An engineering specialism within a grammar school
Girls' Uniform List
Uniform and Regulations
Boys' Uniform List
The Clocktower Issue 4 : Summer 2013
School Calendar 2013-14
School Officers 2013-2014
French Exchange 2013
RGS Parents Association Fashion Event
Parents Association March Update
STUDY LEAVE DATES – 2013
Term Dates 2013/14
Post-Ofsted Action Plan
5 Year Strategic Plan
School Calendar 2012-13
School Officers and Prefects 2012-13
Term Dates 2012/2013
Higher Education Events
To Parents of Sixth Form Students
4th Year Work Experience
Visit by the Flying Theatre Company
SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2013
4th Year Work Experience
4th Year Work Experience
School closes 3.55pm
1st & 2nd Form exams begin
1st & 2nd Form exams end
New 1st Form Welcome Evening, 6.30pm
New 1st Form Induction Day
Sports Day, 1.30pm
L6th Form Work Experience begins
Lower School Prizegiving 2012
Her worshipful, the deputy mayor, governors, guests, staff, parents and members of the Lower School. Welcome to Ripon Grammar School’s Junior Prizegiving 2012. I am not going to say what a busy year this has been because it always is; Ofsted, the music block, many ups and downs and the usual routines of report writing, setting dates, parents’ evenings, open evenings. Earlier in the term we experienced the wettest drought on record. Now the wettest summer on record.
Being a headmaster these days is a little like being a football manager; short term fixes, league table positions and the potential to drop a division in terms of your performance as a school. I am just very grateful that John Terry doesn’t teach because I would not fancy managing him. Not exactly the ideal role model for a generation of young and impressionable minds. However, if the government introduces GCSE football studies some time in the future it may give some ex footballers something to do when they retire from the game. The new England football manager, Roy Hodgson, can speak four languages fluently; that’s apparently four more than most of the England football team. It will be interesting to see how the future develops. The usual comment from a football manager is to take each game as it comes. As head, perhaps I should take each set of examination results as they come. Job security cannot be taken for granted; it is a case of you are only as good as your last Ofsted. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the new head of Ofsted, has stated that 5000 heads are not up to the job. That is 20% of the total number of heads in the country. Sir Michael has also famously stated that he models his management style on Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider and rather revealingly said that as a head you know you are doing something right when staff morale is low. Not the right approach to bring the best out of people I would hasten to suggest. I am delighted that Dr. Mason has joined the governing body and thank him for his kind words. He was my headteacher, officially Principal, of Stamford School when I was Head of Science there. I also had the pleasure of teaching with him in the chemistry department. Dr. Mason was also Head of Reading School, a very high performing grammar school before he went to Stamford. He had lived in the Ripon area long before I had even heard of it and I remember receiving a Christmas card with a picture of Ripon Cathedral on it whilst I was at Stamford. It is strange to think how fate brought me to Ripon as well.
I would like to welcome George Owram, today’s speaker at Lower school Prizegiving. In many ways George needs no introduction. He was Head Boy in 2007. Time moves on very quickly, however, and what I realized is that none of the students in the hall this afternoon will know George. The current head boy and girl, Hugh and Georgie, will be well-known to you of course and you will remember Miles and Steph. You may also remember Tom York and Freya Mortimer but you will not know George. What can I say about George? A super head boy and a great role model. George studied law at Durham University, achieving a fist class degree, and is training to be a barrister. George is a talented cricketer having played for Yorkshire and he is passionate about the school. When working with George he had a tremendous appetite for work and nothing was too much trouble. If I had to explain to a prospective parent why you should send your son or daughter to Ripon Grammar School I would always think that George would do it much better than I could. School officers are meant to be ambassadors for the school and there is no doubt that they all are. I am immensely proud of the students who always give a superb impression of RGS to the community and they are outstanding role models for all the students in school. One of the questions I sometimes ask when appointing school officers is ‘are there are any head boys or girls who has stood out in your time at RGS?’ George frequently gets a mention for his enthusiasm and commitment but in reality many get a mention in the responses I get from each budding school officer. Alex Webb, James Sharp, Lucy Whitton, Benedict Clancy, Giles Pitts, Alex Robinson, Tom York. One of the factors that link the answers together is very important yet very revealing. It is very often a memory of when a student was in the first form and the head boy or head girl was particularly kind to them, or sometimes just simply took an interest in them, spoke to them and more importantly listened to them. A simple kind word or kind act can mean such a lot especially when it comes from a sixth form student who just happens to be the head boy or head girl. It is humbling for all of us to realize the impact our actions involving just a few minutes of our time can have on those around us. George; it is great to see you back today and we look forward to hearing what you have to say to us later this afternoon after the distribution of the prizes. I am delighted that you have been able to join us.
Talking of Ofsted, it should not go without mention the tremendous achievement by the whole school in achieving an ‘outstanding’ rating in February. This was the first time in the school’s history that this feat was achieved on the new, more challenging, framework. It was indeed a tremendous achievement and a superb team effort between staff and students. Ofsted defines ‘outstanding’ as the ‘relentless pursuit of excellence’. No wonder the bar seems to have been raised but the best work at Ripon Grammar School, is characterized by exactly that. The quality of teaching overall was graded ‘outstanding’ and you, the students, were incredible over the two days. The inspectors commented that you choose to behave, not that you are coerced. The pride you have in this school means that you care about the school as much as I do. The spontaneous round of applause when I told the school in assembly of the outcome meant a huge amount to me. It was clear you wanted to be graded outstanding too. Justice has finally been done. I won’t go through the detailed report; I am sure you have all read it. But I will share with you one little anecdote. One of the teachers had to go home ill and a supply teacher came in. Work was set and the inspectors came in to the lesson to observe it. There was the need to access the ICT network and the teacher, unfamiliar with it, was struggling with the inspector at the back of the room watching potential chaos unfold. Gallantly one of the students asked if miss needed some help. ‘Yes’ came the reply ‘that would be very welcome’. The student strode to the front of the class and took control of the ICT component of the lesson and the lesson went very smoothly as a consequence. ‘Is this what you wanted Miss?’ asked the student. ‘You tell me what you need and I will press the relevant buttons for you’. The inspectors were very impressed. This example of team work between students and staff is not so evident in many other schools. I still don’t know who the student was on the day but I do know it could have been one of many.
One of the main areas for development to emerge is the need for a literacy policy in school. The majority of you are highly literate. Katie Veitch, aged 12, won the U18 Ripon Gazette short story competition and is a current example of one our most literate students. However, some of you need to sharpen up your literacy skills since they are so important especially if you want to become a barrister like George. Expressing yourself clearly in the written form is a very important skill. It struck me quite forcibly when I was marking some of the students’ A level chemistry. Marks were lost because three students did not know the difference between effect and affect. This clarified perfectly why literacy is important across the curriculum. Whatever career you pursue you will be judged on your level of literacy whether it is as a barrister, a doctor, teacher, engineer, entrepreneur or a nurse. A lack of literacy may well prevent you from getting that all important job in the first place. Too many grammatical errors or incorrectly spelt words in a letter of application raises many questions in the minds of selection panel. If I described George as a trainee barista rather than a trainee barrister your confidence in the today’s proceedings would be undermined. I particularly like the library’s word of the week; pulchritudinous, soporific, lamentable. A word is chosen each week and its meaning along with a context is displayed outside the library. Students can use it increase their vocabulary. The BBC ran an article to find the country’s favourite 50 words pandering to our sense of sesquipedalianism (the tendency to use long words.) The onomatopoeic words were very popular such as discombobulate, defenestrate (throw something out of a window), mellifluous (honey like to describe a voice), I am sure we all know a scrimshanker someone who wants to accept no responsibility or do any work, petrichor, the smell of rain on dry earth (not a particularly useful word living in the North of England I would agree), tmesis - to break one word with another. For example: dis-bloomin-graceful, un-flippin-believable. A very useful word. I would advise you to use it mainly when talking to British Gas about your latest bill. To be well read enables all of us to become a lexiphane; that is one who uses words pretentiously. To be well read is a joy and enables you to appreciate the quality of writing in others; it is at the very heart of education. The lack of literacy in an individual is very constraining in later life. It can also affect your ability to do your job to the best possible standard.
Kofi Annan said the following:
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
Greg Mortenson, an American humanitarian worker in Afghanistan noted the following from his work there. “The makeshift schools are a testament not only to the Afghans' hunger for literacy, but also to their willingness to pour scarce resources into this effort, even during a time of war. I have seen children studying in classrooms set up inside animal sheds, windowless basements, garages, and even an abandoned public toilet. We ourselves have run schools out of refugee tents, shipping containers, and the shells of bombed-out Soviet armored personnel carriers. The thirst for education over there is limitless. The Afghans want their children to go to school because literacy represents what neither we nor anyone else has so far managed to offer them: hope, progress, and the possibility of controlling their own destiny.”
Mark Twain summed up the importance of literacy very succinctly, as he sums up most things very succinctly;
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
Sometimes a lack of literacy can cause misunderstandings. A Yorkshireman was very upset that his dog had died and he wanted a permanent reminder so he went along to sculptor to get a gold statue made of his beloved Fido. Yorkshiremen always keep an eye on costs of course and so the sculptor asked the man ’does tha want the dog aitin carrot?’ ‘Nay lad’, replied the man ‘ twood look much more realistic if the dog wert chewing on a bone’.
Thanks to the freedom of information act the following information has come to light. These are medical notes actually taken by medical secretaries in Glasgow hospitals following a visit from a patient.
The patient has no history of suicide
The patient has left her white blood cells at another hospital
The patient has chest pain if she lies on her side for over a year
The patient has been depressed since 1993 since she began seeing me
Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch
She is numb from her toes down
When she fainted her eyes rolled around the room
The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of fuel and crashed
By the time he was admitted his rapid heart had stopped and he was feeling much better.
Between you and me we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant
Just make sure you have got health insurance the next time you visit Glasgow!
George’s strong literacy skills forged in his school days has laid a strong foundation for his future career. The importance of literacy in the world of work should never be underestimated.
The future of Ripon Grammar School is assured given the quality of students we have here. It is a privilege to work here, and I know that the staff share that sentiment too and enjoy working with you, the students, very much. The success of the school is down to outstanding teaching, students being outstanding learners and a culture of high expectation.
At the end of the academic year I would like you to thank all the staff for their unstinting commitment and dedication to the students. Putting the interests and needs of the students first is something which is vital in a school. Students respond well to the culture of a supportive community allied to clear guidelines and expectations and the small number of instances of anti social behaviour is testament to the success of the systems in place. Staff providing a range of extra curricular opportunity for the students to enjoy and to develop a range of personal skills is essential in any school. The strong student/teacher relationships which are evident throughout the school results from the time that teachers and students spend together outside the classroom be it on the sportsfield, in a drama production, in a band or orchestra or on a trip to London, France or Vietnam. The Duke of Edinburgh programme overseen by Mr. Thompson and ably assisted by Mr. Chapman with assistance from Mr. Barker, Miss Russell, Mrs. Morris, Miss Green, Mr. Griggs, Miss Russell, Miss Raymer, Mrs. Pickard and Miss Murray has a record number of participants with 68 bronze, 20 silver and 24 gold awards being undertaken, Mr. Clarke’s world tour; I knew he collected football grounds but never knew he collected countries as well. Mr. Smith’s French Trip for the Second Form which is to be replaced this year by the battlefields trip, the new House System which is going very well, Mr. Mann’s Greenpower Cars and their latest third generation car which is soon to roll off the production line; the carbon comet won the Croft round last week and now has won three times in the last 4 years, the pantomime trip for the first form, RE trip to London Orchestra and band trips, the plethora of sports fixtures organized by the PE department. Mrs. Southwell oversees enterprise in school and the first form enjoyed an Olympic themed day in order to develop their problem solving, team building and creative skills. This is just a tiny snapshot of all the activities which go on and I am grateful to all the staff for providing students with such a wide range of opportunity to learn and develop. Please put your hands together to thank the staff for their work this year both in and out of the classroom. Applause.
It is with great sadness at this time of the year that we say goodbye to certain staff. Miss Charlton leaves after 30 years of service not only to the biology department but also in Johnson House as housemistress where her care and attention to the girls was exemplary. She will be replaced by Dr. Linklater as head of biology who is currently teaching at NLCS. Mr. Smith will also retire having served the MFL department since 1988 joining RGS from Hampton School, very near to Teddington School, my first ever teaching post in 1982. He is an excellent teacher who has run an excellent department and his good common sense will be missed. The local authority recognized the quality of the languages department recently with the assertion that it is the best in North Yorkshire. Our best wishes go to him and his wife Elspeth. Mr. Smith will be replaced by Mr. Chamberlain who is currently Head of Spanish at Yarm School. Mr. Fearnley joins us as Head of English. Mr. Fearnley is currently Head of English at Bishop’s Stortford College. He will also take over the running of the boys’ boarding house, School House along with his wife, Amy, and young son. Mr. Knight will be heading south to be Head of Chemistry at Bedford School and will be replaced by Miss Hargreaves, a first class graduate of Sheffield University. Mr. Bruce, graduate of Oxford University, joins the history department replacing Mrs. Watson who will be moving to Fulneck School. Mr. Still leaves to go Barnard Castle School and is replaced by Miss Nicholson, a Durham gradate who will be able to enthuse students with her knowledge of Russian as well as teaching French and German. Mrs. Sharman leaves the English department, moving to Buckinghamshire with her husband’s job. Mrs. Sharman has done a very good job and takes up a post as Head of English at Dr. Challoner’s High School, Amersham. Mrs. Garner and Miss White will also be teaching English in the coming year. Mr. Hudson is leaving to go to Lymm High School as assistant head of RE. He has taken girls’ football and lead the teaching and learning community in his role as associate senior leader. He is replaced by Miss Campbell, a graduate of Queen’s University. Mr. Herbert will also be leaving after 8 years of committed service to the design technology department. The outstanding gap students, Miss Sanchez and Mr. Heimann, will be returning to Mexico and Germany both having made excellent impressions. Reverend Dunbar who is with us today has been school chaplain for the last 8 years; he is retiring from the role and my very grateful thanks to him for his support over the years.
There is always sadness at saying farewell to staff who are leaving RGS, especially when they have made a superb contribution to the school’s success over the years. Over 60 years service in total. I am sure that they will prosper in the future and we hope to see them back at some time soon. A round of applause.
The hockey success this year has been incredible; U12 and U14 are area champions, U13 are runners up. The U15 and U16 teams are also area champions. Katherine and Louisa Chatterton, Kate Charlton, Phoebe Senior, Rosie Taylor, Cobey Cutmore, Ellie Simmerson, Tamsin Cutmore, Emily Evans, Sarah Reed, Laura Mackenzie and Amy Gatford have been selcted to play North Yorkshire Satellite netball. Annabelle Blyton is playing Petanque for England. Amy Gatford continues to play tennis at a high level winning the U14 doubles tournament at the Thornsbridge Junior Open. Toby Osman represented North Yorkshire at cross country whilst Holly Oldham, Ella Durkin, Ben Pimley and Matthew Pimley represented North Yorkshire at hockey. Anna Jeal competes in the North of England Modern Pentathlon whilst Tamsin Cutmore, Lucy Wicks, Mary Cox, Grace Branch and Poppy Stanton were runners up in the U14 girls’ areas badminton tournament. Cameron O’Donnell and Lucy Kettlewell have been selected for Yorkshire at cricket whilst Lucy Wicks, Emma Ward, Laura Mackenzie and Georgie Taylor have been selected for North Yorkshire. Lucy Coates was placed first in the Windsor Horse Show in showjumping.
Jack Baker, Josh Belward and Eliot Fearn have represented North Yorkshire at rugby whilst Daniel Lawson has represented North Yorkshire at hockey.
The Big Band and the Hornblower Brass Band have qualified for the Music for Youth finals in July. Joy Sutcliffe is head girl chorister at Ripon Cathedral. In the Music Awards in January, Kirsty Arrowsmith, Imogen Morgan and Maria Scullion won in their respective years with the most improved being Matthew Smith and Alec Cavell-Taylor. Billie Tweddle won the R and B factor at Boroughbridge High School and we enjoyed On Broadway, an evening of musical entertainment with strong input from the lower school.
Seven third form students; Ben Pease, Matthew Griffiths, Bethanie Archer, Leanne Anderson, Ellie Lamb, Jess Rutherford and Kieran Woodcock were awarded gold certificates in the UK Mathematics Challenge. Kieran was awarded best in school. The RGS team of Kieran Woodcock, Tim Pope, Dana Turner and Will Stobbs qualified for the National Finals beating all the schools in the Yorkshire region. Well done to them. Well done also to Jonathan Tanner best in school in the Junior Mathematical Challenge.
The school was very saddened by the death of Megan Bell-Walker who lost her battle with cancer. Students in Lower School were very keen to support the charity Candlelighters which had helped Megan throughout her illness and organized cake stalls, non uniform days and other events to raise funds for a memorial chair which is now in the library. The Chair has been made by the Mouseman in Kilburn , one of Megan’s favourite places.
The success of the school is as a result of the synergy between staff and students. With so many talented staff and students working together is it any wonder that the school is enjoying one of the most successful spells in its history. The students have been eager to learn and seek after righteousness being true to the founding fathers of the school. The fact that so much passion and enthusiasm is evident in all they do merely ensures the excellent outcomes that are being achieved.
I am grateful to the governors for agreeing to undertake the feasibility study for another fund raising project for the classroom block and dining facility. The classroom block is an ever increasing need as the existing accommodation continues to deteriorate. There are 10 temporary classrooms which are in need of removal. This is a matter of urgency and I am determined to secure funding for a new classroom block and give the students the facilities they deserve.
It is with great pleasure that I will pass back to Dr. Mason who will ask Mr. Owram to present the prizes after a musical interlude.