Excllence and Aspiration Collobaration

Partner: Denbigh High School, Luton
Partner type: Maintained School
Project category: Academic


Staff and students of Berkhamsted School enjoy a partnership with Denbigh High School in Luton, Bedfordshire.  Berkhamsted School is an independent school in Hertfordshire which is a Diamond School, being formed of co-educational Prep schools and a Pre-Prep, a Boys’ School and Girls’ School for pupils aged 11 to 16 years, and a co-educational Sixth Form.  Berkhamsted School was founded in 1541 and celebrated its 475th anniversary in 2015-16.


Denbigh High School has a strong local and national reputation as an outstanding school. It has 1120 students between the ages of 11 and 16 and became a converter academy in October 2010.  Since September 2013 it has been part of a multi-academy trust called the Chiltern Learning Trust. The schools within its Trust are Denbigh High School, Challney High School for Boys and Dallow Primary School.  It also a member of the Challenge Partners network with the ‘Denbigh Hub’ being one of only a small number of hubs across the country. These networks provide a structured and sustained approach to school improvement through training and developing teachers, peer review, school-to-school support and joint practice and leadership development.


Aims of the project


The Aim of the project is for students and staff of Denbigh High and Berkhamsted to benefit from working with each other in a mutually beneficial partnership.  This hopes to give students and staff collaborative opportunities, and in so doing seeks to offer them experiences outside their own locality and school environment.


Background and goals


This partnership occurred because Denbigh contacted Berkhamsted to explore whether there could be any opportunities for the two schools to collaborate in ways that might help to raise the aspirations and ambitions of Denbigh pupils.




Both schools have committed significant resources to our partnership, particularly in terms of providing staff, premises and students to ensure that the opportunities are fully taken advantage of.  There has been some shared funding of these projects.




The following examples of our shared work demonstrate the impact and reach of this partnership:


  • From the start of 2017 colleagues at Denbigh School have attended twilight INSET courses provided at Berkhamsted.  The feedback from those involved at both schools has been positive and suggests that everyone’s experience has been enhanced by the presence of teachers from a different context.  New for 2017 will be some teachers from Berkhamsted attending some of the twilight INSET courses provided by Denbigh.

  • The Religion and Philosophy departments at the two schools have linked with a view to sharing resources and organising occasions for some pupils from each school to discuss the content of their GCSE courses.  Some mutual lesson observations and sharing of resources has already taken place.

  • Berkhamsted Outdoor Education Department hosted Denbigh’s ‘Raise Group’ for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition.  One colleague from Denbigh also qualified as a Duke of Edinburgh Expedition Assessor at a course hosted by Berkhamsted at the Pre Prep site.  Over the course of the academic year 2017-18 there are plans for some pupils from Denbigh to experience Berkhamsted’s High Ropes course.

  • Berkhamsted will offer up to three Sixth form bursaries each year for successful applicants from Denbigh School.  The two schools have worked together to produce a fair and rigorous selection process.

  • The Careers Departments at the two schools have linked and shared resources.  Some Denbigh staff and approximately twelve Denbigh pupils attended the Berkhamsted Careers and Higher Education Fair in 2017.

  • The Denbigh cricket teams visited Berkhamsted during the Trinity term to contest three 20 over cricket matches.

  • An area of collaboration new 2017 is for the two schools to collaborate on some research that they are each undertaking into boys’ achievement at Key Stage 4 level.  The schools will also share good practice with the other in terms of how they use and monitor pupil data.

  • Another new area for collaboration in 2017 to 2018 is for some Berkhamsted staff to visit Denbigh to observe tutorial time and assertive mentoring.

  • Berkhamsted staff and pupils will work with Denbigh to provide an ‘introduction to debating’ workshop for some Denbigh staff and pupils.




Pupil involvement


Pupils from Years 7 to 13 from both schools are involved in our shared projects.


Frequency and duration


This was written at the start of the second year of the collaboration and so each of the projects detailed above has been entered into in the spirit of them happening annually, subject to an annual review by the two staff responsible for the link.