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25th November 2016

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Welcome to the fifth Stockport Grammar School Email Newsletter of the Autumn Term. We hope that you enjoy reading it and find it a useful roundup of news and information.
This year’s school Carol Service will be held in St. George’s Church on Wednesday 14th December, beginning at 7pm.  Whilst attendance for pupils not performing is voluntary, we sincerely hope that you will join us for congregational carols, readings and to listen to our choirs in a magical candlelit service.  It is not necessary to obtain tickets for the Carol Service and parking will be available in the school car parks.  The Carol Service is a popular festive tradition and we would particularly encourage all First Year pupils to experience the evening, as it is one of the highlights of the School’s Autumn Term calendar.

The SPA Christmas Fair will be held on Saturday 3rd December 2016 from 11am to 3pm.  The SPA have a fantastic day planned with some exciting external stall holders coming along for early Christmas shopping opportunities, as well as a wonderful selection of food and drinks available throughout the day.  There will also be a “rodeo reindeer” to join the great variety of games our parent volunteers have planned.  And of course, the Big Man himself will be joining us in person in our grotto!

The volunteers are working hard to plan and run the stalls but they desperately need your help.  If you can spare an hour or two during the day of the fair to assist on one of the stalls, please get in touch with spa@stockportgrammar.co.uk.  Without your support they can’t run these large events, so we hope that you will be able to help!

They are also asking for your help with donations for the fair. 

Bottles - any bottle, not just alcohol
Wrapped Chocolate
Second hand toys, books and games
Toiletries and items for the “good as new” stall
Washed soft toys for the teddy tombola

They will also be selling cakes on the day and would ask that you bring your donations on the 2nd December. 

Please sell as many raffle tickets as you can and return unsold tickets and money to the school office.  For more information about the raffle please contact spa@stockportgrammar.co.uk.  Donations should be taken to the Senior School office.  Raffle prizes should be taken to the External Relations' office.

Curriculum Changes at GCSE
Fifth Year pupils are studying ten subjects at GCSE and Fourth Year pupils are studying nine subjects.  The reasons behind this change were outlined in a letter from the Headmaster in Summer Term 2015 (available here), but it may be useful to provide a brief reminder.
 
Changes to GCSEs and A Levels have been made by the DfE and are taking place over the period 2015 to 2019. These include a return to linearity at both GCSE and A Level, a change in the grading system at GCSE (moving from letters to numbers) and increased rigour in the specifications produced by the Examination Boards. These changes have caused widespread disruption in schools across the country, best exemplified perhaps when we consider that our Fourth Year pupils will receive a mixture of grades and numbers for their final GCSE qualifications.
 
In response to these changes we have reduced the number of subjects at GCSE from ten to nine for our current Fourth Year - this is the year group who are studying the new GCSE specifications. The additional time has been directed towards:
 
• Maths, where the new A Level Specification will be more demanding
 English, to provide a sound base for all subjects at A Level and in response to increased rigour in both Language and Literature GCSEs
 PE and Life Studies, to direct more of pupils’ time towards staying active and preparation for life outside of School
 Enabling pupils to focus on fewer subjects, so they are able to cope with the increased academic demands of reformed GCSE specifications
 
Pupils in September 2017 will, as has been the case for many years, opt for four subjects to study in Lower Sixth. Many will reduce to three subjects at some stage in Spring Term or Summer Term, and some will continue with four subjects in Upper Sixth.
 
If you would like any further details about our curriculum please consult the appropriate handbook on the Parents section of the school website or contact the relevant members of staff in school.

Lower School Academic Support
We encourage pupils to ask their teacher if they need additional help with their academic studies.  Some subjects find it useful to offer a support session one lunchtime each week, where pupils can go along and ask for help from staff and/or Sixth Form pupils.  A summary of the support sessions, by year group, is listed here.
Hockey
The 1st XI, captained by Georgina Dare, were the winners of the North Finals of the National Schools’ U18s Hockey Tournament played yesterday and have, for the fourth year in succession, qualified for the National Schools’ U18 Final which will take place at Lee Valley Hockey Stadium on the 1st and 2nd March 2017.
Netball
Earlier this week in the School Sports Magazine National Cup, the U15s beat Wirral Grammar School 50-42 in a great match.  They will now face Bury Grammar School in the fourth round to be played before the end of term.
Christmas is coming and what better way to celebrate this year than by giving a gift which will not only bring a smile to a loved one’s face, but also help raise money for the SGS elected charities.  With this in mind, the Charity Captains have created a 2017 calendar which features a selection of artwork produced by pupils.  The calendars are professionally made, ring-bound and wall hanging and would be a perfect gift.
The calendars are available to buy for £7 and all profits will go directly towards the elected SGS Charities.   Please complete the attached reply slip and return to the Main Office along with cash or cheque (made payable to Stockport Grammar School) before Friday 2nd December.  Calendars will then be made and distributed before the end of term.
Dance Show
Following the success of last year's Dance Show, pupils in Middle School and Sixth Form have been working to put together a smaller scale dance performance - Through the Seasons - featuring pieces they have created and rehearsed themselves, as well as some larger group pieces produced in school, from cool contemporary to hot Brazilian beats.  We hope you will join us at 7pm on Tuesday 29th November for refreshments followed by the performance at 7.30pm.  Ticket information is available here.

Last week, November 14th - 18th, Stockport Grammar School, along with many schools across the country, supported the Anti-Bullying Alliance's Anti-Bullying Week.  The theme this year is 'Power for Good' with pupils being encouraged through assemblies and form periods to use their Power for Good to make sure that they speak kindly to others and report incidences of bullying that they are aware of to their Form Tutor, Head of Year, Head of Section or any other member of staff.  Further information on Anti-Bullying Week is available on www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk, the Anti-Bullying Alliance's website.

Middle School
Fourth Year pupils have had an assembly with Mr Moore (Assistant Examinations Officer) and Mrs Boardman (Learning Support Co-ordinator).  Mr Moore outlined the regulations governing Non Examined Assessments such as Coursework and Controlled Assessment. Mrs Boardman discussed Access Arrangements.

Representatives from each of the Fourth Year forms led the Remembrance Service on Friday 11th November; they were a credit to us all. The behaviour and attitude of all pupils at this event was exemplary. 

Fifth Year forms have visited the Careers Room with Mrs Tadman, Head of Careers this half term.  Mr Stone (Head of Sixth Form) has spoken to the year group about Sixth Form at SGS and Senior Prefects have visited forms to answer any questions they have. Miss Curl (Head of Business Studies and Economics), Mr Swann (Head of Religion and Philosophy), Mr Davies (Head of ADT) and Miss Barton (Head of Psychology) have all led assemblies on their subjects at A-Level as they are not all offered at GCSE.  Pupils have been issued with their A Level options form; these should be returned by Wednesday 7th December.  If you have any queries about transition to Sixth Form, please contact Mrs J Smith at smithj@stockportgrammar.co.uk.

Senior school pupils delivered two thought-provoking performances of ‘Still Life’, a new production created to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Written and produced by Senior Deputy Headmaster Mr Howson, ‘Still Life’ looked back to the events of 1916, balancing these with scenes set in the Elysian Fields Care Home in 2016.  Further details and pictures are available here.
Well done to Murray Jallands, Matthew Atkinson and Ben Wilson who won the Manchester Branch Geographical Association World Wise Quiz earlier this month, retaining the crown won in 2015.  It was a close run thing, winning with a total of 80 points, just pipping Sale Grammar by 1.5  points. 

Second Year Trip to Aachen
There will be a meeting for parents (and pupils) on Monday 28th November at 6.30pm in Hallam Hall. This will be an opportunity to hear more about the trip and ask any questions you may have.

Third Year French Trip *New*
The Modern Foreign Languages department will be launching a new trip to France for pupils currently in Third Year.  Travelling to the Normandy coast and visiting the Bayeux Tapestry and WWII landing beaches, the dates of the trip will be Saturday 1st – Tuesday 4th July 2017.  Details of the activities are currently being finalised, but are likely to include plenty of opportunities to speak French and a visit to a boulangerie or chocolaterie.  Letters will be available in January and will be distributed in French lessons.  If you require any further information, please contact Miss Gibson gibsons@stockportgrammar.co.uk.

Fourth Year Science Live
Thirty places have been booked at the GCSE Science Live! Event, to be held at the Manchester Bridgewater Hall on the 2nd February 2017.  The coach will leave at 9.15am and return at approximately 4pm. This is an extremely exciting event with opportunities to see and hear five of Britain’s top scientists. The cost of the trip is £30 per pupil and will include transport to and from the venue from school.  If you wish your son/daughter to take part in this trip please complete the reply slip and return to Mrs Fenton in the Physics office as soon as possible.

Third Year Reggae Recital
On Monday 21st November pupils from the Third Year took part in a concert as part of the Monday Afternoon Recital Series. Pupils have been working hard all term exploring the roots of Reggae Music and were able to showcase their work with some exciting whole class performances of classic Reggae songs including Buffalo Soldier, Three Little Birds and Redemption Song. The concert also featured a wide range of other styles from Mozart to Nat King Cole, as soloists from each class performed to a packed Hallam Hall.

Autumn Concert
The annual Autumn Concert took place on Wednesday, with a programme that had something for everyone.  Whether it was the lively rhythms of the tango performed by String Orchestra, soloist Alex Jones’s performance of the 1st Movement of the Bottesini Double Bass Concerto or the classic Teddy Bears’ Picnic performed by Brass Ensemble, the pupils from across all years delivered some exciting performances.

Christmas Concert – Thursday 8th December
If your child plays in one of the following groups they will be performing in the Christmas Concert: Concert Band, Wind Orchestra, Second Orchestra, Junior Chamber Choir, Big Band, Chamber Choir; and you should have already received an email with further details.  Tickets are now available by emailing Mrs Johnson (johnsonsj@stockportgrammar.co.uk). These are free of charge but in the first instance we are only able to offer two tickets per family.  If you would like further tickets you will be added to a waiting list which will be opened on Tuesday 6th December should tickets still be available.

Psychology
Twenty Lower Sixth Form pupils attended a ‘Science, Pseudoscience and Psychology’ conference at the Royal Northern College of Music recently.  The event covered a variety of different elements of Psychology.

There were a number of very thought provoking speakers including Dr Peter Lovatt who explained the role of dance in cognitive processes and got pupils Niall Manford, Beth Humphreys and Lauryn Edwards up on stage to show off their moves; Oliver Meech, who explained the ‘Psychology of Magic’; and Andrew Newton who invited Alex Brooks, Noa Van de Riet and Jane Howard onstage to be hypnotised.

Outdoor Education
During the half term break, Outdoor Education Co-ordinator Mr Adam Hughes took pupils from a range of year groups to Brownstones in Bolton to build up their bouldering skills and experience. They did really well and pushed themselves on a variety of boulder problems and came away from the day feeling challenged but with a sense of achievement.  For further details click here.
The newsletter is emailed out fortnightly in term time to Senior School parents. We would welcome your comments and suggestions at externalrelations@stockportgrammar.co.uk.
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Stockport Grammar School · Buxton Road · Stockport, Cheshire SK2 7AF · United Kingdom

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