On Thursday 8 March 2018 our Rugby Sevens U15 team won the Kent Schools Shield with a squad consisting of: Finlay Lycett, Cameron Beck, James Crompton, Callum Wilshaw, Billy Mchattie, Rhys Lee, Ziggy Lee, Finlay Keyworth, Ryan Kerry and Cameron Escudier. With victory in their sights, Finlay Lycett captained the team to 5 tough wins. The stand out tries came from Finlay Lycett with blistering pace down the wing to score in the corner and the final try came from Callum Wilshaw from a kick down the wing from James Crompton. He secured the ball and with excellent strength, drove to the line. The team displayed a fantastic array of strength and determination which made up for the lost Kent Cup Final at the same place earlier in the year. Once the final whistle had blown, the boys couldn’t contain their excitement and deserved the well fought victory.
On 10 March 2018, our under 16 girls table tennis team competed in the Butterfly National School Team Championship Finals held at Hinckley Leisure Centre for the right to be crowned National School Team Champions. Their dedicated coach, Rob Pugh, tells the tale of the girls' battle for championship glory.
All epic journeys eventually have to end and for the Dane Court Girls Under 16 Table Tennis team this spectacular, roller-coaster, unbelievable and for me, as the coach anyway, stomach churning trek finished happily.
From November to March the team went from Gillingham (County), London (Zonal), Bristol (Regional) to Hinckley (National), over a thousand miles in total (surely more than any other school in the country?) to finally emerge victorious in their final match against Lancaster Girls Grammar School to clinch third place in the Butterfly English Schools Table Tennis Association National Final.
For three of the team, Catherine Banks, Annabel Cole and Tayla Bayley this day at the Finals was the high point of their five year Table Tennis career at Dane Court as they move into the Sixth Form from September. It is hard to imagine that the school will ever have three better female Table Tennis players in the same year who have all worked so hard and competed so fiercely to fully deserve the outstanding success they have achieved.
After another overnight Travelodge stay, this time in Leicester, the team arrived at Hinckley on Saturday, March 10, excited (whatever Tayla might have said. I know Tayla you really were excited!) and a little apprehensive, about taking on the other three best school teams in England. First up the Charles Read Academy, Corby Glen, near Grantham, Lincolnshire. Never heard of them? Well by the end of the day they were deservedly the National Champions. Their top three players; Mollie Patterson (Number 3 ranked Junior Girl in England); Darcie Proud (Number 11) and Danielle Kelly (Number 20). Some team to play against in the first match and unfortunately although the Dane Court girls fought hard against these three top quality opponents, they were unable to lay a glove on them and our opponents all comfortably won their two matches. However, the Charles Read Number 4 player was not at the same level as her illustrious team mates and both Tayla and the Dane Court Number 4, Beth Brenchley, managed to make the final score a more respectable 6-2 in favour of the Lincolnshire school.
Next up another extremely tough match against our old rival Okehampton Community College, Devon, who in 2016 and 2017, had beaten Dane Court 8-0 and 7-1 at the Regional Final. Their top three players; Mari Baldwin (England ranked Junior Girl Number 12); Emily Haskell ( Number 28 ); Zoe Bennett ( Number 73 ); Again these girls were unstoppable but again Tayla and Beth beat their Number 4 player to make the final score another 6-2 defeat which was at least our best ever result against Okehampton who then went on to lose narrowly against the Charles Read Academy and so finish Runners Up.
Then the final game against a very good Lancaster Girls Grammar School team who had also lost both their previous contests. They just had the one England ranked player at Number 98 so Dane Court definitely had a chance of clinching third place but it was never going to be easy. Three of the 8 games went to final set deciders but each Dane Court girl held their nerve to win them all and with three other victories this time we were on the right side of a 6-2 scoreline. Catherine Banks, the Dane Court Number 1, really hit top form in this game to win both her matches with some clever chopping and blocking allied with her natural attacking game while Annabel Cole got the first set against her England ranked opponent and then beat the Lancaster Number 3. Tayla again came up trumps to win both her games and with Beth winning one of her two matches the victory was secured. This led to a real sense of achievement that we had competed at the highest possible level of schools Table Tennis and had managed to win a match and earn the accolade of being the third best team in the whole of England.
As far as I am aware (and I am sure Mr Towe will correct me if I am wrong?) no Dane Court school team has ever achieved so highly in a truly National competition and that is why these girls deserve an enormous amount of credit. For me personally it has been a real privilege to see them develop both as people and Table Tennis players (I was also lucky enough to teach all four of them History at some times before I retired and they were all good History students). There have been no egos in this team and they all listen and respond positively to advice although they must be sick of listening to me telling them things that some of the time they knew only too well! I really hope they all continue playing Table Tennis because it is a great sport to be involved with for so many reasons and next year if, she continues playing, Beth will take on the role of Number One and team captain as the school looks to build another successful team around her.
Once again massive thanks to Helen (Annabel’s Mum) for driving us all those miles; for Debbie’s (Tayla’s Mum) unstinting support over the last few years; also to the PE staff at school for their support; all the Dane Court teachers who allowed the girls to miss lessons for Table Tennis and very importantly to those people at Saint Anthony’s Table Tennis Centre and Hartsdown who have coached, encouraged and helped the girls in so many ways (too numerous to mention but you all know who you are).
On Saturday 13 January 2018 the Dane Court swim team competed in the Kent Secondary Schools Individuals Gala. Overall Dane Court won 18 medals.
In this assignment my Health and Social Care class and I attended Yoakley care home in Broadstairs on 11 December 2017 and we took part in a group interaction with the residents of the care home and performed a nativity play for the elderly people. I took part in this as a shepherd. The aim of our nativity was for us to work as a group to cheer up the elderly people around christmas time and to get them into the christmas spirit.
A brand new Food classroom at Dane Court Grammar School was opened by Chetna Makan, the 2014 British Bake Off semi finalist on Thursday 7 December 2017.
Dane Court Grammar School celebrated 60 years this summer.The school was officially founded in 1957 and was, until 1980, designated as a selective Technical High School rather than a Grammar School. In 1957 the girls were educated in the east wing, studying subjects such as Biology, French, Dressmaking and Institutional Management. Boys were educated in the west wing, studying subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Woodwork and Metalwork.
Today Dane Court students have the opportunity to study a wide curriculum including all three Sciences, Food, Computing and Design and at least two different foreign languages. The Jubilee Kitchen was created to mark the jubilee year of the School.
Food is studied by all students throughout years 7, 8 and 9 and is available as an optional choice at GCSE level. As from this year students are able to study Food Science and Technology as a Group 4 science option in Year 12 and 13 as part of the International Baccalaureate. A Level Food has been discontinued in England and Wales this course is now unique. Dane Court is one of a very small number of schools in the world offering academic study of food at Key Stage Five.
The school is grateful to Darren Ellis of Kentish Projects, who project managed the new kitchen and to Joe Baker of Enys Surveying for creating the original design; Jamie Gardiner for supplying and fitting the kitchen; Chandlers; South East ME; Dry Construction Ltd and Speciality Breads for their work and generous support.
Year 7 students took part in the International Food Evening at Dane Court with great panache this year, presenting dishes from 34 different countries. All corners of the world were represented. Parents and visitors were bowled over by the huge variety of foods that the students had cooked. Many parents admitted that they honestly did not know what to expect and could not believe the scale of the displays. This year the Food Evening was opened by local celebrity baker Chetna Makan, heralded by The Broadstairs Town Crier. Over 600 people attended.
The school was grateful to the traders who came along to add to the evening with displays of specialist foods and drinks. The school jazz band and talented year 7 soloists provided musical entertainment on stage. Parents kindly donated raffle prizes.
In the weeks preceding the Food Evening, the students had the opportunity to practise their dishes and prepare display materials to inform their guests about their country.
“The students did us proud. They produced some superb food, including a wide range of curries from Thailand and the Far East, maple syrup cake from Canada, sushi from Japan and many other delectable dishes from a diverse range of countries across the world. They enthusiastically enticed the visitors to try their food and were a great credit to the school and to their Parents,” said Judith Baker, Head of the Food Technology Department.
As the rain cleared on 1 December 2017, in National Tree Week, our students planted a tree to mark the school’s sixtieth anniversary. Andrew Fowler, Headteacher, invited Roy Copper, Chair of Governors, and Paul Luxmoore, Executive Headteacher of the Coastal Academies Trust, to help plant the tree. He then invited Dane Court students to complete the planting by shovelling in a spadeful of earth.
Mr Fowler told the students, “A tree symbolises life; an oak tree symbolises long life. The tree that we are planting today could live for 200 years. It will be growing here long after you and I have gone, and long after these buildings have disappeared. We have chosen to plant a red oak because its green leaves in the summer and its red leaves in the autumn remind us that we also change as we grow. Look after this tree! In years to come, you will be able to point it out to your children and grandchildren, and tell them, ‘I planted that tree when I was at school’.”
The Red Oak tree (Quercus rubra) was supplied by Top Branch Tree Services, whose managing director, Joe Weitzel, is a former student from Dane Court. Joe was very enthusiastic about planting the tree at his old school. He admitted that, as a student, he was fascinated by trees, and that he would have wanted to be involved in the whole planting process. Roy Copper commented, “You never know what seeds have been planted today in the minds of our students, and what they may dream of doing or becoming in the future.”