Beths Grammar School
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2014)|
|Type||Grammar School; Academy|
|Headteacher||James Skinner MA (Oxon)|
|DfE URN||136334 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
Beths Grammar School, commonly known as Beths, is an all-boys grammar school with academy status in Bexley, south east London, England. Pupils are admitted from the age of 11, with girls joining the sixth form in Year 12. Since becoming a grammar school in 1976, it has consistently performed well within the borough, typically attaining more than 95% A*-C grades at GCSE.
The school was founded in 1945 as Erith Technical School, Holly Hill Road: Principal E. Alec Wolf. Specialising in technical subjects such as Mechanical Engineering, Building Construction and Academic. The buildings (Opposite the Seamans Home) were shared with the then Erith Grammar School. To facilitate the school's expansion in 1960-61, it was moved to its current site near Bexley village, and its name was changed to Bexley/Erith Technical School to reflect its new location. A few years later, this was expanded to Bexley/Erith Technical High School for Boys; the name it maintained for several decades and giving rise to the school's common name, BETHS or B.E.T.H.S. The school was later granted grammar school status, and became known as BETHS Grammar School for Boys until the most recent change to Beths Grammar School, in which all pupils were notified through an assembly.
In 1995, the school was awarded DfES Technology College specialist status, which provided extra funding for Design and Technology, ICT, Science and Mathematics. In 1998 the school won the School Sports Award, recognising the achievement of the school in Rugby and Football, the two main school sports, and others.
The current headmaster, James Skinner joined the school in 2002 and has overseen the school's most rapid period of expansion and development. In 2006, the school gained an additional specialism as a Modern Foreign Languages College. Chinese Mandarin and Spanish are now taught at different levels throughout the school, in addition to French and German.
For pupils in years 7-11:
- Navy blue double-breasted blazer with Beths crest
- Plain white shirt (buttoned)
- Black or grey trousers
- House coloured tie
- Optional Navy blue or grey jumper
Sixth Form pupils are advised to wear "business dress"; a suit and school tie for boys, and formal work attire for girls. Make up and jewellery are tolerated only for girls and must be subtle.
Colours are awarded to pupils who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to extra-curricular activities. Traditionally, this was boys who competed in several school teams (such as Football, Rugby or Hockey) and show continued commitment. This was extended to include music and other areas of commitment by previous headteacher John Tobin who considered restricting colours to sporting achievement only was unfair.
The reward is realised as the school crest emblazoned with a gold 'COLOURS' banner, presented as either a badge, to replace the plain crest on the school blazer, or embroidered on a plain royal blue tie for sixth-formers.
Notable former pupils
- Steve Backley - Former Olympic athlete - javelin
- Graham Kersey - Former county cricketer
- Rob Knox - Actor - Notably was featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Neal Lawson - Political commentator and Chairman of Compass
- James 'Midge' Burr - Automotive Journalist. Deputy Editor, Fast Car Magazine
- Daniel Cooper - Musician, member of the Blue Man Group
- Yemi Ibidunni - Former Nigerian Rugby player
The main school building, erected in the 1950s, is built into the side of a hill. The main corridor has 15 classrooms for maths and English (which used to be one-way is known as the B corridor) and reception are at ground level at the top of the hill. Above is the C floor, which has 5 classrooms and teachers' offices and has a balcony overlooking the playing fields, and below is the A floor with 4 art classrooms. Originally, the building was centred on a grass courtyard, known as the Quadrangle (or Quad). This was paved in 2004 and a canopy built to cover the space, providing pupils with a dry area outside. This has since become the venue for the Beths Big Band Evenings that occur annually in May.
While the main building forms two sides of the Quad, the Design and Technology Department forms the others. Opened in 1991, the department is a focus of the school, enhanced by the Technology specialism awarded in 1995. There are six workshops in the department, with one dedicated to Electronics and another to Industrial Production; all workshops are used for Resistant Materials and D&T at Key Stage 3. All of the labs have interactive whiteboards, as well as the computer suite within the department, and several CNC machines are used regularly in the Industrial Production workshop. There is a classroom with drawing desks for Graphics and theory lessons.
The school's first major expansion was the building of the New Block and Music satellite building in 1975. The New Block originally housed Art, History and Biology (with Chemistry and Physics in the main building) and a sports changing room.
To commemorate the 2000 Millennium, the Millennium Block was opened in 1999 by former pupil Steve Backley. This included a new sports hall and changing rooms, the Millennium Conference Centre and eight classrooms. History, Business Studies and Religious Studies moved into the new classrooms. This coincided with the addition of a fifth house, Cray, accommodating a larger intake in Year 7. In addition, a Performing Arts Centre was built in the old sports hall and changing rooms, providing a drama hall with stage lighting, a Music Technology classroom and three music practice rooms.
In 2004, a new ICT building was completed on the morning of the first open evening of that year. The building has one large room with sixty computers, housed in foldable protective desks, which can be divided into two smaller classrooms. An additional classroom with ten computers for smaller classes is above.
The most recent development, in 2005, saw the New Block extended as the Science Block, bringing all three disciplines together. The old Chemistry labs were refurbished as Art classrooms and the Physics labs as English classrooms and a Media suite. Concurrently, the two smaller Sixth Form common rooms were adjoined across the Wind Tunnel, creating a larger Sixth Form Centre with a silent study room and an informal common room with kitchen facilities. In 2009 there was a major development built on top of the science block to create five new language classrooms including one named the "Language Lab" with 30 computers, opened by former pupil Yemi Ibidunni.
- "League Tables - Beths Grammar School". BBC News. 2006-01-19.
- OFSTED (2002). "OFSTED Inspection Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-09-08.[dead link]
- "Beths Celebrates Triple Success". Bexley Council. 2006-01-31. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2006-09-09.