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National Homework Guidelines Scrapped

The Government has scrapped the homework guidelines that were in place across the UK. They now say that Headteachers and teachers can now set as much as they want and it can even be none at all!

The old guidelines were that Children were expected to do homework for an hour a week, increasing to 2.5 hours every night if you were 14 to 16.

Here at Harrogate Grammar School the homework guidelines were:

Year 7: 4.5 hours a week
Year 8: 6.5 hours a week
Year 9: 8.5 hours a week
Year 10: 8 hours a week
Year 11: 8.5 hours a week

As you can see our school was going over the set limit before the guidelines were scrapped and now the rules are gone, they can now increase or decrease it a will. What will our school do now that the laws are gone?



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Dutch Exchange

Students from a school in Dan Haag  known as the Hague in english are visiting England as part of the languages department exchange program. Although we don’t study dutch in Harrogate Grammar it is always exciting to learn how other people live.

So I decided to find out a bit more about their hometown.  It is the capital city of Holland and has 500,000 inhabitants. With the increasing cost of study in England   lots of british students are now choosing  to study  for degrees in Holland.  The tuition fees are only a fraction of the english fees.

You can find out more about studying in Holland by reading the Guardian article.  Maybe its something we should all be considering.

Our Sixth Form readers may want to read what the Hague University says about studying there.

Watch out for my interview with our visiting friends next week where I will find out more about life and study in Dan Hague.

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French Exchange Wednesday 28th March


This is the last day of the Exchange.  A very busy day for some.  A more relaxing day for others.

Departure at 8.30 from

to go to Villeneuve d’Asq ( A prize for anyone who can tell me what major building project is taking place there at the moment!) After a long detour due to an overturned lorry on the motorway, we get to the V2.  Most students deappear within minutes of arriving and will return only minutes before the deadline of 11.30, loaded with all kinds of goods:  perfume, clothes, chocolate, sweets a jar of mayonnaise and even a Budha (sic).

I give up, this photo may help you.

Lunch at Flunch is something that every British person should experience at least once.  The usual welcome was given and the food was as it should be in a fast food chain.  Good and plentiful.

The afternoon started with a little tour of old Lille (try and say that quickly!) Then, it was more shopping for those who wished to do so.  Sitting in a cafe in the sunshine with a few chosen students was/is a much better option.  (especially when Andrew gives a demonstration on how to do the Cube). Here I must thank Bruce for keeping Meg and I entertained with a flow of converstion.

By 6pm, all the students were back at school waiting for the parents to pick them up.  It must be daid at this stage that this has been one of the most pleasant week I have spent with a group of students.  Well done to them!

Au revoir

The photos and videos will be available on this site after  Easter.


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French Exchange 2012 Tuesday 27th March


A very busy day!  Departure from school at 8.30am.  A short coach trip takes us to Haverskerque ( a prize for whoever gives me the right pronunciation when we come back) to draw or to sculpt.

After a short demonstration by Francoise (known as Fanfreluche: a second prize for whoever can tell me what it means when we return)  the drawing group has a go at drawing a cartoon figure of the rat out of ratatouille.  There are obvious experts such Jack and Ailsa who show the rest of the group how it should be done.  Some find it more demanding but all have a good go at it.  Francoise congratulates them on their persistence and their determination to do well.

The second group is at the sculpture workshop.  By the time your reporter arrives, the students are well into the sculpture.  Ben, Dan and Tom are especially hard at work.  Ben will suffer the double indignity of two breaks;one self-inflicted, the other due to a mishap (Don’t forget the chocolates Laura!) but everything is sorted and Ben should be very proud of his achievement.  A good proportion of the HGS pupils made hearts which are to be given to their mums (how sweet is that!) except  for one person (who shall remain nameless but whose mother was not too far away). Your reporter was also involved in smoothing Meg’s heart!  (Make what you will out of this statement, but it worked!)

Another coach trip takes us to La Gorgue to the CCFL. The CCFL is the equivalent of a super town council which represents the 7 town which make up the Communaute de La Lys.( It had to be said!)

A few games (Gemma is an amazing athlete), a picnic lunch and into the Council Chamber.   The president of the Council makes a short presentation (well, fairly short. You know how politicians are…..!) Questions are sought.  Very quickly the questions from the Harrogate students flow.  Parents should be proud of what happened during this hour.  The president seemed very impressed with the level of questioning and with the interest the students showed in the presentation.

This is followed by a question and answer on the exchange itself.  The topic how can we make it better.  A lot of good ideas came out.  Some more practical and practicable than others.  All in all a good debate.

The day ends with a visit to Fromelles .  The site of one of the most pointless battles of  WWI during which nearly 6000 Australians and 1500 Germans died over a two day period.  The youngest being barely 16. A very moving experience.

Back to school for the buses and home.



PS.  I am going to try and upload some of the pictures.

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French Exchange 2012 Monday 26th March

The morning is spent in school.  The first two periods are given over to following the lessons into which partners go.  After break a quick lesson with Mr Le Bourdon on how to ask questions.  After a short coach trip groups undertake either to do some orinteering, boxing or dancing.

The first nose bleed happens when an over enthusiastic French boy hits qnother on the nose reulting in a fairly good nosebleed.  The best students at boxing happen to be Logqn, Kiera and of course Gemma who must have kicked the coach very hard for him to remember. Quote ¨” Ze girl in ze green trouzers haz a good kick”  Do not approach Gemma without care!

The group then moves to an Estaminet (the local and very old French word for a Cafe) where croissants, pains au chocolat and chocolat chaud are consumed.


Back to school and home

There seems to have been a lot of laughter and hillarity during the day.  Long may it continue!

PS  We are having problems uploading the photos and the flip videos.  We will do so asap

PPS  This blooning key boqrd is hqrd to useq



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French Exchange 2012; 23/03/12

Today we went to a bell tower/town hall, a brewery and a workshop where they made giant puppets/floats.

We also went to some lessons in a french school, they like to try and speak english to us as much as they can, but they’re not very good! :)

In the bell tower/town hall we met the Mayor of Laventie, and we went up to the top of the bell tower. – It was very high up!

In the brewery we learnt how they make the 2 different types of beer, and we had an oppourtunity to try a small amount, and to buy some to take back for presents.

We went to two workshops, one where a giant donkey and soldier was built, and another where a giant cat had been built. They showed us how they made them, how they operated them, and what they are used for. They told us that when a new giant is built, they baptise it, by having a gathering of giants, and a drinking session afterwards! The giants are operated by 2-4 people who carry the weight of the giant on their shoulders, by some poles and planks of wood with cushions on the end.

We have started recording video diaries with different students each night, that way parents, friends and family can see what we have been doing whilst in Laventie :)



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Dragons Den at HGS

Business is booming as the tenner tycoon is encouraging people to start their own business with a tenner and make a bit of profit to  give a percentage of your choice to the school  charity. It is too late to start your own tenner tycoon campaign but you can support the schools charity by purchasing some of the contenders products which are Noah’s cakes, the Wi-Fi café,. make your own mug and many more. In case you didn’t know the school charity it to build a centre which is an attachment to a school in Uganda where people can learn to make things like cloth and wood work.

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Dragons Den at HGS

Meet our Dragons

Business is booming as the Tenner Tycoon  programme is encouraging  young people to start their own business with  just a tenner.  Make a bit of profit to and give a percentage, of your choice, to the school  charity.  Unfortunately it is too late to start your own Tenner Tycoon campaign but you can support the schools charity by purchasing some of the contenders products. There are Noah’s cakes ,the Wi-Fi café,  make your own mug and many more .  In case you didn’t know the school charity project is to build an extension to our partner school in Uganda which will allow  people to learn how to make clothes and wood work.

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BBC School Report: Charities Week


Every year Harrogate Grammar School holds a wide range of events during ‘charities week’ to raise money for their chosen charity. The school has had a charity every year for 25 years, raising over a quarter of a million pounds. The school has supported a variety of charities: building wells in Africa, wheel chairs in Pakistan, supporting the local old people’s home and the teenage cancer trust.

This year Harrogate Grammar school has chosen to support The Revival Centre in Matugga, Uganda. The Revival Centre is attempting to build a vocational centre containing workshops for building, cooking and hairdressing. This should hopefully prepare students in the school for future life. Some school staff are going to travel over to Matugga to help build the vocational centre and support the school in this project.

The school is hoping to raise an astonishing £15,000 for the charity by holding their annual charities week. Some of the events will include: “The Big Quiz”, “Bizarre Bazaar”, The “Stay Awake”, “HGS Has Talent”, A teachers’ clothes show, “Tackle the Teacher” and a sixth form fashion show, where local shops are donating prom dresses and suits for the show. 

When asked, Mrs Boag, Head of Charities Committee said, “I am most looking forward to students enjoying themselves.having fun, raising money and I think the highlight for me has always been the teachers’ clothes show.”

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Spanish Exchange 2012 :)

In February 2012, students from Harrogate Grammar visited Spain on an exchange to learn more about their language and culture. They stayed with a host family and lived the way they lived. They took part in activites such as the traditional siesta, and visited historical landmarks. The spanish students are coming to visit England in March.


Watch our video to find out what it was really like.

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The Raspberry Pi

The worlds cheapest computer is here the raspberry pi. The raspberry Pi is low cost, small, and portable. It’s actually as small as a credit card. It is a computer that is designed for teaching programming and runs on fedora (an operating system). The raspberry pi has no cover and comes with preinstalled programs like scratch.
It was designed for educational purposes like teaching children how to program with a cheap and easy to use computer. It’s as cheap as £16.00 in the UK. At the minute the raspberry pi is being targeted at children and schools. Element 14 (company of the raspberry pi) think this will be the very first step to intelligent robots. This could be the very thing that leads the way to the future.

Posted in Features, Games & Fun, Multimedia, National News, News, Views0 Comments

Donald Bell VC

VC Donald Simpson Bell

Donald Simpson Bell was born on the 3rd December 1890. He was an English school teacher at Starbeck Primary School. Before the war Bell had a promising football career ahead of him, having become a professional with Bradford Park Avenue Football Club. He made his debut in 1913 as a full-back against Wolverhampton Wanderers and had made five league appearances for the club when the Great War broke out in August 1914. Determined to fight for his country, he asked the Bradford directors to release him from his contract and in November of that year signed up as a volunteer soldier with the West Yorkshire Regiment. He quickly rose through the ranks and in less than a year of joining he had been made an officer in the 9th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards).

Just a year later, in June 1915, having just got married, he was part of Lord Kitchener’s new Volunteer Army which crossed the English Channel to get to the Western Front in readiness for the Battle of the Somme.

On the evening of 5 July, 1916, his battalion was given the order to enter the fray and soon captured a German position, known as Horse Shoe Trench. But they quickly came under attack again from another enemy machine gun. Without a second thought for his own safety, 25-year-old Bell crept up a communication trench and then dashed towards the gun across open ground. He was a superb athlete and moved with incredible speed. Within minutes he had reached the post, he shot the gunner with his revolver and blew up the rest with hand grenades before throwing more bombs into a dugout, killing more than 50 Germans.

During the First World War he was awarded the Victoria Cross for wiping out a German gun post in the Somme, only to die 5 days later. Before his success he attended Harrogate Grammar School before attending Westminster College. When World War I broke out, he became the first professional footballer to enlist into the British Army – joining the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1915. He was rapidly promoted to Lance Corporal and then was commissioned into the 9th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own) in 1915. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 5 July 1916 at Horseshoe Trench, Somme, France. He was killed in action on 10 July 1916. He is now buried at Gordon Dump Cemetery, France.  His Victoria Cross was formerly displayed at the Green Howards Museum in Richmond, Yorkshire. On 25 November 2010 it was auctioned by London medal specialists, Spink. It was purchased for a reported £252,000 by the Professional Footballers’ Association and will go on display at their museum in Manchester.

To watch the BBCs coverage of his heroic achivements click on the photo below.

Click to watch BBC video


This is some real footage from The Battle Of The Somme:

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