Staff and children at High Beeches Primary School were delighted to learn this week that they have been awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark. The award recognises excellence in science leadership, teaching and learning and follows a programme of development work undertaken by the teaching team, supported by Teaching and Learning Advisers from HFL Education and the University of Hertfordshire. Congratulations to the staff team and especially to Emily Pike and Stephanie Russon, the school’s science subject leaders, who led the process with input from HFL Education and the University of Hertfordshire. Ms Russon said, ‘We are excited to have been awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark which celebrates our commitment to science and recognises that we have developed and deliver a rich science curriculum to enthuse our children and shape a future generation of scientists.’
The work to improve teaching and learning in science has been part of a broader piece of school improvement work over the course of the last eighteen months, which was focused on ensuring that the school’s curriculum is sufficiently ambitious and that each subject area has the correct sequence of knowledge and skills as the children progress from year to year. This was recognised in the school’s recent OFSTED report following an inspection in June where the school was rated outstanding for the second time.
The children and staff at High Beeches Primary School in Harpenden have today been celebrating being judged outstanding in their recent OFSTED inspection report which was published earlier this week. The children were invited to wear party clothes to school for the special day of celebration, which coincided with the last day of the summer term, and the parents’ association (the Friends of High Beeches School) arranged for an ice-cream van to come onto the school field at morning break to distribute ice-creams to all the children and staff!
The school is currently the only primary school in Harpenden to have been awarded the outstanding grade since the current more rigorous OFSTED inspection framework came into force in May 2019. The inspection took place at the beginning of June and involved a thorough exploration of the quality of education provided by the school, as well as an inspection of safeguarding practices and procedures, pupil behaviour, pupil’s wider development, and staff workload and wellbeing. This involved visiting lessons, observing the children’s behaviour and interactions outside of lessons, meeting pupils, staff and governors, and consulting parents.
Headteacher, Jonathan Walker said, ‘I am delighted with the inspection report which really captures the essence of our school, our fantastic staff team and our lovely children. I would like to thank colleagues, parents and the whole school community, all of whom are committed to providing the very best experiences and opportunities for our children.’
The report notes the strong family atmosphere at the school and states that pupils learn and behave exceptionally well, and are highly engaged in lessons, and that the youngest children get off to an exceptionally good start. This is attributed to high quality planning and expert teaching by skilful teachers and teaching assistants.
20 July 2023
The school enjoyed a special visit today from David Williams, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, who, with the help of three of the school’s house ambassadors and school gardener Rachael Gavan, planted a Rowan tree on the school field as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, in celebration of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
Mr Williams explained how the Lords Lieutenant have represented the monarch and royal family at official events in the counties since the time of Henry VIII and it was great to be able to formally mark the platinum jubilee in this way as a school, in the presence of all the children and staff from Years 1 to 6 and a number of parents and governors who joined us for the event.
Headteacher, Jonathan Walker explained, ‘The Queen’s Green Canopy aims to plant over one million trees across the country, supporting wildlife, absorbing carbon dioxide and creating green spaces for communities to enjoy as a living legacy to the Queen. The first tree was planted by the Queen, at Windsor Castle in March last year, and we have now joined the thousands of schools and communities all over the country who have already planted trees as part of this excellent project.’
1 December 2022
The children at High Beeches School in Harpenden arrived at school this Monday this week to a colourful surprise. The entrance to the school and surrounding play area was adorned by twenty-five colourful umbrellas – part of the ADHD foundation’s Neurodiversity Umbrella Project, an innovative project which, according to the foundation’s website ‘is designed to represent the one in five of us who have a neurodevelopmental condition, such as ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia or Tourette’s syndrome.’ These conditions ‘fall under the umbrella term of neurodiversity’ and the project aims ‘to change perceptions of neurodiverse/neurodivergent people and celebrating all the many strengths that come from thinking differently.’
The school’s Inclusion Lead, Carolyn Burley coordinated the project together with parent Gemma Randall. She says, ‘Each umbrella has been decorated by individual children from the school. This reminds us of the way the school family is made up of a collection of different minds. Each one has its unique differences, but together they make one stunning and creative installation.’
15 July 2022
The staff at High Beeches Primary School in Harpenden were delighted to be able to welcome the whole school back today after the second period of school closure due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Only those whose parents are key workers and more vulnerable pupils have been attending school in small lockdown bubbles during the most recent period of national restrictions which began on 6 January this year. Others had been learning remotely, following work set on Seesaw, the school’s online learning platform, and meeting twice weekly on Zoom.
The children, who are still following a staggered start and finish to the school day in order to maintain social distancing on site, were greeted with a balloon arch and Welcome Back banner which made them and their parents feel really welcome and helped to assuage any anxiety about their return.
8 March 2021