13 years lucky for top grammar school

Roger Hale in class at Caistor Grammar School where the sixth form is so oversubscribed students cannot be certain of a place until their exam results are released next week. EMN-150824-112710001
Roger Hale in class at Caistor Grammar School where the sixth form is so oversubscribed students cannot be certain of a place until their exam results are released next week. EMN-150824-112710001
0
Have your say

For the 13th year in a row Caistor Grammar School has been the best in Lincolnshire for a-levels - and this year’s GCSE results have smashed all records.

These incredible results put CGS up there with the best schools in the entire country.

As headteacher Roger Hale approaches his 20-year anniversary of being in charge, he has revealed some of the secrets of his success.

“It’s a passion for making our school a remarkable place to learn.

“A very important element in it is commitment and there’s a shared commitment in our community to be serious about learning,” he said.

“I’m sure this is the case in every school but it’s a matter of degree.”

Mr Hale said one factor was the school’s track record.

“New year sevens come into the school and have confidence and self belief.

“Everyone understands there’s no shortcuts - we don’t have some magic powder we can sprinkle over people.Whatever we do there’s an understanding that you really do have to work very hard.”

94 students from 38 primary schools will join CGS in September - 25 per cent of pupils are the only student from their school.

“They’re not doing what is normal to do - it’s unusual to have so many being the only one. They’re making a big choice leaving their friends behind. But they’ll settle into a warm, friendly community, which is part of the secret of our success.

“Bringing their cleverness out is partly our teaching staff who are very dedicated and very experienced.

“Also who you sit next to, generally, at Caistor Grammar School is doing well and wants to do well so it makes you think ‘I’ll do well too’. In some places there’s quite a strong feelingof ‘I don’t want to work too hard’.

“I’m intrigued as to what makes one place more effective than another.

“I tell them (pupils) this is a learning opportunity that’ll never come again.”

New, more rigorous curriculums mean many schools face challenges ahead - but Mr Hale is feeling confident.

“I’ve met Michael Gove (government minister) quite a few times. At a reception for grammar school heads he gave a speech in which he congratulated grammar schools in their curriculums and in their seriousness about learning. I think what Michael Gove wanted was for every child to go to a grammar school education. I’m not making any comment about whether it’s a good thing.

“That’s going to pose less of a challenge to the grammar schools that are already providing it - I’m optimistic and upbeat about the challenges - I’m not saying I would have done everything.”

But Mr Hale said it was more difficult to stay at the top than it was to get to the top.

“To make a football analogy. It’s going to be difficult for Chelsea to win the Premier League again.

“We’re the leading school (in Lincolnshire), judged by the government, again at a-level and GCSE.”