Headmaster's newsletter at the February Half Term 2018
09 February 2018
An enormous amount of work has been completed by pupils and staff alike in the first five weeks of the Lent term and there have been some significant achievements in that time. The first two weeks saw the 5th and U6th Forms sitting their mock exams and the subsequent Parents' Evening follow-up provided a real focus for them; there is definitely a sense of added purpose within these year groups. We have also completed the Scholarship process again and it was heartening to meet some pupils of very high quality plus a noticeable increase in interest and applications for the process. Well done to all of those who took part, I was hugely impressed by everyone.
In the Performing Arts, pupils have taken Trinity Speech and Drama exams with a 100% pass rate and Distinctions for Charlotte Beck (Grade 3 Musical Theatre), Faye Thompsett (Grade 5 Acting), Eva Miller (Grade 5 Communication Skills) and Eleanor Sloan (Grade 6 Performing Text); just an example of the top class results from a department that two years ago did not even exist at WGS. In the last week prior to half term a large and exceptionally young cast has performed "The Government Inspector" giving audiences a rib-tickling evening to enjoy on a cold February night.
On the sports field, Netball and Hockey have had successful starts to the season and the Rugby Sevens programme is just getting underway. It was wonderful to host England Netball star Nat Panagarry to officially open the new Netball Courts and to conduct a training session with the senior girls. In Rugby, Oliver Mann, Bradley Hutler and
Jack Trundley have all been selected to play for the England Lambs Independent Schools U18 Representative side and Henry Mair and George Dady have been selected at U16 level.
After half term we will be welcoming our Reception 2018 intake to our Little Explorers Group commencing on Thursday 22 February. We are pleased to announce that plans are well underway for our Kindergarten to open in September. To help Mrs Oram (EYFS Lead) prepare the new area for this, we have employed the services of Mrs Estelle Hawkins (EYFS Development Coordinator) who will be working with the team to have the Kindergarten ready for September.
The work (or should I say fun) continues through half term as a party of 26 pupils left for the Italian Alps early Saturday morning (at 0330!) on the Ski Trip and a London Theatre Trip is taking place in the early part of next week. I wish the skiers a safe trip and hope the theatre goers have a wonderful time.
In staff news, Mr Geoff Howes is retiring at the end of this year and we will be looking to appoint his replacement in the second half of term. After 30 years as a maths teacher, 28 of which as Head of Department, we owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr Howes. We will find an appropriate time to celebrate his contribution to Wisbech Grammar School in the Trinity Term. Perhaps most fittingly Mr Howes will once again be organising the 'Race at Your Place'. It is due to take place on Wednesday 4 July and I hope as many of you as possible will be able to support this fantastic cause as well as wish Mr Howes a well-earned retirement.
In the Art Department, Mr Mick Stump will also be retiring at the end of the year after a remarkable 31 years as Head of Art. Again, we will find an appropriate time to celebrate his not inconsiderable impact on the School as both Departmental and Pastoral Leader next term. We are delighted that Mrs Sue Cooper has agreed to take over as Head of a combined Art and Textiles Department from September, Mrs Louise Feaviour will be returning to full time and Mr Peter Harrison will remain part time in the department. Finally we are delighted to appoint a new teacher as Head of Lower School English, Miss Harriet Kember, for September.
On a personal level, I should like to extend my thanks to those of you who expressed kind words of support and sympathy at the passing of my mother at the end of last term. I know many of you were wondering why I was not around at the end of term Christmas festivities. As a family, we really appreciated your thoughts. As an addition to the mayhem of our school lives, we are welcoming a puppy into our family this half term. We haven't gone small... we welcome Albie the Rhodesian Ridgeback to the Staley family!
May I wish you a restful half term break and we look forward to seeing the pupils back on Monday.