A very warm welcome to our new School year
A very warm welcome to the 2015/16 academic year at Caistor Grammar School! And a specially warm welcome to those parents who are joining the family of our School for the very first time. There are many new students in the School this week: 94 students in Year 7 and 16 in Year 12. In total, there are 647 students on roll, 300 boys and 347 girls (171 of whom are in our Sixth Form).
Introducing some new members of staff
We welcome a number of new members of staff at the start of this School year. Miss Naomi Dales is joining our English Department. Mrs Fiona Hargreaves is covering Ms Smith’s Maternity Leave (we are pleased to congratulate her on the birth of a daughter, Clara Maxine) and will be teaching Geography. We are also looking forward to working with two trainee PE teachers, Miss Rebecca Heald (who was our PE Technician last year and is therefore well known to us) and Mr James Whyley. We will also be employing three technicians this year. Ex-CGS student Mr Kenneth Ward will be our Science Technician. Miss Ellie Robey, also ex-CGS, will be our Performing Arts Technician whilst Miss Charlotte Adamson will be our PE Technician. They are all extremely welcome and we hope they enjoy working at CGS.
Outstanding examination results once again
Overall our 2015 exam results are highly creditable and very pleasing; some aspects of them are remarkable and record-breaking. Taken together though, they are a huge achievement for both our students and our staff. We will lead Lincolnshire in the DfE tables at A2 level for the thirteenth year in a row- a remarkable accomplishment and dominance of our fellow schools. We are likely to be in the top 50 schools in the country in the DfE performance tables. At AS level, our fifteenth set of results are significantly better in many respects than we expected, and a solid springboard from which to achieve A2 success next year. At GCSE, we will lead Lincolnshire in terms of the percentage gaining 5 A*-C, including English and Maths for the seventh year running, with our score of 99% 5 A*-C (including English and Maths) and we have achieved 100% 7 A*-C passes for the fifth year running and the seventh time in the last eight years! This year we have also a new record of 100% 9 A*-Cs! We have also gained 100% 5A*-C passes for the tenth year running and for the fifteenth time in the last eighteen years! We have established new School Records in the English Baccalaureate (89%), and lead Lincolnshire in this too. We expect to be very highly ranked in the 2015 DfE Performance Tables.
Overall, our results further extend our extraordinary record of sustained excellence and Lincolnshire school domination. Indeed we will lead the County at both GCSE and A Level for the seventh year running and for the ninth time in the last decade!
Special congratulations go to our GCSE boys who have broken two school records to be the most successful Year 11 boys in our history, in terms of both average point score per candidate (82.22) and average point score per entry (6.98). They also outperformed the girls at GCSE, which is the first time in 7 years and only the second time in the last 12 years that this has happened. Attached is a summary of both our GCSE and A level results, though this is still provisional at this stage since there have already been nine successful appeals against individual grades and many more are in the pipeline.
Life beyond Levels – Welcome to “Standards”
The Government has decided to remove National Curriculum Levels as a way of assessing students. They have not replaced them with any new prescribed method. Instead, they have invited every school to devise their own way of assessing students. At CGS, we have long had our own very simple and understandable termly approach to measuring both Attainment and Effort on an A*-D (Attainment) and 1 – 4 (Effort) scale and this has operated very successfully in the past in tandem with National Curriculum levels. We are completely committed to this approach and will retain it, but we have taken this opportunity to introduce “Standards” to CGS. How do Standards differ from National Curriculum levels you may well ask. There are many similarities in the structure, but also differences in content, as we take account of a revised National Curriculum and changed examination specifications. Each department has been asked to devise 6 Standards covering Attainment within their curriculum for Years 7 -9. Students will be assessed in the first Half Term with a base line test and awarded a standard based on their current attainment. They will then be regularly (3 – 6 times a year) assessed within each department to see how they are making progress. One of these formal assessments will be the end of year exam. At the end of each year, we will report to parents on the base-line standard and the progress made during the year. It is expected that students will make one standard of progress on average during the year. As the new GCSE assessment methodology is slowly unfurled over the next couple of years with a grading system of 1 (low) to 9 (high) we will be closely matching our Standards to those grades. In each year it is expected that most students will fall within a range of 4 standards. For those in Year 7 the expectation is 1 – 4, in Year 8 2 – 5 and in Year 9 3 – 6, though some students might be outside this range. All students will be given full information on the criteria used by each department in their year at the start of this term and these will be stuck into exercise books or folders. Meanwhile, our traditional A*, A, B C, D, 1 – 4 scales will be used to assess most normal class and homework. Every student can aspire to achieving a 1 in effort and, as each year goes by, a higher proportion of students achieve this, (so much so that the overall average was 1.26 last year for all effort grades awarded in the School, which is exceptionally high). The most commonly given attainment grade is an A with an increasing number of A*. I believe however CGS students can reasonably aspire to get at least one A*, but it is understood by all staff, and should be by students and parents, that A and A* are only awarded when the work is of a sufficiently high standard to match that criteria.
Outstanding Effort and Attainment grades for the 2014/15 academic year.
I am delighted to share with you the results of last year’s internal Assessment/Reports by Year group. They show a remarkable and consistent record of improvement and high achievement, especially since last year we broke 21 records (and equalled 4). This year, we succeeded in establishing 20 new records and equalling 3.
We carefully record every Effort grade and every Attainment grade that every student gains every single term and put these together to have a measure of progress at a School level, as well as at an individual level. We are thus able to measure how different year groups do in comparison with their older peers and also how they do in comparison with themselves in previous years. I am attaching a sheet to this letter which summarises the performance of each gender in each year group in the School. You can calculate your own child’s effort and attainment grades as follows: we give Effort grades their numerical value, and a 1/2 counts as 1.5 and we give Attainment grades the following values: A* and A both count as 1.0 and A/B counts as 1.5 and A*/A counts as 1.0, B/C counts as 2.5, B counts as 2, C as 3, D as 4 and so on. Add up the total of numbers and divide by the number of subjects to get an average. If this is too much of a mathematical challenge, we will be sending you your child’s averages for each term last year and for each previous year they have been in the School, when we issue their first Assessment of this school year during the Autumn Term 2015. It is good to benchmark our performance, not only against others, but also against ourselves in previous times. I hope this will be a spur to ever greater achievements at the School. It is clear that overall, students have worked harder and more successfully last year than in any previous year when judged by our own Effort and Attainment system. Congratulations to everyone! Below you can see how last year’s figures compare to those in the past.
A request for volunteers
As well as being our Librarian, Mrs Jago, performs a number of roles around school. These include helping to produce the School play, involvement in the BBC School Report, and organising literary events and competitions. We are looking for volunteers who could support the work of our busy and successful library by covering her on an occasional basis, either at lunchtime or possibly for a whole day when she needs to be away from school. If you are interested, please contact Mrs Jago either on the school telephone number, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With very best wishes