Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Looking to the Future

Looking to the Future


I took a particular pleasure in the Options Evening we held for Year 11 students on Tuesday. Both our own girls and boys, approaching GCSE, and those looking to join our Sixth Form from other schools in September attended in great numbers.

They were all looking very serious, as were their parents. But I did insist on lightening the tone, where I could. The choices to be made are serious: because this process is all about opportunities, surely an open-ended and exciting position to be in.

All these youngsters are looking forward to some great GCSE results in the summer which will act as a springboard to their Sixth Form career. And, as we know, the RGS Sixth Form is very much a fast-track to university. 

Fast-track? Well, the academic pace is pretty ferocious: but our Sixth Form is not some kind of escalator to magical realms, such as the one the children experience in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! On the contrary, A level study is pretty hard graft.

That’s the point. Our students are rightly ambitious, and aspire to highly competitive courses at the top universities. So they should. But they understand just how much commitment and hard work are needed.

So, at the same time as considering subject options, I felt the need to remind both students and parents of the huge amount of sheer fun they also have in the Sixth Form. There is a joy and a pleasure in any case in being the senior students in a big school: more than that, our sixth formers benefit from almost unparalleled opportunities in sport, the arts and a host of other activities. Through them they find out about themselves, experience very significant personal growth and derive immense enjoyment from all of it.

We remain convinced that those who are most committed and fulfilled outside the classroom find that their efforts bring success within it. 

The formula works. So I hope those planning to join our Sixth Form will manage not to see the choice between so many subjects at which they are good not as a burdensome decision but as the creation of yet another range of opportunities – and, at the same time, the opening of a door onto a host of great experiences.

Bernard Trafford
Headmaster