Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

New Year, New Term

New Year, New Term

Happy New Year! The persistently dark and wet mornings this week have so far failed to dampen spirits in our two days back at school. Indeed, term has got going with the usual RGS feeling of purposeful energy coupled with good humour.

The swimming-pool is back in action after the remedial work on its ceiling, successfully accomplished: and I’m pleased that, given that all the grass pitches are currently quagmires, the completion of the new building last summer gives us now two large indoor spaces for sport during winter weather. I’m told there were three feet of water on the road behind school in Brandling Park on Tuesday: but our walls and floodgates kept it out, the first time they have been tested (though not to any great extent).

This is the time of year when offers (and, sadly, rejections) start to roll in to Upper Sixth formers from the most competitive universities and courses: from Oxford (this week), Cambridge (expected next week) and most medical schools throughout January. Our students aim high, as they should do: but in doing so they are obliged also to expect rejections, and need all the resilience they can find to cope with those.

We still await the draft of our inspection report, let alone the final version: presumably Christmas held the process up - though, in truth, I had hoped to have a draft by now (that is sent to allow us to correct any wrong information, though naturally we cannot quibble about any judgements made).

The educational world as a whole is already busy again both nationally and regionally. I seem to have been writing plenty in response to a variety of announcements and initiatives: you can read my views on the Education Secretary’s plans for national times tables tests here and, if you want to see how I take issue with suggestions that junior school-age sport should not encourage winners and losers, please click here.

Otherwise, as I said to the school in Assembly on Thursday, I find myself in agreement with the Archbishop of Canterbury in hoping that 2016 might demonstrate the transformative effects of hospitality and love: also with him, I wish everyone a year of hope.

Bernard Trafford

Headmaster