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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

20 October

We have now reached that time of the academic year when we look to the next one.  Last Friday we opened our doors to perspective Maidsonians.  Many Year 6 boys and their parents visited the School to decide which school they wish to go to next year.  Sadly the weather was against us, but that did not stop a large number of potential applicants making the visit.  We do exactly the same again today, holding our second Open Morning.  This Thursday is the biggest and most important day in the calendar: our Year 6 Open Evening.  Following the two Open Mornings when people can see the School at work, the Open Evening provides an opportunity for us to put on a number of exhibitions exhibiting all our different subject areas and elements of our extra-curricular programme.  It also provides me with an opportunity to share with everyone the many qualities of the School that we are proud of and give a flavour of the culture, traditions and history that we cherish.  As always though, the many, many students who help during the evening are the best people to sell the School.  Thank you in advance for their help and the hard work the staff put in to prepare for the evening.

At the same time of year as we invite future Maidstonians to visit the School, we also invite parents of our newest Maidstonians to come into school, meet their son's form tutor, hear from key staff, and see where their son is taught each day.  Last Tuesday almost all parents of Year 7 attended the Year 7 Welcome Evening.  It was a very positive event and one where parents saw how their MGS journey is beginning to develop.  Thank you to everyone who came in.
Last night was the Parents' Association AGM.  The Parents' Association once again had a very good year raising nearly £24,000 and supported a number of good projects witihn the School that improve the experience for the students.  Purchasing an additional laser cutter for the D&T Department, buying Samba music equipment for the Performing Arts Department, increasing the resources available in the Art Department and making a contribution to the equipment kept in the School's new Aerobic Fitness room. The biggest event the Parents' Association organise during the year is nearly upon us.  Saturday 7th November is the date for the MGS PA Firework Display.  Gates open at 6.00 with fireworks beginning at 7.00pm.  Please do come along, and bring your friends and extended family to enjoy a fine display.

Finally, well done to Finlay Lodge of Year 8 who took part in the European Karate Championships last week.  He won two Individual Bronze medals and one Team Silver.  This is tremendous news.  Congratulations Finlay.
Have a good half term.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

13 October

The highlight of last week was the Endeavour & Invincible House Charity Day that took place on Friday and which supported the UN Refugee Agency.  Our charitable nature is extremely important to us; seeing the entire school community work together to support the specific charities that we choose each year is very special.  A number of events took place during the day to raise money and awareness for the charity.  The main event in the Big Hall at lunchtime saw staff and students re-enact an episode of the classic TV programme Blind Date and at break time staff sang through the tannoy system of the School in ‘Tannoy Karaoke’.  Good fun was had by all.  Many, many thanks to the students who organised the day, and thank you to everyone who contributed and took part in the day raising a total of £1900 for the charity.  Continuing the charity theme, on Friday we received a letter from Comic Relief giving us some very pleasing news.  Maidstone Grammar School was one of their biggest fundraising schools for Sport Relief 2014. Out of over 10,000 schools that raised money, we were in the top 1500. This is an incredible achievement; well done and thank you so much.
Last week the School, in fact our catering company Independent Catering received some excellent news.  They received a spot check inspection from Environmental Heath and I am pleased to say achieved a Level 5 Certificate, the highest level that can be awarded.  Congratulations to the entire team.  We are very proud of our catering team who feed the students incredibly well each day and who receive so many positive comments on the quality and quantity of what they serve.

Also last week MGS took part in the UK Youth Parliament election, there to give young people a voice on issues that matter to them in order to determine what is debated by the UKYP in the House of Commons. All students were invited to vote on an issue that was important to them and out of the 605 votes that were cast, MGS students voted mainly for the ‘living wage’ and also for a ‘curriculum to prepare us for life.’ If these are one of the top three nationally then these will be debated by youth representatives in the House of Commons next month.
The School saw some very impressive sport results in the week.  The 1st and 2nd XI Football Squads beat Bishop Justus 6 – 1 and Hayes Grammar School 7 – 1 respectively in the Kent Cup, the Year 10 and 8 boys beat Tunbridge Wells Grammar School 5 – 1 and Dover Grammar School 6 – 1 respectively in the English Schools Cup, and in rugby the U15 squad beat Dartford Grammar School in the Kent Cup 26 – 21.  These results are fantastic and all the boys and staff involved should be extremely proud of themselves.  Well done.  Continuing with sport, Finn Warner of Year 13 was selected for the Kent U18 Rugby squad and was selected as a starting player, for their first game on Sunday. His brother Kit Warner has also been selected for the Kent U 14 rugby squad.  Well done to the Warner brothers.
A busy week.

 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

6 October 2015

On Tuesday last week we said goodbye to Mrs Lindsey Evans who stepped down as Chair to the Governing Body after five years.  She has given unquestionable commitment to the School in that time and been a huge support to me in the last three.  I am pleased to say she is going to remain on the Governor Body and continue to sit on the Curriculum Committee, where she has immense experience.  Thank you again Lindsey for your service to the School and I look forward to continue working with you.  Mr Mark Rolfe, the Vice-Chair was elected as the new Chair, and Mr John Hoadly, the Chair of the Finance and Premises Committee was elected as Vice-Chair.  Last week all subject teachers gave their first set of grades to each student.  Following the first five weeks of the School year all students have been graded on their attitude and approach to learning.  These grades were introduced last year, and many parents particularly found them useful in addition to the Attainment grades.  This week they will be collated together and then available for parents.  I hope they give you a good idea in how your child has begun the year. On Wednesday last week the senior rugby squad beat Chatham Boys Grammar School in the first round of the National Cup 29 - 10.  It was their first win of the season too.  Well done boys and I now hope that this win will kick start a series of success in the weekly fixtures.  Also both senior football squads (the 1st and 2nd XI) won their matches in the East Kent Premier League beating Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar School 2 – 1 and Borden Grammar School 3 – 2.  Well done boys.  On Sunday a number of MGS students from Years 8 to 13 took part in the Maidstone Small Boats Head.  Every October Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club hosts a head race; a race covering a distance of 2500m from Allington Marina to Maidstone Town Centre, and many other rowing clubs are invited to compete.  Students from this school competed for Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club and Maidstone Grammar School.  Over 200 different sized boats took part, and MGS students were part of some of the individual wins throughout the day.  Congratulations to everyone who took part and thank you for making it such an enjoyable day.   Yesterday was an important day for the School.  It was the CCF Biennial Inspection in Folkestone, and many cadets from the CCF took part to represent their school and their unit.  The CCF is an incredibly important part of the School and so this inspection is taken very seriously.  Thank you to all of the adult volunteers who spent all weekend down in Folkestone preparing the cadets for the inspection, and well done and thank you to all of the cadets who represented their school, their unit and themselves with pride. This week on Friday is the School's first Charity Day led this time by Invincible and Endeavour Houses.  Charity Days are fundamental to MGS and part of our culture and ethos.  A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in preparing for them, and much of this comes from the students themselves.  Like every charity day students are invited to come to school in non-uniform contributing £1 to do so.  Throughout the day, particularly at lunchtime, a number of activities and events take place to raise money and awareness for the charity, which this year is the UN Refugee Agency.  Thank you in advance to everyone who takes part and a big thanks to members of the Student Leadership Team who are overseeing the day.