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Headteacher Blog

what's happening at Chesham Grammar

Posted on: May 3rd 2019

Head's Blog

Dear Parent,

Today was the last day of timetabled lessons for Year 11s who started their study leave today.  While the vast majority will return in September to enter our Sixth Form, today was, nonetheless, a rite of passage as it marked the end of 12 years of compulsory education.  As a Year 11 parent myself, I am wondering where those years went!  We held a final assembly for the students which finished with a slide show of photos spanning their time in the school which went down well.  This was followed by a barbecue in the quad.  The students were brilliant and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. We wish them all the very best in their exams.  Next Friday, Year 13s have their last day and so far we have around 100 parents who are joining us for their child's last ever school assembly.  This has fast become a CGS tradition and I would advise those parents who will be attending to bring a tissue or two!

I know that a good number of students are off on end of season sports tours with their football or rugby clubs this weekend and I spoke to a number who had been given permission to leave slightly earlier today as they waited for parents to collect them.  The sense of excitement was palpable and I hope they all have an excellent weekend, one they will remember for many years to come.

We finally took over our new Music block on Wednesday.  While the rooms won't be exactly as we want them until September (the custom made furniture will be installed over the summer holiday) it has been very exciting to move in to this specialist accommodation.  For the first time, we have a standalone music block and this will make a significant difference to the department and to the student experience of this subject both in curricular and extra curricular terms.  The contractors have now started work on extending the Maths block which will be finished in time for the new academic year.  

During the week, we hosted two events involving visitors to the school dropping into lessons accompanied by a member of the Senior Leadership Team.  We belong to an organisation called Challenge Partners which allows us to quality assure what goes on in the school on a regular basis.  This is vital given that we are exempt from routine inspection by Ofsted as an outstanding school. This year, Challenge Partners is running a programme involving its 21 top performing schools and has facilitated school-to-school visits so that senior leaders from these schools can visit other outstanding schools and learn from them.  This fits perfectly with our mantra that 'outstanding doesn't mean perfect' and with our constant desire to seek out the marginal gains which will enable us to continue to move forward.  On Tuesday, six visitors spent the day at CGS, going into lessons and talking to students and to the SLT.  On Thursday, we held an open morning for governors who engaged in similar activities.  Both groups of visitors were hugely impressed by what they saw in lessons and commented on the engagement of students and on the atmosphere in lessons, where students feel comfortable enough to ask questions and to say when they do not understand.  They also remarked on the relationships between the staff and students and indeed between the students themselves. I felt enormously proud. 

This week I enjoyed meeting with Lucy, Tess, Alexander, Joe and Lexie in Year 7 who have all celebrated their 12th birthday recently.  It was also a pleasure to present Nic in Year 12 with his Harvard Book Prize.  This is presented to an outstanding student in their penultimate year, academically excellent with exceptional personal qualities who makes a significant contribution to school or community.  Well done Nic!  It was also good to meet Alexandra and Orlaith in Year 7. Both have been inspired by their geography lessons on the Thames Barrier with Alexandra visiting the barrier during the Easter holiday and writing a very detailed account of this while Orlaith was inspired to make a model of the barrier for her teacher, Miss Evans.  Seeing students go above and beyond the curriculum in this way is one of the things that makes teaching so rewarding.  Orlaith was also invited to see me, along with Aldo and Molly, also in Year 7, to be presented with their certificate and pen for achieving more than 200 House points so far this year.  I always enjoy hearing about how the students have accumulated this number, a superb achievement. Lulu in Year 12 has received her gold pin badge for 100 House points.  Given Year 12s are only following 3 or 4 subjects and therefore have fewer opportunities to collect House points, Lulu is to be congratulated.  She is the first Sixth Former to reach this milestone this year.  Pippa in Year 8 has recently passed her Grade 2 piano exam. Very well done to them all.

Thank you so much for the support you have already given to the FOCGS ahead of our Spring Fair on Sunday.  Many of you have donated items and/or have purchased raffle tickets.  Every penny raised by the FOCGS comes to the school to help us but things we otherwise simply could not afford so do please try to come along on the day.  I am particularly looking forward to visiting the Year 7 Enterprise stalls which are always most impressive.  

With best wishes for a relaxing bank holiday weekend,

Annmarie McNaney

Headteacher