Therfield School Virtual Open Evening

  Thursday 1st October 2020 6:30pm Please come back to find the link to the event here on 1st...

Transition to Therfield from Year 6

  As a parent/carer of a Year 6 student joining Therfield in September, please click on the link ...

School Band Performance

Members of the Jazz Band had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon performing at Wates Head Office.   ...

Fox Grove - Therfield Sports Facility

We are excited to share with you that after many months of planning the Department for Education h...

  • Therfield School Virtual Open Evening

  • Transition to Therfield from Year 6

  • Sixth Form Application Now Open

  • School Band Performance

  • Fox Grove - Therfield Sports Facility

'This is Therfield' Summer 2017

Tuesday 18th July

We’ve had a distinctly busy, but extremely rewarding end to this academic year.  I wouldn’t have it any other way as there’s been so many opportunities for our students to shine over the last fortnight.

At Therfield we talk about a 7 year journey that our students undertake.  In August our Year 13 students will receive their ‘envelopes’ on Results Day.  On the back of those grades they will build their next steps.  Of course July and August requiring considerable patience on their part, but their ‘race is run’.  School staff will be working in August to ensure that all of our students are able to move onto their next challenges successfully.  Of course everyone’s Therfield 7 year journey starts somewhere and I think the Induction Days provide the first memories that older students look back on.  Our two Induction Days were hugely successful and to give you an idea about how enjoyable they were please click on the Link below to look at the video that Mr Thornton put together on the day.

It was interesting to see the new chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, talking about the modern curriculum and the experiences schools should aim to provide.  Ofsted are worried that the government’s policies and schools’ interpretation of the requirements of performance tables have led to a significant narrowing of the curriculum.  As a Headteacher I find wrestling with our government’s desire for schools to improve their exam results against a fairly narrow set of performance measures alongside a deeply held belief that schools need to provide a broad and balanced whole curriculum challenging.  I firmly believe that we are getting the balance right and our commitment to extra curricular activities which develop the character, skills and virtues that will serve our students throughout their adult lives is vitally important.  Sports Day and our Summer Showcase are terrific examples of this.

Sports Day (or more accurately Sports Week!) was a fantastic occasion.  It was a very hot day, but our competitors rose to the challenge.  At the end of the day I was privileged to present Polesden with the Sports Day Cup and Leith with the overall House Cup for 2017-18.

Another amazing event was our Summer Showcase.  Performances ranged from heavy rock to Spanish classical and from EastEnders to Shakespeare.  It was a wonderful evening of Music and Drama and I was very impressed by the quality of the performances.  Of course a huge amount of work, by staff and students, goes into making such a special evening possible; well done to all involved.

The last fortnight saw a visit from Taiwanese students.  I’m proud that Therfield contributes to this special programme and it is wonderful to see students from opposite sides of the globe building strong friendships.  Of course in our modern era of social media, those friendships can stay strong over many years.  Many of our visitors wrote to me last week and I’ve shared some of their words below.  I felt very proud of our students who made our visitors so welcome.

After all of the hard work with exams it’s wonderful to celebrate the students’ achievements throughout the year and we had a fantastic Prizegiving.  My huge thanks go to the Therfield Trust who made the evening ‘feel’ very special with a red carpet, proud board and family photographs.  It was a highly memorable evening and I’m sure inspired many students to go on to even greater things next year.

As I write this final Blog our Curriculum Enrichment Days are in full swing, so 2016-17 isn’t quite over yet.  Right now Therfield students are in Tilgate Park, the Black Forest, Ypres, Worthing, the Science Museum and even Borneo!!  We’ve also had a great day for Year 10 and Year 12 students who worked with Therfield Alumni and I’m really grateful for our former students giving up their time.  I will start my first Blog of next year with a fuller roundup of Curriculum Enrichment days, but in the meantime I hope everyone connected with the school has an enjoyable summer break spent with family and friends.


“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"


James Malley

Friday 30th June

It feels astonishing to be writing my penultimate Blog of 2016-17.  This summer term has flown by and we’ve had some very special events in the last fortnight, though we’ve got some great occasions still to come.  We’ve had a renewed focus on end of year examinations this year and students across the year groups have risen to the challenge that revising for and sitting assessments and exams bring.  I think the approach we’ve adopted has helped enhance our culture of achievement at Therfield.  We are not an “exam factory” (and whilst I’m Headteacher we will never be) but clearly we have to prepare students to be successful in their GCSEs and A Levels.  Like everything in life success comes through hard work and practice and I hope all students will note their successes and where they haven’t got the marks, grades or percentages they wanted, use that powerful phrase ‘not yet’ regarding anything they don’t quite fully understand at this stage.


Behind every success that each student meets are the support that comes from so many adults.  Clearly parents are the most important, but we also know that grandparents, other family members, friends and teachers and school staff play a significant role in the manner in which a child becomes an adult.  As a Headteacher I hugely value the support I receive from all those adults and for us at Therfield, the Therfield Trust symbolises this partnership.  Last Wednesday the Trust put on a terrific quiz night that raised over £1400. That money will go on projects, equipment and activities that directly benefit our students and I know many colleagues are hugely grateful.  There are other opportunities for parents and friends to get involved with the Trust.  Please see the school website for details for how you can get involved with the Trust.


On 22nd June, 15 girls from Years 9 and 10 went over to a local business, KBR Engineering, as part of activities focusing on International Women in Engineering day.  The group were treated to presentations on what KBR does, engineering as a career route and the different pathways to getting there, as well as a superb networking lunch and an afternoon spent building structures in teams.  Needless to say the girls’ competitive sides came out and I am led to believe there was much consternation about the eventual winners with two groups claiming the victory…  As ever, we very much appreciate the opportunities offered to Therfield students by our local business partners and, whilst many of them spoke on the day of planned careers in areas such as medicine or veterinary, I am sure that these girls’ eyes were opened as to what engineering entails as well.

On Wednesday the Performing Arts Department took 45 students to see ‘School of Rock’ at the New London Theatre. It was a spectacle of live music, slapstick comedy and pure rocking out accompanied by a revolving stage and magnificent lighting. The music exceeded expectations and was played live by all the children cast making it a truly unforgettable experience leaving all our thespians in awe and inspired. The students were fantastic audience members, and as always did Therfield proud with their theatre etiquette and buzzing energy. The coach journey home did not disappoint, with a few of our younger thespians falling asleep to some beautiful renditions of the songs and some extra renditions of Justin Beiber. A fantastic night had by all!!


One of my favourite events of the year is the Headteacher Award Trip.  Each year I award twelve students this prestigious award which you can only win once in your time in the school.  This year’s reward trip, which is for the student accompanied by an adult of their choice, was a Lunch Cruise on the Thames.  Although a little greyer than we might have hoped for in late June it was an excellent trip spent with this year’s winners who represented the school fantastically well.  I’m looking forward to officially handing them their awards at our Prizegiving next week.

Last Wednesday was our Year 11 Prom which was held in the beautiful Epsom Downs in the Queen’s Stand at the racecourse.  It was a truly memorable evening with students and teachers enjoying a fantastic evening of fun, conversation and a sense of reflection on a ‘job well done’.  I’ve been particularly proud of this cohort as they grappled with significant curriculum change and the associated pleasures and it was a privilege to spend time with such a mature, thoughtful and caring group of young adults.  As I write this Blog about a quarter of these students are undertaking their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Expedition with Mr Maclaren and Miss Pickett.  It’s great to reflect on the fact that so many of our students take every opportunity to develop their leadership skills and attributes.


Alongside Ms Buckell and Mr Philips, I spent Wednesday morning interviewing seven of our Year 12 students for the positions of Head Boy and Head Girl.  I really enjoyed the process and the students performed extremely well.  As always in an interview process like this there can only be two students who are appointed to the positions, but I hope everyone who applied sees themselves as successful.  Each and every student involved has a lot to offer the school.  Congratulations to Alex Bateman and Bethan Robinson who have been appointed as Head Boy and Head Girl for 2017-18.


By the time you are reading this Blog there will be twelve days or fewer left of the summer term.  I always think we turn our attention to the future at this stage and that is most evident as we welcome our new Year 7 students, and their parents and carers, for Induction Days and Evening.  Next week sees Sports Day events and the awarding of both the Sports Day Cup and the overall House Trophy.  The final full week of term has the Summer Concert which I know students have been rehearsing very hard for.  Having sporting endeavour and musical and dramatic performances to look forward to is a testament to our students and staff who will be giving their all up to – and in many cases beyond – July 18th when we break up for the summer holiday.


“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"


James Malley

Friday 16th June

The first fortnight at Therfield after the Whitsun half-term has been a time of "heads down" for all students!  Year 11, 12 and Year 13 students have been in the busiest weeks of the public examination season. I've been impressed by the way our students have tackled a very challenging set of exams. Our Year 11s have faced four English and three Maths examinations which are completely new. It has been suggested that those exams were harder than the exams faced by previous year groups and they will be graded in a different way too. This has meant that for students, parents and teachers (and dare I say it Headteachers!) there has been additional uncertainty this year. I'd like to thank everyone; our invigilators – both internal and external and without whom we couldn’t run the exams; our exam officers and SEN department who have to organise everything and who ensure every detail is catered for; our admin team who've provided hundreds of water bottles and snacks to keep the students hydrated and energised; our teaching assistants who ensure the students get the support they need through reading and scribing for students with access arrangements; and, of course, the teaching staff who have provided revision booklets and sessions throughout the 2 years: all of whom have contributed significantly to ensuring that the exams have run smoothly. 


By the time I write my next Blog the public exam season will be over, however in the coming two weeks students in years 7-10 are taking very important end of Year exams. I've seen lots of excellent preparation for these exams and they form an important part of each learner's journey towards their GCSEs. I wish everyone good luck and hard work in the coming weeks.  Please make sure you are using the Exam Preparation documents provided on the school website (in the Departments and Curriculum section) to support your child in their revision – remember, ‘little and often’ is the key.


Last week also saw 83 of our Year 9 and 10 students head out into the Surrey Hills for their Bronze Qualifying expedition, along with the support from our staff members.

A very wet start could not dampen spirits as they all set off from the start point with staff saying ‘the rain will stop soon’……. 2 hours later it finally stopped and did not return.  Groups were soon in camp and setting up tents before the aromas of food drifted across the site.  Day two was equally successful with all groups supporting each other as they made their way to the finish.

All successfully completed the expedition and can now start thinking about Silver Duke of Edinburgh.


I'm actually writing this Blog on a train following a meeting in London.   It's my first time at London Bridge since the recent terrorist attack and I was reflecting with colleagues about the nature of the challenge to 'our way of life'.  It has felt like terrible event after terrible event recently with the Grenfell Tower block fire. When these awful things happen the only thing we have control over is our response to the event. I'm very grateful to our students and parents who this week have donated blankets, clothes and toys for the Grenfell Tower appeal. The response was overwhelming and testament to our positive community.


“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"


James Malley

Friday 26th May

For the second time in 2017 it is with great sadness that I start my blog with a reflection on events relating to terrorism in the UK. I don’t think my thoughts have changed at all since the words I wrote in March following the attack in Westminster. On this occasion the crime seems even more abhorrent as the perpetrator targeted children. As a Headteacher I can reflect on how hard the last few days will have been for my colleagues in schools in Manchester and across the North of England as their communities deal directly with the aftermath of this terrible event. At Therfield our students spent time on Tuesday thinking and talking about what happened with their tutors. Everyone at Therfield sends their condolences, good wishes and love to the families and friends of everyone directly impacted by Monday’s bombing.

There was a very, very special event which took place last Saturday which had Therfield students at its heart. You may have noticed a marquee set up in the Kingston Road Rec which was used to host a “Kings and Queens” Dinner. Over 100 Leatherhead residents aged 65+ enjoyed a memorable and special afternoon to encourage community spirit and social inclusion. The event featured a lunch, dessert and tea, coffee and cake served by Therfield students and young people from Leatherhead Youth Project. The event included fantastic entertainment by Freewheelers Theatre Group, The Downsmen Barbershop singing group, and Atlantis, a well known local band who play a range of classic and modern hits. The event also included a raffle and a game of bingo to make sure everyone got involved and had fun. I received a card from nine of the residents to thank our students ‘who made Saturday afternoon so special for so many.’ It was absolutely fantastic to see the ‘generations’ coming together in such a positive way and I hope that there will be similar events in the future.

For our Year 13 students their ‘seven-year journey’ is almost run! There is something very special about the Sixth Form Prom which enables all the adults (staff and students!) to celebrate that special ‘rite of passage’ moment that comes when you leave school at 18 years of age. As you can see from the photos below it was a fantastic evening at Oatlands Park Hotel and a very positive atmosphere. Of course there are a few weeks of very hard work in the final run up to A Level exams, but I feel that this cohort is going to make a significant positive contribution to society over the coming years. Well done to Hollie whose organisational and leadership skills ensured a hugely enjoyable evening for all.

YES, run by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, involves groups of up to 12 young people who spend a week at Leatherhead Fire Station, experiencing hands-on training on the essentials of being a firefighter. The scheme helps them develop teamwork, confidence, and practical and social skills under the guidance of the SFRS firefighters. Josh and Lewis in Year 9 were selected to take part in the YES at Leatherhead Fire station; spending a week learning how to work as a team, know and understand fire regulations and procedures. As part of a team they learnt the techniques of fighting smoke inhalation when dealing with fires, rescuing a child from beneath a car and learning how to follow instructions and work as a cohesive unit whilst under incredible time pressures and dramatic real life situations. The boys were praised for their successful completion of the course at the award ceremony and lauded for their transformation into prospective fire fighters in just a week. A brilliant achievement by two students who certainly did Therfield School proud!

On 16th May, the Year 9 Language Leaders spent the morning at the Greville with Miss Ashburner, teaching the whole of Year 4. It was their first experience of teaching real live younger students so it was exciting but also a little daunting. For several of them it was also a return to their old primary school and the chance to see some familiar faces – family members, siblings and former teachers. Each group was responsible for preparing a short lesson for the Year 4s, and when all their sessions were put together, they made up a conversation. As the morning went on and the lessons were repeated, the Therfield students had the chance to improve their presentation, activities and organisation as well as the way they interacted with the younger students. All the students did an excellent job and are now starting work preparing for the Sports and Languages Festival which will take place at Therfield towards the end of the summer term.

It feels astonishing to say that by the time I write my next Blog the public exam season will be entering its final stages. I’ve been hugely impressed by the commitment of students and staff to the final ‘yards’ of hard work with evening and weekend revision sessions. The main thing I can say to our students at this stage is to ‘keep it up’ and that the hard work will pay off in the results they achieve in August.


“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"


James Malley

Friday 12th May

Whilst it hasn’t quite felt like summer over the last few weeks we’ve had some important events that are always associated with this important half-term for the school. We were able to celebrate our older students’ achievements at Presentation Evening on 26th April. 125 students from Years 10-13 were awarded prizes with the special awards going to students who have been at Therfield for nearly seven years. Each individual’s journey through a secondary school is a special one – you only get to do this once!- and the students who were awarded these prizes have made a telling contribution at Therfield over many years. On Friday we held our Inspire Awards where our Sixth Formers presented an award for a similar category to students in Years 7-9. I was inspired by the achievements of our Year 13 students and I know that they are significant positive role models to our younger students too.

We had a very enjoyable evening last week for our “Meet and Greet” with our next year’s Year 7 parents. It’s a privilege to hear about the hopes and dreams of the 10 and 11 year olds who are about to embark on their own “7-year Journey” at Therfield. For these youngsters a lot will happen between this evening and their final Presentation Evening in April 2024, but I’m confident that they will become mature, caring and passionate learners and leaders who will make their own significant impact at school and beyond.

Next week sees the start of the formal GCSE exams in the Hall, but it’s true to say that our Year 11 students have already made great strides with their exams. The Art exam saw some amazing pieces of work produced as you can see from the photos below. The Drama exams were also a huge success. Students explored events of the past decades including powerful interpretations of Hillsborough, the 7/7 Bombings and social issues of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Although students said they were nervous it didn’t show and the audience was treated to a terrific afternoon of powerful theatre.

Google Expeditions visited last Friday and created an exciting day for Therfield students when they took them on a stimulating journey around the world using virtual reality headsets. The students started in Iceland, travelled to Hawaii, stopping off at the 7 New Wonders of the World, before climbing Everest, swimming underwater in the Galapagos and even going to the moon. It allowed the students to experience places around the world and immerse themselves in these amazing different cultures and scenes.

As part of the widening participation and engagement activities of Surrey University, eight local schools each sent ten students to participate in a week of activities designed to give a taste of the huge variety of degree courses, sports and societies available. Our students behaved brilliantly and were enthusiastic about experiencing life as a university student. All the students were in groups with students from other schools and at the end of the week the Surrey University Student Ambassadors selected three Therfield students for awards in recognition of their contributions. These awards were given at the end of the week graduation ceremony. It was a genuinely excellent week and we would not hesitate to take more students when the opportunity arises.

The PE and Sport department took 43 Year 9 and 10 students to compete in the annual Surrey School’s District Sports, now in their 85th year! All those who took part deserve real praise for their efforts up against some incredibly strong competition, they were impeccably well behaved and showed true sportsmanship.

Particular highlights and congratulations must go to Archie Lowery in 10CIE after gaining 2nd place in the Intermediate Boys 1500m with a Personal Best and gaining 3rd in the Intermediate Boys Triple Jump with a distance of 10.19m. And to Marcus Austin 9ELM who gained 2nd place in the Junior Boys 200m and 5th in the Junior Boys 100m.

The desks in the Main Hall ‘go up’ over this weekend and the RS exam on Monday heralds the start of the formal GCSE and A Level Exams. I hope that every student who has worked hard fulfils their potential. From what I’ve seen in school in recent weeks a lot of our students should feel very proud of their efforts and I’m sure that they will meet with great success. Of course exam season does come with some fun attached too and for our Year 13s next Friday is their Prom. I know that this will provide a wonderful evening of celebration, sharing great memories with peers and staff and a chance to ‘let their hair down’ before the serious business of A Level Examinations commences later in the month.


“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"


James Malley

Friday 21st April

I always enjoy the start of a new term. It’s great to catch up with students and staff and there’s a great vibrancy in the school community coming back together and looking forward to the events of the term ahead. It was fantastic to walk around the school during our first lesson on Wednesday seeing the students pick up their learning with enthusiasm, engagement and a healthy dose of hard work. Year 11 students completed their final set of English and Maths Mock Examinations this week and I’ve been hugely impressed by the commitment they’ve shown to revision so far. Of course there’s a lot of effort still to come on the ‘final straight’ but I know that each student’s hard work will pay off when they open their results envelopes in August.

I was privileged to be invited by Mr Thornton to be a member of the staff team that accompanied 68 students on the ski trip in the first week of the Easter break. We arrived in Austria with summer like weather of sunshine and 20C. However Mr Thornton had chosen our resort well as Kaprun has a ‘snow sure’ glacier with guaranteed skiing well into the Summer months. This was a beautiful panorama with the jagged and immense mountains surrounding the tranquillity of the lake at Zell-am-See. Learning to ski is not easy. However it’s true to say our students demonstrated all the qualities of resilience, patience and sheer determination so that by the end of the week everyone was skiing with growing confidence on the slopes. Some students were able to tackle the famous “Black Mumba” run and I think everyone left with the ambition of returning to ski it ‘one day’.

There was also lots of opportunity for students to experience life in a foreign country with events such as a Pizza night out, shopping in Zell-am-See and perhaps the highlight attending an Ice Hockey Match. This didn’t disappoint as a spectacle with a fantastic crowd, the requisite ‘fisticuffs’ that comes with ice hockey and a thrilling contest. Sophie Elphick and I were chosen to represent Therfield in the half-time entertainment! Having been told to put on the full ice hockey kit (though not including the skates which would have been a real disaster for me) our task was to run on the ice carrying a canister through a slalom run. I think it’s fair to say that we came last (and here I have to shoulder the responsibility - Sophie was excellent and very encouraging!) but it was a lot of fun.

On the final day the leader of the Kaprun ski school pulled me aside to say how impressed he had been by Therfield’s students and what a fun week that had made it for the ski instructors. Whilst that wasn’t a surprise to me I can say that it made me feel very proud. Any school trip does require a significant amount of work before and during the trip. I can assure you (as you can see from one of the photos below!) it’s very tiring! However it is a pleasure and a privilege to spend quality time with students in new and exciting environments as they take on new challenges. Thanks to Mr Thornton, Mr Wessell, Mr Blythman, Miss Ranford, Miss Butts, Miss Hill, Miss Byrne and Mr Chamberlain for making the trip so special for our students.

The final days of the Spring Term saw our brilliant production of “The 39 Steps”. I’ve always believed that high quality drama is a facet of a successful school and this play was a really great way to finish the term. Although based around themes of crime, conspiracy and a murder Therfield’s ‘take’ was light hearted with some amazing comedic performances which ensured a lot of laughs for the audience. Of course a final performance demonstrating such excellence doesn’t happen by chance. However ‘talented’ a performer may be quality drama requires every performer to put in an immense amount of concentration to learn lines and stage directions, resilience to overcome difficulties along the way and of course a time-commitment including lunchtime, after-school and weekend rehearsals. Therfield owes a lot to our Drama teachers Miss Miller and Miss Glide who directed “The 39 Steps” on top of their ‘day job’ of teaching which, at this time of year also includes significant preparation for A Level and GCSE performances. My congratulations go to everyone involved for creating such an enjoyable evening for so many people.

The next fortnight sees some important and special events. For our older students Presentation Evening is the opportunity to celebrate the success of students for demonstrating excellence and for showing character in their learning. For our Year 13 students who will be presented with special awards it’s a brilliant occasion to celebrate their “7 Year Journey” as Therfield Students. They will also make an appearance in our Year 7-9 Aspire Awards when, as inspirational role models, they will present KS3 students with awards. The week after next sees the GCSE Art and Drama exams which always mark the start of exam season. Although I’ve always believed in ‘making your own luck’ I wish all of our students good luck for their exams over the next couple of months.


“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"


James Malley