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Dates for September 2020 return* are now available on school website (*subject to Government guidelines)


This week's assembly with the theme Control and Influence was delivered to students by Mr Walton "we can decide how we respond to the challenges we face."


Thought for the Week: Trusting each other Word of the Week: Fac


Joining us in September 2020? Our Library Team are looking forward to meeting you, they have put together a welcome newsletter with some exciting activities for students to take part in, including their poster competition


This week’s newsletter is out now...


Retweeted From Alban TSA

NQT Secondary Network now available to book for 2020-21 Four sessions across the year, Sept, Nov, Jan and March. First session to be delivered as a pre-recorded webinar. For further information and bookings:


Joining us in September 2020? Head over to our website to view Miss Marino’s transition video, providing helpful information to support students as they start at SJL this September


Brilliant performances - well done all!


Joining us in September 2020? Our transition activity booklet in now available on the school website, the booklet is a great resource to help form tutors get to know their new Year 7 students.


Wellbeing Wednesday: reactions


Retweeted From National Online Safety

Lockdown your personal info! 🔐👣 You wouldn’t share sensitive information with a stranger, so why do it online? This week’s guide provides tips for parents on protecting ‘Personal Data’ >>


Year 11 & 13 students - this may be of interest to you. Still awaiting clarification on some details however.


This week’s assembly was delivered to students by Mr Williams, with the theme ‘Looking Ahead’. As well as looking back over the past 14 weeks, students are encouraged to think about developments and what are they going to resolve to keep doing?


As Pride Month draws to a close, our amazing rainbow is a reminder of SJL community commitment with hundreds of signatures signing the SJL pledge


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF VIRTUAL SPORTS DAY 🔴🟡🟢🟠⚪️🔵🟣 Please see instructions and following tweets outlining the events and how to enter! Entries and proof of participation to Mr Bloxham


Retweeted From SJLScience

James in 7L sent us this beautiful photo of poppies on Harpenden Common. They are beautiful!


Thought for the Week: Being brave and showing grit Word of the Week: Duc, duct


Retweeted From SJLScience

Some stunning strawberries and raspberries growing in our eco garden! ?


Retweeted From SJLdrama

I absolutely love the detail that has gone into this set design for the End of KS3 Drama Project. Well done, Scarlett in Y8! 🎭


Year 9 timetables have now been issued, they are also available on the Documents tab of your EduLink account. Please make sure your child has a copy of their timetable with them when they are in school.


Joining us in September 2020? Our Yr 7 team are busy working on your induction plan. SJL are proud that we have always set aside the first week as an induction for Yr 7 students. Our Library Taster session originally scheduled for 6 July, will now be part of that induction.


SJL Wellbeing Week: Take Notice During lockdown many of us had to stop, but as restrictions are eased remember to pause and take a moment to notice what is beautiful or unusual in the world


This week’s newsletter is out now...


Retweeted From SJLScience

Always a fun game to play! Except there is not a cloud in the sky today


SJL Wellbeing Week: Keep Learning Learning new things can build your confidence as well as being fun. Set challenges to see what you can achieve


Retweeted From Herts School Games

Fab stuff from 🙌 solid entry from for the KS3 Competition


Congratulations everyone who took part


Important message for Y9 parents has been sent via EduLink, please check your email for details.


Joining September 2020? We cannot wait to welcome you through our doors, until then visit our website for a mini virtual tour of Sir John Lawes School


Wellbeing Wednesday: set goals


SJL Wellbeing Week: Be Active Being active is about having fun. Spend time doing things you enjoy


Joining us in September? Welcome from Ms Marino, Head of Year 7 2020 available on school website now


SJL Wellbeing Week: Connect Think about connections around you, lots of us have been building stronger relationships with our local communities. Maintain those connections to increase happiness and self-worth


Retweeted From SJLdrama

SUPER excited to welcome Year 12 back into the Drama space this morning 🎭


Welcome to what should be Wellbeing Week at SJL. Today we're highlighting GIVE from the Take 5 theme. Use this week to find new ways to give: make that extra phone call; add something to a food bank box... take a moment to think of others, reap the benefits


Year 6, joining us in September? Look out for your welcome assembly. Link issued via Edulink. If you have any problems logging in to Edulink, please contact


Thought for the Week: Aiming for a happy life Word of the Week: Dict, dic


Joining us in September? From next week keep an eye out for a whole range of materials to help you get ready! Make sure you have set up your Edulink account so you don't miss anything!


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

Well done to all who entered in the virtual pentathlon. Fantastic performances, the top 4 results for each age group go though to be compared at district level. Details of qualifying performances can be found on SMHW noticeboard . Congratulations all!

More Able and Gifted & Talented Students

At Sir John Lawes School we believe that all children are entitled to an education that will enable them to develop their full potential, be that intellectual, physical, aesthetic, creative, emotional, spiritual or social, finding appropriate challenge in our learning environment.

All students have individual needs, making personalised learning a priority in our teaching and learning.

Sir John Lawes School is committed to providing a sufficiently challenging curriculum for all its students. In addition, we will provide opportunities to identify those who are more able and nurture their individual abilities.

All students have an entitlement to the following:

  • Staff commitment and training to develop students’ full potential at all times.
  • Lessons that stimulate, engage, challenge, inform, excite and encourage through partnership and dialogue with teachers and other students and active participation in the lesson.
  • Courses that lead to examinations and accreditation.
  • Skilled, well-prepared and informed teachers who have a perspective and understanding of whole school needs, problems and policies, especially those concerning issues related to those students identified as more able.
  • An entitlement beyond subject teaching, including preparation for adult life and preparation for the world of work. This should include extra-curricular activity, personal and social education, careers guidance and counselling, extramural experiences including visits to local industry, work experience and community service.

Contact with parents

There are a number of formal and informal ways that we maintain contact with parents.  These include:

  • An initial letter is sent home following the inclusion of a student as MASt and/or Gifted and/or Talented in the MASt and Gifted and Talented Register
  • An Open Evening is held during each Summer term showcasing the work done during the year.  Parents have the opportunity to discuss MASt and Gifted and Talented provision with representatives of each Faculty, discuss student concerns with Head of MASt and Gifted & Talented, Mrs. Brining, and have any questions answered
  • Mailings are sent home to inform parents of any new events, master classes or courses being offered
  • These dedicated pages of the school website hold information on the different aspects of the MASt and Gifted and Talented programme
  • Items in the SJL Newsletters celebrate the achievements of our MASt and Gifted and Talented cohort and keeps parents informed of forthcoming events
  • Parents are periodically asked for feedback.
Faculty Name
Art Alina Pullinger
Business and Computing Sue Griffiths
Computing Sophie Scott
Design and Technology Joe James
Drama Rachel Woolrych
English Emma Brining
Geography Claire Pellett
Governor Andy Battersby
History Jessica Bigden
Library Marion Prickett
Life Skills Manny Fernandez
LINK Maria Santos Richmond
Maths Audrey Aspland
Media Zoe Ollerenshaw
MFL Dilan Silva
Music Lizzie Hastings-Clarke
PE Andy Battersby
RS Julia Power
Science Richard Morton


Identification and monitoring

What do we look for?

  • Intellectual ability or talent
  • Specific academic aptitude
  • Creative and productive thinking
  • Leadership ability
  • Talent for visual and performing arts
  • Psychomotor ability.

More Able Students Register

Year 7 students sit Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) in their first term. Those achieving an average CATS stanine of 8 or more are identified as More Able Students.

They are added to the More Able Students (MASt) and Gifted and Talented Register and parents are informed by letter. These students will always be identified as MASt until the end of Year 11. In Sixth Form, More Able Students are identified as the top 10% in their year group using their GCSE Average Points Score.

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) is the most widely used test of reasoning ability in the UK and has been fully standardized on 25,000 UK pupils. The suite of tests has been developed to support schools in understanding pupils’ developed abilities and likely academic potential. Results from CAT4 can help in intervention, monitoring progress and setting targets for future attainment.

Aimed at pupils between 6 to 17+ years, CAT4 assesses a pupil’s ability to reason with and manipulate different types of material through a series of Verbal, Non-Verbal, Quantitative and Spatial Ability tasks. Together, these four tests provide teachers with a comprehensive profile of a pupil’s reasoning abilities, and as such the core abilities related to learning.

The resulting data can then be used to identify a pupil’s strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences, providing accurate and reliable information that is essential for personalized learning. The more we know about a pupil, the better position we should be in to offer a learning environment and ways of teaching and learning that allow pupils to maximize their potential. Information about a pupil’s reasoning ability will be key to many teaching decisions and is considered alongside attainment data and other factors known to impact on learning, such as attendance and attitude.

Why does SJL use CAT4?

  • Helps pinpoint gifted and talented pupils and underachievers
  • Supports schools in monitoring progress and setting targets for future attainment
  • Identifies spatial thinkers who are likely to excel in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
  • Provides indicators of outcomes at KS3, KS4, and KS5
  • Reports support communication with parents, pupils, teachers and senior leaders. 

Gifted and Talented Students

Gifted Subjects

Business Studies & Economics, Computing, English, History, Geography, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Religious Studies, Science. 

Talented Subjects

Art, Critical Thinking, Dance, Drama, Food Technology, Leadership, Life Skills, Media, Music, Physical Education, Product Design/Graphics, Textiles.

There is a formal yearly review and update of the Gifted and Talented Register in the Autumn term for Years 8 – 13 and in the Spring term for Year 7. Students are continually monitored by teaching staff, who nominate students for inclusion in the MASt and Gifted and Talented Register  for outstanding performance in their subject area, or in any other activity staff are aware of. This includes nominations by the Pastoral team (Form Tutors and Heads of Year) following outstanding achievements in extra-curricular and/or super-curricular activities.

Parents of these students are written to in the Autumn term notifying them of their child’s Gifted and/or Talented subject nomination(s) for that academic year. These students would receive differentiated work in their nominated subjects stretching and challenging them further. If a student underachieves subsequently over the course of the academic year, their teacher can decide not to nominate them for inclusion in the following academic year’s Register.

It would be expected that MASt students should have a larger number of Gifted and Talented nominations than other students.

Parental nominations for inclusion in the MASt and Gifted and Talented Register, supported by relevant evidence, can also be submitted at any time.

The MASt and Gifted and Talented Register  exists within school which includes the following:

Year Group MASt Numbers on Register No. of MASt Gifted and Talented Nominations No. of non-MASt Gifted and Talented Nominations
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10
Year 11
Year 12
Year 13
% of school population (1308 on roll)

Provision within the curriculum

Teaching and learning

Within the curriculum, we have been working to extend the expertise of our staff in providing a rich and varied range of activities specifically designed to extend our more able students. Teaching strategies have been developed to include different intelligences and learning styles, extending the provision in response to what the students themselves have told us helps them to learn.


  • Mathematics - setting in years, starts by October in Year 7; sets are continually monitored and adjusted as appropriate..
  • Science - all year groups are set, starting in the first half term of Year 7; sets are reviewed twice a year.
  • English - there is setting from Year 8, with single-gender top sets in Years 10 and 11.



  • Curriculum acceleration starts in Year 7, more able students start GCSE course in Year 9.
  • Fast track - GCSE Mathematics in Year 10, GCSE Additional Mathematics in Year 11.
  • Occasionally individual programmes are designed for particularly outstanding students
  • Further Maths at A level.


  • Able students are offered separate GCSE courses in Biology, Physics and Chemistry.


  • Year 10 - Able linguists study two languages.
  • Students who speak a second language are supported in taking the GCSE through the school. Recently we have had students taking GCSEs in Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Latin.


  • Advanced texts and equipment have been provided for all faculties.
  • Curriculum-related extension courses and master classes are regularly offered.

In addition to the above, all faculties include MASt and gifted and talented provision within their schemes of work.

Chess Club

Chess Club meets every lunchtime Monday to Friday in M5 from 12.50pm – 1.30pm. It also meets in L5 every Wednesday lunchtime with Mr Silva and sixth formers helping to tutor students. Mr Silva organised our first successful house tournament and we have played several external tournaments with other schools.

Chess millie boy Chess stage 1
Chess use 1


Mr Silva also delivered an assembly on playing chess to encourage students to try the game as Chess:

  • brings people together. Players can have big age differences and still enjoy a game together
  • helps you improve your problem solving skills
  • develops your spatial skills. You are constantly thinking of the opponent’s moves, thinking 2, 3 or moves ahead – a transferable skill to other sports
  • improves memory
  • involves both sides of the brain. A study demonstrated that both the left (the more logical) and right (more creative) sides of the brain are exercised during a game of chess

Everybody welcome!

Go Club

Go Club meets every lunchtime Monday to Friday in M5 from 12.50pm – 1.30pm. The ancient Chinese game of Go is one of the oldest board games in the world and flourishes in Japan and Korea also. More than 60 countries now compete in the annual World Amateur Go Championships.

More information can be found at the British Go Association which supports and runs an on-line league and UK tournaments, and they are offering a free one hour online teaching session to those joining for the first time.

Go head12

British Go Associations tutors Mr Cockburn and Mr Oliviere are occasionally available to teach and advise students how to play and improve their game. We became UK School Champions in 2019!

Sir John Lawes and its Go Club feature in the Spring edition of the British Go Journal which records the second Harpenden Go Tournament held earlier this year. Twenty six players from across the South East enjoyed the Go with congratulations to Oliver Bardsley winning two of his games. Subsequently, the Maidenhead Tournament saw Oliver winning three games and several prizes! Congratulations to the Sir John Lawes Go Club who were the best school team at this tournament!

Go herts ad
Go oliver b 1 Go ollie r
Go edie t Go trophy


Try these strategic Go puzzles:

Everybody welcome!

Latin Club

Latin Club (SOCIETAS LINGUAE LATINAE) meets in L8 every Tuesday from 3.30pm – 4.45pm.

 Latin Club Poster

We follow the Cambridge Latin Course and Memrise which students can also access from home. This is supported by e-learning and text books. There are 12 levels in Cambridge Latin Course Book 1 and 19 levels in Memrise. There is a Cambridge Latin Course assessment every four levels. Students have a vocabulary book each and Mrs Brining, Mr Garcia and Governor Mrs Montgomery support learning. Ms Robins can offer GCSE Latin at Sixth Form by arrangement.

Caecilius Cambridge1

Latin Year 9

Year 9 Latin students with their Cambridge Latin Course certificates

having passed Levels 4 and 8


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