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As you will be aware. Grammar Schools have been headline news over the last few months as a result of the Government's green paper, 'Schools that work for everyone'. This is a time for existing schools to look at their provision and also for policy makers to consider if and how selective education should be extended. This summer I took over as Chair of the Grammar School Head's Association and therefore have been heavily involved in the dialogue as representative of the 163 Grammars across the country. I introduced the Prime Minister at our Autumn conference and she outlined some of her proposals for developing the education system. As the consultation on the Green paper developed I have continued to promote the cause of selective education and in the last two weeks I have attended sessions with Department of Education officials, met with the Secretary of State, Justine Greening, and had two meetings with the Prime Minister’s policy advisors at 10 Downing Street. This has been a real honour and it has also been an opportunity to talk about all the work we do at Pate's to promote educational excellence in other schools and institutions. As an outstanding school, and especially as an outstanding Grammar School, it is increasingly unacceptable to exist in isolation - and so it should be. I expect that we will see a White paper from the Government in the spring that will give an indication of how the initial ideas will develop. It has been a very exciting few months for me personally and my children think it is ridiculous that their Dad should be invited to the PM's house - although the selfie I took with Larry the Downing Street cat did make them laugh (apologies but it is too embarrassing to publish)!

The church was packed for Wednesday’s candlelit Carol Service and what a perfect start to Christmas! Although only two weeks on from the incredible 500th birthday concert at Gloucester Cathedral, the Music Department did not hold back on complex choral and orchestral arrangements, and how they managed to prepare themselves in such a short time is a little Christmas miracle in itself! Year 7 did themselves proud and the Choirs were magnificent – as were the homemade mince pies and mulled wine provided by the PA! Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.

Special thanks to Laura Davis and her Refectory team who have cooked hundreds of delicious Christmas lunches which have been hugely enjoyed by students and staff this week – what an outstanding effort!  Also this week we welcomed back last year’s leavers for a mince pie reunion… they chatted to staff almost as if they had never been gone and it is lovely to hear how they are getting on in the world. My thanks to Shirley Park and Alex Gregory for all their work in organising this event, which is now firmly established in the school calendar.

Calendar Update:
Tues 3rd January – school restarts for the spring term
3rd-23rd January – Y11 Mock exams & study leave
16th-26th January – Y13 Mock exams & study leave
Tues 17th January – SCHOOL FINISHES EARLY AT 2PM (staff training)
Tues 24th January - SCHOOL FINISHES EARLY AT 2PM (sixth form open evening)

Winners of the RGS Young Geographer of the Year competition were presented with certificates and chocolate prizes for their excellent posters showing 'How Britain is Changing' this week - look out for their posters on display in school next term.  Congratulations to Maryam Boulkenafet, Oscar Godden, Eleanor Howlett, Maggie Maclellan Josh Markos, Edward Morgan, Daniel Silverthorne and Alice Williams.

Water polo victory for tream captain Thomas Adams:  Congratulations to Thomas Adams (Y12) for Captaining the winning Gloucestershire waterpolo squad (16 and Under) at Millfield (Somerset) this weekend to take the South West Intercounties Championship.

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Proposed new GL11 Bus Route: Jackie's Coaches are proposing a further route as follows: Starting from Cam @7.15 | Dursley (uley road) | Uley | Shell Garage, Eastington @7. 50 | 
Pate’s 8.20 (reverse route at the end of the day). If you would like to register an interest in this route or make further enquiries or suggestions please contact Jackie’s Coaches (here). This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As I write, the dancers are limbering up for the fascinating and eye-popping spectacle that is House Dance! Speaking as a resident judge of this event, I am preparing myself for whatever comes – previous competitions have given us the sublime and the ridiculous, and everything inbetween. One thing is certain, the students will express themselves, and a good time will be had by all - a great way to finish the term!

More from me next year… in the meantime I wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

Yours sincerely

REL Signature

Russel Ellicott
Head Master