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Headteacher Blog

what's happening at Chesham Grammar

Posted on: December 1st 2017

Head's Blog

Dear Parent,

Well, December is upon us and there are just two weeks left until the end of term.  I am sure I am not the only one who can't quite believe Christmas has (almost) come 'round again quite so quickly!  Can I remind you that we finish for Christmas on Friday, 15th December with a 2.20pm finish.  Buses will be called for 2.30pm.  School will reopen on Wednesday, January 3rd 2018.  One of the CGS Christmas traditions of which I am most proud is our party for the senior citizens of Chesham.  Over 130 elderly residents of the town join us in the school hall for food, drink and entertainment and it is always a truly wonderful event, one which is very much appreciated by our guests, some of whom are over 100 years old.  As you can imagine, this takes a huge amount of organisation and I am most grateful to Rachel Baillie and Karen McKenzie who somehow make it happen each year.  Thanks too to Sarah Rees who is working hard with her GCSE Food Tech students to make 130 Christmas cakes.  Our school hall will be decorated for the event and I would like to thank the Christmas Tree Farm in Chesham for the beautiful tree they have given us.  Each of the guests goes home with a raffle prize and a box of biscuits or chocolates and I would like to thank you for the very generous donations we have received so far.  Many of our students will be here to help on the day.  Please do encourage your son or daughter to sign up, even if just for an hour.  Another superb Christmas tradition here is Christmas in Words and Music, our carol concert, held in Broadway Baptist Church in Chesham town centre.  An email with details of how to get tickets for this (there is a small charge this year to cover the costs) will be sent to parents on Monday. 

As you know, Year 11 students sat their mocks last month and in the next fortnight, each student in the year will have an individual conversation with a member of the Senior Team.  This will focus on mock results and on what needs to be done in the remaining months of Year 11 in order to get the best possible grades.  We will also discuss any support or help which might be needed and ensure that each student has thought about what to do and to whom they could or would talk should they feel stressed or anxious in the months ahead.  Finally, we will look at post 16 options and ensure that everyone has thought about their future plans.  Year 11 parents will know that the progress evening for their child is on Thursday, January 4th, right after the Christmas break which is a good time to have conversations with individual subject teachers about the mocks and what lies ahead. 

Many thanks to Year 10 parents who completed our parental survey last week.  We had submissions from around 60% of the year group and I will be looking at the results in detail next week.  I will send home a summary along with a response to many of the comments parents took the time to make.

Our assemblies this week were delivered by a group of students.  They talked about the role of women in computing, stressing that although this is often seen as a male-dominated subject and career area, it is one girls should not rule out.  They encouraged all students to think about our coding club and I do hope this is something your child will consider. Well done to the students concerned: Danyal Abassi in Year 9, Tiaana Khanna, Oscar Jones and Katie Sones in Year 7, Anais Platt Bowles in Year 8 and Morgan Taylor in Year 10.  Thanks too to Mr Lakhani for overseeing this.

This week, as always, I have enjoyed my meetings with a range of students.  On Wednesday, I met three Year 7s who have celebrated their 12th birthday in the last week: Elise Ivory, Phoebe Hurst and Bruno Murray.  Happy birthday.  I also met with a group of students from across the school to hear about and congratulate them on their extra-curricular achievements.  Archie Bellamy in Year 9 was selected to represent his scout district in the 2019 World Scout Jamboree in the USA.  He is the second CGS student I know of to be selected and it is a great achievement as I know the selection process, which includes an interview, is pretty rigorous.  He now has a period of time in which to undertake the necessary fundraising.  Eden Law-Gleen also in Year 9 recently competed in a dance competition at the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham.  She came away with a good deal of silverware!  Eden won the following sections: Modern, Improvisation and Duet and was also named 'most dedicated and determined pupil of the year'.  Grace Birdseye, Tom Bosher, Jenny Scoones and Emily Webber, all in Year 13, recently delivered a lecture at the University of the Third Age in Chesham.  Their subject was the history of India, covering colonialism and partition as well as the subsequent 70 years.  As you can imagine they had to undertake a good deal of research, planning and preparation.  They delivered with confidence and poise, handling some searching questions and I very much enjoyed talking to them about what they gained from the experience.  Three of the four students along with a good number of others are off to Oxford or Cambridge in the next couple of weeks for their interviews and I wish them, and all those involved in university interviews at the moment, the very best.  My final visitor this week was Raffi Pollitt in Year 10.  Raffi is an accomplished fencer and he recently competed in the European Cadet Circuit Event in Austria.  He got through several rounds and, by the time of the last 32, was the only remaining British fencer.  Raffi also took part in the team event and was in the highest finishing British team which finished 8th.  He has subsequently been selected for another event, this time in Cabries, France, later this month.  Very well done to all the students. 

Last week, I mentioned that we held a Year 7 art competition.  We would very much like to promote a competition which is supported by local law firm, Blaser Mills.  It is open to Years 8 and 9 who are invited to submit photographs and/or canvas paintings on the theme of ‘Local Life’.  The winning entry will receive a £50 gift card and the runner up will get one to the value of £20.  In addition, four students in each of the two year groups (two photographers and two artists in each year) will have their work displayed in the offices of Blaser Mills in High Wycombe for the next 12 months.  Staying on the theme of art, I am delighted to tell you that Chesham Grammar School artists have again featured in the final exhibition of the Young Artist Awards run by The Bucks Art Society. Nicholas Phillips and Meggie Pendered, both of whom left Year 13 in the summer, were joint runners-up and received a cash prize with Nicholas also being presented with the prestigious Selina di Girolamo Award for emerging talent.  Well done.

Finally, I will finish with an extract from a letter I received this week from a student.  The student concerned was asking permission to establish an inter-House CGS Challenge and also raised the possibility of a staff v students Challenge quiz.  The last paragraph said: ‘My idea was stimulated by a defeat.  I could have let this have a negative impact on me and my academic confidence.  However, CGS has always taught me, whether in Critical Thinking in Year 7 or more recently in Miss Wright’s assembly, to grow and be inspired by a setback.’  As you can imagine, it was a heartening letter to read.

With best wishes for a relaxing weekend,

Annmarie McNaney