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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

22 November 2016

On Saturday I enjoyed watching some of the younger boys play rugby against Gravesend Grammar School in their weekly fixture.  Both the U12 A & B and the U13 A & B squads played at home resulting in three wins for the School.  It was lovely to see all of the boys committed to the game and play with pride.  Well done boys, thank you to the PE staff that looked after the teams and thank you to the many parents who came along to support.  We also had a very successful District X-country event on Friday, winning two of the three team categories, with individual winners in every race. 17 boys have been selected to represent the District team at the Kent Championships.

Over the last two weeks we have had a number of visitors to the School as perspective candidates for the Deputy Head position which will be vacant from next year following Mr Smith's decision to retire at the end of this year.  The deadline was last Friday, and yesterday I was joined by three governors to shortlist the many applications for interviews next week.  Mr Smith will be a hard act to follow, but it is hoped by next week we will have secured a suitable candidate who will support MGS in its next chapter.

Today I was out of school in the morning attending a meeting of Headteachers looking at how the Local Authority continues to support schools with the many services it provides.  Schools and the support they require are evolving and so it is pleasing that Headteachers are being asked to have an input into how that support is tailored. 

On Friday we will be taking a step forward to achieving the restructure of the House and Pastoral systems of the School by appointing members of staff who will lead the Houses from next year.  A number of members of staff have shown interest in the new roles and I look forward to hearing their vision and ideas of how the restructure will develop.  Also on Friday Year 12 students will be receiving their GCSE certificates at our GCSE Presentation Afternoon.  The students who were here last year will be issued their certificates in the presence of their peers and their parents at this special event.  Mr Mark Rolfe, the Chair of Governors, will be our Guest of Honour and the one who issues the students with their certificates.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

15 November 2016

Firstly I wish to thank the 77 members of the MGS Combined Cadet Force that took part in the Remembrance Service in Maidstone on Sunday.  68 cadets and 9 members of staff across all three contingents represented the School in the annual parade and service in front of the war memorial.  Remembrance is extremely important to MGS and so it is fitting each year that our CCF takes part in the event.  Thank you to everyone who attended.

Last Friday evening I enjoyed watching MGS play Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School in the weekly fixture.  Instead of the usual Saturday morning, some of the matches took place under flood lights at Sidcup Rugby Club.  The U12s, 2nd XV and 1st XV all enjoyed the opportunity of playing under flood lights and were supported by a number of students who braved the very cold conditions.  Sadly, though, we did not bring a win back for the School.  Bad luck boys, but you played with tremendous spirit and camaraderie, and it will be an experience you will remember.

This week is a relatively quiet week but not for Year 11 as they begin their Mock Exams in earnest.  Year 11 will be off timetable and only expected to come into school when they have an examination.  Mock exams are there not only to provide a point of assessment for students and parents, but to also provide an opportunity to understand what it will be like during the real GCSE examinations in May.  I hope the boys have prepared well and achieve what they are aspiring to achieve. 

This Friday the School acknowledges the annual BBC Children In Need Appeal.  Students will be allowed to dress down for the day for a £1 donation, but hopefully wear something yellow to join in with the theme for the day.  I think also the 6th Form students are being invited to bring in a teddy bear!  Please do get involved with the day.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

8 November 2016

Firstly I wish to thank the Parents’ Association and all the student and staff helpers who contributed to the MGS PA Firework Display on Saturday.  The PA Firework Display is the biggest PA event of the year raising a lot of money that supports numerous projects within the school.  Thank you all very much, and thank you to the many hundreds of you that came along to watch.  I hope you had an enjoyable evening.

On Saturday I, along with Mr Kincaid, Ms Edmundson and Ms Adams, attended the 60th Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at Detling Hill Showground.  The event was put on to mark the anniversary and to thank the many hundreds of volunteers who support the young people of Kent achieve the award.  There were many schools represented illustrating the impact the award has had in Kent over the years.

On Sunday four students from Year 13 took part in the Docklands Head rowing race.  Dan Jones, Sam Bashford, Stephen Mackie and Richard Reardon, coxed by Mrs Birrell, raced as Maidstone Grammar School coming 28th overall out of over 150 different boats.  The boys raced the rough and difficult 2750m course in 11 minutes and 18 seconds.  Well done boys.
The big event this week is the Post 16 Open Evening which takes place on Wednesday.  It provides an opportunity for current Maidstonians in Year 11 and numerous students from other schools to visit MGS and see what we offer in our Sixth Form.  There will be a variety of subject displays and exhibitions, staff and students on hand to provide information and answer any questions about specific A-Levels, and three presentations from myself, Mr Smith and Dr Everett on life at MGS as a sixth form student.  The evening begins at 4.30pm. 

On Thursday I am attending a conference in London looking at how schools support young people develop good levels of resilience and mental health. We as a school are restructuring our pastoral system this year ready for when we expand in the future, and part of this restructure is looking at how we can continually support our students develop sound levels of resilience and mental health.  I hope to bring back some good ideas and which can be adopted into what we are already doing. And on Friday this week a number of governors are coming into school to spend the day seeing what we do on a typical day, receive some training in order they are kept up-to-date with the numerous educational changes and to attend our annual Remembrance Service.  Each year we remember the Old Maidstonians that lost their lives during conflict and this year the service will be held in the School Hall in front of the WWI Memorial Boards to acknowledge the 100 Anniversary of The Battle of The Somme.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Welcome back from the half term holiday and the well-deserved break.  Despite the event being over a week ago I must first thank everyone who was involved with the Year 6 Open Evening.  The event is the most important event in the school calendar and once again it went off with great success.  On the night itself and the following days via email, I have received many positive comments from parents and their sons on their experiences of the night.  Thank you very much for all of your efforts, particularly to the student body and prefect team who were, and are always, the ambassadors of the school.
That same week I visited the House of Commons as part of the Grammar School Heads' Association October Conference and had the pleasure of meeting Theresa May, MP.  Grammar schools have been discussed a lot recently in the media following the Prime Minister's vision for their expansion, so it was apt that she attended the reception at the House of Commons.  I was able to catch a brief moment with her before she continued moving around the room, but her attendance went down very well with us all considering her incredibly busy role. 
As we approach this period of remembrance I decided to spend a day during the half term in northern France visiting a number of memorial sites that remember those that lost their lives during The Battle of The Somme.  I visited four sites in the Somme region which included Thiepval Memorial: a memorial that commemorates the 72,000 soldiers who lost their lives and whose bodies were never found or were unable to be identified.  It was a reflective day and one that I felt important to do.  Our Remembrance Service takes place next Friday 11 November at about 10.40am culminating in the two minute silence at 11.00am; and this week Mr Smith, the Deputy Head, leads the assemblies on the theme of remembrance.
This week is the week when we begin opening our doors to perspective students who wish to join MGS in the sixth form.  Wednesday and Friday this week are our two Post 16 Open Mornings when we invite students across Maidstone to visit the school and see what we offer in the sixth form.  This is followed with our Post 16 Open Evening next Wednesday 9 November.  Once again many of our current students will be on hand to act as guides, and I thank them in advance for their support.  This Thursday 3 November is the Autumn Concert when a number of students perform and show off their talents in front of their friends and families.  It starts at 7pm.  Please do come along.
And finally, this Saturday 5th November is the MGS Parents’ Association Fireworks Display.  Gates open at 6pm with the display beginning at 7pm.  Many hundreds of people come along each year to enjoy the display and their support raises a lot of money for the School.  If you are free this Saturday please do come along and bring your friends and family.  Wrap up warm!