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Headmaster’s Letter 7th September 2018

Posted on 11th September 2018

Welcome to the new academic year

A very warm welcome to the new academic year from the staff and governors at Caistor Grammar School. If you are new to our community, I hope that you and your child value being with us and that your child settles in quickly. If you have any questions, much of the information can be found on the School website. If you have any specific questions please call the school office and they will direct you to someone who can help. If you have any issues relating to your child’s progress, then please communicate with your child’s form tutor via the planner in the first instance. If there is a change in circumstances at home that might have an effect on your child’s wellbeing, please also let us know. To ensure that we communicate with you as well as possible, if you change contact details please let the office know.

I write to parents once a week on a Friday when I keep you up to date with forthcoming events, student achievements and anything that we need help with from home. In addition to my letter, you will also receive other communication from the School pertinent to your child’s interests, activities or year group on a Friday. At the end of my letter, there is a list of events for the forthcoming week. You can download a ParentMail app for Apple or Android devices from their app stores. If you have any questions about access or issues concerning settings then contact the finance department. An online diary is also available on the website. We also have a school Twitter feed (@Caistor_GS) where I try to capture some of the events surrounding the life of this small but busy and purposeful school.

New staff

I would like to welcome to following teaching staff:

Mr Ed CookGeography (maternity/ part-time)
Miss Kristina CravenMusic (part-time)
Mr Phil DoningtonHead of Design and Technology
Mr Joe MoloneyPE & English (trainee teacher)
Mr Kris SmyComputing (trainee teacher)


I would also like to welcome the following support staff:

Ms Emma DodsworthDuke of Edinburgh Award’s Manager
Mr Andrew GibsonIT Network Technician
Mr Robert LillywhitePerforming Arts Technician
Mrs Jayne MerrimanLearning Support Advisor
Miss Levi NaylorPE Technician


As well as new staff, there have also been some internal changes. Miss Rebecca Turner is now Head of Lower School (Year 7); Mr Marcus Croft is Acting SENCO; Ms Naomi Dales is Head of Hansard; Mrs Katherine Jago is Outreach coordinator; Mr Michael Robinson is Head of Computing.

Examination results

I am delighted to report that both Year 11 and Year 13 performed extremely well in their recent exams. Year 11 were top of the table for GCSE results in the county (57.4%, 9-7). Our A level results were also very strong, (66.5% A*/B) so much so, that 90% of the students are going to their first or insurance offer university. That is a school record.

Dining hall refurbishment and other developments

Our refurbished dining hall opened for business on Tuesday. Our contractors worked at weekends to ensure that the project was completed in less time than anticipated. They just about made it. Staff pitched in to help build furniture and unpack crates on Monday afternoon. Capacity has expanded to approximately 180 ‘covers’ from 110. There is now a separate hot and cold servery, a new queuing system, colour scheme and lighting. In addition, there is a new Year 11 ‘area’ to replace the much used and loved P1. I would like to acknowledge Mrs Buck, the deputy head, for her work on the project. Her attention to detail and drive for perfection means that we have completed another major project to improve facilities for staff and students. Mr Bray, the site manager, and Mr Brinklow, the site assistant, worked across the holiday to improve our facilities. In addition to the dining hall, the Learning Support work has been concentrated into one area of the school.


This term’s extra-curricular programme will appear on the website on Monday. There are 54 clubs on offer this term. I strongly encourage students to take a full and active part in our programme. Developing interests beyond the curriculum permeates the School’s ethos and is core to what we do. Those that take a full and active life in the School’s extra-curricular programme, developing skills outside the classroom. Beyond that, the activities enable students to mix with different forms and year groups, as well as working with teachers who they have not been taught by yet. It does help to knit the bonds of friendship at School. This programme only works thanks to the dedication of teachers and older students. If your child is new to the School, please do take a look at what is on offer on the website. The Senior Prefect Team are coordinating a ‘Fresher’s Fair’ in the Old Hall on Friday 14 September where students can ask questions about activities.

Assembly theme

Our assembly theme for this half-term is ‘The beginning is always today’ by the 18th Century feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. My assembly on Tuesday concerned how learning to forgive builds resilience. Other members of the senior leadership team and the senior prefect will give their interpretation. Other themes this year will have one common theme: they will all be attributed to iconic women.

Entrance exam

I would like to wish all the Year 6 students attempting our entrance exam the very best of luck for this Saturday. We have almost 290 applicants taking the entrance examination across two Saturdays. This is the largest number that we have ever had and Mr Sunter, the assistant head, is working out how we can fit all the candidates in. I recognise that the heavy volume of traffic does cause issues for residents that morning. We do our best to avoid this by making them aware of the steps that we take. (For example, we encourage parents to car share). If you are coming to school tomorrow, please would you park respectfully, being mindful of the letter that is sent to all candidates giving directions about where to park.

I wish you and your families a very happy 2018/19.

Yours sincerely,

Alistair Hopkins