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Caistor Grammar SchoolHeadmaster's NewsThe “Help us if you can” Letter

The “Help us if you can” Letter

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A Tremendous Awards Evening

We recently enjoyed a tremendous Awards Evening celebrating all the achievements of students in the 2014/15 academic year.  Our Guest Speaker was Mrs Iby Knill, a writer, speaker and Holocaust survivor, who is soon to be 92.  She was a hugely inspirational figure in our School during an exceptionally memorable day in which she spoke to Sixth Formers, students in Years 10 and 11 and also to a large and appreciative audience at the Awards Evening itself.  Our School website (www.caistorgrammar.com) is a very good source of information about Awards Evening.  If you click on the story about it, you can read my speech, see the full programme with all the list of winners and see many photographs of the Evening kindly taken by Mr Tom Smith.  Iby Knill’s speeches to students and their responses are also covered in another item on the School website. Another source of information on this and many other things related to School life is my Twitter account (@caistorgrammar) which can be accessed even if you are not on Twitter by going onto the School website and clicking on the little bird.

It is clear that the 2014/15 year was an exceptionally memorable one in the history of our School and I am really proud of our achievements during it.  In my speech, I identified 50 special moments that occurred during the year and of course you may have your own special moments too.  Here below are my Top Ten from the last year to whet your appetite for the full 50 and also for the year to come.

My Top Ten (u = unique to 2014/15 year)

The Good Mental Health Awareness week (u)                The Superzone Inter-School Athletics

Upstanding Day for Y9 (u)                                            Sports Day

Trip to Beth Shalom and hearing Iby Knill (u)                  Newlands Trip (Y7)

“Oliver!”: CGS School Production (u)                             School Walk

Children in Need Fancy Dress Day                                Sixth Form Ball

A Brilliant First Month of the 2015/16 year

We are of course now in top gear when it comes to the new School year.  We are really delighted by the way in which new students have settled into the School – especially those in Year 7 – and with how all students are getting to grips with the challenges of the year to come.  Another way in which Year 7 students and parents can bond with the School is at the Friends’ Treasure Hunt being held on Saturday 10th October between 3 and 5.30pm.  This is always a really special occasion and I do recommend it to you.  It’s not too late to sign up or just turn up to be part of all the fun.  I am very grateful to the Friends for organising the event, to Mrs Amanda Gould for producing yet another sumptuous Tea, and to our Sixth Form students for organising the Treasure Hunt.

The Y9/10 Outdoor Pursuits trip and much else

We have already had two of my favourite events in the School year – Awards Evening and the Year 9/10 Outdoor Pursuits trip.  You can read my blog about the latter on the School website with attached photographs.  Students on the trip were really magnificent and were great fun to be with.  The staff at the Hollowford Centre in Castleton, Derbyshire, expressed their considerable pleasure in working once again with CGS students.  We can be really proud of them and trips such as these are very important in the development of our young people:  they reach places and parts that normal school routines cannot reach and they help to develop relationships and partnerships which strengthen motivation, communication and goodwill in the daily life of the School.  Although we go back to the same Centre every year, and I always go, I can tell you that every year is a bit different.  This year, my group had an inspirational leader called Ian Clare who arranged for us to walk down Mam Tor in the late evening when all was dark without using our torches.  It was a brilliant challenge which we successfully negotiated and we really felt good about ourselves for getting through it.  We are grateful to Mr Chris Frost for organising this trip.

As I write, the Year 12 Geographers are on their field trip, also in the Peak District in Derbyshire, and we wish them well.  Thanks go to Mr Nick Robinson, Head of Geography, and Mr Ed Cook for organising this trip.

There have also been a number of other visits and activities.  Our Year 7 Sleepover was a great success and thanks go to Mr Michael Robinson, Head of Year 7 for organising this.  We have held Information Evenings for Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 and these have been well attended.  Our recent Careers Evening proved to be enormously interesting and stimulating and was attended by a huge number of students and their parents.  I am indebted to those who offered their services during the evening and also to the very large number of our own students who helped to make the evening run well.  I am also very grateful to Miss Rebecca Turner, Head of Careers, for organising the event and to Mrs Linda Cowland, Administration Assistant, and Mrs Jill James, Office Manager, for the enormous amount of work they carried out and to Mrs Shona Buck for her co-ordinating role.  We arrange this event every 2 years and it proved once again what a worthwhile event it is in our calendar.

We are delighted to have hosted a visit from students in Tangshan Foreign Language School, China and we thank Dr Dan Wilton for organising the visit and also the families of many of our International Ambassadors who hosted our visitors.  A new generation of International Ambassadors are now preparing to go to China setting off early in the half term.  We wish them well and thank Mrs Anna Sharp and Mr David Moffat for accompanying them.

The Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition has taken place recently with 30 students successfully completing it.  We are grateful to Mr David Moffat, Deputy Duke of Edinburgh Co-ordinator, for leading the expeditions and to the many colleagues and friends who supported them.

Help us if you can

Attached to this letter is the information we send out annually about our School Fund.  This fund exists to support the wide-ranging and ambitious extra-curricular programme of the School.  It helps, for example, to run our minibus and to help with those varied extra expenses which make all that we do possible.  For many, many years we have asked for the equivalent of £5 per term, or £15 a year in a one-off payment and now we are raising that to £20 as a one-off payment.  This is simply an indicative figure of the sort of money we would like to raise if everyone contributed.  We quite understand that not everybody will be able to make a contribution or wish to make a contribution; it is entirely up to you.  We are also aware, however, that some parents are both able and willing to make a much larger contribution than £20 to support the life of the School and we would like you to consider doing that if you could.  This year, exceptionally, I am also writing to you to consider supporting other aspects of the School’s life, if you are in a position to do so.  You will hear from many quarters, the newspapers and television, about the difficulties which schools face in making their budgets balance (I have been interviewed by Radio Lincolnshire about this topic myself recently).  Simply put, the amount that schools receive per student is being reduced year on year and has been for the last 4 years (at a rate of -1.5% per year).  Meanwhile, the costs to the School in running our service are going up so we are paying out more but receiving less.  This clearly cannot go on forever without there being a problem.  Currently we employ three student technicians to help with the smooth running of the School in PE, Performing Arts and Science.  They really do offer us an invaluable service.  However, we were finding it extremely difficult to pay for them this year.  Fortunately we received an anonymous donation from a parent, grateful for all the School had done for their child.  This generous cheque enabled us to afford the three student technicians.  We are looking to raise something in the order of £15000 to pay for them for the next academic year.  If you could help in this area we would very much appreciate it.  Cheques should clearly identify that you are supporting our Student Technicians’ Fund and/or our School Fund.  You may choose to write two cheques, or one, or none.  Again, it is entirely up to you.  However, I can promise you that all the money that we receive will be well spent in supporting the education your child receives.

As an Academy, we can claim Gift Aid back from HM Revenue & Customs on eligible donations.  So if you are a tax payer, every pound donated by you is worth £1.25 to the school, making your donation go further.  To ensure that we can claim please complete and return to the School the enclosed Gift Aid declaration included on the School Fund Donation Form.  One Gift Aid Declaration can apply to all future donations to the school indefinitely.

Please find attached a School Fund Donation Form which can be completed and returned to school, together with your donation.  If preferred you can make your donation by bank transfer or Standing Order.  The School Fund bank details are: Sort Code 30-95-05, Account Number 02548232, Caistor Grammar School Fund Managed Account, Lloyds Bank plc, High Street Lincoln Branch, PO Box 1000, BX1 1LT.

Recently the Governors met and we discussed our financial position in the years to come.  I can assure you also that we have a very strong governing body which is determined to ensure that we maintain an excellent quality of service to you in the years to come.

An opportunity to become a Parent Governor

The Governing Body has two Parent Governor vacancies.  We now seek nominations from parents who are prepared to serve a four year term and are willing to take on the role of Parent Governor.  Nominations should arrive with me by noon on Wednesday 4th November 2015.

The Governing Body normally meets six times a year and Governors additionally serve on one of the three Committees, which meet about three or four times a year.  We hope candidates will also feel able to support the life of the school.  Anyone who is a parent of a student on the school roll is entitled to stand.  In this context ‘parent’ includes guardian.  A candidate must be proposed and seconded by other parents of students in the School.  Each candidate is also asked to submit a short personal statement of about 100 words explaining why he or she feels it appropriate to stand for election.  These statements will be circulated to parents with the ballot paper, should an election be necessary.

Elections to School Council

We recently had elections for the School Council.  I am very grateful to every student who put themselves forward to be elected by their peers and I list below those students who have been elected to the School Council and which form they are representing.  Our Senior Prefect Team and Secretaries to the School Council sit on the Council and I list them as well.

 

7X        Miles Peck            7Y        Thomas Wood                  7Z        Emily Thompson

8X        Imogen Horton      8Y        Hesham Al-Moasseb        8Z        Frederick Crowder

9X        Guy Annis             9Y        Matthew Fieldsend            9Z        Jyothi Cross

10X      Jessica Jex          10Y      Olivia Smith                       10Z      Thomas Christie

11X      Arjun Menon          11Y      Alex Tees                         11Z      Lucas Button

12FC    James Smith      12SM   Kellan Masharani       12NR    Luke Wakeman   12DW  Emily Brown

Senior Prefect Team:  Head Boy -John Asumang;  Head Girl -Harriet Haswell; Deputy Head Boy -Tom Steer;

Deputy Head Girl -Rebecca Jex; Secretaries to the School Council -Matthew Travis and Martha Kent

A very successful Macmillan Coffee morning

We recently held a very convivial Macmillan Coffee Morning, which raised over £1000, which is a School record!  Great credit goes to our Year 11 students who organised the event under the direction of Mr Graham Dobson, Head of Upper School and to the Friends of Caistor Grammar School who once again provided excellent support.  I am also grateful to Mrs Fran Thompson for organising our music and to the excellent players, as well as all those parents and students who provided cakes for us to sell.  Thanks to everyone involved!

Being photographed at Caistor Grammar School

If you have visited our School website recently, you will be aware that we take lots of photographs at CGS and they adorn our walls as well.  We hope that students and their parents are proud to be seen carrying out their lives as CGS students but we are aware that this can be a sensitive matter.  If you do not wish your child to be in any photographs on our walls or on our website, please will you notify the School Office of this and we will seek to ensure that they are not.

With very best wishes

Yours sincerely

Headmaster

Please click here to download the School Fund form

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