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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Despite the grey clouds on Saturday, many parents and students turned out for the annual Parents’ Association Summer Fete.  The students enjoyed the football competition, the tug of war and the inflatable assault course; and the parents enjoyed wandering about the stalls, picking up the odd purchase and enjoying a cup of tea and a piece of cake.  Thank you so much to the Parents’ Association for organising the event, the team of sixth formers who helped throughout the day, and the many of you who came along to support.

Over the last couple of weeks I, along with a number of members of staff, have been making visits to primary schools to meet every year 6 boy who is joining MGS from September.  I always look forward to going out and visiting these boys; it not only offers an opportunity to get to know someone and provide them with a recognisable face when they arrive, but it also reminds me of how primary and secondary schools differ and the need to ensure that our induction process supports that transition. 

Last night we all enjoyed the annual MGS Art Exhibition and the newly created Performing Arts Showcase.  It was an evening where students who excel in creativity were able to show off their talents and be recognised and acknowledged.  Both events were a joy to experience; thank you to the staff that helped organise them; and thank you and well done to all the students who took part in some way.  Tomorrow we welcome back Year 13 to the School to attend their Leavers’ Tea.  It is a final chance for the School to say goodbye to the year group before they finish their examinations and enjoy a well-deserved summer holiday.  We hope to see many there.

As one year group leaves the Sixth Form, we turn to welcome a new one.  This week we invite the current Year 11 students, accompanied by students who are wishing to join MGS in September, to attend the two day Pre Sixth Form Induction event.  Transition into the Sixth Form can be a big step, so it is important we ease that process as much as possible.  The two days provide the students with an insight of what to expect and gives them an opportunity to get to know each other a little before starting in September.  We look forward to seeing them all later this week.

Next week is Extended Learning Week for Years 7 to 10 and work experience for Year 12.  Numerous activities will be taking place in and around school with students from different ages working together.  This is the fourth year we have run the event, and it always proves to be a memorable week for many.  I hope everyone enjoys the week. 

Finally, the MGS Mock EU Referendum is taking place on Thursday.  Ballot papers will be available in the School Hall at break and lunch to cast your vote.  Do come along.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Hopefully parents of Years 7 to 10 will have received a letter from me last week keeping them updated with developments of changes to the pastoral and House structures from September 2017.   This week I continue to meet with each form from Years 7 to 10 to share with them the rationale behind the developments and offer the students the opportunity to ask me any questions so as to ease their anxieties.  So far the meetings are going well, with many of the students leaving more reassured than at the start. 

This week Year 12 finish their internally set mock examinations and today have a day focusing on the UCAS process.  This is followed by an evening event tonight where Year 12 parents are invited into the School to understand for themselves the university application system and what the next six months holds for their son or daughter.

This week I attend the annual Grammar Schools Heads’ Association Conference where Heads of every grammar school meet up to discuss and hear about issues that affect their schools.  This year the two keynote speakers are the Schools Minister Nick Gibb, MP who will be speaking about the current education climate, and Rob Andrew, MBE, Professional Rugby Director of the RFU will be speaking about the challenge of leadership.  I look forward to hearing from them both.

Next Monday we look forward to the MGS Art Exhibition and the new Performing Arts Showcase.  Both take place after school on Monday beginning with the Art Exhibition at 4pm in the Big Hall followed by the Showcase at 6.30 in the Quad (weather permitting).  Both events are always a delight to see, so please do come along and see some of the talents Maidstonians have to offer.

Thank you to the many students and parents who made a donation at Friday’s Non-Uniform Day towards the Parents’ Association Summer Fete which is this weekend.  This Friday we ask the students to bring in a variety cakes that can be sold at the Fete too.  Please support the Parents’ Association if you can.  Thank you.

And finally congratulations to Hamish Reilly of 8S who took part in the World Triathlon Series in Leeds at the weekend.  It was a strong field of 'elite' Tristar 3 competitors, involving a 300m swim, a drafting cycle around Roundhay Park finished by a 2.5km run.  Hamish was thrilled to have come 3rd and receive atrophy.  Well done Hamish.


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Tuesday 7 June

Welcome back from the May Half Term; I hope you all had a lovely holiday and enjoyed the break. 

Despite the public examinations already starting a couple of weeks ago, it is now when they really take hold as this week Year 13 begin their own examinations and join Years 11 and 12 in theirs.  The examinations now continue until the end of June, so best wishes to everyone who is taking them.  In addition to the public examinations, Years 7, 9, 10 and 12 complete internally set examinations to assess how they have progressed during the academic year.  The Year 12 examinations are new this year as, since September, students in Year 12 have been completing both new and old style A-Levels.  Those subjects that are new now require a more formal Year 12 mock examination to help provide greater evidence of attainment when completing UCAS applications.  It is hoped that these examinations will help students, parents and staff understand the kind of result that will be achievable this time next year and so support the transition from MGS to university.  Good luck everyone.

Today is the first day when we have an outdoors assembly.  This time of year we take advantage of the good weather and conduct whole school assemblies in The Court or The Quad.  Having the whole school together in one place is always a delight to see, and these assemblies illustrate one small aspect of our culture and tradition which we value.  Later today, after school, I am attending the next Parent Forum meeting of the year.  The Parent Forum acts as my sounding board but also provides me with an opportunity to hear from a very important voice within the whole school community.  I will feedback on what we discussed in next week's blog.

Finally, Friday is the annual Parents' Association Non-Uniform Day.  Students will be allowed to come into school not wearing their normal uniform, but we ask them to make a contribution to the annual Parents' Association Summer Fete.  This year we are also asking the students to make a £1 contribution to The Salvation Army, a charity that we normally support at Christmas.  The money raised will help send 40 children from very challenging backgrounds on a 5 day break in August.  The Parents’ Association Fete takes place on Saturday 18 June and at that event a number of activities will be taking place including football, tug-of-war, inflatable assault course, tombola, cake stall, Pimm's tent and much more.  The items that the students donate at Friday's Non Uniform Day will support this event to help raise plenty of money for the School and provide an opportunity for students, staff and parents to socialise more informally.  Do come along if you can.