Posted on 19th January 2015
A magnificent DofE Awards Evening
We recently held a really wonderful Awards Evening for our Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, hosted by our Co-ordinator, Mrs Jo Hoare, and her Deputy, Mr Dave Moffat. No fewer than 81 students received awards: 43 Bronze, 24 Silver and 14 Gold, which is an astonishing achievement for our School. Moreover, the current number of students involved in the scheme is even more incredible: 45 Bronze, 31 Silver and 28 Gold. All this is only possible because of the incredible dedication of a large number of staff and Friends of the School. My thanks go to all of them. Below are listed all the people who were involved in the organisation of the evening.
Ms Jacky Secker and Mr Barry Sinclair:- Lincolnshire Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Office
Mrs Linda Cowland and Mr Kristian Smy:- Caistor Grammar School Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Administration and Technical Support Team
Mr David Buckle, Mr Mick Hoare, Mr Phil Smith and Dr Dan Wilton:- Caistor Grammar School Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Volunteer Expedition Assessors
Mr Christopher Buckle, Mr Lawrence Brown, Mrs Gill Cook, Mr Chris Frost, Mr Chris Hoare, Miss Rebecca Howitt, Mrs Monica Jacques, Mr David Moffat, Mrs Linda Moffat, Mrs Angela Palmer, Mr Norman Palmer, Mrs Linda Patrick, Mr Michael Robinson, Mrs Anna Sharp, Mr Dave Shepherd, and Mrs Jan Waite:- Caistor Grammar School Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Volunteers and Supervisors
Mr Tom Smith:- Photography
Mrs Rebecca Shilling:- Display Boards
Another remarkable feature of this evening was that our Guest Speaker was none other than our local superstar, Guy Martin, fresh from a new autobiography and from a television series on Channel 4 over the holidays. He was delightful and delighted to be with such accomplished young people. His presence certainly added celebrity star status to the event. However, the most impressive speeches of the Evening came from current and ex-CGS students talking about what they had gained from the DofE. The full list of speakers at the Evening are as follows and I am thankful to, and in admiration of, all of them:
Overview – Emily Brown
Volunteering – Ojas Pradhan
Skill – Eve Simmons
Overview – Ellie Brook
Physical – Holly Marris
Expedition – Anna Kent, Martha Kent, Rachel Robinson, Dilasha Gurung, Nadine Amin
Overview – Matthew Colley
Residential – Hugh Phipps
St James’ Palace – Alice Kaye
CGS celebrated in Parliament
Our local MP, Sir Edward Leigh, last week tabled and led a debate on Grammar School Funding which took place at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament. The proceedings are recorded in Hansard. If you click on their website and go to House of Commons, then Westminster Hall proceedings for Tuesday 13th January 2015, you will be able to read the entire transcript. In particular, I want to bring to your attention that not only did Sir Edward single Caistor Grammar School out for a special mention, and quote me in his campaign for a better deal for grammar schools on funding, but that the Minister for State at the Department for Education, Nick Gibb, took particular trouble to identify Caistor Grammar School for praise. Here is what he said: “From 2010, 100% of students attending Caistor Grammar School have achieved at least 5GCSEs at grades A-C, including English and Maths and in 2014, 96.8% of students received 10 A* -C grades. Also at Caistor Grammar School, 76.4% of A levels were at grades A*-B.” He said the School was achieving “Remarkable, high quality, high standard academic education results.” It is not often that a Government Minister praises an individual school in this way in the House of Commons and I think we can be hugely proud of this vote of confidence in our good work.
The reason for the Debate in the first place is, however, less positive. Grammar schools, all providers of post-16 education, and small schools in rural areas are all feeling the pinch as a result of continued cuts in funding. Year on year, the squeeze is on. CGS ticks all three boxes and is therefore facing a particularly difficult time. We have managed our resources skilfully thus far and continue to do so, but increasingly it is not easy to make the books balance. It is good to have the support of many MPs in trying to get our case made.
Temporary set back for our catering facility
Caistor Grammar School was inspected on 2nd December 2014 by a West Lindsey District Council Senior Environmental Health Practitioner, and received a one star rating. We were disappointed with the fall in ratings which was primarily due to the inspection taking place following a period of staff sickness which resulted in an administrative oversight of an aspect of the paper work. However, all Health and Safety rules had been strictly adhered to. We have made it a priority to address all issues or recommendations raised in the inspection report, and we will be requesting a revisit at the earliest possible opportunity.
Caistor Grammar School has had a rating of 5 throughout the last decade and our Catering Manager was invited to cook a lunch at the prestigious Winteringham Fields Restaurant in December as part of a School lunch catering initiative. Also over 600 magnificent Christmas lunches were served to students and staff before Christmas.
This unfortunate occurrence resulting from a staff absence is much to be regretted. We intend that it will not be repeated, and have reviewed our systems accordingly to ensure this cannot happen again. We would like to re-assure all students and their parents that we continue to serve quality food and maintain excellent food hygiene. This is an area of responsibility which we take very seriously.
Where we stand on drugs
Our Drugs Policy at CGS is a long established one and it is also an uncompromising statement. It can be viewed on our School’s website (go to the Menu bar at the top of the web page, click on “Information” and then click on “School Policies”) where it makes clear that anyone who brings drugs on to the School site is likely to face suspension and that anyone who sells or shares drugs with another student on the School site, on the way to School, or from School, or at a School event, is likely to face permanent exclusion from the School. Mercifully, the very stringent and severe nature of this Policy’s terms means that there have been very few cases of drug using at Caistor Grammar School. However, last week there did appear to be one. A student brought what she claimed to her two friends was the drug mephedrone on to the School site, used it herself and encouraged, indeed applied moral pressure to, her friend to use it too. Word quickly spread around the School about this alleged incident. When we investigated, we got very full accounts from all the students involved. However, the provider of the substance claimed that it was a combination of different sugars and not mephedrone at all. For a time, it was unclear whether this was so or not, and the girl’s future at the School hung in the balance. However, fortunately we were able to gain an independent drugs test which categorically proved that the girl had not taken any drugs and that therefore the substance she had used was not a drug at all. She has been suspended for three days for her simulation and the damage this has caused. This sad case leads us to think again about our Drugs Policy. It will be discussed by Governors this week and in further Meetings this term. Once a revised Policy (which is likely to include a reference to simulation) is ready, we will consult with the parental body on its terms.
I am determined, as far as is humanly possible, to ensure that Caistor Grammar School is an oasis of safety for our students and that they do not encounter drugs here. Further, that there is not a culture of supporting drug use in this School. I believe that the use of cigarettes is also relevant here and I will be recommending to Governors that our policy in terms of cigarette use is strengthened still further. I look to you, the parental body, to provide guidance to your children and support to the School with regards to this weighty matter.
Extra curricular activities for the Spring Term 2015
We are delighted to share with you the Extra Curricular Activities sheet for the Spring Term 2015 which confirms CGS as a vibrant place in which to grow up as well as to learn. Please click here to download a copy
With very best wishes,