Excellence for All
At Herts & Essex we put our school motto, Sic Itur ad Astra (Reach for the Stars) into practice by providing all students with the support and challenge to optimise their learning, progress and academic outcomes. We pride ourselves on knowing our students as individuals and a range of personalised and appropriate interventions are available for all students. In all key stages the progress of individual students is tracked rigorously against target levels (Key Stage 3) and target grades (Key Stages 4 and 5). These target levels and target grades are challenging and represent a student’s attainment if (s)he is working to the best of her/his ability throughout the programmes of study.
Progress towards these target levels and grades is reported to students and parents on a regular basis, through Parents’ Consultation Evenings, written reports and tracking reports, which parents access via Firefly. Following each of these all students meet with either their Form Tutor, Year Leader or the Assistant Headteacher for their key stage to discuss their academic progress and targets in detail. Where it is identified that individual students are at risk of underperforming, appropriate and timely personalised interventions are put in place. These include Form Tutor mentoring at all key stages, academic coaching and mentoring in Key Stage 4 and the use of Academic Support Plans in Key Stage 5. Where students are making excellent progress, or are exceeding their target levels/grades, a range of stretch and challenge initiatives are encouraged. These include extension work in individual subjects, invitations to attend Challenge for All summer schools both within school and at Oxbridge and Russell Group universities, participation in prestigious schemes such as the Nuffield Bursary programme and mentoring with the Challenge for All Co-ordinator.
Providing an All – round Education for Every Student
All students at Herts & Essex have access to an outstanding, exciting and engaging range of enrichment and extra-curricular activities. These are aimed at developing students’ talents, introducing them to stimulating new opportunities and promoting important personal skills such as teamwork, initiative and resilience. Whether representing the school in our extremely successful sports teams, showcasing their performance skills in our impressive music, drama and dance productions or participating in challenges such as Maths Challenge, Arts Award and the CREST Award, there are activities to engage every student’s interest. Students are also offered somewhere in the region of 150 trips and visits each academic year, including residentials to countries such as France, Spain, Germany, Uganda, India, Cambodia and the USA. Furthermore, our thriving school community offers numerous opportunities for students to demonstrate and develop their leadership abilities. At all key stages, students enthusiastically stand for election to a range of roles, including School Council Representatives, Form Captains, Junior and Senior House Captains, Senior Students and Senior Prefects. There are also several Student Associate Governors who attend Governors’ meetings, representing the views of the student body. It is quite true to say that student leadership and voice is at the heart of life at Herts & Essex.
PSHEE lessons, tutorials and assemblies also provide an excellent opportunity for students to develop wider skills and knowledge. For example, there are structured Careers Education and Information, Advice and Guidance programmes which support students in making informed decisions about their education, including the transition at the end of Year 11 and Year 13. Assemblies and tutorials also address a range of important subjects, including political, economic and environmental issues with the aim of stimulating debate amongst students and ensuring that they develop as well informed, compassionate and respectful young people.
Student Involvement in the School, Local, National and International Communities
Herts & Essex has a proud and successful tradition of encouraging student involvement in the school, local, national and international communities. Within school, students make valuable contributions by volunteering and training for a diverse range of roles including student librarians, peer mentors, paired readers and sports leaders. The local community also benefits from the enthusiasm and expertise of our students through their participation in our long-standing primary outreach work, which engages primary school students in our excellent provision in all areas of the curriculum.
At a national level, we have a thriving Interact group which works in conjunction with the Rotary to raise money for charities. Students have organised popular events such as talent showcases, “wear it pink” days and Herts and Essex bake – offs to raise in excess of £12,000 each academic year for charity. Our students are also regularly invited to participate in and present at national conferences and events addressing issues such as student voice and leadership, entrepreneurship and citizenship.
At an international level, we are proud of our International School status which is reflected in our partnership with Eden High School in Uganda and which has been developed through projects in India and Cambodia. All these international links involve students in raising money and participating in programmes to support the local communities. Our students are always outstanding ambassadors for Herts & Essex whether representing the school at a local level or further afield.
The Herts & Essex House System
We have an exceptionally successful House system which encourages our students to mix with others in different year groups and engage in a wealth of enjoyable activities where the taking part definitely matters more than the winning, although winning helps! When new students join our school they quickly become aware that they are joining a strong and supportive community.