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 Post subject: Dartford Grammar School
PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:40 am
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Hi everyone
I wonder if anyone with boys currently at DGS would be willing to share their views/experiences.
We were considering the Bexley grammars for DS and really like both Chis and Sid and Beths. However, as DS got a very good score on the Kent test we thought we should have a look at DGS but could only go to an evening event - really wish I had been able to have a look around in the day time.

I was very impressed by the facilities and the buildings internally. I have no doubt that the standard of teaching is extremely high and of course the results speak for themselves. The teachers seemed enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable - although many seemed very young). I am neither one way or the other re a levels or IB. I just want DS to have a really great secondary education.

Mainly my queries are -
What is pastoral care like?
Is there a caring/ supportive ethos or is it v competitive?
Where do the boys hang out at break/ lunch times - there doesn't seem to be a lot of outside space. Do they have table tennis tables and basket ball hoops etc?
How do non sporty boys cope with the demands of the rugby? Are children still valued if they don't like rugby. ( is it ok to say you don't like rugby??)
Any issues with bullying?
I was unsure about the head? What are the deputies/ heads of year like?

Sorry for all these questions. Appreciate everyone is v busy but would really value some thoughts.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:59 am
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Louise23 wrote:
Hi everyone
I wonder if anyone with boys currently at DGS would be willing to share their views/experiences.
We were considering the Bexley grammars for DS and really like both Chis and Sid and Beths. However, as DS got a very good score on the Kent test we thought we should have a look at DGS but could only go to an evening event - really wish I had been able to have a look around in the day time.

I was very impressed by the facilities and the buildings internally. I have no doubt that the standard of teaching is extremely high and of course the results speak for themselves. The teachers seemed enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable - although many seemed very young). I am neither one way or the other re a levels or IB. I just want DS to have a really great secondary education.

Mainly my queries are -
What is pastoral care like?
Is there a caring/ supportive ethos or is it v competitive?
Where do the boys hang out at break/ lunch times - there doesn't seem to be a lot of outside space. Do they have table tennis tables and basket ball hoops etc?
How do non sporty boys cope with the demands of the rugby? Are children still valued if they don't like rugby. ( is it ok to say you don't like rugby??)
Any issues with bullying?
I was unsure about the head? What are the deputies/ heads of year like?

Sorry for all these questions. Appreciate everyone is v busy but would really value some thoughts.


Hi,
I have two boys at the school and could highly recommend it. Like all schools, it would have competitive children with competitive parents as well as the kind and not so kind children. So, to answer your questions:

Pastoral care:
Every year has their own pastoral care teacher. I have dealt with two and both were nice people. However, there is an ethos of "no snitching" and if your child does not want to get involved, it is harder to deal with matters. However, I do know of cases where the school has acted swiftly if there has been bullying. This takes the form of verbal abuse, not physical.

I think there are very caring teachers and other who are not. Again, I expect as in every school. About competitiveness, the children can be very competitive. All children want to do well, but they do put pressure on each other when they compare grades. The school does prepare children for the competitive world out there. Not what I would have wanted, but such is the world.

Most children play football at break time.

Rugby is compulsory (unless you have a medical condition) for the first 6 weeks. Children have to go every Saturday (for 2 hours) and on the Monday evening to practise. After that, if they don't like it, they don't have to. If you are not into rugby you have loads of activities that you can get involved in, such as the school play, orchestra, cricket and athletics. There are lots of free clubs after school and during lunch time, so there is plenty to do.

Both the headmaster and deputy (Dr Kingham) come across as very serious and formal. However, they are both very caring and compassionate as well as extremely efficient. You really have nothing to worry about with them.

You have seen the facilities, which are very good, however I don't know how they would compare with the Bexley schools. I have only seen them on the open days and evenings.

One major consideration is the IB. We, as a family, do like the idea of it. Especially if it emphasises in making global citizens. ALL children must take two language GCSEs one of which is an oriental language (Mandarin or Japanese). Both our children are good at languages, so we were okay with this, but some other parents may be put off by this. The other languages, which they start in year 8, are Spanish, German, French and Latin. I think that the IB suits the all rounder, which one of ours is, but you could always change for the 6th Form. What they do is the Middle Years Program and I find that there is a lot of cross curriculum teaching. We do like this. I happen to have observed some classes and the standard was very high.

However, we do have friends at Beths and they are very happy there.

A lot of the teachers that you see on events are the young ones. Maybe the senior ones have done their share of overtime! There are more senior teachers, of course, however, I do feel that a lot of teachers leave the profession as it is not very highly paid and the hours are very long. A lot of the young teachers were former pupils at the school.

All in all, I would highly recommend it, however, you do have good schools around you and must consider the journey to the school.

Salsa


Last edited by salsa on Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:39 am 
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Thank you so much for your detailed reply, I very much appreciate the time you have taken.We are actually Kent/ Bexley border so journey to DGS / Beths or Chis and Sid are all reasonable. We are on Kent school bus route to DGS and have London Buses close by to Bexley/ sidcup. I know we are in very enviable position of beng able to choose. ( although place at DGS not guaranteed if cut off point shoots up this year).
The more I read about the IB the more I like it. DS loved the idea of being able to do Japanese - purely because he is massive Pokemon fan!! He is not keen on idea of sat morning rugby practice - he is not sporty apart from he’s v good swimmer which none of the grammars have an interest in. He can be disorganised and may well need support with remembering to hand in homework, having the right equipment etc. although I am hoping he will rise to the challenge. Pastoral care is v important.
We liked chis and sid as co Ed and head seemed v approachable but in terms of subjects and approach it seemed quite traditional. I’ve heard excellent things about pastoral care at chis and sid too. I was veering towards it but am worried about passing by an amazing opportunity for DGS. Good to know that your sons have had good experience there. Lots to think about over the next few days! Many thanks again for your thoughts.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:59 am
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You are most welcome. I am sure others will come along to give their opinions.
I must say that there are things that the school takes very seriously and one of them is homework. They grade their effort as well as their attainment. I can understand that children can be disorganised, as mine are, but they soon learn as if they don't hand in their homework on time, they get detentions and their effort grade goes down. Shirts must be tucked in and they have to be presentable at all times.

Well, if he likes Japanese, you could request it, although you'd need to have a better reason than Pokemon! They go to Japan in year 11 or earlier if they follow the new accelerated programme.

Salsa


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:15 pm 
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Not much that I can add as Salsa has already covered everything, my son is really loving it and actually enjoys it ! very glad we made the choice as he had also passed bexley test (but wasn't too keen on beths or bexley & St'O was out of the equation).
I must agree that they do work hard but it's a very gradual build up process but they are rewarded for good work which makes him want to work harder. He had never played rugby before, but really enjoys it and has continued and looks forward to Saturdays and the up and coming tours again.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:00 pm 
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DS is in Year 11 and DD is in Year 13 at DGS currently. They are polar opposites personality-wise (one is very competitive, extrovert and sporty whereas the other is a non-sporty, laid-back, introvert). Both love the school and it caters for them both in terms of stretching them academically and providing many opportunities to pursue both academic and non-academic interests. I would not hesitate to send my children to DGS if we had to make the decision again. I really cannot fault it.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:35 am 
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Hello all, what is SIF? And does anyone know if DGS requires one?
TIA


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:02 am 
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ritz80 wrote:
Hello all, what is SIF? And does anyone know if DGS requires one?
TIA

SIF = Supplementary Information Form, but DGS does not require one. The girl's school does require one. (Dartford Grammar School for Girls)

Salsa


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:35 am
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Hello,

May I also join the opportunity to ask a few questions about this fantastic school:

I noticed they have just 3 hours a week for maths. How do they stretch the most able students? Is it enough to get the good depth? Also do they offer the additional qualification like OCR Additional Maths at GCSE?

Uf one picks up any modern European language, one has to give up the opportunity to learn the Latin on timetable. This is a bit limiting. But is there opportunity to study Latin off timetable after school or at lunch, or in the form of paid extras?

Many thanks for your help. This forum is invaluable source of information.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:11 pm 
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Children are taught in their forms and there is no setting. As Mr Oakes says, “All the children are gifted”. You may argue that some are more than others! They don’t take exams early, except for a new accelerated programme for Japanese and Mandarin which requires a lot of commitment from the child and family.
Undoubtedly some children will still get bored, especially if they were learning a lot of Maths before starting year 7.
All the lessons have an extension, which if the children do them, they get better grades and their effort card would also have a higher grade.
My sons have friends who study very hard even during the holidays and who are punished for bringing not so high grades. Those children do very well and some children may feel that they need to keep up. This is nothing to do with the school.
About languages, all of them must take 2 language GCSE. They choose from Spanish, French, German and Latin in year 8 and do that GCSE and their oriental language they started with in year 7.
As they do the IB, they could choose another language from the start.

Salsa


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