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Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Tuesday 26 September 2023

I start this week’s blog by acknowledging the first three weeks of football results.  Since the start of the new academic year, MGS football squads have played nine matches in total scoring 37 goals, and conceding only seven.  This is a remarkable achievement and one that should be rightly applauded.  Well done to all the payers and thank you to the members of staff who are supporting the teams.

At the weekend four MGS rugby squads took to the field to play Eltham College in the weekly fixture, seeing the 1st XV secure their first win of the year.  In other rugby news Gabby of Year 13 and Corpus Christi House has just been called up to try out for the U19 England Women’s Rugby Squad.  This is wonderful news and we wish her well for possible selection.

This week is a relatively quiet week for MGS, until Friday when we as an entire school community acknowledge the MacMillan Coffee Morning.  The day will also be a non-uniform day.  Students will be joined by staff, governors and parents who will come together to enjoy each other’s company over a cuppa and a slice of cake.  MGS has supported MacMillan Cancer Support for a number of years now, and in doing so has raised over £8000 for the Charity.  I am sure Friday will be an enjoyable occasion.

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Firstly, I would like to thank the entire school community for understanding the difficulties we experienced last week with the hot weather.  It was very unusual to have such warm weather at the start of an academic year, but just like at all other times, the community of the school rolled up their sleeves (in some cases, literally) and got on with it.  Fortunately, the weather is to be cooler from this week, but I expect when we are in the deepest, dark depths of the winter we will be crying out for warmer times.  Thank you Maidstonians for getting through the first week.

Following on from the events last week we have a slightly quieter week ahead of us - but with it still being the start of a new year, there are still matters to deal with.  This week students will be having their individual and sibling photographs taken - both for our own use as well as for parents to enjoy.  In addition, we welcome parents of Year 12 students to attend the Year 12 Information Evening on Thursday: an evening to hear from key staff about the year ahead.

Providing opportunities away from school, the CCF RAF section has a trip out today to Biggin Hill Airport, and a group of students will be out on Thursday completing their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Practice Expedition. 

However, the main event taking place this week is a week-long event involving Year 11 and their parents.  Throughout the week form tutors will be meeting with Year 11 students and communicating with parents about the upcoming year and what the students should be doing this year to ensure they do well next summer.  These meetings and conversations are crucial to ensure Year 11 approach the year with positivity, and get the best out of it before their GCSEs.  If you are a Year 11 parent then do look out for details.

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

5 September 2023

Welcome to the start of a new academic year; welcome to Maidstone Grammar School’s 475th Anniversary year; and welcome to the first Headteacher’s Blog of the year.  I hope you are all keeping well, and for those readers who have had a holiday, I hope you had a good one.  It is so good to be back, sharing once again news stories and successes that we are proud of and wish for you all to know.

We start with some amazing news from three Old Maidstonians.  Owen, Michael and Charlie, who all left Maidstone Grammar School in 2022, decided to set themselves a challenge.  At the end of July they all completed a 76-day walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats.  Along the way they were raising money for Parkinson’s, and at the moment, have raised over £7000!  What an achievement, and what an inspiration to others.  Well done to them.

Today we welcomed the entire student body back and acknowledged it at a school assembly in the Quad.  With the weather being ideal, we were all able to come together and celebrate the start of term before beginning the first lesson of the day.  It is always good to see the students return to their school, and being able to do it altogether added to the day. 

This week there are further opportunities for the school to come together.  On Thursday, we hope to be able to have a whole school photograph – something that we have not been able to do since September 2014.  This opportunity to record the moment when all Maidstonians come together is the first event to celebrate the 475th anniversary of MGS.  We are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather.

On Friday our older students come together to acknowledge the achievements of last year’s Year 11, 12 and 13 at the Upper School Speech Day.  Guest of honour this year is Eileen Lewis, a former member of staff who gave MGS over 25 years’ service.  Colleagues of mine are looking forward to seeing her again, as well as seeing the many students who have achieved great things receive recognition and applause.  I addition to this event, on Friday morning Year 7 will be enjoying a morning of team building activities to support their transition and induction, as well as helping them make new friends.  This always proves to be an enjoyable and memorable event.

Tuesday, 18 July 2023

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Welcome to the last blog of the year and the last ever Headmaster's Blog. Don't worry, my weekly blog will continue into the next academic year, but from September will be named Headteacher's Blog as opposed to Headmaster's. This is because from September I will be the headteacher of Maidstone Grammar School and not headmaster. It is right that the School reflects a changing society, and so changing the role name I am known by will be a small but significant change that is right for MGS in the world we live in. 

Before looking at the coming week, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the planning and organisation of Friday's speech day. Despite not being able to have everyone there due to the wet weather, it was still a wonderful event for the school and for the prizewinners. An event in which the whole school could attend together was the Founders' Day Service at All Saints Church earlier in the day. It was an opportunity for the entire school community to celebrate the founding of the School and give thanks to the many thousands upon thousands of Maidstonians who have passed through its gates and given leadership and service to it.

This week's highlight is today's Sports Day. The MGS Sports Day has not taken place since 2019, and so only Year 12 have experienced the delights of competing in one. The weather looks good, and so here's hoping for a good day.  Good luck to all competitors.

Friday is the last day of term where we come together one final time and celebrate the year that has passed. The MGS House Cup will be awarded to the winning house, we say goodbye to leaving staff, and we sing the School Song one last time. At the assembly I will also be looking ahead to next year and preparing everyone for the School's 475th anniversary. There will be lots going on next year, particularly during the month of April, but there will also be events in September and July to launch and end the celebrations. It really will be a year to remember.

Finally, I would like to wish everyone a restful summer holiday and thank you all for reading my blogs throughout the year. See you in September.

Thursday, 13 July 2023

Tuesday 11 July 2023

A huge thank you to the staff who organised and led the many activities that took place during last week’s Extended Learning Week.  From walking in the Kent countryside to creating a typical picnic lunch, Maidstonians enjoyed doing something different for a week.  In addition to years 7 to 9 partaking in these activities, years 10 and 12 completed some essential work experience that took them away from MGS and into the workplace.  I hope everyone had a fabulous time.

Last week we heard the sad news of the death of former colleague and deputy head of MGS, Dr Tony Webb.  Dr Webb taught history here from 1971 to 2000, and was deputy head for almost 20 years in that time.  Even though I never had a chance to work with Dr Webb, I had the pleasure of meeting him early on in my headship, as well as getting to know him during his time in the Old Maidstonian Society.  I know from some of my colleagues and former staff who worked with him, Dr Webb was a character, and had a unique way of doing things.  Schools like MGS were filled with teachers like Dr Webb, so his passing brings to an end a significant chapter of MGS’s life.  We send our thoughts to his family and friends at this time.

This week, as we approach the end of the academic year, is a busy one.  On Thursday we welcome  our newest Maidstonians to the school to the Year 6 Induction Day.  Over 200 young faces will be spending the day at MGS, getting to know the lay of the land and hopefully getting to know some new friends.  And on Friday we celebrate the founding of Maidstone Grammar School at a service at All Saints Church in the morning, which will then be followed by our Lower School Speech and Prize Giving Day in the afternoon.  We hope for some good weather.

Finally, congratulations to Jamie Noakes, our head chef, who last week placed 3rd in the National School Chef of the Year Competition.  He competed amongst 12 finalists from across the country, being asked to prepare a two-course school meal in under 90 minutes.  He cooked chicken breast with sticky rice and a vagrant Thai broth with crunchy vegetables; and for desert, he prepared a Peach Melba Crumble.  Well done Jamie.


Tuesday, 4 July 2023

Tuesday 4 July 2023

A huge thank you to Mr Norton, Corpus Christi House and all of the students and staff who took part in last Friday’s Lip-Sync Battle.  An eclectic mix of performances and music genres were on show for everyone to enjoy, from Kylie Minogue to Queen.  In addition to this musical event we also enjoyed the MGS Summer Showcase on Thursday.  The audience enjoyed music from John Williams’s film scores to an extract from Macbeth.  Thank you to Mrs Brooks, Mr Bourne and Mrs Edwards, and to all of the students who took part and helped make it happen.

This week is Extended Learning Week.  Years 7 to 9 are busy enjoying a variety of different activities across the country and beyond, and years 10 and 12 are taking part in some valuable work experience.  Extended Learning Week has been in place for 10 years now.  It is week where Maidstonians broaden their learning experiences to complement their normal classroom ones.  I hope everyone; staff and students value the week and get the best out of it.

Tomorrow, Jamie, our head chef, competes in the final of the School Chef of the Year.  Over 2000 applicants entered the competition, and now the last 12 take part in the final in Birmingham.  The School Chef of the Year competition aims to show off the high quality of school meals and the contribution they make to the health and wellbeing of young people.  We wish Jamie the best of luck and hope his two-course meal choice wows the judges.


Thursday, 29 June 2023

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the MGS athletes who took part in an inter-school athletics completion last week at Oakwood Park.  11 schools attended, with MGS coming second in the Year 8 category and first in the Year 7, 9 and 10 categories.  A really good day for MGS.  Well done Maidstonians.

Continuing with athletics, two of our budding athletes have achieved significant recognition in their chosen disciplines.  Faith of Year 12 and Corpus Christi House was selected to join the GB & NI U20 Athletics Team for a competition in Mannheim, Germany last weekend, and Theo of Year 10 and Corpus House has been selected to run for Kent Schools at the English Schools Athletics Competition this weekend after winning the Inter-Counties Race last Saturday.  Well done Faith and Theo.

And finally, congratulations to Aoife of Year 12 and College House who received a commendation for her achievements in the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators run by Queen’s College, Oxford.  Over 15,000 students participated in the competition, and so Aoife receiving recognition is a fantastic achievement.  Well done Aoife.

Thank you to the Year 10 band, Corpus Christi House and to Cucina for putting on a fabulous ‘Queen and BBQ’ event in the Quad last Friday.  Over 400 members of the MGS community came together to enjoy some music whilst eating some freshly cooked BBQ food from our caterers.  It was a lovely occasion.

For three days this week we welcome back Year 11, as well as saying hello to some new students, who wish to join the MGS Sixth Form next year.  At this Post 16 Induction Event students will get a feel of what life is like at MGS being a sixth form student.  We hope they have a good time. 

At the end of the week our celebrations of Pride Month come to an end with a Lip-Sync Battle in the Big Hall.  Students and staff will show off their ‘no singing’ skills: miming to some of their favourite songs in front of a hall-packed audience.  I am sure it will be entertaining!  Thank you to the staff and students who are taking part.