Maidstone Grammar School is like an extended but close-knit family. Every family has different age groups, abilities, interests and personalities. Families change; they move, extend, embrace newcomers and say goodbye to leavers. Family members welcome diversity whilst remaining strong and committed to each other; they keep in touch so they can celebrate successes, occasions and achievements, and even though every family has disagreements and tough times, it works together to get through those difficult periods.
Our aims are also the same as every family's: to keep our children and young people safe, to meet their needs, to build ties and bonds within the wider community, and to support them in times of challenge and adversity. This includes developing morals and fostering patience, humility, courage, ambition, drive and enthusiasm. We respect individuals and individuality but we share common goals, beliefs and values, irrespective of age, gender or background.
We encourage our students to be interesting and interested, aspirational and inspirational. We would like our students to leave school as young adults that any family would wish their child to be when they leave home: Confident, self-assured, with a strong work ethic and better prepared both academically and socially to go out into an ever-changing world.
As the Headmaster of Maidstone Grammar School, I am dedicated to ensuring that all students fulfil their potential, have goals and ambitions, and are happy and successful whilst at school. However, my staff and I also wish to help them develop those characteristics, morals and values that will underpin their future lives. My staff and I want them to become young people to whom we will look up, an adult we will want to say we taught - and of whom we are proud.
However, a school is essentially a place of teaching and learning, although education is no longer solely about the three Rs. Whilst they are at school, we aim to support and promote students' academic achievement but also want to them to find pleasure in life-long learning and see them grow into well-rounded, grounded and sound young men and women. Students should develop enquiring minds, the ability to think critically, respect evidence and recognise prejudice, learning to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to make balanced, reasoned judgements of their own.
Academic results last year were of a very high standard: At GCSE 50% of all grades were A/A*. 99% of students gained 5 A*-C grades including Maths and English and 60% of students gained 5 or more A* or A grades. This put us in 59th position of the top 140 state schools in the country, according to the Daily Telegraph. At A-Level just below 60% of all exam entries graded at A* to B grade and one in every three grades being A or A*. Twenty five students achieved at least 3 A grades or better and 8 students achieved at least 2 A* grades and an A. 80% of university applicants gained their first choice of university with 50 students going to Russell Group and Oxbridge Universities. Whilst these results are excellent, and a testament to our students' ability and hard work, there will always be room for improvement. We recognise the need for academic rigour and high-quality teaching, and are constantly looking at ways to improve the quality of teaching and learning for the benefit of staff and students.
Maidstone Grammar School is also at the heart of a wider community and we understand and are prepared to take on our responsibilities as citizens. We respect and celebrate religious and cultural diversity, promote opportunities for all and place integrity, honesty, kindness and goodwill at the heart of our public and private lives.
Both in school and outside its gates, we respect others for whom they are, not for what they have or what they can do for us. We strive to show others that they are valued, to gain respect, earn trust, command loyalty and to work together co-operatively.
We look forward to our future but we value our past and particularly our traditions, believing they provide a solid and stable foundation for the whole school. We believe that forming strong and lasting relationships is the basis of a successful and fulfilling school life and is one of our greatest strengths.
No young person learns effectively unless he or she feels safe, secure and happy. Maidstone Grammar School is a caring and supportive school and we try to address the individual needs of every student through a comprehensive, flexible pastoral system. As such, we work together to develop self-respect, self-discipline and self-understanding.
Through involvement in our varied and extensive extra-curricular and enrichment programmes, students also develop an appreciation for human achievement in art, music, science and literature. Every student has the opportunity to develop and grow intellectually, physically and spiritually.
Sport also plays a significant part in school life. We have a varied programme supported by committed staff and played by dedicated students, with many wishing to represent their school. MGS students have gone on to represent their country in their chosen sport but, even if not destined to be a future international sportsperson, all students are encouraged to participate to the very best of their ability. Our current building project, finishing in Autumn 2013, is a new sports hall which will hopefully be followed by improving our pavilion and changing room facilities.
The flagship of our enrichment programme, the Combined Cadet Force, was established 106 years ago. Over 250 students take part in the Army, Navy and Air Force contingents and learn much about camaraderie, service and leadership. Our CCF students are always a credit to us; the RAF Section regularly wins the RAF National Ground Training Competition and our Army Section won the Brigade Patrol Competition in 2010. All sections have the opportunity to attend summer camps and other training takes place throughout the year.
Our charitable nature deserves a special mention, having been identified by both staff and students as a core value. Over the last two years we have raised over £25,000 for a variety of good causes and were in the top 100 schools for raising the highest amount for the bi-annual Sport Relief Day in March 2012.
Maidstone Grammar School is fortunate to have a committed and supportive Parents' Association, which all parents are warmly invited to join. We recognise and value the importance of parental support and encouragement, whether they are the parent on the touchline cheering the rugby team in the sleet and snow, attending the summer concert or the school play, or making tea at our fireworks display. Parents' support is also vital in respect of upholding school rules, discipline, behaviour and dress code and we work together to ensure our high standards and expectations are maintained.
Finally, we hope that a student's time at MGS will be remembered fondly and that he or she will have achieved their academic potential, formed strong friendships and leave as a confident, mature, responsible and capable young adult. This is really the best measure of any school and my staff and I will work to ensure that Maidstone Grammar School measures up.
Mr M Tomkins BSc NPQH