Initial sponsorship and ongoing collaboration

Partner: Wren Academy, North Finchley, London (1)
Partner type: Maintained School
Project category: Academic


Staff and students of Berkhamsted School enjoy a partnership with Wren Academy in North Finchley, London.  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 is thus celebrating its 475th anniversary in 2015-16.


Wren Academy is an academy in North London. Since opening with one year group in 2008, it has expanded with new entry each year to develop into a school for students aged 11 to 18, reaching its 1,150 capacity in 2014.  In September 2015 the Wren Primary School opened with a Reception class, which will be added to with a new entry each year, such that after seven years, it will also be at capacity and Wren Academy, like Berkhamsted, will be an all-through school.


Aims of the project


The Aim of the project is for students and staff of Wren Academy and Berkhamsted School to benefit from working with each other.  Whilst, along with the London Diocesan Board, Berkhamsted School is a sponsor of the Academy and aims to assist Wren Academy wherever possible, the aim is that the two schools will enjoy a mutually beneficial partnership.  This aims 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 was initially brought about by the two schools’ links with the London Diocesan Board, and has seen Berkhamsted School sponsor Wren Academy and provide two members of its Governing Body.  This is now a long-standing partnership which has long-term goals for both schools, which have moved beyond addressing the exigencies of a start-up school.




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:


  • All Year 7 Wren pupils spend a day at Berkhamsted School in mid-July, taking part in a series of activities (using a dark room, Fives & tennis, geo-caching and swimming), using a chapel service to reflect on their first year in Senior School, and taking tea.  As one example of favourable feedback, July 2015 evaluations of these experiences were very positive indeed.

  • The Berkhamsted prefect team travels to Wren to take part in some training activities with new Year 10 prefects there, which includes talking to them about Sixth Form life.  The context to this originated with the preparation of Wren students and the school for its move into sixth-form education - the first Year 13 students left the school in July 2015 – and the rationale for it continues with the development of successive prefect cohorts.

  • Wren Duke of Edinburgh students used the Berkhamsted Pre-Prep site for the start and finish of their Bronze Expedition in July 2015.

  • In conjunction with Ashridge-Hult Business School, Berkhamsted School has developed a Mini-MBA programme for its Year 12 students, which is being delivered for the first time in 2015-16. The first module of that programme, Personal Impact and Presence, is also being delivered at Wren Academy in Autumn 2015, and Berkhamsted staff are working with those at Wren to prepare for a full roll-out of the whole four-module programme in Autumn 2016.

  • Workshops for Wren students to practise for university interviews in the run-up to university interviews season.

  • An exchange of students between the schools to sample life in the partner school, starting with a visit of four Wren Students to Berkhamsted School including participation in lessons and a short stay in its boarding houses in June 2016.

  • An area of collaboration new for 2015-16 which demonstrates well the principle of mutual benefit in the partnership is given by Berkhamsted School’s transition to becoming a Building Learning Power (BLP) School. Wren Academy uses BLP at the core of its teaching and learning to encourage its students to become resourceful, resilient and questioning learners, and teachers at Berkhamsted are currently preparing for the school to become a BLP school from the 2016-17 academic year. There is much that teachers and students at Berkhamsted can learn from their counterparts at Wren Academy to help them undergo this journey, such as attending Wren’s BLP Showcase sessions and then working an on inter-departmental basis.

  • Areas of subject-specific collaboration include Sixth Form processes, Maths Years 10 & 11 teaching and introduction of Year 12 & 13 Maths, History syllabi, exam boards and university entrance, the allocation of lifeguards and pool time to the Knox-Johnson Sports Centre, the introduction of A-Level PE, and the sharing of A-Level RS and Drama curricula.


Pupil involvement


Pupils from Years 7 to 13 from both schools are involved in our shared projects, and we have received some very favourable feedback directly from them, from students of both schools of all ages.


Frequency and duration


There are six ongoing regular projects between the two schools as described above, and a number of examples of more localised interaction – for example, those listed between subject areas – which take place on a more frequent basis.