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Headmaster’s Letter 5th January 2018

Posted on 5th January 2018

A very Happy New Year to you all and welcome back to Spring Term 2018.
Although we have only been back for 48 hours, we have already hosted one evening event. Last night we celebrated students’ success in their Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme and thanked the legion of volunteers who give up weekends and lunchtimes to ensure that students reach their goals. Jackie Bull, the regional director for Duke of Edinburgh awards Central England, spoke to students about the value of volunteering, not simply its link to the Duke of Edinburgh award.

I was reminded of this earlier on Thursday when I was fortunate to participate in some medic interviews at Hull York Medical School. Candidates here were able to draw upon their volunteering experiences to show that they were developing the skills of empathy, resilience and teamwork – essential in all sorts of roles now, not simply medicine, and certainly attributes that enhance the lives of others. Structured opportunities like those afforded by DofE, (and the National Citizen Service, which we also support) enable students to broaden their skills and abilities.

In my penultimate letter of last term, I expressed some concern about the potential pitfalls of accepting unconditional offers from universities. An article from The Times, published on the 20 December, offers some statistical evidence. I’ll state again that I am not encouraging students to turn down these offers (or to dismiss unconditional offers as an indicator of a student’s potential), I am simply saying that A level grades are for life and not just for university – to coin a Christmas phrase! Here’s a link to a PDF of the article, which expires next Friday, and might give students and their parents greater insight.

Our assembly theme for this half-term has been inspired by the US politician JC Watts, who said, ‘Character is what we do when nobody’s looking’. We began with an assembly on kindness and its benefits to ourselves and others. As well as Watts’ quotation, I used a phrase from a famous son of Lincolnshire (though, not, alas CGS), the Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. He wrote, ‘Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, “It will be happier.”’ A new year brings resolutions, uncertainty, decisions and always, ‘events’. Whatever trepidation our students may have as they face challenges (which I believe should be seen as opportunities) this year, Tennyson’s words chime with optimism.

I wish you, them, and all those that are a part of the School community a prosperous and happy 2018.

Kind regards,