Dartford Grammar School

Dartford Grammar School Dartford Grammar School Dartford Grammar School

 

Visit to the School by the Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards

The Chair of Governors Mrs Jacobs and the Headmaster Mr Oakes were delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards, into school on 17th September 2020. The Minister spent the morning with us to see new facilities and perform official openings of the new 6th Form Centre, the 1576 Ecology classroom and the Japanese Garden, and was also able to officially recognise our work as a National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE).

Although the event was limited in numbers by Covid-19 restrictions, there was nothing stilted about the warmth shown by both sides. The Minister met the school captains, Stephen Bamigbade and Anne Brett-Smith who welcomed him in Mandarin and English, saw both Chinese and Japanese calligraphy classes in the 1576 outdoor classroom, and was treated to Ms Tasker playing the Shamisen when enjoying tea in the Japanese garden, being welcomed there by students in the Japanese language with a demonstration of kanji.

The Minister was clearly impressed by the range of languages offered by the school, especially our Mandarin, Japanese and Classics Excellence Programmes but at the same time suggesting we devise a German Excellence programme., The confidence of our young speakers shone through and Mr Gibb strongly commended our curriculum where every student takes two languages at GCSE. He made much of their importance as we seek to cooperate with the biggest global economies, especially post EU. He said 'We need young people who are polite enough to try to speak the languages of customers and suppliers. We can no longer be bottom of the European league in terms of proficiency in foreign languages'.

Mr Gibb also met with staff involved with the Computer Science hub, where he emphasised his views on the importance of teaching Computer Science as opposed to ICT, and commended the school for stepping forward to take an important role as a hub in the recently formed National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) alongside our existing work with the MFL hub.

In his final speech, the Minister said 'What is so wonderful about this school is its ambition, its ambition for the students, ambition for the curriculum, and ambition for taking part in Hub programmes - it is a centre of excellence that can spread out to other schools. This school is an exemplar of what a British education needs to be in the future'.

We are deeply appreciative of the interest the Minister continues to show in Dartford Grammar School, and for his acceptance of our invitation in these unusual times.