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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

29 September 2015

The highlight of last week was the University Fair on Wednesday.  Over 900 people attended the event from Years 10 to 13 including students from other local secondary schools.  Nearly 50 universities across the country were present with many saying how impressed they were with the level of questioning the students had.  They were extremely grateful for MGS staging such an event and were eager to come back next year.  I hope everyone who attended found it helpful and that aspirations are higher now, but with the skills and knowledge to be in a position to achieve them.

On Friday the School joined the largest coffee morning in the country in support of the MacMillan Cancer Charity.  Many students and staff came together at break time over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  Once again it proved to be a very popular event.  It has become one of the MGS traditions that many from the community look forward to.  Thank you to everyone who came along and supported.  The total amount raised was £360.
Congratulations to Jack Arterton of Year 7 who has just been selected to play as goalkeeper in the Maidstone District Football U12 team.  This is an excellent achievement for Jack and one that will help the performance of the School Football Team in the coming season and future.

I wish to point out an event that is coming up in November and one that is being organised by the Parents’ Association.  A ParentMail will be sent out very soon to all parents advertising a Bruges Trip.  It takes place on Saturday 21 November and will include a day trip to Bruges taking in all the sites the town has to offer in preparation for Christmas.  Do look out for the flyer and if you are interested please do come along.  While I am mentioning the Parents’ Association, please keep Saturday 7 November free as it is our annual firework display.  It is a very popular event and one that brings the entire school community and local residents together. 
This week we say thank you to Mrs Lindsey Evans who has chaired the MGS Governing Body for the last five years.  She has been a Governor for the last 15 years, but stands down as Chairman on Tuesday this week.  The School acknowledged her service and contributions as Chairman at the Upper School Speech Day earlier in the month, but I once again wish to thank her for all her hard work in support of MGS.  Thank you Lindsey.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

22 September 2015

Following the busy previous week with the Beginning of Year Service and Upper School Speech Day, last week was somewhat quieter.  The Parents’ Association meeting on the Monday was a good one in which we discussed the many events for the up-and-coming year.  This year there will be the normal events such as the annual Firework Display, Quiz Night and Family Fun day, but also a new event at the end of November: a day trip to Bruges.  Please look out for details when they come out. 

On Thursday many Year 12 students and their parents came into school for their Information Evening to hear from key staff about the coming year.  I am pleased to say that the students have settled into their A-Level studies very well and have begun to see themselves as MGS 6th Form students.  Well done and keep up the hard work.
On Friday, Year 13 had the day off school to attend their Academic Interview with their Form Tutor.  This concept was introduced two years ago as we thought it important for parents and students at this crucial time to be well-informed with all things UCAS.  Last year the staff, students and parents all felt that an opportunity to have a detailed conversation was extremely helpful, so we are going to continue with it now and in the future.

This week we have two main events in school.  On Wednesday we are hosting our University Fair between 5pm and 8pm.  Between 40 and 50 universities will be here in the School Hall and Gym providing information and literature to students from Years 10 to 13.  Over 700 people have already registered an interest in coming, so it is going to be once again a very popular event.  On Friday we are joining the country in acknowledging the Macmillan Coffee Morning.  Each year on the last Friday in September the School Hall is packed full of students and staff who come together over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  We always raise a lot of money on the day, but it also has become an annual tradition of the School that we look forward to.
Starting this week I begin my meetings with each Head of Department and their Line Manager to discuss in detail the examination performance from the summer.  There is much to celebrate and be proud of, but there are always areas that we could improve on, and so these meetings provide an opportunity to discuss how each department can maintain and strengthen what they do and how they can provide an even better experience for our students.    

Finally I wish to say how impressed I have been with the start of term.  Many members of staff have commented on how well-dressed everyone is, how well students have knuckled down to work, and that behaviour around school is very good indeed.  Please keep this up.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

15 September 2015

Last week ended with a glorious Upper School Speech Day.  The weather was perfect, and it was lovely to have back at MGS Mr Turrell, who was Headmaster here for 17 years.  Congratulations once again to all the prize winners, good luck to the leaving year group on their next phase of their lives, and thank you to all parents who came along and supported the occasion.

Last Thursday Jordan Chambers and Fraser Robertson of Year 13, joined by Mr Terrell and Mr Highsted, took part in a charity 12 hour bike ride around Brands Hatch.  They competed against some very professional looking teams; some teams of old pro rugby players including Shane Williams, Lee Mears and Victor Obogu.  They acquitted themselves admirably; coming 17th out of 34 teams completing over 80 laps of the circuit in the 12 hour period. The team showed real grit and determination to complete what was a very challenging event.  They are raising money for Parkinsons UK and if you would like to sponsor the team please make contact with the School.  Congratulations to the entire team in what was a very long, but very rewarding day.
Last week the Parent Forum met for the first time this academic year and discussed a number of matters that included how we assess and grade students’ work, the Bring Your Own Device initiative, the new building project, and the vision for the next 5 years.  It was an extremely positive meeting and all came away more informed of what is to come.  We will be shortly looking for additional members, so if you would like to get involved please contact the School.

This week I attend the first Parents’ Association meeting of the year to discuss the coming year and join the Academy Working Party to continue discussions on understanding more the concept of academy status.  On Thursday students from Year 12 and their parents are invited in for their Information Evening; an evening to find out more about what is to come in the next 12 months.  Not only will key staff from the Upper School be speaking, but I will be updating parents on the last 12 months with regards to the MGS Development Fund and sharing with them some potential exciting news about our building projects.  Throughout the next few months all students and their parents will be invited in to attend their respective evening to hear more; please do come along.


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

8 September 2015

Welcome back to a new year; I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed the time with your family and friends.

It is always good to see the students again so the first day of term for me is one of the best days in the school year.  Fortunately the weather held off so we were able to have the entire school in the Quad for the first assembly of the year.  The first week of term is required for the routine of school life to settle down.  All students and teachers are learning their new timetables and the layout of the school is sometimes confusing for our new members.  It is always pleasing to see older students help the younger ones out when they are looking to find where their next lesson is.  I hope your child had a good start to the year and is looking forward to the coming weeks and months.

The summer holiday is a time for staff, students and parents to recharge batteries but also is a time for us to complete necessary work on the fabric of the school and prepare for the start of the new year.  The big job, and one that the students have responded positively to, was the complete refurbishment of the Boys’ toilets in the Main Building.  I understand there were cheers from a number of boys on Wednesday when they visited the toilets for the first time.  The toilets have become a tourist attraction!  Another main job for the school is to receive, issue and analyse the summer examination results.  This year we matched last year’s A2 performance with just under 60% of all grades being A* - B.  AS results were the best the school has ever had with just over 50% of all grades being A/B, and at GCSE level 51% of all grades being A*/A.  I am extremely pleased with these results which come from hard work both from the students and their teachers.  There were many individual performances which were mentioned in our press release at the time, and these will be acknowledged and celebrated at this week’s Upper School Speech Day.

As just mentioned, the main event of this week is our annual Upper School Speech Day where we celebrate the achievements of Years 11 to 13 from the 2014-15 academic year.  Many leaving Year 13 students will be present, particularly because this year’s Guest of Honour is Mr Neil Turrell, former Headmaster of the School from 1992 to 2009, was Headmaster when that year group first started at the School in 2008.  We look forward to welcoming Mr Turrell, leaving students and invited guests back on Friday.