The Dartford Grammar School Vision Initiative is an evolving list of projects that is constantly updated. Below is the current list of both unmet objectives and those we have completed. To discuss any of these projects please contact either the Headmaster Mr Oakes on firstname.lastname@example.org or the Development Officer Jill Hawkins on email@example.com.
Click on any heading for more detail.
Projects for which we invite donations of money, time or skills:
SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: NEW SIXTH FORM CENTRE & SPORTS PAVILION
These building projects are expected to be completed before the end of this academic year, and although they are funded by central government they will be ‘finished off’ through the goodwill of the Dartford Grammar School community.
The new Sixth Form Centre adds new classrooms and modern study areas, a new lecture theatre (for Economics and International Studies) and a new Art and Design area. The Sports facilities in the Becket Centre and at the Arthur Jones Pavilion are being expanded and refurbished to accommodate the increased numbers in each year group given our 6-form entry, as well as providing improved facilities for our burgeoning girls’ sports teams.
Sponsorship opportunities exist in both these projects as we bring them to completion. We have recently been fortunate to attract donations to furnish and equip the new Alan Smith Lecture Theatre and the Mudan Quiet Study Space, but there is more to do and we continue to invite donations beyond our general fund-raising initiatives. There are 3 further ‘general’ study areas in the new Sixth Form Centre that could be enhanced, and we have also identified an additional space liberated by the newly configured centre that has the potential to be transformed into a versatile lecture/performance space. We suggest and welcome the sense of continuity and history that is achieved as members of the DGS Community allow their names to be used to support future generations: most of you know that we have for some time boasted the ‘Lambourne’ cricket nets and the ‘Jefferson’ Science Lecture Theatre in the ‘Stephenson’ block.
POLE VAULT BED AND COMPETITION STANDARD TRAINING CAGE
The completion of the all-weather running track in 2017 provided the opportunity for our track athletes to train on facilities that match those of fee-paying schools. The benefits were immediate and at the 2017 English Schools’ Championships we were crowned as National Champions. Our non-track athletes deserve something similar: we therefore aim to provide both a Pole Vault bed and a competition quality training cage for the throwing sports as soon as we can to complete the suite of fit-for-purpose training facilities.
We are indebted to Independent Catering for funding the provision of furniture for the new 6th Form external open areas. However, the school canteen has an outside space that could be an open-air extension of the dining room for use in fine weather, and the new Pavilion will also have a much larger viewing terrace: for both of these new areas, we require further robust outdoor furniture, which could of course be attributed to the donor. We also need bins suitable for rubbish and recycling – smaller ticket items that might appeal to some donors.
The global community that is fostered by Dartford Grammar School in Languages, exchanges and international relationships continues to flourish. The ever-increasing array of logos at the foot of the new website homepage do not do full justice to these extraordinary strengths, and an exciting and unusual project is now underway to install flags and flag-poles around the perimeter road of the new Sixth Form Centre, one for each of the languages offered by the school. We invite sponsorship of the flags, costed at £1000 for each flag and pole including installation, with attributions accordingly. There has never been a more important time to promote internationalism and we hope we can bring this project to fruition very soon.
RENOVATION OF THE SCHOOL WALL
A close inspection of the wall which runs around the West Hill end of the school, and which dates from the time of the Hardy block has revealed considerable ageing. In particular, the pointing between the bricks and stonework needs attention – loose cement raked out and renewed - and the wall needs to be cleaned of moss and lichen that has taken hold. This might be a good project for someone who has links with the construction industry or free time and is able to turn their hand to the skills and craftsmanship required to restore the wall. We would be very happy to hear from anyone who might like to manage or take on this challenge.
OUTDOOR LABORATORY AND GREENHOUSE
This is an exciting new addition to the Vision projects – a Biological/Environmental Sciences laboratory to be constructed as a natural adjunct to the outside biological science area and above the old Boiler Room in the Junior Playground. It is admittedly a high value item, but we feel sponsorship of this might well appeal to some companies already known to our community. If you feel you have contact with a suitable candidate, please put them in touch with the Headmaster or the Development Officer for initial discussions.
EXCAVATION OF WW2 AIR-RAID TUNNELS
Recent building work has exposed two sets of WW2 Air-raid Tunnels, one beneath the junior playground and one beneath the senior playground. They were used by the school in the 1940s to keep pupils out of harm’s way during bombing raids. When we invited memories of these tunnels we received some fascinating accounts of their use, most notable of which were the diaries of Roy Mack: these can be read on the school website. It is one of our dearest wishes that the tunnels in the junior playground might be restored as a museum of the time. They would provide an excellent hands-on learning centre for our own students and any schools or clubs that wish to visit, and a by-product of the project would be the illumination of the junior playground. Estimates of costs for the excavation and restoration of the tunnels stand at £60,000. Many Dartfordians already know of this project and whilst we continue to invite memories of their use, more crucially we invite interest both financial and skills-based in the project so that we can take it forward.
RENOVATION OF THE ARMOURY CORRIDOR
Many of our Dartfordians will remember the Armoury Corridor in the Hardy building as an important architectural feature of the school, so named because of its historic use as storage for the CCF. After decades of ‘patch repairs’ the corridors glazed upper walls and roof need to be replaced to ensure the safety and the security of the building and to prevent further water damage.
This project is provisionally costed at £30,000. The building work is of a sensitive nature, as the building is listed and attached to the oldest part of the school, but we feel there are opportunities for our community to be involved and we invite conversations with interested parties such as building contractors or a window-replacement companies that would be willing to undertake the work at preferential rates and perhaps have the corridor named in your honour.
NEW SCHOOL SHOP
Once the space (near to the old ‘outside’ urinals) can be ‘cleared’ we have the potential to open a school shop. This is exciting on many fronts: the students will have a ready supply of economy stationery and supplies, school uniform and games kit will be available at more affordable prices, and the Lost Property and Second-hand clothing operation will have a natural home so that the tireless PA volunteers will no longer be working out of a cupboard.
The building is listed and the project is estimated to cost £60,000.
AND POSSIBLY… FOR THE FUTURE…. AN OBSERVATORY
To be sited on the School Field, we are considering the possibility of building an Observatory at the School Field. This will house the telescope donated to the School in 2017, and enable our Physical Scientists to bring some of their studies to life. Again this is a major cost item, but we seek interest, ideas and sponsorship from enthusiastic parties.
Projects completed with the input of the Vision funds:
ALL WEATHER RUNNING TRACK AND LONG-JUMP PIT
The all-weather track was installed in good time for our athletes to train there in the run up to the English Schools competition. The Juniors won and the Intermediates were third! We are grateful to the Parents’ Association for augmenting funds raised by the PE department to meet the cost of the track.
REDIGITISATION OF OLD SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHS
The old school photographs were professionally digitised with funding from the Old Dartfordians Association and now hang in the upper and lower corridors of the Mick Jagger Centre.
RENOVATION OF HONOURS BOARDS
With generous donations from members of our community, (donations from Vincent Moran QC (OD 1977-8), Jackie Borner and David Fellows (OD), with carpentry skills provided by Jim Vice), the damaged Honours Boards we rescued from years of neglect in damp conditions were renovated and now hang in the Stephenson Block. (There are still more to be renovated - some particularly beautiful pieces - and we invite help with these.)
RENOVATION OF THE SCHOOL FOUNDATION STONE
A private donation has enabled us to restore the Dartford Grammar School Foundation Stone which is sited beneath the entrance arch that links the Hardy Block to the Mick Jagger Centre. Such projects maintain and prolong the school’s strong sense of history.
THE ALAN SMITH LECTURE THEATRE
Alan Smith (OD 1954-61) has generously sponsored the furnishing and equipping of the Lecture theatre in the new 6th Form Centre. We are excited and indebted to him for this donation, as it secures timely completion of an essential new facility which we fully expect will promote even greater interest in Economics, Politics, Law and International Relations at University.
THE MUDAN QUIET STUDY SPACE
The latest donation to VISION has been made by the Mudan Family, and will enable us to equip the first of the 6th Form study zones created by the new-build. These modern spaces will bring study into the 21st century!
AIR HANDLING AND TRANSFER UNITS FOR THE MAIN CONCERT HALL
New air handling and transfer units are currently being designed for installation into the main Concert Hall, in time for the Summer term, to bring welcome comfort to audiences during the normal busy programme of events that take place in the warmer weather. This project has been jointly funded by a generous private donation, the Vision initiative, the Mick Jagger Centre and the School.