Headmaster’s Letter

August 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians

I trust this letter finds you all well.   It goes without saying that the anticipation and excitement of this year is high.  Our new Newsletter has kept you apprised of all that we are doing and I am so pleased it has been well received.  It means that this letter ought not to be quite so long – mercifully I hear you say! – so I shall share all the good news posthaste.

Appointments:

We have appointed a new General Manager, Mr David Small, who joins us having been doing the same role at Regents College, Leicester for 33 years.  Mr Small will oversee all the Health and Safety at the School including Maintenance and Estates.  The Governors (but me in particular) are delighted about Mr Small’s appointment as it means that I can spend much more time out and about (in School and outside) sharing and celebrating all that is wonderful about Grace Dieu.

I am delighted to welcome Miss Nathalie Shutt who will be providing support to one of our pupils in Year 1.  Mrs Susan Allen returns to us as a Nursery Nurse and I am about to make a number of additional appointments for our new Nursery and Pre-Prep (Nursery Nurses) this Summer and I shall share all our new appointees’ names as soon as I can.

All our new staff join – as I indicated last year – a changed and changing community at Grace Dieu. I, like all of you, am keen to see Grace Dieu reach for new heights so that all within our community flourish in the weeks, months and years that lie ahead.  It deserves no less.  As ever and as always, please introduce yourselves to our new staff when you meet them.

The annual summer schedule of maintenance works has been extensive. The Nursery and the renovations of the classrooms beside and above my Study have been the key works this year.  You will, I think, be very pleased with the transformations.  Again, all this, along with the Curriculum changes and innovations, our new Governing Body, all bodes so very well for the future; it is very exciting for Grace Dieu and I hope this anticipation is building at home, too.

Academic and Pastoral:

As ever, the children have done ever so well this year: the ‘new’ SATS demonstrated that our children are among the highest performers in the Country (in Year 2 and in Year 6).  Similarly, the Scholarship Exams and Entrance Testing saw Grace Dieu pupils perform exceptionally well – the best on record in fact.  The changes that we have been gently and carefully putting into place at Grace Dieu are working – we know they are.  Small, incremental improvements in a number of areas (curriculum, operations, communication, systems, culture, infrastructure, policy, practice, strategy and ambition to name but some areas) means that the potential cumulative gains are significant – the fruits of these changes are beginning to gather traction. But to what end? Our children’s happiness. Our efforts these last two years have always put the children’s happiness and welfare as the primary focus. It will continue to be.

With that in mind, some important changes for next year.  Mrs Margaret Kewell will be my Deputy Head from September.  From Year 1 to Year 6 the Class Teacher is your first point of contact for all matters.  For Academic matters that the Class Teacher cannot address, then Mrs Tallett is your next point of contact.  Our new Subject Coordinators next year are:  are: Mrs Burley (Computing), Mrs Kewell (RE & PSHCE), Mrs Maher (Maths), Mrs McDermott (Science), Mr Oldham (Geography and History), Mrs Scattergood (English & Drama) and Mrs Taylor (Art and Design). The members of staff listed here will oversee the delivery of the subject areas but, again, the Class Teacher should be your first contact if you have a concern or query about an academic matter. For any Learning Support concerns (including Gifted and Talented queries) then Mrs Taylor is your point of contact. Similarly, if there is a pastoral issue that you feel needs bringing to the attention of someone within my Senior Team then Mrs Kewell would be that point of contact, Mrs McDermott for Year 3 & 4 concerns (Mrs Kewell thereafter if required) and Mrs Dexter for Nursery, Cygnets and Swans.  An email is a quick and efficient way of communicating your query.  Mrs Kewell, as the Deputy Head of the School, is available to meet you to discuss any issue or concern that you might have.  My door is always open as it has always been, but please do not be offended if Mrs Iley enquires as to whether or not you have met with other members of staff, particularly Mrs Kewell, before you have met with me.  By doing so, I know that all my staff have had the opportunity to address concerns before they reach me.

Both Mrs Tallett and Mrs Kewell will be sending you key information over the next month or so as it pertains to the Curriculum, Prep Timetable, routines, etc and Miss Blencoe will be sending out the Activities Schedule for the children to peruse.

Pupil Appointments for 2016 – 2017

I am delighted to share with you all our new appointments for the year ahead. A big change, of course, as these appointments are held by Year 6 pupils.  Big responsibilities for the children named below, but they are worthy of the positions.  Central to these appointments, of course, are the roles of our new Head Boy and Head Girl. Daniel Banks and Antonia Acworth have been asked to lead our Student Body this year and I am certain that both Daniel and Antonia will discharge their duties admirably and courageously. Well done to them both! I very much look forward to working with them during the year ahead.

I am also very pleased to announce we have asked two boys and two girls to be our Deputy Head Boys/Girls this year – all 4 pupils are very deserving: Henry Cole, Elliot Toogood, Jemima Dixon and Mimi Golby are all worthy recipients and, together with Daniel and Antonia, we know that the leadership and example from this particular team will be outstanding.  Congratulations to you all.

Our other key appointments this year include:

Captain of Rugby Charlie Grayson
Vice-Captain of Rugby Daniel Banks
Captain of  Hockey    Antonia Acworth
Vice-Captain of Hockey Ava Marriott
Head of Orchestra                 Emily Siviter
Head of Chapel Choir To Be Confirmed
Head of Senior Choir Remee Keller
Head of Drama To Be Confirmed
Sacristans/Altar Servers Thibault Crosnier, Ava Marriott, Joseph Tatton
Librarians Gracie Collins, Mimi Golby, Remee Keller, Emily Siviter
Digital Leaders Antonia Acworth, Grace Appleby, Mimi Golby, Charlie Grayson, Ella-Rose Seymour
Bishops House Captains Laila Dobb, Kyle Thompson,
De Lisle House Captains Stefan El-Fady, Phoebe Harrison, William Moore
Gentili House Captains Remee Keller, Daniel Banks
Verdun House Captains Andrei Aunianu, Jacob Joy, Fionntàn Townsend

 

Well done everyone.

 

Other Matters:

I am keen to draw your attention to our Alumni Event on Sunday 11th September.  Mrs Fisher will have contacted you if this applies and is for former pupils of the School.

As always, I am keen that our pupils look their smartest at all times so please can you ensure that this is the case.  Please do remind yourself of the Uniform requirements for the year ahead.  Waterproofs (available from Stevensons) together with Wellington Boots, will be essential for Outdoor Learning.

For our “new parents”, please note that I am holding a Reception in School specifically for you at 6.30pm on Tuesday 13th September in the de Lisle Room. This will be an opportunity for me to welcome you to Grace Dieu. I am, together with Rachel, my wife, keen to meet you all in an informal setting.  Do please come if you can. The evening also provides an opportunity for the Parents’ Association Committee Members (The GDPA) to meet you, and you them.

For all our existing parents, the School Diary, which is also attached (with hard copies to follow with the children during the first week of term), contains (as you know) all our key events such as Parents’ Evenings, Social Gatherings and so much more.  The Diary will also be available to view online shortly should you prefer.

You will be delighted to know that Miss Ash had a bouncing baby boy on the 11th August. He is named George.  Miss Talbot’s wedding was a lovely occasion and she is now Mrs Breen.  Congratulations to all.

Do please enjoy what remains of the Summer break.  I am very much looking forward to seeing you all on the 5th September.

 

With my very best wishes,

Peter Fisher, Headmaster