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The “Thanks for the Memories” letter

Posted on 17th July 2014

Thanks for the Memories

We are saying thank you for the memories and goodbye to a number of teaching and non-teaching staff who are leaving the School at the end of this Term.  Whilst only one person is retiring this year, a number of those who are leaving have made huge contributions to the life of our School and we are extremely grateful to them all.

Dr Derek Carr, our Head of Science, is retiring after 22 years at CGS in which his teaching has become legendary.  In total though, he has taught for 38 years having previously taught in Hull and at St James’ School, Grimsby, before coming to us.  The feelings of his many students towards him were very well summed up on our Year 13s last day in May which became something of a homage to Dr Carr.  His passion for teaching and intellectual challenge, his rigorous search for the truth (“question everything”), his wit and one-liners (“Lenin never had a powerpoint”) and his genuine interest in and support for his students have given him a very special place in the affections of the School community.  Dr Carr has overseen the growth of science in the School to make it into the redoubtable powerhouse of high achievement and student popularity it is today.  He has also made a huge contribution to the life of our School in many different ways: completing the Lyke Wake Walk for example at least 20 times over the course of his career with students and colleagues; being an outstanding Sixth Form tutor and running many activities such as the Caring Professions Day for many years.  Dr Carr is much appreciated by his colleagues for his wisdom, dry humour and ability to sort problems out.  One of his favourite phrases is “You don’t learn from people you don’t like” and it is a very appropriate tribute to him to recall how much so many of his students feel they have learnt from him over the years.  We wish him a very happy retirement.

Mr Tony Pearson is leaving CGS after 13 years of very loyal and lively service for most of which he has been Head of ICT and also ICT Co-ordinator.  He has made a huge contribution in developing the ICT facilities of the School, ensuring that staff have gained the support they need and of being generally a most likeable and helpful colleague as well as teacher.  Mr Pearson is a much liked and respected teacher, who has been particularly good at changing the attitude of students about his subject and making what seemed impossible to some become manageable.  He is also a very big-hearted person who has served as a Teacher Governor and also organised our international partnership with schools in Morocco during his time with us.  His enthusiasm for CGS life is well evidenced by his photographs of many School events.  We wish him all the best as he begins a new chapter of his teaching career working in Hull.

Mrs Louise Triggs has also taught at CGS for 13 years and has also made a huge contribution.  As well as teaching Design and Technology for all those years, she has been very generous in supporting many extra-curricular activities in the life of the School.  For 8 years, she ran the Bronze section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  She has also co-ordinated our Young Enterprise group and served as Head of Hansard House (winning the overall House shield for the majority of years in charge).  She is about to start a new chapter of her life and career by returning from whence she came, to Essex, and we wish her all the best in this.

Sadly, we are saying farewell, too, to both members of our R.E. Department at the same time.  Mrs Jennifer Johnson joined the School 7 years ago and has been a part- time R.E. teacher since then.  Her students have greatly appreciated her enthusiastic and well-organised lessons and she has made a major contribution to the expansion of the popularity of the subject at A level.  We are very grateful for her good work.  She now moves to a deserved Head of Departmentship at QE Alford.  Mrs Rachael Gladwin has been an extremely hardworking and successful Head of R.E. for the last three years.  She has continued to maintain the department’s energetic and committed approach to trips such as to Walsingham and to Beth Shalom and very successfully made the move to a full GCSE course for all students.  We are very grateful for the hard work of both of these teachers and for their good work in developing the success of the R.E. department.

Mr Richard Aliwell is leaving us after three years as Head of Physics during which time Physics has grown in popularity as a subject in the School and gained very pleasing results.  Mr Aliwell has been a very caring teacher and is widely regarded as being a very kind person by his students.  He supported a number of school trips and, indeed, ran a Sixth Form Physics trip to Cern in Switzerland as well as a Year 10 trip to Jodrell Bank.  We are grateful for his service to the School.

Mr Matthew Calloway has been a teacher in our Mathematics and Geography Departments for the last 2 years and has earned himself a reputation as a very caring and committed teacher.   We are grateful for all of his hard work and especially appreciative of his kindness and support to students.  We wish him well as he moves to Germany to take up a new post in Dusseldorf.

You will judge that the list of departing teachers is a rather longer one than we are used to.  If I had to find a collective noun for it, I think I would use the term “an accident of departures”!  Please be re-assured that we have made some excellent appointments for September 2014 and I look forward to unveiling them to you in my first newsletter of the new academic year.

We are also saying farewell to some temporary colleagues who were, by definition, going to be leaving us at the end of the year.  These include two teacher trainees, Mr Ian Marris in the History Department, and Mr Ian Johns in the PE Department, who have both successfully completed their training and are now fully qualified teachers.  We are extremely grateful to both of them for their hard work and good contribution to the life of the School.  Mr Marris has shown he has the makings of a great teacher and we wish him well in this regard.  Mr Johns has secured a prestigious post, coaching Great Britain’s Paralympic judo team which he will be leading in the Rio 2016 Olympics.  We wish them both all the best.

We are grateful to Mrs Jan Waite, whose temporary contract in the Finance Department has come to an end.  We are grateful for all she has done in supporting this area of School life but we are also extremely grateful for all that she has done to support the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and Outdoor Pursuits trips, which has been considerable.  She has thus become well-known to many students who have been helped by her.  We wish her all the best for the future.

We are very grateful to our four gap-year technicians, who, as it happens, are all ex-CGS students.  They have all done a really impressive job and gained a great deal from being part of our community in a different capacity.  Miss Emily Hood and Miss Megan Thompson have jointly been our Performing Art Technicians and have made a significant contribution to supporting the very active, creative and performing life of the School.  They have also supported the work of the English Department.  Hugely talented in their own right, they have been an inspiration to many of our students.  We wish them well as they move on to university.  Mr Jack Goudie has been our PE technician and has very vigorously supported the sporting life of the School as well as attending many PE and outdoor pursuits trips.  He, too, has been a big source of inspiration to many of our students.  We wish him well on his further studies next year.  Mr Henry McTernan has done a splendid job as our Science Technician in a year when our science facilities expanded significantly.  We are grateful for his lively support of the wider life of the School, too.  We wish him well in his further studies.

Recently, we have been pleased to welcome back Mrs Fiona Cooke, following her Maternity Leave.  We would like to thank three recently retired Heads of Science, who together took on her timetable.  Mr Norman Palmer, (who additionally has returned to us to help out with the teaching of Physics in the second half of the year), Mr Ian Dawson and Mr David Macmillan.  They have all done a fantastic job for us and we are thankful.  We are very pleased also to have welcomed back Mr Terry McTernan, our Head of Sixth Form, after a significant period of convalescence.  In his absence, Mrs Julie Wolseley has stepped up to the plate as Acting Head of Sixth Form and has done a tremendous job.  We are very grateful to her too.

A brilliant Summer Term School Concert and much else besides

We have held a truly magnificent Summer Term School Concert in which our new CGS orchestra made its debut performance and played superbly.  Accomplished and dynamic group work was a hallmark of the Concert with our Senior Strings, Intermediate Strings, Cello Group, Junior Chamber Choir and other groups all performing impressively together.  There were also many extraordinary individual performances too.  We are hugely grateful to Mrs Fran Thompson, our inspirational Head of Music, to Mrs Kathleen Watson, and Mrs Angela Warmoth as well as all our other peripatetic music teachers and to our two Performing Arts Technicians for this year, Miss Megan Thompson and Miss Emily Hood.  We are also grateful to all those staff who supported the Evening in other ways.  One of the most enjoyable parts of the concert was some songs from what will be our next School musical, “Oliver!” and it is clear that this will be a memorable event in the next School year.

Many congratulations go to 23 students who successfully completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award assessed expedition in the Lake District.  We are very grateful for the co-ordinating work done by Mrs Jo Hoare assisted by Mr Dave Moffat and for help on the expedition from many colleagues and friends of the School.  Our Lower Sixth have been superb in responding to our two day Challenge of Industry Conference and worked impressively with advisers from local firms to whom we are extremely grateful.  We thank Mrs Julie Wolseley, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, for organising the Conference once again and to all those who have supported it.

Another huge whole School event in recent days has been our School Walk which was carried out in a most convivial fashion; a very healthy activity and also a very noble one in terms of fundraising for a very worthy cause – Water Aid.  We are very grateful to all parents and friends of the School who have sponsored students so that we can raise money and we would ask that sponsorship forms are returned as soon as possible.  Thanks to all members of staff and friends of the School who have supported the School Walk, especially Mr Michael Robinson who has organised it.

Our Year 10 students are enjoying their Work Experience this week and we hope they are finding it a stimulating and significant activity as they plan for their futures.  Meanwhile, Year 8 students have improved their orienteering skills by carrying out an afternoon with the Maths Department in Willingham Woods.   Thanks go to Mr Chris Frost and the Maths Department for co-ordinating this.  Year 7 have a greater understanding of international activities as a result of workshops prepared for them by our International Ambassadors.  Thanks go to Dr Dan Wilton for co-ordinating that.

I am thrilled by the way our two Induction Days for next year’s Year 7 have gone.  Thanks go to Mr Michael Robinson, Head of Year 7, for co-ordinating this and to all my colleagues who carried out visits to these students’ primary schools.  They seem a very impressive new intake to me.

Sports Day records

In Parents’ Letter 10/2014, I wrote to you about our splendid Sports Day and told you that many records had been broken.  In fact, there were no fewer than 12 and I am very happy to re-print for you below, the names of all our record-breakers.  Congratulations to them all.

EventNameOld recordNew record
Y7 Boys’ 100mWilliam Tate13.55s13.11s
Y7 Boys’ 20mWilliam Tate28.83s27.53
Y7 Boys’ Long JumpWilliam Tate4.45m4.53m
Y7 Boys’ HurdlesOliver Levitt-Allen14.13s13.66s
Y7 Girls’ JavelinEllie Shepherd15m.25cm15m.52cm 400g javelin
Y8 Boys’ HurdlesAngus Haswell13.61s13.02s
Y8 Boys’ DiscusAngus Haswell27m.03cm  1.25kg discus28m.97cm 1kg discus
Y8 Boys’ 300mAlex Knox48.8s47.59s
Y8 Boys’ High JumpAlex Sedman1m.46cm1m.50cm
Y10 Boys’ 100mChad Dawson11.84s11.59s
Y10 Boys’ relayHansard50.08s49.48s
Y8 Boys’ RelayRawlinson54.84s54.55s

Catching the essence of our School

In the warm afterglow of our Summer Concert and the induction of our new Year 7s, seeing Year 12s busying themselves excitedly with our Challenge of Industry Conference and amidst the warm comradeship engendered by our School Walk, I am tempted to think that “this is as good as it gets” as we approach the end of the 2013/14 academic year.  I also have a strong sense that we have enjoyed a very successful year and one in which our desire as a School to provide a platform for students to grow and share, to be comfortable as themselves and to excel where they can, has been very largely achieved.  I am very proud of our students and also of our staff.  Congratulations to one and all!  We can look forward to well deserved summer holidays and even more to the start of what I am sure will be another spectacular CGS year beginning on Thursday 4th September 2014.  I look forward to seeing you then.

Yours sincerely