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The “Welcome to the Spring Term” Letter

Posted on 9th January 2015

Trevor Foulkes, Headmaster at CGS from April 1981 – December 1995

I am very sorry to tell you about the death of Trevor Foulkes, my predecessor, who has died aged 83 recently.  He was Headmaster of CGS for 14 and a half years and during that time he made a huge contribution to the development of the School.  He was a person of great intellect and outstanding abilities but he is most well remembered by ex-students (we have received a deluge of emails from them in recent weeks) for his caring, compassionate nature and remarkable ability to remember the names of practically all of them.  He showed a great concern for them, as if they were members of his own family.  Caistor Grammar School will be much involved in Trevor’s Funeral which is taking place on Friday 9th January.  Our Year 9 students will be providing an Honour Guard at the entrance to the church as people arrive for the funeral.  We are also providing a choir and a string quartet to perform during the service.  Our student body will be represented at the funeral by our Senior Prefect Team.  We send our deepest condolences to Estelle, Trevor’s widow, and hope that she can draw some comfort (as I know she does) from the immensely high esteem in which Trevor is held by so many people whose lives he touched.

A warm welcome to a busy and important Term

Our Spring Term (an optimistic title which as I write is justifying its billing!) is an important one in the life of the School.  This is not least because it contains a large number of Parents’ Evenings which are crucial events in helping us to do the best job we can for your child.  Parents’ Evenings happening in this Term are as follows:  Year 10 on Wednesday 14th January, Year 11 on Thursday 5th February, Year 12 on Wednesday 11th February, Year 9 on Thursday 12th March, and Year 7 on Wednesday 25th March.  Year 11 are currently digesting the results of their mocks and will then be seeking to make appropriate adjustments in response to them.  Meanwhile, students in the Sixth Form in both Year 12 and Year 13 will be having mocks during this Term in order to help them cope with the demands of a new external exam structure at A level.  Year 11 students will receive their Reports on Wednesday 28th January.  Year 9 will receive their Reports on Wednesday 25th February.  Year 10 will receive their Assessments on Wednesday 4th March.  Year 7 will receive their Assessments on Wednesday 11th March.  Year 12 will receive their Reports on Wednesday 18th March.  Year 8 will receive their Assessments on Wednesday 25th March.

This is a Term of many foreign trips.  The Geography trip to Morocco departs on Thursday 12th February.  The RE Department’s Sixth Form trip to Auschwitz also departs on Thursday 12th February.  The Ski trip to Bardonecchia, Italy, departs on Friday 13th February.  The Sixth Form English Department’s World War 1 Battle Fields trip departs on Friday 13th March and we will be hosting students from Germany right at the end of Term as part of our German exchange this year.

Students have been given a copy of the Spring Term Diary and I hope you will get to see it.  Incidentally, you will note that at the top of this letter there is a new box in which students are asked to print their name.  This is to help ensure that no letters go missing between School and home.  If you are reading this letter at home on a printed named copy, you can congratulate your child on a job well done.  If you are reading it online and have never seen a copy of it, you have questions to ask of your child!

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

…“That is all ye know on earth and all you need to know.”  These are, of course, the final lines in John Keats’ memorable poem, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”.  They form our Assembly theme for the next Half Term.  This will provide an opportunity for our speakers to address issues of poetry, philosophy, in particular the philosophy of art and aesthetics, but also to discuss truth and explore beauty: quite a few avenues which can be explored.  One that particularly interests me is on the nature of truth.  Telling the truth is a very central expectation upon students at Caistor Grammar School.  Sometimes it seems that telling the truth has fallen out of fashion and some are reluctant to give anything away beyond what can be proved by others’ words.  However, overwhelmingly, I am impressed and grateful to our student body for realising the benefits to one’s own conscience and way of life if one does tell the truth.  However, I do not think we can be complacent and I look to you to do all you can to re-inforce this message.  My thinking on this subject has led me to conclude that very often there is not a single obvious truth.  Indeed, I am reminded that the patron saint of historians (of whom I am one) is the Roman God, Janus, whose face looks in two directions at once!  But simply because in any given situation or event there will be more than one version of what has happened, it does not mean that we are not all required to truthfully tell our own sincerely held belief of what did happen.  This may be a somewhat unfashionable view, but it is one to which I strongly adhere.

REF Ideal and Merit winners

Congratulations to those students who have won prizes for living out the REF Ideals last Term.  These refer to the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence and Friendship.  The winners in Year 7 are: Rory Longcake (7Z), Pawel Grab (7X) and Ayse Uysal (7Y).  The winners in Year 8 are: Tegan Hinch (8X), Nikita Tan (8X) and Alicia Bowker (8X).  The winners in Year 9 are:  Ailsa McTernan (9X), Laura Brady (9X) and Laura Jackson (9Y).

Congratulations also to our Merit winners for the Autumn Term.  These are given for academic achievement and citizenship.  The winners for academic achievement are:  Francesca Shepherd (7Z), Aidan Parker (7Y), Toby Hibbert (8Z), Anna Carter (8Y), Michael Durham (8Y), Thomas Christie (9Z), and Melissa Williams (9Z).  Whilst for Citizenship, the winners are:  Imogen Horton (7X), Charlotte Morton (7Y), Alicia Bowker (8X), Emily Barrett (8X), Lydia Handsley (9Z), and Ailsa McTernan (9X).  Well done to all these students!

I look forward to seeing you some time during the Spring Term 2015.

With very best New Year’s greetings.

Yours sincerely