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Reminder to Y13 parents that online Parents’ Evening is taking place this evening.


Day 6 in our advent countdown


Christmas is coming to Food Technology lessons next week, with the SJL Christmas Biscuit Competition for all years currently doing food rotation. Students look out for more information heading your way.


Retweeted From SJL Library

Many SJL students have already grabbed a Christmas read for the holidays from our display. We also have some new cosy festive romance fiction from , and as well as Whiteout - a collection of stories celebrating black teen love in winter.


Retweeted From Oxfam

Amazing! A huge well done and thank you to all involved! 💚✨ - Soph


You are warmly invited to attend our Post 16 Information Evening which takes place on Thursday 19 January 2023.  The information evening registration form should be completed by Monday 12 December 2022.


Tremendous thanks to the Oxfam Group and their fundraising with a bake sale and providing refreshments during the school play intervals last week. Well done to all the students involved.


Day 5 in our advent countdown


Day 4 in our advent countdown


Day 3 in our advent countdown


The second half did not disappoint. Fantastic performances throughout. Huge congratulations to all the students and staff who made it possible.


Superb 1st half performance of Romeo and Juliet.


Year 11: good luck to our Year 11 as they head off on study leave for their mock exams. "Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later. " Og Mandino


This week's newsletter is out today...


Retweeted From SJLdrama

Friar Lawrence leads the chorus in Like A Prayer before marrying Romeo and Juliet on our second night


Day 2 in our advent countdown


Have You Met…? Immensely proud of the students who took part in today’s event, sharing their interests with staff and friends


Retweeted From RHS Campaign for School Gardening

Love these colourful decorations, what a great idea 💐


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

Absolutely amazing show! Congratulations to and all the students involved.


Well done to all entrants to this year's Christmas Card competition, there were stunning pieces of work with over 230 entries this year. We'll be sharing some of the excellent designs as go through our Christmas Advent countdown


Retweeted From SJL Ecoschools

Christmas decorations 🎄in progress!


Last remaining tickets available... tickets available on ParentPay


The stage is set, we cannot wait for this evening’s opening night of Romeo and Juliet


Parents’ Evening for Year 12 will take place on Thursday 12 January online via SchoolCloud. Further information about SchoolCloud and how to book your appointments will be sent home next week.


We are hiring! Join our caring and experienced teaching and support staff, apply now


Retweeted From Send My Friend

Campaign Champions from brought 222 dreams made my their fellow students to Parliament representing the of their friends across the🌏 asking to pledge £170 million to Education Cannot Wait 👉Read on to hear their message📚✨ 🧵1/5


Retweeted From John McLaverty

Young people at wrote 222 calls to action representing the 222 million children out of school because of conflict & emergencies. Today Evie & Anneka represent & are presenting them in Parliament & calling on UK Govt to pledge £170m for


Retweeted From John McLaverty

Anneka & Evie present 222 education dreams from Y8s to MPs & CSOs in Parliament and call for to pledge £170m to This was a massively impressive presentation which put all the cards on the table, as only youth can do


Despite the chillier weather, it is great to see so many students taking part in co-curricular activities in their lunch time


Proud of our students sharing their voice for others who can’t


Retweeted From SJL Library

Since we all loved sharing our favourite Pokémon last week, we've got some book suggestions for you, based on your starter!


Reminder to Y13 parents that booking for online Parents’ Evening closes tomorrow, 29 Nov at 6pm


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

Thanks for for an enjoyable morning of rugby 🏉


Retweeted From SJL PE Faculty

Friday Night preparations for Gym and Dance display well underway.


❄️ World Challenge Winter Fair ❄️ The World Challenge inspires our students to be global citizens, please do come along to support them and also purchase some Christmas gifts.


A warm welcome to Sophie & Ellie from Oxfam who are at SJL today to talk about the impact of global warming, adaptation & climate justice.


This week's newsletter is out today...


Retweeted From SJL 6th Form

Some of our year 12 students attended the St Albans Cathedral ‘Speak Your Mind’ Debate yesterday on the topic of ‘No Platforming & Freedom of Speech’. Speakers included Bim Afolami, Daisy Cooper and Claire Fox.


Year 7 reminder: absolute deadline for Year 7 photographs orders is tomorrow morning - all orders must be received by 8.40am Friday 25 November.


Retweeted From SJL Ecoschools

Exciting times ahead as we start our botanical art project, making eco friendly decorations. Our dried flowers were sorted ready for next weeks session when we’ll start decorating our Christmas templates.

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 Ailish Dunne
Computing Sophie Scott
Design and Technology Nosheen Yunis
Drama Rachel Woolrych
English Emma Brining
Geography Claire Pellet
History Jessica Bigden
Library Chloe James
Life Skills Manny Fernandez
LINK Maria Santos Richmond
Maths Audrey Aspland
Media Emma Smythe
MFL Caroline Michel Sam King
Music Lizzie Hastings-Clarke
PE Andy Battersby
Psychology and Sociology Amy Speechley
RS Maria Santos Richmond
Science Greg Brennan


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, Computing, Economics, English, Financial Studies, History, Geography, Latin, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Psychology, Religious Studies, Science and Sociology. 

Talented Subjects

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

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 to Year 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.


  • 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 & Talented provision within their schemes of work.

Chess Club

Chess Club meets every lunchtime Monday to Friday in M5 from 12.50pm – 1.30pm for Year 7 & 8 and in Z1 for Years 9 to 11.

Chess millie boy Chess stage 1
Chess use 1


  • 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


Tom Year 11 has created this beautiful chess board in Design and Technology!

Tom Redway chessSet 2 2022 Tom Redway chessSet 3 2022
Tom Redway chessSet 4 2022

Chess         Everyone welcome!

Go Club

Go Club meets every lunchtime Monday to Friday in M5 from 12.50pm – 1.30pm for Years 7 & * and in Z1 for Years 9 to 11. 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 tutor Mr Cockburn is 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 M9 every Tuesday from 3.30pm – 4.45pm.

 Latin Club Poster

* Change of room, you can find Latin Club M9 every Tuesday

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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