Tag Archives: education

School Feature: Lockers Park – A Boy’s Education


Lockers Park is a thriving day and boarding school where boys receive a first class education that is balanced and happy. With an excellent academic reputation, the school prepares boys for top British public and independent senior schools, frequently with scholarships. Set in 23 acres of woodland on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead, it is a day and boarding school for boys aged 7-13 with a co-educational Pre-Preparatory for ages 4-7.


At Lockers Park we seek to instil traditional values of respect, honesty and tolerance, while teaching and preparing every child to become confident, high achieving citizens of the future.  Headmaster Christopher Wilson, who is in his fourth year at the school, says: “As a small and family oriented school, we pride ourselves on an inclusive culture which ensures your child will be encouraged and supported both academically and socially.”

Academia, The Arts, Sport and Co-curricular success are celebrated in equal measure at Lockers Park and the school’s motivational and nurturing environment allows pupils to discover hidden talents and initiate lifelong passions.

Motivating Boys


“Lockers Park brings out the best in boys” Good Schools Guide

Drawing upon our 140-year heritage, we employ a kinesthetic approach to ensure pupils are highly engaged and achieve the best academic results. An emphasis on the individual child, combined with small class sizes (a maximum of 16 children per class), outdoor play and structured sport every day enables each boy to fulfil his potential. Christopher Wilson articulates the school’s philosophy: “Lockers Park makes a virtue of letting boys be boys. We believe that engaging in outdoor activities is intrinsic to good schooling, leading to increased concentration and success during academic lessons.”

Inspiring Pre-Prep

From the outset, our approach is to foster a love of learning and not simply learning for exam success. This is a mind-set that stretches from the Pre-Prep through to the main Prep School at Lockers Park. We have the flexibility to teach core subjects in  lockers-park-pre-prepdifferentiated, small groups, allowing us to work closely with each and every child. A creative curriculum blends the more structured environment of the classroom alongside making use of our beautiful 23-acre grounds. It offers the perfect setting to allow children to discover new interests, develop a range of talents and cultivate long-standing friendships.

Close-Knit Community

Our Pre-Prep is nestled right beside the Prep School, with its own routines and in its own unique, purpose-built space, but having access to the many excellent Prep School facilities. These include acres of football and rugby pitches, sports halls, a heated outdoor swimming pool and a .22 shooting range. And not forgetting the Art Room, Design & Technology block, Drama Studio and the historic Chapel and Centenary Hall, home to countless celebrated choir concerts, musicals and plays. Involvement with the Prep School gives our younger children the chance to make friends across all year groups and find older role models, all helping to sensitively prepare them for Prep School and the broader world that lies ahead.

lockers-park-pre-prep-pupilWraparound Care at No Extra Cost

Parents lead busy working and family lives and we strive to accommodate this. Flexibility is in our DNA as boarders are on campus around the clock. As an example, wraparound care for Lockers Park Pre-Prep runs from 7.45am until 6.00pm, with all costs included in the term fees. Within this, children may have breakfast from 7.45am to 8.15am and/or supper at 5.30pm.

Open Morning on Saturday 18th March 2017, 10:30am–12:30pm

Join us for a morning of activities and crafts at the Pre-Prep, where littles ones can explore the theme of ‘People Who Help Us’… visit the vet’s surgery, dress upLayout 1 like a policeman or make your own emergency vehicle. Mums and dads will have the opportunity to meetHeadmaster Christopher Wilson and dedicated Pre-Prep staff.

The main Preparatory School will be welcoming prospective parents and pupils, too.

Contact: secretary@lockerspark.herts.sch.uk or call 01442 251712 to register. www.lockerspark.herts.sch.uk


Top 10 Tips for the Primary to Secondary School Transition

The move to secondary school is a challenging and emotional time for both parents and children. Fear not – this useful guide from the National Teen Trust should help make the transition as painless as possible!


  • Be prepared (like a boy (or girl) scout!) – It’s so important. Get all the uniform, books, shoes, trainers, socks and stationery out of the way as early as you can. You don’t want any last minute stress the week your children start secondary school!
  • Start to have conversations about the differences between primary and secondary school. You’ll have done the tour so you can reassure your child that they’ve seen the layout and that lots of people will be there to help them settle in.
  • Talk about how many children will be there in comparison to their primary education years. Often, your child will be going from a network of 30, 60 or 90 peers to around 200. This can be a positive… think how many new friends this means.
  • If your child has struggled to fit in at primary school, it’s likely that there will be a similar peer who is also facing these odds! For example, is your child a tomboy who has struggled to strike a friendship with the girls at primary school? Transitioning to secondary school may be the key, as there are likely to be girls with similar hobbies and interests.
  • In the first week, establish a routine as quickly as you can – where your child is going to hang their blazer, put their locker key, bus pass, do their homework, etc.
  • Be prepared – again – for the change! Suddenly your son or daughter transitions from a child into a more independent being. They may want to walk to/from school, get the bus or pop into town after school with new friends. Think carefully about what parental controls you will implement for this new stage.
  • New friends, new environments to hang out and have sleepovers at. How is this going to make you feel? Think about how you will approach this, whether you will meet the new friend’s parents first or is it sufficient to have a phone/text conversation?
  • Do your research. Establish if your child is better getting the school bus or the local bus or parent taxi. You can always change this as the terms pass by. First thing in the morning, your son or daughter may prefer the local, public bus to a bus full of excited school children!


  • Make friends with other parents who are going to your tween’s new school. You may find that you lose a support network when your child’s friend’s move to different schools and this can be challenging.
  • As you can see, it’s not just about the effect this transition has on your tween, but also the effect that this may bear on you and the rest of your family. Be prepared for unsettling times as you all start to adjust to this new chapter in your family life. And remember, stay positive!

images     You may find your child’s move to secondary school a challenge in the first instance. However, the key is to be prepared and to stay positive. The National Teen Trust has been set up to create a support network for parents during these tween and teenage years.

If you’re struggling with parenting life, join the National Teen Trust Facebook group. The organisation also runs flexible programmes in St Albans that allow parents to come together and explore teen challenges, allowing you to develop practical parental approaches and skills.

Guest post written by Wendy Powell.


A Mother’s Story : Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week 5-11th October 2015

            I have a son, Theo, who is a funny, grumpy, cheeky and – though I say it myself – good-looking teenager. He also has cerebral palsy. When he was born, he weighed 900 grammes, he needed a ventilator to keep him breathing, he was profoundly deaf and had significant brain damage causing quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy. In addition, his lungs were so weak, he suffered four near-fatal collapses in his first three years of life, requiring him to go back on a ventilator each time and finally to have major reconstructive surgery on his wind-pipe. In total, he spent nearly half of that first three years in intensive care. All in all, not what you’d call a great start in life.

                                                                        Theo & Catherine

      Like many, though by no means all children with cerebral palsy, Theo was born premature: put simply, the more premature you are, the more likely it is that you will have cerebral palsy. Theo was born at 26 weeks gestation – that’s approximately 5.5 months after he was conceived. But since babies are now being kept alive from 23 weeks, far from the number of children with some form of CP decreasing, if anything, that number is going to increase with time.

When you’re told your child has a disability, no one comes to tell you about all the different therapies available and the different educational options – or to advise you which to pursue: it’s up to you as a parent to find out.

I don’t think I’d ever even met someone with cerebral palsy. It was pretty much the limit of my knowledge that SCOPE is the national charity for cerebral palsy, so that’s where I started. It was SCOPE who told me about Conductive Education and Scope who told me that the only place offering it as a full educational programme in Central London was The London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy, then called the Hornsey Trust.

I signed up for a first session with a conductor at the centre soon after Theo was first discharged from hospital – about 6 months after he was born. I remember the conductor lying my tiny motionless baby on a mat on a wooden plinth and saying to him “I lift my right arm up, up, up.” Theo looked at her but made no response. “I push my left leg down down down.” No response. “I lift up my head and look at my Mummy.” Nothing. “Right”, said the conductor, “then we’ll just have to do it together”. And as she repeated each instruction, she began to move his limbs and head, so that he experienced the sensation of movement and the sense of control over that movement.

I went back, week after week, for that individual session. I got to know all the songs, all the chants, the order of all the bodily movements. Gradually, very very slowly, something began to happen: Theo started to initiate some movement. At first it was tiny: the flicker of a muscle. Then it was a slight rise of an arm. Then a tiny bend of a leg. Eventually, a struggling, triumphant attempt at a roll.

By this time, we’d joined a weekly Parent and Child session with two or three other babies at Hornsey. For a couple of hours on a Tuesday morning, our children would go through a lying, crawling, walking and sitting programme and we as parents would learn how best to handle them. “I keep my feet flat, flat, flat. I keep my back straight and I keep my head in the middle” we would all chant, willing them to demonstrate. That was when I learnt quite how determined Theo really is – and how much competition motivates him.

From there Theo moved to a part-time place in the nursery and then finally a full time place. Over the years at LCCCP, I watched him grow stronger and more able by the day. But if I’ve given the impression conductive education is JUST a physical programme, I’ve way undersold it. Throughout all the years there, Theo was always incredibly keen to go to school and keen to learn and I can’t help thinking this is because what conductive education taught him, right from those earliest times, is that, despite a very significant disability, he could LEARN. For children like Theo, learning that you CAN control your body is key to them learning other things – and that’s why conductive education weaves so seemlessly into the National Curriculum. By dint of the extraordinarily close individual attention the London Centre gives children and the huge amount of positive feedback, they do maximise their functional independence. But they ALSO fulfil their academic potential and develop a real love of learning. And for all those reasons, I shall be eternally grateful to the highly expert and dedicated team who educated my son there.

Theo is not going to run a marathon; he’s never even going to walk independently, but the progress he HAS made is extraordinary given his starting point in life. He’s just completed his first work experience at Tesco; he’s on the school council; he goes biking and swimming twice a week; he goes to music school on a Saturday and sings in a choir; he loves water rides and theme parks; he can read, he has computer skills which far outstrip mine, he’s continent, he can feed himself; and – most significant for a child who was once thought unlikely to use much speech – he talks non-stop and has developed a fine line in asking awkward questions.

Each Summer, he goes on a two-week mainstream summer camp and is totally relaxed about not knowing anyone before he goes, including the people who have volunteered to be his personal carers. When he came back this year, he had at least four new best friends. I thought you might like to hear what the camp leaders wrote about him: “ Theo took part in every aspect of camp life: he cooked, built fires, collected water and always joined in campfire songs. He kept us laughing through the rainy days and was amazingly confident with staff and children alike . He’d often remind us just how much fun we were having by shouting “We’re having a giggle.”” I don’t really think you’d find many able-bodied 14 year olds with such confidence, let alone someone with Theo’s disabilities. Thanks to conductive education, what you now see with Theo is what you get: a happy, confident, capable child.

There are children with cerebral palsy who can and should be in mainstream education. But Theo is not one of them. Children like him, with their plethora of specific difficulties, really need the unique education that The London Centre offers: without it, they simply will never reach their potential. With it, the sky is the limit.

Catharine Seddon


Secondary school

VAKS has your guide to changes made to the GCSEs from 2015

With the new GCSEs are on the horizon; VAKS has a guide to some of the changes.

All changes will be in stages, starting with those who turn 13 this academic year and current Year 9s due to take GCSE exams in 2017. English and maths will be the first subjects affected, with new courses in Language, Literature and maths starting from Autumn 2015.

Firstly, the tier system of Foundation and Higher will be removed. At the moment, students that are entered at Foundation level would sit a more basic exam paper but could only receive a C as the top grade, whilst those sitting a Higher paper could receive up to A*.

However, once these tiers are removed, there will be a clear change in the format and style of the questions that will be appear on each Language, Literature and maths paper; for example, there will be fewer ‘bite-sized’ questions and more essay-style questions. In addition, all pupils will also have to sit at least two science GCSEs as no single science option will be available after 2016.

This is especially significant as the new GCSEs will have exams as the sole assessment after two years, with coursework being scrapped for most subjects and content no longer divided into modules. The content will also edited to be more challenging, with more substantial texts in English literature and a number of new topics in maths.

There will also be a new grading system introduced, which will use the numbers 1 – 9 (9 being the highest and 4 being the equivalent of a middling to low C) instead of letters, however students unable to obtain the minimum required will still be given a U.

Whilst reaction to these changes has been understated so far, parents with children about to enter Year 10 can’t be blamed for suddenly feeling anxious as to how they can help their children with these new GCSEs.

“The important thing is educate yourself on what is expected,” says Jacqui Querns, the co-founder of VAKS, a Hertfordshire-based tuition company that boasts its own original GCSE programme. “Knowing your child’s exam board is the first step as well as looking at past papers to gain an idea of what they’ll be expected to do.”


  • New grade system with numbers instead of letters
  • No Higher or Foundation Tiers
  • Single Award Science will no longer be available
  • Different exam format – more essay questions

“Just remember that we’re all finding our way with this new system but for those of you who are worried – you can always seek help from companies like VAKS,” says Martina Barrett, VAKS co-founder. “Tuition is often seen as a reactive service but there is a lot to be said for future preparation. We’re here to act as an advisory service as well as to help work past issues so if you’re worried at all – please, call us!”

If you’re interested in how VAKS can help your child prepare for this change, their exams or if you would like to claim a free educational assessment, please contact us on team@vaks.co.uk or on 0808 404 8172


All information taken from:




Why Choose An Independent School?

Each year, thousands of parents in Hertfordshire opt to send their children to an independent school, despite the county having many excellent state schools. In fact, there are more children at independent schools across the UK than ever before.

The boom in the independent sector corroborates what many parents have known for a long time: independent schools offer an outstanding education that primes each child ready to enter a challenging world.

It is naturally of utmost importance to focus on why you are choosing the independent sector. All schools ultimately do the same, they allow children to learn and gain qualifications. The difference lies in the often intangible ‘extras’, such as the culture of the school, its values and the way in which the education is delivered. You know your child best, what will suit them, and whether they will be able to develop and fulfil their potential. The key question for most parents is “can I see my child flourishing at a particular establishment and does it feel ‘right’?”

LP-314 smaller cropped

Lockers Park. An Outstanding Education + Happy Children

When it comes to which independent school, the goal must be to find not only a brilliant and rounded education with strong results but also an environment where the welfare and happiness of the children is central. We believe Lockers Park offers that unique balance.

Nestled in 23 acres of beautiful woodland on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead, the Preparatory School has offered an excellent education for boys aged 7-13 for over 140 years. It has a long tradition of preparing boys for the very best of British public and independent schools, via Common Entrance at 13+ and Scholarships. In fact, the Good Schools Guide recently described Lockers Park as “A small and perfectly formed school.”

Lockers Park is proud of its deservedly high reputation for being a school with strong results but what sets the school apart is its emphasis on nurturing each and every child. The school aims to foster a love of learning, not just learning for exam success. With small class sizes of just 16 – a hallmark of Lockers Park – the school is able to allow each child to develop and shine at a speed and level that suits them. The school believes an emphasis on outdoor play, exercise every day and a wide array of stimulating activities leads to increased concentration during academic lessons.

The Lockers Park curriculum is tailored to the needs of the pupils and their future aspirations. Whilst the National Curriculum is a useful starting point, departments adapt and enhance their programmes of study to ensure that every pupil is motivated, inspired and challenged.

Emphasis on Rounded Development

It is not just about academic qualifications though.  Lockers Park, like most independent schools, offers an excellent range of extra-curricular activities, all underpinned by a culture rooted in individuality, self-expression and self-confidence. Whether your child’s interest lies in sport, science and technology, music, art or drama, there is the opportunity to participate in a variety of clubs at the school including Lockers Park’s very own Cub and Scouts pack; there is even a room dedicated to trains, with a vast electric train set which the boys play with and repair themselves.Boys in a Row smallerA local mum chose Lockers Park for her son: “A good education is obviously important, and Lockers Park ticks that box, of course. What really suited my son, though, was the infinite range of activities on offer, which has allowed him to totally relish each and every school day, as well as mature as an individual. He has been involved in all sorts of pursuits, including Bushcraft expeditions and science challenges through to playing against a county chess champion.”

New Pre-Prep at Lockers Park

This September, Locker Park School will begin a new chapter in its history, with the launch of a purpose-designed Pre-Prep for boys and girls aged 4-6. A team of specialist, dedicated staff will ensure the Pre-Prep school day is structured around developing each child’s creativity, physical skills, social interactions and confidence.

Lockers Park parents have welcomed the introduction of a Co-Ed Pre-Prep, agreeing that in these early years, children can benefit from learning together. From Year 3 onwards, the Lockers Park belief is that older boys will thrive, both educationally and socially, in a single gender environment and so the main Preparatory School will remain boys only as it has done for the past 140 years.

In Tune with Our Parents

IMG_5845 smallerAt Lockers Park, the school recognises that parents lead busy working lives and strives to be as accommodating as possible, without racking up additional fees. For instance, for Year 3’s and above, the school day includes an option to come in for breakfast at 7.30am and stay for prep and supper at the end of the day – all at no extra cost and with minimal notice. The school’s flexible approach will also extend to the new Pre-Prep, where children can benefit from wrap-around care until 6pm, including supper, for a small charge.

Find Out More

To learn more about Lockers Park visit http://www.lockerspark.herts.sch.uk or call 01442 251712 to meet the Headmaster, Christopher Wilson.

Lockers Park Logo

JUMP! Getting Hertfordshire Children Healthy

According to the World Health Organization physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of major chronic diseases, yet even in those nations where physical activity is highest, only 43% of 11 year old boys and 31% of 11 year old girls take part in 60 minutes of moderate physical activity per day. This drops to 33% of 15 year old boys and 17% of 15 year old girls. As the evidence grows that physical activity and fitness leads into adulthood, it is important to ensure that as many children and young people as possible meet the present guidelines. In addition, physical activities such as active play, individual and team sports, dance and creative pursuits are important for young people as they provide the opportunity for enjoyment, social interactions and community engagement.

kids running

JUMP, what is it?

JUMP (Juniors Understanding Meals & Physical Activity) is a course that offers children aged between 7&11 years old, the chance to have fun and learn about healthy foods. Not only for the children but parents/guardians have an opportunity to have fun with their child too. These sessions last an hour after school once a week, it is a 6 week course, with another session at week 12 and 18 as extra support sessions. This course will aim to increase physical activity and enchance the family’s knowledge on ‘Healthy’ and ‘Unhealthy’ Food.

The Benefits

There is an increasing body of evidence that demonstrates that children and young people can gain important physiological and psychological benefits if they undertake at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Physiology means the branch of biology dealing with the functions and activities of living organisms and the body. Psychology is the science of the mind. The human mind is the most complex machine on Earth. It is the source of all thought and behaviour

What Are The Physiological Outcomes?

Regular participation in physical activity is associated with the following

  • improved cardiovascular fitness
  • improved cardiovascular and metabolic health such as a 20-35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease including coronary heart disease, stroke and improved cholesterol profiles
  • decreased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • improved bone health
  • reduced body fat and maintaining a healthy weight
  • stronger muscles.

There is a growing body of evidence that there is a ‘dose-response’ relationship, in terms of physiological outcomes, that means the more physical activity done the better physiological outcomes are seen. There is also some evidence to support a positive association between physical activity and academic performance in 5-18 year olds.

What are the Psychological Outcomes?

Regular participation in physical activity is associated with the following psychological benefits in children:

  • Improved self-confidence in young people aged 10- 16 years undertaking a ‘high-level’ of activity
  • improved social skills, integration into peer groups and extending social networks for young people
  • improved self-esteem in young people with a greater effect for children with perceptual, emotional and learning disabilities
  • reduced anxiety and the potential for reduced depression

Healthy Food vs Unhealthy Foods?

Benefits of Healthy Eating

  • Proper nutrition promotes the optimal growth and development of children
  • Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes
  • Healthy eating helps reduce one’s risk for developing obesity, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, and tooth caries (cavities)

Consequences of a Poor Diet

  • A poor diet can lead to energy imbalance (e.g., eating more calories than one expends through physical activity) and can increase one’s risk for overweight and obesity
  • A poor diet can increase the risk for lung, oesophageal, stomach, colorectal, and prostate cancers
  • Individuals who eat fast food one or more times per week are at increased risk for weight gain, overweight, and obesity
  • Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can result in weight gain, overweight, obesity and tooth decay.
  • Providing access to drinking water gives students a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages

Hunger and food insecurity might increase the risk for lower dietary quality and under nutrition. In turn, under nutrition can negatively affect overall health, cognitive development, and school performance.

Top tips to promote healthy childhood eating

Have regular family meals. Knowing dinner is served at approximately the same time every night and that the entire family will be sitting down together is comforting and enhances appetite. Breakfast is another great time for a family meal, especially since kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school.

Get kids involved. Children enjoy helping adults to shop for groceries, selecting what goes in their lunch box, and preparing dinner. It’s also a chance for you to teach them about the nutritional values of different foods, and (for older children) how to read food labels.

Limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.

If you found any of this information helpful please look out for the information on JUMP or on the FB page below or please don’t hesitate to contact me. JUMP is a great way for everyone to have fun and learn..



For Further information contact: 

Robert Williamson

01727 819528                                                                                                                                




VAKS offer a range of specialised revision courses to support students of all ages during crucial exam periods throughout the academic year. These may be relevant for pupils from year 7 through to year 13.

Programmes will run throughout the Easter holidays starting on April 7 as well as the May half-term school break.

Our courses cover the following:

  • Developing confidence in exam technique
  • Programmes guaranteed to improve current grade
  • Effective planning and organization of revision
  • Tailored tuition in Maths, English, Science and Language
  • GCSE and A level courses specific to foundation and higher level

Students participating in our programme will return to school equipped with an increased understanding of note-taking and how to structure their revision, feeling confident about the way they approach the run-up to their exams.

Weekly practice exam papers, coupled with individual feedback, ensure that students gain a clear insight into what they need to do to improve and develop their learning.

The revision courses are available for 3 or 5 days. They are designed so that students can create their own programme of learning. Any combination of subjects can be offered. The revision days commence at 10am and finish at 3pm.

For more information, please contact the team http://www.vaks.co.uk

Or on Mumsnet Hertfordshire: http://local.mumsnet.com/hertfordshire/private-tutors-other/278147-hertfordshire-tuition-revision-centre