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what's happening at Chesham Grammar
Well the second full week of term has ended, Christmas seems a distant memory and by this time next week we will already be halfway through this half term which is a rather alarming thought!
It was good to welcome back Year 11 students to school on Tuesday following their mock exams. I know from my lesson drop ins this week that students have been receiving their papers back. Staff have been getting them to evaluate their performance and identify what it is they need to do in the time remaining in order to get the grade they want. Year 13 students are doing their mocks now and return to school on Tuesday. I would like to thank our Examinations Officer, Ms Fiona Robinson, and her team for all their hard work over the last fortnight. Organising and running exams in a school of this size is hugely time consuming and complex. The exams have run very smoothly and the team now has a couple of weeks before it is back in full swing for Year 12 mocks next month.
This week I have met a number of Year 7 students who have celebrated their 12th birthday. They are: Thomas O'Reilly, James Daw, Pippa Aston, Talisa Sharma, Sean Patten, Jacob Mitchell, Danyal Abbasi and Krishan Patel. A very happy birthday to you all.
I also met some members of the Year 7 and 8 girls' football team who won the Wycombe Wanderers Football League 2015. What a brilliant achievement. If you happen to be at the Wycombe Wanderers game next Saturday, you will see the girls being presented with their trophy at half time. They are out of school today playing in the regional final in Stevenage. Very well done to them all. They are: Emma Buse, Cailin Waddell, Tilly Creed, Alyssa Veerasubramanian, Anna Bayles, Kate Hewat, Izzie Kidd, Catherine Reeves and Emi Hodgson-Sakamoto.
Finally, I met five young men in Year 8; Alfie Dix, Max MacKenzie, Ethan Bryan, Ineesh Kundu and Jack Beilby. Last Friday, they were on their way down White Hill at the end of the day when one of their friends sustained a very nasty fall. They were brilliant. Not only did they look after him and make sure he was ok, they called an ambulance and contacted his mother. I am very proud of them and I know their friend and his Mum are hugely grateful for their care, maturity and thoughtfulness. Well done and thank you, boys.
I mentioned last week that Oxford University had made its offers and that Cambridge offers would be released this week. I am delighted to tell you that a dozen of our Year 13 students are now holding offers from Oxford or Cambridge Universities. Well done to them and many thanks to the staff who helped them to prepare for their interviews. I know from my conversations with Year 13 that there is a huge amount of activity at the moment surrounding university applications and it is lovely to see the excitement which comes with the offer of a place at a preferred institution - especially when it is an unconditional offer, which is happening more and more often with our students these days. Unconditional offers were a real rarity a few years ago but they are being used by an increasing number of institutions as a strategy to entice the highest achieving students. Of course the benefit is that it takes the pressure off any student who holds one. There is concern in some schools that it has a demotivating impact on students who no longer have to get a particular set of grades to gain access to their chosen courses. We have not seen it having this effect at CGS I am pleased to report.
We received our EPQ results this week and were delighted with them. The vast majority were graded A* or A. Well done to the Year 13 students who undertook this qualification. Next week, we will receive the results of our IGCSE English Language exam which Year 11 students sat in November and we are expecting these to be superb.
As the weather has turned colder, please can I remind you that coats, hats and scarves worn to school should be black. In the event of snow, my first priority has to be the health and safety of the students and staff. I will always endeavour to keep the school open if possible. Should we have no option but to close, this will be clear on the home page of our website. I will also post this information on the County website: http://closures.buckscc.gov.uk/ If a closure is not notified in these two places, we will be open - whatever your child might try to get you to believe!
I would also like to say a word about hairstyles and nail varnish. The former applies mainly in this instance to boys, the latter to girls. Nail varnish is not permitted for those in Years 7 - 11 so please do not allow your child to come to school wearing it. In terms of hair, please can I remind you what it says in our uniform policy, which is that, "dyed hair and extreme hairstyles are not acceptable. The Headteacher is the final arbiter of the interpretation of the word 'extreme', though this includes hair with contrived patterns or hair that, in her opinion is too short or too long." While I fully accept that hairstyle is one key way in which an individual can create or express his or her own identity, I do expect this to be done within the limits of our own school expectations please.
You will know that we changed our email address a year or so ago. Until recently, any emails sent to the old addresses (which ended in .bucks.sch.uk) were still being received. This is no longer the case. Please only use the cheshamgrammar.org addresses. If you don't, your message will not reach the school!
I am delighted to report that the final total we sent to the Chiltern Foodbank following our Christmas in Words and Music collection and our Christmas jumper day was £1130.81. I am pleased that we have been able to support this charity especially at a time of year when most of us have more food than we need and often more than we end up eating. I also heard this week that the final total received from CGS by the Royal British Legion following Remembrance Day was £570.80. This brings the total amount raised for charity last term (which includes our Jeans for Genes and Children in Need mufti days) to just under £4,000 which is wonderful. This term we will be holding another mufti day in order to raise money for Sport Relief in March. Further details will follow.
Last term, I mentioned that I will be working with staff, students and parents to look at identifying marginal gains which, when added together, will enable CGS to move still further forward. If you are interested in belonging to the parents' group, please contact my PA, Rachel Baillie by the end of next week.
With very best wishes for a relaxing weekend,