Dartford Grammar School for Girls
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2012)|
|Motto||Working together to achieve academic excellence and personal potential.|
|Type||Foundation grammar school|
|Headteacher||Mrs Sharon Pritchard|
|Deputy Head||Mr Martin Jones|
|Deputy Head||Mr Simon Hardwick|
|DfE URN||118883 Tables|
|Colours||Green and white|
The Dartford County School opened unofficially on 3 October 1904 at a building along Essex Road. The school aimed to provide post-elementary education and to produce additional teachers to teach in new schools. The 75 students (all girls) were aged 8–18; those under 13 were charged 6 guineas per term, while those 13 and older paid 8 guineas per term. The official opening took place on 31 October 1904. During the first term, Amy Brett served as headmistress, overseeing two full-time staff and part-time visiting masters for Art and Singing.
By 1906 enrollment had increased to 113, and two hutted classrooms were built to accommodate the increasing numbers. The faculty had grown to comprise 5 full-time staff who taught English language and English literature, Latin, drawing and science, and physical education. In September 1906 the first hockey team was formed. In 1909, the first school magazine was written.
In 1910 there were 8 forms and 11 staff. Because of the rapid expansion of the school, school trustees purchased 4 acres (1.6 ha) of land in Shepherds Lane and built a new structure, which cost £8,335. Rather than use the more popular and less expensive red brick favored by many schools of the time, the Dartford County School chose to clad the building in Kentish rag stone. The building included an assembly hall (now the canteen) a library, science laboratories, dining room, and accommodation for the staff. It opened on 31 October 1912.
A new tradition was formed on 27 June 1913, when the school first participated in the annual inter-county school sports events. The following year, students were required, for the first time, to wear uniforms. These early uniforms consisted of a red, green and white tie, cream blouses with peter pan collars and for summer a lighter cotton type tunic. Hair had to be drawn back and tied with a black ribbon at the top of the head. Blue overalls were worn for science, and white for cookery.
By the end of the school's second decade the school's numbers were up to 300. The building was expanded, adding five classrooms, a botany laboratory, and geography room, and a cloakroom. Also, the assembly hall was increased and temporary huts were placed in the school grounds for dining facilities. These remained until 1937.
A scholarship endowment fund was established in 1925 to assist students who wished to pursue higher education. By 1926 the school was listed as being amongst the top 3 secondary schools for girls in Kent, alongside with Bromley and Chatham. By 1930 the total pupils had risen to 400. Four years later, the Erith Grammar School became an all-boys school and their 73 female students were sent to Dartford County School. Construction began in January 1937 for a new wing. New classrooms were completed by September. A new hall, begun the same year, was finished in 1938, although not officially opened until 1939, to replace the huts which had served as canteen and kitchen.
In the late 1930s 50% of the girls were fee-paying students while the rest paid nothing. The cost at this time was £4 per term. School legend states that during the Second World War teachers would sit on the top of the school buildings to watch for enemy aircraft. If something were spotted then the girls would be marched to the air raid shelter where lessons were taken and meals were eaten. Between 1939 and 1947, three bombs fell onto the school, and between 1940 and 1942 a total of 40 girls and two teachers were evacuated to a small village near to Exeter. In 1944 the school was shaken by one of the first Doodlebugs leading to the school examinations being abandoned. Also in this year, the Butler Education Act abolished fees and introduced new admission agreements. The school was renamed in this year and became Dartford County Grammar school for girls.
In 1951 all staff were female and the total pupil count was up to 730. In 1956, the school became the only school in the North West division to have a legal entitlement to bear a coat of arms. During 1958–1959, two additional classrooms and a craft room were added. The uniform also adapted to require all girls to change into indoor shoes upon arrival, wear a beret, and the wearing of 60 denier lisle stockings.
In 1972 the building of the new Dartford West Secondary Girls School began. It was built on the school playing fields, leaving the school with only one hockey pitch. Male staff were re-introduced in the 1970s. During that decade, the wearing of hats was abolished as well as the changing into indoor shoes requirement. The uniform was now changed to its current bottle green colour. An open air swimming pool was built in 1975.
A new headmistress, J. Hadman, took office in 1986. She renamed the houses and changed the naming of the classes. Under her guidance, a new uniform was introduced. By 1989 the school had control of its own budget.
In 1991, the school ceased to be a Kent Local Education Authority school. During the next year, the school became a Grant – Maintained school. In 1994, a new technology block opened and a two-storey temporary mobile was purchased to house the humanities department. In 1995, girls became some of very few students nationwide to sit GCSE’S covering the entire range of the original version of the UK’s first National Curriculum. The 1997 OFSTED report described the school’s curriculum as "unique" and the school environment as "stimulating and exciting". In 1998 another extension was added; this time it included two science blocks, an IT/graphics room, an English suite, and two general classrooms. In 1999, the school was awarded the "investor in people status".
In January 2001 a new Headteacher, Mrs. Jane Wheatley, was appointed. The school was awarded Beacon School status in September 2001 and the school achievement award in April. In 2003, the school became the first school in Kent to be become a specialist Science school. In 2004 the school achieved the Artsmark Gold award, and they also celebrated their 100th anniversary.
In September 2008 the school was reaccredited as a science specialist school. It was recognised as a high achieving school and awarded a second specialism in mathematics and computing.
In 2009, Jane Wheatley was appointed as Executive Headteacher of both DGGS and Wilmington Enterprise College. Sharon Pritchard has the title 'Head of School' and is responsible for the daily running of the school. And on the 31st on August 2011, Jane Wheatley stepped down and Sharon Prichard took over as Head Teacher .
- Amy Acworth (née Brett): 1904–1928
- Edith M Freyer: began 1928
- Miss Janes (Miss James taught Botany) 1949–1971
- M. Waite: 1971–1986
- J. Hadman: 1986–1998
- C. Unsted: 1998–2000
- J.P. Wheatley: 2001–2011
- Mrs S Pritchard: 2011– present
In September 2003, the school took on the 2-year key stage 3 programme in which enables students to take a more flexible curriculum over the next three years. The school is a specialist science school and has a second specialism in Maths and Computing. The school also holds the ArtsMark Gold Award recognising its expertise in a wide range of arts subjects. Also recently they have introduced a 2-week rota timetable consisting of week A and week B. There are five 1-hour lessons in each day and a 15-minute break and 45-minute lunch. There is also a five-minute movement time between lessons and at the end of break and lunch.
The school have many international links with countries that include Austria, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA. Study visits and exchanges are provided for the girls at DGGS to these countries.
They also offer a variety of clubs for the girls. These are mainly separated into three groups, these are creativity, action, and service. In creativity such things as Dance clubs, Art club, Drama club, Rehearsals for plays & concerts, Debating, Magazine Committee, Film Club, Choir, Senior Chamber Choir, Orchestra chamber, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Ukulele Club, Japanese Cultural Studies, and Learn another Language are all included. Whilst in action, Team practices, House Matches, Sports fixtures, Swimming, Trampolining, Circuit Training, Rowing, Duke of Edinburgh, Running Club, Weights, Badminton, Netball, and Tennis are included. As for service there are less than the other categories but include Christian Union, Year Book Committee, Environmental Action Team, Librarian, Key Stage Council, and the School Council.
Notable former pupils
- Claire Clancy, chief executive of the National Assembly for Wales since 2007 (1969–76)
- Sheila Hancock CBE, actress (1944–51)
- Tess Kingham, Labour MP for Gloucester 1997-2001 (1974–81)
- Margaret Pereira CBE, Controller of the Home Office Forensic Science Service from 1982-8 (1939–46)
- Carolyn Quinn, Radio 4 presenter (1972–79)
- Dame Helen Reeves, Chief Executive of the National Association of Victim Support Schemes from 1980 to 2005 (1956–63)
- Sarah Thewlis, Chief Executive of the Royal College of General Practitioners 1994-2002 Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) from 2002-2008 (1969–76)
- Laura Hamilton TV Presenter (1998-2000)
- Grace Clements Commonwealth Games medal winner
- "Students celebrate GCSE success across Dartford". Dartford Messenger. 26 August 2011.
- "A-Level exam results". Kentish Gazette. 18 August 2011.
- "Dartford schools rank near top and bottom of GCSE and A Level tables". Dartford Messenger. 14 January 2010.