13th September 2013

Message from the headmaster

It is good to have this opportunity to write to you at this early stage in the school year. By now the rhythm of the term should be established and academic work should be well underway. Girls and boys appear to have settled well into their new forms and teaching groups and our busy and varied extracurricular programme is in full swing.

I am very grateful to the many members of staff who accompanied parties in our crowded schedule of summer activities. Full details can be found on the website (and in the forthcoming issue of Taking Stock) of the major expedition to Rwanda in July. Physicists visited Cern in Switzerland and Nasa in Florida. Historians travelled to Germany, whilst our musicians gave a series of concerts in Barcelona. This year the sun shone on outdoor pursuits enthusiasts in the Lake District, as well as, more predictably, on climbers in the Swiss Alps.

We have welcomed the following new members of staff to Stockport Grammar School:

  • Mrs Katrina L Britton (Chemistry)
  • Mr Alex Cooke (Geography)
  • Mr Greig Frankland (head of Mathematics)
  • Miss Eilidh MacDonald and Mrs Debbie Flint (English)
  • Mrs Joanne Matthews (Music)
  • Mrs Gita Miles (Geography)
  • Mrs Angela Reid (Biology)
  • Mr David Roberts (Physics maternity cover)
  • Mr Tony Paglakis (RS and Philosophy)
  • Mr Laurence Newman (History).

As you may be aware a number of members of staff have taken on new responsibilities from the beginning of this school year. Mr David Howson has assumed the role of senior deputy head, assisted by Mrs Donna Harris (deputy head academic) and Miss Vicky Barrett (deputy head pastoral). Mr Roger Wallington has taken over most of the administrative responsibilities previously exercised by the proctor. As assistant head (operations and admissions) he also oversees the recruitment of new pupils, working closely with Mrs Rachael Poole, our new admissions secretary, Mrs Judy Baker and members of the External Relations department. Mrs Helen Lawson succeeds Mr Roger Wallington as head of Lower School and will combine this position with her current post as head of First Year. Mr Richard Davies will take overall responsibility for Art, Design and Technology. I am grateful to Mr Jamie Swann and Mr Nigel Browne who have agreed to lead the Religion and Philosophy and Psychology departments respectively. Mrs Helen Tadman will combine her teaching role in the Design Technology department with the management of careers education and the organization of work experience. Miss Maggie Higgins and Mrs Rayna Johnson will join the team of teachers who support pupils in their Ucas applications

This year’s examination results make very good reading and are a proper reflection of the hard work and commitment of both pupils (together with the tireless support of parents!) and their teachers. Full information and details of the very many outstanding achievements can be found on the website. The results are continuing to improve in the light of successful re-mark requests.

You may recall that last year’s A Level results were the second best recorded by pupils at Stockport Grammar School. This August’s examination grades show a slight improvement on these. The 123 candidates (55 girls and 68 boys) achieved a pass rate of 100%. 86.45% of entries were graded at A*, A or B. Over 55% of all grades were awarded at A* or A grade and there was an increase in the number of * grades awarded. Results of this calibre ensured that the very large majority of pupils were successful in meeting the requirements of their chosen universities. This is the consequence not only of strong results, but also of the high quality of advice and support we seek to provide to each individual throughout the process of their university application.

This year’s GCSE results also rank amongst the very best in the recent history of the school – the percentage of A* grades setting a new record. As in previous years, the vast majority of our boys and girls have taken 10 subjects – rather than the nine that is the norm in most independent schools. A number have done 11 – with the second cohort of a Further Maths course offered by the Maths department being outstandingly successful. The 97 boys and 71 girls of our Fifth Form gained over 70 % of grades at A* and A again bucking the national trend by showing an increase in the overall proportion of top grades. A third of the year group have achieved a clean sweep of * and A grades and thirteen pupils have achieved the highest grade possible in all their subjects.

A huge amount of maintenance and refurbishment work has been completed by the bursar and his team over the summer holiday. There have been major improvements to our Sixth Form accommodation and Modern Languages department. The formal opening ceremony of the Woodsmoor Building was held on Friday 6th September.

I do hope that your sons and daughters will thrive this year. As ever, I am always very happy to receive any views or opinions which you may have and look forward to meeting as many parents as possible in the course of the term.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Chicken

Open events

Our open events for this year will take place on Saturday 21st September and Saturday 16th November 9.30 to 11.30am. These events are busy and popular occasions, attended by many families and for some it is their first contact with Stockport Grammar School. Families with children in Second Year to Upper Sixth will already have received a letter requesting the assistance of pupils to tour guide at both open events. First Years will be contacted after half term with regards to the 16th November open event. Thank you to those parents who have returned the form indicating that their child(ren) can help on the morning however assistance from more pupils is needed. A copy of the permission form is available here. Please note that the sports fixture list on the 21st September is less extensive than usual so that children are able to assist with the event – please encourage your son or daughter to check the team lists.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the External Relations office on 0161 419 2408.

Summer roundup


Physicists from our Sixth Form had the privilege of enjoying an extensive tour of Cern, the home of the Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva before the end of the school year.


Barcelona was the destination for over 60 of our musicians who finished the school year with a week of concerts and fun in the Spanish sun.

Germany and Austria

Historians from our Third and Fourth Years visited Nuremberg, Munich and Salzburg earlier this summer to tour some of the most historically important sites relevant to the rise of the Nazis and the second world war.


Adventurers from our Second Year enjoyed perfect weather for plunging into rivers and climbing crags during a long weekend of adventure in Grasmere earlier this summer.

For a full report on each of these trips click on the individual headings.

Alps mountaineering

This was the third mountaineering course in conjunction with the International School of Mountaineering, and with boundless energy and enthusiasm the 18 pupils embraced the challenges and learnt an enormous amount about equipment and techniques necessary for winter mountaineering in the UK, and glacier travel and crevasse rescue in the Alps. They also experienced life in mountain huts with its own etiquette and expectations.


A team of 32 Sixth Form pupils took part in a 28 day trip to Rwanda at the end of the summer term. The main aim of the trip was to see how society has moved on after the atrocities in 1994. Whilst there they were involved with community and fundraising projects, as well as taking part in expeditions and a trek through the Congo/Nile divide. To view pictures and videos of the trip log onto http:/punkt.luxson.com/sgs-rwanda2013.

A full report and pictures from both of these trips will be available on the website next week.

Modern Foreign Languages

Languages pupils from Stockport Grammar dominated this year’s European citizens national languages competition for schools, by not just winning both age group categories, but also all four runners-up prizes! For a list of prize winners click here.

Third Year pupils Sam Howard and Finley Nolan won first prize in the Digital Days competition, category film, for their entry Rache ist süß (Sweet Revenge), which was hosted by the Goethe-Institut in London. For the full story click here.

Fourth Year information evening

The Fourth Year information evening will take place in the dining hall on Thursday, 19th September at 7pm. Please return reply slips to form tutors as soon as possible.


Many congratulations to the under-15 cricketers who won the county cricket cup in a nail-biting thriller against King’s Chester, on Tuesday. Especial congratulations to Mark Orpen for a superb all-round captain’s performance. SGS won by 4 runs.


There will be a Physics lecture in the main gall at 4pm on Thursday 19th September given by Professor Patrick Gaydecki from Manchester University, for Fourth Year, Fifth Year and Sixth Form pupils. It will cover the birth and death of the universe, what it means to be you, the meaning of life and the future for us based on the technologies that we are developing. It will cover the digital revolution, cosmology, particle physics and neuroscience. The lecture will include audio and visual special effects and should be most entertaining.


Some of the school’s finest artists had their work exhibited at the Manchester School of Art’s Out of Schools show over the summer. A celebration of pupils’ work from schools across the region the exhibition showcases exceptional achievements in art and design. To view the work click here.


Animation club’s Christian Anderson dominated this year’s Manchester University UK schools competition, winning an amazing three top prizes for his creation Antimatter Really Matters. At the awards ceremony, held as part of the University’s inspirational computer science Day, Christian came first in the age 14 to 16 individual category, as well as winning the prize for the best use of Flash and the Electronic Arts recognition award – a hugely impressive haul from a field of well over a thousand entries from across the UK. For the full story click here.

Megan King’s moving short story about the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 took third place in the age 11 to 13 category of international ancient Rome writing competition the Golden Sponge-stick. Twelve year-old Megan entered the competition independently, completing her own research into the period and her knowledge of Roman daily life helped her finish so highly among over 200 other entrants. For further details click here.

Sam Howard was invited to take part in the junior mathematical Olympiad in June following an outstanding performance in the junior mathematical challenge earlier in the year. Not only has he achieved a distinction for being in the top 25% of scorers, he achieved a gold medal for an excellent performance and a book prize for being in the top 50 entrants in the entire country.


Log into the school library anywhere! By downloading the imls app to a smart phone or tablet computer, pupils can log into their library account, check loans, write reviews, see what’s new and much more. With the ISBN search, pupils can scan in a barcode or type in the ISBN number of a book to see if it’s available in the library.

New e-resource

The library now have a subscription to Literary Reference Center. This resource contains a wealth of information about writers and their works and is particularly aimed at English A Level students but is also suitable for stretching pupils at GCSE level.

Café sci

The first café of the year will be held on Tuesday 24th September at 1pm, when Dr Ellis will give a talk on Benjamin Franklin. This event is open to pupils from Fourth Year and above. Pupils should obtain an early lunch pass in the Library.

Forthcoming trips

Hartington Hall – First Years

First Year pupils will soon be going on their residential trip to Hartington Hall in Derbyshire. They will visit the plague village of Eyam, the Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath, Chatsworth and walk in the dales surrounding the picturesque village of Hartington. Parents should have received an EV2 Form which shows the contact, medical and dietary details held on file. Please check, sign and return the form, amending and updating if necessary. A kit list for the trip can be found here. If you have any queries, please contact Mrs Lawson.

Aachen Christmas markets – Second Years

The MFL department is running a weekend trip for Second Year pupils to the Christmas markets in Aachen, on Friday 13th – Sunday 15th December. The cost is £195. During the trip, pupils do language related tasks where they have to use their German and also have time to explore the Christmas markets. Anyone interested should see Miss Gibson in the Languages office for a letter. A deposit of £95 is required by Wednesday 18th September at the latest.

Grasmere – Second Years

The trip to Grasmere from 5th – 8th July 2014 was launched this week. This trip has been running for several years and is one of the most popular. For a copy of the letter click here.

Parents are reminded that, to help with your planning, we have an overview of all proposed trips for the next two years on the website, which is updated frequently.

Thank you

The PE department would like to thank Mr Hall from Swagelok, who are sponsoring the first XI hockey kit again this season.

Model United Nations conference

The first conference of the MUN year is on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th October at Cheadle Hulme School. The cost is only £21 per pupil. It is a fantastic opportunity for pupils who have tried MUN before in school but who have not yet taken the plunge at a conference and for more experienced debaters. Pupils should see Miss Spence or Mr Browne in the Woodsmoor office for a letter. Places usually fill up quickly for this conference. MUN debates will be held weekly on a Tuesday lunchtime at 1.05pm in W3. Pupils should see Miss Spence or Mr Browne for a lunch pass

Public examination resits

As there are no longer any public examinations in January, Upper Sixth pupils who want to take AS re-sit units will have to do so next summer. Discussions can take place with form tutors and subject teachers in school and at parents’ evening on 6th November. A final decision does not need to be made until Friday 14th February. Pupils will find a re-sit form in their results pack or can collect one from Mrs Robinson in the exams office.

Golf society

The first Stockport Grammar School golf society event of the year will be held at Marple Golf Club on Sunday 6th October starting at 10am. This event is open to all pupils and parents. You do not have to play with a family member. If you are interested in playing please complete the attached form and return to Mr Ehegartner in LS1. There are 40 places available, so to avoid disappointment book early. For further information click here.

Breakfast club

Breakfast is served to Senior School pupils in the dining hall between 8am and 8.30am. Toast and preserves, cereal and hot and cold drinks are all offered for 40p, while toasted teacakes are 60p and bacon barms are £1.


The Stopfordian Parents’ Association helps parents buy good quality used musical instruments and assist parents who wish to sell instruments that are no longer played regularly. The SPA will advertise these instruments at Junior and Senior School First Year Parents’ Evenings and at Uniform Sales during the school year. (If your instrument is already on the list, you do not need to reapply.) For details on how to advertise an instrument click here.

Please check the news pages on our website for regular updates. We would welcome your comments and suggestions, or if you would like to opt out of receiving the email newsletter, please contact the External Relations office at externalrelations@stockportgrammar.co.uk.

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