Summer Update from our Schools

05 August 2022

As the summer holidays begin, we are delighted to be able to share an end of term update from the Heads of our two schools: Dame Alice Owen’s School and Aldenham School.

Dame Alice Owen’s School

The Headteacher of Dame Alice Owen’s School, Hannah Nemko, was very pleased to report on the huge range of activities and events that students had been able to participate in during the summer term – something that the School is especially appreciative of since lockdown! A year 7 history field trip to Rochester had great feedback from students - “the best day a Year 7 could dream of”, “an adventure into the past”, “to know there is still so much to learn about our history, really excites me”. A whole host of musical concerts for students of all ages allowed them to show off their skills to appreciative audiences; during one Chamber Concert, the stage was filled with over 120 performers as Junior Chamber Choir, Senior Chamber Choir and Senior Choir and DAOS staff singers, along with members of the Symphony Orchestra, gathered for the performance of Mozart’s Requiem – a truly impressive spectacle! Students competed in The Great Owen’s Bake Off with recipes dedicated to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Meanwhile, Year 8 art students collaborated to create a series of portraits of the Queen divided into 70 squares to represent Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. The Woodland Trust also gifted the school 30 small trees in honour of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, which were planted by students on the school grounds.

DAOS artwork in honour of the Queen's Jubilee

There was a lot of success on the sports field, with a strong showing at the Hertfordshire Schools Athletics Championships resulting in third place finishes in the Under 15 discus, hurdles and high jump, second place finishes in the Year 7 long jump, javelin and discus, and Under 17 javelin, and a first place finish in the Under 15 long jump. Students also competed in the English Schools Track and Field Cup London North Regional Finals, with the Junior Girls’ team winning their final and the Inter Boys’ team coming third. The Under 15 tennis team qualified for the Regional round of the School’s Tennis Championships and the Year 8 and 10 cricket teams were both in the quarter final of the County Cup. All four of the Schools athletics teams (Boys’ and Girls’ U14 and u 16) conquered an astonishing 6 rounds of matches to qualify for the County Finals – the only mixed school to achieve the feat this year.

Hannah Nemko said: “I can only thank the dedicated staff that I am so privileged to work with for their continued hard work and support of those in their care, as well as The Dame Alice Owen’s Foundation and our fabulous Governing Body without whom we would not be able to provide the wealth of opportunity and experience we do.”

Aldenham School

The Headmaster of the Aldenham Foundation, James Fowler, retired at the end of the summer term after 16 years of dedicated service. He took the opportunity to reflect on school life now and how it has changed over the years that he has been in post, noting that the School is in a particularly strong position with around 700 pupils due to be in the Senior School in September 2022, compared to just 491 in 2006. It is currently a time of great change at the Foundation, as Sarah Styles moves on from the Headship at St Hilda’s School and Vicky Gocher steps away from Aldenham Prep School for the coming year to work on the Foundation’s new venture in Riyadh. A strong new team has been assembled, to be led by Alex Hems, the incoming Head of the Foundation.

Students at Aldenham School

Pupils of the School have proved to be adaptable to new ways of learning, especially through the pandemic, and the School seeks to foster an environment that allows pupils to flourish and achieve their potential, setting them up to make their way in the world after they leave. Recent work to develop the School’s overall approach to wellbeing and inclusivity has been well received. Many excellent initiatives have been implemented, including embedding an i-Week into the School’s calendar. This annual week, focusing each year on different identities, aims to promote discussions which move way beyond tokenism and enable exploration of identities through skilfully led activities. The enthusiasm with which this work has been embraced by students, parents and staff demonstrates its value and the exciting prospects for further development.

James Fowler said: “It has been a great privilege to be in charge over the last 16 years and to see the development of our Schools. Throughout this period, Charlotte and I have greatly appreciated the links we have with the Brewers through regular visits and events, as well as a more general sense of belonging. I wish the Company and of course the Schools all the very best for the future.”