way to add context to your Eco-Schools work, it means young people at your school are given the opportunity to learn about important environmental issues and then the chance to work on these issues – a great dual approach.
  • You have worked with a variety of different individuals and organisations including Plastic Free Hitchin, relying on their expertise and passion to enrich and inform your Eco-Schools journey. No doubt this was a mutually beneficial experience for all, as these individuals and organisations must have also been inspired by your dedicated Eco-Committee.
  • Your greatest successes link clearly to the experience of your pupils. Your Green Week sounded a great success, well done! This is what the best forms of climate action are about – impactful but achievable things that create a positive experience and prompt more action. We love this!
  • Your Eco-Code is very punchy, clear and easy to digest for those that see it. It’s a direct call to action. We love this!
  • It was also wonderful to read you had supplemented your environmental learning with a field trip to the KS3 Climate Summit, the day sounded brilliant!
  • Thank you so much for submitting such a terrific application. We have loved reading about your journey and are incredibly impressed by all you have achieved. We have no hesitation in awarding you an Eco-Schools Green Flag with Distinction, congratulations!
I am so proud of the Eco Committee for their efforts this year, their passion for making Hitchin Boys’ School a more sustainable place is admirable. They have been involved in so many initiatives and actions, only some of which are briefly mentioned above. We are also delighted that so many students outside of the committee have also got involved and I hope many will be interested in being members of the Eco Committee next year, to help HBS continue its journey to becoming a more sustainable school. 
Mrs Graham

Our EcoBoard and flag in the Reception area

Some of the EcoCommittee at the last meeting of the year

Music Round-Up
We have had such a fantastic end to the summer term this year, with events happening every week for the last four weeks of term! 
Friday 30th June was Founders’ Day and as is tradition, we joined together with the choir and brass group from HGS to put on a spectacular service to send off the Year 13 students and those Year 11s leaving HBS and HGS. The choir and brass group performed to an extremely high standard and there was a real sense of occasion. Year 11 student Isaac H played a voluntary on the organ at the end of the service, too. Our guest speaker - local performer and composer Iain Farrington - was full of praise for our Music department and the musicianship of our students.
On Sunday 2nd July, many of our students took part in this year’s Priory Picnic; a showcase event run by the North Herts branch of Hertfordshire Music Service. The HBS Jazz Band, led by Paul Woodin did a fantastic set.
On Thursday 6th July, we put on our Summer Concert, which featured everything from Bach to Black Sabbath and also showcased our new group Ukulele Dance Floor, run by Kit B in Year 8. The performances were really enjoyable and inspiring. Thank you to our generous audience, who raised some money for our department which we have spent on sheet music and a new guitar amp.
On Wednesday 12th July, we hosted a songwriting workshop, led by IEMusic. 24 students in Years 8-10 took part and over the course of a day, they were given tips on how to come up with lyrics and then set them to music. Many of the students hadn’t worked with each other before and the workshop leader was really impressed with how quickly everyone gelled together and created such a variety of different songs.
Monday 17th July saw the return of our community concerts in local care homes, something that we haven’t been able to do since before the pandemic. We did concerts at Elmside care home and the North Herts Day Service for Older People. The concerts were very well-received and we thoroughly enjoyed putting them on. 
Dates for your diary
Wednesday 20th September - Open evening. If you play an instrument or sing and you would like to take part in our concert in the Music department on open evening, please let Mrs Strachan know. 
Tuesday 14th November - Autumn Concert (note change of day).
Monday 18th December - Carol Service.
Exciting Music news!
Congratulations to Kit B in Year 8, who performed at this year’s Todd in the Hole festival.
We are delighted to announce that Isaac L in year 13 gained his ARSM diploma on piano with merit this term. This is a huge achievement.
Joe E in year 13 won this year’s Junior Guildhall Jazz Prize. This is highly prestigious and we are delighted for Joe, who is going on to study Jazz Piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in September.
Many of you will know that James Bay is an alumnus of HBS. He was delighted to open for Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park earlier this month. What an incredible moment in his career!
We wish you a restful summer and we look forward to seeing you in September.
Mrs Strachan

The Summer Concert featured a variety of music

Students in Years 8 - 10 took part in a songwriting workshop

This week, students visited care homes to entertain residents

Y9 Summer PGL Trip
Our Year 9 students embarked on a weekend adventure to PGL at Barton Hall in Devon this July, which offered a range of exhilarating outdoor activities. The students participated in axe throwing, rifle shooting, raft building, zip wires, fencing and stand up paddleboarding. This trip placed many of our students outside their comfort zone and tested their physical and mental abilities. Lots of new life skills learnt that cannot be taught in a normal classroom setting. They collaborated as a team during the team-building activities which enhanced their communication and leadership skills. Being away from home, (and for some this was the first time on a residential school trip) meant honing their resilience and organisational skills.
In the evenings, they enjoyed Capture the Flag and Archery Tag, then spent time socialising with international students from France and Spain. The school trip was a great opportunity for the students to build their confidence, develop new skills, and make memories that will stay with them forever.
Following on from the success and positive feedback from parents, we are hoping to offer a Year 9 PGL trip next summer.
With thanks to Mrs Eidmans for all the trip admin, Mr Fitts for leading the trip and Mr Thomas, Mrs Mills, Ms West and Ms Bahnsen for offering to give up their entire weekend to make this trip a reality.

Students had a fabulous time

Second-hand uniform sale
The second of our two uniform sales takes place at HBS on Saturday 2nd September at HBS from 9.30am to 1.30pm. There will be uniform available for all local schools, and money from the sales will go to support the schools. More details below.

September Uniform Sale

McLaren STEM visit
We were very lucky to have Bethany and Harley from McLaren Automotive come to HBS in July to give talks about becoming automotive engineers, and what it was like working for a supercar manufacturer. They showed us the different stages of designing a supercar; from concept to clay model, from engineering to testing and then finally to production. It was incredible to see that even super-advanced companies like McLaren still make clay models of their designs.
As a senior engineer in powertrain development, Harley showed the students an engine being put through its paces on the dyno and talked about how McLaren’s philosophy was to produce engaging cars that were exciting to drive, and that this meant internal combustion engines were still important. Bethany explained how as a graduate engineer she had rotated around all the different parts of the production process, including the assembly lines and how the cars were hand put together. They talked about the development of the Artura which is the companies next high-performance hybrid road car, and showed us the materials produced when the car was launched.
Following the talks, we had two fantastic Q&A sessions where the students were able to quiz Harley and Bethany as well as look around the McLaren 720S they had brought in with them. There was a lot of enthusiasm from the students, and it is clear there are some future engineers amongst them. Harley started the car several times for us, and we all got to hear what the engine sounded like (as did the rest of the school judging by the number of faces pressed to windows!). The car was fantastic, and the students were able to take a lot of photos and even sit inside the car. Harley showed all the students the key pieces of engineering design that went into the car, such as the intakes being built into the doors rather than having to have aggressive holes cut into the flanks of the car, and how the once controversial “eyes” at the front of the car were designed to channel cool air into the heat exchangers for the turbochargers.
There was definitely a lot of buzz around the school once they had left, so we are very thankful that Harley and Bethany were able to visit and share their experiences.
Mr Warman, Head of Science

McLaren brought one of their supercars to HBS

Y9 ZooLab visit
In the Geography and Biology Year 9 curriculum this year, we have focused on the tropical rainforest and ecology. To further inspire students about this topic, we invited all Year 9 students to take part in a ZooLab workshop. ZooLab delivers an understanding of complex biological, social or engineering concepts through hands-on animal encounters to provide fun and engaging learning experiences. The students were able to see a variety of species in the session and were also given the opportunity to handle them. 
The first species was a corn snake called Ghost. Chris, our ranger for the day, spoke to the students about the development of ‘robot snakes’ which have been developed by scientists in the race to advance the abilities of search and rescue machines. The students then had the opportunity to hold Jarvis, a Madagascan hissing cockroach. Chris explained the role of the detritivore and the importance of cockroaches in helping to break down complex organic matter into simpler substances. In cities where populations are expanding and more food waste is being generated than can be accommodated, are cockroaches the way forward?!
We then met Honey, a New Caledonian gecko, the largest type in the world. They are found exclusively on the islands of New Caledonia in the South Pacific and inhabit the high canopies of rainforests throughout the southern and eastern portions of the main island, as well as several of the smaller surrounding islands. Chris explained the adaptations of the New Caledonian gecko, they are great at navigating branches and leaves to reach food and hiding places, using their velcro-like toe pads, claws and large scales on the tail to effortlessly grip the trees. The green, brown and grey coloration of this gecko helps this species camouflage in the forest canopy. The year 9s got to see Honey in action when she stuck to the glass of the Radcliffe trophy cabinet!
The penultimate species was Elvis, the Honduran curly hair tarantula  - he was definitely the species which made most students recoil slightly. There are 800 different tarantula species in the world, Chris spoke about how none of them are dangerous to humans and explained how the males are often brightly coloured to scare away predators. The last species was Princess Katie, a 4 year old rat. Rats typically live to the age of 2-4 years so Katie is an old girl and therefore was handled by Chris and she received many strokes (from most!)
Chris, with his wealth of experience, was able to inspire many of our students. Most of the students interacted with the species and asked some excellent questions. We hope that it stimulated a further interest in biometrics and adaptations and brought the topic to life. 
Mrs Graham (Head of Humanities) and Mr Thorp (Head of Biology)

ZooLab brought in a range of animals

Students were able to see then up close

Some were bigger than others!

German Exchange
From 1st to 8th July, Zach D and I, both Year 11 students,  spent a week in Lindau, Germany - a town located next to the Lake Constance, offering stunning views and great opportunities to swim in the lake. We spent a week learning in Bodensee Gymnasium, our partner school located in Lindau, to understand the education system and learn how students live their lives in other countries. The exchange was funded by the UK-German Connection.
Whilst in Germany, we had the opportunity to see many great sights, such as visiting Zurich on Saturday, Munich on Sunday, cycling through Lindau and surrounding areas on Tuesday, and even visiting the mountain "Pfänder" in Austria on Thursday. This was possible because Lindau is situated extremely close to Austria and Switzerland, making it possible to travel to these countries in less than an half an hour by train. Whilst abroad, we also had the opportunity to further develop and complete our projects: a presentation on the topics of our choosing. 
The exchange has been an excellent opportunity to both improve our German and to also understand and find out more about places. Hopefully there will be more people next year who are able to do the exchange as it has been thrilling throughout. 
Tahmid A

Tahmid and Zach with their host students

The boys with some light refreshments!

BBQ by Lake Constance

Notes from the Pastoral office
It's been an insanely busy last few weeks of term for staff and students alike. Before we sign off we would just like to say a few words of thanks. Firstly, to Mrs West, who whilst completing her English teaching degree, has been working at HBS within the Pastoral Support Team alongside the Learning Support Team. She has mentored and supported lots of our students, she is proactive and dedicated in her care and works tirelessly with relentless encouragement for positive outcomes. We are really going to miss her in our office. Our loss is the English Department's gain as she starts in her new role as an English tutor at HBS in September. 
Secondly, thank you to the kind parent who thoughtfully gifted the school with five pre-loved, good quality footballs. Students can hire footballs, basketballs and table tennis bats to use at break and lunch. We had a very depleted stock this term with no available budget to purchase replacements, but we now almost have enough balls for one available for each year group to use. Thank you! Lots of delighted students and these have already seen a lot of use. 
If you would like to help support the work of our pastoral team, there are lots of small easy ways to do so. 
  • Basketballs, table tennis bats and footballs in new or good condition are always extremely welcome. 
  • Our pastoral biscuit tin, utilised by many an upset, wobbly or hungry student is currently filled each week by the kind pockets of our staff, but if any parents would like to send a packet of biscuits or two in each term we would always be delighted to receive them! 
  • Any pre-loved but still in good condition uniform, shoes, PE kit and trainers are always put to immediate good use where they are most needed. 
Following on from the success of our weekly Board Games Club & Lego Club  we would potentially like to introduce a Backgammon Club in the Autumn Term. If you have any surplus or unwanted backgammon sets we would be very appreciative. Please drop any of the above into the reception office for the attention of the "Pastoral Team"
A friendly reminder that if you are buying new uniform or equipment for next term to please, please, please, put their name on it. Teen and tween boys are often challenged in the organisation and memory department, but we can at least attempt to reunite them with lost belongings if it is named.
If you are purchasing new phones or chromebooks, or allowing new social media apps to be installed this summer, if not tech savvy, you may find this information pack helpful with instructions on how to set up restrictions and advice on apps. 
We know lots of our families are feeling the effects of the continuing cost of living crisis,  please see below for some details on the Hitchin Pantry (not a food bank) and the Coats4Kids campaign which may help. 
Lastly, as we relinquish our in loco parentis responsibility for the summer, we would like to thank you for your trust in us to look after your child when they have needed our care, your understanding when they sometimes get things wrong and we have to make phone calls home and all the positive feedback that you have taken the time to email to our small pastoral team throughout the year, it's very much appreciated.
Enjoy the summer break. Fingers crossed for some good weather. We will see them all back in September when we spend most of the first week remarking to each other on how much taller, more confident and mature they all seem to be after just 6 weeks away!
Warm regards, 
Ms Bahnsen, 
HBS Pastoral Support Team
Hitchin Pantry 
For a small weekly subscription of £4, members of this pantry will be able to buy food, including fresh fruit and vegetables and store cupboard favourites, to the value of £15 or more. Membership is open to the community surrounding the pantry address and local families are strongly encouraged to join here
Operating in Hitchin, Letchworth, Stevenage and surrounding areas , this a safe place where families can come for a free, pre-loved winter coat for a child with zero cost and zero judgement. To make a private request for a coat email laurahhazelton@gmail.com 

Thank you to the parent who donated 5 footballs

Coats 4 Kids can help this winter

Sixth Sense published
The June - July issue of our Sixth Form newsletter, Sixth Sense, can now be read below.

The latest issue can be read below

HBS Book Club
The next meeting of HBS Book Club will take place on Wednesday 13th September, 7pm at Kite at the Red Hart, Bucklersbury, Hitchin. The book to read this time is Silas Marner by George Eliot. All are welcome - please contact Ms Seabrook at hseabrook@hitchinboys.co.uk for more information.

September Book Club

Creative poems from Transition Day
Year 6 students visited HBS last Thursday for their transition day, and as well as finding out more about life at school, they enjoyed a couple of lessons with their new classmates. In English, students discussed what makes a poem a poem, and then were given either a picture, colour, word, or number and asked to write a poem in less than 10 minutes. They had some fantastic ideas, and a couple of their poems are reproduced below:
The rays shoot from the sky
Smiles fill the space
The sand warms your feet
The feeling of the golden beach.
The sun like a lamp
Heating you head to toe
We all love the time
Where else would you like to go?
by Sam
Half of the world Dead
Half of the world Beautiful
One side thriving
One side dying
The sun shines here
Lightning strikes there
Half of the world Dead
Half of the world Beautiful.
by Jacob
Ms Waller

EDT Masterclasses
Due to the success of their recent online masterclass, the EDT (Engineering Development Trust) have put together a timetable of sessions that will run over the summer and students can now register to reserve their place. The masterclasses include: A Career as an Engineer, World Class Project Management, An Introduction to Oil and Gas and Presentation Skills. Each masterclass lasts for 1.5 - 2 hours and costs £20. Completing activities such as these can add value to a student's personal statement when they apply to university. More information and a link to register can be found on the flyer below.

Sign up below

Two events from the PoetsIn Charity
Local Creative Mental Health Charity PoetsIn.com have a coupkle of events taking place during the holidays. On Thursday 17th August at 4pm they have a drop-in session for young people struggling with their mental health in the CreatorSpace room at Hitchin Library. Those attending can find out about their creative workshops and how the charity can support them. 
Then on Sunday 20th July they are holding the Harvathon, a 5k run at the Offley Recreational Ground. Between 9am and 4pm participants can run as many 5k laps as they wish, and there is also a kids' mini mile (ages 3 - 14) at 10.30am. All finishers receive a medal plus a treat for the kids on the mini mile. Under 5’s will need to accompanied by an adult to take part. To register, click here. All proceeds go to the charity.

There is a drop-in session on 17th August

New Parents' Society Chair
From the outgoing Chair, Michael Mitchell:
Dear Members and Supporters
After two years as Chair, I am now stepping down, as my son is now finishing Sixth Form. I am delighted to be handing over to Joanna Woodman.
Felicity Moody will remain as Treasurer and also become the Deputy Chair. Sarah Sawkins (Deputy) and Samantha Jackson (Secretary) are also stepping down. Thank you to all three of you for your work and support.
It has been a pleasure chairing the Parents' Society and meeting many of you at school events. Thank you to all of you for your support and coming out to serve drinks, cook burgers, sell uniform and perform the many other jobs that help raise money for the school.
I am delighted to be leaving the Parents' Society in the very good hands of Jo and Flick, and the other people who have expressed an interest in joining the trustee committee. We always need more volunteers, so if you would like to get involved, please email chair.ps@hitchinboys.co.uk or use the sign up form: https://forms.gle/MJTLgnKqLbdYkS317
Wishing you all the best, Michael

The Quad decorated for Xmas by the Parents' Society

Apprenticeships Update
The July edition of the Parents & Carers pack is now available. This month's pack explores results day support, how to find an apprenticeship, explains the difference between T Levels and A-levels and features a case study from an apprentice at Newcastle Building Society. Click here to download the pack. 
The Get the Jump Skills for Life hub on the National Careers Service website has everything students need to know about all the choices available to them. During the exam results period, the hub will feature key information on resits, clearing, appeals, and more. Pupils can also chat to an expert careers adviser for free, to gain impartial support to help them choose the option that’s right for them.
New episodes are also available of Series 3 of The Parent Perspective podcast, featuring employers such as the NHS, The Metropolitan Police, FCDO Services and the Royal Opera House. These employers discuss with host, Rachel Burden, the opportunities available in their organisation and sector and how parents/cares can support their children to learn more. Click here to listen in.

Episode 2 of the Parent Podcast is now available

Stay Safe Online this summer
With the school summer holidays imminent, many parents and carers will already be planning outings and activities to keep their young ones entertained. In between those special summer moments, though, there are also likely to be occasions when children happily invest a whole afternoon in Among Us or spend most of their Monday on Minecraft.
As young people’s screen time almost inevitably increases over the holidays, parents like to feel confident that their child will stay safe while they’re exploring the digital world. So National Online Safety have produced a #WakeUpWednesday poster with some simple solutions to help children avoid frequent online pitfalls and enjoy a more positive experience when they go online this summer. Download the poster below.

Stay safe this summer

BeeZee Bodies September Programmes
BeeZee Bodies help Hertfordshire residents make long term sustainable changes towards a healthier lifestyle through weight management, fitness, nutrition learning and loads of top tips and handy strategies to crack those bad habits and replace them with healthy ones. They work with families and young people and have launched their September programmes - more information on the flyers below and on their website at http://www.beezeebodies.com/.