I trust you all had a good half term break. We return to a very short but intensive five and a half week run up to the Easter holiday.
As you will be aware the school community mourned the loss of a serving teacher and a recently left student in the first half of the spring term. Alan Yeates’ funeral service at St Margaret’s, Tylers Green, was a fitting tribute with a congregation of 450 packing the church, marquee and church hall. Jordan Coupland, who was killed in a car crash on New Year’s Day, was remembered in a memorial ceremony in the Queen’s Hall, attended by over 400. In both cases, our boys participated in these sad occasions in a manner which made all staff incredibly proud.
We had two trips out during the holiday and, as ever, our students were commended by fellow travellers and other hotel guests for their being great ambassadors for RGS. Please see below for the report of the ski trip.
Governors play an important role in the life of the school; they are the non-executive directors of the Academy. Our Governors hold the Headmaster to account as well as offering exceptional levels of support and expertise in the running of what is both a large school responsible for the education of your son, a sizeable business and employer which is the custodian of many millions of pounds of public money. You may remember that you received a letter before half term to inform you that we have a vacancy for a parent governor. Please see the LINK as a reminder.
The Board of Governors produce an annual report each year on the working of the Academy (although we use ‘School’ in our daily life, ‘academy’ is the legal entity for a state funded, independent school). We all feel that it is a good idea to share the report with you.
Reporting from Mr Eve, Assistant Head
‘Parents of boys in Years 7, 8 and 10 will notice some changes to the format of their son’s progress grades when they receive their tutor reports shortly after half term. The system of two effort grades – one for engagement in class and one for homework – has been replaced by a single Attitude to Learning grade that takes a holistic view of a pupil’s approach to his studies, and is designed to flag up any concerns more clearly. The Attitude to Learning grades are in the format of letters (O for outstanding, V for very good, G for good, S for some concerns and P for poor/serious concerns). They will be used for all year groups from now on and will end the current system of switching between letter and number grades for effort, depending on which year group your son is in.
In addition, boys in Years 7-9 who are awarded one of the bottom two grades for Attainment (1 or 2) or for Attitude to Learning (S or P) will receive a brief explanatory comment from the teacher on their progress card. We hope this will improve communication between the School and parents, and help you to understand where problems lie.’
Bat Oar Ball/Sportsman’s Dinner/RGS Golf Day
The Bar Oar Ball was a very well attended event – over 350 eating, drinking, being (very, in some cases) merry and spending generously. The ball raised over £12,000, which will go to benefit all sports in the school. Although I refer to £Ms in my paragraph about the governors’ report, the government grant is not intended to provide state school students with the sporting excellence we strive for at RGS. Your help is, therefore, important but very much appreciated. The Sportsman’s Dinner takes place on 8 March. Tickets are selling like hot cakes, as ever, so please do order soon to avoid disappointment. For those who enjoy golf, there is an RGS Golf Day on 18 May. I’ll remind you nearer the time, but here is the link. I don’t play golf myself, but I’ll see you at the 19th hole!
All The World’s a Stage
This is the year of the play, rather than the musical. I am delighted to invite you all to see our performance of The Crucible, by Arthur Miller on 22nd, 23rd or 24th March. This looks to be an excellent production, performed ‘in the round’, so tickets will be limited. Please look out for further information in forthcoming school comms.
I was very pleased to watch three of our boys, James Guild, Tom George and Othy Caroe who performed in the Wycombe High School production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. It was an excellent show with a strong cast from Wycombe High School being well supported by our chaps.
Mindfulness Course for Parents: From Mr Zair
‘Calling all RGS parents! This is a fantastic opportunity to study mindfulness on an 8 week course run at RGS in the summer term. This course will be run in a similar style to a Pilates or yoga class with lots of practice and discussion, and it will certainly not be a therapy group. To facilitate work and traffic, the course will run from 7– 8.30pm. The aim will be to develop particular mindfulness tools and skills to manage professional and personal challenges such as deadlines and stress, and generally help get the most out of life. The course cost is heavily reduced at £150 and will begin on April 30th, with four sessions either side of half term. For more information or to register your interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org.’
CCF Student Leadership: From Mr Rose
‘On Sunday 4 February, 38 Year 11 boys and five staff assembled for the annual RGS CCF Contingent PJNCO Cadre. The ‘Cadre’ is a selection board designed to test the leadership potential of the attending Year 11 cadets by putting them through a series of taxing cerebral and physical challenges. These included a planning exercise, group discussions, six command tasks, interviews and a school run. The field of candidates was strong and the highest scoring cadet was Toko Avaliani from the Army Section, closely followed by Cadet George Cook (Army) in second and Oliver Moss (RAF) in third. As the winner of the day, Toko is guaranteed promotion to Cadet Lance-Corporal and received the coveted ‘Youens VC Leadership Trophy’ (pictured attached – Cadet Avaliani receives the Youens VC Leadership Trophy from Captain Rose).’
I am delighted to announce that Ben Hinves (Year 12) came 18th in the J18 GB rowing trials. This is a fantastic result not only because of Ben’s own talent in the sport, but also given that he was racing against top athletes from large concerns, both clubs and schools. We also had success of another RGS boy at GB Rowing Trials last weekend in Lincolnshire. Seth O’Connor trialled for the J16s and came 9th in the single on Saturday and then 3rd in the double on Sunday. We hope that he will qualify for the GB Sculling Camp later in the year. Well done to both boys!
If you shop at Waitrose, Handy Cross, please put some green tokens in the RGS section of their charity collection, this month. Waitrose will convert the tokens into money to go to our rowing club to assist with updating the fleet.
Bridges Competition: From Mr Marshall
‘As part of the Year 8 Engineering module, students work as part of a team of four to design and build a bridge capable of traversing a large expanse and of supporting a given weight. Students are limited to only a set number of pieces of balsa wood, dowel and other modelling materials and the completed bridge is tested to destruction. Teams are judged not only on their actual bridge but also on their ability to work productively as a team and in their application of the technical engineering principles, particularly triangulation, in their bridge design.’
Ski Trip: Robert O’Connell (Year 8)
‘The RGS Ski Trip to Pila was an exhausting yet once in a lifetime experience. The accommodation, food and after-ski activities were amazing and well worth the long journey to and from the Aosta Valley. Each day brought new experiences, whether it was food I hadn’t tried before or different slopes and activities to try. All of the Interski and RGS staff were very helpful and never let you get bored. I really enjoyed the trip and would definitely do it again.’