We Had Such A Good Time At Our 60th Anniversary AHSFest Celebration!
More News And Photographs To Follow!
Our Alumni 60th Anniversary Essay Competition WINNER!
To celebrate our AHS 60th Anniversary and our renewed contact with so many of our Alumni community, we ran an Alumni Essay Competition, asking Alumni to tell us of their ‘Lasting Memories of Aylesbury High School’
We are delighted to announce that Alumna Geraldine Matthews is the winner and this is her winning essay:
‘A kaleidoscope of memories came flooding back with the title ‘Lasting Memories of Aylesbury High School’. Arriving at AHS at the end of what is now Y8 was a breath of fresh air after my initial introduction to secondary education in Norfolk and Scotland. The staff and girls proved to be supportive, inclusive and some I still keep in touch with.
The production of The Winter’s Tale with the Grammar school and a visit to the RSC to see it live brought the text to life. A Level Geography, with a field trip to Swanage was a great experience; I was part of the mini-bus brigade with singing being a part of the curriculum! French lessons with the new language laboratory booths became the norm; you always knew when the teacher was listening in! History became very interesting when Mr. Crowe arrived. He used the American system to deduct marks for missing facts rather judge the essay on what was included which meant that our scores improved dramatically. This didn’t last long! I recall he came to school on a tandem and enjoyed comparing our pronunciation of words with his. Art was fun with batik printing a challenge but productive. Science included lots of experiments with a laboratory demonstration going with a real bang one day. It made us use our eye protection more carefully.
School uniform changed from full skirted dresses which meant you walked holding it down in windy weather, to the shift dress with the fabric choice influenced by students. Suddenly you felt grown up and involved. I was desperate to become a member of the 6th form so that I could wear a twin set but that stopped as we got older and our own clothes were allowed – such a disappointment – then. Berets! The older girls would backcomb their hair so high just to hide the beret at the back of the head.
Being House Captain for Ridley meant producing a play for the inter-house competition – ‘Quality Street’. The homemade card signed by the cast was a lovely surprise and I still have it today. Regular assemblies had to be led which occasionally worked well and thankfully the students were kind.
Sport in the form of the hockey team, field sports and running around the field to warm up especially in the winter, when we still wore the pleated skirts, are still fresh memories. In order to make sure the pleats were in place, the skirt was carefully put into an old stocking. Tennis in the summer extended into the autumn term. Trampoline, volley ball, trying lacrosse and a vain attempt at rugby all were on offer. Swimming in the outdoor pool in town was definitely not my scene so I was really pleased when we transferred to the pool in the grammar school.
Using the annexe across the road was an opportunity to feel more responsible and we adapted well. Yes, many and varied memories and ones to be chatted about at the 60th Celebrations.’
Our 60th Birthday Community Choir Performance on Saturday 6th July!
As part of our 60th birthday celebrations we formed a community choir to perform at our festival on Saturday 6th July.
Thank you to all our Alumni who took part and sang two songs – one from 1959 and one current song: Personality by Lloyd Price and This is Me from The Greatest Showman by Keala Seattle
BREAKING NEWS: WE ARE DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THAT ALUMNA REBECCA HARTY HAS SECURED THE TRAINEE SUB-EDITOR ROLE AT THE TIMES NEWSPAPER – CONGRATULATIONS!
Our 60th Anniversary History Book
At the start of this academic year we tasked ourselves with collecting all the photographic and printed information from the past 60 years of AHS!
Our ongoing initiative to grow our Alumni engagement for our Anniversary, led to many interesting and exciting initiatives. Among these our first Archive, our new Online Digital Archive (available from 6th July), our first History Book and our Women Who Inspire project. We have been delighted to welcome so many former students and staff back to AHS over the past months and are very grateful for their support presenting at our student assemblies, taking part in filmed interviews for our 60th Birthday Living History project and sharing their memories of their time at Aylesbury High School for our AHS History Book.
We are delighted to have has the support of Alumna Rebecca Harty since September; who in addition to working as a Pastoral Support Administrator, has worked in the Development & Alumni Relations Department, whilst completing her NCTJ (Journalism) Diploma. Rebecca has researched the first chronology of the school from the AHS and Buckinghamshire County Council Archives, and has also film-interviewed over 30 former students and staff to research information for our History Book. Although the History Book will not be launched until the end of 2019, this is a small taster from her research interview with former member of staff, David Chaplin. Rebecca writes:
Former Member of Staff, David Chaplin
An interview with the person who has taught more lessons at Aylesbury High School than any other human!
David Chaplin arrived at Aylesbury High School on 11th September 1962, only three years after the school opened, and remained involved with the school until 2009, 47 years later.
He had studied Geography at UCL, where he was a member of the successful rowing team, reaching the final of the Thames Cup at Henley Regatta. Mr Chaplin said: “I had always wanted to be a teacher and the university agreed that it suited me.”
” I began my teaching career in a boys school where my younger brother was a pupil, and I was only one of two members of staff with a teaching qualification, the other being the headmaster!”
Mr Chaplin joined Aylesbury High School as a geography teacher in 1962, only three years after Aylesbury High School girls had been separated from the boys at Aylesbury Grammar School. He remembered that the school still felt very new: “I felt very scared when I joined the school and was terrified in my first lesson, but I refused to have the students giggle at me.” Mr Chaplin had a true vocation for teaching his subject, commenting that: “the importance of Geography for students is the knowledge of the world.”
Mr Chaplin communicated to his students his deep and expert interest in geographic landscape; not only in the classroom, but also on the annual Sixth Form field trips, which began in 1964 to some of the most beautiful parts of England and Wales. Over his time at the school he organised many trips that were “always ambitious” from Dorset and Aberysthwyth, to the Netherlands and Switzerland. A particular memory of his was a day trip to Liverpool he organised and managed single-handedly which involved an entire year group, comprising of 100 students.
Aylesbury High School was a very good fit for Mr Chaplin; he continued teaching here for many years, and gained rapid promotion to become a very successful Head of Geography in 1967 to a small team of geographers. For many years, Mr Chaplin combined this post with that of Senior Teacher with responsibility for the 4th and 5th Forms (now Key Stage 4). He still managed to find time to organise the school’s lesson timetabling for the forthcoming school year, serve as a teacher governor and prepare for the very important role of Father Christmas at the AHS Old People’s Party.
Regarding timetabling, Mr Chaplin commented: “I remembered how it felt when I was at school and wasn’t allowed to do the subjects I wanted to at A Level because they wouldn’t fit with the timetable. I therefore did all that was possible to fit timetables in around student choices which took a lot of effort.” Mr Chaplin recalls he had a huge board in the staff room, with each subject staff member representing a different coloured flag which was duplicated and moved around to finalise a timetable for the school year.
As Head of Upper School, Mr Chaplin led the pastoral care of hundreds of girls during their crucial GCSE (and before that, O Level) years. He listened to their concerns, advised them, worried about them, and supported them as they successfully completed their education at Aylesbury High School.
In 1973, he and his family exchanged their home with an American teacher who came to teach at Aylesbury High School in Mr Chaplin’s place, whilst Mr Chaplin taught in his role at a community college in Florida (not far from the Space Centre and near where Disney World would soon be constructed).
Aside from his teaching and leadership commitments, Mr Chaplin was also involved in the creation and design of the ‘New Block’, now home to Languages, which was a significant development project for the school at that time. He was also key in organising work experience for older students to prepare them for life after school.
Over the 40 year period Mr Chaplin worked at Aylesbury High School he said: “I tried to make it a happy place and encourage a positive atmosphere and I hope I was successful.” He saw huge change in the facilities of the school as well as its changing curriculum which impacted teaching. In particular, with the introduction of technology he began to notice “a lot of copy and pasting, so I always wanted a hard copy of written work.”
“I thought the use of IT was good as students could edit and correct information, but importing material online and not drawing attribute to what is important can be detrimental….. But when used wisely it is a tremendous asset, and still is.”
Mr Chaplin’s name is one that invariably comes up when former students and staff recall their fondest memories of their time at Aylesbury High School. Many still remember a young man with trendy flares and long hair, but most of all with affection and gratitude for his legacy to Aylesbury High School.’
We wish Rebecca every success in her future career in Journalism at The Times newspaper, starting next month!
Alumna Freya’s ‘Back The Back’ Charity Walk
The ‘Back the Back Walk’ is an event Alumna Freya Firth-Robson has created and from 30th June, she has been walking the full 268 miles of the Pennine Way, otherwise known as the ‘Backbone of Britain’, over 19 days to raise awareness of Scoliosis and to raise funds for connected charities.
Freya was diagnosed with Scoliosis, the abnormal curvature of the spine, when she was in Year 7 at AHS and had corrective surgery, which thankfully was successful!
The ‘Back the Back Walk’ is open for anyone to join, whether for an hour, a day, a week, or the entire event, and Freya would love to get as many people involved as possible!
If you would like more information on Freya’s ‘Back the Back Walk’ or Launch Concert, please visit www.backthebackwalk.org.
Please Follow AHS Alumni on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn
Please ‘connect’ with our Development & Alumni Relations Director, Alison Pexton, (who will then send out an invitation for you to join the AHS LinkedIn Group).
Spread The Word!
We are delighted that we now have over 3,000 Alumni contacts. However, we are aware that there are many more former students and staff that we need to include in our Alumni community!
If you are still in contact with Alumni from your time here at AHS, we would be very thankful if you could ask them to email Mrs Pexton with their contact details at email@example.com
For All Our Alumni News, Please Sign Up to Our Monthly Alumni Newsletters.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE A JOINT JUNE/JULY NEWSLETTER TO CELEBRATE OUR 60th ANNIVERSARY AHSFEST AND ALUMNI REUNION
This year we started our monthly Alumni Newsletters, bringing our growing Alumnae community closer together and sharing Alumni initiatives and events.
If you have not yet received your copy via email or post, please email our Development & Alumni Relations Director, Mrs Pexton, at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our distribution list.
Previous Alumni Newsletters to download:
- June & July 2019 Newsletter
- May 2019 Newsletter
- April 2019 Newsletter
- March 2019 Newsletter
- February 2019 Newsletter
- January 2019 Newsletter
- December 2018 Newsletter
- November 2018 Newsletter
- October 2018 Newsletter
- September 2018 Newsletter
- July 2018 Newsletter
- June 2018 Newsletter
- May 2018 Newsletter
- April 2018 Newsletter
- March 2018 Newsletter
AHS Alumni Afternoon Cream Teas (1950s – 1980s)
We were delighted to welcome back to our Afternoon Cream Teas, Alumni from the 1950s-1980s including former staff.
Many people had come from quite far afield and had not been back to the school for some years. It was lovely to see them back at Aylesbury High School and for friends and former teachers to catch up.
Our Sixth Form students helped to host the event and spent valuable time finding out more about how AHS used to be. We were pleased to display some of our AHS memorabilia, and were very grateful that Alumni kindly offered us additional items including magazines, photographs and an authentic red beret for our collection.
Thank you so much to all our Alumni who attended, for making the events such a success!
Keeping in Contact
As a student at Aylesbury High School, you belonged to our school community and left your impression on our school whilst you were here. Now that you have moved on, we would love to hear from you and are eager to hear about what you have been up to and your news – wherever you are in the world !
By keeping in touch with AHS, former students can reconnect and maintain links with their peers, receive news of the school and our upcoming events, and also hear about our development initiatives which benefit future generations of students. It is fascinating to discover the career pathways Alumnae have chosen and their significant achievements to date. We look forward to keeping in contact with you, sharing your news, and welcoming you back to AHS in the near future for our reunions and events.
To provide us with your contact details, please complete and return this Alumni Contact & Consent Form here to our Development & Alumni Relations Director, Mrs Pexton, at email@example.com , or post to the school address.
The AHS Archive
With a wealth of historic school documents and photographs and to commemorate our 60th Birthday, we have set ourselves the task of creating our first AHS Archive.
We would like to display these archive materials at our forthcoming 60th Birthday celebration event in July and would welcome any archive contributions from our Alumni (on loan).
Our ‘Women Who Inspire’ Initiative
We have been delighted to receive such a positive response to our new ‘Women Who Inspire’ initiative and would like to thank all our Alumni for their contributions to date.
Some of you have already visited AHS for student linked projects and we are very thankful for your support.
We aim to celebrate the success of our Alumni and to share your achievements with our current students, parents and wider community. The inspiration which motivated you to make your career choices could help our students decide theirs and influence their ambitions and aspirations.
If you would like to take part in ‘Women Who Inspire’ initiatives, please email Mrs Pexton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 60th Birthday Fundraising Campaign
Our 2019 ambition is to transform the ten 1959 Tower Block classrooms into modern, attractive spaces for the best possible learning.
Building work will start on 28 May 2019 and we anticipate the project will be completed by the Autumn Term.
With your generous support, we hope to raise £75,000 to contribute to the costs!
How can you help?
We are asking our parents, Alumni and friends of AHS to support us with our 60th Birthday fundraising, by donating to campaigns of their choice:
Set up a regular donation
‘Buy’ A Commemorative Plaque for the Memory Wall
Alumni are being invited to ‘buy’ a commemorative plaque for a £100 sponsorship to permanently remember their time here at AHS. These plaques will feature on a bespoke AHS display board in the Main Reception Area.
Please click here for a plaque donation form.
‘Buy’ a Number: Click here to find out which numbers are available
‘Buy’ a Country: Click here to find out which countries are available
Country and Number Donation Plaques will be put up in the completed Tower Block to commemorate this significant 60th Anniversary project. With your donation, you can have your name displayed for future generations!
Why the Tower Block?
- It is the highest priority on our Premises Improvement Plan
- It presents a real opportunity to enhance teaching and learning
- Maths and Geography are core subjects, so every student benefits
- The Tower Block classrooms are the smallest in the school
What will we do?
- Improve room layouts
- Update IT facilities to fit in with 1:1
- Install interactive display screens (with the kind help of AHSA)
- Optimise storage facilities
We will also have:
- New storage walls and better lockers
- New heating
- New lighting
- New flooring
- Better fire security
Please remember, every donation of whatever size helps, and every penny is put to good use!
Would You Like to Purchase Your AHS 60th Anniversary Keepsake?
To celebrate our 60th Birthday, we have designed a keepsake for Alumni, parents and friends of AHS to purchase as a keepsake.
Our AHS 60th Anniversary mugs are now available to purchase through the AHS Uniform Shop.
(Please note that these are for collection from AHS only)
Shopping and an Amazon Customer?
Whilst you are shopping on Amazon, please donate to our Aylesbury High School Fund by clicking here: https://smile.amazon.co.uk .
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the Aylesbury High School Fund every time you shop, at no cost to you.
Amazon will give 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT and other shipping fees) of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Aylesbury High School Fund when you shop, so please support us.
Maximising Your Donations With Gift Aid
Aylesbury High School is a registered charity (No 1058760) and can reclaim tax on all donations that UK taxpayers make under the Gift Aid scheme, increasing the value of the gift to AHS and decreasing the cost of the gift to donors.Through our charitable status, your donation can be boosted through Gift Aid!
When you complete your AHS School Fund Donation Form and sign the Gift Aid declaration, we can claim an extra 25p from HMRC for every £1 you donate.
Please sign the Gift Aid section of your donation form – it makes a big difference to us! For further information, please contact Mrs Pexton email@example.com
Already parents are adding new companies to our Matched Giving List. Thank you!
Matched Giving is when a company matches the amount of fundraising an employee gives to a registered charity, as part of its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Many companies help charities through a matched giving scheme and some will match pound for pound the donations made by its employees to registered charities.
Please check with your employer if they will match your donations to our AHS Fund!
If you are donating to the AHS Fund, your donation may be matched by your employer through Matched Giving. Please enquire with your HR or Payroll department or contact Mrs Pexton for a list of companies we know participate in Matched Giving.
Leaving A Legacy, Supporting Future Generations
Legacies are another way in which you can make a real difference to Aylesbury High School.
All legacies, no matter their size, make a difference to the school and our students and staff.
If you do decide to leave a gift to Aylesbury High School, you simply need to include the following information in your will:
- Our full name: Aylesbury High School
- Our registered address: Walton Road, Aylesbury HP21 7SX
- Our charity reference: Registered Charity number: 1058760
It is best for Aylesbury High School if gifts are made unconditionally because this allows the school’s Board of Governors to consider carefully how to make the best use of each gift to meet the changing priorities of the time. Of course, we completely understand if you would prefer your gift to support something specific at the school. If this is your wish, we recommend that you get in touch with us to discuss your intentions, so that we can ensure that the wording of your will allows us to use our gift as you intended.
For further information about making a will, we recommend that you seek the professional advice of a solicitor.
If you would like to discuss leaving a legacy to Aylesbury High School in confidence, please contact our Development and Alumni Relations Director, Mrs Pexton.
Thank you to everyone who has donated to the AHS School Fund
Over the years the generosity of parents, Alumni and friends of Aylesbury High School has enabled us to achieve significant development projects for our school.
Recent projects funded through grants, revenue funding and donations include:
- The Sports Hall
- The Library
- The Sixth Form Centre
- The Science Block
- The Dining Room
- Netball and tennis courts, and lighting
- History and Languages classrooms
- Sound and lighting in the Main Hall and Harding Hall
- Boiler and roof replacements.
We are very thankful for every donation we have received and appreciate your continuing funding support for our school.
Update on the ‘Elements’ co-funded refurbishment of the S17 Science Laboratory
We would like to thank everyone who sponsored an ‘element’ on the Elements Periodic Table, for their kind support of the refurbishment of S17.
On our 60th Birthday Celebration Day (Saturday 6th July), the Elements Periodic Table will be available for sponsors to see – proudly displayed outside the refurbished S17 laboratory.