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Dartford Grammar School

Vision & the 1576 Society

Vision (working with the Parents' Association) is an initiative designed to raise funds for the school, ensuring that our students have access to the very best facilities to maximise their potential. Any donations are ring-fenced and used only to provide for current and future students here at school, with the aim of ensuring that they are not disadvantaged by the limitations of State funding. It is a way for parents and Old Dartfordians to 'give back' to the school, and by doing so you join our 1576 Society, a growing group of donors who share our ambitions for our students. To discuss any aspect of Vision, do please contact the Head Mr Julian Metcalf on head@dartfordgrammarschool.org.uk or The Development Officer Jill Hawkins on jhawkins@dartfordgrammarschool.org.uk.

Vision 2023/24 will be entirely devoted to raising the funds for a Recording Studio, a specialized facility for recording, production, and mixing. This can be for spoken words, vocals, instrumentals, or any other form of recording, and having access to a dedicated space with state-of-the-art technology will open a range of possibilities to our students and also introduce new dimensions to the school's offering in computer science.  

Other smaller projects and needs for funding are bound to arise during the year and we shall approach our community with those as and when they become evident.

How to make a donation to Vision

To tell us about a one-off or a new regular donation that you are making, please use this form.

To find out more about more about donating to a charity, including using Gift Aid, visit https://www.gov.uk/donating-to-charity/gift-aid 

 Beyond the Recording Studio

The 2023 site development plan underpins our aspirations for the future of Dartford Grammar School and this now dictates to some extent the order in which we can make improvements and changes to the fabric and content of the school. We shall be in a position to discuss these high level plans very soon. 

As above, our focus for the academic year 2023/4 is the provision of a recording studio in the music department.

We shall also continue with a rolling programme of improving the internal marketing in the school, updating and replacing tired notice boards with timeless celebrations that include carefully chosen photographs and wall wraps. This initiative is a perfect use for Vision funds, as an inspirational environment exudes creativity and stimulates an appetite for learning among students. 

Improving the Sixth Form canteen, an area that looks increasingly tired. We already have some dedicated funding towards the cost of this and have consulted with architects about the possibilities.   We want to make this an inspirational space for sixth form students that will help prepare them for the transition to university.

We are aware that the refurbishment of the Hardy Block – a sensitive and complex project - is of considerable interest to our Old Dartfordian community. It is our most iconic building and a strong link to the past. The site development plan addresses this and we shall be in a position to discuss the project in more detail as part of the whole site and not a stand-alone proposal.   

Projects completed with the input of the Vision funds

Projects completed with the help of Vision funds

Photos of some of the projects we have completed with the help of Vision donations


 Open this section to read more on the Vision projects

AN OUTDOOR CHESS SET FOR THE JUNIOR PLAYGROUND: installed summer 2023 this brings a new dimension to our large contingent of enthusiastic chess players.

SCIENCE CORRIDOR WALL WRAP - 'GEOMETRY OF THE UNIVERSE': installed summer 2023 the Science corridor has been transformed with an informative and immersive encounter!

REFURBISHMENT OF THE FITNESS SUITE: this was a Vision project which was completed at the end of 2022, providing access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment for all students both in lessons and after school. OD Adam Gemili officially opened the suite in March 2023.

IMPROVEMENTS TO THE KEYES PLAZA: Vision funds allowed us to provide easy chairs and matching tables in the Keyes plaza. A wall wrap has 'brought the outside in' and bears the MYP key values in words. 

A 'STREET ART' MURAL at the end of the canteen, by OD artist Ben Slow and reflecting IB principles, was entirely funded by a Vision donation and completed end 2022.

TWO SCHOOL MINIBUSES: These arrived in 2022 and were partly funded by Vision donations.

THE FLAGPOLES PROJECT: The international community fostered by Dartford Grammar School in Languages, exchanges and international relationships continues to flourish and we believe there has never been a more important time to face outwards. In 2019, after frustrating planning restrictions downsized the project, we finally installed 3 flagpoles around the school perimeter at the Sixth Form end of the site. 

GREENHOUSE AND ALLOTMENT BEDS (February 2020): The site for these was an extension of the ground cleared for the outdoor classroom, and an 8ft x 10ft aluminium greenhouse and allotment beds were built and equipped with necessary tools, funded entirely by Vision donations.

REIWA TIEN: A JAPANESE GARDEN (January 2020): The School was very fortunate to receive a legacy from Dennis Leonard (OD) that jointly funded an ambitious project to create a Japanese garden, and the building work was completed in mid-November 2019. The space gives somewhere for quiet reflection and serves as a reminder of the importance of Japanese culture in our curriculum.

THE 1576 ECOLOGY CLASSROOM (December 2019): We removed the old bike sheds in 2019 to make space for an outdoor ecology classroom, later opened by Nick Gibb, providing a space that offers some different and exciting teaching and learning ‘field’ experiences. This project was entirely funded by the generosity of our 1576 donors.

REPLACEMENT OF RUGBY POSTS AT THE SPORTS FIELD (September 2019): Dartford Grammar School prides itself not only on great results on the rugby field but also on high levels of participation throughout the school. The rugby posts were replaced early in this academic year. 

RENOVATION OF THE HEADMASTERS' BOARD (March 2019): Vision funded the restoration of the large and impressive Headmasters’ Board which had been lost to the ravages of neglect and damp storage. The wood was restored and extended in-house, and a gold lettering craftsman skilfully added the missing names to make them indistinguishable from the older ones. The board was unveiled at the 2019 Reunion in March and now hangs in the Stephenson block on the upper level.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES FOR SCHOOL WALLS (March 2019):  Visitors are always impressed by the inspirational quotes we have installed on the walls in all the School buildings. Vision funds allowed the final collection of these to be added early in 2019.

COMPETITION STANDARD THROWING CAGE (November 2018): Vision helped to fund the installation of a competition-quality throwing cage at the Sports Field, alongside the renovation of the site of the old cage into a discus circle. This is a fine example of Vision helping to provide training facilities that match those of the Independent Schools. 

PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO (November 2018): Vision provided the equipment to create a Photography Studio in the Art Department. This gives our students new opportunities for photography, inside and outside the curriculum. 

NEW SCHOOL SHOP (November 2018): The Parents' Association and Vision enabled us to undertake redevelopment of an outbuilding and provide a School Shop. The building was listed and required sensitive building, but we can now provide school supplies at affordable prices. Lost Property and second-hand clothing sales also operate from this new venue.

THE ANDREW TUFFIELD LEARNING SPACE (October 2018): Sponsored by Andrew Tuffield (OD 76-83) the old art room has become an 'in-the-round' teaching zone that is flexible enough to be used by several departments including Mathematics and Drama. 

THE ALAN SMITH LECTURE THEATRE (September 2018): Alan Smith (OD 1954-61) generously sponsored the furnishing and equipping of the Lecture theatre in the new 6th Form Centre. We are indebted to him for this donation, as it secures timely completion of an essential facility which we fully expect will promote even greater interest in Economics, Politics, Law and International Relations at University.

THE GREENWICH QUIET STUDY SPACE (July 2018): An anonymous donation to Vision enabled us to equip one of the 6th Form study zones created by the new-build. The Greenwich Quiet Study space is central and versatile in use.

HEAT REFLECTION & LED LIGHTING UNITS IN THE MAIN CONCERT HALL (Summer 2018): The uncomfortable temperatures in the main school hall have been helped by the installation of heat reflecting coatings on the windows and the change of lighting to LED lamps. This project was jointly funded by a private donation, the Vision initiative, the Mick Jagger Centre and the School.  

ALL WEATHER RUNNING TRACK AND LONG-JUMP PIT (Summer 2017): 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! 

REDIGITISATION OF OLD SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHS (2016): 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 (2016-17): 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. 

RENOVATION OF THE SCHOOL FOUNDATION STONE (2016): A private donation enabled us to restore the Dartford Grammar School Foundation Stone (sited beneath the entrance arch that links the Hardy Block to the Mick Jagger Centre) reminding all of the school's strong sense of history. A second foundation stone, situated in the outer boundary wall, is however in a poor state of repair. 

 1576 Society

Donations to the School made in respect of the Vision initiative are managed through the 1576 Society.

We invite all of our community to consider a regular donation to the school, thereby securing membership of the 1576 Society. A one-off donation is of course equally welcome.

If you can gift aid the contributions you make (easy if you are a UK tax-payer - just sign a form!) then we receive even more than the amount you pledge.

You might also consider asking your employer to match-fund all or part of the donation as we are a registered charity - this is easy to process and often exists without much publicity but facilitates the charitable giving of major corporations. 

And finally we respectfully remind our community that a legacy can be a tax-efficient way of expressing gratitude for the education you received, to honour a loved one or to ensure you have a positive impact on generations of the future.