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Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Blog 2 April 2019

Welcome to the last Headmaster’s Blog before the Easter holiday. 


Firstly, I would like to thank the many students and the Parents’ Association for organising Saturday’s MGS PA Spring Fair.  The fine weather helped to create a lovely event compared to last year’s when we were battered by the Beast from the East.  Thank you to everyone who came along and exchanged a few £s for a few hours of fun.  The total raised was in excess of £3000.


Yesterday the new Student Leadership Team spent a day away from school having some prefect training led by Mr and Mrs Sewell and Ms Kruppa.  The 18 students had to complete a number of task throughout the day which were designed to develop leadership and teamwork skills.  I went along at the end of the day to see what they had learnt.  A good day was had by all.


Tomorrow the 1st XI Football Squad and 1st XV Rugby Squad play the Old Maidstonians in the annual School vs. OM football and rugby matches.  It will be good to see and catch up with former students who are back home for a few days, and be able to do this in the new sports pavilion.  If you would like to come along kick offs are at 2.30pm, but please do sign in at reception when you arrive.  Good luck to both teams.


Friday is the final day of term so the usual final assemblies and slightly earlier finish will be in place.  I would like to take this opportunity in wishing you all a restful and relaxing Easter holiday.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Firstly, I would like to thank the Performing Arts Department and all of the performers for an excellent Spring Showcase last Thursday.  There was a good variety of acts consisting of students across all seven year groups.  What also needs acknowledging was the audience.  It was the largest audience I have seen at any MGS showcase or concert.  Thank you to those who came along and supported.

Congratulations to the MGS Army team who won the Military Skills Competition at the weekend. They, along with second place Royal Grammar School High Wycombe, will now represent the Brigade in the Cadet Cambrian Patrol in 2020.  The team consisted of RSM Will Hulme, CSM Chris Owen, SSgt Ben Jessell, Sgt Anuj Thapa, Sgt Ben White, Sgt Joe Smith, Cpl Toby Berry-Naisbitt, Cpl Finley Wishart.  Well done boys and thank you Maj Highway and WO Rai for accompanying them.

Congratulations also to Hamish Reilly of Corpus Christi House who took part in the SIABs Schools Cross Country International in Dublin at the weekend.  Out of all the runners, and there were many, he finished 8th.  He was also the 6th scorer for the England Team, winning gold.  Well done Hamish.

Tonight we welcome parents of year 11 students who will be attending the Year 11 Parents’ Evening.  With it being only four school weeks before year 11 students leave for their examinations, tonight’s evening is an opportunity for them to hear how they should utilise the time – the final push as it were.

Tomorrow a group of year 12 students are spending the day in Epson at the Year 12 Oxbridge Regional Student Conference.  MGS attends this event each year, taking a group of students who are aspirational for Oxbridge.  This event is essentially the beginning of the next eight months which hopefully culminates in an interview and then offer at an Oxbridge college.
Also tomorrow a group of CCF cadets from the RAF section hopefully will be experiencing a day of flying, weather permitting. 

On Thursday we are hosting a new event: the MGS Year 7 – 13 Careers Fair.  During the day over 30 companies and industries will be in school providing an opportunity for all students to discuss different career paths with them.  Students from year group will be given some time out of lessons to walk around the fair and learn about what they might be interested in.  We hope that this event becomes an annual fixture in our calendar.  Thank you to Mr Highway, Mrs Sewell and Mrs Accaster for organising the event.

Also on Thursday the new Student Leadership Team will be spending the afternoon beginning their leadership training.  This year we have introduced a prefect training programme to train the students how to be a successful prefect and to be able work well in a team.  Thank you to Mr and Mrs Sewell for arranging the event.

And on Saturday it is the MGS Parents’ Association Annual Spring Fair.  The event starts at 10.30am and will comprise of many different stalls including a coconut shy, a cake stall, a tombola and a ‘guess how many balloons in a car’ stall.  Do come along.  All proceeds will be matched funded by the PA and donated to the School Library Project.  Thank you to the Parents’ Association and all of the student helpers.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Tuesday 19 March 2019

HM Blog - Tuesday 19th March 2019
Firstly, I would like to thank the entire prefect team for organising last Friday’s Comic Relief Day.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, particularly when watching students and staff being auctioned off to be ‘custard pied’, and seeing Henry and Dan, the school captain and school vice-captain, walking around school with a two-headed jumper.  Thank you all very much for your support.

Thank you to the girls of the sixth form who took part in the first Inter-House Netball Competition last Wednesday.  Each house was represented and congratulations to Barton House for winning.  Thank you Mr Hughes, Ms Wilson and Ms Dimmock for organising.

Tomorrow the final of the Inter-House Spelling Bee takes place with students across the four houses competing to be the best speller of the School.  Good luck to all, and thank you to Ms Wilson and Mr Highsted for arranging the event.

On Thursday this week we look forward to enjoying a number of students from the Performing Arts Department performing at the MGS Spring Showcase.  Please do come along.  The evening begins at 6.30pm.  And also on Thursday a number of students in years 10 and 11 are attending a presentation from the University of Cambridge to see if they would like in the near future to make an Oxbridge application.  We were very pleased this year to receive seven offers in our current Year 13.  

And at the weekend a number of students from Year 10 will be completing the first part of their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, and a number of army cadets will be taking part in the Military Skills Competition at St Martin’s Plain in Folkestone.  Good luck to the cadets, and for the Duke of Edinburgh students, all of them will be completing two walks learning to use a route planner, compass and OS map.  If you find any Maidstonians lost on Saturday somewhere in Kent, then do point them in the right direction!

Congratulations to Hamish Reilly of Corpus Christi who has been selected to represent England in the Home Countries’ International Schools’ Cross Country Championship this weekend.  We wish Hamish the best of luck.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the cadets who competed at the RAF Air Squadron Trophy Competition at the weekend.  A few weeks ago they won the regional finals gaining a place at the national finals as the best school from the South East.  Sadly, they did not place overall but they did come 3rd in the Knowledge section.  Despite not placing the cadets should certainly be very proud of their achievements, and thank you to Mr Moores and Mr Parish for accompanying them.

Also, can I thank the many parents, staff, students and friends of the school who took part in the Parents’ Association Quiz last Friday.  It was an enjoyable evening and congratulations to Real Ale Madrid who won.  I particularly would like to thank the PA, Mrs Friend, Hayden of Year 11 and the Sixth Form Prefects who all helped support the evening.  The PA raised over £1500.  The next PA event is the Spring Fair on Saturday 30th March starting at 10.30am.  Do come along.

Congratulations to the Senior Rugby 7s Squad who won the Kent 7s Plate last Wednesday beating Judd in the final.  Well done lads and thank you Mr Hathaway for your on-going support.

Yesterday four students from Year 11 competed in the Mathematics Challenge Final and six students across different year groups took part in the Kent Public Speaking Competition, both at Invicta Grammar School.  At the Public Speaking Competition Matthew Wesson of College House came runner up in the Upper School section, and Connor Anthonissen of Corpus Christi House won the Lower School section.  Well done to all of those students for taking part.

Tonight we welcome parents of Year 13 to the Year 13 Parents’ Evening.  Tonight is an opportunity for those parents to hear from subject teachers and for the teachers to give the students a last ‘push’ before they leave to begin their examinations in May.  Not long now.

Tomorrow we welcome some primary school students into MGS to take part in our Primary Outreach Debating Event.  We have run the event for the last few years with great success; the special thing about it being it is predominantly run by our sixth form debating students.  We look forward to welcoming the young students tomorrow.

This week there are two events for students looking at road safety.  On Thursday Year 7 take part in the KCC Road Safety ‘Streetwise’ event and on Friday Year 12 take part in the ‘No Turning Back’ event.  This latter event is one of the best resources I have seen being used to educate young drivers on the safety of driving.  It is hard-hitting and certainly encourages the students to think about the possible dangers of driving.
And on Friday it is the annual Comic Relief Appeal.  Like any MGS charity day, the usual fun will be had, cakes will be sold, staff will make a fool of themselves, and for this year Henry and Dan, the school captain and school vice-captain, will be going round together in a ‘two-head hole’ jumper.  The usual non-uniform and a £1 contribution will also apply.  Many thanks in advance for all of the support. 



Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Tuesday 5 March 2019

At the weekend I had the privilege of accompanying Jonah Diomede and Kerem Mumyakmaz, both of Tonbridge House and of Year 12, to Cambridge.  They were taking part in the Cambridge University Debating Union National Competition.  The two of them successfully qualified from the South East Final back in November achieving a place in the National Final from over 500 teams. The day was extremely demanding and involved some pretty in-depth debates from whether schools should be teaching the liberal arts to whether the Gig economy should be abolished.  Jonah and Kerem should feel very proud reaching the final, and we should be very proud that Maidstone Grammar School was represented. 

Also at the weekend a number of cadets across all three contingents enjoyed a couple of days away from school experiencing different things.  The Army section took part in some weapons handling training at Crowborough, the Navy section drove down to the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, and the Air Force section completed more training in preparation for the RAF Air Squadron Trophy Completion next weekend.  A busy weekend for them all.  Many thanks to the members of staff who accompanied the cadets.

This week the process of appointing the next house prefect teams continues.  Each head of house has received a number of applications that they will now go through, shortlisting a handful of students for interview. I will be able to share the list of students who are successful in the next couple of weeks.


Thank you to the parents who came along to last week’s Ofsted meeting.  The meeting was an opportunity for parents to understand more of the recent Ofsted inspection and for us to hear their views and answer their questions.  It was a very positive evening.  


To complement last week’s Ofsted meeting, this Thursday is the next Parent Forum meeting.  The Parent Forum is a group of parents that act as my sounding board providing me with an important parental view of how the school is developing.  The recent inspection, as well as a number of other things, will be discussed.


This Friday is the annual MGS Parents’ Association Quiz.  Tickets are still available from the Bursary, and teams must be made up of no more than 8 people.  This year’s theme is ‘Goodbye Europe’.  Doors open at 7pm with the quiz starting at 7.30pm.  Do come along.


Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Welcome back to school; I hope you all had a good half term break and enjoyed the pleasant weather.  For years 11, 12 and 13 though, the February half term is the beginning of the next three to four months of hard work, revision and preparation before the examinations in the summer.  Good luck to them all.  Welcome back also to the students and staff who went on the Classics trip to Rome and the Rugby Tour to Italy.


Yesterday was certainly an eventful day and one that I have never experienced before.  Having to make the difficult decision to close the school due to no water was hopefully a one off.  Thank you very much for understanding the position we were in, but I am sure the students, despite returning after a week’s holiday, enjoyed the extra half day off.  Back to normality today.


Just before the half term break we all enjoyed the annual Inter-House Senior Rugby Competition.  Players from years 11, 12 and 13 came together to represent their house, hoping to achieve bragging rights for the next 12 months.  Regular school players were supported by their peers, some of whom had not played for some years, to put on six heavily contested games.  Congratulations to College House who won all of their games and a huge thank you to the players who took part.  True MGS spirit.


Tonight we welcome parents from across the school who wish to hear about the recent Ofsted inspection.  I will be joined by senior staff and governors, and will be answering any questions and hearing the thoughts of parents.  If you would still like to come please do let my PA, Mrs Friend, know.

On Thursday I drive to Coventry to attend the annual CCF Headteachers’ Briefing.  It is vital that headteachers of schools with CCFs have an opportunity to hear about developments and put forward points to ensure that the experiences the cadets get are good ones.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Tuesday 12 February 2019

I cannot believe we are almost halfway through the school year.  We continue to be busy with this week being no different.  Yesterday and today I am interviewing five candidates for the roles of School Captain and School Vice-Captain.  The shortlisted students are going through a rigorous process including presenting an assembly to a group of students, having lunch with senior staff, governors and Old Maidstonians, taking part in a group activity, and being interviewed by me and Mrs Sewell.  I hope to be able to announce the successful candidates after half term.  Good luck to them all.


Tomorrow we welcome parents of year 8 students to attend the Year 8 Parents’ Evening.  It is a chance for parents to hear how their sons are getting on particularly at this crucial stage when they are choosing to select what subjects they wish to study from next year.  We look forward to welcoming them tomorrow evening.


Later this week the Classics trip to Italy leaves taking students to Rome, Sorrento and Pompeii, and the senior rugby squad depart for the rugby tour to the same country.  Thank you in advance to the staff who are accompanying the students.  Stay safe everyone.


Finally, just a reminder to parents, if you wish to attend the Ofsted Q & A Parental Evening on Tuesday 26 February please email my PA, Mrs Friend, letting us know.  The evening starts at 7pm.


Have a lovely half term holiday.