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what's happening at Chesham Grammar
Well, here we are at the end of this longest and busiest term of the school year. We now have almost 40% of the school year under our belts and I am sure that everyone is well and truly ready for a good rest. 2017 has been the year of the 70th anniversary of the school and we are already starting to plan for the next big anniversary, our 75th, in 2022!
It has been a strange week due to the enforced closure due to bad weather. Deciding whether to open or close in the event of snow is rarely clear cut and it is one of those situations where you can't please everyone. Monday's closure was an easy call, Tuesday's much less so but given the cancellation of our school buses and the conditions around the site, it would not have been right to open. I am really hoping that we don't have any further snow falls this Winter!
Luckily, we had scheduled Christmas in Words and Music for Wednesday evening, otherwise it might have had to be cancelled. Once again, this was a truly magical evening of music and readings, the culmination of a term of hard work, dedication and commitment. There can't be many schools with an orchestra as impressive as ours and if you were at the event and heard 'Sleigh Ride', for example, I am sure you will agree. I am most grateful to Ms Newson, Mrs Lewis and Mrs Jashari in the music department and to Mr O'Sullivan and colleagues in English for their hard work in preparing for the event. Thanks too to the many staff who were involved behind the scenes for their support.
At the end of Christmas in Words and Music, we held a retiring collection for the Chiltern Foodbank and I am delighted to tell you that this raised £831.55. I am proud of the way in which CGS supports a range of charities and good causes. This term alone, we have raised more than £5,000 for: Children in Need, Jeans for Genes, the poppy appeal, Chiltern Foodbank and Save the Children. We have also been collecting food for the Foodbank and toys for the Chiltern Toybank and, of course, last week we held our Christmas party for over 130 elderly residents of Chesham. Every guest went home with a raffle prize and a box of chocolates or biscuits, thanks to your generosity. There is nothing more heart-warming than watching our students with our elderly guests. In many cases, they just sit and talk to them but it is the completely natural way in which they do this which is so impressive. Well done and thank you to all those who came to help during the day. Thanks too to the staff involved. Mrs Baillie and Mrs McKenzie organised the whole event but there were countless others who assisted. I must make mention of Miss Snell who was here from early in the morning until well after the event had finished, clearing up, and Mr Biddle who took to the microphone to run the raffle, amusing everyone with his quick wit and his one-liners.
You might think that not much happens in a school over the Christmas break…but you would be quite wrong! There will be a good deal of work going on at CGS in preparation for the new term. Early next week, we will take delivery of almost 100 new computers which will allow us to replace all the machines in our IT rooms. As a consequence we will be able to put better ones into our language lab and in some other rooms, thus improving and updating much of the hardware around the school. There are numerous other improvements taking place and my thanks to our Finance and Resources Director, Paul Griffiths, and our site team for this.
This week, each Year 11 student was due to have an individual interview with a member of the SLT. These have been disrupted because of the two snow days and will now be completed early next term. My birthday teas for Year 7 did not take place this week as they were scheduled for Monday. They will be re-arranged after the holiday. I enjoyed, as always, meeting those celebrating their 18th birthday: Tom Collins, Max McLoughlin, Miranda Upstone and Emily Jane Curran-Ross. Congratulations.
Earlier this week we received the excellent news that for the second year running we top the list of Bucks grammars in terms of the number of parental preferences for Year 7 next year. As you can imagine, I was delighted to hear this. I was equally delighted to hear that the Friends of Chesham Grammar School have raised almost £10,000 for the school just this term. Thank you so much to all those parents who have been involved in the events this term in any way.
Last week, I mentioned Raffi Pollitt in Year 10 who was about to compete in the Fencing Cadet World Cup in France, captaining the GB Team. This was held last weekend and Raffi’s performance at the competition means that he has now qualified to represent Great Britain at the European Fencing Championships in Sochi, Russia, in 2018. He is currently top of the U17 Under Cadet Men’s Foil GB Rankings with two seasons to go and he finishes the calendar year in top place in the U15 Boys’ Foil Rankings too, way ahead of his nearest rival. While the school cannot take any of the credit for Raffi’s achievements in fencing, we are delighted to be able to support him in any way we can, as is the case with all those who have commitments of a similar nature outside of school. Very well done Raffi.
We start the new term on January 3rd and by the end of that first shortened week back will already have held our A level certificate presentation for those who left Year 13 in the summer and our Year 11 progress evening so will have started as we mean to go on!
Can I finish by wishing you all a very happy and restful Christmas break and by thanking you for your support this term.