Posted on 5th December 2014
A wonderful House Music and a vigorous House Cross Country
House spirit at CGS is in fine fettle at the moment and we have had two major House events in the last couple of weeks which have emphatically proved this point. Our two afternoons of House music and the public performance on the Wednesday evening were all delightful and enjoyed by all who were present. The Sixth Form House officials and supporters, who organised the event and presented the introductions, did a magnificent job in most cases. As did the student performers who shared their talents generously with us. I am also extremely grateful to Mrs Fran Thompson, our Head of Music, Miss Emily Mackin, our Performing Arts Technician for this year and our splendid adjudicator, Mr Neville Turner. In the end, Ayscough won the Junior afternoon and Hansard won the Seniors but it was extremely close and, in a sense, everyone was a winner.
The following week we held our annual House Cross Country which turned out to be a clear win for Ayscough for both boys and girls. We had feared awful weather conditions but, in the event, whilst it was cold, it was also dry. We have a very large number of extremely talented runners and they performed exceptionally well but it was also very pleasing to see the way in which so many of our students entered into the spirit of the afternoon and tried to do their best (PBs were in abundance!) for their House. Thanks go to the PE department for organising the event and to my colleagues more generally and many Sixth Formers who acted as marshalls throughout the afternoon.
The results of student questionnaire 2014
I am delighted to share with you the results of this year’s Student Questionnaire with a copy of the 2013 Student Questionnaire as a point of reference and comparison. You will see that in overall terms there is not much to choose between them and that it appears that overwhelmingly our students this year, as our students last year, are extremely positive about their experience of learning and life at CGS. However, many students made individual comments which we are looking at carefully and we will also analyse the individual results from each year group with care and attention. Some of the results have already been discussed by our School Council. They will also be going to our Governing Body for their perusal.
The work of the School Council
We actually have two School Councils, not just one, since for the last few years we have also had a Sixth Form Council, focussing particularly on that area of the School as well as our overall School Council, which has representatives from every year group in the School. They do an admirable job. Most of them take their work very seriously and bring concerns from their classmates to the meeting and make sure we hear them. Sometimes there are things that have been said in previous years many times before but every meeting seems to bring something fresh and new which we can try to deal with. A major part of their work, however, is to be a sounding board when I tell them about things that I am not happy with or which are concerning me and about which I need their advice. It is not practical to speak to all of the students in the School but I can get a sense of what our student body feels by talking to 20 or so of them. So the School Council is very much the Student Voice in action; a practical way in which we can try to make our School a better place.
Looking forward to our Christmas lunch
The highlight of our School year on the culinary front is our Christmas lunch which will be served next Wednesday 10th December. Mrs Gould and her catering team are to be warmly congratulated for their considerable efforts on our behalf every day but especially on this day. The lunch will be priced at £3 and will be the best value for money available anywhere!
How you should deal with us
I am pleased to report to you that most days at Caistor Grammar School are extremely civilised affairs. Most students are respectful and polite to their teachers and each other. The whole community generally seeks to conduct itself in a friendly fashion. There are, of course, exceptions to this, disappointments and setbacks, but overwhelmingly behaviour in the School is excellent. This is confirmed in the Student Questionnaire, in the Parents’ Questionnaire, and, for that matter, in the Staff Questionnaire. Very occasionally, however, our happy disposition is ruptured and I am sorry to tell you that when this happens, it is almost always the result of a very small number of angry and aggressive parents. I should emphasise that this is a rarity and that most parents deal with the School as we would hope to deal with them, in a friendly, respectful and constructive manner. And, of course, criticisms and disappointments can be communicated in a friendly, polite and constructive way. What I am talking about, however, is when someone approaches the School, which actually means one of its staff in an unpleasant, aggressive fashion. There have been at least two occasions this Term when this has happened and, rather like dropping a stone in a pond, or flicking ink from a pen on to a white tablecloth, it causes quite a disturbance and a stain. I recently visited my doctor’s surgery and saw a sign there saying “The surgery has a zero tolerance policy against abuse of staff”. This struck a chord for me and I took a photograph of it (one that I will be tweeting shortly). I asked if many patients breached this policy and the receptionist told me with a world weary sigh that it happened all too often. I would ask all parents to remember that our staff work exceptionally hard and are extremely dedicated to provide an outstanding service for your children. If and when things go wrong, we are very sorry about that and we invite you to tell us about it so we can put it right. However, this should be done in a respectful manner and it is particularly reprehensible that those who answer the phones or are the first face of the School when someone arrives at our door are subjected to abuse. This should not happen.