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A reminder that due to our Open Evening we will close to students at 11.40am tomorrow, with a late start on Thursday at 10.30am - thank you for your understanding.


In Computer Science class, students were working on this terms topic of ‘Producing a Robust Programme’. The Year 11 students were undertaking a programming task to decipher techniques to ensure a strong and robust programme framework.


The 2023-4 Dragons' Apprentice teams preparing for the challenge ahead. They will be fundraising for and


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023 - Thursday 5 October, school will begin later to allow for clear-up, with registration at 10.30am. Buses will run at the usual times, any students who arrive in school earlier will be supervised in the dining room.2/2


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023 Due to our Open Evening taking place on Wednesday 4 October, school will finish for students at 11.40am. The Kimpton bus will arrive at 11.45am to pick up the students who normally use this service. Other buses will run at the usual time.1/2


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023Due to our Open Evening taking place on Wednesday 4 October, school will finish for students at 11.40am. The Kimpton bus will arrive at 11.45am to pick up the students who normally use this service. Other buses will run at the usual time.


There was thoughtful discussion happening in Year 8 RE lesson, debating whether Moses was a good man and a good leader - helping to strengthen their learning about different religions.


Diary reminder - OPEN EVENING 2023Thursday 5 October, school will begin later to allow for clear-up, with registration at 10.30am, then onto period 3. Buses will run at the usual times and any students who arrive in school earlier will be supervised in the dining room.


We've issued 974 books so far in September! Will we reach 1,000 today?


Year 11 were busy carrying out tests in science lesson today, trying to determine the presence of lipids, protein and starch. The students were observing and recording whether a colour change occurred which would indicate their presence.


Year 11 were busy carrying out tests in science lesson today, trying to determine the presence of lipids, protein and starch. The students were observing and recording whether a colour change occurred which would which would indicate their presence.


Netball 🏐 Yr 11 and Senior teams played in their district tournament. The Yr 11s made it to the semi finals where they faced a strong STAHS A team and sadly lost. While the Seniors came 3rd in their group, missing out on the semis. After 3 wins and 2 defeats. Well done girls!👏🏼


Just another normal lunchtime with 100’s of students involved in our co-curricular offer. It’s great to see so many students making the most of this opportunity.


Year 8 Netball🏐Well done to both the year 8 netball teams in their games against Samuel Ryder Academy. Both teams displayed lovely movement around the court.A’s won 17-9 B’s won 10-2Players of the match: Savanna and Melissa 👏🏼


We had a fun lunchtime planting winter pansies in pots donated to us. Our seedlings have doubled in size in a week and we pricked out more parsley too.


Wonderful new display board celebrating our peachy lower school summer show#theatrematters


Diary reminder - Year 11 students will have their class and individual photos taken on Thursday 28 September. Please ensure a full and neat uniform.


Year 7 drama class was a hive of activity today as students were creating different shapes as part of their physical theatre learning - each group used their imagination to form objects and scenery such as a cup and saucer, a throne and a volcano.


Day 2 year 13 geography fieldwork investigating regeneration in Boscombe. Giving students ideas for their own NEA fieldwork!


With over 36 languages spoken within the SJL community, staff and students gathered in the library at lunchtime to share their knowledge of different greetings to help celebrate the European Day of Languages.


Year 13 geographers have arrived in Swanage and are straight into investigating sand dune succession at Studland.


KS3 rocking out at the School of Rock auditions this afternoon 🎸


A huge thank you to our prefect team and our yr7 parents as we raised £1700 for our school charities, The Ollie Foundation and MacMillan Cancer Support at our yr7 picnic.


It’s a pleasure to welcome our new yr7 students and parents to our annual Yr7 Picnic. The picnic is entirely organised by our wonderful 6th form prefects.


A great privilege to attend the opening of The Orchard Barn today. This forms part of a community project for gardening, creativity and health, set up by Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith. We can’t wait to visit again with our students

Governor Profiles

A list of the relevant business and pecuniary interests for our Governing Body can be found here

Katy Wilmshurst

Katy Wilmshurst - Chair of Governors

I have been a governor at SJL since 2014, and was previously Vice Chair, safeguarding-linked governor and a member of the SET Admissions Committee. Before that, I was a governor at Manland Primary School, including five years as Chair.

I followed a music degree at Manchester University with a performance diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music and then started my career as a violinist and teacher in a variety of orchestras and settings. I have lived in Harpenden with my family since 2001 and currently work for the Hertfordshire Music Service as a violin teacher in a number of local schools as well as being head of Baldock Music Centre. I also freelance as a violinist.

Having had two children educated at SJL, I’ve seen close-up the outstanding teaching and opportunities on offer to its students and as Chair of the Governing Body I look forward to supporting the school’s future growth and development.

Libby Montgomery Jan2019

Libby Montgomery - Vice Chair of Governors

Having studied Medieval Italian and French at University and lived for a while in Italy, my professional background is in Marketing and Communications and I have worked in a wide range of industries from sports marketing to real estate investment management.  

I have previously held several positions on school Governing Bodies, having been Chair of Governors at Batford Nursery School for 9 years and an additional Governor at schools in St Albans.  I am currently also Chair of Governors at Manland Primary School.  I served as a Strategic Leader of Governance for Herts for Learning, assisting other Governing Bodies to carry out self evaluation and work on strategies for improvement.  I find being in schools interesting and stimulating and am proud to be part of the Governor community at SJL. Both of my children are currently at SJL and I have been involved with the school since they joined. 

Outside of work, I assist a local scout group with organising camps and taking care of all the equipment.  I am a keen squash player and regularly play for local and County teams, with varying degrees of success and now take longer to recover after a match than I ever did before!

Christopher Armitage

I have been involved with SJL for over forty five years as a Head of PE, Assistant Headteacher and now as a Governor. Both my children attended SJL and they are both teachers, so teaching runs in the blood.

I am Chair of the Trust’s Admission Committee and enjoy being actively involved with the school whether it is interviewing new members of staff, meeting the Site Manager or as compere of one of our superb music concerts.

I feel very proud that I can play a small part in the continuing success of Sir John Lawes School. Long may that continue.

S austin

Sarah Austin

I have lived in Harpenden for much of my life, having grown up in the town and moving back to live here when my second child was born. I am fortunate to have attended SJL myself as a pupil all the way from year 7 to year 13 and had a fantastic experience at the school. I am now a parent of two boys at SJL who are thriving and benefitting hugely from all aspects of school life. I am a trained Speech and Language Therapist having qualified from Sheffield university over 20 years ago. Having worked in the NHS for 10 years, I now work independently around Harpenden and the local area with children of various ages with a range of Speech and Language difficulties. I am also a Makaton tutor and regularly run training for nurseries, schools and day centres to help them support communication at their settings. During the covid pandemic, I worked at SJL as a Literacy support tutor for two years providing 1:1 support to pupils who had fallen behind; one of the ways in which the school used the Governments ‘covid catch up fund’. I also previously worked for several years as a Registered Intermediary, supporting children and vulnerable witnesses with communication as they went through challenging police interview and court processes. 

In my spare time I enjoy playing tennis, running and singing in a community choir, and I am a Sunday school leader at our local church. I am delighted to be part the governing body of SJL. Being in the fortunate position of ex-pupil and parent, it’s a privilege to serve as a parent governor at this progressive and inclusive school. 

L Gillot

Lyndsay Gillot

I have been Head of Music at Sir John Lawes School since September 2014 and am in my tenth year of teaching.  I am hugely committed to the school, its students, and its staff.  Through initiatives such as the staff music challenge and staff choir, and involvement in the wellbeing group, I have made a sustained commitment to the school community. 

I am passionate about my work, hard-working, enthusiastic and always willing to go above and beyond - with a smile!

Leila Guerra

Leila Guerra

I have worked in higher education for over 20 years and am currently Vice Dean (Education) at Imperial College Business School. I'm passionate about the power of achieving positive impact through education, empathy and global awareness. I'm also part of international educational Advisory Boards. I hope my experience in education can be of use to support SJL with their inspiring mission and was delighted to be appointed as a parent governor. 

I have 2 children, and my oldest has just started at SJL. Harpenden is our home, although I do have quite an international background having lived in 8 countries. Outside of work and school I love to travel and also being outdoors with the family. 

D hassall 1
David Hassall

I am currently a co-opted governor at Sir John Lawes School having originally joined the governing body as a parent governor not long after my first son started at the school. Since then, my remaining 2 other sons have also attended SJL, before going on to university.

My career has been in medical research, having undertaken my first degree in human biology before studying for a PhD in Biochemistry at the Royal Free Hospital in London. I then joined the pharmaceutical industry in Cardiovascular and respiratory medicines research, ultimately working for GSK. I also lectured at schools and universities on aspects of my work, becoming a STEM ambassador. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to run anti-doping stations in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

In the time I have been a school governor I have helped the school develop many initiatives and seen the important role that SJL has played in the growth of the Scholar’s Education Trust. I have always been impressed by the dedication and hard work of all the staff and the ethos to support every child in their endeavours. Long may it continue.

Danielle heley
Danielle Heley

I thoroughly enjoy being part of the Sir John Lawes community and I'm privileged to have held the post of staff governor since 2017. I was appointed as assistant headteacher in 2022 having commenced my teacher training at Sir John Lawes twenty years previously as an English teacher. Since then I have also been a Literacy Co-ordinator and Head of Year.

Two of my three children, now attend Sir John Lawes. I am very proud of the school and am dedicated to its continued success in delivering the best possible outcomes for our students.

JRO governor

James Robertson

I was very pleased to be elected as a parent governor for SJL in 2021. I have two children at the school and have lived in Harpenden since 2014.

Professionally I have been a civil servant nearly my whole career, working in a variety of government departments in Whitehall and overseas. I currently work on youth policy - overseeing the government's support for teenagers outside of school, working closely with organisations such as Scouts, Girlguiding, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, UK Youth and the National Youth Agency. Our work is all about giving young people access to opportunities to develop themselves outside of school and to get them engaged in the issues that affect them.

I also have a particular interest in adolescent mental health issues and am involved with a Mexican charity that aims to break the inter-generational cycle of violence towards children.

I hope to bring these perspectives to bear in my role as a governor, and in particular to help strengthen the links between SJL and the wider community in Harpenden.

Mike Stevens

I have lived in Harpenden for nearly 40 years and have brought up my 6 children here. I was first involved in school Governance when I was elected as a parent governor at the local primary school my children attended. I was subsequently appointed as an LEA Governor at Wood End Primary School and was Chair of Governors there for a period. I was fortunate to be elected as a Parent Governor at Sir John Lawes and subsequently, after they left for university, was appointed as a Co-opted Governor.

I was invited to become a Governor at Harpenden Academy when it joined the Scholars Educational Trust in 2016 and was Chair of Governors there from 2020 to 2022. I recently left Harpenden Academy in order to take up a role as Governor at Buntingford First school when it opens in September 2023, an exciting new development for the Trust.

I am retired from the public sector where I was engaged throughout my career within various Law Enforcement organisations. Latterly, I was involved in developing Government Policy on Justice and Home affairs and the strategic planning of multi-agency engagement.

What little “me time” I have, after my family, is spent involved in the local branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists motorcycle section. I am a keen biker- it is great for blowing away the cobwebs!

Ellie Butterworth - Head of School

I am beyond excited to be representing Sir John Lawes as Head of School this year, and I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity. I look forward to working with the Governors, students and staff to give back to a community that has made my school experience so enjoyable.

I am studying Maths, Biology and History at A-level and I hope to study Biology at university.

Growing up in SJL has been unforgettable due to the extensive extra-curricular activities that the school offers. I have taken part in every theatre production – a highlight being my role as stage manager in our performance of ‘Oliver’. SJL has allowed me to continuously challenge myself to develop both my confidence and leadership skills, including taking part in the ‘Youth Speaks’ competitions, running ‘History Mystery club’ as well as many campaigning activities.

Outside of school, I am an avid member of a local drama group and go to the theatre as often as I can. I am interested in politics, the environment and how we can bring about positive change.

I look forward to using my platform to raise awareness, represent the voices of all students and to the best of my ability continue to bring excellence to SJL. 

Harrison Whiting - Head of School

I am extremely proud to have been appointed as a Head of School at Sir John Lawes for the upcoming year. This has gifted me the opportunity to give back to such a talented and supportive school community, whilst working in tandem with governors, staff and students alike. Such a prospect extremely excites me and I can’t wait to see what we are able to achieve alongside the prefect team as a whole.

Currently I am studying English, Media and Politics at A-Level.  I hope to study Criminology at university.  As one of my subjects is taught at St Georges, I also have the role of politics consortium ambassador. Within school I have contributed extensively to the house system, acting as a Britten form rep on numerous occasions as well as House captain in year 12.

Outside of school I am actively involved in numerous sporting teams including cricket, as well as captaining a football team for several years. This coupled with my SJL experiences has developed my personal leadership skills.

Over the course of the next year, I look forward to using my platform to develop student voice in the SJL community and assist in developing the outstanding opportunities that SJL is able to offer.

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