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The ‘lockers’ letter

Changes

I wrote to you two weeks ago to explain we were introducing lockers to School. I am now able to outline some further changes that we plan to have in place by September. We will be operating a cashless transaction system in school whereby parents can pay for trips, rent lockers and fund their child’s canteen account online. Mrs Mosey, the school’s Finance Manager, will write separately at the start of next term to give more details about this service. It will be accessed via the Internet or on mobile phones using an Android or Apple app. This change means that we will no longer be accepting cash or cheques at school. It also enables us to go to cashless in the dining hall: no more scrambling around for change every morning! And finally, rather than sending out hard copies of letters, we will be distributing letters home by email. To enable us to prepare for the changeover, it is imperative that we have two pieces of information from you by Friday 21st April.

Firstly, we require up-to-date contact details; please return the attached data capture form to School by the above date. Secondly, we need your approval to record a thumb/finger print of your child to enable them to pay for their lunch/snacks. Please be reassured, we do not store the ‘print’ – it is converted into an algorithm that is then stored electronically. We plan to do this exercise in early May. A ‘Frequently Asked Question’ sheet is available on the school website. Please contact the school on the ‘enquiries’ email address if this presents a problem.

I anticipate that we will start testing aspects of our new systems in the second half of next term after Year 11 and Year 13 have commenced their study leave. We plan to have everything up and running by September. I would also like to remind you if your son or daughter is in Year 11 or Year 12 that you should reserve a locker using this hyperlink: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/lockersY11Y12 Rather than purchasing 50 lockers, we will only order lockers for those students that require them.

Leadership

The current senior prefect team led our whole school assembly this Monday. It was a fitting end to their excellent year of service. They cited individuals that encouraged them to ‘Never, never, never give up’ and gave personal accounts of where they had worked diligently towards their goals, even when the odds were apparently stacked against them. They have helped me gauge students’ reactions to some of the changes that I have already made. We wish Ellie, Michael, Eve, Paul, Megan and James every success as they work towards their A levels and send them all good wishes for their futures beyond CGS. Our new team takes up their post next term. If you have not seen their picture on the website, they are: Head Boy – Tom Rollinson, Head Girl – Lauren Shale, Deputy Head Boy – Archie Swain, Deputy Head Girl – Pippa Bradley, Secretaries to the School Council – Adam Pountney and Harriet Lloyd.
In addition to the new senior prefects, we also have new teams of house officials. These are as follows:

 

These leadership roles are a key feature of CGS. To lead is to serve! All will be excellent ambassadors for the School and Houses. They will grow and enjoy both the delights and challenges of leadership in equal measures.

Farewell

We also say goodbye to our two language assistants, Rebekah Ebert (German) and Maeve Lacombe (French) today. Both have been superb in supporting our students and teachers in delivering an outstanding curriculum. Modern language numbers are buoyant at Caistor: I would suggest that we are one of the strongest departments in this part of the UK in this regard. It’s no surprise therefore that 43 of our Year 10 and Year 11 students departed for Eichstätt, Germany, early Wednesday as we reciprocate the new German school partnership that began last October half-term. Mr Ray Wylie, who has taught signing and piano, also leaves us. He, too, goes with our best wishes and thanks for many years of dutiful service to our music department.

Football

Our Year 8 and Year 9 football team were runners-up in the County Cup in Lincoln last week. They lost 1-0 to Carre’s Grammar School. Although the boys were disappointed with their loss, they were outstanding ambassadors for the School. They all enjoyed the experience.

Young Apprentice

Our Lumière Young Apprentice team returned from the area final in Louth with a hat-trick of awards: Best Company, Best Marketing and Best Team Work. Our Year 12 team comprised of: James Robey, Fred Barker, Harriet Lloyd, Andrew Waite, Alison Ramsey and Ben Wong. Thank you to the volunteers Elaine Hughes and Janine McKinsley who supported the team. Keith Liddle kindly drove the minibus. We wish them all the best at the regional final in Lincoln on May 4th.

The Friends of CGS

I was fortunate to attend a meeting of the Friends this week. They are a group of committed and dedicated parents who work selflessly to raise extra funds to support the Schools’ aims. You might have met them at parents’ evening where they serve endless cups of tea, coffee and juice. Their fundraising is inspiring: quiz nights, treasure hunts and next term, the annual raffle, with a prize of a wheelbarrow of chocolate for the form that raises the most. Last year’s winners (now Mr Davey’s 8Y) have already sounded their battle cry on Twitter! This year, they are funding one of our student technicians and they are currently working towards providing the music department with a new piano. If you would like to become a part of this very worthwhile group, please contact their Chair, Tracey Edwards on tracey@plutus-ltd.com.

Other news

Earlier this month, we hosted the annual BBC School News Report day. The stories can be found on the school website. As a former journalist, I can attest to their quality. Many thanks to Mr Davey for organising the day. This ties in appropriately with an author visit from Matt Dickinson, who as well as inspiring our Geography and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students about his adventures in some of the remote regions of the globe, also gave a masterclass to some budding journalists, in preparation for the BBC News Report, about film making techniques. Thank you to our Librarian, Mrs Jago, who organised Matt’s visit.

Our Year 8 and Year 9 Maths Challenge team returned from the regional finals in Lincoln with a second place. We also held our annual Year 8 and Year 7 public speaking competition. The winning team was: Abi White, Fareedah Salawu, Delphine Meier and Emily Thompson, all from 8Z. Our Year 9 Upstanding Day was supported by the National Holocaust Centre and Amnesty International, as well as some of our Sixth Formers who facilitated some very interesting group discussions. The Year 9 Balloon debate was won by Danielle Bate (9Y) who put forward a very strong case for Louis Pasteur. Napoleon Bonaparte (Vignesh Kamath – 9Z) was second and Alessandro Volta, inventor of the early battery, (Freddie Fearn – 9Y) was third. Year 9 were also treated to a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) day by designing earthquake proof buildings. Finally, the year group also enjoyed workshops on coding, which included the rare opportunity to see a working Enigma machine. Three of our Year 13 chemists have also achieved some notable success in the International Chemistry Olympiad. Daniel Jackson and Quintin McGlone-Healey secured silver awards, while Emily Duckworth gained bronze.

Lincolnshire Show

Thank you to those of you who took note of my comments about planned absences. I am grateful that I have received fewer requests in the second half of term. I am aware that the Lincolnshire Show will be upon us in June. I want to take this opportunity to state the School’s position regarding absences for this county event.
Firstly, I do not want any student who is following an external exam course, that is students in Year 10 or Year 12, to miss school to attend the Show. Year 12 also are planning university visits (please accept that we do not want students to miss more than three days off school for this purpose) so I think there are enough other distractions from normal School routine. Further, I think that if students do wish to go to the Show – Year 7, 8 or 9 – it should be because they are going with their parents – not their friends – and they have a genuine interest in the Show, perhaps because they are from a farming family. If an application is still made, please can this be explained in the section on “Reason for Absence”. Further, we have a list of the students who have attended the Show over recent years. I do not think, except for in the most exceptional circumstances – because a student is competing or exhibiting – that there is a need to attend two years running. I hope the above will be accepted by parents and students in the spirit in which it is intended: that each day at Caistor Grammar School is a special learning opportunity to be prized and that if a large number of students miss school, it undermines the educational experience for those who remain. (This does not happen when we run a school trip for a year group as we are taking out the entire year group).

Awards

Congratulations to those students who have won prizes for living out the REF Ideals this Term. These refer to the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence and Friendship. The winners are: Respect – Ava Farnsworth (7Y), Rojel Varghese (8Z), Ellie Brook (9X). Excellence – Shaona Mitra (7Z), Cindy Bazoua (8X), Owen Noble (8Y), Danielle Bate (9Y). Friendship – Isabel Woodhouse (7Y), Victoria Lewandowski (8X), Ben Shale (8Z), Tom Steggles (9X).

Congratulations also to our Merit winners for the Spring Term. These are given for academic achievement and citizenship. The winners for academic achievement are: Hama Obaid (7Z), India Brand (7Z), Amelia Terry (8Z), Adam Nilsson (8Z), Emma Linsley (9Y), Amelia Lambert (9Y) and Vignesh Kamath (9Z). Whilst for Citizenship, the winners are: Ava Farnsworth (7Y), Holly Bradbury (7X), Adrian Natividad (8Y), Theo Powell-Howard (8Z), Georgia Welstead (9X) and Imogen Horton. Well done to all these students!

And finally…

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your good wishes and support during my first term as Headmaster. I have very much enjoyed working with you. Please do contact me if you have any suggestions or ideas about School.

I wish you and your family a relaxing Easter holiday. We return on Tuesday 18th April .

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Alistair Hopkins
Headmaster

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