News from the English Department

Year 7 Author Visit

Year 7 enjoyed a wonderful talk from children’s author Alice Hemming on the morning of Friday 13 March. Alice spoke about her life as an author, covering how she became a writer, what inspired her as a child, how she moved from picture books to full length novels and her dreams of owning an amazing writing shed. We were also treated to a reading from her most recent book, The Darkest Unicorn, published only last week! It was a real treat to find out about how she plans her books, with a unique insight into the processes involved in developing plot and characters and keeping track of word counts. Year 7 had dozens of questions afterwards and were then able to have copies of Alice’s books signed and dedicated.

HOUSE : Creative Writing Competition

We were delighted to welcome Alice back at lunchtime to award the prizes for our House Creative Writing Competition, after judging the entries with Mrs Newbold and Ms Hobbs earlier that morning. Students had been challenged to write the opening chapter of a mystery story in 800 words or fewer and the interpretations of the task ranged from chilling supernatural tales to wisecracking New York detective stories. All of the entries were hugely enjoyable to read so it was a daunting job selecting the winners. Everyone who entered is to be congratulated on their imagination, attention to detail and inventiveness; we certainly have a lot of talented budding authors at Presdales!

The winning authors were: Year 7 – Martha Ker – Curie House Year 8 – Daisy Reid – Pankhurst House Year 9 – Evelyn Youngman – Nightingale House Year 10 – Madison Carter John – Windsor House Year 11 – Anthe Beston – Windsor House Sixth Form – Deborah Green – Parks House

Staff were also encouraged to enter and the joint first prize in that category was awarded to Mrs Teal and Mr Boyter.

Thanks and well done to everyone who entered and to Alice for so kindly giving her time and expertise.

Year 12 Trip to Brunel University for the UCAS Exhibition

Last Wednesday we took our Year 12 students to the annual UCAS exhibition at Brunel University. On the trip, students had the opportunity to speak to a large number of university representatives and other post-18 options, including Degree Apprenticeship Co-ordinators, and the Army and Navy. Students spent a few hours walking around the exhibition gathering information from different providers and speaking to current university students about what life at university is like. Students even got the opportunity to tour the grounds and buy lunch in one of the many cafés on campus.

‘On our trip to Brunel UCAS Exhibition I spoke to several universities which I am interested in attending and gained further knowledge on their entry requirements and open days. Many helped me narrow down my course options and career path into Psychology and Law, and gave me an idea for next steps into my university research, through attending future lectures and gaining work experience to improve my application. Overall, it was a very inspiring and helpful day enjoyed by all!’ – Libby

‘I found the trip great fun and it really opened my mind to all the options available to me post-sixth form. I managed to visit all the universities that I had an interest in and get a feel for a university environment. All the questions and sceptical feelings I had towards university were answered and explained. I would definitely recommend attending this event to the Year 12 students next year.’ – Luke

‘At Brunel UCAS exhibitions, we were able to see lots of different universities from all over the UK. It gave us an opportunity to find out more about the courses that are available and a bit more about university life. We could also find out about options other than university, such as apprenticeships and the army. It was very useful in helping me to decide what and where I want to go and do after sixth form.’ – Rebecca


For the past few months I have been ringing with Presdales handchime team for about half an hour a week. I have just joined the year 11s on Fridays, which means I can play then as well as on Tuesday, so now I play for about an hour each week.

Miss teaches us a lot of different things like how to read music, damp, vibrate and many other things. I have now almost reached my second certificate. Miss even colours the notes red and blue for us so that we know which hand to use and when to play. She also counts the beats and, when we get stuck, she shows us where we are.

Just before Christmas break I had the opportunity to play at our local church. It was amazing. We got there a few hours before it began and we practised. We had to wait a long time after that because others were practising. When we got on the stage to perform I was so scared I was going to mess up, but I didn’t. Our whole team played beautifully and when we were done everybody in the church clapped. I hope to have another opportunity like that.

Miss has made playing handchimes fun and easy to learn. I am so pleased I happened to enter the right classroom at the right time.

Cynthia (Year 7)

(Note from ‘Miss’: the certificates mentioned are for the Crescendo scheme, run by the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. 4 certificates are available as the ringers gain more skills. pp,mp,mf & ff)

News from Maths

UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge

The UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge took place on Thursday 6th February. 174 girls from Year 9,10 and 11 entered the 1 hour long challenging pencil and paper competition, with problems requiring significant out-of-the-box thinking. Certificates were awarded to the following 75 students:

Year 11

Hester Peart GOLD Yuxi Chen GOLD Elisenda Henderson GOLD Ruby Cain SILVER Emily Mayes SILVER Vanessa Liu SILVER Iona Dixon SILVER Olivia Reynolds SILVER Alex Crewe SILVER Rebecca Sheffield SILVER Amelia Botting SILVER Evie Reilly SILVER Amelie Anstead SILVER Matilda Moore BRONZE Molly Marriott BRONZE Amelia Green BRONZE Giselle Garrott BRONZE Georgina Waller BRONZE Harriet FowlerNoon BRONZE Isabel O’Reilly BRONZE Amelia Fosher BRONZE Madison Hunter BRONZE Alex Kavanagh BRONZE Lily Woodward BRONZE Verona Richardson BRONZE Rin Mitchell O’Reilly BRONZE

Year 10

Niharika Jha GOLD Opeyemi Adenekan SILVER Emilia Johnson SILVER Ishara Hettiarachchi SILVER Maeva Leroux SILVER Tabitha Legg SILVER Maggie Bristow SILVER Lotty Hobson SILVER Leah Manning SILVER Gbayike Adekola BRONZE Madeleine Stewart BRONZE Ria Cabbani BRONZE Darcy Chance BRONZE Isobel Souter BRONZE Madeline Robb BRONZE Maisie Pryke BRONZE Elizabeth Brand BRONZE Jodie Austin BRONZE Madeline Fowler Noon BRONZE Bethan Sleath BRONZE Katie Swindell BRONZE Lauren Byrne BRONZE Isobel Foxon BRONZE

Year 9

Juliette Mckenna GOLD Laura Wilkinson SILVER Evie Martin SILVER Kim Pittaccio SILVER Ella Richardson SILVER Ami Unadkat SILVER Juliette James SILVER Stephanie Moor SILVER Lydia Freeman SILVER Caitlin Flatman SILVER Josie English SILVER Maisie Johnson BRONZE Emily Sheffield BRONZE YuQiong Chen BRONZE Alexis Broad BRONZE Emily Srikantha BRONZE Madeline Parry BRONZE Jasmine Marshall BRONZE Melissa Komodromou BRONZE Hannah Nash BRONZE Holly Coleman BRONZE Matilda Endersbee BRONZE Saoirse Slater BRONZE Grace Cox BRONZE Lucy Sacre BRONZE Ellen Hair BRONZE

In addition, nine girls have been selected to take part in the follow-on round competition called the Grey/Pink Kangaroo. This takes place on the 19th March and we wish them well. High achievers in this may well be invited to Maths Summer schools or rounds.

Hester Peart Juliette Mckenna Niharika Jha Yuxi Chen Elisenda Henderson Laura Wilkinson Evie Martin Kim Pittaccio Ella Richardson

Mrs Rugg-Gunn Head of Maths

Year 10 Maths Feast

Two teams of Year 10 students were accompanied by Mrs Share and Dr Gale to the Year 10 Maths Feast at John Warner School. There were lots of local schools represented and our teams of Isobel, Zoe, Opeyemi, Maeva, Niharika, Emilia, Lotty and Madeline had a great morning of maths which tested problem-solving and teamwork skills.

There were several rounds requiring different knowledge and strategies for success and we were awarded a certificate for high scoring in all the rounds.

The girls worked together brilliantly and supported each other so well to solve some really challenging problems, requiring great resilience. Well done to them all!

News from PE


The U13 hockey team competed in the County Hockey Finals at Queenswood this evening. They qualified after winning all 4 of their group matches, and continued that good form in this tournament. Their first match was against Queenswood ‘A’ and the girls fought back from 0-2 down to draw 2-2. In their next matches against RMS and Dame Alice Owen, they won 2-0 and 4-0 respectively. Unfortunately, they didn’t reach the final as Queenswood scored 2 more goals, but the girls should be very proud of their achievements. They’ve played 7 County matches, won 6 and drew 1. They’ve scored over 25 goals and conceded only 4. This is a young team of mostly Y7s playing against Y8s so they will be even stronger next season! Well done girls!!


The Year 10 Netball Team are COUNTY CHAMPIONS! Last week they played in the final of the Schools Netball County Competition having won all their games so far this season. They won 37-25 against a very good Broxbourne team and played the most outstanding game of netball I’ve seen them play in 4 years! They worked so hard for each other and showed exceptional levels of performance and resilience. So, so proud of you all! Huge congratulations and well done girls!


Ellie Bostock (Year 8) was the Jane Branford Scholarship winner with HAWCS Athletics Club. She won the Herts County Championships U15 Girls Shot Putt competition today, with a new championship best performance of 11.88m, which is also the English School National Standard! Well done Ellie, this is brilliant!

Khadijah Hyjazy (Year 9) recently competed and represented HAWCS Athletics Club in the long jump at the Lee Valley – Herts County Indoor Championships. She jumped 4:31m and won a bronze medal! Well done Khadijah this is a brilliant achievement!!

Important support from EdufundUK Ltd

Once again we owe a big thank you to EdufundUK Ltd. This Hertfordshire-based charity offers ‘small awards’ in three categories and this academic year we have been fortunate enough to benefit from all three.

Firstly, support was received by way of a full £1,000 Small PE Award to assist Presdales School with a larger PE project, which is planned for later in the year.

Through the Small Effective Learning Award a grant was sought for electronic reader pens to support students in lessons. Thanks to EdufundUK Ltd., five of these revolutionary tools have been purchased and are already in use.

And most recently, following the attendance of a Microbiology training course at the University of Hertfordshire, Biology teacher Miss Lee and our Biology Technician, Mrs Bates, brought to my attention a desire to purchase a class set of two sizes of micro-pipettes (seen frequently on news footage at the moment). Originally thought to be too expensive, after working hard to find the best solution we managed to secure a price for the two sets that allowed us to apply to EdufundUK’s Small STEM Award.

Receiving a prompt decision from EdufundUK, this equipment has already been purchased, excitedly unpacked and is in full use through a range of year groups. Comments from members of staff with scientific backgrounds – that they had not seen let alone been able to use such equipment until they were at work – make us appreciate just how lucky we are to receive such support and the ability to provide our students with real laboratory skills.


HOUSE : Lingofest

Our Lingofest – the Languages Faculty House Competition – was a Speaking Competition which saw over 120 students from Years 7-9 represent their Houses in the finals of a foreign language reading competition. They read aloud songs and poems in 5 languages and were given points for pronunciation, intonation and dramatic effect. All of the finalists rose to the challenge and should be proud of their performances! The results can be seen below.


Italian Lingofest was full of impressive performances! It was hard to decide a winner for Year 7 and their poem – Sembra Questo Sembra Quello – was performed very well by all contestants, but Bella Gray (Parks) won with a great performance including an array of ingenious props! The Year 8 competition was won by Lola Colley (Nightingale) who confidently handled a poem with a tricky rhythm and lots of unusual vocabulary. In Year 9, Isabella Abraham (Windsor) read her poem with careful attention to pronunciation and pace and just edged to victory over some other strong performances! In all, lots of work went into the performances – congratulations to all participants!


The German Lingofest final saw pupils read a variety of texts in front of our German conversation teacher, Frau Birgitt Wilmanns. The atmosphere was buzzing as Year 7 read and brought to life the nursery rhymes ‘Backe, Backe Kuchen’ and ‘Das Farbengedicht’. There were lots of props and gesticulation to entertain and make the meaning clear. Year 8 read or sang the well-known and much enjoyed carnival song ‘Das Fliegerlied’ with appropriate sound effects. Year 9 read a poem written by another student about how the colours can make us feel. All of our finalists gave their very best and scored lots of House Points for their efforts.


For the second year running, the French Department decided to explore poems by the famous French author Jacques Prévert for our popular Lingofest House competition. Years 7, 8 and 9 students represented their respective House in the Final by reading either “Le Cancre”, “En sortant de l’école” or “Le chat et l’oiseau”. Our French Assistante, Mme Hunt, was so impressed with the intonation and pronunciation of our students that she found it very difficult to score each performance, which explained why the results were so close. Well done all! A special mention goes to Cara Conway-Baker in Year 8 for creating a fantastic video and recording of “En sortant de l’école”. See a few still pictures of it below.


For Lingofest, the Year 7 Russian students learnt a playground rhyme: Aty-Baty shli soldaty (Аты-Баты, шли солдаты). It has a strong, marching rhythm, repetition, questions and answers and lends itself brilliantly to clapping along. The Year 7 competitors were outstanding in team work, pronunciation, pace, fun and communicating meaning through gesture and intonation. Some competitors had also learnt the text by heart, which was most impressive.

Year 8 and 9 House teams read aloud a Russian folk-tale: ‘Repka’ (Репка, The Turnip). It is a quaint, comic, simple tale with a message: team work overcomes problems and the smallest member of the team is as important as the others. Some competitors dressed up in traditional peasant accessories, some acted out the events, others made visual aids showing the characters in the story, including an almost life-size model of the giant turnip. The performances were very entertaining!

We thank all those who took part for your efforts. Special mention goes to students who were the only person representing their House. The winners were: Parks in Year 7, Pankhurst in Year 8, and jointly Frank and Parks in Year 9. The competition was judged by Mrs Parry, the Russian Department’s native-speaker teacher.


Visual representation of Year 7 poem ‘En un trozo de papel’

Year 8 poet: Federico García Lorca

Year 9 poet: Pablo Neruda








Spanish pupils at Key Stage 3 put on some lovely performances of a variety of poems by writers from the Spanish-speaking world. Year 7 acted out an excerpt of ‘En un trozo de papel’, a beautiful dreamlike poem by Galician poet Antonio García Teijeiro. Year 8 produced some thoughtfully performed and well-pronounced performances of ‘Mariposa’ by one of the 20th century’s most famous Spanish poets, Federico García Lorca. Meanwhile, Year 9 really entered into the spirit of Lingofest by producing a variety of renditions of ‘El viento en la isla’ by Chilean poet and Nobel Prize-winner Pablo Neruda. They brought the character of the poem alive with rhythmic chanting, dance, actions, and even sound effects to help create extra atmosphere. Well done to all who participated both in class and in the finals!


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News from English

World Book Day 2020

Students and staff enjoyed World Book Day at Presdales on Thursday 5 March, with some of the teachers dressing as book characters. Pictured are Mrs Teal as Little Red Riding Hood, Mr Samways as George from “Of Mice and Men” and Miss Turner as Matilda. Miss Jennings also joined in as the Italian writer Dante.

Students had the chance to compete in a literary treasure hunt around the school at lunchtime, answering questions on a range of books from Winnie the Pooh to The Hunger Games. All the answers were numbers and competitors had to add them all together to come up with the solution. Well done to Deborah in Year 13 who was first to the library with the correct answers!

Chapter One… creative writing competition

A reminder that the House Creative Writing Competition deadline is on Monday 9 March (extended from Thursday). The task is to write the opening chapter of a mystery story in 800 words or fewer. Choose from the following titles:

The Secret of Annex 263 The Buckingham Palace Mystery The Window Cracked From Side to Side Last Bus to Montgomery The Purple Daffodil The Curious Incident of the Lamp in the Night-Time

The judging panel includes children’s author Alice Hemming, who will be visiting the school on Friday 13 March to give a talk to Year 7 and award the prizes for the competition at our lunchtime awards ceremony.

Ms Hobbs