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An Outstanding Co-Educational Grammar School

“The School is outstanding. Students make excellent progress. This is due to the excellent pastoral care and high quality teaching they receive.� Ofsted


WELCOME It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Chesham Grammar School. In my view, educating the sons and daughters of other people is a real privilege. It brings with it a huge responsibility to do all we can to prepare them for adulthood by offering the best possible all-round education. Our students arrive in Year 7 as young children. By the time they leave, which for the vast majority is at the end of Year 13, they are adults, old enough to vote and to do most of the other things adults in our society can do. It is our responsibility, in partnership with parents, to mould them into the leaders of tomorrow, to develop in them the skills and qualities necessary to meet the demands of the twenty first century. Over the course of their very long working lives – many will be into their 70s before they can retire – they will probably have jobs which have not even been thought of yet. Our society is ever changing and it is vital that we educate our young men and women to cope with this. They will need to have excellent examination results so that they have access to the very top universities including Oxford and Cambridge and a career of their choice. Of course success is not only measured in terms of exam grades but by the influence one has on the world and we seek to ensure that CGS students are articulate, confident and courageous as well as resilient, open-minded and tolerant. Above all, we want them to be happy, believing that happiness is crucial to an individual’s success. We want CGS students to enjoy school and to have fun both in and out of the classroom. CGS is forward thinking, innovative and ambitious. Ofsted rated the School ‘outstanding’ in all areas in 2014. However, in our view ‘outstanding’ does not mean ‘perfect’ so we continually seek ways in which we can further improve. We want CGS to be an exceptional place in which to work and to learn. We unashamedly strive for excellence in all that we do, setting very high standards and inspiring our students with first-rate teaching. As a consequence of that and of the hard work we expect, our examination results are superb.

“All members of the senior team are passionate about providing the best possible education for all students.” Ofsted

“Students we met were perfect ambassadors for the School – quietly confident, understatedly charming and not remotely precocious.” Good Schools Guide


There are of course many other facets to life at CGS. There is a rich and varied extra-curricular programme with sport, music and drama all being very highly valued. We enjoy significant success in these areas and in many more besides; there really is something for everyone. A huge number of trips, visits and other activities support the curriculum, enhancing the learning of students and enriching their all-round experience. All of this takes place within a co-educational environment where our young men and women learn to live and work effectively together. We believe this prepares them for life which is, after all, co-ed! I hope this prospectus, which expands on what I have outlined here, will give you a flavour of the richness of life at CGS. We are always delighted to welcome visitors so please do get in touch so that you can see the School in action and meet our students, of whom we are justifiably proud. I can assure you of a very warm welcome. Best wishes,

Annmarie McNaney Headteacher

“The environment and ethos of CGS has challenged me to reach my goals whilst having a lot of fun along the way.” Year 13 student





EXCELLENCE “Achievement is outstanding.” Ofsted Parents who send their son or daughter to CGS expect their child to leave with outstanding examination results and rightly so. Examination preparation is only one part of life at CGS but it is, of course, vitally important and so we take it seriously. Academic qualifications are a key element of an individual’s CV throughout life and we therefore do all we can to ensure our students leave us with the best possible examination results. When a student joins us in Year 7, they start a journey which for most will last for seven years and from that very first day, we instil in them a desire to strive for high standards, for their own personal best. Our GCSE and A level results are excellent not just in raw terms but also in the context of what we call ‘value-added’. Such measures, which seek to identify the progress each individual child makes during his or her time in the school, show that our students make outstanding progress. The achievement of our students consistently places us as one of the top co-educational state schools in the country. Students leaving CGS progress to the very best academic institutions including Oxford and Cambridge. We do all we can to support them to make the right choices about life beyond school. Our broad and balanced curriculum is good preparation for, and leads our students onto, many undergraduate courses ranging from medicine to law, engineering to accounting and forensic psychology to creative arts.

“Thank you, CGS, for helping me to get fantastic A level results and to fulfil a potential I didn’t know I had!” Year 13 leaver



CURRICULUM Our curriculum is designed to support our students to become confident and independent learners, ultimately able to adapt to life beyond school. As you would expect, it is characterised by rigour and breadth and is effectively supported by homework which forms an important element of each student’s learning from the very start of their CGS career. All students in key stage 3 follow a traditional curriculum which includes the opportunity to study Latin, two modern foreign languages, design technology, drama and lifeskills. In Year 9, students are given careful advice and are well supported as they choose their GCSE options. At GCSE, all students take ten examination subjects: mathematics, English language, English literature and all three sciences. There are then four other subjects of a student’s choice, one of which must be a language and one a humanities subject such as history, geography or religious studies. In Year 11, students make their A level choices and again are very carefully guided in this process. The vast majority of our students choose to stay into our Sixth Form. At A level, there are new subjects on offer which add further breadth to our curriculum. These include psychology, sociology, government and politics and photography. Students studying mathematics can also opt for further mathematics in the Sixth Form. Students’ learning is well supported by numerous trips, visits and activity days as well as by use of our virtual learning environment. This allows them to take ownership of their learning and to access a wide range of material at each stage of their CGS career.

“Examples of outstanding teaching and learning abound in all subjects.” Ofsted





LEARNING At CGS, we have developed our own approach to learning which is challenging, stimulating and exciting. We believe in the importance of engaging our students in the dynamic process of thinking and developing understanding for themselves. Our goal is to develop articulate, enquiring and resilient young men and women who are effective independent and collaborative learners. We want them to enjoy challenges, to persevere and to be able to reflect on their own learning. Lessons are vibrant and challenge students to think ‘outside the box’, beyond the limits of academic success. We emphasise rigour and a love of learning, and are as impressed by a stimulating musical performance or a courageous piece of art as we are by a brilliant essay or the solving of a complex mathematical equation. CGS students learn to understand the importance of collaboration and to accept and give constructive criticism, using this to move their learning still further forward. During their time with us, they will learn to work independently, to monitor and review their performance and to think for themselves. We have excellent library and resource facilities, which foster sound, independent study skills. It is vital, whilst they are still at school, that students acquire these skills and manage successfully the demands of academic work, wider interests and responsibilities, alongside an active social life.

“Our lessons are taught by teachers who are passionate about their subject.” Year 7 student




“I feel as though CGS has prepared me brilliantly for the next phase of my life. I would be honoured to send my children here one day.” Year 13 leaver

“Students’ behaviour is exemplary. They are smartly dressed, courteous and helpful to each other and to visitors. The school is a calm, orderly community and has a strong ethos for learning.” Ofsted An exceptional school nurtures and develops the whole person and, at CGS, we support our students’ creative, spiritual and moral education as purposefully as we do their academic attainment. We encourage them to be open and enquiring about the wider world and their place and responsibility in the global community; our links with schools in other countries such as China (Luhe High School in Beijing) are important in this regard. Students learn to become fulfilled and successful individuals who feel they can ‘have a go’ at all manner of challenges, and at the same time to care and work for the common good. Each year, students raise a significant amount of money for charity. They also organise and run a Christmas party for over 100 elderly residents of the town. This is one of the highlights of the calendar, both for the School and the elderly people who attend. We offer extensive opportunities for travel and cultural enrichment, a wide extra-curricular programme and important personal developmental opportunities through the Duke of Edinburgh Award, World Challenge and Young Enterprise schemes, in Debating and in Model United Nations. Our students develop an enormous range of skills, qualities and interests that develop their confidence and prepare them for the challenges of the adult world.

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PASTORAL CARE CGS is a purposeful, warm and happy school. We engender high expectations and standards, aspiration and mutual respect. Our priority is to know students as individuals so they prosper and develop as well-rounded young people, comfortable in themselves and in the company of others, whatever their differences. Our vertical tutoring system gives the school a distinct – we like to say unique – feel. Each tutor group contains two or three students from every year in the school. This helps Year 7 to settle quickly and enables them to work with older students who become positive role models, guides and mentors. Each student therefore belongs to a ‘family’ of students under the skilled guidance of an experienced tutor who acts as the link between school and home. There is no such thing as a typical CGS student, but we strongly encourage the values of politeness, helpfulness and co-operation, qualities that enable young people to become confident, balanced human beings who are able to acquit themselves confidently and sensitively with others. The House system thrives at CGS. Students form a strong allegiance to their House and enjoy the competitive spirit of sports and activities that are important events in the School Calendar. In short, there is something for everyone to enjoy at CGS!

“I really like vertical tutoring because you very quickly learn that you don’t need to be afraid of the older students. They can help and advise you and even explain any work you find difficult.” Year 7 student

“The pastoral system provides excellent support for all students. They say they feel cared for by their teachers and are happy to be at school.” Ofsted

“Thank you for all the care, guidance and support of our son over the last seven years. You have made him the young man he now is, both academically and personally.” Parent

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BEYOND THE CLASSROOM “One of my favourite things about the School is all the opportunities you are offered and all the extra-curricular clubs. There’s something for everyone, from sports clubs to art clubs, to clubs where you are encouraged to think.” Year 7 student CGS students will experience hundreds of exciting opportunities and experiences beyond the classroom during their time here. Each year there are numerous trips, visits and activities which support and enhance the curriculum as well as aspiration, enterprise and enrichment days. In addition, a number of voluntary trips run during the school holidays. Some of these are largely recreational, others designed to build the leadership and collaborative skills of our students and to enhance their personal development. A wide range of lunchtime and after school activities take place which not only enhance classroom learning but allow students to explore other areas of personal interest. A good number of these are run by the students themselves. A large number of students opt for weekly music tuition which is offered by the School and there are also choirs, bands and orchestras which students can join.

“Loads of extra-curricular for keen participants… plenty of trips and tours, both curriculum linked and for enrichment.” Good Schools Guide

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“Sports staff are highly focused on excellence and there’s plenty of silverware in the trophy cabinet to prove it.” Good Schools Guide Sport is an integral part of life at CGS. All students throughout the School, including the Sixth Form, have compulsory PE as part of their curriculum. In addition, we see competitive sport as hugely important and both boys and girls across the School enjoy significant success in a range of disciplines. Boys compete in football, rugby, basketball, cricket, tennis and athletics. Our girls also play competitive football, rugby, cricket, tennis and athletics alongside netball, hockey and rounders. Our teams are often County or District Champions with a good number of boys and girls being selected to join County or Regional squads. There are also students representing their country in sports ranging from rugby to fencing and from swimming to shooting. Amongst current CGS students are some potential future Olympians and we do all we can to support them during their time here. We understand, however, that not everyone wants to or can be selected for a school team so there is also a varied programme of extra-curricular lunchtime clubs to encourage a ‘sport for all’ ethos. All students are entitled to attend these clubs; we want them to acquire the habit of exercising regularly and enjoying sport so that they will go on to have an active lifestyle in adulthood. Along with the disciplines you would expect to find on offer such as football and cricket, students can also choose from activities such as gymnastics, cross country, lacrosse, badminton, swimming and Zumba. They can also make use of the fully equipped gym at Chesham Leisure Centre which is situated right next to the school. In addition, there are annual ski trips on offer to all students to resorts in Europe and North America. Throughout the year, we hold numerous House sporting competitions. These include our swimming gala, winter and summer House sports, House dance and of course sports day which is a unique blend of fierce competition between our elite athletes and immense fun. Every student in the school is expected to represent their House in these events.

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“The sport here has really impressed me. There are lots of different sports to try as well as excellent coaching and facilities. There are plenty of teams to try out for and lots of lunchtime clubs every week.” Year 7 student There is as much support for and admiration of the student whose outstanding performance on sports day, for example, breaks a long-held school record as there is for someone who comes in some way behind the rest of the field. This warm and supportive atmosphere is characteristic of CGS and means that students are happy to participate even if they know they will not win – or even come second or third! We are the only state school in the country with its own Equestrian Club and associated facilities. This is an extra-curricular activity (which carries on every day of the year, including Christmas Day) run by volunteers and entirely self-funded. Not only does it involve its many student members in physical activity, it also teaches them very valuable life skills. It is truly unique!

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Creative arts are an important part of CGS life. Talent and experience across a wide range of disciplines are fostered at all levels. Our facilities are outstanding and include our own art gallery, drama studio, dark room and specialist music recording equipment. We have a ‘musician in residence’ to inspire and challenge our students’ creativity and talent. Students have many opportunities throughout the year to demonstrate this talent and creativity. Our annual art and photography exhibitions are a highlight of the calendar while the exceptionally high standard of our musical and dramatic performances means they are always enjoyed and hugely appreciated. A significant number choose to study the arts in the Sixth Form, and each year we are proud to send students to the most prestigious colleges and conservatoires. Experience of the very high standards they have achieved and enjoyed at CGS is invaluable training for the most talented and committed, and a rich experience for those whose pleasure lies in participation. Overall, our students flourish creatively in experiment, experience and performance.

“We were blown away by the standard of A level art work on show… Music is reported by parents to be amazing with performances aplenty plus chances for everyone to get involved…drama is taught in a superb and very well equipped studio space.” Good Schools Guide

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SIXTH FORM “In the Sixth Form, teachers have high expectations of their students and much of the teaching is outstanding.” Ofsted A thriving, purposeful Sixth Form is one of the hallmarks of an exceptional school and we are hugely proud of our Sixth Formers. With the very generous support of our parents, we have been able to open the Curtis Sixth Form Centre combining purpose-built, high-tech teaching and study facilities, with recreational areas designed in direct response to student feedback – thus enabling us to help our students bridge the gap between school and university. We believe independence and self-reliance to be vital qualities for our leavers to take with them into the world beyond school, and our Sixth Form provides the support and structure of the CGS ‘family’, whilst at the same time encouraging increasing independence and responsibility. Over 50% of our students choose to study mathematics and the sciences in the Sixth Form, but all disciplines are popular and highly successful, as demonstrated by our students’ choice of entry to top universities and colleges including Oxford and Cambridge. Excellent staff relationships are key to the stimulating environment our students enjoy and in which they flourish.

“The jewel in the crown is the wonderfully bright and modern Sixth Form centre with its floor to ceiling architectural glazing and fair trade coffee shop…an aspirational space for students to start to spread their wings.” Good Schools Guide

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We aim to give our students opportunities to develop their leadership skills throughout their school life. Students start to take responsibility from Year 7. They can be Learning Leaders, Sports Leaders, Junior and Senior House Prefects. At the very top of the School, in Year 13, there is the opportunity to become House or Vice House Captain or Head Boy or Girl. These positions are highly prestigious and there is a rigorous selection process. Those who are appointed have a high profile within the School. Our vertical tutoring system enables all our senior students to take a leading role within their tutor group. They will mentor, support and help the younger ones, under the careful direction of the tutor. Our younger students also represent the School as the first point of contact in Reception, as ambassadors conducting pupil and parent tours, but also in the decision-making process of the School as members of the Student Leadership Group, or as pupil panellists as part of the interview process for any new staff. Students are given the opportunity to lead their own projects, such as the Walk to School Campaign which has enabled committed Sixth Formers to present their achievements to MPs at Westminster. Participation in schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise and World Challenge also enables students to develop their own leadership skills and qualities. Each year, a significant amount of money is raised for local and national charities and this is all co-ordinated by our Senior Student Leaders who are themselves led by the Head Boy and Girl.

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“Here you will find an overwhelmingly kind, nurturing school, coupled with a clear focus on excellence and getting pupils to achieve their very best.� Good Schools Guide

White Hill, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1BA Tel: +44 (0)1494 782854  Email: @CGSBucks

Chesham Grammar School Prospectus  

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Chesham Grammar School. In my view, educating the sons and daughters of other people is a real...

Chesham Grammar School Prospectus  

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Chesham Grammar School. In my view, educating the sons and daughters of other people is a real...