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.
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.
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.”
Following a practical activity in their Japanese Culture lesson, sixth form students Samantha and Marisa tell us about the art of Sushi making.
Sushi is an important and well known part of Japanese cuisine. Specially prepared with vinegared rice and using a range of ingredients such as uncooked fish, seafood and vegetables. Sushi can be prepared and presented with a diversity of styles, for example, onigiri; a ball of rice shaped like a triangle and wrapped in nori (seaweed).
During our Year 13 Japanese Cultural lesson we have been introduced to making sushi by our teacher, Miki Sensei. Many of us have not made sushi before or even tried it! So we began the lesson by watching a clear demonstration as she talked us through the process step by step. To save time she had already prepared the sushi rice, toppings, seasoning mix, cutlery and makisus. A makisu is a mat woven from bamboo and cotton string, specially made for rolling sushi.
Additionally, we made special origami boxes out of beautiful origami paper following clear steps written and drawn out kindly by Miki Sensei. Most of us either ate or discarded the ends of the sushi roll as it doesn’t look as appealing, then we put the rest of our sushi in box with cling film to take home.
Some students discovered that they did not like the taste of sushi but it’s the process of making it that counts! Overall the class enjoyed the process of making the sushi and boxes, also the outcome of them trying sushi for the first time was great! Some students really enjoyed the lesson and it even encouraged them to make sushi outside of school to bring in for lunch.
It was a really valuable experience and enjoyable lesson, not to mention learning things within Japanese culture in all our other lessons were great too. The course as a whole teaches you a few beneficial phrases if you were to ever go to Japan, also things you should and should not do in Japan which would make your way around much easier and simpler. It is definitely a recommendable course and worth partaking in.