Excellence, encouragement, enrichment: what parents look for in an independent school
PUBLISHED: 12:51 16 October 2020
Where you choose to educate your child is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
And while an independent school should help children to achieve academically, it can also shape their future in other ways, according to parents Richard and Trudy Cox.
The couple, who opted to send their sons to Derby Grammar School, believe the school’s emphasis on the three Es – excellence, encouragement, enrichment – served them well.
They discuss why:
Q: Tell us a little about Derby Grammar School?
It is an independent day school in Littleover for boys aged four to 18 and girls aged 16 to 18, overseen by headteacher Dr Ruth Norris and with a new senior leadership team. The academic results at the school speak for themselves: indeed, there were fantastic results across the board last summer despite the challenging times. The primary school, which has a new building; senior school and co-educational sixth form are all in a beautiful setting, within the school’s own grounds in Littleover.
Q: What does the private school offer the pupils?
A great education. Our youngest son, Joe, started in year three and the oldest, George, in year four; both went all the way through the school. The junior school is very friendly, and the senior school is very supportive to the pupils and the parents, whatever their needs. The teachers really help the pupils to develop as individuals, giving them the attention they need to help them progress. This emphasis on the three Es goes all the way through the school: there is constant encouragement to get the best out of them. They were a brilliant help to our sons.
Q: Tell us a little more about your experience?
Joe, now 23, was seven when he started at Derby Grammar School and George, now 26, was eight. Joe is beginning a master’s degree in Architecture and George has just qualified as a junior doctor and is working at Royal Preston Hospital. George developed Tourette’s syndrome when he was 13 years old, which manifested itself with little ticks, habits and noises. The school was incredibly supportive, working with him to ensure he coped all the way through. Where necessary, such as during exams, where he was given a room to himself, they took the extra steps required to help him achieve the very best he could. As parents, we will also never forget the wonderful support they gave us during that time; it was a very difficult period for us all. Both boys did the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which also helped them to grow as individuals, and Joe played rugby and trained as a referee. They both loved house drama and when George developed Tourette’s and didn’t want to step out in front of an audience anymore, the school found him backstage activities, which he loved.
Q: What difference has it made to your sons as adults?
George is now a confident young man, who has achieved his goals. The school helped him through his exams and supported him in his application to medical school. He is a very bright lad, but it has been a long journey for him. We admire his determination not to give up – his strength of character was also something that was nurtured by the school. Joe was a bit of a rebel at school, with bags of confidence, and when he got to GCSE stage, the teachers put a lot of effort in with him too, to help him get his grades. When he was 16 years old, he realised he wanted to be an architect and he knew he would have to really work hard if he wanted to do A levels and a degree. With the encouragement of the school, he got his first choice, the University of Liverpool. Both boys are where they are today because of all the support given to them during their school years.
A virtual open day is to be held at Derby Grammar School on Saturday, November 14.