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The “My Cup Runneth Over” Letter

Posted on 22nd March 2016

I am very sorry for not having written to you sooner in this very short half term – under 5 weeks – it feels as if life is being lived at double pace currently with the same amount being crammed into this short period as would have been into a 7 week half term.  But instead of writing you three Parents’ Letters, I have been rather immersed in “doing” rather than reflecting on doing.  Our School website, has, however, carried many stories of recent activities and excitements and, of course, there is also my Twitter feed, @caistorgrammar, (available via Twitter on the School website) which has had a particularly busy March this year.

Staff and governors have also been much exercised in making plans for the appointment of my successor.  Some of this work is evidenced through the production of a rather splendid brochure which can now be viewed on our website.  We hope that this will attract much interest from across the country and entice many candidates to put their hats into the ring.  The Headship of Caistor Grammar School, is a wonderful job, I can tell you!  I am very grateful to the appointing panel of governors for all the work they have carried out on this project.  They are: Mr John Colley, Chair of Governors, Mrs Lucy Jackson, Vice-Chair of Governors, Mr Tony Lyons, Chair of the Personnel Committee, Mrs Julia Sedman and Mrs Amanda Langford.  They have worked very hard.  I am also grateful to the Clerk to the Governors, Mrs Deborah Craddock, who is also my secretary, who has worked exceptionally hard too.

A New Senior Prefect Team is announced

I am delighted to announce the appointment of the following to our Senior Prefect Team:

Head BoyMichael Trueman
Head GirlEllie Hill
Deputy Head BoyPaul Clark
Deputy Head GirlEve Simmons
Secretary to the School CouncilJames Smith
Secretary to the School CouncilMegan Harding

Congratulations to all of them.  I am sure they will serve the school with distinction.  Congratulations to all 22 students who put themselves forward for positions in the Senior Prefect Team.  We are very proud of you all.  There will be many other opportunities to serve the School for these students including our House officials.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank last year’s outgoing Senior Prefect Team who have done a really tremendous job.  Well done to the outgoing team: Head Boy, John Asumang, Head Girl, Harriet Haswell, Deputy Head Boy, Tom Steer, Deputy Head Girl, Rebecca Jex, and the two Secretaries to the School Council, Matthew Travis and Martha Kent.  We are very proud of them all!

Thanks go to a very successful and committed group of House Officials from Year 13 who have completed their year’s service, too, with aplomb and distinction.

New House Officials

Following the selection of the new Senior Prefect Team and Secretaries to the School Council, our Heads of House, Mr Steve Markham (Ayscough), Miss Rebecca Turner (Hansard) and Mrs Fiona Cooke (Rawlinson) have selected House Officials for their Houses and I am very pleased to list the students below.  We congratulate all of them on their new posts and hope that they will enjoy working with other students to bring House success.

House CaptainsLuke Green

Jade Davy

Kellan Masharani

Molly Craig

Jan Chauhan

Holly Horton

Sports CaptainsRohit Ramesh

Georgiana Bacon

Chad Dawson

Bridie Salmon

Katie Lusby

Matthew Grant

Performing Arts


Matthew Thompson

Annabelle King

Ojas Pradhan

Anna Phillips

Ella Hodson

Andrew McNeil

Magnificent House Plays

This year was a vintage one as far as House Plays are concerned.  The excellent quality of all the productions bears witness to just how hard our students work and how talented they are.  I would particularly like to acknowledge those students who wrote House Plays or adapted existing stories to make them fit CGS.  The following students carried out this work: Rawlinson Junior – adapted by Matthew Travis, Anna Kent and Martha Kent, Rawlinson Senior – Charlie Maxson, Evie Henderson and Claire Nicholson, Ayscough Seniors – Charlie Hewis, Ayscough Junior, Charlie Hewis and Leonie Brummit, Hansard Senior – adapted by Alice Hardy, Alex Newton and Lucy Palmer, Hansard Junior – adapted by Alice Hardy and Alex Newton.  In the end there were wins for Ayscough for the Seniors and Hansard for the Juniors, but everyone involved seemed winners to me.  In fact, “my cup runneth over” in delight at their work!

Other Events

We recently held exhibitions in School of the GCSE and A level Design and Technology and Art work.  Thanks go to Mr Graham Dobson, Head of Design and Technology, Mr Ryan Bradley, Mr Paul Hutson, Design and Technology Technician, Mrs Ailsa Wish, Head of Art, and Mrs Rebecca Shilling, Art Technician, for organising the displays.

Congratulations go to the Y8 Football team who won the County Cup.  Thanks to the PE Department.  Students recently took part in the BBC School Report day and thanks go to Mr Richard Davey for organising this.

Our Year 7/8 English Department Public Speaking competition also produced some excellent performances.  The winning team was from 8Z: Rory Longcake, Vignesh Kamath and Trinity Herberts.  The Best Chair was Pawel Grab (8X), Best Main Speaker was Joel Cottingham (8X) and the Best Vote of Thanks was Miles Peck (7X).  Thanks go to Mr Robert Harris for organising this.

Well done to the students who gained Silver and Bronze in the Chemistry Olympiad.  Silver: William Walker, Sophie Higgs, John Asumang, Edward Kenny.  Bronze: Megan Hills, Megan Vaughan, Shelley Barker, Rosie Tate, Matthew Crown, Oliver Mansfield, Harriet Haswell.  Thanks go to Mrs Heidi Leaning for organising this.  Well done to Daniel Jackson, Jasturan Padda and William Horton, who came 2nd in the University of Lincoln’s School of Maths and Physics challenge.  Thanks go to Mrs Rachael Donoghue, Head of Physics, for organising this.  Students have been involved in several Maths Challenges recently and thanks go to Mr Chris Frost, Head of Maths, for organising these.  The Senior Maths Challenge team, comprising of Ben Tuckley, Charlie Hewis, Sammy Braben and Daniel Jackson, were in the national final and finished an impressive 35th out of 86 teams.  Thanks go to Mr Michael Robinson for supporting this.  Last week, two maths teams were in competitions and well done to the teams who went to Grimsby and came 1st and 2nd.  Thanks go to Mr Gary Jackson and Mr Michael Robinson for organising.

There have been several theatre trips to the “Great Gatsby”, “Great Expectations”, and thanks go to Mrs Briony McNeilly for organising these.  There was a Classics trip to Loughborough and thanks go to Mrs Julie Wolseley, Head of Classics, for organising this trip.  Y9 and 10 girls went on a netball tour to Shropshire and thanks go to Mrs Athanasia Ellerby for organising this.  Students went to a German conference and thanks go to Mr Dan Wilton for organising this.  World Book day saw some of our Literacy leaders visiting local primary schools.  Thanks go to Mrs Katherine Jago for organising this.  Once again, the Senior Prefect Team and Sixth Form supporters organised a really splendid week of activities for Positive Mental Wellbeing week.  It was a huge success for our community.

You can visit our school website on to see pictures of our recent trips to Paris, Russia and Italy (ski trip).   Thanks go to Mr Andy Holland, Head of French, for organising the trip to Paris, to Mr Marcus Croft, Head of History, for organising the trip to Russia and to Mr Michael Robinson for organising the ski trip.  We are also very grateful to all staff and friends of the School who went on these trips.

Year 7 students were involved in a Healthy Day recently and thanks go to Mr Michael Robinson for organising this.  This week Year 9 have been involved in Upstanding Day and the History Balloon debate.  Thanks go to Mr Andy Hay, Head of RE, for organising the Upstanding Day and to Mr Marcus Croft for organising the History Balloon Debate.  The results of the History Balloon Debate were: 1st Hansard, with Michael Durham as Robert Goddard, 2nd Rawlinson with Nikita Tan as Aung San Suu Kyi and 3rd Ayscough with Jyothi Cross as Mary Somerville.

Absence in Term time and arrangements for children who are ill

Over the last couple of years, since the Government tightened the rules for parents seeking to take their children out of school in Term time, I have received far fewer applications for absence from parents.  I am very grateful for this.  I think that parents are acknowledging that school leaders have very little discretion any more in granting absence, but I also believe that this lack of applications represents a respect for the important work we are doing in School and a honest desire to disrupt this as little as possible.  This is very much appreciated!  However, occasionally some parents get tickets for a rare sporting event or a wonderful culture phenomenon and they wonder if they couldn’t just take their child out of School for a day or two to be part of this special moment.  I am afraid that I view these applications as amongst the most disruptive to school life of all – not least because they seem to encourage a chain reaction from others.  Can I now make clear that I have no discretion whatsoever to grant such absences and I have no intention of doing so anyway.  There is an irony in the fact that because the School runs such a rich programme of extra-curricular visits and trips, some parents believe “Well if the school can take my child to the theatre, there is no problem with me doing so too in School time”.  I do understand this line of argument but I’m afraid I don’t agree with it.  There are only 190 school days (though my colleagues generously offer their services to students on many other days in the year as part of our extra-curricular programme) so that leaves 175 days for family life.  Popular events such as the Wimbledon final will happen every year, so perhaps they will just have to be foregone during the secondary school education process.  At the risk of repeating myself, can I make clear that the Government have given school leaders no discretion in this matter and granting such absences is in

direct contravention to Government policy.  Please can we all play our part to make sure that your children’s education is uninterrupted by unnecessary absences.

There are clear procedures in the School to deal with a situation when a child is ill.  They should report this immediately to the nearest adult person near to them, who will probably be a teacher in their class.  They will then be asked to report to the School Office and get First Aid treatment (often they will be accompanied there by another student, as support).  If it is felt that parents need to be contacted, this decision will be made by a senior member of staff in conjunction with the School Office.  We have recently had some cases where students have short circuited this system and contacted their parents, whom have arrived at the School Office expecting to see their child waiting there.  However, they are not there because no member of staff is aware that they are unwell.  This is not a desirable practice and it undermines the smooth running of the School.  Parents are therefore asked to note these procedures and if they are contacted by their son or daughter during school time about this issue, it is requested that they ensure that their children comply with this stated policy.

Job opportunities

From time to time, job opportunities arise at Caistor Grammar School which parents may wish to consider.  All job vacancies are advertised on the School’s website.  There is a link under “Vacancies” on the home page, where job descriptions and applications form can be downloaded.  We are currently looking for staff on a relief (as and when needed) basis for the post of Till Operator, and would also welcome applications for relief work as a Catering Assistant or Cleaner.  Other jobs being advertised include three Student Technician posts in PE, Science and Performing Arts and, of course the post of Head Teacher.

Farewell to some staff

We will be saying farewell at the end of this Term to our guests, Megane Ibanex from France and Inken Bischoff from Germany.  They have made a very big contribution to the life of the School in the last few months and we are very grateful to them too.  We are also saying farewell and grateful thanks to Mrs Fiona Hargreaves who has been working with us this year to provide cover during the Maternity Leave of Ms Vikki Smith.

And finally….

Our Spring Term ends this Thursday 24th March with our Easter Service at the normal time (3.45pm).  The Summer Term begins on Tuesday April 12th.  I wish you an enjoyable Easter holiday.

With very best wishes
Yours sincerely