Food & Nutrition

Senior School 

The F&N department encourages students to make links with the world beyond the kitchen. We want students to see the opportunities to understand our own culture, the culture of others and the environmental impact our food choices have on our world.


Open workshops 

The F&N Department run open workshop sessions on Tuesday’s at Kings Campus and Wednesday’s at Castle Campus. These sessions are predominantly for KS3 and GCSE students who want to extend their practical skills in areas they want to exploreThe practicals are student driven and can be as basic or difficult as the student wants to be challenged.  


We enjoy organising trips and have run trips to Italy and Borough Market in the past. The students discover the traditional ways of making gelato, gnocchi, honey and mozzarella. We are trying to gain enthusiasm for a Y8 trip to visit the regional food towns of England – Melton Mowbray, Bakewell and the environs.   


The Year 10s have participated in a national competition for food presentation the last two years – the focus is taking the humble Tunnock’s Tea Cake and make it a fabulous dish. In the first year we had a student place 3rd in the GCSE category, but unfortunately the competition did not finish in 2020 – but the students still presented some great plates!  

School Visits 

We try get interesting speakers and have had Natalie Thompson, a food stylist who works for GBBO and various food companies like Hellmann’s and Stork. She encouraged the students to think of food and the way to balance the elements and create a stunning plate. This boosts their understanding and helps in the NEA tasks at GCSE and A-Level. 


Enrichment opportunities in Geography  

‘If geography itself has any significance, it is that we are made to lift our eyes from our small provincial selves to the whole complex and magnificent world’.  

Richard Burton (1821 – 1890) to the Royal Geographical Society.  

Geography enables us the see the world through different eyes.  

Not only is it dynamic and relevant, it is one of the most exciting and rewarding subjects that you could study. Geography teaches us about the awe-inspiring natural and man-made world and why they are inextricably linked and mutually dependent. Geography takes us from the microscopic to the colossal, the past to the future, and helps us to make sense of the present. 


@Berkogeo is our personal Geography Twitter feed. Here students can access the most up to date information about what is happening in the world around them. Links to news articles and excellent resources allow students to be autonomous in their learning.  



Students can explore other cultures and look at Geography from a wide range of perspectives. Trips for Years 9-10 in the past few years have gone to the Azores and Morocco. Norway is planned for October 2020. IGCSE students will also head to a Field Studies Centre to conduct there Human and Physical fieldwork. 


Students can enter a range of exciting and challenging competitions run Nationally in the UK. In the past, Berkhamsted students have fared very well and we have produced several winners from various competitions. Examples include the RGS Young Geographer of the Year, the Geographical Association Student Photo Competition. 

Sixth Form  

‘Geography helps us understand the world. It gives us the science, the data and the insights to plan for the future; and it’s an incredibly exciting subject.” Nick Crane highlights the knowledge and transferable skills you will gain if you’ #choosegeography

For Geography A level, students grapple with contemporary issues such as economic transition, environmental management, global interdependence and natural hazards to name but a few. Enrichment opportunities are designed to broaden your geographical understanding and to prepare you for the challenges of Geography at undergraduate level. Students develop a wealth of skills including reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving, data manipulation, computer literacy and the art of communication.   


Students can explore other cultures and look at Geography from a wide range of perspectives. Next year we plan to run a trip to Copenhagen at the end of the academic year.  


Students can enter a range of exciting and challenging competitions run Nationally in the UK. Examples include the RGS Young Geographer of the Year, the Geographical Association Student Photo Competition and the Financial Times School Essay Competition. Students are also encouraged to submit work to be published nationally in the Geography Routes Journal. 

Geographical Association Lectures

As a regional centre for the Geographical Association, biannually, students are invited to attend guest lectures. Lectures are chosen to compliment the A level course and to give students first-hand experience of studying Geography at Undergraduate level. Recently, we enjoyed an inspirational lecture on the impacts of climate change given by  Dr  David Thornalley from UCL. Also, Dr Ian Bartholomew (OB) gave a fascinating lecture on glacial melting in Greenland and new models for flood insurance. 

Virtual Micro Lectures

Recently we have invited lecturers to give a virtual lecture to our students. Professor Stefan Doerr from Swansea university gave our students a real insight into the fantastic work that they do on Wildfires. The students then prepared and had a Q & A session with him after studying Wildfires further. Some feedback from the students is below: 

“I think it was really inspiring to hear from somebody working in a specific geographical field and would be great if we had a variety of different people from different fields to hear from!” 

“Enjoyed getting an insight into what a job in geography would look like”. 

Geographical Society  (Available Years 7-9 + 11-13) 

In clubs and societies, we offer a range of activities, such as Mini Model United Nations debates on contentious global issues and students have helped map areas of the world which have not yet been mapped working with Missing Maps to save lives. We expect our A Level geographer to take a leading role in the organisation of this club helping to enrich every student path in geography. 


‘The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.’ Theodore Roosevelt  

The History Department boasts a wealth of enrichment opportunities available to students from Years 7 to 13. Indeed, as a hugely popular subject at Berkhamsted, we see many of our students go on to pursue the subject well beyond their school careersOld Berkhamstedians who have read History at university have later thrived in the world of law, journalism, government, academia, the military and more.  

History students are well supported in their studies by the wealth of resources we have access to. These include BBC History MagazineModern History Review Magazine and the Churchill Archiveto name just a few. Additionally, we have online subscriptions to platforms including History Today and Massolitused frequently when engaging in research projects in Key Stage 3 and examined coursework in Key Stages 4 and 5.  

Outside of the classroom, there are a variety of activities on offer. To further develop their understanding of the subject, students are encouraged to read widely; we are lucky to have an extremely well-resourced Library at both Kings and Castle campus. The department runs two different clubs for those looking to explore areas not on the curriculum, including a historical films club and a historical research club.  

For aspiring young historians, there are also a number of competitions to enter each year, including a Key Stage 3 Historical Fiction competition and a Sixth Form competition judged by acclaimed historian, Roger Moorhouse. Further external competitions run by prestigious institutions are promoted throughout the year to those in Year 12 and 13 

Every year, students are given the opportunity to attend after-school lectures delivered by prominent historians on topics relevant to our school curriculum. Past guest speakers have included Professor Stephen Tuck, BBC broadcaster Helen Castor and historians Thomas Penn and Tracy Borman. For those looking to study History at university, the department also runs a tailored Oxbridge Programme to support individuals in their applications and to provide another forum to share their passion for the subject.  

For the vast array of trips run by the History Department, please see the departmental photographs taken from different places around the world, including Normandy, Berlin and Moscow  

The History Department hopes to cultivate your interest, spark your curiosity and grow your enthusiasm for the subject through the enrichment opportunities on offer.  

‘I loved how supportive the History Department were of those wanting to continue studying History beyond Year 13. They were encouraging and passionate about helping us with our applications.’   

I really enjoyed the History Coursework as it allowed us to pursue our own research outside of the classroom and go beyond what we were taught in lessons.’   

‘History lessons are fun and engaging. I like discussing ideas in class and looking at views from all sorts of different of different perspectives.’  

‘I love how involved we all are in History lessons.’   

‘I feel that I have made progress in History this year because we covered topics that I was unfamiliar with, such as the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Cold War. This has helped me to gain an insight into the history of other cultures, rather than just British culture.   

‘My reasoning has definitely improved over the course of the year as I can now construct arguments and engage effectively in debates.’  

‘Doing independent projects in History has really helped me to improve my research skills.’  

‘The Holocaust survivor talk put on by the History Department really brought what we had been studying in the classroom to life.’    

‘I think that discussing ideas as a class but at the same time using OneNote works well, as we can put down our ideas but also hear other peoples’ views, as we would if we were in a ‘real’ classroom.’  


In Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, students follow a broad and varied curriculum spanning Computer Science, Digital Wellbeing and Information and Communication Technology. There are lots of opportunities to explore further, too! Whether you’re interested in coding, cyber security, AI or creative media, there are exciting possibilities for you to explore. 


There are lots of opportunities to compete nationally in computing, coding and cybersecurity competitions; either as an individual or a team, including the Matrix ChallengeCyberFirst, and the Bebras ChallengeKeep an eye out for invitations to get involved when the competitions open for entries! 

 Cyber Security 

If you would like to become one of the next leaders in cyber security, join the Cyber Discovery Programme. You can explore over 200 challenges where you will have a go at real-world cyber attacks, learning how cyber security experts play a vital role in protecting our hospitals, banks, army, and police services!  

Artificial Intelligence 

AI is shaping the world. Perhaps you’re interested in shaping AI, and would like to get involved in hackathons: check out Teens in AI, where you can find out about the latest events and sign up to the AI Accelerator Programme. 


If you enjoy coding and would like to learn more, we recommend exploring projects on Hour of Code,Scratch or to develop your skills and creativity. Computing enthusiasts should visit Khan Academy: where you can follow excellent courses on Javascript and HTML, for example.   

iDEA award 

We love to see students getting a certificate to reward their work, and this award programme is a great opportunity to develop digital, enterprise and employability skills. We will spend some time on this in Year 7-9 ICT classes but you can expand your badge collection and aim for the next level any time. Visi  

Keyboard Skills 

We value the importance of typing quickly and accurately. Putting in some extra practice on Typing Club will help you improve and you can challenge your friends on Typing Games.  

Get creative  

We run an annual Photoshop competition for Year 9, and there are many amazing Photoshop tutorials available to help you hone your skills. If you are interested in Computer Animation, this online course from Pixar is superb!  


“The beauty of mathematics only shows itself to more patient followers.” Maryam Mirzakhani (Fields Medalist 2014)

“To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature. …If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.” Richard Feynman (Nobel Prizewinner 1965)

“Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” Albert Einstein


Whether you are a budding mathematician, scientist, economist or simply enjoy solving puzzles, then we can give you manifold opportunities to explore Mathematics.  We hope to set you on your journey into the wonders of the subject and its diverse applications. 

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There are many ways that we will encourage you to get involved with Maths beyond the curriculum:

Competitions and Clubs

All students have the opportunity to prepare for and take part in a variety of maths challenges and competitions through the school year. The individual challenges of the UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT) will test your problem-solving skills. Our most successful students each year take part in the follow-on rounds including the Mathematical Olympiad. In the team competition, a team of A-level students competes in a competition against other schools in the region for a place in the national team competition.

In the Hans Woyda Team Competition we field a team of four students from year 9 up to year 13 to compete against other schools in the London area over a number of matches. The format requires the team to work both individually and together.

Through a variety of clubs run by the department, all students have the option to get involved in practising for these competitions and exploring mathematical ideas. The department publishes a list of its favourite brain teasers and there are commendations for the most elegant solutions.

Sixth form opportunities

In the sixth, enrichment opportunities in Mathematics are designed to build upon the A-level curriculum to develop your interest in the subject. You will be aiming to develop the essential reasoning skills that are required for studying Mathematics, Science, Technology, Engineering or Economics at university.

There is plenty of opportunity for leadership too, as students are encouraged to contribute ideas or lead discussions on Mathematics that they have read about in their own time.

University Entrance Papers Sessions

We run weekly sessions throughout the year to prepare and mentor students who would like to sit either the MAT or STEP papers in mathematics as part of their university applications for Mathematics, Computer Science or Engineering. These papers are designed to stretch A-level students. They are a requirement for some university courses and strengthen your application

Maths Fest

Each year the department organises a trip to Maths Fest in London, which comprises wide-ranging talks by well-known mathematicians, interactive events and the chance to speak with companies that employ maths graduates. Here are some of the highlights from students:

“We were surprised to hear the amazing intricacies within prime numbers and the extensive cooperative online work carried out to prove the ‘Twin primes conjecture’; a conjecture that there are an infinite number of twin primes that differ by two. As we learnt, the landscape of mathematical research is rapidly changing in an age of technology where thousands can team up online in an attempt to prove such theories.”

“TV star and mathematician Hannah Fry delivered an exciting but cautionary insight into the use of algorithms in our modern world.”

“As the day finished, we left the theatre with a new outlook on mathematics.”


Mathematics enrichment activities:

Open-leaning websites with information and study-materials:



Open University: Maths courses

Future Learn: Maths Courses

Introduction to Logic (Coursera)

Sets and Probability (Harvard University)

Previous maths challenge papers of the UKMT

Maths Challenge:

Talks on mathematics and its application to science and engineering:

Maths is Forever

Symmetry: Reality’s Riddle

The Beautiful Mathematics of Coral

The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen

Millenium Maths Project (University of Cambridge)

Engineering (University of Oxford)

Stargazing (University of Oxford)

The Story of Maths” and “A Brief History of Mathematics”:

The Language of the Universe

The Genius of the East

The Frontiers of Space

To Infinity and Beyond

A Brief History of Mathematics


The department has reading lists for each year group which can be found at this link. Please speak to your teacher for their recommendations.


@numberphile, @FryRsquared, @robeastaway, @aperiodical, @MarcusduSautoy, @3blue1brown, @plusmathsorg

Media Studies


“The UK screen industries contribute around £7.7bn to the economy annually and are the UK’s fastest growing sector, currently employing 80,000 people. The UK is home to some of the world’s leading production houses and facilities, with a global reputation for creativity, innovation and technical excellence. The UK’s creativity continues to draw international acclaim.”

Creative Media Skills

Whether you are looking to pursue a career in one of the most diverse and popular industries in the UK or you just have an interest in the media and enjoy being creative, you will find an abundance of opportunities, both in and out of school, that will enable you to enrich and develop your knowledge and interest.  


One of the most important ways to show universities and future employees that you have a passion for the media is to make media products. It is even more valuable to be part of a team as this shows a wider range of skills such as the ability to collaborate and to meet deadlines.  

With these goals in mind, the Media Department has introduced SURREEL, new and exciting Media Marketing and Production Company open to students from years 11-13. SURREEL offers a range of services within the school including the filming of events, the creation of video content as requested, promotional videos as well as promotional artwork. 

If you have an interest in the media and are keen to develop your production and marketing skills, this is the club for you. Examples of roles available include: 

  • Script writers 
  • Reporters 
  • Presenters 
  • Film crew 
  • Editors 
  • Artwork editor 

 If you are in years 7-10 and would be interested in getting involved then please contact Ms Bohitige ( as there may be other ways in which you can be involved.   


It is important to be engage with a range of media texts that go beyond your own personal interest. By doing this you will gain a greater understanding of context and of debates linked to the industry itself and the impact that may have on other industries. A valuable starting point is to follow a range of media organisations and news channels in order to keep up to date with the many changes happening in the industry.  


Warner Bros Studio Tour is almost on our doorstep (Leavesden, Hertfordshire) so why not book a visit to the making of Harry Potter. Visit the site to book your tickets – Warner Bros Studio Tour  

BBC Shows and Tours offer a 90 minute behind the scenes tour and costs under £10 per person. The London studios are currently closed but the studio tours in Birmingham are open. 

ITV Tours offer a range of tours. 

BFI Southbank has a library and cinema with various events running through the year – Check out the website for a range of information and lists of upcoming events.  

Watch a film on the big screen. The BFI IMAX at Waterloo has the biggest cinema screen in England and is great cinematic experience so make it an even more amazing experience the next time you see the latest blockbuster.  

Science and Media Museum in Bradford is free and has seven floors of galleries, research facilities and three cinemas. 

BBFC is a good site to visit to help you understand how films are classified. For a more interactive experience, visit CBBFC you can have a go at rating films based on the content.  

BBC Writers Room offers you a chance to find out more about script writing. This is a great place to start if you want to build on your creative writing skills.  



Be an audience member for a television show. This is a great way to see how a stage is set, cameras are positioned and how filming happens. When the programme is aired on television, you will be able to reflect on the editing process and how meaning is made. Some shows have age restrictions but all tickets are free. Once you sign up to the company you can apply for a range of shows including X Factor, Top Gear, The Graham Norton Show and Strictly Come Dancing. Do make sure you arrive early as the ticket confirmation does not guarantee entry (they will have over offered tickets to ensure all seats are filled on the day). 

The main companies to sign up with are Applause Store, SRO and Lost in TV and BBC Shows. 

Applause Store 

SRO Audiences 

Lost In TV 

BBC Shows 


“The value of summer courses is something many people take for granted, as it is an opportunity to enrich and develop your skills outside of the classroom giving you a head start for the new year. Tom – Year 13 Media Studies Student. 

Future Learn offer a range of online courses throughout the year so are a great option for exploring new subjects. I highly recommend these.  

Young Film Academy is an official London delivery partner for the BFI Film Academy and they run a range of courses throughout the year, so it is worth looking at their website to see what courses are coming up. 

Creative Media Skills run a number of non-residential courses at Pinewood Studios so if you want to be a film producer / director or writer, a costume designer, a special effects make-up artist, a hair stylist, a screen actor or stuntman, then check this site to see what is on offer.   

Study the subject at A level. Media Studies is open to students in the 6th Form. You will follow the Cambridge International Exam which combines analytical and creative learning.   


Sharing creative work can be quite daunting for some, however I’d say by taking that step and not being afraid to express your creativity, you are boosting not only your confidence but also your abilities. Tom – Year 13 Media Studies Student. 

We are always keen to see how students engage with the media so share your work with us.  Whether you have made a film, game, documentary, photographed an event or a written a review of something you have enjoyed, please share it with me, Ms Bohitige ( See a range of examples of students production work on our YouTube site – Berkhamsted Media. 

Modern Languages

Learning a language is a fantastic opportunity to broaden your knowledge of the world and of other cultures. It can unlock doors that would otherwise remain shutImeans yocan communicate with millions of people who don’t speak your language in what is a very big worldAdded to that many UK employers are looking for linguists and most importantly it’s fun! 

 Here are our top reasons why languages are great: 

  • English is not enough! How many people do you know that speak another language?  75% of the world’s population doesn’t speak English at all! 
  • A language at whatever level will always be useful, no matter what you do. You could be the next James Bond, J K Rowling or even an international athlete?
  • You get to study a wide range of topics through the medium of books, films, songs and poetry to broaden your understanding of the international world. Remember “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” ‒Ludwig Wittgenstein 

  • Languages are the ‘business’ – being able to speak a language will make you really stand out.
  • If you were to use a language at work it could raise your salary from 8-20%.
  • They’re good for your health! Speaking more than one language increases your brain’s capacity, improves your memory skills and you’ll be at less risk of developing Alzheimer’s in later life.
  • It’sreally impressiveto be able to speak a foreign language and can help you make friends across the globe.  
  • “He/she who knows no foreign language knows nothing of his/her own!” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 

At Key Stages 3 & 4, you can take part in the following competitions:   

Year 7 Spelling Bee competition French and Spanish to improve pronunciation, memorisation along with spelling skills.  

Year 8 Translation Bee competition also in both French and Spanish, to build confidence using a range of vocabulary and different tenses in a fun and competitive way. 

Years 7 and 8 Vocab Express Global Challenge where you get to show off your vocabulary learning skills at a national level.  

The HSBC and British Council National Mandarin Speaking Competition allows you to compete either individually or as part of a group performance. Participation will help raise your confidence for oral exams, inspire you to learn more about Chinese culture, while developing vocabulary and pronunciation.  

The UK National Chinese Essay Writing Competition allows you to practise your Chinese characters by writing a short essay on one of a number of topics. These essays are assessed against other learners of Chinese of a similar age and experience across the country.   

A KS3 Mandarin study day – Myth, culture and modernityIn January 2019, students of Chinese in years 8 and 9 visited the British Film Institute in London, to attend a study day where they analysed Chinese culture through film.  

For all of you in Years 9 –11, you have an account for This is Language’ in French, German and Spanish where you are able to watch videos of real young people using authentic language in a natural setting. A fantastic resource to work independently on listening, expand your range of idioms and grammatical skills. Watch out for the intense and highly engaging ‘Nutty Tilez’ competition for a chance to win i-Tunes vouchers and compete on a national scale. 

The Oxford University Film Competition is looking for budding film enthusiasts in Years 7-11 to embrace the world of French cinema. To enter the competition, you need to re-write the ending of a film in no more than 1500 words. Entries can be in English or in French. No additional credit will be given for writing in French and incorrect French grammar will not be penalised as this is an exercise in creativity, rather than language! The judges are looking for plausible yet imaginative new endings. There are no restrictions as to the form the entry might consist of: a screen-play, a play-script, prose, a prose with illustrations. Feel free to experiment! A number of prizes are available, including the first prize of £100.  

The Stephen Spender Prize The Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation It is a fantastic initiative that celebrates not only poetry, languages and translation in general, but multiculturalism, diversity and community spirit, which are exactly the things that students should be exposed to throughout our country. 

Les Symphonies Poétiques is a competition which is aimed Year 9 students studying French, who have demonstrated intellectual curiosity and expertise in the language across the year. Each student recites one of the poems pre-learned out of a possible three.  The five highest scorers then compete in the final. As for the final, the top five are then given an unseen poem which they have time to prepare as they wish. Finalists can decide to give a classic rendition of the poem or be less conventional in their approach and opt for a slam/rap/singing/ style!  

Newnham Essay Prizes Years 10 and 11 are invited to submit a creative entry – for example an audio or video file, image, collage, or meme. Audio and video submissions should be 1-2 minutes long. Visual/non-text-based submissions should be accompanied by a short statement of 250 words explaining how the submission addresses the theme of the competition. Submissions can be made in English or in the target language, but should in any case contain clear references to the target language/culture. 

Cross-curricular opportunities on both sites thar run weekly, include:  

Foreign Film club aims to help increase your cultural awareness and to develop the every important listening skills.  

Nutty Tilez club enables students to compete in the Nutty Tilez game online. They can play against each other and students from across the country in a fast-paced game that consolidates GCSE vocabulary in a fun way. 

Routes into Languages ClubIn Year 9 you can take part in The Language Leader co-curricular club in both French and Spanish. You will be taught how to deliver a short lesson, work as a team, reflect on your progress and eventually get to teach some of the prep school pupils. Not only will it develop leadership skills and help you grow in confidence but this is a great way to enhance your future careers.  

Learn more about our array of activities 

In 2018, The MFL department organised its first Trip to China. Students were able to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and tastes of China in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xian. This 10 day trip will give you a truly unique and authentic life enhancing experience of Chinese culture while using your Mandarin skills.  Travel from the capital, Beijing, to the historical wonder of Xi’an before going on to visit the modern miracle that is Shanghai. It includes a wide variety of educational, cultural, social and outdoor activities ranging from seeing the “un-missable” attractions such as The Great Wall and The Terracotta Warriors in the larger cities to visiting an orphanage and a typical Chinese school.  

The tour to Cantabria in Northern Spain is a unique chance for you to immerse yourself fully into the Spanish culture and lifestyle. You will explore the city of Santander where you will enjoy a bay cruise and some time on the Sardinero beach close to one of the Spanish Royal family’s Palaces. This may also be the first time you will eat some delicious tapas and the world famous “churros con chocolate”. If you like trying new things, you may discover “flamenco” is for you! You will also visit the UNESCO world heritage prehistoric caves of Altamira, one of Spain’s most breath-taking national parks, “Los Picos de Europa” as well the world famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.   

Years 10 &11 

To boost your study of French at IGCSE we will propose a trip to France where you will you have the opportunity to practice your French and learn more about French culture.  

The IGCSE Spanish Homestay in Andalucía will give you a clear insight into the culture, history and traditions of Spain.  You will stay with host families and visit some of the best sights in the whole of Spain: the Alhambra in Granada, the Giralda Cathedral in Sevilla, the Mezquita and Moorish castle and gardens in Cordoba.  Imagine sampling tasty tapas, learning to dance flamenco style, not to mention some trendy shopping plus lots more.  A trip you will remember for years after.  The Andalusians will give you a warm and very friendly welcome and you will leave as a more confident Spanish speaker!  

In Years 12&13 

You will have the opportunity to embark on an intense but exciting language immersion course in Valladolid which consists of you studying Spanish in ‘la casa del español’ language school whilst staying with a Spanish host family in the historic city of Valladolid. Activities include a whistle stop tour of Madrid, gaining special access into a Spanish bullring and museum, sampling some world famous tapas dishes, taking part in a Spanish cookery lesson from a professional chef amongst other educational and cultural activities. You will quickly reap the benefits and your spoken Spanish skills, in particular, will greatly improve. A unique and thoroughly rewarding experience that will most definitely broaden your horizons in the heartland of Spain.   

A trip is planned for October 2021-22 for Year 12 and 13 students of Chinese to visit Hong Kong, Guilin, Yangshuo and Chengdu, where they will learn about the contrasts between urban and rural development in China in support of their A Level study, visit a Panda sanctuary and of course, use their language skills to dive into Chinese society and culture.  

In the Sixth Form, enrichment opportunities are designed to enhance not only your A Level studies and to prepare you for studying Languages at university level but to enhance your potential as a competitor in the global arena as well as your future careers. Languages will also help you with travel, communication, appreciation of other cultures and much more throughout your life. In a world where technology has made communicating across the globe simple, language skills open up endless possibilities. 

A plethora of competitions are on offer such as:  

A Chinese Cinema A Level study day:Year 12 Mandarin students will have the opportunity to attend a study day at the British Film Institute in London, which will explore the historical, cultural and societal themes through clips from two films on the A Level syllabus, and Chinese cinema more widely.  

A level French Drama Festival   

The King Alfred School kindly organises a French Speaking Theatre Festival. If you are a keen linguist and actor and would like to perform an extract of a French play, written by a French speaking playwright (or even by yourself). Please get in touch with your teacher for more details. 

 Y13 French and Spanish Debating Competitions   

You have the option to be selected and invited to participate in the North London Debating Competition. If selected you will get to compete in two debates in a pool where you will gain points and the chance to progress to the semi-finals and ultimately the final. The debating competition will be an excellent preparatory tool for public examinations and will provide with a truly stimulating experience. A host of prizes will be awarded for the lucky finalists!  

A level French Film Competition   

The Oxford University Film Competition is looking for budding film enthusiasts in Years 12-13 to embrace the world of French cinema. To enter the competition, students from each age group are asked to re-write the ending of a film in no more than 1500 words.

Entries can be in English or in French. No additional credit will be given for writing in French and incorrect French grammar will not be penalised as this is an exercise in creativity, rather than language! The judges are looking for plausible yet imaginative new endings. There are no restrictions as to the form the entry might consist of: a screen-play, a play-script, prose, a prose with illustrations. Feel free to experiment! A number of prizes are available, including the first prize of £100.  

Y13 Best Spanish Student in the UK  

Do you have the Spanish edge? If so and your teacher is suitably impressed with your level of Spanish you may be nominated to represent the school in the Spanish Embassy in London. On the day you get to battle it out against other pupils from the country with a series of linguistic tests and have the chance of scooping the top prize. The prize consists of a three day visit for you and a friend to the region of Castilla y León, renowned as an area of outstanding beauty and rich cultural heritage, which includes transport, accommodation and visits.   

The Cambridge University Essay Prize in Modern Languages 

If you are considering applying to study Languages University this is a great opportunity to write about a literary or cinematic works in a modern foreign language and will help develop your independent study skills.  This competition will carry a top prize of £200, a second prize of £100, and a third prize of £50; several further essays will be highly commended.  

Linguistics Essay Prize  

This is an annual linguistics competition which is open to all students in Year 12 with an interest in how language works regardless of the specific subjects they are currently studying at A-Level  

Newnham Essay Prizes All female students currently in Year 12 at a UK school may enter the prizes, which are offered in a range of subjects including Modern and Medieval Langugaes as wellas the annual ‘Woolf Essay Prize’ which questions inspored by Virgina Woolf;s A Room of One’s Own 

Lancaster Univeristy Modern Languages Competition  

Years 12 and 13 students are invited to submit an essay discussing the theme. The essay should be written in Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish. Essays should be no longer than 500 words long and should include a bibliography (not included in the word count).  

Quotes from our linguists: 

‘Studying MFL at Berkhamsted isn’t just about learning grammar and vocabulary. You are fully immersed in the culture and community of the speakers of that language. There are countless opportunities from debates to verse speaking competitions to trips abroad. Studying a language helps you to have a greater understanding of the world and I will continue to study MFL for as long as possible’ – Ismay(Y11)  

Read more student quotes  



Music can make a huge contribution in shaping our abilities and character. We hope that you will find it fun, creative, social, develops coordination, therapeutic, expressive, relaxing, stimulates imagination, deepens cultural understanding, challenges, develops self-discipline and helps forge lasting friendships. Why don’t you join in?

Whether you are at the start of your musical journey or an accomplished musician, you may always find help and support from the Music staff. We can point you towards formal lessons or suggest masterclasses and musical opportunities both in school and outside. We share great podcasts, recommend ‘tried and tested’ self-teach tutorials on YouTube and encourage you to try fun apps.  Explore the links on the Music Firefly pages! 

In-School Individual Music Tuition is available on most instruments, music theory and singing. These will help you to make fast progress when combined with regular practise and can lead towards taking examinations in classical, rock and/or jazz styles. Exams earn extra points on your university application, so are worth considering once you reach Grade 6 level.    

Musical groups and ensembles rehearse weekly. Your participation will help expand your skillset, tackle a variety of music and introduce you to others with similar interests. Some ensembles are based around particular year groups, campus or standard, but there is something for everyone whether you are in Year 7 or Year 13. We run a Music Tech Club for budding music producers, songwriters and composers.  

Our three flagship ensembles, involve large numbers of musicians and rehearse after school: 

Senior and Symphony Orchestras          (Mondays) 

Junior and Senior Choirs                               (Tuesdays)   

Jazz Band and Big Band                               (Thursdays) 

Further ensembles rehearse before and after school and at lunchtime. Full details are available on Firefly (link above). Please ask if you are unsure of how and what to join.   

We organise a popular Annual Music Tour to Europe each July. The concert tour (advanced musicians) provides performance opportunities in spectacular venues, whilst the rehearsal tour allows younger musicians to play in a less pressured environment and enjoy the sites of Paris including Disneyland.  

Performance opportunities vary from formal to very informal and there is truly something for everyone. Major concerts provide a platform for our regular ensembles (small and large), but there is room for students working amongst themselves to join in. Those wanting performing experience can join one of the friendly Informal Concerts, although these also attract accomplished performers too. For an advanced challenge, consider entering Berkhamsted’s Young Musician of the Year or audition for The Talent Show. Performing helps develop self-confidence and repertoire is broadened by sitting in the audience.   

 Look out for the Inter-House Music Competitions staged in the first half term in the academic year. These are highly enjoyable, but competitive and showcase some of our finest musicians. They are inclusive as everyone gets to join in.  Another fabulous experience is the Berkhamsted Festival of Music (in January), which provides opportunities for you to try new skills as well as work with visiting experts in a range of masterclasses and events.  

 We also encourage our musicians to serve others and sign up to play at local care homes, the hospice and for community events in and around Berkhamsted.  This helps bring the joy of music to those who most need it and is hugely satisfying. 

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education, like all experiential education, is based on the philosophy that individuals learn best through direct experience. The problems and projects that rise out of working and learning through the outdoors engages you in the use of effective communication, leadership, practical reasoning, problem solving, teamwork and risk management. To achieve this, we deliver a wide range of activities for all years.  


As soon as pupils start at the school, they are invited to have an outdoor learning bush craft experience, where they practice and hone life skills such as shelter building and fire lighting in Y7. This bush craft experience is repeated in Y9 with more complex skills added such as traps and pioneering skills. These start of year activities really help to bind the pupils together in their new house groups.   

DofE Awards 

Berkhamsted School has a long history of DofE with some of the first ever DofE Gold awards presented to Berkhamsted school students at the beginning of the award. This strong tradition runs through the school with the Bronze awards taken by Y9, Silver award at Y10 and the Gold award running through the 6th Form. As a school we can often see around 500 pupils actively pursuing the award during the year. Expeditions are offered locally at Bronze, to the Peak district at Silver and by the time pupils get to gold options are available for expeditions in the Lake District, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons as well as the extremely popular Sea Kayaking expedition to Poole and Croatia. Each year we celebrate the success of student in the award in assembly for Y9 and Y10 and in a special Gold awards dinner for the 6th Form.   

Adeventure development 

We are always pleased to be able to develop pupils throughout their experience at the school. A huge highlight in the calander is taking Y8 pupils to Snowdonia. This beautiful national park is seen as a capital of adventure in the UK, our pupils climb Snowdon, scramble up Tryfan, abseil, and gorge walk while on this trip. A no phones policy allows pupils to enjoy the outdoor spaces provided with many pupils relaxing by the open fire in the evening or playing in the grounds of the accommodation. This is often seen as the best trip by staff and pupils and is a huge highlight to the year.   

While back at school in Y9-13 pupils can opt for an Outdoor education games option offering high ropes including, five climbing walls, a vertical challenge course, crate stack, leap of faith, head rush, tree-top journeying course and a zip wire gives you the chance to test your own self-confidence, team work and communication skills all whilst balancing metres above the ground! High ropes sessions run during games and after school for house or team building social events. We also offer mountain biking in the local area as part of our games option. The Ashridge Estate and Chiltern Hills provide endless opportunities to develop your core mountain biking skills, such as agility, balance and coordination. 

Clubs and Trips 

Each year the school runs a Ski trip to Italy where we head to the slopes for the beautiful power and exhilarating skiing.  

Two main clubs run to support adventures, the climbing club meets weekly with trips run on crags in the UK and abroard at locations like Swanage, Stanage, Spain and Croatia, the club has proven so popular we have had to offerd two nights to split the Y7 and Y8 climber and the Y9-Y13 to be able to offer as many students as possible places.   

Further to this we have our own Padi dive master who runs the Padi open water diving courses throughout the year and offer Diving trip internationally.  

‘Be adventurous’ is more then just a slogan at the school from beginning to end students are encoraged to live, and breath an adventure spirit. 


Physical Education presents us with an opportunity to better understand our world, where people are increasingly becoming more sedentary, but the sport and exercise industry grows annually. It gives pupils the initial but essential insight into an industry which could combine a career with their passion.

As a result of the growing interest in the field of sport, there are an insurmountable number of high-quality books, podcasts, documentaries and films that provide an amazing insight into the field of sport and exercise. Pupils are exposed to a number of these within lessons and encouraged to explore more in depth outside the classroom. These vary in content and pupils are encouraged to explore the fields they find most interesting, whether that is fitness, sport psychology, sports related business or any other avenue.

In Sixth Form pupils have the opportunity to attend two field trips. The first is a day trip to Twickenham and then Wimbledon, during the day pupils explore the history of these iconic venues and hear more about the commercial enterprise that they now are. In Upper Sixth the pupils attend Bath University, where they are able to experience life as a Sport Science student. They have the opportunity to attend a number of seminars and then have an extended laboratory session, where they can use equipment that cannot be found in many places around the UK.

There are also a number of other trips that are planned through the PE department but attended independently by the pupils. Firstly, the annual Women in Sport Conference designed to support young females as they kick off their careers within the sports industry. Secondly, the Inspiring Minds Course at Loughborough University, where the pupils have the opportunity to attend their choice of example lectures from the Sport, Exercise and Health Science department, hear from some of the sports graduates and take a tour of the stunning 440 acre campus and facilities.


“I have now been to the two leading Universities for sport science in the country and am confident that my choice of doing sport science at University is the right one.”

“There is so many enrichment opportunities available in sport and have loved exploring the ones provided by the PE department over the last two years”

“The trip to Wimbledon and Twickenham really opened my eyes to the opportunities available in the sports industry”