Former private school headmistress marvels at transformation of FGCS

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Gillian duCharme

A former headmistress who was shocked when she swapped her exclusive private school for FGCS in a BBC documentary has returned nearly 20 years later to find it “completely transformed”.

Gillian duCharme was head of Benenden, in Kent, when she spent a week teaching here in 1997 for A Class Apart, a programme in the Back To The Floor series.

Nearly 20 years later, Mrs duCharme returned to teach a French lesson and found pupils behaved very differently. She also met headteacher Simon Elliott, who has taken the school from an Ofsted rating of “requires improvement” to “outstanding” in three years.

“The type of children coming here hasn’t changed,” she said. “It is still a wonderful, diverse and invigorating environment. What has changed is the atmosphere. Simon has installed a culture of aspiration and ambition. The pupils are incredibly well behaved, which is not something I experienced last time. I am deeply impressed.”

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