Between November 14 and 16, the Art Department held a very exciting event for the entire school community.
This November, Habs Boys and Habs Girls united together for Remembrance Day. This included parades and services, with junior and senior students all gathering to mark the occasion.
The Annual CCF Remembrance Parade was attended by Cadets from Navy, Army and RAF Sections paraded together on the Croquet Lawn, ably marshalled by Colonel Major Sandercock and led by Cadet Warrant Officer Kishan (Upper Sixth).
The parade and guests observed a prayer for the fallen, before hearing the names of Old Haberdashers lost in service du
ring both World Wars. Contingent Commander Squadron Leader Pearson gave a moving speech, followed by the Last Post, salute and Reveille, played to perfection by bugler, Sergeant Ben (Lower Sixth).
Rounding off the parade, our Executive Principal, Mr Gus Lock and President of the Old Haberdashers Association, Mr Colin Blessley both laid wreaths at the School’s Memorial. It was a moving and poignant tribute to the service personnel lost over the years.
Meanwhile, all pupils and staff from Year 2 to Year 6 gathered in front of the school memorial. In their own act of remembrance, our students showed great maturity, reflecting on the huge sacrifices made to ensure the freedom we have today.
On Remembrance Sunday, Year 6 students from both the Prep and Junior Schools also took part in the Radlett Remembrance Parade. Walking alongside other local groups, the parade included the Scouts, Guides, Rainbows, Brownies, the armed forces and the emergency services.
Thank you to all those who attended our Remembrance events, and to our students who represented Habs so well. Lest we forget.
Former Habs student sets gold standard in medicine
One of our former students, Niraj Doshi (OH 2017), was the proud winner of this year’s Gold Medal for Medicine, awarded by University of London.
The prior recipient of a Habs bursary, Niraj paid tribute to his time at our Boys’ school. “Receiving a bursary during my time at Habs was life-changing,” he remarked. “Perhaps the most important benefit was seeing that the school believed in me from a young age, and were willing to help nurture my potential regardless of my family's financial ability.”
Niraj believes many of his achievements stem from the confidence he gained while studying with us, believing it demonstrates the power of investing in a student’s education.
Niraj claimed his gold medal after taking part in a competitive ‘viva’ assessment. Competition for the gold was elite, with Niraj up against the top 1% of students from the capital’s leading medical schools, namely University College London, Imperial College London, King’s College and St George’s, University of London, along with Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
The assessment itself was comprised of six scenarios, with examiners including the President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and Head of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
While the knowledge component of the viva was challenging, perhaps the most vital skill was engaging in conversation with the examiners, while keeping calm under pressure. Far from shrinking from the task, Niraj relished the chance for spirited discussions with such eminent clinicians.
“My foundation at Habs has helped me develop these abilities and stood me in good stead so far”, Niraj commented. “Thank you very much for all your support over the years.”
Since graduating from our Boys’ school, Niraj has attended University College London and continues to support the Habs community. In February this year, he participated as a speaker in our Visiting Speakers’ Programme, whilst also returning as a guest at our Careers in Medicine Networking Breakfast in 2022
Struck by the Royal Mint, the gold medal also came with £500 in prize money. Congratulations, Niraj. It is thoroughly well-deserved.
On Sunday 1 October, Habs Boys took part in the ECF Secondary Schools Rapidplay Chess Tournament 2023.
Hosted by Eton College, the exciting event saw 52 teams from 42 schools competing across five separate rounds. As the name Rapidplay suggests, it all happened in the space of a day.
When it came time for the tournament, three students from our usual ‘A team’ were unable to play, which saw three new players rise to the challenge. Kanishk (8R1) and Adi (8R2) both made their Eton debuts, while Ru 9H2 stepped in at the last moment. Also representing the school were Savin L6H1, Kian L6R1 and Avyukt 9M2, with each player performing superbly.
While Kian won all five of his matches, Kanishk and Avyukt won four and drew one each. With Adi triumphing in four and Ru victorious in three, it was an impressive score. Not only individually, but a great team effort too.
The contest went right down to the wire, with Habs Boys coming third overall, just one point behind winners, Wilson’s School, and half a point behind second-placed Hampton School.
With such a close finish, the boys were content with their success. Eton, meanwhile, proved truly gracious hosts, treating parents and teachers to a tour of the historic school.
As Habs students recently discovered, one of Europe’s leading jazz venues can be found in the basement of a Soho pizza restaurant.
This tiny room has played host to generations of renowned artists from across the world. With the audience crammed in, peering around columns and waiters, musical sparks will often fly as artists perform on stage. But the venue makes a great place to teach, too.
This year, we decamped from our sunny Elstree base to make more jazz music history at the iconic venue. We welcomed five young music ambassadors to join our teaching team - Immy, Mali, Aaron, Kielan and Arun. Our guest teachers came from a variety of renowned music colleges, ranging from the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, to the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
As eminent writers, instrumentalists and bandleaders within their respective college, each ambassador brought their own sound and character. It perfectly captured the approach we take with our students, encouraging openness, personality and grit. Immy, Mali, Aaron, Kielan and Arun had all this in spades.
At its best, jazz is provocative, virtuosic and wildly charismatic. After all, it’s very much an underground music scene. So where better for Habs students to learn and play, than a legendary venue hidden beneath a pizza place?
On Wednesday 4 October, both Habs Boys’ and Habs Girls’ Hindu Societies joined forces for our 3rd annual Navratri Garba.
A traditional Indian folk dance, the Garba is an important part of Navaratri, a yearly Hindu festival. Taking place in a colourfully decorated Bourne Hall, the event was an incredible sight to see. With over 300 people dressed in vibrant chaniya cholis and kurtas, the evening kicked off with a teachers-only rendition of Be Taali.
Everyone soon joined in, before we heard from our very own Mrs Mistry and Dhol players for the Aarti. Students were then treated to mouth-watering Dabeli and Samosas. Finally, we rounded things off with Dandiya Raas and a tiring yet thrilling Ramjaniyu.
A huge thanks to the Sixth Form committee from both schools. Dr Krishnadasan, Mrs Mistry, Mrs Vekaria, Mrs Valambhia and Mrs Patel did a fantastic job organising the Garba. Special thanks must also go to Mr Verma for arranging the Dhol ensemble.
Amazing news. In early September, Eric (7M) and his teammate won the World Robot Olympiad Final for the RoboMission Junior group.
Under the team name of 'The Light Bulb Eaters', both students now advance to the International World Robots Olympiad Final in November, to be held in Panama City.
The RoboMission category challenges teams to build a robot capable of carrying out tasks, such as picking up and delivering objects, navigating a maze, or even sorting items. This year, the theme is sustainability and innovation under the sea.
"This is the first year Eric and his teammate have taken part in the competition," says Eric's dad. "They showed great creativity and resilience yesterday. Their main competitor was last year's winner, so had the advantage of experience and robot build, in that they could use two extra motors."
They had a very good start, yet under great stress in a loud room, Eric and his teammate had to explore lots of different options, while dealing with unexpected components and surprise rules, such as reducing the robot weight to gain a score multiplier.
In the end, The Light Bulb Eaters found a delicate compromise of stability, time and task execution, choosing to ignore harder tasks that only offered low points. With the competitor robot being less stable and making a few mistakes, the team eventually won.
"It was an exciting result, and a great payoff for his time and devotion since March," Eric's dad explains. "Two years ago, Eric was deeply intrigued and motivated by the Vex Robot competition he saw at the Habs Open Day. He's been yearning to take part ever since, so I'm glad to see him progressing, and look forward to more great achievements at Habs."
From Indonesia and Valencia, to Munich and Offenburg, students from our Habs Boys School spent the summer improving their skills, while exploring the world.
Diving in tropical Indonesia
As the Summer Term ended, 20 students and four staff from our Boys School flew to North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Our first stop was Murex Manado. Arriving to a warm welcome and a lush, tropical paradise, the students couldn’t wait to explore the turquoise waters. Having gained their PADI Open Water Diver qualification through school, our students were amazed by the abundant sea life of the famous Bunaken Marine Park.
Then came Murex Bangka, where they sampled reef diving and learned about coral preservation. Over the course of our dives, students saw whitetip reef sharks, octopus, sea horses, rays, tropical fish and many more. Thanks to Mr Teague, Miss Willows and Mr Wheeler for making it all possible.
Speaking Spanish in sunny Valencia
At the start of the holidays, 30 of our Year 10 Spanish students flew out to Valencia. Staying in groups with local families, students immersed themselves in the culture. Every morning, the students took fun, but intensive Spanish lessons with Ana and Rosa from Españolé School.
In the afternoons, students explored the city with tour guides, Carlos and Carla. Sampling traditional food, playing beach volleyball, visiting the Mestalla Football Stadium and marvelling at the City of Arts and Sciences. Students ended the trip cycling and boating around the beautiful Albufera National Park. Thank you to Sra Shooter, Sr Kerr and Sra Gómez for an invaluable trip.
Meeting our friends in Munich
As part of our exchange with the Gisela Gymnasium, a group of Year 9 and 10 students jetted off to Munich. Sampling a lesson in their Gymnasium school, students explored the historical city by day and spent the evenings getting to know their host families.
Students also crossed the Austrian border to Salzburg, toured a Bavarian salt mine, visited Regensbourg and took a boat trip along the Danube. Visiting Olympic Park, BMW Welt and Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, students continued to spend time with their host families, including a weekend swimming in lakes and watching the Sommernachstraum fireworks. A big thank you to Frau Von Truchsess, Mrs Brock and language assistant, Fabio.
The highly respected Arkwright Engineering Scholarship, designed to inspire and equip the next generation of UK engineering talent has recently released the names of the Scholarship students for 2023-2025. Alex L6C1 and Niccolo L6C2 have been successful this year from the Boys’ School. This bring the total number of Scholars in the past twenty + years to 39. Congratulations also to Sabrina L6 from the Boys’ School.
This esteemed scholarships are awarded to bright and aspiring 16-year-old students from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with an increasing number being award to females in the constant effort to encourage women into Engineering.
For over 30 years, the Scholarship has provided young people in the UK with a fully sponsored programme of hands-on experience, professional mentorship and careers guidance throughout their A-levels and Scottish Higher qualifications.
The engineering industry plays an essential role in the ongoing development of a diverse pipeline of future engineering talent that will pave the way for greater innovation and help sustain the nation’s development and economic well-being - however, skilled engineers are in short supply.
With women currently accounting for just 22 per cent of the STEM workforce, the Arkwright Engineering Programme aims to close the gender gap and support young people from all backgrounds with the skills and confidence to change the world through engineering.
Arkwright Engineering Scholars benefit from financial support, professional mentorship, exclusive networking opportunities and real-world learning experiences with leading engineering firms such as the IET, the RAF, Rolls Royce and Network Rail. The enrichment experiences offer students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in different engineering specialisms and discover a wide range of exciting career paths, from aerospace to robotics.
The programme aims to break down the misconceptions which some young people may have around working in STEM and offer exposure to inspiring female engineering role models, as scholars get to experience first-hand the positive impact which engineering can have on society.
Our Executive Principal Gus Lock gave a compelling talk at a local school last week. What is the future of education and how do we best prepare our children?
A child who started in Reception at Habs this September will enter the workplace in or around 2040 and will probably reach the peak of their professional careers in the 2070s. We all need to understand and adapt to the way in which technology and AI will affect our lives and the workplace of the future; we need to consider how we can contribute to equity in our society and play our part in tackling the environmental challenges we face on this planet. Our children must be equipped to thrive and to lead in this fast-changing world.
At its heart, the Habs Elstree Schools exist to empower young people to make a profound impact in the world, and our strategy seeks to help them develop the skills and confidence, as well as the energy and moral determination to do just that. Over the last year, we have reviewed, updated and simplified our six strategic aims. These range from our academic and pastoral ambitions, to work on our campus, and recruiting and retaining the very best staff.
You can find our strategy here and watch our introductory video from our new Executive Principal and Heads.
Our future generations will inherit the decisions we make today as a society. So who better to debate them than young people?
In early September, Upper Sixth students from Habs Elstree School took part in the Autumn Session of The European Youth Parliament UK (EYPUK). Held at Liverpool Hope University, the theme was ‘Empower’, encouraging young people to take a lead in issues that will shape the future of Europe.
EYPUK is an independent, non-partisan charity that engages young people politically in the UK and Europe. Offering a platform to express their opinions, the event helps them to build new skills, confidence and friendships.
It all happens through a yearly debating competition with regional and national rounds. Run by young people, for young people, EYPUK just part of the wider European Youth Parliament, the continent’s largest political youth organisation.
Our Upper Sixth students - Aniruddh (U6S2), Aparna (U6 TD), Aryan (U6R2), Avi (U6J2), Dylan (U6H2), Mimifunoluwa (U6 CW), Manav (U6S2), Raahan (U6 H1) and Sienna (U6 KXO) - took part in four days of team-building, committee work and general assembly debating.
Exploring issues such the conflict in Ukraine and how much AI should be used in healthcare, there were fun evening events too, such as a Euroconcert and quiz. Not to mention Eurovillage, with each group bringing food from a different European country.
Many new friends were made with students from the other thirteen schools and colleges, spanning the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland. We were especially delighted to meet a team from Haberdashers' Schools Monmouth, competing in their first National Forum of EYPUK.
Even better, our team was selected by the jury to represent EYPUK abroad, at a future event in Europe. It’s a wonderful achievement, so our warmest congratulations to our students and head coach, Mrs Wilding.
Warmest welcome to our new Headmaster, Mr Robert Sykes. Robert served as Head of Spanish at Habs from 2011 – 2014 and then as Deputy Head Academic since April 2020. Outside of Habs Robert has spent the majority of his career in leading independent schools in and around London. Robert is passionate about providing an ambitious and dynamic education for young people, one that will enable them to have a profound impact on our community here in Elstree but also in the world around them.
Mr Robert Sykes, “ This is a very exciting moment for me, and I feel humbled and privileged to be taking on the role of Headmaster at this wonderful school. I am fully aware of the strengths of Habs and the potential that the school has. Habs is a dynamic, ambitious, and caring school and I am very excited to be leading the school forward into the next phase of our development.
As a school, we have also thought a lot about our values of ambition, curiosity, courage, and community, as well as our core purpose. As a school we strive to empower young people to make a profound impact in the world. This might mean leaving us ready to lead, to bring others along with them and to drive profound and positive change in society. This could equally mean having a profound impact in personal ways on those around them, growing up to be good people, caring partners and valued friends to others. By maintaining our academic ambition and enabling students to achieve the highest academic outcomes, whilst also supporting them to grow personally, and to invest in our community, we can be sure that they will leave us fully equipped to make their own profound impact in the world.
I am very grateful for the outstanding work of Mr Gus Lock, over the past five years. As Headmaster, Gus steered the school admirably through some considerable challenges, and has energised the whole school community as he has led our exciting and ambitious strategy. I very much look forward to continuing to work with Gus as he moves on to become Executive Principal of the Haberdashers’ Elstree Schools. I am also delighted to welcome to our community Dr Hazel Bagworth-Mann who joins as Headmistress of Habs Girls. Hazel and I worked with each other previously, and I am delighted that we are able to work together again”.
As an academically ambitious school, students at Habs can expect to be challenged above and beyond any exam curriculum. We encourage students to think hard and we nurture intellectual curiosity, all of which enables students not just to excel in exams and achieve their higher education goals, but also to develop an enduring love of learning. We develop students’ personal skills and attributes.
Through our exciting curriculum and our outstanding range of co-curricular and partnership opportunities, students develop character, independence, creativity, teamwork and the ability to communicate and motivate others. We value every individual for who they are and support our students to find happiness. We encourage students to take responsibility and ownership. Students have opportunities to lead, in Sports, Music, the Arts, CCF, through our partnership initiatives, and in many other ways, helping them to recognise the part that they can play to make our community even stronger and more cohesive, whilst having fun along the way.
By enabling students to achieve the highest academic outcomes, to grow personally, and to invest in our community, we can be sure that they will leave us fully equipped to make their own profound impact in the world.
We are enormously proud of the outstanding GCSE results our students have achieved today. As with A Level results last week, this year’s boundaries are much more closely aligned with pre-pandemic standards. The achievement of these figures is therefore all the more impressive given that this cohort navigated online education through two national lockdowns. These results demonstrate the resilience, dedication and hard work of all our students and we are also very grateful to all our staff and families who have supported our students throughout this exceptional period in education.
At Habs Boys, 50% of the grades awarded were 9 and 91% 9-7, and over at Habs Girls 45% of the grades awarded were 9 and 86% 9-7.
At Habs we believe these grades are just one part of the educational journey and they would not have been possible without the ambition and commitment our staff and the other academic and extensive co-curricular opportunities available on the campus. These opportunities create relevant life skills and character development opportunities for all our students.
In September we are excited to be welcoming both our current students and our new joiners into the Sixth Form. Alongside our Upper Sixth, this new cohort will also be taught in co-educational classes for A Levels and the Habs Diploma. This is the culmination of our planned Sixth Form strategy.
We are thrilled with another excellent year of A Level results. Habs Boys, 48% of the grades awarded were A* and 81% A* to A and alongside us at Habs Girls, 34% of the grades awarded were A* and 74% A* - A.
We congratulate our Upper Sixth on their hard work and dedication to achieve these incredible A Level results, despite experiencing two national lockdowns and the vagaries of Teacher Assessed Grades at GCSE. Thanks must also go to our staff for their continued level of ambition in expected outcomes, who have providing both encouragement and support to our students.
It has been a busy year at Habs. We have pushed forward with our ten-year strategy; the introduction of co-educational classes in the Sixth Form last September has been received very positively by both students and parents and this year the entire Sixth Form cohort will be studying a minimum of one A Level in mixed gender classes across both schools.
From September, we welcome a new leadership structure, testament to our desire to further progress the implementation of the ten-year strategic development plan. Mr Gus Lock, has been promoted to Executive Principal responsible for Habs Boys and Habs Girls. He is supported by newly promoted Mr Robert Sykes, Head of Habs Boys and incoming Dr Hazel Bagworth-Mann, Head of Habs Girls.
Whilst we made the decision last year to no longer feature in the exam league tables, our public examination results, as seen today, remain among the very best in the country. Outstanding outcomes remain a priority at Habs; our focus is on academic ambition, intellectual rigour above and beyond any exam specification and the development of character that is progressive, fun and kind. This can be seen by some of the outstanding outcomes this year.
These exam results are just the beginning and just one part of a Habs education. It is encouraging to see the impact our other academic and extensive co-curricular opportunities on the campus have had on building character traits and creating relevant life skills, ready for the next part of our students' journey.
Our purpose is to empower young people to make a profound impact in the world. We are pleased to see that this is reflected positively in the diverse and varied range of subjects and destinations our students have chosen, from medicine, engineering and computing, to palaeontology, filmmaking, jazz piano and climate science, at prestigious universities from San Diego, Michigan and New York, to Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Bristol and Imperial.
We look forward to following our students’ journeys, watching them grow and develop through their chosen careers to have a profound impact in the world.