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News > Alumni News > Dr Owen on the importance of the SGS community

Dr Owen on the importance of the SGS community

Headmaster Dr Paul Owen discusses starting the new academic year in hopefulness and the importance of the SGS community and heritage.
14 Oct 2021
Alumni News
Dr Owen, Headmaster
Dr Owen, Headmaster

The SGS community has tiptoed back towards normality at the start of the new academic year. Masks, social distancing and one-way systems are gone and the lifting of coronavirus restrictions has seen a flourishing of activities. In lessons, teachers can circulate to offer extra explanation and questions, pupils can tackle practical work in groups, able to share apparatus, and discussions can flourish. Sports teams compete on Saturdays, ensembles and choirs rehearse and the cast of this term’s production of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ have begun work. These opportunities that once we took for granted are all the sweeter for the disruption of the last 18 months.

I have been so impressed with our Sixth Form pupils who have faced periods of school closure in both their Sixth Form years. In spite of this they have persevered cheerfully and gained some excellent A Level results this year with more than 86% of grades at A*- B. This success has allowed them to have a great choice of university courses. As Old Stopfordians we hope that they will return to SGS for the summer barbeque next year and stay in touch.

Old Stopfordians have also played a key role in helping with our Careers Education. Last year many agreed to be filmed, discussing their own career histories and describing their work-lives, for a virtual Careers Event. Last month a number also helped with our in-person Careers Evening and we are most grateful for all the advice, tips and new ideas that they gave to our pupils. Next year we hope to build on this through developing a mentoring scheme to allow Lower Sixth pupils to connect with Old Stopfordians who work in a career area that interests them. This is a fantastic illustration of the value of the SGS community which encompasses current and former pupils.

We are acutely aware of the school’s historical and cultural links with Stockport and ambitious to continue to contribute to the borough. We make our facilities available to other schools and organisations within Stockport whenever possible and many of our pupils volunteer with charitable projects such as the Wellspring which supports homeless people. We support primary schools through visits to stage master classes as well as running competitions for primary pupils in SGS. We are most grateful for the generosity of Old Stopfordians which allows us to provide bursaries for pupils who would be unable to benefit from the education offered at SGS for financial reasons. Over the next decade we are hoping to expand this program to support 20% of our pupils in this way.

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