The Hemel Hempstead School
|Motto||Esse Quam Videri|
|Headteacher||Patrick Harty |
|DfE URN||117500 Tables|
|Houses||Ashridge, Chalfont, Flaunden, Latimer, Nettleden, Pendley|
|Colours||Blue & gold|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2011)|
The school has roughly 1900 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.
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 1969, 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.
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.
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 discrete 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. However, this has done little to conceal the declining condition of the structures. In the summer of 2014, black fences were put around the side of the school where the student entrance is to replace the previous one, which was aging. Also the school's library was moved to where the old assembly hall/dance studio was, increasing it's 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.
The pupils are divided into six house groups, each named after local villages:
The houses compete against each other to win annual events such as sports day, house drama, 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).
The school teaches the subjects of:
English, Mathematics, Science (broken down into three categories of Biology, Chemistry and Physics later in the school), Physical Education, Sport, Religious Studies, Geography, History, Drama, Dance, Art, Music, Design and Technology (a rota of metal work, wood work, textiles, graphics, food and product design), Psychology, Sociology, Business Studies, Information Technology, Modern Foreign Languages (German and French), Home Economics and Catering.
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
- Prof Les Ebdon CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire since 2003, and former Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Plymouth from 1986-2003
- Bruce Grocott, Baron Grocott, Labour MP for Lichfield and Tamworth from 1974-9, The Wrekin from 1987-97 and Telford from 1997-2001
- John Keen, Editor of the Hemel Hempstead Gazette from 1972–87
- Prof Dale Sanders, Professor of Biology at the University of York since 1992
- Bryan Sparrow CMG, Ambassador to Croatia (the first) from 1992-4, Cameroon from 1981-4 (including the Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea from 1982-4)
- Peter Wallington, Professor of Law at Lancaster University from 1979–88
- Dr Robert Burns, Author, Musician and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Music Performance at University of Otago since 2001
- Ruth Holmes (née Windle), noted New Zealand educationalist and artist 
- Four Houses - Dacorum (Yellow), Salisbury (Blue), Tudor (Green), Halsey (Red).
Hemel Hempstead Comprehensive School
- Tommy W. Smith, Professional Footballer who has represented Watford F.C., Derby County F.C., Sunderland A.F.C and Portsmouth, now plays for Queens Park Rangers.
- Marc Bircham, ex-professional footballer who represented Millwall F.C., Queens Park Rangers and Yeovil Town F.C.. Now coaches the QPR Youth Team.
- Jack Smith, professional footballer for Millwall F.C. who has also represented Watford F.C. and Swindon Town F.C.. Younger Brother of Tommy W. Smith.
- Professor Richard Grayson, historian and political activist.
Tommy Kemplen (born 1979), Oscar-winning film editor
- Davis, Eve (1987). Hemel Hempstead In Camera. Quotes. pp. p69. ISBN 0-86023-340-5.
- "Details for The Hemel Hempstead School". Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- "Dr. Robert Burns". University of Otago website. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- Wellington Dominion and Post/WLG/1999