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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The end of term has arrived with a very busy final week of the year.  Monday 13th saw the first ever Primary School Outreach Event: The Brazil Fair.  75 boys from Years 4 and 5 from our primary feeder schools spent a few hours in school completing a number of activities with a Brazil theme.  The boys spent about 30 minutes on each of the three sessions: Samba Drumming, Brazil Cooking and Carnival Mask Making.  The boys had a fantastic afternoon, and seeing our students and staff engage with them showing them what it means to be a part of the MGS community was a delight.  Hopefully we will see similar events in the future.

 Sadly the weather on Tuesday required us to move the annual Sports Day to Thursday, but once again Sports Day was an excellent event involving the entire school community.  There were many very good individual performances but seeing Year 12 getting stuck in to their last Sports Day was memorable.  Well done to Max Reid of Year 12 took part in every event and won every event, and congratulations to Rory Kuypers of Year 9 who broke the school 100m record which has stood for 30 years.  Many thanks to everyone who took part, and thank you to all the parents who came along and joined us in the day. 

Wednesday saw the annual Staff vs. Student Cricket Match, but sadly the rain on Tuesday meant that the students could not go out and watch.  The staff put up a good fight with a great opening partnership of 48 runs by Mr Highsted and Mr Shillito, but a collapse of the middle order meant that the staff only reached 113 off the 20 overs.  The students then batted and did so with a level of kindness so as not to embarrass the staff.  They made the runs in just 14 overs, but could have made the total much sooner.  Well done boys.

Finally, following the last day of the term and the final assembly, the School invited back a number of former students to attend the Old Maidstonian Day.  On Saturday 18th July the first Old Maidstonian Day took place.  It was a beautiful day with a number of OMs back in their school, catching up with old friends, meeting new ones and reminiscing about their time at MGS.  With the superb weather we were all able to enjoy a lovely BBQ and a glass of punch in the School Quad and have a tour of the School and enjoy many artifacts from the School Archive.  Thank you to everyone who attended and many thanks to the staff, students, Parents' Association and friends of the School who all help to organise the event. 

Thank you for a wonderful year, have a lovely holiday and see you in September.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Since returning to normal school I have received so many positive comments from students, staff and parents about this year's Extended Learning Week.  The weather clearly helped, the Wednesday could have been cooler though, and the variety of activities really did bring a diverse experience to the week.  Many thanks once again go to the staff who spent a great deal of time preparing for the week, and to the students who threw themselves into it.  Well done all.

Last week I completed my round of visiting each Year 7 class to teach them a PSHCE lesson.  Every year I teach one lesson to each Year 7 class so as to get to know them a little bit, and for them to get to know me.  I always look forward to the lessons, and I hope that the boys go home and talk about what they have learnt.  I endeavour to shed some light on the concept of Emotional Intelligence, and complete four activities to promote certain themes within the subject. 

Two events took place last week that highlight the diverse nature to our community.  On Thursday the Year 6 Induction Day took place where all of the boys joining MGS in September spent a day in school.  The day provides an opportunity for the boys to experience a little of what it means to be a Maidstonian, as well as hopefully developing new friendships.  Seeing the boys attend our weekly Quad assembly with the rest of the School and watching them enjoy the many team building activities is such a pleasure.  The day ended with their parents joining us for a cup of tea and a piece of cake with many excited boys quickly reporting back on their day.  We look forward to welcoming them all after the summer holiday.

The week ended with many from the School community celebrating Founders Day and Lower School Speech Day.  We all processed down to All Saints Church for the Founders Day Service to acknowledge the founding of the School in 1549 and to listen to Mrs Sewell’s husband giving the sermon led by the new vicar of Maidstone, Revd Ian Parrish.  We then returned to school for the afternoon's speeches and prize giving to Years 7 - 10.  At each Speech Day we welcome many from the wider school community: parents, governors, friends and Old Maidstonians to witness the celebration of the achievements of the Lower School.  This year's Guest of Honour was Mrs Michele Anderson, former Deputy Head who left in 2014.  Congratulations again to all prize winners and to the whole school for a wonderful 2014-15 year. 

The final week of school brings with it excited students, tired staff, anxious parents and a number of end of term events: the Year 5 Brazil Fair, Sports Day, Staff vs Students Cricket Match, publication of the Summer Newsletter, the Terry Shambler Memorial Concert and the Final Assembly.  A busy week to a busy year.

I wish you all a pleasant holiday, and we'll see you on Wednesday 2nd September.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

I wish to begin by thanking everyone who helped make last week's Extended Learning Week a great success.  To the members of staff who not only worked hard during the week itself, but also spent many hours behind the scenes in the months leading up to the Week preparing for it; and to the large number of Year 11, 13 and Old Maidstonians who returned to school to help out the younger boys.  It is this aspect of the Week where older students support younger ones that defines the relationships that develop at MGS.   For many, Extended Learning Week is the highlight of the year; working with a variety of students from different ages in something not normally seen at school is incredibly rewarding.  Once again the boys responded with enthusiasm and energy and all conducted themselves in a way we have come to expect at MGS.  There were so many words of praise from staff, volunteers and guides about our boys and their behaviour, so well done all.  I hope your child came home each day with excitement and keen to return the following day.  I also hope you were able to track the progress of the week with our new Twitter account @mgsgrammar, and this is something, alongside this Blog, that we wish to make more use of in the future.   
Alongside the Extended Learning Week for Years 7 – 10, Year 12 students took part in a week of Work Experience.  On return to school yesterday I have had a chance to catch up with a few Year 12 students who said they thoroughly enjoyed their week and learnt so much about the work they did, how it could help them in the future and what they should do now to secure their plans.
There are now two weeks remaining of the summer term, but they will be filled with a number of important events in our calendar.  On Thursday this week all of next year’s Year 7 spend a day in school attending the Year 6 Induction Day.  They will meet new friends, be introduced to their Form Tutor and spend time getting to know many of the important features of MGS.  Friday this week is our annual Lower School Speech Day; a day where we acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the boys in Years 7 to 10 during the 2014-15 academic year.  We welcome back Mrs Anderson, who was Deputy Head of MGS from 2006 to 2014, as this year's Guest of Honour.  We hope the weather is good to allow Speech Day to take place in the School Quad; a setting fit for the occasion. 
Congratulations to the U13 and U15 cricket teams for making the finals of the Maidstone Schools District Competition. Good luck to both teams in their respective finals.
Advance notice to remind you all that next Tuesday is the annual MGS Sports Day and next Wednesday is the Staff vs. 1st XI Cricket Match; both events parents are welcome to attend.  Please just arrive in school and sign in at Reception.  Sports Day takes place during the entire day starting around 9am and finishing about 3pm.  The cricket match on the following day starts at 2.30pm.  Also, and something that is going to be special for MGS is the Terry Shambler Memorial Concert, which is taking place next Thursday 16th July at 7pm.  Terry, a student who left MGS last year, was sadly killed in a traffic accident whilst on holiday last July.  This concert will be a permanent event in the School’s calendar as it is important that we continue to go on remembering Terry.  Please do come along and support.
 
Headmaster