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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

13 December 2016

Welcome to the last blog of 2016.  We have finally reached the last week of term! 
 
Firstly I would like to say thank you to everyone who donated a gift to our annual Salvation Army Christmas Present Collection; the response from you all has been overwhelming.  All of the presents were placed under our Christmas tree yesterday and then taken along to the charity’s depot before being distributed to hundreds of children for Christmas.  A photograph of what you have all donated will be posted in our newsletter, which will be going out at the end of the week.
 
This week there are a number of events that acknowledge the end of term and the up-and-coming festive period.  Today is Christmas lunch day.  A large number of the School come together to tuck into a plate full of delights prepared by Independent Catering.  On Wednesday the School Carol Service takes place at 7.30pm in All Saint’s Church where many from the wider school community congregate together to hear the traditional nine lessons and carols.  If you are able to please do come along.  And on Friday we are acknowledging the Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day.  Students and staff will be allowed to wear their Christmas jumpers with their uniform and offer a donation to support the charity.  I am sure some of the jumpers will have flashing lights!
 
2016 has been a very busy year, and I wish to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to the workings of MGS.  Your help and support for the School is very much appreciated.
 
Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and we’ll see each other again on Tuesday 3rd January, 2017.
 
 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

6 December 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the final performance of this year's School Production on Saturday evening.  Over 50 students across all seven year groups and about 10 members of staff were all involved in the classic tale of Zorro.  It was a lively mix of South American colours, costumes and music with many moments of comedy brilliance.  The confession scene was genius!  Well done to the entire cast and crew, and thank you all for giving an incredible amount of commitment for the last three months. 

This production is followed tonight by the GCSE Drama Showcase.  Year 10 and 11 students are showcasing their work to an audience at 5.30pm in Room 60.  I look forward to another evening of entertainment.

Tomorrow night we welcome parents of Year 12 who will be attending the Year 12 Parents' Evening.  It is the first opportunity for Year 12 and their parents to hear how they are progressing with their A-Level studies.  We have high hopes for the year group, so let us hope the evening is a positive one.

Thursday night is the Parent's Association Christmas Fair and Pamper Evening.  This year is the third time this event has run, and if last year is anything to go by, this year's event will be well-attended.  There will be a number of different stalls selling a variety of Christmas goodies and stocking filler ideas, plus an opportunity to relax and be pampered.  Do come along.  It starts at 6pm and is £3 to enter.

Friday is the second House Charity Day of the year.  Endeavour and invincible lead this, and as it is the charity day nearest Christmas we ask students and staff to also bring in a food item that gets donated to a charity supporting the homeless.  The day will include the usual opportunity for students to come to school not in uniform in exchange for £1, plus enjoy a number of events during break and lunch.  Remember also we are collecting toys and gifts for The Salvation Army to pass to children less fortunate than ourselves.  If you can support this your offers of help will be very much appreciated.

And finally this Friday and Saturday are two big days in the rugby calendar: they are the days we play The Judd School.  It is always a hotly contested weekend, so I wish all the players the best of luck. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

29 November 2016

On Saturday morning I enjoyed a very tense hour watching the 1st XV rugby squad play St Olaves.  The players played with tremendous passion and pride and ended the tense hour winning 8 - 7.  St Olaves were leading 7 - 5 at half time, and after securing a penalty in the first 10 minutes of the second half we then protected a one point lead for the rest of the game.  In the last minute it looked as though St Olaves were going to win with a very late try, but fortunately for us they did not ground the ball.  A good morning's entertainment.  Well done gents.

Yesterday and today I have been joined by governors, staff and students in finding a new Deputy Head for the School.  The days are incredibly demanding for everyone but also a pleasure to meet people who wish to make a positive impact at MGS.  It is hoped that we are in a position this afternoon to make an appointment.  Thank you to everyone involved.

This week, starting from tomorrow, we will all be enjoying four nights of Zorro, this year's school production.  Students and staff have worked tirelessly over the past three months preparing for this week.  I am sure a number of us remember the black and white TV series, and those much younger will have seen the Antonio Banderas films.  We look forward to seeing this iconic character on the MGS stage.  Good luck to the cast and crew, and thank you to all of you involved.  The show is on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week starting at 7.30pm.  Do come along.

On Friday afternoon I am meeting Mrs Stanley, Headmistress of Maidstone Girls Grammar School, for our monthly catch up.  It is a chance for the two of us to chew the fat over a cup of tea, share ideas and look at how the two schools can continue to support each other.

And finally, congratulations to eight boys who took part in the Literature Quiz Competition at East Tilbury Library last week. The boys settled well in the crowded venue and battled to find the answers to wide ranging questions related to fiction and non-fiction books, comics, poems and author biography.  The boys worked exceptionally well together demonstrating their wide reading and recall of detail. Both teams were a credit to MGS and the results were really exciting. We achieved joint first place, but with only one team able to progress to the National Final and the opportunity to travel to Canada for the World Finals.  Well done to James Tyler, George Bacon, Toby Hardy and Henry Noble all from 7 Challenger; Sam Butler, Ben Collins and Andrew Betha of 8 Endeavour; and Bailey Hearn of 8Challenger.

 

 

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!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Tuesday 18 October 2016

On Thursday last week, 10 CCF Army Cadets attended the finale of Sapper 300, the 300th Anniversary of the Corps of Royal Engineers. The event at Brompton Barracks was attended by Her Majesty The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief, Corps of Royal Engineers and a number of CCF Army Cadets from different CCF Contingents.  Congratulations to the cadets who were selected to attend, and thank you Maj. Highway and Mr Rai for accompanying them.
On Sunday the MGS rowing squad took part in the Medway Rowing Club Head, a 5km race downstream on the river Medway in Rochester.  Out of 21 entries from different rowing clubs across Kent we came 5th, rowing the distance in 15 mins and 51 seconds; I think the boys surprised themselves with their performance.  Well done boys.
This week is probably the busiest week of the school year so far.  Last night I attended the Parents' Association AGM.  I must say a huge thank you to the Parents' Association Committee and the many parents who have attended a number of events in the last 12 months.  Last year the Parents' Association raised over £24,000 and were able to support a number of important projects in school that make a big difference, such as buying us a new minibus, for which we are extremely grateful.  Thank you ever so much.
Today is the second Open Morning where we invite future Maidstonians into the school to see if they would like to come here next year.  The first one last week was very well attended and there were many positive comments made about the school.  We look forward to today.  Following this I am heading into London to attend a Grammar School Heads' Association afternoon seminar, followed by a drinks reception at the House of Commons.  Grammar schools have been in the news recently and so I expect a number of MPs will be joining us.
On Wednesday we are having an additional non-uniform day to raise money for the people of Haiti following the recent hurricane.  The community of MGS always respond positively to such events, so let us hope we raise a substantial amount of money to make some real difference.  That evening I will be attending the Old Maidstonian Society Quiznight.  I will be joining parents, staff, friends of the school, and current and former students in an enjoyable but challenging evening.  Thank you to the Old Maidstonian Society for organising the event.
And on Thursday, before we all enjoy a well-deserved half term break, the most important school event takes place: our Year 6 Open Evening. Following the two Open Mornings on Tuesday and last Friday we open our doors once again to hundreds of potential Maidstonians and their parents to see why MGS is so special.  It is the busiest school event of the year involving all members of staff and many hundreds of current students.  Our students are a credit to the school and are certainly the best people to sell MGS to others.  Thank you so much to everyone for all of the organisation that has gone on prior to the day and best wishes to everyone for a fantastic evening.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

11 October 2016

Firstly can I thank Challenger and Churchill Houses for organising the first school charity day of the year.  There were a number of events going on around the school, including a massive sponsored silence by many students from the two Houses.  I expect their teachers enjoyed the peace and quiet!  We are still receiving money, but early estimates indicate that we have raised about £2000 for the two charities: Syrian Refugees and the Italian Earthquake Appeal.  Well done and thank you.

As mentioned in last week’s Blog, I attended the Kent Association of Headteachers’ Annual Conference on Thursday and listened to a number of very good keynote speakers.  The main speaker was Professor Lord Robert Winston who spoke about how we can excite people about learning.  He spoke for over an hour and was incredibly engaging and though provoking.  Despite us all being in the business of learning, it was really good to hear from someone outside of education, and who could inspire us to reflect on how we ourselves inspire young people to love their own learning.  

Tonight we welcome parents of Year 7 boys to attend the Year 7 Welcome Evening.  It is an opportunity for parents to meet their son’s form tutor and other members of staff, see where their sons learn in the different subjects around the school, and enjoy a burger and a cuppa with each other prepared by the Parents’ Association.  We look forward to welcoming them later.

Friday this week is a busy day at school.  It is our first Year 6 Open Morning where we welcome many young boys hoping to become Maidstonians next year.  They, along with their parents, will enjoy a tour of the school from a current student and hopefully see what a wonderful place Maidstone Grammar School is.  Also on Friday evening it is the first rock band event of the year where we see a number of musicians perform in front of their friends and family.  Thank you to everyone who is taking part and to the members of staff who will be arranging the event. 

Finally congratulations to the 1st XI Football Squad who beat Borden Grammar School 3 – 2 on Friday afternoon last week.  It was a close match, but we finally brought home the victory.  Well done boys and thank you to the many 6th Form students who came out to support.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

4 October 2016

Thank you to the 30 or so parents who visited the School and joined our MacMillan Coffee Morning on Friday.  It was a pleasure having them in school enjoying each other's company over a cuppa and a piece of cake.  Whilst present they were able to witness the many hundreds of students who came along at break time to join in on the occasion.  Thank you to the members of staff and students who organised the event and thank you to everyone who supported it; in total the School raised over £600 for MacMillan.
Over the weekend a handful of Maidstonians took part in the Maidstone Small Boats Head organised by Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club.  They raced along the River Medway over a distance of 2500m in a variety of boats from Allington Marina to the town centre.  A few boys from Year 10 rowed for the club itself along with four Year 13 students who rowed for the School.  Stephen Mackie, Sam Bashford, James Doran and Dan Jones all of Year 13  rowed in a Quad, followed by Dan and Stephen rowing again in a Pair.  Well done to all of those boys, as well as the boys from Year 10 who competed well for their local club; a good weekend of rowing. On Wednesday this week we welcome Year 10 parents to attend the Year 10 Information Evening to hear from key staff about the up-and-coming year and what can be expected.  Year 10 boys are the second year group of students who are experiencing the new GCSEs and so it is vital that everyone understands what all of this means.
On Thursday I am attending the Kent Association of Headteachers annual conference.  It is a chance to hear from key speakers about a variety of matters, and a chance to network with colleagues from other schools.  Guest speakers this year include Dominic Herrington, Regional Schools Commissioner for South East England and South London & Estelle Morris, who is currently working at the Institute of Effective Education and Richard Burnett, co-founder and director of Mindfulness in Schools.
Friday is the first Charity Day of the year.  Challenger and Churchill Houses will be responsible for the day organising a number of events to raise money and awareness for the charity they are supporting which is the Italian Earthquake appeal and Syrian refugees. Students are not required to wear uniform on that day and in doing so contribute a £1 to help support the charity.  Thank you to Challenger and Churchill staff and students for overseeing the day.  Finally, congratulations to Ben Ward (9CR) who recently competed in the ASA Summer Nationals Swimming competition in Sheffield.  Ben reached the final of the 50m breaststroke and gained an excellent 7th place at only 13 years old.   He also reached 11th place in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.  Well done Ben.  

 

 

 

 



 


 


 

 


 

 

 

 

4 October 2016

Thank you to the 30 or so parents who visited the School and joined our MacMillan Coffee Morning on Friday.  It was a pleasure having them in school enjoying each other's company over a cuppa and a piece of cake.  Whilst present they were able to witness the many hundreds of students who came along at break time to join in on the occasion.  Thank you to the members of staff and students who organised the event and thank you to everyone who supported it; in total the School raised over £600 for MacMillan.

Over the weekend a handful of Maidstonians took part in the Maidstone Small Boats Head organised by Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club.  They raced along the River Medway over a distance of 2500m in a variety of boats from Allington Marina to the town centre.  A few boys from Year 10 rowed for the club itself along with four Year 13 students who rowed for the School.  Stephen Mackie, Sam Bashford, James Doran and Dan Jones all of Year 13  rowed in a Quad, followed by Dan and Stephen rowing again in a Pair.  Well done to all of those boys, as well as the boys from Year 10 who competed well for their local club; a good weekend of rowing. On Wednesday this week we welcome Year 10 parents to attend the Year 10 Information Evening to hear from key staff about the up-and-coming year and what can be expected.  Year 10 boys are the second year group of students who are experiencing the new GCSEs and so it is vital that everyone understands what all of this means.

On Thursday I am attending the Kent Association of Headteachers annual conference.  It is a chance to hear from key speakers about a variety of matters, and a chance to network with colleagues from other schools.  Guest speakers this year include Dominic Herrington, Regional Schools Commissioner for South East England and South London & Estelle Morris, who is currently working at the Institute of Effective Education and Richard Burnett, co-founder and director of Mindfulness in Schools.

Friday is the first Charity Day of the year.  Challenger and Churchill Houses will be responsible for the day organising a number of events to raise money and awareness for the charity they are supporting which is the Italian Earthquake appeal and Syrian refugees. Students are not required to wear uniform on that day and in doing so contribute a £1 to help support the charity.  Thank you to Challenger and Churchill staff and students for overseeing the day.  Finally, congratulations to Ben Ward (9CR) who recently competed in the ASA Summer Nationals Swimming competition in Sheffield.  Ben reached the final of the 50m breaststroke and gained an excellent 7th place at only 13 years old.   He also reached 11th place in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.  Well done Ben.  

 

 

 

 



 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

27 September 2016

Last night we welcomed Year 9 parents who attended the Year 9 Information Evening.  Year 9 is an important year as the boys embark on their GCSE studies.  Year 9 will be the first year group in which the boys receive the new numerical levels 9 - 1 in all of their subjects (apart from History).  Assessments throughout the year will now use these new numerical levels as opposed to the normal grades A - C in order to understand them fully by the time the boys reach Year 11.  Thank you to parents for coming along.
Congratulations to the 1st and 2nd XV rugby squads who beat Simon Langton Grammar School last Wednesday in their first game of the season.  Spirits were up and so the boys went home that afternoon with a greater level of confidence for the year to come.  Sadly their fixtures against Cranbrook School at the weekend ended with two losses, but the boys should feel pleased with their quality of play and use the results to drive them on in this week's training.  Despite the excellent start for the 1st XI football squad, the team could not match their rugby peers losing 5 - 0 away against Simon Langton.  More work to be done.
It is this time of year when all of the Honours Boards are taken away to be updated.  15 student names will be engraved on the School Hall boards, those students who gain straight As in their A-Levels, in addition to the names that will be engraved on the Sport and CCF boards.  The final two boards to be engraved are the School Captain and School Vice-Captain boards, and I expect Tom and Josh are looking forward to seeing their names up whilst they are still here, as sadly all the other names are names of students who left in the summer.
Major Highway, the new Contingent Commander of the CCF, attends the Lord Lieutenant's Award Ceremony tonight in Canterbury to accept an award on behalf of Lt. Col Smith, who retired from the School and the CCF in July.  Sadly Lt. Col Smith is unable to receive the award himself, marking 20 years of service to the MGS CCF, but we are incredibly proud that he is being acknowledged in this way.  Congratulations Lt. Col Smith and thank you Major Highway for attending.
This Friday is MacMillan Coffee Morning, and MGS will be joining the rest of the nation in supporting the charity over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  This year we are expanding the event and inviting parents, Governors and Old Maidstonians to attend.  If you are free on Friday morning between 10.30 and 11.30 and fancy a cuppa then please do visit us.  You are more than welcome.
 

27 September 2016

Last night we welcomed Year 9 parents who attended the Year 9 Information Evening.  Year 9 is an important year as the boys embark on their GCSE studies.  Year 9 will be the first year group in which the boys receive the new numerical levels 9 - 1 in all of their subjects (apart from History).  Assessments throughout the year will now use these new numerical levels as opposed to the normal grades A - C in order to understand them fully by the time the boys reach Year 11.  Thank you to parents for coming along. Congratulations to the 1st and 2nd XV rugby squads who beat Simon Langton Grammar School last Wednesday in their first game of the season.  Spirits were up and so the boys went home that afternoon with a greater level of confidence for the year to come.  Sadly their fixtures against Cranbrook School at the weekend ended with two losses, but the boys should feel pleased with their quality of play and use the results to drive them on in this week's training.  Despite the excellent start for the 1st XI football squad, the team could not match their rugby peers losing 5 - 0 away against Simon Langton.  More work to be done. It is this time of year when all of the Honours Boards are taken away to be updated.  15 student names will be engraved on the School Hall boards, those students who gain straight As in their A-Levels, in addition to the names that will be engraved on the Sport and CCF boards.  The final two boards to be engraved are the School Captain and School Vice-Captain boards, and I expect Tom and Josh are looking forward to seeing their names up whilst they are still here, as sadly all the other names are names of students who left in the summer.  Major Highway, the new Contingent Commander of the CCF, attends the Lord Lieutenant's Award Ceremony tonight in Canterbury to accept an award on behalf of Lt. Col Smith, who retired from the School and the CCF in July.  Sadly Lt. Col Smith is unable to receive the award himself, marking 20 years of service to the MGS CCF, but we are incredibly proud that he is being acknowledged in this way.  Congratulations Lt. Col Smith and thank you Major Highway for attending.  This Friday is MacMillan Coffee Morning, and MGS will be joining the rest of the nation in supporting the charity over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  This year we are expanding the event and inviting parents, Governors and Old Maidstonians to attend.  If you are free on Friday morning between 10.30 and 11.30 and fancy a cuppa then please do visit us.  You are more than welcome.

27 September 2016

Last night we welcomed Year 9 parents who attended the Year 9 Information Evening.  Year 9 is an important year as the boys embark on their GCSE studies.  Year 9 will be the first year group in which the boys receive the new numerical levels 9 - 1 in all of their subjects (apart from History).  Assessments throughout the year will now use these new numerical levels as opposed to the normal grades A - C in order to understand them fully by the time the boys reach Year 11.  Thank you to parents for coming along. Congratulations to the 1st and 2nd XV rugby squads who beat Simon Langton Grammar School last Wednesday in their first game of the season.  Spirits were up and so the boys went home that afternoon with a greater level of confidence for the year to come.  Sadly their fixtures against Cranbrook School at the weekend ended with two losses, but the boys should feel pleased with their quality of play and use the results to drive them on in this week's training.  Despite the excellent start for the 1st XI football squad, the team could not match their rugby peers losing 5 - 0 away against Simon Langton.  More work to be done. It is this time of year when all of the Honours Boards are taken away to be updated.  15 student names will be engraved on the School Hall boards, those students who gain straight As in their A-Levels, in addition to the names that will be engraved on the Sport and CCF boards.  The final two boards to be engraved are the School Captain and School Vice-Captain boards, and I expect Tom and Josh are looking forward to seeing their names up whilst they are still here, as sadly all the other names are names of students who left in the summer.
Major Highway, the new Contingent Commander of the CCF, attends the Lord Lieutenant's Award Ceremony tonight in Canterbury to accept an award on behalf of Lt. Col Smith, who retired from the School and the CCF in July.  Sadly Lt. Col Smith is unable to receive the award himself, marking 20 years of service to the MGS CCF, but we are incredibly proud that he is being acknowledged in this way.  Congratulations Lt. Col Smith and thank you Major Highway for attending.
This Friday is MacMillan Coffee Morning, and MGS will be joining the rest of the nation in supporting the charity over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  This year we are expanding the event and inviting parents, Governors and Old Maidstonians to attend.  If you are free on Friday morning between 10.30 and 11.30 and fancy a cuppa then please do visit us.  You are more than welcome.

27 September 2016

Last night we welcomed Year 9 parents who attended the Year 9 Information Evening.  Year 9 is an important year as the boys embark on their GCSE studies.  Year 9 will be the first year group in which the boys receive the new numerical levels 9 - 1 in all of their subjects (apart from History).  Assessments throughout the year will now use these new numerical levels as opposed to the normal grades A - C in order to understand them fully by the time the boys reach Year 11.  Thank you to parents for coming along.
Congratulations to the 1st and 2nd XV rugby squads who beat Simon Langton Grammar School last Wednesday in their first game of the season.  Spirits were up and so the boys went home that afternoon with a greater level of confidence for the year to come.  Sadly their fixtures against Cranbrook School at the weekend ended with two losses, but the boys should feel pleased with their quality of play and use the results to drive them on in this week's training.  Despite the excellent start for the 1st XI football squad, the team could not match their rugby peers losing 5 - 0 away against Simon Langton.  More work to be done.
It is this time of year when all of the Honours Boards are taken away to be updated.  15 student names will be engraved on the School Hall boards, those students who gain straight As in their A-Levels, in addition to the names that will be engraved on the Sport and CCF boards.  The final two boards to be engraved are the School Captain and School Vice-Captain boards, and I expect Tom and Josh are looking forward to seeing their names up whilst they are still here, as sadly all the other names are names of students who left in the summer.
Major Highway, the new Contingent Commander of the CCF, attends the Lord Lieutenant's Award Ceremony tonight in Canterbury to accept an award on behalf of Lt. Col Smith, who retired from the School and the CCF in July.  Sadly Lt. Col Smith is unable to receive the award himself, marking 20 years of service to the MGS CCF, but we are incredibly proud that he is being acknowledged in this way.  Congratulations Lt. Col Smith and thank you Major Highway for attending.
This Friday is MacMillan Coffee Morning, and MGS will be joining the rest of the nation in supporting the charity over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  This year we are expanding the event and inviting parents, Governors and Old Maidstonians to attend.  If you are free on Friday morning between 10.30 and 11.30 and fancy a cuppa then please do visit us.  You are more than welcome.

27 September 2016

Last night we welcomed Year 9 parents who attended the Year 9 Information Evening.  Year 9 is an important year as the boys embark on their GCSE studies.  Year 9 will be the first year group in which the boys receive the new numerical levels 9 - 1 in all of their subjects (apart from History).  Assessments throughout the year will now use these new numerical levels as opposed to the normal grades A - C in order to understand them fully by the time the boys reach Year 11.  Thank you to parents for coming along.  Congratulations to the 1st and 2nd XV rugby squads who beat Simon Langton Grammar School last Wednesday in their first game of the season.  Spirits were up and so the boys went home that afternoon with a greater level of confidence for the year to come.  Sadly their fixtures against Cranbrook School at the weekend ended with two losses, but the boys should feel pleased with their quality of play and use the results to drive them on in this week's training.  Despite the excellent start for the 1st XI football squad, the team could not match their rugby peers losing 5 - 0 away against Simon Langton.  More work to be done.
It is this time of year when all of the Honours Boards are taken away to be updated.  15 student names will be engraved on the School Hall boards, those students who gain straight As in their A-Levels, in addition to the names that will be engraved on the Sport and CCF boards.  The final two boards to be engraved are the School Captain and School Vice-Captain boards, and I expect Tom and Josh are looking forward to seeing their names up whilst they are still here, as sadly all the other names are names of students who left in the summer.  Major Highway, the new Contingent Commander of the CCF, attends the Lord Lieutenant's Award Ceremony tonight in Canterbury to accept an award on behalf of Lt. Col Smith, who retired from the School and the CCF in July.  Sadly Lt. Col Smith is unable to receive the award himself, marking 20 years of service to the MGS CCF, but we are incredibly proud that he is being acknowledged in this way.  Congratulations Lt. Col Smith and thank you Major Highway for attending.
This Friday is MacMillan Coffee Morning, and MGS will be joining the rest of the nation in supporting the charity over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  This year we are expanding the event and inviting parents, Governors and Old Maidstonians to attend.  If you are free on Friday morning between 10.30 and 11.30 and fancy a cuppa then please do visit us.  You are more than welcome.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

20 September 2016

Following the lovely, but very warm, weather during the early part of last week, it was a shame that the weather took a turn for the worse and required us to move Upper School Speech Day into the School Hall rather than enjoying the occasion in the Quad.  We also had to adjust our plans for the Beginning of Year Service and bring elements of All Saints Church to MGS and hold three slightly shorter services in the School Hall.  Despite the inclement weather the day went off very well; the Service and Speech Day were wonderful occasions and I am sure that many of the student body enjoyed an afternoon off school!  Thank you to everyone who was involved in either event, particularly Rev Canon Sewell who performed the morning service and Mr Ben Wharfe who was the guest of honour at Speech Day.

At the weekend the 1st XI Football Squad played Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School and won 2 - 1.  Thank you to Jordan Chambers (OM 2016) for refereeing the day before he goes off to university, and well done boys for another win, following last Wednesday's win beating Rainham Mark School 5 - 4.  Also at the weekend many of the senior rugby squad attended a training session in preparation for their first match of the season tomorrow against Simon Langton, and a number of the CCF cadets, over 80 in fact, spent the day at school enjoying a day’s worth of different activities.

From this week I am spending some time meeting with every Year 12 student to share with them how the School will be evolving over the next couple of years.  We are embarking on an exciting period for the School and it is important that the whole student body understands what is happening and why.  I hope the sessions help and provide greater understanding in what is going to be happening.

Tonight we welcome Year 11 parents who will be attending their son's parents' evening and 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 third year MGS is hosting such an event, and if the last two 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 introduced this event a couple of years ago and the comments we receive from everyone involved are overwhelming positive.  I hope the day is helpful.

 

 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Tuesday 13 September 2016

The first week back at school went very well indeed.  Students have returned with a really good positive attitude and knuckled down to work straight away.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this smooth start.

The main focus of this week is preparing for Friday’s Beginning of Year Service and Upper School Speech Day.  On Friday we acknowledge both the beginning of year and the successes of last year’s Year 11 to 13 year groups, particularly wishing the out-going students all good fortune as they move from being a Maidstonian to an Old Maidstonian.
At the weekend the U13, 14 and 15 rugby squads played Wilmington Grammar School in their first game of the season and all sadly lost.  I was particularly impressed with the U14 boys though as they were asked to join in with the U15 game.  Despite the result it was good character building for them!

Also this week Year 11 enjoy a day out fulfilling some geography fieldwork, and Year 12 students and their parents are invited in to attend an Information Evening on Thursday to hear about the coming year.  At this, and other evenings for all other year groups, I will be updating everyone on where we are with regards to the current building projects which are taking place over the next three years.  I look forward to meeting you all over the coming weeks.

Monday, 5 September 2016

6 September 2016

Welcome back everyone to a new academic year.  It has been a delightful summer holiday with good weather, an inspirational Olympic Games and many opportunities to spend time with family and friends.  Work has continued at school to get it ready for the new year and I would like to thank all those staff members who have kept MGS ticking on.  The proudest news that I can share is that the outgoing Year 13 cohort achieved the best A-Level results ever in MGS’s history.  Congratulations to them and to Year 12 who matched the AS results from the previous year.  Well done all.  Sadly the GCSE results were not what we entirely expected, and we have had to say goodbye to some fine Maidstonians.  We do however welcome a large number of new students to Year 12 and hope they build an allegiance to the School that many of us have already. 

Over the weekend we welcomed back a number of Old Maidstonians who attended a reunion BBQ to acknowledge Neil Turrell, former Headmaster, and who is now the President of the OM Society.  The weather remained fine which allowed for an enjoyable few hours.  Thank you to the Old Maidstonian Society who organised the event and to all the current members of staff and students who attended.   
The main aim of this first week is essentially to settle back into the swing of things and return to a working mindset and not a holiday one.  Attention will be given to our Year 7 students who begin their MGS journey and to Year 13 who approach the important stages of the UCAS process.  Very soon classroom teachers will be predicting A-Level grades and 6th Form tutors will be inviting parents of Year 13 in to discuss them.  More details of this to follow.

One piece of good news to share is of Finley Lodge.  He attended the Shukokai Karate World Championships in Berlin at the end of July, and Finley and his two team mates managed to make it all the way to the finals with their team. Kata narrowly missed out on Gold but did return home with the silver medal.  Well done Finley.

 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Welcome to the last Headmaster’s Blog of the year.  We break up for the summer holiday tomorrow, and I am sure many members of staff and students are looking forward to it.  It has once again been a busy year and I wish to thank every member of staff for their commitment and service they have given to the School.  Much has gone on, and we have three exciting years ahead of us, so the next six weeks are well-deserved. 

Last Thursday we saw Sports Day Part 2.  Due to the change in weather on Tuesday we had to abandon Sports Day just as the relay events were taking place and continue it two days later.  The weather on Thursday was much better and so Thursday afternoon the whole school enjoyed the afternoon on the field watching their fellow peers compete for their Houses.  Congratulations to Endeavour House who won Sports Day, and we will hear on Wednesday whether they have won this year’s House Cup.

Last Friday was an important day for MGS: The Founders’ Day Service and Lower School Speech Day.  The weather was on our side which made for a glorious afternoon in the Quad awarding numerous prizes to students who have made significant achievements this year.  Well done again to all prize winners and many thanks to Ms Alexandra Auger, a former student, who was our Guest of Honour for the event.

This week the staff say their goodbyes to colleagues who are leaving the MGS Community.  Nine members of staff are leaving altogether; some retiring and beginning the next phase of their lives elsewhere, some moving to pastures new.  Please have a read of the Summer Newsletter published this week to see who is leaving, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their years’ service and wish them well in their futures.

Finally I wish to thank all the students for another wonderful year, have a lovely holiday and well-earned rest, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday 5th September.
Thank you.

 

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Straight away I must thank the MGS Parents' Association for a wonderful Summer Ball on Saturday evening.  The MGS and MGGS Parent Associations hosted a combined Summer Ball for over 120 parents from both schools to enjoy an evening's entertainment.  The Ball took place in our school hall and included a lovely 3 course meal catered by Independent Catering, a raffle, music from ... and students from both schools, and a table magician who wandered between each table sharing some very impressive close up trickery; all very well managed by Neil Turrell, the Master of Ceremonies.  It was a very enjoyable evening and thanks must go to the parents from both associations that worked hard for many months planning for the event.

This week we begin to see the end of term approaching.  Today, weather permitting is our annual Sports Day: a day when the whole school community comes together to enjoy a day's competition.  The whole school gets involved in some way with many parents coming along to enjoy the day.  Good luck to all competitors and I wonder if Spitfire House will win again?!

Friday is our Founders Day Service and Lower School Speech Day.  During the morning the whole school processes down to All Saints Church to celebrate the founding of the School which is then followed in the afternoon with Speech Day for years 7 to 10.  The afternoon is an opportunity to acknowledge the successes of the younger students of the School and to hear from key staff about the 2015-16 academic year.  We welcome many parents and invited guests and hope for good weather.

Congratulations to Hamish Reilly who has been selected for the South East Region as one of three competitors for his age group to compete at the Triathlon Nationals taking place in Glasgow on the 4th September. Qualification within Hamish’s category was extremely competitive, coming down to seconds between them all in recent qualification events.  At a recent ‘high performance’ event at Eton Dorney, which involved competitors from 6 Regions from the West Midlands down to South West, Hamish achieved a fantastic 3rd place overall.  Well done Hamish and good luck at the National Finals in September.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Tuesday 5 July 2016

 Firstly I wish to apologise that I was unable to update my blog last week; I was accompanying a group of students in the South of France on the PGL water sports activity as part of Extended Learning Week.  Since returning to school yesterday I have heard nothing but positive comments from students and staff about their own experiences last week.  Once again we have seen another successful Extended Learning Week, a week that so many students and staff look forward to.  Seeing students from different year groups mix over an activity they would not normally do is a delight.  The week is incredibly tiring and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure its success, but it is all worth it.  Thank you to everyone who took part, particularly to the former students and parents who volunteered their time to support the week.  During the same week Year 12 spent the time taking part in some work experience; placements that they had organised themselves.  I hope the week was valuable and helped shaped the many thoughts that students have in determining what they want to do in their futures.  School returns to some form of normality this week, but with the end of term looming there are a few events that are coming up.  Wednesday this week we see the outgoing Year 13 students attend their Leavers' Prom at Leeds Castle.  It is the last chance that the year group come together before they all disappear off for a well-deserved summer break.  We look forward to saying goodbye to them tomorrow.   As we say goodbye to one year group we say hello to another.  Thursday this week we welcome the Year 6 boys who will be joining the School in September.  They spend the entire day in school attending the Year 6 Induction Day; an opportunity to meet their form tutor, meet new friends, and see what is to come next year.  Part of that day is to attend the whole school assembly which is poignant this year as we will be, as a school, acknowledging the 100th Anniversary of the start of The Battle of the Somme.  Over these four years from 2014 to 2018 we are acknowledging key dates from WWI, and The Battle of the Somme is one of those events.  Sadly a number of Old Maidstonians lost their lives during the battle and so it is right that we properly remember them.  This week I continue meeting each class from Year 7 to year 10 to discuss with them a number of exciting changes that they will see over the next few years.  To date I have spoken with 16 out of the 24 classes, and generally the response has been positive.  As I said in my letter to parents about three weeks ago, parents will hear more about these changes at the beginning of the academic year from September, but it is important that the students themselves hear about the changes and be given an opportunity to ask questions that I can then answer.  Understanding change is so important, and this is what these sessions are intending to do.  I will have finished meeting all classes by the end of next week before Lower School Speech Day.  Despite the letter that was sent out last week regarding today's industrial action by the NUT members, I wish to again express my frustration with the action taken and the impact that it has created.  Asking some students to remain at home and having to cancel tonight's Year 10 Parents' Evening were decisions not taken lightly but sadly were necessary.  I am continuing to discuss with staff how we can rectify the situation particularly with regards the Parents' Evening, and should be in a position in the next few days to inform parents of Year 10 how we are going to do this.  Once again I deeply regret being in this position; it is incredibly frustrating that our hands were somewhat tied. 

Tuesday 5 July 2016

 Firstly I wish to apologise that I was unable to update my blog last week; I was accompanying a group of students in the South of France on the PGL water sports activity as part of Extended Learning Week.  Since returning to school yesterday I have heard nothing but positive comments from students and staff about their own experiences last week.  Once again we have seen another successful Extended Learning Week, a week that so many students and staff look forward to.  Seeing students from different year groups mix over an activity they would not normally do is a delight.  The week is incredibly tiring and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure its success, but it is all worth it.  Thank you to everyone who took part, particularly to the former students and parents who volunteered their time to support the week.  During the same week Year 12 spent the time taking part in some work experience; placements that they had organised themselves.  I hope the week was valuable and helped shaped the many thoughts that students have in determining what they want to do in their futures.  School returns to some form of normality this week, but with the end of term looming there are a few events that are coming up.  Wednesday this week we see the outgoing Year 13 students attend their Leavers' Prom at Leeds Castle.  It is the last chance that the year group come together before they all disappear off for a well-deserved summer break.  We look forward to saying goodbye to them tomorrow.   As we say goodbye to one year group we say hello to another.  Thursday this week we welcome the Year 6 boys who will be joining the School in September.  They spend the entire day in school attending the Year 6 Induction Day; an opportunity to meet their form tutor, meet new friends, and see what is to come next year.  Part of that day is to attend the whole school assembly which is poignant this year as we will be, as a school, acknowledging the 100th Anniversary of the start of The Battle of the Somme.  Over these four years from 2014 to 2018 we are acknowledging key dates from WWI, and The Battle of the Somme is one of those events.  Sadly a number of Old Maidstonians lost their lives during the battle and so it is right that we properly remember them.

This week I continue meeting each class from Year 7 to year 10 to discuss with them a number of exciting changes that they will see over the next few years.  To date I have spoken with 16 out of the 24 classes, and generally the response has been positive.  As I said in my letter to parents about three weeks ago, parents will hear more about these changes at the beginning of the academic year from September, but it is important that the students themselves hear about the changes and be given an opportunity to ask questions that I can then answer.  Understanding change is so important, and this is what these sessions are intending to do.  I will have finished meeting all classes by the end of next week before Lower School Speech Day.  Despite the letter that was sent out last week regarding today's industrial action by the NUT members, I wish to again express my frustration with the action taken and the impact that it has created.  Asking some students to remain at home and having to cancel tonight's Year 10 Parents' Evening were decisions not taken lightly but sadly were necessary.  I am continuing to discuss with staff how we can rectify the situation particularly with regards the Parents' Evening, and should be in a position in the next few days to inform parents of Year 10 how we are going to do this.  Once again I deeply regret being in this position; it is incredibly frustrating that our hands were somewhat tied.