Year 11 Design and Technology Trip to the Paper Trail, Hemel Hempstead

On Tuesday 22nd October, Mrs Schillaci-Rowland, Mrs Hayhurst and Mr Warren took the Year 11 Design and Technology students to the Paper Trail in Hemel Hempstead.

The students watched a presentation and demonstration about paper and boards, given by Sue, one of the members of staff at the Paper Mill.  There were some fascinating facts about the history of paper, as well as the surrounding area (the first place to manufacture paper in the world), and how the Paper Mill had been a huge part of the paper industry, and is the only site to have a working Fourdrinier machine making bespoke paper.  They also have a 10-year plan in place to become a Papermaking Centre of Excellence.

The students were then split into groups to undertake three workshops: papermaking, a tour of the Paper Mill in action, and a letterpress workshop, too. The students came away with their own pieces of paper that they had made, as well as a printed sheet they had produced in the letterpress workshop.

The tour of the Mill was very informative, and the students asked lots of questions about the process.  It was incredible to physically see how quickly paper is made from pulp, which takes minutes to go from very wet, to a crisp, piece of paper.  The Paper Mill make a lot of sustainable paper for big companies, such as banana paper for Lush, and also for events such as Wimbledon, where grass is mixed into the paper to give it a luxurious feel.

The trip will certainly prepare our students for their GCSE exam next summer, and the hands-on experience has also helped them to visualise the processes involved in making paper and boards. The students’ behaviour was outstanding (as commented on by the staff at the Mill) which made the trip thoroughly enjoyable for the staff, too. Thank you Year 11!

Mrs Schillaci-Rowland
Design and Technology

Year 7 STEM Army Activity Days

STEM Army days

On 3rd and 4th October, Year 7 students spent a day with the Army, Capt. Charlotte Wilson, Sgt Noel Brooksbank, Cpl Lucy Moiwo and LCpl La-Toya Vernon from Sandhurst spent a day with the girls developing their STEM skills.

Friday 4th October 2019

On the 4th October, some soldiers from the army came to Presdales to do some activities with Year 7.

First, we had an assembly, in the lecture theatre, where they told us what it was like in the army. Some of the jobs that you can do in the army, include: being a scientist, an engineer, a teacher, a doctor, a dental nurse, a vet and many more. They also told us more about themselves. Noel is a sergeant and his job is to skydive out of planes. He enjoys cycling and was inspired by his dad and uncle to join the army. Lucy is an artillery officer; she hands out and organizes the weapons for everyone else. She went horse riding in the Rockies, in Canada, and, even though she is scared of heights, she enjoys rock climbing. La Toya is a dental nurse. She lived in Germany for 3 years; her sport is netball and she did the test to get a job in the army on her 17th birthday. Charlotte is a captain and is the pilot of planes that the other soldiers fly in. She is also a cross-country skiing instructor and she has a dog called Lola.

The first main activity was to design an army vest for soldiers working in the harsh environments, needing to keep cool, yet protected. They had to be light but strong so the soldiers could still carry all the other equipment they need as well as staying safe. This activity was quite challenging, although very fun to do as a team and to put all of our ideas together.

The next activity was to build a car with a working engine. We had to cooperate as a team to construct the car- without being given any instructions, apart from when we were given a clue on how to power the car. To make it move, we had to attach a rubber band to the bar connecting the wheels and twist it around to create energy so the wheels would spin, making it travel a short distance. Then, the other half of our team (on the other side of the room) had to swap the wheels onto their frame for the car and send it back.

After lunch, we were given some giant top trumps cards to put together of vehicles used in the army. We were told what they did, where they were used and who might use them. In the same lesson, we had a puzzle that we had to piece together. We worked as a class to follow the instructions to complete the task and found it quite hard but managed to do it in the end.

The next activity was to design a helmet suitable for all environments. We had to camouflage it and make it light but it also had to keep the soldiers safe and be easy to carry around. We were shown lots of different types of hats used in the army and how important they are as they keep lots of people safe; some people got to try them on.

The last activity of the day was outside. We played lots of games with the soldiers, took part in races with them and had a game of “tug of war”. We then worked in teams of three to try and build the image we had been given on the iPad. One person had to describe the picture to their teammates while the others were trying to build it. It definitely was a challenge as some of the images were quite hard, but it was really fun at the same time.

It was amazing having the army come to Presdales as they were really inspiring and interesting and we definitely learnt a lot. Overall, the day was really fun and informative and we would definitely love to have the army come visit us again soon.

Clara and Hattie

Presdales Student Investor Challenge

Learn about the stock market and business and have some fun as the same time.

The Business & Economics department is opening this competition to all year 10 to 13 students. You don’t have to be studying business or economics to win or even take part.

Improve your financial awareness, strengthen your maths skills and gain some vital team-work skills. You can experience what it’s like to invest in the real life stock market. The competition runs from October 2019 until May 2020 and is split into 3 rounds:

Round 1 – Online trading
Round 2 – The stock predictor challenge
Round 3 – The Finals

If you’re interested, then get hold of 3 friends, think of a team name and see Mr Rock and his sixth form helpers on Thursdays in BTR from 1.10pm. You’ll need a secret password from Mr Rock to register your team and you begin with £100,000! Good luck!


Well done to all the students who took part in the recent House Benchball competition. The results are below:

Art & Photography News

Head’s Award

Congratulations to Amber Dunstan and Yuhsuan Chen in Year 13 who won the ‘Head’s Award’ this term. Their beautiful art work will be displayed in Mr Warren’s office.

Year 12 Art Print Workshop

We had the whole day off timetable to participate in a lino workshop, which consisted of carving our tiles and printing them with high quality inks. Doing this workshop allowed us to not only add another beautiful piece into our A-level books but also expand into other media. We were taught new techniques to improve and advance our lino skills. I found it very enjoyable and helpful as the art staff helped us choose our print design and size, as well as helping us throughout the day with the lino itself. With the materials and supplies the art department was able to provide us, our Year 12 class was able to produce fantastic quality prints.

Madison Meins

Year 12 Photography

Year 12 photographers are already taking some fabulous photos. Well done from the art department.


House Omelette Challenge

Last week, Design & Technology – Food hosted the first cooking challenge of the year. Teams of KS3 students representing each of the Houses were given 20 minutes to produce their omelette ready for the judging panel. The entries were judged on presentation, aroma, texture and flavour. The judges were impressed by the quality and creativity on display: it was the first time any of them had tasted a chocolate omelette!

Thank you to all those Year 7 – 9 students who took part. The students rose to the challenge producing some ‘eggcellent’ omelettes.

Special mention goes to Year 9 student Evie Murfett who produced a winning entry for Parks House and then kindly helped run the competition for the other year groups.

Thank you, also, to our special guest judge, Mrs Dray, former Head of Design Technology.

European Week of Languages

During the week of 23rd-27th September 2019, we celebrated the European Languages we teach in school with coloured bunting, a lunch menu with a European flavour and lunchtime activities including face painting, fan making and edible Russian bracelets. The bunting created by all students in Year 7-9, in both of their languages, became a House competition. The winners were

In tutor groups, we looked at languages which are not spoken such as sign language and ‘silbo gomero’ (made entirely of whistles We thought about why learning a language is important ( and watched clips of Pep Guardiola. He speaks 5 languages and often forgets which one he is meant to be speaking!


Monday lunchtime at the start of the European Week of languages at Presdales, Year 12 Russianists helped students make sushki bracelets.

Sushki are traditional Russian small, crunchy, mildly sweet, bread rings eaten for dessert, usually with tea or coffee. The word sushka has a common root with the Russian verb sushit “to dry”. Traditionally, sushki were strung on a string for selling on the street or at regional markets, so we made mini versions.

Congratulations to the Russian general knowledge quiz winners: Saffi Adams (Year 12) Daisy Reid (Year 8) and Zoe Puncher (Year 9).


Tuesday was Italian day. Pasta alla carbonara was laid on in the school canteen and some of our lovely Year 8 and Year 12 students tested their make-up artistry skills to decorate Presdalian faces and hands in the red, green and white of the Italian flag. The colours of the tricolore are said to represent the green of the Italian countryside, the white of the snow-capped mountains and the red of the blood shed during the unification of Italy in the 19th century.


The French Department has been very busy during the European Week of Languages considering various aspects of French culture. Year 7 focused on food and drinks in French speaking countries. In Year 8, pupils researched beautiful natural sites and monuments in France, trying to look beyond Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Finally, Year 9 were very keen to present French inventions and creations. Pupils created some stunning bunting on those topics which will be displayed in the Language rooms in preparation for Secondary Transfer Evening. On Wednesday 25th September, our Year 12 students organised a lunchtime activity and were very busy helping Year 7 creating Blue, White, Red jewellery with Hama beads.


In German, Year 7 researched facts about Germany. Year 8 researched facts about the 2 other German speaking countries, Switzerland and Austria, and Year 9 looked into fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, discovering that many of our well-known fairy tales originate in the German version and are translated. At lunchtime, the girls played on the Haribo ‘Gummi Bär’ slot machine and tried to guess how many were in a pack of Gummi Bär. The winner was Abbie Oldham of 7RM who guessed the closest with 150. There were 146!!


The Spanish Department celebrated European Week of Languages by making cardboard fans in red and yellow (the colours of the Spanish flag). Fans have long been a symbol of Spanish culture, as a way to cool down in the heat of the summer and as a prop used in flamenco, the traditional dance of the southern region of Andalucía. In addition, the school canteen was kind enough to lay on some delicious paella as part of that day’s lunch.


Sixth Form Team Building

On Friday 27th September, the Sixth Form students participated in an afternoon of team building activities. The students experienced a number of activities which encouraged them to plan, communicate, work together and stay motivated in a fun and energetic way. The emphasis was on the students to take ownership of their learning, using critical thinking to develop ideas on how to solve the challenges and build their resilience, rather than just giving up if they couldn’t complete a challenge. Their social skills were enhanced as they learnt to communicate with members of their tutor group on plans and solutions, as well as evaluating their own performance after each activity. The development of these skills will be an asset to the students both during their A Levels and in the wider world.


Year 9 Visit to Sandhurst