Schools News: Including pupils putting art and soul into painting contest

Katie Potton from The Hemel Hempstead School won first prize in the Dacorum Young Talent 2015 painting competition with a portrait of her schoolfriend Iona Tinker
Katie Potton from The Hemel Hempstead School won first prize in the Dacorum Young Talent 2015 painting competition with a portrait of her schoolfriend Iona Tinker
  • Talent Hemel Hempstead School artists come tops in Dacorum-wide painting competition
  • Kings Langley business thanked for supporting Longdean’s Duke of Edinburgh ventures
  • Daredevils wanted to skydive in aid of Collett School

The latest news from schools in the Dacorum area.

Dacorum Young Talent Awards

The Dacorum Young Talent Awards - Painting Competition (17-25 years) was held at the Peter Ingram Gallery in Frogmore Mill with the deputy mayor and mayoress of Dacorum in attendance.

The project was organised and led by the Dacorum Arts Partnership with sponsorship from the Ashridge and Gade Valley branches of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies, with financial assistance from Dacorum Borough Council.

The initiative set out to create and manitain an awards structure that recognises, celebrates and rewards excellence in the arts for young adults.

Nineteen finalists were chosen to display their work which has been on show in the public gallery for a week. In the opinion of the judges, those that emerged as prize winners held technical and creative skills in good balance.

Pupils from Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead thanked RES for aiding their Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme

Pupils from Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead thanked RES for aiding their Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme

Pupils from the Hemel Hempstead School did particularly well at the event with the first prize of £500 and a trophy going to Katie Potton, who did a portrait of her friend Iona Tinker who also attends the school.

The second prize and highly commended prize also went to girls from the Hemel Hempstead School. Nadya Mills won £250 for coming second and Daniella Rice won £50.

Duke of Edinburgh

Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead has thanked RES (Renewable Energy Systems Ltd) based in Kings Langley for generously donating £200 and equipment towards the school’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

The money will go towards equipment the students need for their expeditions. RES also donated water bottles and baseball caps. Sandie Taylor, education officer for RES, presented the cheque and equipment to a group of students are currently undertaking the Bronze and Silver awards at Longdean School.

The award is designed to help students learn new skills and take on new challenges. It is with the support of local companies such as RES that the school is able to purchase group equipment such as tents and camping stoves.

Nursery wins top award

Lime Grove Day Nursery in Hemel Hempstead is celebrating after the employee-owned company was rated ‘extraordinary’ in the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For list.

The nursery, which has an Ofsted rating of ‘outstanding’ achieved ninth place in the Sunday Times list.

Manager Charlotte Lucas said: “It is a very personal achievement because we are all employee owners and what we say really does make a difference. When you are committed to giving young children the very best start in life, a happy supported staff team is vital.”

Lime Grove Day Nursery is part of the award winning Childbase Partnership which is the 10th largest employee-owned company in the country and has 46 day nurseries in the South of England.

Ms Lucas said continual training and support at the partnership ensures all staff teams are motivated towards achieving excellence daily, but it is the small things that make her company special, like the regular visits from the CEO and his hand written congratulatory messages and gifts recognising personal and professional achievements.

She said: “Ofsted inspectors have told us repeatedly that a happy and engaged staff team equals happy children. Our pride in our nursery and our company is reflected in our happy and confident children and there is nothing more rewarding or satisfying than that.”

Tick Tock - St Paul’s rock!

St Paul’s Church of England Primary School in Chipperfield has won the Rock Challenge heat to make it through to the southern finals in Portsmouth.

Rock Challenge is a worldwide dance and drama competition run by the Be Your Best Foundation. Its aim is to help encourage young people to lead safe and healthy lifestyles. Schools put together a performance on a theme of their choice.

St Paul’s theme ‘Tick Tock Goes the Childhood Clock’ is based on the story of Peter Pan. One of the central characters is a ticking clock, showing that time is against us, and the pirates represent pressures working against childhood.

The production won 11 awards, including the Award of Excellence for Concept. Judges commended the school for the way it took the well known story and told it through the theme of time.

This year St Paul’s took a team of 80 pupils to the junior heats in Stevenage.

Martha, a Year 6 pupil, who played one half of the fairies Tink and Bell, said: “We pushed our limits and pushed ourselves! We loved it!”

St Paul’s also won an Award of Excellence for Community Support. This was down to a committed team of pupils, ex-pupils, staff and parents who worked tirelessly together since September to make this production such a sensation.

Whilst staff and pupils worked on the story telling, drama, choreography and soundtrack, a fantastic team of parents took on the management and creation of costumes, hair, make-up and scenary, all of whom won Awards of Excellence.

Tandem sky dive

Brave and adventurous local business people are being sought to raise funds and awareness of a tandem sky diving event.

Or even to take part in the sky dive themselves! The event will take place on Sunday July 26.

The money raised will go towards helping children with special eduational needs at The Collett School in Hemel Hempstead.

The special school is attended by children from all over Hertfordshire and the neighbouring counties.

With more pupils with complex needs joining the school, money is currently needed to build two more learning spaces which need to be sensory and inspiring to meet the needs of the children.

With no funding available from the local authority, the school is trying to be proactive and raise as much as they can themselves.

Over half of the children attend Great Ormond Street Hospital and over half are financially disadvantaged, many being in care or fostered.

There are 20 places available on the sky dive. Anyone interested in learning more about the sky dive should email Gillian Lawton at