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NEWS@MGGS Spring Newsletter

April 2014 Term 3 - 2014


Term 5

Term 6

Tuesday 22nd April 2014 - Start of Term 5 Friday 23rd May 2014 - End Of Term 5

Monday 2nd June 2014 - Start Of Term 6 Friday 18th July 2014 - End Of Term 6


Dear Students, Parents, Carers and Friends Sadly for me, this is my final letter home to all parents and friends of MGGS. I am retiring at the end of this term after eight years as headteacher of this wonderful school, bringing to an end a 38-year career in teaching. It is hard to believe I have been around so long, but I certainly remember education before computers, photocopiers, projectors, GCSEs, ASs, coursework, and long before Ofsted had been invented. For much of my teaching career, we used chalk on blackboards and hand-wrote all reports. But although technology has changed, the fundamentals of the job are exactly as they always were. It is difficult to put into words just how immensely lucky I am to have spent my working days in the company of young people, talking to them about literature, ideas, and life, hoping to pass on some of my passion for my subject and helping them in shaping their responses to the world. I find it hard to imagine a richer way to spend a working life. I referred to MGGS above as a “wonderful school”, and those words are not used lightly. You may have seen that The Sunday Times listed Maidstone as the third best town for secondary education in the country last week, and listed MGGS as the best in Maidstone. This is not a surprise – there is something very special indeed about the school, an atmosphere, an ethos, a genuine sense of community that I inherited and that will survive my departure. Annual events such as House Arts, Rag Week and Sports Day all demonstrate this extraordinarily powerful community ethos. There have been a few special occasions when I have secretly wondered beforehand whether we haven’t expected too much of students, such as The Great Day of Silence in 2011 or The Great Helicopter Flyover in 2012. But each time the whole school has responded magnificently to the occasion and proved what an exceptional school this is. Just last week, it was hugely uplifting to witness Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold’s affection for her old school and to see the pride in her shown by all our current students. In this last letter to you, I would like, more than anything else, to thank you. Thank you to parents and carers, for choosing this school for your children, and for all your support of the work we are doing. Thank you to all the teaching staff and all the support staff for your quite exceptional dedication, expertise, energy, and hard work, all focused on ensuring the students in our care receive the best that we can give. Thank you to the governors for all your unpaid commitment to the school, particularly the resilience shown in fighting for, and achieving, new buildings for our students. Thank you to the leadership team for your absolutely unfailing support of me, and for your wisdom. But most of all, thank you to the students. Your enthusiasm, your energy, and your generosity of spirit have been an inspiration. Carry on enjoying learning and being willing to open your minds to new ideas. Be confident and be proud of yourselves. You have so much to give. It has been an extraordinary privilege to have worked with you all. I wish my successor, Maureen Wolloshin, all the very best. Very, very best wishes for the future for everyone. And goodbye! I shall miss you all.

Maidstone Grammar School for Girls

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Lizzy Yarnold Visits MGGS

On Tuesday 25th March we were honoured that Lizzy Yarnold paid a visit to the school. Lizzy, a former student and Head Girl, spent forty minutes outside chatting with students who formed a guard of honour for her arrival. She spent time signing autographs and posing for photographs with the girls before moving on to Buckland House where she spoke to students and staff about her career in sport and the winter Olympics in Sochi 2014.

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Lizzy Yarnold Visits MGGS Lizzy then gave a talk to students and staff on her journey to become an Olympic Gold Medallist in the skeleton.

Explaining to students how she became Olympic champion

This is how it’s done!

A former head student with our current head students Maidstone Grammar School for Girls

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Lizzy Yarnold Visits MGGS

Lizzy finished the afternoon by holding a master class with Year 7, 8, and 9 All Stars. (Students who are members of the extra curricular Gifted and Talented PE club).

Lizzy’s Olympic Gold Medal

Year 7, 8, and 9 All Stars with Lizzy after their master class

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Science Week The Big Reptile Show We once again welcomed Martin Rapley to the school to entertain and educate Year 10 students as part of science week. This year he focused on reptiles and bought with him some splendid specimens including a very young chameleon which most of the students agreed was the cutest reptile they had ever seen. After a discussion on the differences between reptiles and amphibians and what makes them uniquely adapted to their environments there was ample opportunity to get up close with Charmony the chameleon, Mr Green the iguana and a varied collection of snakes, including one star of the small screen who recently appeared in the BBC 4 series ‘The Secrets of Bones’ with Ben Garrod. Snakes always elicit a mixed

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response but after a while the majority of the girls (and accompanying staff) warmed to these cold blooded creatures, many allowing them to be draped around them. In fact Miss Couves became rather attached to one and was very reluctant to be unravelled! Once again Martin’s love for and knowledge of his animals and his sense of humour won everyone over and hopefully everyone left with a new found respect and admiration for these amazing creatures.

Risk It Challenge On the 12th March teams from Year 9 and 10 took part in the National Risk It! challenge. During the day the students had to work on the following task: You are challenged to design an inventive and useful item that has the potential to solve or prevent a future problem – this can be anything at all, as long as you can demonstrate that it is a new idea; that is either a new item altogether, or innovative development of an existing item. The Risk It Enterprise Technology Challenge supports this year’s science week theme, Explore the Future. The students worked in teams of 4 to design, make and present their ideas from a limited range of materials available to them. The outcomes were varied and the winning team consisting of Lily Beaver, Charley Mitchell, Summer Rayner and Emily Wraight who designed and prototyped a pair of glasses for those suffering with

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Science Week dementia that allowed them to record the day’s events, routes home so that they could replay it back to help themselves to help them to remember.

As well as taking part in the challenge all the students have qualified for their Bronze Crest award.

On the 20th March the winning team then attended the regional finals at the University of Greenwich. The team had to do the same task with the same theme but with a focus on flooding. The students worked creatively and enthusiastically. The facilitators were incredibly impressed with the work ethic and attitude of the students throughout the challenge. Huge congratulations to all the students that took part.

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Poetry by Heart Poetry By Heart Early in term 2 we offered students in Year 10 and above the opportunity to take part in the national ‘Poetry by Heart’ competition. Six Year 10 students expressed an interest in entering the competition. They were required to learn by heart a pre 1914 and post 1914 poem chosen from the online Poetry by Heart anthology. To help in the preparation the girls attended a poetry workshop delivered by local poet Lynne Rees who gave them very good advice on how to recite their poems. The competitors then had to recite their poems before a panel which included Mrs Smith and Mrs Warren, a Governor. As a result Lauren McGuinness went through to the

County final which was held at the Gulbenkian Theatre, University of Kent at Canterbury in January. For this she also had to learn and recite a third poem from the First World War anthology. The standard was very high and the Kent competition was deservedly won by the only male entrant whose recitation was

excellent. Lauren was a credit to the school, managing to keep her nerves at bay and be word-perfect.

Author Elizabeth Knight Visits MGGS On Thursday 13th March author Elizabeth Knight visited the school to talk to some students from Years 7 and 8 including members of the Creative Writing group. Elizabeth is a retired English and Drama teacher who now lives in Switzerland. Her first book ‘The Skull’ has recently been published. Elizabeth talked to the students about some of

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the themes in the book and read a passage. She then encouraged students to work in pairs to act the scene. After an opportunity to ask questions lunchtime was at an end and Elizabeth completed her visit by signing books for the girls. We were very pleased to welcome Elizabeth to MGGS and wish her success with ‘The Skull’.

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Head Students For all five of us, this last year at school has certainly been one to remember. For us RAG Week was a personal highlight, despite the stresses and pressures, we enjoyed every moment of it. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped to raise money for the charities this year by participating in shows and being in the audience. We loved seeing everybody getting behind the best week in the MGGS school year with their amazing costumes! As well as RAG Week being a key part of our year as Head Students, we’ve also been involved in providing leavers’ hoodies, making speeches on open evenings, presenting at governors’ meetings and most recently, we’ve just finished a particular project on how to make our school more environmentally friendly. This provided us with a challenge

as we had to complete a six page report about issues with our school environment, carry out surveys and write up detailed conclusions and solutions as to how we can make the environment more sustainable, all within one week! It was difficult, but we all collaborated together and distributed the work load between us, making it possible to complete. Even though these intense tasks are sprung upon us frequently and can often lead to a few of us getting quite stressed, we have thoroughly enjoyed working together this year and it has been a pleasure to be part of the Head Student team. We give our best wishes the succeeding Head Students as we are sure that they will form a fantastic team.

MGGS Head Student 2013—2014 Megan Williams, Honor Sanders, Elliot Black, Molly Willett, Jo Spreadbury

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Head Students By Isabelle Baker, Holly Cowan, Sarah Hughes, Jenny Love and Dani Startup We applied for the role of Head Student, the interview room, our worries and because MGGS has helped us grow so much anxieties dissipated. Our member of the as people. Naturally we felt obliged to Sixth Form Management Team and give something back to a school that has current Head Student made us feel given so much to us. One of the reasons completely at ease, enabling us to we all applied for Head Student, was answer the questions calmly and because we have loved our time at the honestly. The interview lasted around 15 school and we want younger students to minutes and after it finished, all we enjoy coming to school everyday; being a could do was wait for an e-mail, part of putting a smile on pupils’ faces is informing us that we had succeeded and important to us. The first part of the progressed through to the next stage. application process was writing a letter to the sixth form management team about The idea of giving a presentation to a the attributes we have that would make a hall packed full of friends, peers and good Head Student. This was a good way teachers is intimidating, even more so to articulate what would make us good when you are the subject of the speech candidates for the job, whilst conveying as well as the one delivering it. The our personalities and personal gravity of the situation cannot be achievements. Along with expressed fully until our own letters of the moment when application, we asked a “We have loved our time the hall is filling. friend to write a letter of Despite hours of at the school” recommendation. We feel writing and rewriting that this was an excellent to convey ourselves in way to show what the people around us the best possible manner and countless thought of us applying for the role, and attempts in front of the mirror, you was a great support to our own cannot help but feel your heart is about application. to burst out of your chest. But with helpful advice from Miss Johnson, the The interview was probably one of the drama teacher, and hearty most daunting parts of the Head Student encouragement from fellow students and application process, mainly because it was sympathetic teachers, we all managed difficult to know what to expect. to deliver our presentations. This Beforehand we thought of possible provided an enormous sense of questions that we may be asked and tried achievement and an opportunity to our best to prepare for these, thinking practice a skill that is so vital for any about what we could bring to the role and career, whilst also getting the feeling of how we could further enhance sixth form a real buzz after completing such an life. On the day of the interview, we were intimidating task. The moment when you apprehensive, as many of us didn’t have are delivering the speech in the hall, experience of a formal interview situation. where we’ve all sat in assembly for the We also knew that after the interview, the past five years, is the moment that you candidates would be reduced to around truly realise how much the school, and half, creating a certain degree of those that fill it, mean to you, and you pressure. However as soon as we arrived in realise exactly why you are applying for

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Head Students for his position. We found waking up on the morning of the discovery of the news was a strange fusion of nerves and excitement, and the time seemed to pass so slowly, awaiting to collect such a small yet significant envelope. When it was finally in our hands, our hearts were beating in our throats, and it seemed that opening it fast

and getting it over with was the best way to go. After reading it we exploded with happiness and exhilaration! It was such a relief that all the anticipation and hard work was worth it. At first, it was hard to believe, and to be honest even now it still hasn't quite sunk in for all of us, but we’re all ready and excited for the adventure that lies ahead.

Head Students 2014 – 2015 Holly Cowan, Sarah Hughes, Jenny Love, Isabelle Baker, Dani Startup

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A Message From Betony Dubock English Literature Prefect English is a subject I think is hugely important. Books offer, firstly, an opportunity for escapism and total immersion in a life other than your own as explored in novels such as Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and The Book Thief and facilitated by the science fiction and fantasy genres (I recommend The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams). Literature is also incredibly helpful in enabling readers to have an insight into how the world has been, in older works like those of Jane Austen which offer a satirical take on high society in the nineteenth century, and how the world could be, in dystopian fiction such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. The English department consists of a group of teachers I am hugely grateful to for their help and support over the years. Their passion for their subject has made their lessons interesting and enjoyable and on many occasions they have gone out of their way to help me achieve my aims in the subject. They definitely have contributed to my interest in English and my decision to continue studying it at university next year (provided I get the grades).

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MFL Students Teach Languages at Brunswick House Primary School! By Honor Saunders Year 12 A group of Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 students has been lucky enough to visit Brunswick House Primary School every Thursday to teach the students their French lessons. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all of the students, as they have been able to share their language learning ability with primary school children. The students are divided between two Year 1 classes and two Year 2 classes, teaching them basic skills in the French language. First of all, we began with basic greetings such as “Hello” and “How are you?” It was great to see the children getting really involved in the activities and having fun

whilst learning. The following week we taught them the different colours, and they were extra enthusiastic when they found out that if they said the right colour on the PowerPoint, they got stickers! The lesson plans are provided by the coordinator of this programme, Rebecca Wood, in Year 13. Amongst other things, the children have learnt the seven days of the week and numbers. The favourite part of the sessions for the children and students is being able to have a sing-a-long at the end with a game incorporated. This leaves them all extremely overexcited for their next lesson, which I’m sure the teachers at Brunswick really appreciate! It has been a truly valuable experience working with the young children and being able to teach them French. Best of all, it’s very rewarding when they are all so enthusiastic about learning a language.

Visit of twenty-four Y12 students from the lycée Maillol, Perpignan 27th and 28th of February 2014 by Mme Fourmy. A huge thank you to all the students and parents who took part in the exchange visit with the Lycée Maillol and hosted a French Year 12 student on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th February. It was so rewarding to see our students engaging naturally with their French counterparts and creating links that we hope, will stand the test of time. All the French students have had a great time in your families and went back home with lots of priceless memories. During the two day visit at school, the observation of lessons and workshops around cultural understanding were popular. All the groups, French and English, took part with enthusiasm in all the activities which had been organised

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and were a real credit to both of our schools. On Friday, by recreating the Youth European parliament, our Year 11 AS and Year 12 and Year 13 French students also experienced a day of challenging bilingual debates around four current themes at the heart of the European agenda: inequalities and poverty, racism, discrimination and immigration, protection of the environment and youth and addictive behaviours. Each team, composed of French and English students, had to debate and convince the audience that their five motions were the best to tackle the problem. The final debate took place at the end of the day with ambassadors from both Spring Newsletter - April 2014 | Page 13

MFL countries defending their motions in front of a jury of French and English teachers. The exchanges were of very high quality and many congratulations to Beth Thomas Year 13 and Abdelhamid Kissi (1ère) who won 1st place for their team! The visit and stay of the French students just shows that learning a language is not an end in itself. Languages are valuable tools to communicate, discover other cultures and ways of life as well as to create enriching human exchanges. Merci encore à tous!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart”. ‒ Nelson Mandela

A jam-packed visit… By Emma Rustrick, Year 11 AS French student During the two days the French students from Perpignan stayed with us, it was jam-packed with learning new French words, sayings and overall getting to know our French student. It all started off extremely well with everyone being welcoming and friendly and happily sharing cultural snacks from their region. Both days at school were well spent

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improving French accents, vocabulary and building new friendships across the whole group. We spent Friday in groups debating current issues within our community, for example the divide in society between rich and poor and how to help the environment. Eventually it led to a presentation in larger groups to a panel of teachers, with the English students speaking in French alongside a French student speaking in English, presenting their idea about how to tackle the problem. It was an extremely

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MFL successful day and everyone's eyes were opened to the differences in society and culture in France and England, whilst also being pushed to think of possible solutions to big questions and also presenting and

communicating these ideas successfully in another language. This really stretched both our thinking and language skills and both were beneficial as we were then more able to build upon our relationships with the French students. Having a French student within our own homes also really helped with our French and we have made friendships that will hopefully continue to grow in the future. Overall the whole experience was extremely beneficial to everyone and will be remembered as both an educational tool and a connection to a French student.

Students’ Comments It was such a good experience to spend some time speaking another language and learning about people from another country. Making new friendships and sharing our English culture with them was exciting because I never realised how different we were! Our whole group got along well with the French students, and the European Youth Parliament was a great way to debate views and to learn about cultural differences while getting to know new people. Michela Day Year 12.

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I found the French exchange really interesting and it was great developing my conversational skills. The activities on Friday were challenging, but acted to break the ice with the other French students and allowed me to gain more confidence talking about complicated topics. I got on really well with my French exchange, Mathilde, as well as her classmates, and thoroughly enjoyed our time together - even if it was quite short. I'm still in regular contact with her (I speak French, she replies in English), having exchanged contact details. Overall, I'm really glad the school has given me the opportunity to have a French exchange as it was a wonderful experience. Isabelle Baker Year12. Hosting Samsara, a French student, was such a brilliant experience! It was so interesting learning all about her life in France and how different it can beespecially school! It was an amazing opportunity to develop my language skills, cultural understanding, make new friends and, most importantly, have fun! Kira Michel Year11 I really enjoyed the entire experience, learning about both the differences and similarities between our cultures. The slight language barrier was difficult to begin with but towards the end of the stay we both became more confident in expressing our views and I gained confidence in speaking French and forming new language structures. The activities we completed on the second day were compelling and it was so interesting to talk about cultural and political affairs in a new language! After the experience, I felt like I had learned a great deal. Anna Wright Year 11 When hosting a French student for two days I was able to gain an insight into some of the differences of life in France. The experience also helped me

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MFL to develop my speaking pronunciation and everyday vocabulary used by young French students. Rebecca Marshall Year 11

Friday and “le parlement Européen” I really enjoyed the day we spent with the French students; it was an exciting day to experience. I found communicating our ideas with the students in our foreign language and debating issues particularly challenging. Thank you to all your hard work and effort you put in behind the scenes! Victoria Bailey Year 11 Speaking in another language all day was very challenging but rewarding because we found it was actually quite easy to communicate. Chloe Farrington Year 11 I think that Friday was a great way to interact with the French. It gave us the opportunity to talk to them and to practise speaking a different language. It has definitely made me more confident knowing that I am able to make up sentences and have a debate in French. Sophie Taylor Year 11

Comments from parents – A whole family adventure! We thoroughly enjoyed hosting a French student. Valentin was extremely polite and willing to engage in conversation and activities that [my daughter] and her friends had organised. It was interesting to hear about his family and the area he lived in. It was a great pleasure having him to stay with us and hopefully they will stay in touch. Year13 parent.

benefited from him being with us too as he had French on both days at school so could ask Eloi for help. I think future exchanges of this type would be great as I met a couple of the other French students and they all seemed very polite, well-spoken individuals. Eloi said he wished he could have stayed longer and we felt the same. Year 13 parent. Thank you and well done for organising such an important and valuable project. All of the students had a marvellous time and all of them seemed very keen, not only to repeat the exchange programme but to try and action a reverse exchange, with the 'Brits' going abroad. It was encouraging to see how interested they all were in each other’s everyday lives, and it made them reflect on their own routines by comparison.(…) [My daughter] found the experience very helpful to start 'thinking' in French and found it very enjoyable all round. Year12 parent. The experience of hosting a French student for 2 days was a totally rewarding experience for us all. Everything went very smoothly, the two days just went far too quickly! Our student was a delight to have. He was polite, well mannered, a lovely young man. He seemed to fit in really well to our family and interacted with all three of my children.…. Email addresses, addresses and phone numbers have been exchanged. Thank you for all your hard work and for allowing us to be involved. Year12 parent.

Eloi was the perfect house guest. His English was amazing, Courtney spoke lots of French to him and he could understand her which was good! My son Maidstone Grammar School for Girls

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MFL Berlin Trip February 2014 by Frau Gibson For five days in February Madame Fourmy and I took 18 students from Years 10—13 on a cultural language trip to Berlin. The trip was intended to be fun but also to give the students a great opportunity to learn and practise their German with two mornings dedicated to German lessons at a language institute. The Sixth Form study the history of the former East Germany as a major part of their course so it was brilliant for them and also eyeopening for the younger years to see some of the places we had read and talked about. We managed to pack a lot into our short stay and were out all day from 8am until 8pm every day discovering some of the main attractions of the capital. For example we went up the TV tower for brilliant views across the city and we also visited the German parliament building and climbed the huge spiral walkway up to the top of the glass dome where you could watch the politicians debating below. We walked through the Brandenburg Gate and stopped by the crosses left to commemorate those who had died trying to cross from East Berlin to the West. The House at Checkpoint Charlie museum was fascinating and so full of interesting exhibits which showed the ingenious ways that the GDR citizens came up with to escape to West Germany. I have visited there a number of times and I still don’t think I have seen the whole museum! We visited the Topography of Terror, site of Hitler’s bunker and the SS main offices Maidstone Grammar School for Girls

during World War II and we learnt all about Hitler’s rise to power and his downfall years later. The DDR museum was ‘edutainment’ at its best. We were able to have a virtual ride in an old Trabant car and listen in to bugged conversations like the STASI did in East Germany. I experienced an interrogation room and sat on a bed in the prison cell – I think the girls quite enjoyed locking up Frau Gibson! It was the everyday items that were the most interesting to me and recognising the style of furniture and the kitchen gadgets from the 1970s in the mock living room and kitchen on display. It wasn’t all museums and history though. One of the highlights for the girls was our visit to the Ritter Sport Schokoworld which sold a huge selection of every type of chocolate you could imagine at very good prices. There was even a counter where you could design your own chocolate bar and have it made and packaged within the hour! Shopping was definitely on the programme too. We saw the high end shops on Ku’damm and spent some time in KadeWe, the largest department store in Europe. Another day we spent the morning at a flea market browsing all the clothes and arty stalls for good but unusual presents to bring home. Spring Newsletter - April 2014 | Page 17

MFL We were blessed with beautifully sunny weather for the whole trip, which was such a treat after all the rain we had experienced through January and February in England. The girls behaved impeccably and were a real credit to the school. Our hostel also contributed to making the trip a really pleasant one; the rooms were spotlessly clean with their own modern en-suite bathrooms, the food was plentiful and tasty and the hostel was situated right in the centre of the city so travelling times between the sights were not so long. All in all, it was

a really enjoyable trip with a great group of students and though it took my feet a few days to recover from all the walking, I’m looking forward to doing the trip again next year!

By Ella Ross Year 12

the museums surprisingly interesting, especially reading about all the East Germans and the attempts made to get onto the West side. We also tried many different German foods, ranging from a currywurst (sausage with curry sauce) to German KFC!! I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone doing German for GCSE/A-level (or considering it) as it was a great way to find out more about the culture of Germany, especially the Berlin wall and the other events after World War II.

The trip that was taken by German students in Years 10, 11 and sixth form was an unforgettable one. Despite only going to Berlin for five days; we saw numerous tourist sights, went to an amazing chocolate factory, and got lost more times than we could count. Mrs Gibson and Madame Fourmy were great guides around the city, always making sure that we made the most of everything we did. I found

By Holly Cowan Year 12 The German trip to Berlin for GCSE and A level was certainly one of the most amusing trips that I have been on. I would strongly recommend the trip to any student doing GCSE and A level German; you have the chance to become cultured and put your studies into practice. I found myself talking to German locals (in German!) and experiencing the best of Germany: The Currywurst (A sausage covered in curry

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sauce). We were guided around Berlin by our trusted Mama Gibs (Mrs Gibson) and Papa Fifi (Madame Fourmy), and made the most of our trip by venturing between East and West Berlin every day to see some of the most iconic sights in Germany’s capital city. Overall, we enhanced our German knowledge through daily German lessons, experienced German culture with various trips and visits to sights such as the East Side Gallery, to the Bundestag Dome, and most of all we had fun!

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MFL Aachen Christmas Market December 18th 2013 The Aachen trip 2013 was great fun! All the Year 8s arrived at school in non-school uniform with our suitcases ready. I was really excited but also a little nervous in case I had forgotten to pack my passport which everyone needed to bring if we wanted to go to Germany. We attended first period but then it was time to say goodbye to our friends and get on the coach. Surprisingly, the coach journey wasn’t so bad. My friend Kevina and I listened to music on the way to the Eurostar where everyone was allowed off the coach to buy drinks and have a rest. Once we boarded the train, the Year 8s took pictures with friends and had fun! Very few of us stayed on the coach as we all knew there was a seven hour journey to go! On the coach, Mrs Gibson allowed us to watch films which was great. We stopped at a chocolate factory on the border of Germany and it was interesting to see what kinds of chocolate they had there. However, most of year eight didn’t buy anything here because we were saving our money for the market and Lindt chocolate factory that we would visit the next day. When we finally arrived at the youth hostel where we were staying, it was time for dinner. Our hosts gave us traditional German food: sausages, potatoes and soup. After eating, all of us went to our assigned rooms and relaxed for a little bit before going to bed. The next day, all the Year 8s woke up early and had breakfast. There was a variety of food there such as cereals, yoghurt and fresh bread rolls and Nutella. We knew that we would have to eat quite a lot as it was going to be a long, busy day

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Outside the Lindt factory shop with all our goodies

in Aachen. Once everyone had packed their suitcases, we left the youth hostel and the coach drove us to Aachen. First, we visited the Lindt chocolate factory which was probably one of the highlights of the trip! There was so much chocolate! Then, we walked into Aachen and went on a little tour to see important landmarks and statues, including an amazingly beautiful cathedral. Afterwards we were free to look around the market, provided that we stay in our dormitory groups. It was a crowded marketplace and nobody wanted to get lost! Mrs Gibson had given us sheets with vocabulary and phrases that we would use on the trip and this definitely helped us. The little wooden chalet -style stalls were really pretty and we all got in the mood for Christmas as we wandered around the market with Christmas carols playing in the background. Most of the stalls were fairly priced and the

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MFL items that were sold were very nice. Many of us bought dinner here as well; I tried Reibekuchen with apple sauce (these are a bit like hash browns) which were very tasty! My most used phrase was probably ‘Was kostet das?’ That means ‘What does that cost?’ After we had finished in the market (which took a very long time!) it was time to go back home. Our journey back was very comfortable; we watched Grease and had a sing-along which was fun! We got back to school at around 10 pm and then waited for our parents to pick us up. Overall, I think it was a very successful trip – I learnt a lot and had fun – and I would definitely recommend it to future year groups. Thank you also to Mr Cook, Mrs Hogan and Frau Vass who gave up their time to accompany us.

PE Netball Report MGGS netball has once again had a successful season seeing lots of promising performances from the younger players and outstanding performance from the seniors. The U16 netball team expertly captained by Maddi Gibbons saw themselves playing in the regional finals. Due to severe weather conditions the first tournament was postponed half way through, the rearranged tournament saw the team travelling up to Lady Eleanor Holles School bright and early on a Sunday morning. The first few games went well and the nationals were within our sights but then we had to play TWGGS! Unfortunately we narrowly lost this game. Once all the results were in we finished in third place, missing out on a place in the nationals. We had lost earlier in the tournament by one goal on the final whistle to Guildford School who took second place. The standard of netball was outstanding and the MGGS team performed exceptionally well. Credit must go to Laura Morton, Dani Bartlett, Erin Brady, Rebecca Pagden, Katie Locks, Rosie Galligan, Holly Bradford, Annie Kepple-Palmer. The PE department would like to thank all those girls who have been involved in netball this year for their enthusiasm and commitment. We look forward to working with you all again next year.

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Dance Showcase By Miss Johnson On the 26th February 2014 over 80 students from different year groups ranging from Year 7 to 13 participated in the Annual MGGS Dance Showcase. This spectacular event consisted of routines from talented and dedicated performers who regularly attend the school’s dance clubs along with A-Level Physical Education students who were assessed in dance. The students performed beautifully on the night displaying a range of dance styles from Hip Hop to Lyrical Jazz along with striking solo pieces. A huge thank you to all of the Dance Leaders who have been great role models, inspiring the students with their enthusiasm by choreographing and leading dance clubs this year. All of the performers should be proud of what they have achieved and I look forward to seeing them perform again next year.

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Chemistry Royal Society of Chemistry Public Lecture, 12th March 2014 Climate Change in Kent – should we be concerned? By Carolyn Rogers, Ahsen Ustaoglu and Lucy Wright Thank you to Dr Andrew Haggart, principle lecturer of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Greenwich for a very enjoyable if slightly concerning talk on climate change. The lecture was attended by year 12 and 13 chemists as well as members of the general public and was well received by all. It detailed some of the natural causes of climate change, including plate tectonics and changes in solar radiation such as the presence of sunspots. There was analysis of the correlation between human activity and climate change, with the conclusion that although climate has always fluctuated, the current forecasts can be explained best by natural and human forcing, and not natural forcing alone. The most memorable part of the talk was about the effects of climate change.

Yalding flooding

Worst forecasts predict that the global average temperature could rise by 4°C by 2100, particularly worrying considering it

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only takes a drop in global temperature of 4°C to cause an ice age. This rise in temperature will go hand in hand with rising sea levels due to thermal expansion and the melting of the ice caps.

The Cove House Inn, Chiswell, January 2014

However, models show that Kent will not be as badly affected as many other places, although Dr Haggart did advise not buying houses close to flood plains, a particularly poignant suggestion after the recent flooding. The talk was followed by a question and answer session in which some big issues were raised and addressed. These included whose responsibility climate change is – does it need to be a concern of governments or the individuals, as well as how much validity can be placed in the climate forecasts for the next 100 years when weather forecasters cannot always accurately predict the weather next week. It is fair to say that besides refreshments, everyone came away from the evening with a lot of food for thought. What If?

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Chemistry Either the Greenland or West Antarctic Ice Sheet melts.

Both the Greenland or West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt

All land-based ice melts

7m sea level rise

13m sea level rise

84m sea level rise

Please contact Dr Doyle ( if you have expertise in a particular field and would be willing to present a public lecture on any topic here at MGGS. Also, if you would like to attend such events in the future, please register your interest.

Maidstone Grammar School for Girls

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By Miss Rhodes It’s been a busy term for Careers, with lots of events going on for various year groups throughout the school. In January, half of Year 7 took part in a Careers Focus Day during which they had to design, create and put together a marketing proposal for a recycled fashion item. In their own words a couple of Year 7s describe their day: “Year 7s Careers Focus Day was all about promoting your own Business. Our task was to design and create our own fashion piece entirely from recycled goods. We used newspapers, cereal boxes, plastic bags, egg boxes, ribbon, string, crisp packets etc. The aim was to have, by the end of the day, a fashion item that could be worn or held. To start off with, the group leader gave everyone their own role. There was a manufacturer, a designer, a group leader and a promoting team. The possibilities were endless for what you could do. Once created, the team had to give a summary about their design and show off their final product. A panel of judges then chose the best product. The winning team made an amazing handbag. Overall the day was very successful and enjoyable.” The other half of Year 7 will get to do this task in July for the last Focus Day of the year. Also in January all Year 9 students received an individual Careers interview with me to discuss their GCSE options and to talk about possible future and career plans before they made their GCSE subject choices. In March Year 10 had a Careers based Focus Day. During the day they explored methods of researching university, career ideas and further education; learned about the labour market and employability; looked into how much certain jobs pay compared to others, and much more. At the time of writing we are also planning the first ‘Aspire’ event of the year which will be held on the 3rd April to give students in Years 11 and 12 the opportunity to meet and talk with representatives from various career areas - an up-date will follow in the next newsletter! More events of this kind will follow, with a university fair in school being planned for Year 12 students in June.

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Careers ‘24/7’ Careers Information for our students by Mr Harris The careers virtual classroom on Fronter is available to MGGS students and is a wealth of useful information. Miss Rhodes has done a fantastic job in developing our ‘on line’ resource base and I would really encourage students to have a thorough look at what is available. Careers based information is there for all year groups in the school and includes information about subject choices, universities, degree courses, apprenticeships and employment routes. The virtual classroom also has lots of videos to watch about various careers and there are links to other websites so that students can continue with their research. Students are welcome to contact Miss Rhodes or me if they have any suggestions as to what else can be included in the virtual classroom as we hope to continue to develop this resource. Students will be receiving a handy bookmark (see picture opposite) in the near future as a reminder of this ‘24/7’ on line facility.

Kirkland Rowell parent & student survey responses THANK YOU! The recent Kirkland Rowell surveys have categorised careers as ‘outstanding’ which is excellent news. We are most grateful for everyone’s support and look forward to further developing our careers provision in the months ahead.

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Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award By Ms Starns This academic year is proving to be another bumper year for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at MGGS. We have 16 groups of Bronze participants, 6 Silver groups and 32 Gold participants all going forward to the expedition stage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Bronze expeditions will take place in Cranbrook and Canterbury during May, and July respectively. A Bronze day walk training is planned for 5th April for all participants to have their first taste of the great outdoors with DofE.

Silver groups have just successfully completed their day walk training in Sevenoaks. This was a challenging walk and students commented on the beautiful views around Sevenoaks. Silver participants will go on expedition at the end of the Easter holiday period, with their assessed expedition taking place at the end of June. Both expeditions are around the Elham Valley area of Kent. Students have been working exceptionally hard on their route and expedition planning and have produced some outstanding work. Gold participants this year are going on expeditions in Finland and North Wales and Brecon Beacons. Good luck to you all! The success of the award is, of course, entirely due to you participating in the DofE award through the training, activities, volunteering, physical and skills elements, but also submitting information via the new on-line system, eDofE, for approval and getting the award confirmed. The DofE experience is demanding and adventurous; it has changed many students’ outlook about the world around them and highlights what is possible through effort and determination. Well done to everyone. I am sure you will have fond memories of your DofE experience for the rest of your lives.

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ICT On the 26th February, a visitor attended our computing lesson. Dr. David ArmourChelu, Head of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Greenwich, kindly accepted an invitation to teach a short lesson to the students studying GCSE and AS Computing. He explained the practical applications and relevance of the more theoretical part of the syllabus, engaging the class and inspiring a range of questions. Feedback from the class showed that Dr. Armour-Chelu enlightened us as to the multitude of career paths that can be accessed with qualifications in computing. During the February half term, Lucy Chen and Emily Hall, two year 12 Computing students, had the chance to embark on a coding project and a work experience placement. Over three days they programmed a Pokemon Battle Code on a command line in Python (a programming language) and presented their project to other competitors. They placed 3rd in the Most Progressed category, and received a session in Object Orientated Programming mentoring and tickets to Mozfest, a prestigious computing event held in London.

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Lucy and Emily also had the opportunity to volunteer at the GEEK gaming convention held in Margate over a weekend, thanks to their involvement with the EPIK coding project earlier in the week. Both students commented that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, finding the event valuable both from an academic point of view as well as a work experience perspective. On Friday the 7th March, two year 12 computing students travelled to Canterbury to meet with James Whittaker, a technical evangelist from Microsoft. Abigail Lewis and Emily Hall attended the event in conjunction with EPIK (Encouraging Programming in Kent), an organisation that influences young people to get involved with code writing and helps develop technological skills. Mr Whittaker spoke about the importance of software development, and the future of computing in this increasing computer dependent age. Both students thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and we are hopeful that the AS Computing students will have the chance to meet with him when he returns to the UK in April.

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Geography Year 8 Geography field trip to Kew gardens (Science week) Year 8 went to visit Kew gardens as an educational trip that would show us what the real plants of the desert and rainforest look like. We all enjoyed the trip and learnt plenty from it! We learnt about how particular types of plants are adapted to their surroundings, whether they are carnivorous, have waxy leaves, spiky or able to shrink or move for the sun. We visited two of the many greenhouses to experience the tropical rainforest, deserts and other world ecosystems (biomes). We had a worksheet to complete that would give us a summary of all the information we had learnt and collected over our time at Kew gardens.

sugar resources, perfumes and toiletries. The second part of the museum taught us about different times in British history where various different products were brought over by explorers such as Christopher Columbus. We even saw a shirt made out of pineapple! The museum was very interesting and I learnt and saw many different creations and I learnt many facts.

We arrived at school by “We saw a shirt made 7.50 to register, get into out of pineapple” groups and collect worksheets. There were After this we stopped at the first two coaches for the three classes (the greenhouse (The Princess of Wales other half of the Year group went the day Conservatory) that displayed various before); the coach trip to Kew took different types of plants from ten world approximately two hours. We registered biomes including the desert and the again when we arrived and the group I rainforest as well as pond fish, snails and was in, Mr Messenger’s group, used a frogs. We saw carnivorous plants, spiky rather innovative way of registering plants as well as various other harmless where we all had a number and we plants. We saw how ‘the more recited them in order instead of going aggressive’ plants use defence such as through all the names! spiky leaves or coarse spikes. Plants don’t have a brain and cannot move very far; We started our visit by going to a small they can shrink, trap various things, museum where we had to note down facts ingest and even poison prey. about various plant-based products such as; medicine, hygiene, energy resources,

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Geography The third place we visited was the trees, banana trees (actually giant herbs), XSTRATA tree-top walk where we could cocoa trees and bamboo. experience an 18m view of the forest Did you know bamboo grows up to 6cm a below us as well as just above us; a few day? people got a bit frightened as the walk was very very high. Whilst we waited we The last destination we finally visited was needed to find out some facts about the the gift shop where many purchases were different animals, bacteria made. After a long day we and organisms that live in the finally arrived back to the “The plants dripped deciduous woodland (our coaches enriched with the native ecosystem). knowledge of plants! water on us� The penultimate destination we visited was The Palmhouse which displayed various plants that are found in the rainforest. It was very warm and humid in this greenhouse and the plants would drip water on us (at least it showed the drip tips on the leaves worked although it did get our worksheets wet!).

All in all I think the trip was very successful, I thought it was a very helpful experience to actually see all of these fantastic plants and their adaptations to our environment. It is a trip I would recommend for just a family day out even if it were a long drive there. We all enjoyed the experience!

Many of these plants are used all over the world today such as henna plants, rubber

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Houses What a great year we've had as Norman's House Leaders! This year has seen us frantically rushing around classrooms at lunchtimes to organise people competing in house events (even some milkshake based bribery), rehearsing House Arts dances in Central and the corridors and long, long conversations about at which second to cut a track in our playlist. The group hugs and feelings of pride after our performance in October is something that we're sure not to forget in a hurry and the familial atmosphere within Normans has been great to be a part of. Some of our favourite moments of the year have been: Courtney doing impressions of Reece in House Arts rehearsals. The dancing was magnificent! Robyn ending up competing in just about every event in Sport's Day. Creating our human torch and Reece and Tom performing as Torch and Torch bearer. This year as Normans House Leaders is one that is sure to stay with us for a long time. Courtney, Rachel and Betony.

This year has definitely been one of the best years for the Saxons. Poppy, Freddie and I are extremely proud of everyone that has taken part in any of the events and we can truly say that we have made friends for life. Sports day was the first event of the year and we were amazing! The morning events were all completed with our Saxon’s girls coming 1st, 2nd or 3rd in all field games, making us the highest scoring team before the afternoon’s events. Unfortunately, we were pipped at the post, but we came second and all the girls worked so hard and it was a lovely day. House Arts was a very stressful but rewarding experience and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. The girls that took part were so dedicated and I never had to complain to anyone about not turning up. We became a family, spending so much time together and the hard work definitely paid off on the actual day. Poppy, Freddie and I have always had amazing feedback about our whole performance and that is all we could ask for. A special mention goes to Amy Thomas for choreographing one of the dances and being so helpful to us throughout the term, we wish her the best for the future. It may come as a surprise to many that we recently won our first event, which was the Science quiz! Thank you to Mrs Binks, Carolyn Rogers, Katie Locks and Lucy Galligan for taking part, you are definitely very clever. We are extremely proud of everyone who took part and wish everyone luck for the future!

We have had a very successful term in the house events. We achieved the champions title in the inter-house badminton tournament after an amazing performance from all participants accross the year groups! We are so proud of everyone who took part and grateful to those who supported our house and we hope that everyone had an enjoyable day. Again, a big well done to the Vikings students who took part in the inter-house science quiz during MGGS Science Week, we were chuffed to have made it to the final and achieve 2nd place after a very tense final against the Saxons! Thank you again to the participants and supporters! Abbie, Luke and Jess

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Houses Danes have always held a reputation for holding an atmosphere of friendship. It is so difficult to connect students between Years 7 to 13, and yet this has been within Danes throughout the six years Jess and Rachel were part of the family. It was therefore daunting stepping up to the task, and even more so for Kyle who was new to the family. Maintaining this atmosphere had to come from a connection between the house leaders and despite not knowing each other well at the start, we can now confidently say that we are best friends. We have found support and friendship within each other and for that we are grateful. However the three of us are not the only ones who deserve a thank you. It has been a fantastic year for Danes. We want to thank everyone who contributed to making House Arts and all the house events as amazing as they were, and without you we could never have dreamed of getting that second place in House Arts that we are so happy and proud of. It has been a great privilege getting to know all the Danes and it is going to be very hard saying goodbye to you all. Love Rachel, Kyle and Jess xx

In May 2013 the role of Romans house leaders was handed to us from Lizzie, Tariq and Pierre. We had a high standard to live up to with the success of their house arts performance of Shrek. But what a year it has been for us as well! House Arts, Sports Day, inter-house rounders, badminton. Every event has given us such a feeling of admiration for our house. House Arts gave us such a great feeling when watching it all come together throughout rehearsals, and to watch the final performance. To then receive recognition for best performance from such a highly acclaimed judge made it all worthwhile. We may not have won many events, but the team spirit and values that Romans’ possess, in our opinion, is far better than any achievements. Sports day is another event that has made us proud to lead such a supportive house, with many of volunteers taking part. We are proud of everything we have accomplished as a house especially those who have given up their time to be involved and help us create a performance we will never forget. We have a few mentions that we’d like to include: thank you to Harriet Day, Anna Wright, Amy Falconer and Lucy Wright for their help with choreography in House Arts, without your help, we would have really struggled. Thank you for an amazing year, we will miss our Romans! Love Amy, Joe and Georgia.

Overall it has been a very successful year for Britons, having won Sports Day, House Arts and House Rounders. As House Leaders we are very proud of all the Britons who have contributed or just supported at events throughout the year. Without our fellow Britons our success would not have been possible. We need to give a special mention to Ellie Dench, Eloise Ball, Emily Baker and all other choreographers during House Arts. These are just a few of the many people that have made our year so enjoyable. Leaving this role will be a very sad time for all three of us, but we wish good luck to any future Britons House Leaders. Thanks again, Grace, Esme and Bethan.

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Thinking Skills We were delighted to be invited by Thinking Schools International (TSI) http:// to write an article about our work as Thinking School. Re-printed below is the article which should be appearing on the TSI website in the near future. The key principles underpinning the Thinking School culture at Maidstone Grammar School for Girls by Paul Harris, Deputy Headteacher

As we continue our journey as a Thinking School the role of questioning has become central to our teaching and learning. This is questioning in all its forms and ways- deep, wide and tall. ‘Deep’ questioning encourages the learner to really explore the subject. Our Key Stage 3 subject programmes of study are based mainly around ‘big questions’ for each topic. This encourages an enquiry based approach to learning rather than focusing upon a more rigid study of the material. The importance of language is crucial in both asking the right questions and in understanding exactly what the question means. We have a ‘word of the week’ across the school where the meanings of word are carefully explained and the subtlety and nuance of language are emphasised as part of our desire to prepare our students to be mindful of the words they use and their meaning. Questioning is a real strength of our lessons- staff are encouraged to use discerning questions which really test and gauge student understanding and our students are encouraged to ask questions; good questions, questions that show they are really thinking about the subject. ‘Wide’ questioning allows us as a school to go beyond the constraints of a set National Curriculum. In Years 7 and 8, our students have a weekly hour long lesson exploring a range of ‘big questions’ during the course of the year to help them gain a broader perspective of the world. The lessons provide a brilliant opportunity to discuss, debate, listen, empathise, question and of course think! This year some of the questions being studied in Year 7 are ‘Where does my language come from?’, ‘Do actions speak louder than words?’ and ‘What is Art for?’ In Year 8, questions include ‘What makes a good argument?’, ‘What makes a great thinker?’ and ‘What makes a good product?’ Our virtual learning environment has a classroom called ‘Blue Sky Thinking’ where students can vote on a ‘thunk’ along with other information about thinking skills.

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Thinking Skills ‘Tall’ questioning fosters creativity. The ‘thinking outside the box’, ‘why might?’ and ‘what if this should happen?’ type questions allow students to think in different ways and provide solutions to problems in novel and innovative ways. An added dimension has been the delivery of some parts of our lessons in PE (Year 7) and Food Technology

Blue Sky Thinking- literally! Students creating MGGS letters for a fundraising event. See the video at

(Year 8) in French or Spanish whilst our top set linguists in Year 8 study their own weekly ‘big questions’ in the medium of French or Spanish. Underpinning our emphasis on questioning we have used a variety of thinking tools- thinking maps, De Bono’s six hats approach, P4C and of course Bloom’s higher order thinking skills in order to encourage our students to become skilled at answering and asking questions. These all link well with our Habits of Mind focus which we have had throughout our time as a Thinking School in which we strive to develop in our students qualities for effective learning which will help them both at school and in the years to come. It is difficult to quantify things and to measure the impact of our thinking skills initiative. It may be coincidence or not but we have enjoyed several school records with public examination results in recent years. What we can say is that teaching and learning styles have changed over the years and perhaps most importantly of all we have detected a change in our school ethos- more scholarly, more focused and more discerning. For us, the answer lies in the question!

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News Congratulations to Molly Tipples who was runner up after being nominated for the Star of Maidstone Award 2014 for her work as Chairman of the Governing Body at MGGS and for the 18 years she spent on the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Blantyre House.

Women In Maths Day by Marissa Olley Year 10 I found the Women in Maths day trip very useful as there were different lectures on how maths fits in to practically everything. The trip also helped me decide what I might like to do when I am older – maths really appeals to me now. There was a quiz and , although I found it really hard at times, I thought it was great fun. However, the most useful thing to me was getting to ask the university students questions about maths and I

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found out that there is so much that you can do with the subject. It was great! We had talks from Jenna Pearce of Bentley cars Celia Hoyle on balloon popping Dr Vera Hazelwood on the maths of natural disasters Dr Hannah Fry on the Hidden connections in everyday life.

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LETTINGS INFORMATION AND CHARGES 2014 We have a wide range of facilities available to hire at very competitive prices. ALL CHARGES ARE PER HOUR AND EXCLUDE VAT Hire Area

Charges From Weekdays 6pm - 10pm












With overhead projector and screen. An area that seats 90



Food/Technology and Art Rooms



Drama/Dance Studio



Classrooms All classrooms have ceiling mounted projectors. Interactive whiteboards and/or plain whiteboards. Seating for 30 ICT Room Enclosed suites have between 18-24 PCs (should a technician be required we can provide one at extra cost) Main Hall With full audio/video equipment Seats 360. Small Hall With overhead projector and screen. Seats 90. Sports Hall 4 Badminton courts, 1 netball court Junior indoor football training Sixth Form Reception Facility

For the hire of multiple areas or for block bookings please contact us to discuss reduced rates. Charities and voluntary organisations attract a 10% discount. Catering facilities are available at certain days/times. For our terms and conditions and to request any further information regarding lettings of our facilities please contact Dave Stevens, Lettings Supervisor. email

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School Notices Moving House? New Phone? Let Us Know! Don’t forget to inform the school office if you move house or change your telephone numbers, including your mobile phone number or your email address. It is important that we have up to date contact details for all students of the school. Please make use of our Fax machine facility or the school office email to update information if these methods are easier for you to use. We can be faxed on 01622 681947 at any time and our email address is:

Term Dates Term 5 - 2014 22.4.14 - Start of Term 5 23.5.14 - End of Term 5 Term 6- 2014 2.6.14 - Start of Term 6 18.7.14 - End of Term 6

School Admissions

We regularly hold In Year Admissions testing days for students wishing to join the school from Years 8 to 10. We also cater for late access into Year 7. To make an application for a place into the school please complete the In Year Casual Application Form (IYCAF). This can be found on the school website at about-mggs/admissions and once completed should be returned to Mrs Hogan at the school. If you have any interest in future testing dates for siblings, or have friends or relatives moving into the area, please telephone the school for further information and advice.

MAIDSTONE GRAMMAR SCHOOL FOR GIRLS Buckland Road Maidstone Kent ME16 0SF Tel: 01622 752103 Email: Fax: 01622 681947 Website:

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Spring newsletter 2014  
Spring newsletter 2014  

MGGS Spring Newsletter 2014