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Head's Blog


Amid New Year reflections, the publishing companies have been releasing their ‘words of the year’. As an English teacher at heart, I cannot resist considering how these reflect on our world and current context. Collins Dictionary announced their word of the year for 2017 was ‘fake news’ – false information disseminated under the guise of news reporting. ‘Fake news’ is the opposite of what we stand for at Steyning Grammar – ours is a community that strives for integrity, built on our ethos of kindness, caring and our celebration of diversity. I was therefore delighted that the Oxford Dictionary word of the year feels more ‘SGS’; their word of 2017 was ‘youthquake’ – significant, political and social changes arising from the actions or influences of young people. I am fortunate to work in a role and a school where I witness this growth-mindset, curiosity and grit from our students, fuelling my optimism that this will change their - and our - futures for the better.

My optimism comes from walking through classrooms every day, seeing learning at its best, and students and teachers engaged in deep dialogue about the next steps to mastery. Striving for this feedback and working purposefully on skills that students have not yet mastered is key to further success. My optimism is equally driven by students embracing our ethos and mission: from the inspirational Hurricane Irma appeal, to Jailbreak and Pink Day; from the Dance show to competitive success on the sports field; from significant success in the National Computing Challenge to gritty hikes in Key Stage 3 REMAP and the Norfolk Broads trip. On a daily basis our students inspire me to be more optimistic about the future, and this newsletter captures these events for home to celebrate too.

I am very grateful for the support of Friends of Steyning Grammar School and urge as many parents and carers to join and support this body. The FoSGS Winter Fair was another great success, bringing together the Steyning Family community and raising funds that different areas of the school can bid into for particular projects and equipment. FoSGS ran an excellent Fireworks night for the school at the Rock Road campus and throughout the year hold an SGS Parent Forum for close discussion between home and the Leadership Team on key, current topics selected by parents and carers.

We are proud to be a Year 7 to Year 13, day and boarding school, across 3 campus sites. The British Engineer Henry Royce wrote, “strive for perfection in everything. Take the best that exists and make it better. If it doesn’t exist, create it. Accept nothing nearly right or good enough.” We are determined to create a culture of learning at SGS that supports every student in achieving their individual goals - perhaps the next flourishing engineer, mathematician, musician or sportsperson.

I am hugely grateful to our fantastic staff team for supporting this ambitious student journey. We were proud to see Mrs Linsdell win the Careers Champion award, and Ms Russell nominated in the Unsung Hero Awards at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Thank you to all our staff for their commitment and hard work. And thank you to everyone at home for supporting us.