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Senior School Headmaster’s Blog

  • Personal Development

    UCAS Personal Statements

    Just after half-term our Lower Sixth students benefitted from a UCAS Conference. They spent two days off-timetable, listening to helpful careers advice from Old Stopfordians, meeting their UCAS Advisers and acquainting themselves with the UCAS website and other sources of information about higher education applications and university life.

    Tuesday 21st June 2022

  • Farewell

    We said farewell to the Upper Sixth year group recently with a fantastic Leavers’ Day celebration. Hopefully the students will spend the next few weeks in independent revision and in showing their best form in the exam room.

    Monday 23rd May 2022

  • Guest Blog – Mr Copping: The Value Of A Bedtime Story

    Although my two children are now in their early/late teens I fondly remember bedtime stories even when, on occasion, I almost fell asleep myself mid-sentence!

    Friday 29th April 2022

  • Sparkler representing fulfilling potential

    Potential Fulfilled

    It is quite understandable that we hope that children will ‘fulfil their potential’. As a parent, it is a comforting thought that my children will achieve as much as they possibly can, supported in this endeavour by home and by school: none of their human talents will remain dormant or even underdeveloped.

    Monday 4th April 2022

  • Mortarboards in the air

    Is University Worth It?

    A number of parents have asked me recently for a frank answer about whether it is worth their offspring attending university; the eye-watering figures for the total cost quoted in the media are certainly sufficient to give one pause for thought.

    Monday 14th March 2022

  • Cambridge University building


    At this time of year, the Lower Sixth pupils are beginning to think about university application. I am often asked by parents about entry to Oxford and Cambridge: interview preparation, the various tests and a candid assessment of the chances of their son or daughter being successful. Given that SGS has plenty of success at […]

    Thursday 17th February 2022

  • Student working in Sixth Form Centre


    I am meeting prospective First Year pupils (and their parents) at the moment. I rather enjoy it: a first chance to get to know the children and to answer questions about school life.

    Monday 24th January 2022

  • Charitable Giving

    It is Charities Week at Stockport Grammar School. Considerable ingenuity by the Charity Prefects has been exercised in devising fun ways to encourage people to donate.

    Wednesday 8th December 2021

  • Memory

    Rightly or wrongly, examinations are partly a test of memory. Pupils must thoroughly learn vocabulary, factual details in case studies and technical terms to the point that they can be recalled without effort.

    Tuesday 16th November 2021

  • Schoolfriends walk through the Hallam quad


    When parents of prospective students come to see me, they often ask how the school instils such confidence in its students. This question often arises from the tour of the school conducted by a current Sixth Former who has successfully displayed a chatty maturity without tipping over into an unattractive arrogance.

    Monday 11th October 2021

  • Character Education points


    Martin Luther King wrote that ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education’.

    Friday 10th September 2021

  • Students enjoy a trip to Madagascar

    School Trips

    For most adults, school trips to museums, theatres or outdoor camps make up a positive and important part of their school memories. Like all schools our trip programme has come to a complete standstill over the last few months but I am just starting to sign off trips for 2022 and 2023. I do so […]

    Tuesday 6th July 2021

  • University sign

    PQA Is Groundhog Day

    One might have thought that the Department for Education had enough to do this year, what with the aftermath of last summer’s public examination grading, school Covid closures, masks, lateral-flow testing, free school meals controversies and a new scheme for this summer’s public examination grades to develop. Gavin Williamson and his intrepid civil servants, however, […]

    Thursday 20th May 2021

  • Post-truth written on blackboard


    Famously, the Oxford English Dictionary made ‘post-truth’ the word of 2016, defining it as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

    Monday 19th April 2021

  • What Have We Learned From Learning Remotely?

    How are SGS pupils finding remote learning? An anonymous pupil survey just before half-term sought to answer this important question.

    Monday 1st March 2021

  • Students at work in the new Sixth Form building

    Choosing A-level Subjects

    One day the Covid era will end. I am planning for a return to normality in September and a chance for our beleaguered Year 11 students to begin their Sixth Form studies in the usual way. The deadline for them to choose their A-level subjects approaches. Gone are the days when students had the luxury […]

    Monday 1st February 2021

  • Practical Science in action

    Practical Science

    Two recent stories about science in schools caught my eye. Firstly, the national performance of England’s children in the TIMMS tests, which compare the scientific knowledge of teenagers internationally, has declined. We now stand at 14th out of 64 down from 5th in 2007. Ouch. Secondly, I came across a survey examining how much practical […]

    Monday 14th December 2020

  • Pupils in a Psychology lesson

    Brains and Learning

    Half-term was a largely indoor experience chez Owen with Tier 3, international quarantine restrictions and heavy rain all preventing me from straying far from Stockport. One must make the best of things, however, and I have read a great deal: novels, non-fiction and neuroscience.

    Monday 9th November 2020

  • Observing Lessons

    Observing lessons is fraught with difficulty. At Stockport Grammar School, in common with most schools, we ask anyone being interviewed for a teaching job to teach a lesson. At first sight this is an obvious choice, allowing us to spot the best teacher. However, the candidate will be nervous, unfamiliar with the school, the classroom, […]

    Tuesday 13th October 2020

  • Main quad at SGS

    Touring The School

    Sadly, coronavirus restrictions have already meant the cancellation of our September Open Morning but interest in SGS from prospective parents is higher than ever. Our Virtual Visit is now live but we have begun welcoming individual prospective families for a socially distanced and face-masked tour.

    Monday 7th September 2020