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The “What it means to be a student at CGS” Letter

Posted on 25th April 2014

A very good start to the Summer Term

Our Summer Term has started in an impressive fashion this week. It is a period which is dominated by both internal and external exams, necessarily so, and of course we all take these very seriously, but it also has many delights and joyful moments to relish. Firstly, on the subject of exams, Year 7 students begin their exams today. Students in Year 10 start theirs on Thursday 1st May and students in Years 8 and 9 start theirs on Thursday 15th May. Meanwhile, GCSE and AS levels (for Year 12) start on Monday 12th May and so the last day before their study leave for Year 11 and Year 12 will be Friday 9th May, whereas the last day at School for Year 13 will be Thursday 22nd May as most of their exams happen after half term which lasts from Monday 26th May until Friday 30th May. Our Year 8 Parents’ Evening is on Thursday 1st May and we will be welcoming next year’s Year 7 students at the New Year 7 Intake Evening on Thursday 8th May. Our Sixth Form Ball – the Caistor Grammar School highlight of the year! – will be on Friday 23rd May.

We will be holding our Open Evening on Wednesday 14th May between 6 – 8pm and we very much hope that your son and daughter will be able to support us in showcasing Caistor Grammar School at its best to our visitors that night. The Evening is primarily organised for the parents of students (and the students themselves) who are currently in Year 5 at primary school and who therefore could be taking our entrance exams in September 2014 for entry the following September, but we welcome everyone. So if you know of anyone who might be interested (it is still not too late to apply to join our Sixth Form in September 2014 either) then please pass on the news. There is more information about the Evening on our School website.

We have issued students with our Summer Term 2014 calendar which is a very useful summary of all the major events in the Term but since students only get one copy, I am not sure that you will get to see it so we are putting a copy of it on our School website to give you the best possible opportunity to be up to date with all that is happening here at CGS. We will also be launching the latest version of our prospectus on our website before it is distributed to parents for our Open Evening.

Welcome to some new staff

We are very pleased to welcome or have welcomed in the recent past a number of new teaching and non-teaching staff to the School. Miss Rebecca Howitt is joining our PE Department whilst Mrs Ellerby is on Maternity Leave and we hope she will very much enjoy her time at CGS. Mrs Ezela Barker has recently joined our Computing Department part time to support the teaching of this important subject and we warmly welcome her. Mr Luke Cumberland is our new Deputy Site Manager. Mrs Lisa Southwick is our new Accounts Clerk and Ms Vanda Harrison is our new Personal Assistant, supporting the administrative side of the School. We warmly welcome each one of them to the School and hope that they will all greatly enjoy their roles at CGS.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience

I am extremely proud of our Year 8 Boys’ Football Team for having reached the Final of the English Schools’ Football Association Small Schools’ Cup Competition. This is a remarkable achievement given that 130 schools entered the competition across the country last autumn. Their prize is to play the final, which will be against Downend Community School from Bristol, at a professional stadium, the Madejski Stadium, home to Reading FC. We want to mark this special moment in our history by giving them a great deal of support on the day and I therefore invite all students in Years 8 and 9 to come with us to support the team. I have written a separate letter to all of them. Students in Year 7 have not been invited because they have a number of trips already planned in the Summer Term and students in Year 10 will be in the aftermath of their exams, whilst those in other years will be involved in external exam preparation. I very much hope that all students in Years 8 and 9 will respond to my call and enthusiastically and loyally support the Year 8 Boys’ Football Team and their School. This is a once-in-a lifetime experience and it should be treated as such. I would like to place on record my appreciation to Mr and Mrs Grayson who have sponsored the team coach allowing the boys to travel in style to the fixture and also to Mr and Mrs Haswell who have sponsored a new top especially for this match.

What does it means to be a student at CGS?

I have been giving this matter some thought over recent weeks. What are the qualities we expect to see in our students? And which ones do we hope to nurture and instill in them? We are in the very fortunate position that we can take their cleverness for granted since all CGS students are, by definition having passed our entrance exam, very clever. Of course, intelligence comes in many forms and emotional intelligence is not something we test at entry but is of great importance in a person’s development. We hope to nurture this in all its forms. However, the quality that I most want to see in students at this School is their commitment to making an effort. Throughout their time at this School, it is a student’s effort grades which we prize most highly and which are the best demonstration of whether or not they are making a success of their time here. I do not think that any parent or student can be in any doubt about this since it is repeatedly referred to in my comments on individual assessments and reports and at Parents’ Evenings. But I am pleased to take this opportunity to emphasise it again! I hope that our students will learn and understand that they will make progress if they work hard. There is no easy route to success. Few people are born great! Students should know that if they work very hard and try their best and show resilience in responding to setbacks, they will improve. They should know that it is not predetermined that they should succeed or fail in anything and that they all have the capacity to make improvements in themselves.

We want students to be confident, not arrogant or boastful, but appropriately valuing their many strong qualities and realising that they are as good as anyone. We want them to be generous and open souls who will share their talents with others and who will see the benefit of working as part of a team over selfishly being solely concerned with themselves. We want them to contribute to the life of the School and to become people who are willing “to have a go” and to push back their personal boundaries: to aim even for “better still”. We want them also to have thought deeply about issues of importance in their lives and in the world and to have formed well thought out opinions which they can defend vigorously and act upon bravely. We hope and believe that this School can and does make a very significant contribution to developing all of the above attributes in its students and this we set out to do every day but we are humbled when placing our significance as an institution against the significance of each individual’s own personality and outlook and the attitudes each student carries with them from their family and upbringing. That in two short paragraphs is what I think being a student at this School is all about.

Some recent successes

I would like to draw to your attention to the very successful PE trip to Lake Garda, Italy for students in Years 9 and 10. More details about this trip can be found on our School website, but it is clear that the 40 students had a wonderful experience and I am extremely grateful to Mr Andy Shutes, Head of PE, for organising the trip and also to my colleagues, Mrs Shona Buck, Mr David Shepherd and Mrs Andrea Hyslop for supporting the trip.

We send warm congratulations to Eloise Thuey (13DW) who recently represented the UK in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad competition held in Turkey which involved competitors from 29 countries and in which the UK team finished 8th, which was their best ever performance -so very well done to her and the team! Also a number of students were involved recently in a prestigious concert in North East Lincolnshire, the High Scorers Concert. All the students taking part have achieved marks of at least 133 out of 150 in their 2013 Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music graded exams. The following students performed in the concert: Joshua Hughes (7Z), Robert Hewis (8Z), Iona Christie (7X), Ailsa McTernan (8X), Ella Suckling (9X), Charlie Maxson (8X), Alex Ross, Alex Sedman (8X), Leonie Brummitt (11Y), James Gillett (10Z), Miss Megan Thompson. Particular congratulations go to Alex Sedman (8X) who achieved the highest marks for Grade 6 violin in the whole country, to Miss Megan Thompson, currently one of our Performing Arts Technicians who received the highest marks for Grade 8 violin and to Ailsa McTernan (8X) who won two trophies: one for the highest marks in singing and one for the highest marks in Grade 2 piano. Three remarkable achievements!

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: Freddie Hull (7X), Will Tate (7Y), Anna Carter (7Y). The winners in Year 8 are: Robert Hewis (8Z), Thomas Christie (8Z), Sophie McCulloch (8Y). The winners in Year 9 are: Rohan Samuel (9Z), Michelle Zeitsman (9Z), Freddie Marris (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: Eleanor Shepherd (7X), Alicia Bowker (7X), Thomas Christie (8Z), Melissa Williams (8Z), Katie Reddish (9Y) and Katie Searle (9X). Whilst for Citizenship, the winners are: Tegan Hinch (7X), Katherine Jennings (7X),
Talia Herron (8Z), Lydia Handsley (8Z), Lauren Shale (9Z) and Daniel Ballard (9Z). Well done to all these students!

Good luck to all those students from Year 10 involved in the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition taking place this weekend. Thanks go to Mrs Jo Hoare, for organising it, with much appreciated support from Mr Dave Moffat, Mrs Anna Sharpe, Mrs Jan Waite, Mr Kristian Smy, Mrs Gill Cook, Mr Norman Palmer, Mrs Angela Palmer, Mr Christopher Hoare, Mr Lawrence Brown, and Mrs Linda Patrick.

Pupil Premium Eligibility

Pupil Premium is a funding stream awarded to the School to help provide extra opportunities for students who have ever been ‘looked after’or in care for one day or more; the children of service personnel and families who are eligible for Free School Meals or who have been within the last six years.
From April 2014, schools will also receive funding for students who have been registered on the school census as having been adopted from care or leaving care under a special guardianship or residence order. If you believe that you or your children meet this criteria please can you inform the School as soon as possible.
Parents can apply for free school meals even if they don’t want to take up free school meals, as this funding can assist your child in many other ways, from extra tuition to assistance with school trips. So that the School can benefit from this extra funding, please contact the Finance Manager, Mrs Claire Mosey, if you need help applying or if you need more information from the Local Authority (and an application form) access the link below.
A request for safely picking up students

In order to improve the safety of our students, we would like to respectfully request that parents refrain from parking on North Kelsey Road when collecting students after school. Car parking is available in the Town Playing Field Car Park, which is situated further down from the bus stops on North Kelsey Road.

I look forward to seeing you at some point during the Summer Term.

With very best wishes

Yours sincerely