Tel: 01442 404333
Student Absence Line: 01442 404340
Email for general enquiries:
Email for parental enquiries:



pdf document Home School Agreement


Extra Curricular - Author Visits

Dave Smith - Comedian and Writer

A group of boys from Years 8 and 9 met local writer/stand-up comedian, Dave Smith, for workshops designed to give them confidence in their writing. The message was clearly that being a writer is not all about writing books and not only for the ‘gifted’. Dave explained the many types of writing that he does; the way comedians have to write, refine and learn a script; the excitement of working on radio and TV, the need to be well prepared for the moment the light comes on and you have 5 minutes to perform. In addition, Dave writes a column for a women’s magazine, and several newspapers.


The main idea was to leave the students fired up, and with lots of techniques they can use in their own work, encouraging them to be brave and write with flair. This he achieved with great success as students reflected on the sessions saying “I’m not very good at writing but this has given me a different approach and I think I will be more confident now”, “It was a fun session because he made us a laugh a lot but still taught us how to write with humour, so people will enjoy reading it”.  The session highlighted links between the techniques students are taught in English lessons and less formal writing or even comedy, letting students see that there is more to writing than passing exams and that a job involving writing can be rewarding in more ways than just financial!

Dave Smith

Matt Dickinson

Matt Dickinson
Matt with Everest Challenge winners.

2017: Matt visited us again in March when he delighted Yr7 students with his tales, video blog and photography. As well as a creative writing workshop wtih a group of Yr7, Matt gave a Geography lesson to our sixth form students, exploring the impact of earthquakes on the Himalayas and the research projects in the Antarctic, emphasising the opportunities that are there for the taking.


2016: Matt is writing a series of teenage thrillers set around Everest, and has devised a reading challenge to encourage students to read the books and to research the mountain, the Himalayas and its people. While reading the book, students have to complete a poster which was specially created to encourage an analytical and creative response to the text. 21 of our students recently completed the challenge and entries were judged by Matt when he returned to us in February to work with Year 7 students. The winning poster was by Esha Makwana, Year 8 with Amna Khan, Year 7, runner up.


Matt first visited us in July 2015, when Year 9 were privileged to have a talk and workshops by the author/film maker about his experiences during his ascent of Everest..Later in the day Year 12 students met Matt who talked to them about film making and writing opportunities and how to get ahead in those careers. They were impressed with his down-to-earth appraisal of the obstacles they may meet in any career path and felt inspired to persevere to follow their dreams or chosen career path.

Chris Bradford

“Awesome” and “An amazing experience, I’m really glad I saw it” were two of the many excited responses of Cavendish School's Year 7 and 8 students who were treated to author Chris Bradford’s Bodyguard show.s.

Chris is a top-selling author who believes in undertaking extensive research for his action-packed books.  Having trained in martial arts and swordsmanship before writing his Ninja and Young Samurai books, Chris undertook intensive training to become a qualified professional bodyguard, in order to gain ideas and technical know-how for his latest Bodyguard series.  These techniques were demonstrated to students, many bravely acting as volunteers to help out!  His two-hour show combined readings from and mood trailers for his books, demonstrations of equipment and techniques, book signing and a Q&A session.  Whilst the students were shown some of the defensive moves used by bodyguards, Chris stressed that students should not try to use them but, if they really wanted to practise those techniques, should join a martial arts club.

During the Q & A session, Chris displayed his Samurai sword, carrying it around the hall while explaining the intricate engravings and (particularly gory) reason for its grooved design.

The audience were engrossed for the full two-hours and left buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm.  Over a quarter of students bought or ordered copies of the books, showing just how inspirational the talk was.  A great afternoon, thoroughly enjoyed by staff and students alike!


Chris bradford
bodyguard demonstration

Kenneth Oppel

Train lovers were especially entertained by Kenneth Oppel who came to give a talk about his latest book, Boundless to all Year 8 on 19th May.


Students listened in earnest as he described the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway - an achievement that sets the scene for his latest book. Kenneth read extracts from his adventure set on The Boundless; a train like no other train, the most magnificent ever built with 987 carriages that stretch over seven miles long, carrying 6,495 people. On board, there's even a theatre, a Turkish bath, a cinema, a circus and a funeral car; the story involves everything from illusionists and circus folk to murder and suspense. His visit was an inspiration to all our book-lovers and aspiring creative writers!



Boundless by Ken Oppel

Andrew Lane

Andrew Lane working with Year 8 studentsAndrew Lane, author of the Young Sherlock series spent a day with Year 8 students on Wed 4th March 2015, sharing some of his skills and inspirations. The students were studying crime fiction in English lessons, so welcomed the opportunity to work with him in small groups.


In the afternoon, Andrew gave a talk to the whole year group, helping develop their understanding of the genre and enthusiasm for reading in general.


Jon Mayhew

On Tuesday 7th October 2014, Year 7 students were entertained by author Jon Mayhew who talked about the characters and inspirations behind his latest series of books, ‘Monster Odyssey’. This series is a modern take on Jules Verne, and includes underwater action, kidnappers, giant sea monsters, and an evil maniac. Despite being set in a mythical kingdom most of his monsters are based on dinosaurs and strange creatures that have been changed by their environment. Students helped demonstrate the enormity of some and create names for other imaginary cross-bred animals. As well as enthusing students to read the books, Jon engaged them in discussion about dinosaurs and taught them about ‘abyssal gigantism’ a form of deep-sea biology. Many of the students bought signed copies of Jon’s books and chatted to him during break and lunchtime. Callum Dockerill said, “I think it was exciting for Year 7 to meet an author for the first time, he’s an enjoyable author and I’ve already started reading The wrath of the Lizard Lord”. Copies of his books are available to borrow from the school library.



Later in the day, Jon delivered writing workshops with some Year 7 classes in which they developed the ‘Art of Creating Fear’ or explored ways to create imaginative characters and storylines. Ben Roberts said “it has really helped me think about the words I use and how I could choose different words for more effect”.


Jon Mayhew talks to Yr7 students


Jon Mayhew giving a talk to Year 7 students.

Alan Gibbons

Alan GibbonsOn 31st March 2014, award winning author Alan Gibbons spent a day in school talking to students and running creative writing workshops. The day started with an entertaining talk to all Year 9 students, in which Alan described his road to becoming a successful author. He talked about his inspiration for his books and what life as an author is like - his travels and work with schools.


During P4L time, Year 7 and 8 students who had completed their Bronze Reading Award were rewarded by an informal 'question & answer' session, many stayed during break to get books signed or simply talk to him.


The rest of the day was taken up with writing workshops for 3 Year 9 groups - every sessionhad a different theme as students were shown and talked through writing the introduction to a story. This was an enormous success, comments included "I have never written anything so good in my life!".


students writing workshop
Students participating in the writing workshops



Executive Headteacher: Mr Gary Lewis
Warners End Road, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3DW
Herts AllianceCEOP © 2014 The Cavendish School, Hemel Hempstead. All rights reserved.