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Headteacher Blog

what's happening at Chesham Grammar

Posted on: December 16th 2016

Head's Blog

Dear Parent,

Well, here we are at the end of the longest and busiest term of the school year.  Almost 40% of the school year is now behind us; for Year 11 and 13 students that percentage is around 50%.  A vast amount has gone on aside from the day to day business of teaching the students, from trips abroad to academic competitions, university visits to drama and music productions.  None of this would have been possible without the commitment, energy and passion of the staff so once again, I would like to thank them all for what they do to give our students such a superb experience.

During the week, we have had some excellent events taking place.  On Wednesday, we held our Aspiration Day for students in Years 7 and 10.  Former students return to talk to current ones about their experiences beyond CGS and it is a really good opportunity for our students to hear about what university life entails.  The ex students were, to quote one of them, 'blown away' by the enthusiasm of the Year 7s and 10s and by the questions they asked.  The same evening, we held our Senior Prizegiving for current Year 13s and those who left after doing their A levels in the summer.  It was lovely to see them after their first term as undergraduates or in some cases employees or to hear about how they have spent their gap year so far.  Our guest speaker was Emily Bell who left CGS in 2014 and who talked about the influence CGS had on her.  Last night, we had our last event of the term, Christmas in Words and Music.  This was truly magical and to borrow the phrase used by the ex student to whom I referred above, I was 'blown away' by the evening.  When you spend all day amongst our students, it is quite easy to lose sight of what a privilege it is to work with them.  Their talent, energy and poise are truly awe-inspiring.  I would like to congratulate all involved: singers, musicians and readers and to say a huge well done and thank you to Ms Newson and Mrs Lewis and to Mr O'Sullivan and staff in the English department. 

At the end of Christmas in Words and Music, we held a retiring collection for the Chiltern Foodbank which raised just under £800.  Thank you so much for your generosity. Our Christmas jumper day today will have raised around £1,000 for Save the Children, bringing the total raised for charity at CGS this term to over £5,000 which is fantastic.  Staff at Chesham Toy Bank have asked us to thank our parents and staff for the wonderful donations of toys and gifts over the past few weeks. Presents are now being delivered to families around the Chesham area who are struggling this Christmas.  Finally, a huge thank you to those of you who made donations and supported the school through the Localgiving 'Grow Your Tenner' scheme, which has raised over £1,300 with match funding.  This will help us to buy class sets of iPads which will enhance student learning in the classroom.

Last Saturday, we held our Old People's Christmas Party with over 118 guests attending, the eldest of whom was 102!  Once again, this was a lovely afternoon.  It is truly heart warming to see our students serving lunch and sitting talking to the elderly.  Huge numbers of students attended and it says a great deal about them that they wanted to give up their time on a Saturday so close to Christmas to come and perform or to help.  Likewise the staff many of whom were also here.  There are pictures of the event on our Twitter feed, @cgsbucks and on our website.  To quote one of the many thank you cards we have received, "It is wonderful to find young people being so helpful to the elderly as well as so friendly, polite and happy.  I find it very uplifting and went home with a huge smile on my face."  I would like to thank the many local companies who donated money or raffle prizes and to the Christmas tree farm in Chesham who very kindly gave us a beautiful tree which looks lovely in our school hall.

As is always the case at the end of a term, we have some staff leaving us.  Ms Humphries has been with us temporarily teaching geography and economics.  Likewise, Miss Chernin has been with us temporarily teaching mathematics.   I would like to thank them both and wish them well in the future.  Mr Jackson has been with us just over a year as a PE technician and cover supervisor and we also wish him all the best.  Miss Hinz who has taught German, French and Latin here since September 2013, has made a huge contribution to the school and I would like to thank her for her hard work as well as her energy, commitment and infectious enthusiasm.  I will introduce the staff who will be new in January in my first parentmail of the new year.

This week, I enjoyed a conversation about having a birthday so close to Christmas with the Year 7s I met with for birthday tea.  They are: Clementine Holmes, Daisy Adderley, Konark Mehta, James Hodgson and Ethan Gardner.  I must also apologise to Tom Hurling in Year 13 with whom I met last week as he somehow got missed off my list last week.  A very happy birthday to them all.

The staff return to work on January 3rd.  We start with an inset day during which we be listening to Matthew Syed, formerly an international sportsman and currently a Times columnist.  His ideas and work resonate with us and have helped form our views on what it means to be a successful learner so we are all looking forward to that.

Students return on 4th January with Year 11 going straight into their mock exams.  While it is important for them to prepare over the break, please do make sure that your son or daughter, whether in Year 11 or Year 13, has a break and maintains a sense of perspective.  In the summer, there will be much more time to prepare for exams and the exam timetable then will be much less intense so if you find your child is starting to get anxious, please remind him or her of this.

Finally, can I thank you, our parent body, for your whole hearted and continued support of the school.  Without you, your children and this school would not be what they are!

With best wishes for a very relaxing Christmas and New Year,

Annmarie McNaney
Headteacher