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Headteacher Blog

what's happening at Chesham Grammar

Posted on: March 1st 2019

Head's Blog

Dear Parent,

I hope your children had a good half term and a well deserved rest.  80 students spent the week on the school ski trip in Italy where they enjoyed good snow and beautiful weather conditions.  It sounds as though an excellent time was had by all and that everyone made significant advances in their skiing.  It was equally sunny in Venice where those doing A level Art or Photography spent the first few days of the break with Art Department staff.  In different ways these visits enhanced the experiences of the students and as always, I would like to thank the staff who gave up their holiday to accompany the students; without them these visits simply could not be offered.  I know from the numerous emails and calls we have had from parents this week that the students really did have a truly memorable time. 

It has been a busy and hugely successful first week back.  This morning, year 9 students started the process of choosing their GCSE options and spent the session working together in the hall.  We outlined the options available to them and encouraged them to think carefully about their subject choices. This followed an information evening on the same topic or Year 9 parents last night.  Also today, those studying A level Economics worked with Will Holman, an ex student who now works for the Bank of England.  Will was in Year 12 when I first arrived at the school as Head of Sixth Form and it was really good to catch up with him and to hear about the whereabouts of some of his contemporaries.  I know that the students gained a great deal from his visit, discussing quantitative easing and inflation as well as many of the other roles of the Bank of England.  

During the week, we have enjoyed some huge successes in extra curricular activities. On Wednesday, 4 students represented the school in the key stage 3 Regional Finals of the UK Maths Challenge.  Many congratulations to Tobin, Jeremy, Charles and William who beat off some very stiff competition to win. They will now go on to represent CGS in the National Finals later in the year. Yesterday, our U13 girls' football team travelled to Gloucester for their quarter final match in the National Cup. The opposition had mobilised quite a crowd it would seem! Undeterred, our girls won the match 3-2 and now progress to the semi-finals. At the risk of stating the obvious, this means that they are down to the last four teams in the whole country, a fantastic achievement. This was not the only achievement of note for girls' football at CGS this week. Our U16 team won the semi final of the County Cup which means that all three of our girls' teams will compete in the County Cup Finals. Please do come along and support our teams if you can.  All three finals will all take place at Arbour Park Stadium, Slough, with the U15s playing on March 13th and the U16s and U13s on March 15th.  There were other successes on the sporting front this week with the Year 8 rugby team beating Berkhamsted 45-5 and the Year 7 football team notching up another victory. Last but by no means least, I would like to congratulate Casper and Caitlin in Year 9 who have won the Harewood Downs Photographic Competition.  Their entries will now be framed and displayed in the clubhouse at Harewood. Well done to everyone.

During the week, those students in Year 11 who are following the GCSE Food course undertook their final practical exam.  This involved working to a brief and completing three dishes in three hours.  Almost 50 students have been involved and their creations have been stunning.  It has been wonderful to see their work - and to be able to taste their dishes.  Each student invited one of their teachers to come and taste their food and a number of other Year 11s also turned up; free food always goes down well! Part of the assessment process is the tasting element and it was really lovely to watch this taking place and to see and hear staff and students giving honest and constructive feedback on a range of elements, from taste and smell to texture and presentation. Very well done to those involved and a huge thank you to Mrs Rees, Mrs Morgan and Mrs Mash in the Food Tech Department who have encouraged, supported and cajoled the students as they have prepared for and undertaken this part of the GCSE course.

Every year, we have a number of students in Year 12 who take part in the Young Enterprise initiative.  During half term, our two teams operating this year took part in the Chesham Trade Fair.  Three prizes were up for grabs and each of our teams came away with one.  Team Nova won Best Trade Stand with Team Oko winning the 'Best Product Idea' category.  Well done and we wish them all the best in the final later this term.

Some of you may have a child in Year 6. If you do, you will know that today was national offer day. You may be aware that in recent years, the popularity of the school has increased significantly and that as a consequence, the distance to which places have been allocated has shrunk dramatically.  For September 2016 entry, for example, we went out to 11.7 miles.  This reduced to 6.5miles  in 2017 and to 5.7 in 2018.  It has shrunk further and for next September is just 3.8 miles. The school is now massively over subscribed.  Of course league tables have had some impact here and it was good to see us listed in the top 20 state schools in The Telegraph's league table  I have already made mention of The Times league table in which we were also ranked highly as well as the DfE school rankings.  

Before I finish, I would like to make mention of our U13 girls' table tennis team.  They won both the area and regional finals which meant they progressed to the Southern semi-finals where they were also undefeated.  Sadly, they did not progress to the next round, losing out on the countback.   This is another sporting achievement of which we are hugely proud and very well done to: Alice, Alice, Lily and Suzie.

Finally, congratulations to our Year 13 students with whom I met for 18th birthday tea this week: Lucy, Emily, Ella, Mohammad and Freddie.  Also, happy 12th birthday to: Risheen, Sasha, Marcus, Luke, Darcey and Poppy in Year 7.

With best wishes for a relaxing weekend,

Annmarie McNaney