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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

19 December 2017

Welcome to my last blog of 2017. 
In these last few days there are still plenty of events that are keeping us busy.  Last night was the A Level Presentation Evening where we invited last year's Year 13 to return to school to receive their A Level certificates.  About 60 students of the year group, accompanied by their families, joined us for a drink and a few nibbles whilst enjoying catching up with each other before I presented them with their certificates.  It is always pleasing to see Old Maidstonians return to their school.
Tonight is the MGS Carol Service which takes place at All Saints Church at 7.30pm.  The Service will follow a traditional format: hearing lessons and singing carols, before we all enjoy a mince pie and glass of mulled wine.  If you are free then please do come along.
Tomorrow is the end of term and so I will be delivering the usual Christmas assembly to the entire school before finishing around 2pm.  Following this the staff will be gathering together for a moment to say goodbye to Mr Goddard and Mr Darby who are leaving the MGS community.  We wish them well in their new futures.
Finally I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and peaceful New Year.  See you in 2018.



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Tuesday 12 December 2017

I hope you all enjoyed the first snowfall of the year at the weekend.  Fortunately there was no need to shut the school!  Sadly, due to the inclement weather at the weekend all of the rugby matches against Judd were cancelled, which is a shame as many of the players look forward to the fixture.  Despite the cold weather the CCF Recruit Camp still too place.  Thank you to the members of staff and other volunteers who gave up their weekend to support the cadets.  I hope everyone was able to stay warm and dry.
Yesterday The Salvation Army Toy Appeal ended with all of the gifts being placed under the MGS Christmas tree before being delivered to the charity later in the afternoon.  Thank you so much to everyone who donated a present; once again we have been overwhelmed with the response.  As I mention this I also wish to thank Corpus Christi House for staging the Charity Day on Friday.  The total amount raised is still to be calculated, but many students and members of staff were getting involved throughout the day donating money.
With Christmas fast approaching there are a number of events coming up this week and next before we finish next Wednesday.  Last night the Parents' Association ran the annual wreath making event, which was again well attended.  Tonight the SLT enjoy a festive meal together after work, which will be followed by two days of Christmas lunches on Wednesday and Thursday served by Independent Catering.  And next Tuesday is the annual MGS Carol Service at All Saints Church starting at 7.30pm.  If you fancy singing a few carols and enjoying a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine then please do come along.

Also this week I held a Parent Forum meeting on Monday; parents of year 8 students will be invited in on Thursday to attend the Year 8 Information Evening to hear about the GCSE options process which begins straight after the Christmas holiday, and linked to this on Thursday and Friday Year 8 take part in their Careers Day where they begin to consider what kinds of things they would like to do after leaving school.
And on Friday we invite students and staff to wear their Christmas jumpers to raise money for Save The Children.  This has become an annual event in the MGS calendar which coincides with the national campaign to wear your Christmas jumpers to work.  Let's hope many join in.



Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Firstly I would like to send out a huge thank you to everyone involved in last week's school production of School of Rock.  Cast, crew and musicians should all be very proud of themselves.  There were so many positive comments each morning following the night's performances, and these, plus the size of the audiences, were testament to the quality of the production.  This was the best school production in recent years.  A massive thank you to the members of staff, led by Mrs Brooks, who have supported the students over the last three months; to the Parents' Association who supplied refreshments each night, and to all the prefects who acted as ushers.  Well done everyone. Last week the U16 football squad won the 5th round of the National Cup beating Heathside Academy in Weybridge 1-0.  This puts them through as one of the last 16 teams in the competition. They performed brilliantly and did the school proud. The U15B squad is also through to the last 16 of their National Cup competition.  They beat Plume Academy from Chelmsford 3-1 yesterday afternoon.  Well done boys.  The U14 team also have the same opportunity today, so good luck to them. Yesterday we welcomed over 30 visiting headteachers, senior staff and bursars who attended a training session here looking at the new data protection regulations which will come into force next May.  Please look out for any changes we make in how we collect and store data over the coming months. Tonight is the first parents' evening of the year.  We welcome parents of year 12 students to hear from subject staff about how their children are progressing with their A Level studies.  We hope it is an informative evening. Tomorrow is a busy day. Mr Ferguson and I are attending a course at Dartford Girls Grammar School looking at how schools develop thinking in the classroom; Year 11 students will be receiving their mock exam results just as they would on results day in August; and another reminder that the MGS choir will be performing a few Christmas carols in town supporting the Demelza House Carolathon.  Friday is the second House Charity Day and this time it is Corpus Christi’s.  The usual non-uniform and fun activities will be taking place during the day, but it is at this charity day where we also ask for food items to be donated to support the local homeless charity.  It is also the day when The Salvation Army comes into school to collect the many toys and presents that have been donated by you.  Once again the response from you all has been incredible. And finally there are two Parents’ Association events this weekend.  On Friday night there is the MGS PA Race Night and on Saturday is an already planned trip to Lille.  Thank you to the Parents’ Association for arranging these two events and if you would like to come along on Friday night to the race evening, then please do.





Tuesday, 28 November 2017

28 November 2017

Congratulations to the Year 11 boys who played a brilliant game of football in the 4th round of the National School Cup last Wednesday beating St Thomas’ College in Dulwich 5 - 4.  Well done boys.  They now progress to the 5th round of the competition.

Sadly due to the cold weather over the weekend the home rugby fixtures against St Olaves were cancelled.  Many of the players were looking forward to the tough competition, but hopefully they will be rescheduled at another time.  The away teams did get a chance to play but with mixed fortune.  I am pleased to report though that the 1st XV won pretty confidently 33 – 12.  Well done lads. The next big match is on Saturday 9 December when MGS plays The Judd School! 

Also at the weekend the RAF Section attended RAF Honington for the Air Cadet Organisation National Drill Finals.  MGS was there as the best of over 200 CCF units against the best of the Air Training Corps regions. Sadly we did not place in the Drill Finals but did win the Inspection phase of the competition and therefore are the best turned-out cadets in the entire organisation.  The cadets met the Commandant Air Cadets: Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty who congratulated them for their efforts.  Thank you to everyone who went along and well done to all the cadets.

This week we see four enthusiastic performances of this year’s school production School of Rock.  Cast, musicians and crew, supported by many members of staff have been rehearsing hard for the last three months.  Good luck to them all and ‘break a leg.’  The first performance is on Wednesday at 7.30pm.  Do come along.

An advance notice on Wednesday 6 December the MGS choir will be performing a few Christmas carols in town supporting the Demelza House Carolathon.  They will be performing at 12pm, so if you are in town Christmas shopping please do go along and support.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

21 November 2017

Firstly I would like to thank the prefect team for organising last Friday's Children In Need Charity Day.  Everyone in the school came in non-uniform, 700 cakes were made and sold, and some of the sixth form students took part in a 12 hour table tennis marathon.  I would particularly like to acknowledge the school captain, Kristian, who played table tennis for the entire time.  Well done Kristian and thank you everyone.

Yesterday the Year 11 mock exams finished so the students are back in school from today.  Over the next two weeks, teachers will be marking their exams and compiling the results before they are issued on Wednesday 6 December at the Mock Results Day.  During that time teachers will also be writing their reports which will go home just before the end of term and provide an insight into how Year 11 are performing.

This week is another slightly quieter one.  Rehearsals for School of Rock enter their final week before putting on four performances the following week, and I am attending the annual Kent Association of Headteachers Conference on Thursday, which is an opportunity for all Kent heads to network, share ideas and come away with some new ideas that could be incorporated into our schools.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

14 November 2017

Firstly I would like to thank everyone who supported last week's Post 16 Open Evening.  It was a very busy evening welcoming current and future students and parents to see what we offer in the sixth form.  Once again the prefects, helpers and tour guides were a credit to the school, and thank you to many parents who provided positive and valuable feedback.  We look forward to welcoming a new Year 12 cohort in September.
On Saturday I enjoyed a tense but exciting 1st XV rugby match against Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School.  It is the very first rugby match I have watched that saw no tries.  The final score, fortunately, was 3-0 to us.  Well done boys.
Thank you to the 68 CCF cadets and members of staff who attended the Remembrance Service in Maidstone on Sunday.  Remembrance is very important to MGS and we feel very proud indeed to be asked to attend the town’s service and lay a wreath in memory of all the Maidstonians who sadly lost their lives in conflict.
After two busy weeks following October half term, this week is slightly quieter.  This week sees the beginning of the Year 11 mock exams.  Year 11 students have six days of mock examinations that will provide them and us some understanding of how well they are doing to date, and how well they will do next summer.  Good luck boys and keep revising hard.
Rehearsals continue and intensify for this year's school production.  School of Rock, but the MGS version, starts on Wednesday 29 November for a four day season.  The students and staff involved have been rehearsing a lot behind the scenes(!), but in the last week they have moved their rehearsals to the main hall which reminds them that the first night is not too far away.
And on Friday the annual BBC Children In Need Appeal takes place.  The theme this year is, ‘Wear something in your house colours’, so hopefully we will see seas of red, yellow, blue and green around the school.  Please do support the day.  Also on Friday I am accompanying Mr Stone and Ms Lancaster to a meeting at Rainham Mark Grammar School in Gillingham.  As part of the Kent and Medway Headteachers’ Association, the heads of mathematics and English are meeting to reflect on the new GCSE examination in their subjects and establish what the picture was across the county.




Tuesday, 7 November 2017

7 November 2017

Firstly would like to thank everyone who supported the MGS PA Firework Display on Saturday.  The rain stopped just at the right time to allow us to enjoy a wonderful display.  Thank you to the Parents’ Association who organise this event each year.  It is their biggest fundraiser, and their support of the school is very much welcomed.  Thank you.

Yesterday our Area Education Officer, Mr Jared Nehra visited the school to see our new Performing Arts building.  He was instrumental in ensuring the local authority supported our building plans and so it was fitting that he visited us to see what we have been able to achieve.

Today, all of Year 12 take part in the Licence to Kill presentation that we do each year.  The presentation is delivered by KCC and is, I believe, the best PSHCE resource I have ever seen.  I know that the students will reflect on what they see and hear.

Thursday is our Post 16 Open Evening where many of our own Year 11 students and prospective students from other schools will visit to see if they would like to study A Levels at MGS.  The evening will involve the Subject Fair, tours of the school, and presentations by key staff illustrating why students should come to MGS.  The evening starts at 4.30pm.

Friday is a particularly busy but important.  In the morning we have our Remembrance Service commemorating the fallen Old Maidstonians from past conflicts, and in the afternoon Year 12 students receive congratulations and acknowledgment at the GCSE Certificate Presentation Afternoon where they will be presented with their GCSE certificates. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

31 October 2017

Welcome back after the week's break; I hope you all had a restful holiday. 

Term 2 starts with a number of events during this week.  Today there will be an extended form period during lesson 1 to allow form tutors to spend some time with their tutees discussing the recent assessment and attitude to learning grades.  These extended form periods are a new initiative to MGS and form part of the new pastoral restructure that we launched this year. 
Tomorrow is the first of two Post 16 Open Mornings where perspective sixth form students come round the school to see if they would like to make an application to join MGS in September.  The second one takes place on Friday.  Both mornings start at 9am and current sixth form students will be on hand to act as tour guides.  These two mornings will be followed by the Post 16 Open Evening which takes place next Thursday.
Saturday is a big day for the school as it is the annual MGS Parents' Association Firework Display.  Every year the Parents' Association puts on a wonderful firework display watched by many hundreds from the school and wider community.  Do come along.  Gates open at 6pm with the display starting at 7pm.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

17 October 2017

Congratulations to the senior rugby squads bringing home two victories at the weekend when playing Rochester Mathematical School.  The 1st XV game was particularly exciting to watch as it was touch-and-go for a while, but they managed the win in the end.  Sadly, the younger squads did not have as much success, but hopefully the senior wins will inspire the younger boys for their next game.  Good luck to the senior boys for Wednesday as they are playing The Judd School in the next round of the NatWest Cup.
On Sunday I went over to Rochester to watch Daniel Jones (OM 2017) row for Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club at the Medway Town Head Race.  He did well being part of the 3rd fastest boat on the day rowing a distance of 3 miles.  Well done Dan.
Yesterday was an extremely busy day for me as I took part in eight different meetings.  They involved a variety of different people ranging from other members of staff discussing matters in school; to governors, outside consultants and parents looking at wider topics.  A lot of discussion took place which will now be followed up in the form of specific action.
This morning was our second Year 6 Open Morning, which will be followed by Thursday's Year 6 Open Evening.  Both events are important occasions for the school as they provide opportunities for us to open our doors and welcome the wider community in to see how MGS works.  If last Friday's first Year 6 Open Morning is anything to go by, both the events this week will be extremely busy.
Tomorrow evening is the Old Maidstonians annual quiz night. It is taking in the Refectory and starts at 7pm.  Do come a long and enjoy an evening with them. 
Following the end of half term on Thursday, the staff will be in school on Friday attending their second Inset Day of the year.  A number of training themes will be addressed, but the main one will be focussing on e-safety and improving our understanding and knowledge in this vastly expanding issue.  Keeping ourselves and young people safe when it comes to the social media world is a growing concern in schools, so Friday's training is an opportunity for us to become familiar with the issues and know how to address them.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

10 October 2017

Firstly I would like to thank everyone in Tonbridge House who helped organise last Friday's Charity Day.  The atmosphere around the school was very pleasant indeed with many students taking responsibility for the numerous events that were put on to raise money.  The highlight of the day was the Karaoke performances from staff and students in the big hall at lunch!  Congratulations to Tonbridge House and thank you everyone for supporting.  Last Thursday the MGS Cross Country squad competed in the English Schools Championships First Round at Sevenoaks School.  Both the junior and intermediate squads competed at an extremely high level against schools such as Skinners', Dartford Grammar, The Judd, Chis & Sid, and a number of local independent schools.  Sadly the junior boys missed out on qualification for the next round but Alastair Shelley of Tonbridge House won the overall race by a comfortable distance.  Well done Alastair.  The intermediate boys, however, did qualify for the next round joining The Judd School and Sevenoaks School at the regional event.  If they get through that round then they will be back at Sevenoaks School for the English Schools Final.  Hamish Reilly of Corpus Christie House did extremely well taking first place in this race winning by an even more comfortable distance.  Congratulations to Hamish and to the other boys: Bashiri Ryan, Ewan Christmas, Mark Bloomfield, George Dadd and Shaun Berry.  This week is the start of a very busy four week period for the school.  Tonight we welcome parents of Year 7 boys to attend our Year 7 Welcome Evening.  It is an evening for our new Maidstonians and their parents to see how the first few weeks of school have gone, meet key staff who are responsible for Year 7 and enjoy some refreshments together provided by the Parents' Association.  We hope the event is an enjoyable one.  Tomorrow is the Performing Arts Autumn Showcase.  It is the first showcase of the year and will be held in our new Performing Arts Centre.  Do come along.  It starts at 6.30pm. And on Friday is the first of our two open mornings for parents and boys who are considering a place at MGS next year.  It is now that time of year when we open our doors and invite perspective students to tour the school and see for themselves what MGS is all about.  Guiding them around will be current year 7 students who, I think, are the best people to show the school off.  We look forward to welcoming everyone on Friday.  The second of our open mornings is taking place next Tuesday.   As well as a busy week for the school, it is also a busy week for me.  Last night I attended a MGS Development Fund Trustee meeting, today I am attending a Kent Schools Funding Forum meeting, Thursday after school I am attending a governors meeting, and on Friday I am attending a Kent and Medway Grammar Schools' Association meeting.  All of these meetings are examples of how my role requires me to look out as well as in when deciding what is best for MGS. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

3 October 2017

Thank you to everyone who supported last Friday's Macmillan Coffee Morning.  Over £500 was raised and it was lovely to see students, staff, parents, governors and Old Maidstonians come together for the event.  Thank you.
Congratulations and well done to Oli Evans (College House and Year 13) and Old Maidstonians Dan Jones (2017), Luke Collins (2014) and Joe Magid (2013) for competing as MGS in Sunday's Maidstone Invicta Autumn Head.  They competed together in a novice 4x+ but also against each other in smaller boats.  The novice 4x+ was the third fastest boat for the entire day out of the 144 boats that entered, and Dan won his category in the novice 1x.  They did the School proud.
Also at the weekend the U12 A & B, U13 and U14 rugby squads played Simon Langton Grammar School coming away with two wins for the U13 and U14 squads both winning 40 - 0.  Well done boys and hopefully the two wins will inspire the younger ones next week.
Tonight the teaching staff have their first twilight training session of the year.  We will be spending it sharing thoughts, ideas and good practice following four weeks of the new house structure.  It is important that we have such sessions like this to ensure we continue to reflect on our own practices and to go on improving.
Tomorrow we invite parents of Year 10 boys into school to attend the Year 10 Information Evening to hear what is to come for the year and hear about how the School continues to develop.  We look forward to welcoming them.
This Friday is Tonbridge House Charity Day.  The House community has planned a number of events throughout the day to raise money and awareness for Hi Kent, a registered charity for deaf and hard of hearing people, whose aim is to provide a full range of services that meet the needs of anyone with hearing difficulties, and those who have an interest in their welfare. The day complements Mr Holmes's (Head of Tonbridge House), Mr Highsted's (Head of Barton House) and Mr Terrell's (Head of PE) efforts at the weekend as they are set to run half a marathon for the charity.  Good luck to them and thank you in advance to everyone who supports the day.


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

26 September 2017

Firstly I wish to congratulate the 1st XV Rugby Squad who played their first game of the season last Wednesday against Simon Langton Grammar School and won 70 - 0.  Yes 70 - 0.  What a great start to the season.  And this start continued at the weekend with every rugby squad beating Cranbrook School.  Well done lads.

Yesterday evening we welcomed parents of Year 9 boys to attend the Year 9 Information Evening.    Year 9 is an important one as it the year that sees the start of the GCSE process and with all GCSEs from now being assessed using the new measures, it is even more important to have such an evening.  I hope the evening was helpful.


Tonight after school sees the first full governing body meeting of the year.  It's more of an administration meeting, but it also provides an opportunity to reflect on last year and look forward to this one.


This Friday is a very important date in the MGS calendar; it is the Macmillan Coffee Morning.  Each year we acknowledge the event by holding our own ‘coffee’ morning, and it is always very well supported.  Last year we opened our doors to the wider community and a number of parents and Old Maidstonians joined us over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  If you are able to please do join us from 10.30am on Friday.


Finally, good luck to the boys who are taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Weekend this weekend.  I hope the weather holds out for you and you don’t get lost somewhere in the Kent Countryside.


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

19 September 2017

Despite the lovely weather we ended up having on Friday we sadly had already decided to hold Upper School Speech Day in the Hall and not the Quad.  It was a wonderful occasion; congratulations again to all prizewinners and thank you to Dr Derrett who was the Guest of Honour.  The Beginning of Year Service went extremely well too and was able to go ahead at All Saints Church; not like last year when we had to bring the Church to MGS.  Thank you to Rev. Mark Pavey who stepped in at the last minute to lead the Service.
Yesterday, Year 7 enjoyed a team building day completing a range of tasks and activities.  This event is new to the MGS calendar and we hope it proves successful, developing not only greater friendships but also the boys’ problems solving skills.

Tomorrow we open our doors to students across Maidstone who wish to attend our University Fair. Over 50 universities across the entire country will be here providing information and literature about themselves and the numerous courses they offer.  This is the fourth year MGS is hosting such an event, and if the last three years are anything to go by, the event tomorrow will be extremely busy and informative to all who come.  Bring a large bag to take home all of the many prospectuses!

And on Thursday this week we invite Year 13 parents into school to meet with their child’s form teacher to discuss the next stages of the UCAS process.  It is this time of year when the students complete their personal statements and we complete their references before the deadline later this term.  We hope the day is helpful.

Finally, many congratulations to swimmer Ben Ward of Y10 who in August competed in the 14yrs age group English Nationals, winning Gold in the 400 IM.   He also raced in the British Summer Championships gaining 4th in the 200 Brs, 6th in 100 Brs, 6th in 200IM and 9th in 50 Brs which places him in the top 10 British Swimmers in his age group for 5 events.  Well done Ben.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

12 September 2017

Tuesday 5th September 2017

Welcome back to Maidstone Grammar School.  I hope you all had a wonderful summer holiday and are well-rested ready for the start of a new academic year.  A particular welcome goes to all our new members of the MGS Community: the students, the staff and to the parents.  I hope you all settle in and enjoy your first few weeks and that you develop a strong allegiance with the School. The summer holiday has been incredibly busy: we have seen the completion of the new performing arts building, the demolition of the old music block, the completion of all of the ground works in preparation for the new pavilion, the installation of a new glass roof over the boys’ entrance, numerous areas of the school being painted and the beginnings of the remodelling of the staff toilets.  On top of all of this we have also received and issued, like every year, the GCE A Level and GCSE examination results to the out-going Year 13 and to the former year 11 students.  At this point I wish to thank all those members of staff who have continued their work over the summer supporting the School in preparation for the start of the new term. A couple of pieces of student news to share: On the weekend of the 26-27 August, Simon Coppard of Corpus Christi House participated in the UK Athletics Championships at Bedford International Stadium in the U17 800m. On the Saturday he ran the heat and qualified in second place with a time of 1:59.89 which meant he progressed into the final the following day.  In the final on the Sunday he ran in a very quick final against the 15 year old world record holder Max Burgin and finished with a silver medal with a new PB of 1:51.97 which he was delighted with.  Congratulations Simon and well done. And well done to William Bitz of College House who passed his Grade 5 Cornet Trinity Music Exam which he took at the end of the summer term. This week, despite it only being Week 2, is a busy one. Yesterday after school the first Extended Leadership Team meeting of the year took place.  With a new deputy head and assistant head, and four new heads of house this year it is important that we develop into a strong team early on.  In addition to this meeting the first Parents' Association meeting of the year took place, and as always have a packed programme of events to support the School. Tomorrow we invite year 12 students and their parents into school to attend the Year 12 Information Evening.  Year 12 is an important year and so it is vital to meet with the year group early to share with them what is to come during the next couple of years. And on Friday we have our Beginning of Year Service and Upper School Speech Day, the latter being the occasion when we recognise the achievements of the older students from last year.  It is also a time when many outgoing students meet once more before going off to university and the world of work.  We keep our fingers crossed for good weather.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

18 July 2017

Welcome to my last blog posting of the 2016-17 academic year.  Yesterday we saw a marvellous Sports Day where the whole school competed in numerous events to win points for their House.  The weather was kind and made for a great day.  Afterwards the governors hosted a Governors Tea for those staff who are leaving at the end of the year.  Thirteen members of staff are leaving this year and collectively they have given 199 years’ service to the school.  Monday evening was a chance for the governors to say thank you.  Last Thursday a number of our sixth form students organised a football match against a local charity that supports young refugees.  The match raised a small amount of money that is now going to be used to buy some English teaching books and to pay for travel to and from the charity’s centre.  Thank you very much to the students who organised the event, and let’s hope for similar opportunities in the near future.

Congratulations to Hamish Reilly who took part last weekend in the European Biathlon Championships in Portugal representing GB in the U17 category.  He qualified in the semi-final on the Saturday to compete in the final of 16 competitors on the Sunday.  The event included a 1200m run, followed by a 200m swim, followed by another 1200m run.  He produced the race of his life to clinch second place achieving a silver medal and the knowledge he is the second fastest U17 Biathlete in Europe.  Well done Hamish.

Tomorrow is a big day: House Launch Day.  The first two lessons of the day will be cancelled and students and staff will spend two hours in their new forms meeting their fellow tutees and coming together as one in their first house assembly.  We have been building up to this day for over a year now, and we look forward to see how the new structure develops.

On Thursday it is the staff's chance to say goodbye to their colleagues. Over 100 members of staff and former members of staff are all attending the Staffing Leaving Do; enjoying a two course meal prepared by Independent Catering and hearing a number of speeches about leaving staff.  It will be an emotional occasions and we wish all leaving staff the best for their futures.

And Friday is the final day of the year which will, as always, finish with an end of term assembly.  We are hoping the weather holds to allow for that assembly to take place in the Quad. It will be the last time the current student body have an opportunity to say goodbye to the leaving staff, and it will be the last time they see the current music block building.  When we return in September the music block will have been demolished to prepare the ground for the second phase of the building projects.  Have a wonderful holiday.




Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Welcome back to normal school.  I hope everyone enjoyed last week whatever they were doing.  Years 7 to 10 took part in a variety of activities as part of Extended Learning Week, and Year 12 spent the week undertaking work experience.  I have already heard a huge number of positive comments about the week from students, parents, staff and governors.  At this point, I would like to thank the staff, older students and Old Maidstonians who helped support Years 7 to 10 during Extended Learning Week.  Their help and hard work was invaluable and contributed towards an amazing week.  Thank you.

We return to school for two more weeks before the summer holiday, but these last couple of weeks are packed full of events.  Tomorrow we welcome about 75 Year 4 and Year 5 students to MGS to enjoy our Brazil Extravaganza, and the outgoing Year 13 enjoy their Leavers' Prom, this year taking place at Bearsted Golf Course.  On Thursday we welcome all the boys who will be joining MGS in September to the Year 6 Induction Day, and on Friday it is our annual Founders' Day Service and Lower School Speech Day, with guest of honour Mr John Francis (OM 2009).

Next week we will be enjoying our annual School Sports Day on Monday (Tuesday if the weather is bad), and launching the new house structure on Wednesday.  Yesterday all the students found out what new house and form they will be in from September, and next Wednesday is the day when we will be embarking on the new structure for the final three days of term. 

Congratulations to the U13 Cricket Squad who reached the final of the Kent Cup.  They played their semi-final against Rochester Maths the Friday evening before Extended Learning Week and played fantastically well, beating them in a very close encounter. “The best cricket performance I have seen during my time here”, said Mr Terrell, Head of PE. They did the school proud.  Unfortunately, they were beaten by Chislehurst and Sidcup School in the final last Thursday.

And finally, many congratulations to Matthew Howson of Year 8 who has been selected to compete at the Inter-Regional Triathlon Championships taking place on Monday 28th August 2017 in Leicester.  Well done Matthew.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Extended Learning Week is finally here.  Many months of planning and preparation behind the scenes have now come to fruition.  I hope everyone is enjoying their activities and that you are keeping up with what is happening with our daily blog. 

At the same time as Extended Learning Week, Year 12 students are enjoying a week of work experience.  The students themselves have chosen where they would like to work, with some scattered all over the country.  I hope they value the experience.

On Friday last week, Mr Seymour and Mrs Acaster accompanied six Year 12 students (Sam Jeffrey, Matthew Piper, Ella Collie, Charlie Luxton, Will Terry and Allen Wesson) to compete in the BASE 2017 National Final in Birmingham.  I am pleased to report that they performed fantastically in the various tasks and came overall runners up, finishing second to the North London Collegiate School.  In addition, Allen Wesson won an individual award for the Best Individual Performance across the day.  Well done to the team, they bring back a trophy as well as essential employability skills training.

It is a long way off but next year's school production, which will take place in December, is School of Rock.  Last week there was a meeting for students to register their interest and a staggering 94 students signed up.  This is an incredible number considering Years 11 and 13 are not currently in school.  This has the potential to be a truly amazing show.  Do look out for details nearer the time.Ben Ward of Year 9, who competed in the Kent Swimming Championships in February and the South East Championships in May, has now been invited to compete at the British Swimming Championships this month in Sheffield.  He will be competing with the top 24 swimmers in GB in his age group.  Good luck Ben.Finally, congratulations to Will Skinner of Year 12 who is the new English record holder for the U18 U74kg Deadlift with a weight of 213kg.  Because of this, he has been selected to represent England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  Well done Will.



Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Tuesday 27 June 2017

There are now only four weeks to go until the end of the year, but nothing is slowing down.  This week is a very busy one. Yesterday and Thursday we welcome a gentleman to the school who is currently undergoing his NPQH: the qualification required for headship. He will be spending 9 days in school over the next few months, and the two days this week involve him shadowing me, attending SLT meetings and working on a project that provides him with a contrast to his current school.  Yesterday I also met with the Head of a local primary school to chat about how we can both learn from each other’s experiences and give us a different perspective to our schools.  It was very helpful. This week public examinations finish after six busy weeks for a number of students.  With the examinations finishing, students in Years 11 and 13 are invited back into school to return their textbooks.  For Year 11 that day is Thursday and for Year 13 it is tomorrow.  To coincide with Year 13 book collection we also invite Year 13 to stay in school for a little longer and attend their Leavers' Tea: an opportunity to catch up once more over some strawberries and cream and a glass of punch.  Year 11's book collection takes place on Thursday morning as the rest of that day and Friday we run our Pre Sixth Form Induction Days.  Over these two days, students wishing to take up a place in the Sixth Form here spend time in school learning about the subjects they have chosen and hearing from key staff about life after GCSEs.  On Friday this week, I am out of school attending two meetings: the Kent Schools’ Funding Forum and the Kent and Medway Grammar Schools' Association.  Both meetings are incredibly valued as they provide opportunities to meet colleagues from across the county and learn about a number of important matters that affect our schools.  Also on Friday, the Parents’ Association are putting on an ABBA tribute night.  About 100 tickets have been sold already, but there is still time and availability if you fancy a night dancing to some ABBA classics.  The evening includes a BBQ and starts at 7.30pm. Congratulations to Kaan Belton (OM 2015) who qualified to row in this week’s Henley Royal Regatta, the most prestigious rowing event in the World.  He is rowing for Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club, in a coxless 4, and has a pretty good chance for progressing past the first round in the competition.  Well done and good luck Kaan. And finally, Teddy Ostler of Year 7 coxed a J14 crew on Saturday for the South East at Peterborough Junior Regatta, and after a long hard gruelling day with wins under his belts progressed to the final and won gold.  Well done Teddy.



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Firstly I would like to acknowledge and congratulate Samuel Ghinn of Year 9 who competed in a National U16 Gymnastics Competition last Saturday and won Gold on the Pommel Horse and came 4th overall across all disciplines.  Sam has also been selected to take part in the GB Squad that is competing in the Junior International Competition in Portugal this weekend.  Well done Sam.


This week the four new Heads of House finalise the House Prefect Structure by appointing their House Captains and Deputy House Captains from the 16 strong Student Leadership Team.  Thank you to the students who have applied for the posts of House Captain and good luck.


On Thursday and Friday of this week students from Years 7 and 8 put on the dramatic production Fantastic Mr Fox.  The boys and staff have been working really hard over the last few weeks and months rehearsing and preparing themselves for these two performances.  There are tickets still available so please do come along.


With a temperature yesterday of 30 degrees, and the rest of the week being predicted to be in the high 20s, it is important that everyone stays as cool as possible.  School buildings are not the best for staying cool so we need to ensure we can adapt to the high temperatures easily.  During the summer months we always enforce summer uniform regulations, and on very hot days we will also allow students, if they wish, to remove their ties and undo their top buttons.  Students should also be sensible themselves and think about what they do and where they go at break and lunch.  Staying out of the sun and drinking plenty of water would be a good idea.  I hope everyone is managing.



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tuesday 13 June 2017

This week is a busy one.  Last night students and parents of Year 12 attended our UCAS Evening: the event at which Year 12 students begin to think about what they wish to do after they leave MGS.  It is followed today with Year 12 students being off timetable and attending a carousel of sessions that get them thinking about university and the world of work.  I hope they had a good day. 

This afternoon the middle leaders of the school meet for the last time this year and will be using that time to review the year and consider ideas for the future.  It is always important to build time in the academic year to reflect on how things are going, and the meeting this afternoon is one opportunity of doing that. Public examinations for Years 11, 12 and 13 continue all of this week and do so for another couple of weeks.  Keep revising hard everyone! Today and tomorrow I am attending the Grammar School Heads’ Association Annual Conference in London.  Every year the heads of grammar schools come together to discuss a number of matters that are prevalent in their schools and hear from key speakers who give them their thoughts on a variety of issues.  The timing of this year’s conference is very apt following last week’s outcome of the General Election. Tomorrow and Thursday after school the other half of the new Year 6 students are coming into school to begin their induction process.  With the introduction of new Houses from September we have introduced four Year 6 House Teas, and the first two were last week which went extremely well.  Well done to the U13 Cricket Squad who beat Harvey Grammar School last week in their weekly fixture.  The boys scored over 100 in their 20 overs and then managed to keep Harvey to a total of about 60 in their overs.  Congratulations boys and keep up the good run that you have produced so far this year. And finally, on Saturday the 9th of June, Simon Coppard of Year 11 attended the Kent School Championships at the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford representing MGS. He won his heat in a comfortable time of 2:05 and then went on to win the 800m Intermediate Boys Final in a time of 1:59 which will hopefully allow him to be selected for the English School Athletics Championships in Birmingham representing MGS and Kent during early July. In addition to Simon, Bashiri Ryan of Year 9 also ran at the weekend and placed 4th in the Junior Boys 800m Final.  Well done to them both.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Tuesday 6th June 2017

Welcome back everyone; I hope you all had a pleasant Spring Bank Holiday.

Just before the half term break over 100 people on Thursday 25 May enjoyed an evening with Steve Davis.  We were thoroughly entertained throughout the whole night watching the six-time world champion play six frames of snooker and listening to a number of funny stories about his life.  Thank you to everyone who came along and supported, and thank you to the Parents’ Association for organising the event.

Yesterday, while many students continued with their half term, staff were in school attending one of their training days.  The day involved learning about a number of new and different initiatives that will be introduced into school in the near future, and provided time to prepare for events that are coming up this term.  A good day.

This week is a busy one.  This afternoon and tomorrow afternoon half of the new Year 6 students are coming into school to begin their induction process.  With the introduction of new Houses from September we have introduced four Year 6 House Teas.  Year 6 boys and their parents are being invited into school for about an hour or so in their Houses to meet each other and key members of staff in that House.  We hope they enjoy themselves.  The other two House teas take place next week.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tuesday 23rd May 2017

This week Year 7, 9 and 10 join Year 11 and 13 in completing their end of year examinations.  All the students in Years 7, 9 and 10 will complete examinations in a number of subjects which will then provide a detailed analysis on how they have progressed during the year.  Good luck to the boys and I hope that they have been revising hard.

Yesterday the Senior Leadership Team spent the day away from school working on a number of things in preparation for next year.  It is always this time of year when a lot of work takes place for the new academic year, and being away from school allows for a clear head and no distractions.  From now we are able to put together the 2017-18 School Development Plan which draws our attention to key areas we wish to see develop.

Tonight I am attending the final full governors meeting of the year.  At every full governors meeting I compile a report in how MGS has developed and what we have been working on since the last meeting.  It is also a chance for me to inform the governors of the outcomes of the previous day.

Tomorrow evening I have invited some neighbours who live around the school site to join me in looking at the plans for the new pavilion.  It is really important we engage our neighbours with such matters and understand from them their thoughts and ideas.  I look forward to welcoming them.

 I am very excited about Thursday night’s Parents’ Association event.  I am a huge snooker fan and was brought up on the vintage snooker years of the 1980s.  The six-time world champion Steve Davis will be here at MGS playing a few frames of snooker and entertaining the audience with some funny stories and providing an insight into his life.  Tickets are still available. 

 And finally congratulation to Hamish Reilly of Year 9 who took part in the National Youth Triathlon Super Series event in Llanelli last weekend.  It was Hamish’s first race at this level and he finished in a very credible 6th place.  Coming out of the swim he was in 31st place but then had a fantastic bike segment which put him into 8th place going into the run.  Well done Hamish.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Tuesday 16 May 2017

 Last Friday was a sad day for many as we said goodbye to Year 13.  Year 13 Leavers’ Day is always an emotional occasion; for students saying goodbye to their school after building a connection with it can be very difficult.  The students left in good spirits, with some shedding the odd tear.  Good luck and best wishes to them all.

 Sadly the U14 footballers lost to Oakwood Park Grammar School at last week’s Maidstone District Final at the Gallagher Stadium.  It was 1 – 1 at full-time and then still 1 -1 at the end of extra-time.  After the standard five penalties, it was 3 -3, and then sadly we missed the next penalty to mean Oakwood taking the match.  The game was incredibly exciting with the boys being a credit to their School.  Bad luck boys, and thank you Mr Terrell for supporting them throughout the season. 

The GCE and GCSE examinations began yesterday and will be with us for the next six weeks.  Timings of the school day are different because of the examinations and it always takes a few days to get used to them.  With lunch being an hour earlier I am sure there will be some hungry students in the evening when they return home!

Tonight after school there is a Full Staff Meeting which is providing me with an opportunity to speak to everyone about the coming months and years.  It is always this time to year when attention turns to the new year in September, and my words to the staff tonight will set out the next phase in MGS’s life.

On Friday I am in Birmingham attending the Grammar School Heads’ Association (GSHA) committee meeting.  I am standing to be a committee member of GSHA and this meeting on Friday is my first opportunity to support the workings of the association.  With grammar schools being encouraged to expand and the drive from the Government to increase the number, the work of GSHA is becoming even more relevant. 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Tuesday 9 May 2017

This week we say goodbye to Year 11 and Year 13.  GCSE and GCE examinations begin in earnest next Monday, so it is that time of year to let students of those two year groups begin their study leave.  Year 11 will go some time during the week, but Year 13 leave on Friday.  Year 13 Leavers’ Day is a very special day for everyone involved, particularly for the students as they move from being a Maidstonian to being an Old Maidstonian; there will be tears.  I would like to wish Year 11 and Year 13 success in their examinations, and thank Year 13 for their service to the School.

This week Year 12 will be completing their examinations, which, along with the AS examinations later in the month, provide an idea of how the students have progressed since September.  These examinations are vitally important as they form the basis of predicting the students’ UCAS grades later in the year.  Good luck to them all.

On Thursday last week two events took place.  The U15 football squad played Valley Park School in the Maidstone District U15 Final at the Gallagher Stadium.  The boys played really well, but sadly lost to Valley 3 – 2.  The boys were very disappointed not to bring back a win for the School, but throughout the game conducted themselves extremely well and were a credit to MGS.  And also on Thursday the Year 11 drama students performed their GCSE pieces to an external examiner.  The students had spent the last few weeks preparing for their assessments, and fingers crossed for some good results which won’t be known until August.

Today after school the U14 football squad play Oakwood Park Grammar School in the Maidstone District U14 Final at the Gallagher Stadium.  Good luck to the boys and let’s hope they can bring home a win.

Finally, congratulations to Matthew Piper of Year 12 who completed the Milton Keynes half marathon a week ago.  He finished it in a really good time of 1 hour 52 minutes and raised over £250 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.  He now has plans to run the Tonbridge half marathon later this year.  Well done Matthew.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Good morning, I hope you all had a good bank holiday weekend; I could get used to these three day weekends and four day weeks!  This week is a relatively quiet one.  Tonight we welcome parents of Year 7 boys at the Year 7 Parents' Evening.  It is the first time parents of Year 7 boys have met their son's teachers, and I hope the feedback they receive is positive. 

Thank you to everyone who supported the Parents' Association’s non-uniform day on Friday.  Support from the Parents' Association is becoming increasingly important, and their non-uniform day is a really good example of an event that involves the entire student body supporting the School.  Thank you.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Tuesday 25 April 2017

This week is a much busier one than last week.  This evening I am attending the quarterly Old Maidstonian Committee meeting and tomorrow after school we welcome new parents and students who are joining MGS in September.  The event tomorrow is the Year 6 Welcome Evening; it is the event that we invite new members of the MGS community into the School to begin their journey as Maidstonians.  Also at that event the current School Captain, School Vice-Captain and Student Leadership Team relinquish their positions after undertaking them over the last year and invite the new team to take over.  Thank you again to Tom Lindsey, Joshua Gray and the Team for the last year and I look forward to working closely with Kristian, Lex and the new Team over the next 12 months.

Friday this week is the annual Parents' Association non-uniform day.  The day normally takes place in June to coincide with the Summer Fete but this year it is taking place in April just before the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.  The Parents' Association works incredibly hard to support the School and this non-uniform day is one of many events that raises money to help fund numerous projects around the School.

And finally, 4 RAF cadets, accompanied by Mr Parish, spent 10 days based at RAF Troodos in the Cypriot mountains along with 52 other cadets from all over the UK. While there they had official visits to most areas of RAF Akrotiri including the Sea Rescue helicopters, police dogs, explosive demonstrations, leadership exercises, air traffic control, DCCT range shooting, weapons demonstrations, meteorological office and the fire-fighting section. There were also more adventurous activities such as clay pigeon shooting, high/low ropes, swim tests and life raft demonstrations, dodgeball and other sports, laser tag and paintballing, and beach sports. To give you some context, RAF Akrotiri is a very active operational base where the RAF is conducting Operation Shader in Syria and Iraq, and RAF Troodos is the UK radar installation covering the Middle East.  Thank you to Mr Parish for accompanying the cadets.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Welcome back everyone; I hope you all had a good and well-rested holiday.  Today we embark on the final term of the year, and this first week is a relatively quiet one, to ease us back into things, but the new term sees the very important examination season begin. Students from Years 11 to 13 are completing GCSE and A Level exams in May and June and I am hoping that they have already started with their revision! There are now only four weeks until the exams begin so many students will be knuckling down to prepare for them.  Good luck to everyone involved.

Before the holiday we enjoyed a week of Old Maidstonian events. Last year's leavers returned to receive their A Level certificates; the 1st XV played the Old Maidstonians at rugby and beat them 40 - 0; and nearly 100 former students attended the Old Maidstonian Society Supper. This last event took place on the last day of term and was presided over by the then president of the society, Neil Turrell.  His presidency came to an end at the supper and we welcomed Sam Coppard, School Captain 2011 - 2012, to take on the role for the coming year.  The supper was a lovely occasion, and I thank all the students, parents and staff members who attended and supported the event.

A lot of work has taken place over the holiday, particularly to the premises: new flooring and carpet in Reception and Lobby, new lights in the Quad, new gold curtains now hang in the Big Hall, a number of areas of the school have been painted, and progress has continued with the building project.  Thank you to all of the staff who continued their work over these last two weeks which included a number of crucial revision classes for the older students.

Many congratulations to Maxim Bragin of 7H who competed for Kent at the South East Schools' Inter-Counties U13 & U14 Cross-Country Championships at the end of March. The competition was very tough indeed with Maxim coming 49th out of 80 and 10th out of 16 in the Kent Team.  Well done Maxim.

Over the first weekend of the Easter holiday, the Army Section took part in the Cadet Cambrian Patrol in the Brecon Beacons.  This is a national competition with 22 Army sections selected from all over the UK. The cadets spent 13 hours navigating 30 km, over arduous terrain in typically challenging Welsh weather.  On route they had to complete 7 military tasks, ranging from first aid to a sniper stalk. This was the first time that MGS entered the competition and the months of preparation was rewarded with a Bronze Medal.  
Enjoy the first week back.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Thank you to everyone who supported and got involved with last Friday's Comic Relief charity day.  A number of students helped make cakes earlier in the week to sell on the day, students were on the school gates collecting donations, and many attended the 'MGS does Countdown' event in the Big Hall at lunch.  Thank you.
Last Thursday the SLT spent a day away from school planning for next year.  We were joined by Mr Ferguson and Mr Martin who will be joining the team from September, and together we talked about next year and how the school continues to evolve.  It was a very helpful day and much was accomplished.
Over the weekend the CCF Army section entered an eight man team into the 11 Infantry Brigade Military Skills Competition.  They competed against 16 teams from CCF and ACF from all over the South East of England.  They took part in 16 stands to test their knowledge and skills in a whole variety of military disciplines, including map reading, fire control orders, reconnaissance patrolling and shooting.  The team finished in the top three in half of the stands and won 4, however it was not sufficient to take top spot, finishing in a very worthy second place.  Well done to the cadets and thank you to Major Highway and Mr Rai who accompanied them.
Matthew Howson of Year 8 competed in the Schools Inter Counties Cross Country on Saturday representing Kent and MGS.  He also qualified for the Schools British National Biathlon Championships on Sunday at Crystal Palace where he came 22nd nationally in the U14 age group.  Well done Matthew.  Hamish Reilly, Bashri Ryan and Simon Coppard all took part in the English Schools Cross-Country Championships in Norwich at the weekend representing Kent. The Kent intermediate squad performed very well and as a result received a cup for the first team of 8 members out of every County in England. Overall Kent finished in second place behind their rivals Essex and only lost out by 1 point.  Well done boys and thank you for representing MGS in the Kent team.
This week there are a number of events where we welcome Old Maidstonians back to school.  Tonight a number of last year's leavers are coming in to attend the A Level Presentation Evening where they get presented with their A Level certificates. On Wednesday the annual Old Boys’ rugby and football matches take place against the current school teams.  Both matches kick off at 2.30pm on the school field.  And on Friday the annual Old Maidstonian Society Supper takes place.  Nearly 100 former students of the school enjoy an evening meal in the Big Hall, catch up with each other and hear from me and a number of other speakers about the school.  We welcome them all.  Friday is the end of term and then we all enjoy a couple of weeks off.  I hope you and your families have a wonderful Spring break.