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During this week students in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 are taking on the role of apprentices for a range of activities delivered by to help develop skills and an enterprising mindset. Some fantastic ideas showcased in 'elevator pitch' type presentations!


The recording of our amazing Year 7 drama club students performing A Jukebox Journey, organised by our A Level Drama students, is now available to view on the school website.


With final house point and merit mark totals announced in our end-of-year assembly on Friday, here is a glimpse of the House Results Board since 2013.Will Hepworth maintain their House Cup winning streak and which house will be this year's Merit Mark Cup winner?


🟡🔴🟢🏆SPORTS DAY 2024🏆⚪️🟠🔵🟣Another fantastic afternoon of SJL Sport gave us plenty of thrills and spills but in the end it finished with…🔴 Austen as our Champions 🔴Finally someone has knocked Hepworth off of top spot. Thank you to all of our competitors today ❤️


Wishing our students a fantastic Music Tour to Salzburg, Austria - they will visit Salt Mines, Mirabell Gardens, a waterpark, take a cable car ride and boat trip - whilst also performing incredible concerts in amazing locations! Have a wonderful time!


Preparations are underway for Sports Day!


What a fantastic day we had yesterday as we welcomed Year 6 into Sir John Lawes for transition day. Their smiles and excitement were infectious as they explored the school, met their form teachers and made new friends. We can't wait to see you all again in September!


Please note, there is no newsletter this week - look out for our end of term newsletter next week.


Sports Day - Friday 12 July.Students competing need to be in SJL PE kit. All other students can wear non uniform in house colours – please ensure shoulders and midriffs are covered.Sports Day will finish at 3.30pm at the end of the school day.


Year 6 students were welcomed by Mr Barry who will be the Head of Year 7 - before getting to know the school and teachers by participating in lots of fun taster lessons.


Thank you to our student librarians for all your support in the library this year - you are all amazing!


We are excited to welcome Year 6 into school tomorrow for Transition Day - please arrive via the front reception gates at 8.30am where our staff will guide you to the school hall. Please wear a white shirt with collar, smart trousers, shorts or skirt.See you tomorrow!


What a fabulous idea, good luck and have fun!!


Year 7 students were investigating the microclimate around campus this morning as part of their geography lesson.


Guten Tag to our friends from Alzey - it’s a pleasure having you visit SJL!


Year 12 A Level music students have been giving performances this week to Year 7 and Year 8 students, showcasing their incredible talent and sparking inspiration among the younger students.


Incorporating trionimoes has been effective for Year 9 students to help inbed their understanding of mathematical equations.


We are proud to celebrate Year 7 achieving their Bully Free Form status - students demonstrated their understanding of bullying through songs, raps, short plays, diaries, written pieces, artwork and even a newly constructed 'buddy bench'. Well done Year 7!


Well done everyone - especially in the challenging weather conditions!


Our students taking part in the DofE expedition have coped incredibly well in wet conditions!


The latest SJL Newsletter is out now…


Year 7 have demonstrated remarkable culinary skills in Food Tech lessons this year, recently making a scrumptious batch of cheese scones to take home and enjoy.


Wow! The Year 7 Drama Club put on a fantastic performance on Wednesday night, showcasing their incredible acting and singing talents. Huge thanks to our A Level Drama students for putting the whole show together!


House Points aren't just about competition, they're about celebrating every student's unique strengths, their contributions to our school community and demonstrating our ACE - Achievement, Care and Excellence. The House Points tally currently stands at…


Rounders ⚾️Well done to the Year 7 Rounders team who finished second in the district tournament this evening. Fantastic performance all round, well done girls!

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.

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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. 

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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!

Ria Anderson - Head of School

I am immensely proud to have been appointed Head of School at Sir John Lawes and am excited for the upcoming year. During my time at Sir John Lawes, I have played an active role in the school community, largely through participation in various sports teams. As I have grown through the school, the school’s outstanding extracurricular program has given me opportunities to enhance my leadership skills and allowed me to give back to the vibrant and talented school community, such as by helping lead History club, taking part in a Sports Leadership course and becoming a House Captain for Ryder house.

I am currently studying History, Biology and Religious Education for A Levels, and aim to study History and Politics at university. Outside of school I play for the local hockey team and am passionate about social equality, spreading positivity and global politics.

Through my role, I am dedicated to working collaboratively with the prefect team and wider school community to continue to enhance life at SJL. To the best of my ability, I will advocate for all of the students, raise awareness on important causes as well as continuing to strengthen wider opportunities at SJL.

Aryan Pise - Head of School

I feel honoured and proud to be given this opportunity at Sir John Lawes as Head of School. Together with the Prefect Team, I am excited to work with the Governors, Staff and Students. 

I am studying Music, Chemistry and Media BTEC at A-Level and hope to work in the Music and Media industries. Though joining in year 11 amidst GCSE was a critical step, the School community supported and encouraged me tremendously, and within no time I became a part of the SJL family and soon the House Captain of Newton! 

From producing the Summer Prom Documentary to choreographing in the Gym and Dance Display & the school production ‘School of Rock’ (2024), each day at SJL gave me a new chance to explore my skill set. My musical journey reached new heights after being introduced to different instruments (Violin, Viola, Flute, Saxophone) and Western Classical Music. More recently, my friend and I had the opportunity to teach a song we wrote and composed to 200 students from primary schools around Harpenden. I am also involved in a few other clubs - advanced dance, chamber choir and the astronomy club. 

Outside of school I play Badminton at an advanced level and play the viola in a local Orchestra. I’ve also performed dance at community events such as ‘Diwali at Trafalgar’ & Action for Children at Rickmansworth. 

I truly believe that perseverance, creativity and passion can lead to success. Together, let’s move forward to achieve the vision and goal of SJL and incorporate the ideals of the SJL ACE to Achieve, Care and strive for Excellence!

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