A busy Term ahead
A very warm welcome to the Spring (optimistically titled!) Term 2014. We started the new year in good heart last week and have already made positive progress at wrestling with the challenges of a new term and year. This half term is a six week affair and it is followed by a second half term of six weeks too. We have a week of half term starting on Friday14th February 2014 and going through to Friday 21st February inclusive, with the second half of the term beginning on Monday 24th February. This is the Term of many Parents’ Evenings. We do hope you will be able to join us on the appropriate evening(s). Our Year 10 Parents’ Evening is on Tuesday 14th January. Year 11 Parents’ Evening is on Thursday 6th February. Year 12 Parents’ Evening is on Tuesday 11th February. Year 9 Parents’ Evening is on Thursday 13th March and Year 7’s Parents’ Evening is on Wednesday 26th March. Year 11 students will receive their Reports on Wednesday 22nd January. Year 10 will receive their Assessments on Wednesday 5th March. Year 8 will receive their Assessments on Wednesday 19th March and Year 7 will receive their Assessments on Wednesday 12th March.
This is a Term of many foreign trips. The Sixth Form History trip to Russia departs on Thursday 13th February. The ski trip to Bormio, Italy, departs on Friday 14th February. The French Homestay departs on 21st February. The Sixth Form English Department’s World War 1 Battle Fields trip departs on Friday 7th March and we will be hosting students from Germany right at the end of Term as part of our German exchange this year. During the Easter holiday, setting off on 13th April, the PE Department’s football and netball trip will go to Italy.
Other highlights of the Term include our Junior and Senior House plays which are on Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th March with a public performance, to which all parents are warmly invited, at 7pm on Wednesday 5th March. All of these dates and more are included in our Spring Term calendar which I hope you have already had sight of. If not, then please do speak to your child about this.
The Spring Term sometimes provides us with challenging weather and if this should occur, you are reminded of the desirability of checking the School website which will be fully up to date by 7am in the morning as to whether we are open or not.
Another highlight of the Term coming up this week is our Duke of Edinburgh Awards Evening on Wednesday 15th January, when a large number of students involved in the Bronze, Silver or Gold versions of the Scheme will be presented with their awards.
Term dates mistake
I regret to inform you that in the term dates for year ahead which we distributed in Parents’ Letter 16/2013 last term there was a mistake in the recording of the dates for February half term in 2015. The error has been corrected on our School website but just in case you are still unclear, the relevant dates for half term in February 2015 are Monday 16th February 2015 until Friday 20th February 2015. Apologies for this error.
Sixth Form UCAS applications
Students in Years below Year 13 and their parents may be unaware of quite how much goes into the process of applying for universities by students in the Upper Sixth. It is a long and tortuous process involving much research and often many visits. Once the application is complete, the universities or institutions in question get to choose too. All students should be aware that they will look at a variety of things including GCSE results as well as AS level scores. They also look at the personal statement compiled by students which reflects their many hobbies and activities inside the School and beyond. Such scrutiny in a very competitive environment is certainly a motivation to do as well as possible in all exams throughout the School. Over recent years, it has been clear to all that the number of students applying for more ambitious courses at more prestigious universities is growing. This year has continued that trend impressively. I am delighted that we have no fewer than 8 students applying for medicine, 5 for law and 7 for engineering for example. We have also had a record breaking number of offers from Oxbridge this year with 8 in total, 7 for Cambridge and 1 for Oxford. Two have been in medicine, one is in Maths, one is in History, one is in English Literature, one is in Modern Languages, one is in Law and one is in Classics. Well done to these students but every student who has made a university application in the Upper Sixth is to be congratulated on their ambition and drive. I hope that their success will be an inspiration to younger students in the School and make them see that such exceptional achievement is a possibility for them too.
REF Ideal and Merit winners
Congratulations to those students who have won prizes for living out the REF Ideals last Term. These refer to the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence and Friendship. The winners in Year 7 are: Ethan Dolby (7Z), Callum Fotheringham (7Z), Marsaili Jolly (7Z). The winners in Year 8 are: Laura Brady (8X), Thomas Christie (8Z), Laura Jackson (8Y). The winners in Year 9 are: Georgia Metcalf (9Y), Christopher Durham (9Y), Grace McGrory (9Z).
Congratulations also to our Merit winners for the Autumn Term. These are given for academic achievement and citizenship. The winners for academic achievement are: Katie Miller (7Z), Clarissa Williams (7X), Thomas Christie (8Z), Imogen Laycock (8Z), Katie Reddish (9Y) and Jemi Maliyil (9X). Whilst for Citizenship, the winners are: Tegan Hinch (7X), Anna Carter (7Y), Rosslyn McCormick (8X), Ailsa McTernan (8X), Darcie Jago (9Z) and Zak Capp (9Z). Well done to all these students!
Homework and all that
We ended last Term by distributing the results of the Student Questionnaire and the Parent Questionnaire, both of which were extremely positive (they were sent home in Parents’ Letter 18/2013). We have been discussing the results of the Parents’ Questionnaire at both School Council meetings and a Governors’ Committee meeting and the subject of homework was raised and discussed at both. There is no doubt of the very important part that homework plays in our School life and in helping us to prepare our students to be independent learners of the highest order. You will no doubt be relieved and pleased to hear that in a vote of the School Council, it was unanimously agreed that homework was a necessary (if not a good) thing at CGS! However, it is also clear that for many students and some parents there are issues surrounding homework. How much of it is given, how long it takes, its tendency at times to come in great bursts, and so we are investigating this matter afresh and discussing it with teachers and students as a learning community. There will be a further questionnaire to be completed by some students to help us in our discussion. We hope that this will all lead to a better service being provided.
Pupil Premium Eligibility
Pupil Premium is a funding stream awarded to the School to help provide extra opportunities for students who have ever been ‘looked after’or in care for one day or more; the children of service personnel and families who are eligible for Free School Meals or who have been within the last six years.
From April 2014, schools will also receive funding for students who have been registered on the school census as having been adopted from care or leaving care under a special guardianship or residence order. If you believe that you or your children meet this criteria please can you inform the School as soon as possible.
Parents can apply for free school meals even if they don’t want to take up free school meals, as this funding can assist your child in many other ways, from extra tuition to assistance with school trips. So that the School can benefit from this extra funding, please contact the Finance Manager, Mrs Claire Mosey, if you need help applying or if you need more information from the Local Authority (and an application form) access the link below. http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/parents/schools/free-school-meals/
The other side of the wall
Our assembly theme for this half term is “The Other Side of the Wall” and it gives us a good opportunity to reflect on the value we get from travel and experiencing different cultures. I am very proud of the many opportunities students at this school get to visit other countries and to experience different ways of living and thinking. The list of trips earlier in the letter gives very good evidence of these opportunities. I hope that it helps us to develop and grow as a community, which is outward facing, interested in others, welcoming and tolerant as well as being prepared to face change and challenge.
I look forward to seeing you, I hope, at some stage during the Spring Term.
With very best wishes