Posted on: 5/10/2020
Week Ending 28th February 2020
Blog Entry #35
It has been a busy half term holiday for our premises staff as they have been busy helping Kier move the History department out of their current accommodation into the newly renovated library, fiction room and one of our computer rooms. I am very grateful to Mr Marsden and Mr Clayton, History department leader Mr Smith and his colleagues and to Kier themselves for all the work which needed to be done during the holiday. I am happy to report that the move was completed successfully and colleagues and pupils are now getting used to their temporary new homes! The Department for Education and Kier are in the final stages of contract submission and signing with the main works due to commence at the end of this month. We will see a real difference to the school site once we return from the Easter holidays.
As you will be aware from letters I have sent home, I continue to be guided by Public Health England about the evolving Covid-19 situation. Please be reassured that any issue will be dealt with according to the correct protocols and that you as parents and carers will be informed appropriately. In the meantime, our site staff will continue to disinfect door handles and panels across the site 3 to 4 times a day to help prevent the spread of any viruses, including Covid-19. Please talk with your son or daughter about hand and respiratory hygiene - particularly washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when arriving home and when arriving at school. If you are able to provide your child with a small 'travel pack' style bottle of hand sanitizer, that would also be a useful aid in the current situation. As with all such things, we will remain calm and measured and do all that is necessary to keep everybody associated with DGSB safe and well.
Preparations for our Y11 and Y13 cohorts' public examinations continue apace, with Y13 mocks now completed and Y11 spring mocks about to take place. If you are a parent or carer of a child in either or both of these year groups, please continue to encourage your son or daughter to take advantage of the huge amount of support that is on offer to help them with preparation for public examinations. Our staff go above and beyond to help our students, but the help and support is only ever of use if students are proactive and take advantage of it!
Week Ending 24th January 2020
Blog Entry #34
A belated very happy new year to you all! I hope you were able to enjoy a well-earned break over the Christmas holiday. Although we have been back only a few weeks, a huge amount has already happened this term, with much still to look forward to. If you haven't already had the chance to watch Mr Cunningham's brilliant video montage celebrating our DGSB History Day in December, and subsequent fly-by, It is a wonderful celebration of our current buildings and what they have provided us with over the last 90 years or so, and I do hope you will enjoy what Mr Cunningham has so generously produced. We are now in the advanced stages of pre-construction planning for our new build, with a number of works due to take place over half term in February - including moving the History Department from their current base to re-furbished accommodation within the main building, and converting the caretaker's lodge into our constructors' main base of operations - and works proper are expected to start towards the end of March. Our decant into the new school will take place in December next year, which we are all very excited about. Year 13 have of course just done their mock examinations, and like Year 11 they are now on the 'home straight' of planning for the final examinations, with all still very much to play for. The hours of hard work put in now will, I can assure you, pay dividends come August. As always, teachers and subject leaders at DGSB, together with our excellent pastoral staff, will continue to provide support and encouragement in equal measure, but it is the students themselves who can make the biggest difference through the work they put in between now and May/June. Do please keep underlining the importance of putting the hard graft in now, so that the results are as they want them to be come the summer.
Week Ending 13th December 2019
Blog Entry #33
Well, it has been a very busy few weeks! We were delighted to receive planning consent for our new build on the 4th, after a 4 and a half hour meeting in Maidstone, and the recent decision by Historic England that our current buildings are not of listable status means we can now get on with the planning for the first phase of construction, due to begin in February. I will be at a meeting in Aylesford on Thursday 19th putting the finishing touches to the overall plans. On Friday last week we held our "DGSB History Day" to mark the special place our school buildings have in our collective memory. It was fantastic to see students engaging in activities related to different periods of the last 90 years or so - from rocket building and testing to recording war time radio announcements! I am incredibly grateful to all my staff, who, at a time when everyone at school is tired, really pulled out all the stops to create a memorable day. Unfortunately we weren't able to have the drone on site due to high wind speeds but we will be trying again on Tuesday 17th. Mr Cunningham was our cameraman and director on Friday and together with two of our Year 11 house leaders spent the day filming all the activities which were taking place. Watch this space for a digital record of all that we did last week, coming early 2020.
Last week also saw our annual carol concert which was brillliantly attended. Thank you to all of you who came to support our students and staff on what was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Our students - and students from Astor and DGGS - performed impressively. Thank you in particular to Mrs Simes who, as always, spent a huge amount of time putting together all the performances for everyone to enjoy; she really is "Super Simes"!
In the new year, you will be able to enjoy a brand new DGSB website. Our providers, Cleverbox, are currently working on our new site and we hope to be able to launch by late January.
In the meantime, thank you for your continued support of our school and all that we are doing for our students. Have a lovely Christmas break, and I look forward to seeing you in the new decade!
Week Ending 22nd November 2019
Blog Entry #32
Apologies for my recent hiatus - it has been a busy time since half term! First and foremost, I hope you have been able to read our OFSTED report which confirms our belief that we remain a "Good" school with an excellent foundation for making further progress in all that we do. I am immensely proud of my staff and our students, and I am now looking forward to all that we will do over the coming months and years. Since returning after the holiday we have had our annual Remembrance Services, which were, as ever, deeply moving, as well as our Sixth Form open evening which drew large numbers of students and parents both from within DGSB and further afield. Like our Year 8 parents' evening this week, these events showcased all that is so wonderful about our school and I am immensely grateful to our CCF, to our Sixth Form team and to all our staff who contribute so much to the work and life of DGSB. Of course we have a very big date coming up in the calendar, with our new school planning application set to be heard on December 4th at County Hall in Maidstone. I shall be there with Les Craggs, our Chair of Governors, and will let everybody know the decision as soon as I am able.
Week Ending 18th October 2019
Blog Entry #31
Well that turned out to be a busy week, didn't it?! As you will be aware, we were able to welcome OFSTED to DGSB on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th October, so that they could see first hand all the fantastic things we are doing to help support, encourage and challenge our students. Thank you to all of you who were able to complete the OFSTED parent questionnaire which I sent out last Monday; your responses were very much appreciated. I would also like to say a huge thank you to my staff, who showed yet again just what a committed and talented group they are, and to our students who showed what an amazing school DGSB is. Even faced with an unscheduled fire evacuation (in the rain I might add!), the boys and sixth form girls were silent, respectful and mindful of others - all of the qualities that I want to see in our students in such a situation. I cannot praise them highly enough. We will receive our OFSTED report in 4-5 weeks, at which point I will send it out electronically to all parents, carers, staff and governors. Finally, a big thank you to all of you for supporting your son/daughter this term; we look forward to more exciting, challenging and innovative events next term! Have a lovely October half term holiday.