Abbot’s Hill School


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  • Category: Nursery / Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior
  • Pupils: Girls
  • Type: Day
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 20 (Boys) 520 (Girls)
  • Age Range: Girls 0-16 years, Boys 0-4 years
  • Founded: 1912

General Information

Abbot’s Hill is a happy, dynamic and thriving school offering an all-round education for girls aged 4-16 years. Our Day Nursery & Pre-School caters for girls and boys from 6 months. Our historic campus offers modern facilities in a magnificent country setting close to Kings Langley, Hemel Hempstead and the M25/M1 junctions. The school is a happy and united community in which every pupil is truly known as an individual and given the opportunity to challenge themselves, discover and develop their own unique talents. We have a strong record of academic success. Throughout the school, pupils are taught in small classes in which excellent teaching and personalised support ensure that everyone is inspired to exceed their potential and to shine.


Situated in stunning countryside overlooking the Gade Valley, Abbot’s Hill offers an outstanding and inspiring environment for teaching and learning. The brand new Day Nursery and Pre-School offers an all day and all-year-round provision in our modern, spacious nursery which has been purpose-built with the children's learning, development and enjoyment in mind. The Prep School is housed in a series of well-maintained buildings carefully equipped with the needs and ages of the pupils. Pupils from the Prep School also have access to a range of high quality specialist facilities shared with the Senior School.

For Senior School pupils, teaching takes place in the ‘Main House’ - an elegant country house, the ‘Stable Block’ and a range of purpose built modern buildings. The Main House has a light and airy Dining Room, opening out onto the lawns, which provides healthy and nutritious meals for the whole school. It is also houses a range of well-equipped classrooms, a spacious Senior School Library, ICT Suites and the school’s Medical Centre.

The refurbished Stable Block houses our spacious, stimulating Art and Design Studios and Food Technology Centre, together with humanities teaching facilities. The Science and Technology Centre with fully-equipped laboratories is located in a purpose-built building along with a further ICT suite. Finally, our state of the art Performing Arts and Sports complex, the Dickinson Building, contains a large sports hall, theatre, dance, drama and music studios.

With extensive grounds, Abbot’s Hill has outstanding sporting facilities including a heated swimming pool, lacrosse pitches, netball and tennis courts and a grass running track. The landscaped grounds provide opportunities for cross country running and pupils enjoy spending time outdoors whenever possible.

Entrance Requirements

Nursery and Reception: No formal assessment. Entry for Years 1-6: A taster day and an assessment day. Entry for Year 7 and above: School Entrance Test and interview.


Academic, Art, Music, Drama and Sport. A limited number of means-tested bursaries are also available.

Open Days

2020. Prep School Working Open Event: Thurs. 11th June, 9.30am.

2020. Whole School Open Event: Sat. 26th September, 2pm – 4pm (last tours begin at 3.30pm)

2021. Whole School Open Event: Sat. 6th March, 10am – 12pm (last tours begin at 11.30am)

Please contact the Registrar on 01442 240333 or email for details of Open Day dates.


2019/2020. Nursery – please visit website ( for details. Reception – Year 6: £3,714 - £4,683 per term. Years 7 and 8: £6,395 per term. Years 9 – 11: £6,434 per term

Fees for the Autumn Term 2020 will remain as 2019-20. This will be reviewed in the Autumn Term but fees will not rise any earlier than January 2021.


ISI Inspection 2017
ISI Inspection 2020

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mrs K Gorman, BA, MEd (Cantab)

Contact for enquiries: Contact for admissions enquiries: Miss A Cooper, Registrar.

Abbot’s Hill School
Bunkers Lane
Hemel Hempstead

[t]: 01442 240333
[f]: 01442 269981

Location Description

Situated in stunning parkland overlooking the Gade Valley.

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School News

Abbot's Hill independent girls' school Hertfordshire

The Governors are delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs Kathryn Gorman to the post of Head of Abbot’s Hill School, with effect from 1

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January 2020.

Mrs Gorman is currently Deputy Head, Curriculum at St Albans High School for Girls (STAHS). She holds a degree in English from the University of Birmingham and a MEd in Educational Leadership from the University of Cambridge. After University, Mrs Gorman taught in Japan for three years and worked in the voluntary sector before returning to the UK. Her first teaching posts – in Yorkshire and the East End of London – demonstrated the power of an inclusive and aspirational educational ethos. At STAHS, Mrs Gorman has worked in a variety of pastoral and academic roles.

She is passionate about all aspects of education: and seeks to ensure that all pupils may navigate their own paths and develop a lifelong love of learning. She was attracted to Abbot’s Hill, where her two young daughters are pupils, by its very special ethos. She has the qualities to ensure that this ethos will be retained whilst having a clear vision for its future.

Mrs Gorman said: “Abbot’s Hill has a special and distinctive character. The qualities of curiosity, creativity and compassion are writ large across the school and – having been lucky enough to have a small insight as a parent – I feel privileged to be asked to serve its community as Head. I look forward to getting to know the pupils, staff and parents who together make Abbot’s Hill such a special place.”

Mrs Thomas, who will be retiring at the end of December, commented “I am delighted to be handing over to Mrs Gorman, who I know has strong empathy with the values of Abbot’s Hill. I hope that leading the school will be as happy and fulfilling for her as it has been for me.”

Mrs Gorman and Mrs Thomas will work closely together over the next two terms to ensure a smooth transition.

We look forward to welcoming Mrs Gorman to the Abbot’s Hill School community.

Abbot's Hill independent girls' day school Hertfordshire

Abbot’s Hill Nursery are delighted to have been named as one of the Top 20 Nurseries in the East of England by parents.

The award came

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from review site, based on over 50,000 reviews written by families and carers attending the nurseries. The reviews consider the overall standard of the nursery, facilities, learning, resources, management and care of the children.

The award follows a fantastic Independent Schools Inspectorate report last spring where Abbot’s Hill Nursery were awarded ‘Outstanding’ in all five areas.

Rebecca Juster, Acting Nursery Manager and Room Leader of Stepping Up (3+ years) says, “I am exceptionally grateful for the support we have received from our parents, and their positive feedback in their reviews.

The team at Abbot’s Hill Nursery work incredibly hard to provide the highest standard of care and education for the children who attend our setting, and I am unbelievably proud of the staff and the quality of practice that they deliver.”

Abbot's Hill independent girls' day school Hertfordshire

On Wednesday 2 May, the Dickinson building was transformed in to a Careers Fair for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and geography. Industry and

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educational professionals from a wide range of fields came to visit and provide information about their jobs, courses and career pathways.

The exhibitors included dentists, vets, physiotherapists, conservation volunteers, child therapists, engineers, midwives and many more! There was even a special visit from a therapy rabbit.

Exhibition stands were set up in the Sports Hall where pupils and parents could walk around, ask questions and receive information and advice.

As well as the exhibition, there were talks from a pilot, a clinical scientist, a chartered surveyor, a manufacturing engineer, a graphic designer, a social care worker, a structural engineering, a microbiologist and a defence engineer.

It was a very informative evening and we hope that it has helped to inspire many of our pupils.

Thank you to all of our exhibitors and to Miss Cross, our Head of Careers, for organising such a great event.

Abbot's Hill independent girls' school Hertfordshire

Congratulations to all our Year 11 pupils who have continued to achieve excellent GCSE results in this first year of reformed examinations.

Abbot’s Hill girls achieved:


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100% pass rate with 98.67% of grades at A*-C or 9-4, compared with the national average of 66.3%

100% of Abbot’s Hill pupils passed at least five subjects at grade C (4) or above including Maths and English Language.

95.06% of all the reformed GCSE grades were at or above the ‘strong pass’ threshold of grade 5 that the government has said is a benchmark in line with the expectations of top performing education systems around the world. Nationally, this figure was 50.1%.

53.89% of all grades at Abbot’s Hill were at A*-A or 9-7, significantly above the national average of 20%.

19 girls, around a third of the year group, were awarded 7 or more of the top GCSE grades – A*/A or 7/8/9.

These results continue the school’s outstanding record of GCSE success over many years, despite the introduction of new, more demanding, examinations in English, English Literature and Mathematics.

Headmistress Elizabeth Thomas said, ‘I would like to warmly congratulate our highly committed girls and their dedicated teachers on the incredible hard work that has gone into producing these highly impressive results. We are thrilled that their efforts have been rewarded with results that will enable them to take up the places they have been offered at a range of leading Sixth Forms and Colleges. We wish them every happiness and success in the future.

The last two years have been extremely demanding as girls and staff adapted to the new specifications in Maths, English and English Literature. These included increased and more challenging content and were assessed entirely through longer examinations at the end of the two year course.

We are also very pleased that the uncertainties posed by these new examinations have not prevented the girls from continuing to make the most of the many opportunities for personal development available at Abbot’s Hill. Alongside these wonderful results the girls have continued to embrace and excel in a varied and extensive range of sporting, creative and leadership opportunities. The school’s ethos, which nurtures not only academic achievement but all round development, has enabled the girls to take these changes in their stride and they are now extremely well prepared for the demands of the new, tougher A Level courses they have chosen.’

Abbot's Hill independent girls' school Hertfordshire

Renowned artist Ian Murphy visited Abbot’s Hill to hold some exciting mixed-media workshops with our Year 10 and 11 GCSE Art and Design pupils. The

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pupils worked from 8.30am-6pm and produced some stunning large-scale graphite and ink pieces inspired by the artist.

Ian was most inspiring, encouraging the girls to travel on their own artistic journeys and find their own unique style.

In some of the tasks, he asked the pupils to spend no longer than five minutes on a drawing; an initially daunting request! This was aimed at encouraging the girls to loosen up their style and work more expressively. Although at first the girls seemed a little cautious at this approach, they were very pleased with the final outcomes. This was a hugely stimulating and rewarding workshop enjoyed by both staff and pupils.

Abbot's Hill School Girls Independent Hertfordshire Abbot’s Hill achieves prestigious Platinum Level Artsmark Award

We are delighted to announce that our Artsmark Status has been confirmed and we have been awarded ‘Platinum’ – this is the highest level of

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award and recognises excellence in the provision of arts and cultural education and experience.

Abbot’s Hill were granted Artsmark status last June, and since then the Arts Council have been looking at the evidence provided by the school as to what level should be awarded. They help schools to audit the great things that are already happening in the arts, and then to identify areas for improvement in the future.

The Artsmark Levelling Panel awarded Abbot’s Hill School a Platinum Level Award in July, highlighting that:

– Your school was commended for your ambitious and reflective approach to your Artsmark journey which has allowed you to develop your practice to meet Platinum criteria.

– The range on offer and available to pupils was noted as a particular strength, as was your aspiration for excellence in all areas of arts and cultural work.

– The panel recognised your leadership role as a setting with significant resource and expertise in the arts and culture, and look forward to seeing you continue to extend this sharing to the wider community.

On receiving the award, Mrs Felicity Hindmarsh, Head of the Performing and Creative Arts Faculty, said: “When we embarked on our Artsmark in October 2015, we did not predict the impact it would have on our school and wider community. We have long enjoyed an enviable reputation for the high quality of our outcomes in the arts and we were already rated highly for the provision for creative and performing arts. The Artsmark journey has encouraged us to look at the complex relationship between process and outcome in the arts, and raise our ambitions the highest level of platinum.

 Our new focus offered us the challenge to embrace the whole school, and to reach out in new directions to the wider community by creating new partnership opportunities, offering support and arts training to other local schools. A visitor from the Arts Council commented that ‘there is a tangible sense of the arts as the key drivers to the life of the school’ and this is thanks to Abbot’s Hill being extremely well-equipped, well-resourced and with the arts given a high priority by the Governors, the Headmistress and Senior Leadership. We are delighted and proud to have achieved our goal of Platinum Artsmark status.”

Abbot's Hill independent day and boarding school Hertfordshire

We are thrilled with the outcome of our inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate service this March. Abbot’s Hill received excellent feedback in all areas

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and found that the school was fully compliant with all regulations.

Our Day Nursery and Pre-School facility which opened in October 2015 was thoroughly inspected and awarded ‘outstanding’ in all five aspects of the report. The inspectors found that “all children are superbly supported in their learning and development”, and that “staff create highly positive, stimulating and safe environments, both indoors and outside.”

Headmistress Elizabeth Thomas said “We are delighted to have received such glowing feedback from ISI who have given us the highest judgements possible in all areas of the report. I would like to express my gratitude to the school’s governors, Senior Managers and staff for working with the outstanding level of care and commitment that has led to the judgements arrived at the report. “

On Friday 1 July, 30 Year 9 girls went to visit the World War I Battlefields around Ypres in Belgium and to pay respect to all

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those who fell during that conflict. It was an early start, the coach left Abbot’s Hill at 4:45am making its way to Folkstone and the Eurotunnel, finally arriving around 11am.

Our first stop was the area known as ‘Hyde Park Corner’. This area included the grave of someone who died aged 15, one week from his 16th birthday, still 3 years away from being officially able to fight. The guides explained why the site was so close to fighting; we could see the farm where many of those buried had died defending, and why it was laid out as it was.

We then went on the Langermark, a German cemetery, in a space as large as Hyde Park Corner which had 800 British graves, that contained over 36,000 bodies. Where the British cemetery was reflective and celebratory the Germany version was dark and brooding. We then moved on to Bayernwald, series of secondary German trenches which allowed the girls to move around and get a feel for what life would have been like in 1916.

Our biggest stop of the day was at the Passchendale Museum that was a feast of information, models, displays, underground bunkers, trenches, weapons and artefacts. Mariella was used as a human model donning a World War One uniform with all the equipment soldiers had to carry including a rifle and a bayonet! Finally we moved on to Tyne Cot, the largest British military cemetery with nearly 13,000 individual graves and over 35,000 names of soldiers from the Ypres areas who’s bodies have never been identified. We had an act of remembrance and the girls got to reflect on everything they had learnt at school and on the trip.

We then went into Ypres itself, saw the Menin Gate and had the opportunity to purchase chocolate before the long journey home. Finally arriving at midnight, the girls were tired but appreciative of the chance to go and pay their respects on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and many said it was the most thought provoking trip they had been on.

Abbot's Hill independent school Hertfordshire

On Thursday 17 March, a group of Year 10 pupils travelled to Ashlyns School in Berkhamsted to compete in the Dacorum Rotary Technology Tournament.

The task

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was to build a bridge, with two parts, using just thin card and Sellotape. The first part was a flat span of 50cm, which had to withstand a 1kg mass dragged across it without dipping.

The second part of the bridge was two lifting sections, which would enable a sailing boat to pass underneath when lifted (similar to the Tower Bridge!) and also that could withstand the 1kg mass test.

All three teams from Abbot’s Hill completed the engineering task successfully, with our very own Team 1 winning the Intermediate section!

Well done to all of the girls who attended the event. They were:

Team 1 – Aishu, Jennifer, Tehmina and Pallavi

Team 2 – Millie E, Aoife, Jemma and Molly

Team 3 – Evie, Gemma, Millie S and Lucy

Abbot's Hill independent school Hertfordshire

Congratulations to all of the girls who were involved in the Gym & Dance Displays at Abbot’s Hill.

The Prep School performed their brilliant pieces to

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sold out audiences in the Theatre on Tuesday 8 March. The display included all of the girls from Years 3-6, although some of the girls were experienced performers, for many this was their first time performing in front of an audience.

The Senior School performed on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 March and were well supported by family members and staff. The display included group performances and solo pieces which all showcased the brilliantly talented dancers and gymnasts that we have at Abbot’s Hill!

Well done to all of the girls who worked extremely hard on their performances.

Thank you to Esme Robinson for photographing the performances, and to the PE staff for organising the events.

Abbot's hill independent school Hertfordshire

On Friday 18 March, a Whole School Sponsored Walk was held at Abbot’s Hill to raise money for Plan UK. Girls from both the Prep

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and Senior School walked a mile-long route around the School grounds.

The ‘World Wide Walk’ provides an opportunity to help girls living in the world’s poorest communities build a better future.

Thank you to all of the parents who have donated so generously. To find out more about the campaign or to donate, please click here.

Abbot's Hill independent school Hertfordshire

On Thursday 10 March, a group of Year 9 pupils took part in the annual BBC School Report. It was a day full of writing,

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reporting and meeting the all-important 14:00 deadline!

The team applied by sending in an application letter to Mr Smith and Miss Morris, who then assigned the girls to different roles. Twenty-eight girls enthusiastically signed up to become editors, writers, camerawomen and presenters and were given just under three months to prepare news stories to research and write about. All of the girls came together to create a series of articles and news reports which can be found here.

A lot of preparation took place to ensure that everything ran smoothly on the day, where the articles were finalised and the reports were filmed. All of the girls were full of anticipation and excitement and each had a specific job to do. Writers researched current affairs and wrote them up into articles, these were sent to the editors to amend and then passed on to the presenters and camerawomen to create the final presentation. These were then uploaded to the School website.

Everyone involved in the BBC School Report experience learned a wide-range of essential skills, such as the importance of time management, teamwork and making deadlines. Working on the School Report made us more conscious of what was happening in the outside world, especially the matters that concerned both us and the future. It was a brilliant experience that all of us will remember, and we can only wish those who will go on to be a part of it good luck – as we know they will enjoy it as much as we have!

By Joella and Matilda, Year 9

The BBC School Report team consisted of:

Abi, Alice, Amber, Chloe, Eleanor, Eve, Georgina, Isobel O, Iyman, Jacey, Joella, Kate, Lara, Leila, Libby, Lucy A, Lucy F, Lucy M, Lydia, Mariella, Matilda, Maya, Molly, Olivia S, Rebecca, Sarah, Sophie and Violet.

Well done to all of the girls that took part and a big thank you to Mr Smith, Miss Morris and Mr Lewis for all of their help.

Abbot's Hill independent school Hertfordshire

Our 2016 Senior School Production of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ played to sold out audiences last week in the Judi Dench Theatre.

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Filled with mythical creatures, surprises and an exciting storyline, this is a tale that generations know and love.

The enthusiasm and resilience of the girls was shown through the well-rehearsed and polished performances. The cast worked extremely hard with a demanding rehearsal schedule at times. The principal characters in the story were double cast due to the sheer weight of numbers who auditioned for the limited number of roles.

It is clear that the tradition of ambitious and unusual set design is still a feature of the Performing and Creative Arts at Abbot’s Hill, with American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly acting as the inspiration for the visualisation of Narnia. The striking set design and artwork was created by Senior girls from all year groups and staff.

Congratulations to the Director, Miss Sparrow, and the brilliant staff production team. Well done to all the performers and back stage team and a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved.

“Impressive and thoroughly enjoyable. Really well done to everyone involved in the production. A lovely touch to have mulled wine, hot chocolate and Turkish Delight in the interval too!” – Abbot’s Hill School parent

Abbot's Hill independent school Hertfordshire

he Abbot’s Hill Equestrian Squad took part in their first National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) event on Saturday 23 January at Bury Farm.  With dozens

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of teams scheduled to ride in each of the four classes, it promised to be an exciting and competitive day of riding.

The team for the 70cm course comprised Freya (Year 8) with Ivan, Charlotte (Year 8) with Jack, Hattie (Year 7) with Rolo and Alexa (Year 8) with Buddy.  Wearing their newly branded saddle cloths produced by Tyler’s, each pony/rider partnership performed brilliantly and the team finished 5th out of 11 schools; an excellent achievement for their first event!

Riding Captain Ellen (Year 10) with Teddy and Isabel S (Year 10) with Pepper joined Freya and Alexa in the 80cm competition and all showed their skill and bravery; particular credit to Freya and Isabel who achieved clear rounds.  Ellen then went on to compete in the 90cm indoor arena and, with only 8 faults, completed the course in a great time.

A big thank you to all of the families and friends who supported the riders on the day. Well done to all of the girls and ponies for a superb day of riding, we are all thoroughly looking forward to our next event!

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