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Our Prospectus

Welcome to Almond Hill where it is all about 'The Climb'

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Please watch our video about ‘The Climb’ - our school ethos.  The Climb is about children striving to be top of the ‘Hill'. ‘The Climb’ helps to build on our expectations for good behaviour and self-ownership. The Climb is about the lessons you learn along the journey and not the end result.

Headteacher's Welcome

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am pleased to welcome you to our school.

Almond Hill is a community school, which opened in 1957. Our school is situated close to Stevenage Old Town in a very pleasant environment. It is a school of approximately 300 children aged 7 –11. 

Our school staff work very closely together to provide a happy, safe, stimulating and healthy environment in which your child will learn, be respected and valued.  High standards of educational achievement are promoted and attained. Effort and hard work are rewarded, achievements are celebrated and individual needs supported.

We aim to provide an excellent education for all pupils, working in partnership with our feeder schools to provide continuity in learning and pastoral care.  We work closely with parents and carers to help them support their child's education.  We 'Aim High' in everything we do to achieve our very best and develop our skills and talents and be proud of our achievements.  We aim to have a 'growth mindset' and learn from mistakes.  We may not be able to do something 'yet', but we will if we keep trying.  We recognise we are all individuals and respect our uniqueness.  We expect to treat others in the way we wish to be treated ourselves, always showing respect and good manners and a high standard of behaviour. 

We are a school who celebrates our successes, but also moves forward by evaluating our work. To achieve our aims, we believe it is essential that a partnership exists between home and school. As a parent you have a vital role to play in all aspects of your child’s education.  We encourage close links with parents to ensure you are well-informed about your child’s progress in both their educational achievements and personal and social development and so you are aware of school policy and practice. We also regularly ask for your views, so we can move forward together.

We want you and your child to feel valued members of our school community, and we look forward to a close association with you and your child. 

Emma Fordham,

Safeguarding and Child Protection

Emma Fordham
Gemma Burgess
Deputy DSL
Shahnaz Birchall
Deputy DSL
Deputy DSL

Safeguarding has the highest priority at Almond Hill and is at the forefront of all we do. The school is committed to the safety of all pupils and staff and promotes an ‘it could happen here’ ethos to support our vigilance.

All of our children have the right to be safe and happy at school and it is our responsibility to try to make them feel that way. All adults working in school are subject to DBS clearance and appointments follow the school’s Safer Recruitment Policy. Safeguarding is discussed at all meetings and there is an expectation for all staff to be highly vigilant.

All staff undertake safeguarding training on appointment, statutory 3-yearly update, and annual school update along with regular specific training. The governing body has appointed a named safeguarding governor and there is a governor safeguarding working party that meets to regularly monitor all of the school’s safeguarding procedures. The school invites external reviews of school procedures to ensure the very best practice is maintained. Our monitoring involves all of our stakeholders and covers all aspects of our provision as well as statutory responsibilities. The school’s Child Protection Policy and Whistleblowing Policy are published on the school’s website.

All of the school policies support our safeguarding practice but we believe that our effective safeguarding is achieved not only through policy documents but through our daily actions and building strong relationships with our children, so we know them well, and they all feel confident to build trust in the adults they work with.

All schools have a clear responsibility placed on them by the Children Act 1989 and guidance from the Department for Education and Skills to safeguard the welfare of all their pupils.  In doing so, schools are expected to consult with Children’s Services if they believe there is a possibility that a child may be suffering from abuse or neglect. A referral to Children’s Services is not intended to be an accusation of any particular action or against any particular person. It is the reporting of concerns that have come to the school’s attention. This is in accordance with Hertfordshire Area Child protection procedures.

Almond Hill Junior School has a Child Protection Policy and follows safeguarding guidance from other key documents e.g. Keeping Children Safe in Education, all of which are available for parents/carers to see. 

Mrs. Fordham is the Designated Teacher for Child Protection. In her absence, Mrs. Burgess, Mrs. Birchall and Miss Simmons deputise in this role. They will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns parents/carers may have about child protection policy and practice. The appointed governor for Child Protection and safeguarding is Mr Stephen Fuller.


Mrs Birchall

The school’s SENCo is Mrs. Birchall. Parents are welcome to make an appointment to meet with her if they have specific concerns they wish to discuss. 

Sometimes a child will need extra support. This may be educational (they may need more time to understand the work they are doing) or they may be ‘able’ and need to extend their learning. They may be experiencing behavioural or emotional problems and need support to overcome them. Children with special educational needs at both ends of the spectrum are catered for. A team of experienced teaching assistants support pupils in class and lead individual teaching programmes.

Children who need their work to be differentiated beyond that normally planned for the class may have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  These outline specific targets children are working towards and are drawn up in consultation with the child and parents to ensure learning is personalised to their individual needs. The IEP is reviewed regularly and parents are invited to contribute their views at the meeting and review progress. Some children have an Assess. Plan, Do, Review (ADPR) which is an ongoing document detailing strategies to overcome barriers as well as cognitive targets.

The school website publishes our ‘Local Offer.’ This details the provision that may be offered to a pupil at the school with special educational needs. 

Sometimes children need a short intervention to help them make progress in particular areas. This may be for aspects of their academic work or to support emotional or behavioural development. In this instance, parents are informed and invited to discuss the intervention with the class teacher, the teaching assistant leading the intervention or the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). Sometimes, children need very specific support; teachers work in close liaison with outside agencies such as specialist outreach teachers who provide guidance and extra tuition when needed. Any additional provision is always fully discussed with parents. All additional provision is mapped so that it is tailored to individual needs. A copy of the school’s SEND policy is on the website and available from the school office.

Our School Improvement Plan

2022 - 2023 Summary of Objectives

Objectives 2022-23 based on school self- evaluation: July 2022 Yr3-6 assessment outcomes, evaluation of school improvement actions 21/22, consultation with staff and governors, feedback from pupils and parents, May 2021 Ofsted, Attendance data 2021-2022, External visits from HfL HIP and SEND audit 

  Objective Summary


To continue to develop the leadership and management of the school to maintain overall good effectiveness and progress to secure outstanding effectiveness with a focus on provision for SEND and governance

There have not been enough governors to completely fulfil this objective and the focus on reading, writing, maths and behaviour has taken up much of the time given for training. The SENCo has been able to upskill in the area of speech and language (SpLD) and all teachers and support staff have had the opportunity for training in this area. There has also been an opportunity for the work on SpLD to become more embedded from the previous year as well as improved use of technology to engage learners and overcome barriers. A Herts for Learning SEND audit has provided further suggestions for areas for improvement which will be embedded into the School Improvement Plan next year.


To provide a curriculum that empowers children and equips them with secure skills and knowledge that build progressively across the key stage and prepares them for the next stage in their education. There will be a specific focus on the core subjects.

There has been a significant improvement in reading and maths since last year but standards remain lower than we would like especially in writing.


To focus on the importance of excellent attendance and learning behaviours to ensure children maximise opportunities to learn and make progress.

The huge focus on behaviour has resulted in a significant improvement in attitudes to learning which has been noted by external advisors.  There has been some improvement in attendance since last year. This can be seen in the overall percentage figure but also for individual pupils whose attendance is significantly improved on the year before. However, there has been a large number of unauthorised term time holidays.

2023-2024 Summary of Objectives

Objectives 2023-24 based on school self- evaluation: July 2023 Yr3-6 assessment outcomes, evaluation of school improvement actions 22/23, consultation with staff and governors, feedback from pupils and parents, May 2021 Ofsted, Attendance data 2022-2023, External visits from local authority advisors.

Key Priority 1

Key Priority 2

Key Priority 3




To continue to develop the leadership and management of the school to maintain overall good effectiveness and progress to secure outstanding effectiveness with a focus on provision for SEND and governance and continue to expand upon staff subject knowledge.

  • Embed the use of technology in the classroom so that children with SEND can access the curriculum.
  • Further develop adaptations in the classroom to ensure inclusion for all.
  • Governors will continue to evaluate impact of SEND provision and hold headteacher and SENCo to account for progress.


To provide a curriculum that empowers children and equips them with secure skills and knowledge that build progressively across the key stage and prepares them for the next stage in their education. There will continue be a specific focus on the core subjects especially writing and a new focus on curriculum planning and accurate assessment in foundation subjects.

  • Reading, writing and maths - embedding teaching practices and intervention provisions to enable children to catch up with a particular focus on the lowest 20% of pupils.

To embed ‘The Climb’ behaviour for learning strategy including a focus on the importance of excellent attendance. To further develop retention and recall teaching strategies to ensure children maximise opportunities to learn and make progress through engagement. To develop a strategy for physical and mental resilience and strength.

  • Continue to build on improvements in attendance. Increase overall attendance from 93.9%.
  • Improve learning behaviours and sense of self-esteem and well-being.
  • Improve and increase engagement in physical activity.
  • Parental engagement to support learning outcomes.
  • Create an integration programme for children from overseas or those with English as an additional language.



Senior Leadership Team (SLT)  Mrs E. Fordham Head Teacher Miss V. Simmons Deputy Head Teacher Mrs R. Lyons Assistant Head Mrs S. Small Assistant Head Miss L. Andrews  Assistant Head Mrs D. Cawthorn School Business Manag…

Our Curriculum

'You only have to look inside the children's books and at the beautiful displays around the school to see how much pride each child takes in their writing' Mrs Cleaves, Year 6 Teacher and Writing Subject Leader. The children are taught all subjects in the National Curriculum. Core subjects include: — En…


Therapeutic Thinking Hertfordshire Steps Therapeutic Thinking Hertfordshire Steps is the local authority’s preferred approach to supporting positive behaviour management in schools and settings. The Therapeutic Thinking Steps approach forms part of the authority’s behaviour strategy. It has been agreed through the SEND…

Pastoral Care

Mrs Burgess Pastoral Lead, Safeguarding Deputy DSL Mrs Barker Pastoral Teaching Assistant   Provisions At Almond Hill we know that when a child is happy and settled they will learn to the best of their ability. However, we know that life has many challenges for child…


AT ALMOND HILL JUNIOR SCHOOL, WE ASPIRE TO ALL CHILDREN HAVING 100% ATTENDANCE. Under the Education Act, a pupil is required to attend regularly at the school where he/she is a registered pupil. Regular attendance and prompt punctuality supports pupil progress and at Almond Hill we strongly promote this expectation. The school…

The School Day

8.45am On arrival, children should make their way to the classroom doors.  Children should not arrive in the playground before this time as it is not supervised and should not wait at the school gate before coming in to school. The gates are locked at 8.55am. Children arriving after this time must c…

Photos of Our School


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  • Extra Curricular Activities

    Published 02/05/24

    At Almond Hill we believe in the all round development of the children and aim to provide a wide range of activities to encourage this. Many clubs are organised by teachers, parents and through our links with the Sporting Futures Team after school and at lunchtime. Sometimes, clubs are arranged through external providers.

    Our clubs include:

    Art Football Choir Robotics
    Cross Country Rounders Cross Stitch Board Games
    Science  ECO Running  Drama
    Journalism Maths Stop Frame Animation Gardening

    Most after school clubs finish at 4:15pm. A register is taken at the start of each club and children should inform the club teacher if they are going to be absent. For children in school teams, matches are arranged after school.  Details of clubs will be published to parents and children at the start of each term. 

    Day outings to places of interest are arranged to support studies in the classroom.

    School journey is regarded as an important feature in a child’s development. In Year 6, children are offered the opportunity to go on a residential journey. Currently, Year 6 have the opportunity to stay at Grafham Water for three days of outdoor and adventurous activities.

    Music Lessons

    For those who wish to take up an instrument to further their learning, lessons are available for which a charge is made. These lessons may include: guitar and violin and RockSteady. All music lessons at Almond Hill combine learning with enjoyment. Music features regularly in weekly assembly, and special music concerts which are held to celebrate the children’s achievements.  Parents pay for music lessons unless they are exempt (see remissions) and are expected to make a commitment of at least a year’s tuition.

    Premier Education Wrap Around Care

    Our wrap around care is provided by Premier Education who provide a premium Ofsted-registered wraparound care facility. They are passionate about offering high quality out-of-school-hours care for primary school children, to create an outstanding service for busy parents. Details of the courses available are published on the school website.

    Only children attending Almond Hill Junior School are eligible to attend the before and after school. Provision can be booked online before 12pm on the day of the booking.

    The school are unable to book sessions for you, they should be booked directly through the Premier website:

    Read More
  • Partnership with Parents and the Community

    Published 02/05/24

    At Almond Hill, we seek to work in partnership with you to ensure you are well-informed about all aspects of the school and your child’s learning and progress.  Almond Hill has a Home School Agreement which outlines what the school expects to provide for each pupil, what parents will try to do to support their child and the school, and what pupils will try to do to support their own learning.  We believe the agreement unites school, parents and children.

    To keep you well-informed about your child's learning we:

    • Invite you to a formal parent teacher interview twice each year. This may be offered remotely.
    • Provide you with an annual written report in the summer term.
    • Invite you to view your child’s work at any time after school.
    • Invite you to open events to see your child’s classroom and work.
    • Provide a year group e-mail so you can contact class teachers directly.
    • Invite you to contribute to school self-evaluation.
    • Invite parents of children with special educational needs to review meetings every term.
    • Invite you to parent forums and to workshops that explain aspects of school policy and developments.
    • Publish information about what your child has been learning through our Medium Term Plans under the learning section of our website.
    • Publish a weekly newsletter to inform you of school events and diary dates.
    • Welcome parental help which is highly valued encouraging volunteers to support a range of activities in the classroom (subject to safeguarding checks).
    • Publish a wide range of information on our school website.
    Read More
  • Communication with Parents

    Published 02/05/24

    In addition to a range of information that is published on our school website, the school publishes a weekly newsletter on Fridays.

    The school uses Arbor for communication which will allow you to receive messages from the school and for you to be able to reply to those messages. This system allows for messages to be sent in a cost effective way. Please support the school by downloading the app so messages can be sent to you free of charge. 

    If you already use School Gateway to make payments, then there is nothing else you need to do.

    If you haven’t yet activated your School Gateway account it is quick and easy to do. All you need are your email address and mobile number that school holds on record for you. 

    Download the app: If you have a smartphone, please download School Gateway from your app store (Android and iPhone).

    Visit the website: and click on ‘New User’. You’ll receive a text message with a PIN number. Use this PIN to log into School Gateway.

    All other information and letters are published on the school website. We aim to inform parents of events in the school calendar as soon as possible. Parents should be aware the school itself sometimes has limited notice of activities pupils are invited to take part in. We aim to keep our parents fully informed of curriculum developments and events. Letters will be issued with details of specific events and these will also be published on the school website for reference.

    Each year group has an e-mail that parents can use to contact class teachers. These boxes are checked weekly by teachers so should not be used for urgent queries:

    The Special Educational Needs co-ordinator (SENCo) also has a dedicated e-mail for parents of pupils with special needs.

    Should you ever have any queries or problems relating to your child at school, we believe it is very important that they are resolved quickly. Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the class teacher. Should you have continued concerns, please make an appointment with the Deputy Head. If an issue is still not resolved, please make an appointment with the Head Teacher.

    There may be occasions when we need to contact you urgently.  It is very important that the office has details of how you may be contacted during the day and an emergency contact number plus an additional 2 emergency contacts.


    In September 2021, we introduced this parental engagement app across all classes. Seesaw is a fantastic way to see in 'real time' what your children have been learning at school. Children can share videos, photos of their work or use the creative tool to show you what they are proud of. We are really excited about Seesaw.

    Read More

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