Berkhamsted School Remembrance for the wartime fallen
On Remembrance Sunday the Berkhamsted School community gathered together to honour the fallen men and women from war.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War the congregation of students, staff and guests reflected upon the sacrifices made to protect the freedom of future generations.
During the service the school unveiled an impactful and thought-provoking silhouette that fills a seat within Castle Chapel. The ‘There But Not There’ installation represents the Old Berkhamstedians lost in World War 1 bringing them back into the community they left behind.
The project is led by national charity Remembered and Berkhamsted students will support the charities aims of commemorating the fallen, understanding the impact of war and healing those suffering from hidden wounds.
Jane Markby Berkhamsted School’s Chaplain lead the Remembrance Sunday service. She said “Previous generations of Berkhamstedians gave the ultimate sacrifice to secure and protect our freedom and Remembrance is therefore a poignant and thought-provoking act throughout the school."
Remembrance was marked in a distinct way throughout the Berkhamsted family of schools. An open-air assembly at Berkhamsted Prep saw nearly 400 staff and students gather around the amphitheatre. They fell silent for two minutes after listening to the powerful words from the School Chaplain.
At Heatherton, Year 2 through to Year 6 spent the week researching their families’ World War 1 history. This fascinating exercise captured the children’s imagination as they discovered new facts about their ancestry. They were proud to share stories with the rest of their class; using models, presentations and different techniques to commemorate their families.
Berkhamsted Pre-Prep laid the memorial wreaths they had created earlier in the week. Having learned about World War One in the classroom, they followed this with a one minute silence of reflection. Richard Backhouse, the Principal said “For our pupils of all ages from 3-18, the combination of remembering and honouring those who went before them in the School is a part of everyday school life. We are proud of Berkhamsted’s collective tribute to the Armistice of The Great War on its 100th anniversary. It epitomises the values we foster in the school community every day.”
70 Senior School girls were busy building fires, learning knife skills and building a camp when the three-year-old children of Stepping Stones arrived.
Hand-in-hand Stepping Stones pupils took a guided tour of bushcraft. They explored the wooded area that surrounds the eight-acre site of Berkhamsted Pre-Prep. Their journey coincided with the bushcraft activities for Berkhamsted Girls Year 7.
It was an exceptional opportunity for learning to take place between peers eight years apart. The fascinated children of Stepping Stones engaged with Year 7 by asking many curious questions. The first being a simple “what are you doing here?” Inspired by what they saw they wanted to know how the girls built their dens, what they were cooking and so much more. They learned how they made the fire, where they sourced the materials and most importantly some of the safety aspects of life outdoors.
In return the Year 7 girls were excited to share their outdoor education experience with the younger pupils. They formed unique relationships and were inherently nurturing and empathetic towards the younger children who were enthralled but understandably a little timid. As they toured the site the care and attention that was given to the youngest pupils was exemplary.
Stepping Stones Sweetness
“I had so much fun and we especially enjoyed the shelter building. There was a lot of teamwork involved and we really got to know everyone. It was exciting and a nice surprise to see the Stepping Stones pupils, they were so sweet and good at asking questions.” Liberty, Year 7
“We made fires to cook our food out of cotton wool and vaseline. For lunch we set up a grill on the fire so we could cook sausages and jacket potatoes. After lunch Stepping Stones pupils came and asked lots of interesting questions about how we made the shelters and how we cooked our food.” Sasha, Year 7
An adventure every day
Pre-Prep Headteacher Karen O’Connor said “Many of our Year 7 girls started their Berkhamsted life in Stepping Stones. It was endearing to hear how much they remembered about these very important years and especially pleasing to listen to them happily recounting how much they enjoyed their early day in our school to our newest Stepping Stones children. A huge thanks goes to our Year 7 girls for the warmth and care shown towards their youngest friends in our school.
“School life is an adventure every day for the youngest pupils at Pre-Prep with so many additional experiences on offer, not only in their learning environment but through specialist teaching and our inspiring grounds. They are used to having slightly older children on site, but it is the benefits of being part of a 3-18 school that allows for interactions with Senior School children that is so special at Berkhamsted. These unique experiences will build a lifetime of memories for them.
“Naturally, our group of young learners are already curious to explore their beautiful new surroundings at the start of their School journey but it is also exciting for our Parents to see what the future holds as their child progresses through our school family and to see how much our children develop as a result of the cohesive approach to learning evident across our school.”
Pupils of Berkhamsted School are looking to the future to help preserve memories of the past.
A joint project between Berkhamsted Sixth Form and Berkhamsted Pre-Prep has seen a time capsule buried in the grounds of the picturesque school for children aged 3 to 7.
In 25 years, the time capsule will be unearthed by future generations to celebrate the School’s 500th anniversary.
Pre-Prep pupils were asked to collect artefacts to give future generations of the school a glimpse of what life was like in 2017, while their fellow pupils in Sixth Form have documented all their predictions of the world in 2041 for the burial.
The contents inside the capsule include a collection of photographs, hand drawn portraits displayed on a tea towel and a video of the whole Pre-Prep performing a specially selected song to reflect the children’s adventurous approach to learning.
Pre-Prep’s Headteacher Karen O’Connor said “The children have all taken great interest in the project and it has raised awareness about what life might be like at the school in 25 years’ time.”
The history and heritage of Berkhamsted School dates back to 1541, and in 2016 the visit of HM The Queen marked the School’s 475th anniversary.
Forthcoming Open Days
Berkhamsted Pre-Prep Autumn Open Event
Berkhamsted Day Nursery and Pre-Prep Autumn Open Events