The Hemel Hempstead School

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Hemel Hempstead School
Motto Esse Quam Videri
(To be rather than to seem)
Established 1931[1]
Type Community school,[2]
Headteacher Patrick Harty [2]
Location Heath Lane
Hemel Hempstead
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Local authority Hertfordshire
DfE URN 117500 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1200
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Ashridge, Chalfont, Flaunden, Latimer, Nettleden, Pendley
Colours Blue & gold          

Hemel Hempstead School is a secondary school and sixth form located in the town of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, in the United Kingdom.


The school has roughly 1200 students, including a sixth form, and over 115 members of staff. The current headteacher is Patrick Harty, who was appointed at the end of December 2012 to replace Sandra Samwell, who had left the previous year. The headteacher before Sandra Samwell, Alan Gray, is now head of Sandringham School in St Albans, after leaving Hemel Hempstead School in 2006.


Grammar school

Th school was officially opened on 14 October 1931 as Hemel Hempstead Grammar School. It was opened by Lady Cicely Gore, the wife of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury (whose father, Robert Cecil, was the Prime Minister from 1885-1892 and 1895-1902), and the Marchioness of Salisbury. Another grammar school, the Apsley Grammar School, opened in the town in 1955.


It became a comprehensive in 1971, when schools in the town were reorganised.


The original Hemel Hempstead School building (known as 'Main Block' today) opened in 1931, along with a canteen and gymnasium block to the west and north of it. In the early 1960s an outdoor swimming pool was installed. In the latter half of the 1960s a new assembly hall, canteen, sports hall and changing rooms, and technology block were constructed. Work was completed shortly before the school became comprehensive.

In 1974 a temporary languages block was opened, which had been built on the land of the old canteen building which had long since been replaced. The languages block (known colloquially as 'West Block') was only designed to be serviceable for 20 years or so, and is now increasingly decrepit with holes in the walls, shaky walls, and is overcrowded with students at peak times. It has recently been renovated in 2015 to make the building of better quality.

In the late 80s the 15th century barn to the south of the school fields was refurbished and put back into use as a Music block. The building has now been repartitioned into two floors and many original features have since disappeared as a result. However, because of the tight budget some original features remain, such as the floor tiles near the reception and brick arches for certain doorways.

In 1990 a new Technology block was built next to the swimming pool, which has three workspaces for entire classes. One of these has approximately 25 working computers at the best of times.

In 1999 the swimming pool was demolished, reasons being that it became expensive and difficult to service. It was replaced with a parking lot. In the same year a new Maths/Geography/ICT block was constructed next to the old Sports hall, with no less than 11 classrooms.

In 2004 a new Sixth Form block was completed, essentially an extension to the Main Block (but east of West Block), that replaces storage space. Disabled access to the second floor of Main Block was added as part of the project.

From 2008 to 2010 new Drama and Food Technology blocks were built to replace the old Drama block near the old sports hall, and a food classroom inside Main Block. While the old Food Tech classroom has had most of its equipment and appliances outfitted, the old Drama Block has stayed in its place, and there are no plans to demolish it yet.

In 2016, the school revealed plans to build a new 3G astroturf where the netball courts by the new Drama block currently are, to replace the previous one currently shared with the Hemel Hempstead Sport Centre as well as some netball/tennis courts. However, full funding still needs to be acquired.


Over the years many of the older buildings have seen many minor alterations, due to an upgrade, change in functionality, or change in requirements. Main Block has had the most of these. The old assembly hall (replaced in 1968) is now almost unrecognizable from its previous state. Sometime in the 2000s it was converted into a dance studio and had the upper 8th near the reception partitioned as a Connexions centre. In 2011–2012, the walls inside the building were reconstructed to remove any asbestos that may have presented a safety hazard. Several arches which presented the way to the old sports hall at the back of Main Block have been partitioned off as offices and changing rooms. In 2011 most of the original windows from 1931 were replaced, though some more discreet ones remain. The exterior panels of some of the 1960s buildings were replaced in the summer of 2013, along with some low-level interior refurbishment. In the summer of 2014, black fences were put around the gaps within the school's fences, in compliance with new government regulations, with new gates and signs being installed around the entrances of the site and the buildings. Also the school's library was moved to where the old assembly hall-dance studio was, increasing its size. The dance studio was moved to where the old gym was, replacing it. The original location of the library has been divided into two parts: The lower part is being added to the headteacher's office as an extension, and the upper half has been refitted into a new area for students with special needs. In the summer of 2015, the interior of the temporary languages block was refurbished with wooden flooring, with the exterior remaining as it was previously. As well as that, the original boys toilets were closed off and the senior girls toilets became the boys toilets.

House system

The pupils are divided into six house groups (with the exception of Ashridge), each named after local villages:

Ashridge (green) - Chalfont (purple) - Flaunden (orange) - Latimer (sky blue) - Nettleden (red) - Pendley (yellow) (the best)[3]

The houses compete against each other to win annual events such as sports day, house drama/house art, house music/house dance, house science and house Christmas decorating competitions, as well as a house book challenge for Years 7 and 8, and a reading challenge for year 7. House captains are picked from the lower sixth to organise their house efforts in these events.

When the school was a grammar school there were four Houses - Dacorum (Yellow), Salisbury (Blue), Tudor (Green), Halsey (Red).

Subjects Available

The school teaches the subjects of:

English (which is broken down into English Literature and English Language in the sixth form), Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Science (broken down into three categories of Biology, Chemistry and Physics later in the school), Physical Education (Games), Sport, Religious Education, Geography, History, Drama, Dance, Art, Music, Design and Technology (a rota of resistant materials, textiles, graphics, food technology and product design in years 7-9 and then separate subjects in later years), Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy & Ethics, Photography, Business Studies, Information Technology, Computing, Modern Foreign Languages (German and French), PACE and Government & Politics.

Student council

The school has levels of student responsibility. There is a student council (3 students elected from each house, elected each year). The council also elect a chairman each year from the upper sixth. The student council attempts to take some responsibility in making decisions in how the school is run. For example, they may interview new teachers. The student council was also consulted in the selection of the current headteacher.

Notable former pupils

Hemel Hempstead Grammar School

Hemel Hempstead Comprehensive School


  1. Davis, Eve (1987). Hemel Hempstead In Camera. Quotes. p. 69. ISBN 0-86023-340-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Details for The Hemel Hempstead School". Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 3 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Dr. Robert Burns". University of Otago website. Retrieved 8 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Wellington Dominion and Post/WLG/1999

External links