Weekly News Bulletin: 17 December 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

It has been another very busy term at school and it has been a real pleasure to see our students get involved in a wide range of activities. Many of this term’s activities (such as trips and sporting events) have taken place for the first time in quite a while and I know that students and staff have thoroughly enjoyed them.

We very much hope to maintain such activities after our return in January and we hope that the increasing rise in Coronavirus cases has subsided by then. To support our efforts (and to ensure a smooth start to next term) we would like to encourage you to continue with home testing and also to sign-up to our onsite testing programme in the first week of term. Sign-up details are provided in this newsletter.

On behalf of the governors, staff and students at Helena Romanes, I would like to wish you a happy and safe Christmas.

Best wishes,
Daniel Gee – Executive Headteacher

HRS Primary Phase

Children in HRS Primary Phase had a special visit from Father Christmas on Thursday. He came to see them as they had all worked extremely hard this term and settled into their new school really well.

The classroom was full of Christmas cheer and magic as he spoke with them about what toys they like and about his naughty elf, Twinkletoes who has been visiting the classroom everyday!

Before he left he was kind enough to leave them an early Christmas present to thank them for being so good!

Year 10 Gingerbread Competition

The Year 10 Food Preparation and Nutrition students formed teams of up to four people to make and build a gingerbread house in two hours.


  • To make a gingerbread house in 2 hours.
  • Students had to make the gingerbread, cut it to shape and then build the house.
  • Most of the gingerbread houses were of a high standard and judging was very difficult.

Winners Berrie Phelan, Imogen Whisken and Amelia Davies
Technology prize for originality Lydia Piletto, Isabelle Sargeant,
Gracie Food and Poppy Shrubsall
Highly commended Ruby Saville and Abby Wilson
High commended Imogen Cooper and Isabelle Davies

Congratulations to all of the students for their teamwork and determination when sorting out structural problems.

Mrs C Joubert – Head of Technology

Save the Children Raffle

A fantastic group of Year 9 students worked hard selling raffle tickets last week at lunchtimes and in form time, raising £183 ‘Save the Children’ charity.

Raffle prizes included Christmas chocolate selection boxes, lovely toiletries, the softest giant teddy you have ever seen, hampers full of sweets, stationary and much more!

First prize went to Zak in Year 7; second prize went to Kezra in Year 7 and third prize went to Lynda in Year 8.

Thank you to everyone who donated these fabulous raffle prizes and for supporting us. We really appreciate your generosity.

Mrs H Johnston – Head of SENCO

News from the Learning Zone

We were thrilled to give our Year 7 students the book they had chosen from the Book Trust Bookbuzz initiative. This was kindly made possible by Great Dunmow Town Council who donated the money for the books.

The good news is that all Year 7 students will be able to read a book over the Christmas holidays. If you are looking for a book recommendation, we have a Christmas book (see related documents below) for you to gather inspiration.

The donations to the Food Bank were delivered last Friday and very gratefully received, thank you to all those who donated. It is a very sobering experience to visit the Food Bank realising that for some families in our area they rely on us to help them feed their family. Sophie Durlacher from the Food Bank explained that summer is another time that they are desperate for donations so I will be appealing again next year for donations.

Finally we have congratulated 7HB on being the form who have read the most words so far this school year with 2,369,125 words read, many congratulations to them.
Mrs S Bird – Learning Zone Manager

Year 13 Geography Site Visit

A massive thank you to the site team from EJ Taylor at Woodlands Park for offering the Year 13 Geographers the opportunity to visit the building site this morning. Students were kitted out with high visibility and hard hats, given a safety briefing, and taken on a tour of the site to learn about the background work that goes into the massive building operations. Students were taught about the environmental considerations that have to be taken into account, and we look forward to working with EJ Taylor again next year.

Mrs L Withers – Head of Geography

Year 9 Computer Science Students

Congratulations to 19 of our Year 9 students who took part in this year’s UK Bebras Challenge.

The Bebras Computing Challenge introduces computational thinking to students. It is organized in over 50 countries and designed to get students all over the world excited about computing.

Each participant answered questions that focused on computational and logical thinking.
It was completed online in November and we have just received the most amazing results!

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Hore, who has worked incredibly hard building the students’ computational thinking skills. The following students took part:

Ella Bussey, Robert Carter, Quinn Clelland, Ryan Dearlove, Louis Devereux, Jack Gelston, Miki Hardy, Jack Hollins, Mason Jenner, Filip Krysiak, Mason Lock, Bobby Madigan, Lewis Marlow, Pedro Oliveira, Ben Paulyn-Holmes, Haydan Price-Cotier, Loui Rayner, Spencer Storey, Riley Thomas-Toye.

Ben Paulyn-Holmes achieved a score of 119 and as a result has been invited to participate in the next round which will take place in February. Ben received the Best in School and a Gold Award.

Over half of the group achieved either a Merit or Distinction status with six students scoring over the 100 point mark and narrowly missing out on qualifying to the next round.

Miss P Cater – Head of Computing HRS
Twitter: @HRS_Computing

Staggered first week of term

As detailed in Mr Foster’s letter last week, the return to school in January will be a staggered return as outlined on our home page to allow for Coronavirus lateral flow testing for those students who have registered. Students who register for testing must attend the school site on the above ‘test date’ and at their booked time.

Students should attend the test site alone. However, parents/carers will be able to drop-off and collect their children, should they wish. Students will return home following their test.

To continue to limit the transmission of Coronavirus, we would encourage you to both test your children at home over the holiday period and to register for testing with us.

In order to register for testing, you must complete a consent form by following this link. Once you have completed the consent form please follow this link to book the time slot for the test. Should you wish to take part in the testing programme you will need to provide your consent by 12pm on Tuesday 4th January at which point the link will close.

The ‘return to school’ dates outlined above apply to all students, whether or not they are tested prior to their return.

Thank you for your continued support.

Physical Education Round-up

Core Physical Education
The start of the spring term will coincide with most classes beginning their new physical activities. May we remind you it is usually colder and students may bring their hockey/rugby shirt to wear over the normal school polo shirt to warm up and stay warm.

Students are expected to sanitize at the start and end of a lesson whether inside or outside the buildings. Students should bring their own water bottles in and ensure they are filled up at break and lunch times only, before the start of their Physical Education lessons.

NW District Basketball competitions
This year we entered the Braintree District Basketball competition. Games were played at The Rickstones Academy and schools took part on a league basis. We entered Years 7, 8 and 9 for the first time.

Year 7 and 8 came fifth out of six schools and Year 9 were runners up in their competition. Year 9 won five of their games and lost one and were equal on points but as we lost our head to head match, Maltings were declared the winners. This bodes well for the future as it was our first year and we hope to build on the basketball with further boys and girls teams next year.

Basketball finals at the 02
We will be organising a trip to the National Play-off finals being held at the O2 Arena in May 2022 (COVID permitting), look out for further details in the New Year.

Sixth Form football squad
A big well done to our Sixth Form football squad who had their first victory this term and managed to hold the league leaders to a 3-4 defeat at home this Wednesday.

The squad should be applauded for their resilience and commitment they have shown this term and are now playing in a cohesive and positive manner after much work on the training ground.

Thanks also to Michael Richardson of MFA Academy for coaching the squad and giving up his time so generously.

Extra-Curricular activities
The new timetable for January-February 2022 can be seen below and all clubs will begin from Monday 10th January.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and carers for their support and to the students themselves, and wish everyone a restful and happy Christmas holiday.

Physical Education Faculty

May we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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