Dame Catherine Harpur's School in Ticknall?(8 Posts)
Hi, we are quite new to the area and have a little boy who will be starting school in September. We have been offered a place at our local primary school, but to be honest I'm extremely concerned about the huge class sizes at all the primary schools in our area. 30 in each class, which I think will overwhelm him at age 4. I've considered independent schools like Foremarke and St Wystans, but they are out of our price bracket! However, I've heard good things about a little private school called Dame Catherine Harpur's School in Ticknall. I've looked on their website and seen that the class sizes are less than 15 and the fees are just over £3000 per year, which sounds much more manageable to us. However, I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the school? Does anyone have children who have been there? Is there a reason why it is so much cheaper than other independent schools in the area?! Many Thanks in advance.
Derby has few private schools and are the price differences are huge. Foremark is a good school but they've gone through 3 headmasters in 4 years, which is never good. St Wystans is a feeder school to Repton so will be expensive and there are other options.
I'd worry about a school with fees this low in all honesty. There was one close to where I live with similar fees, they only managed this by having no facilities and drafting in volunteers to teach. It was closed down by Ofsted last year. I can give you some more ideas via PM if you wish?
Hi citymum. I thought you'd like to know I have 2 boys at Dame Catherines and they are having a great time at school. My eldest boy is in Yr 1 and is blooming, loving his reading & writing and another little boy in the nursery. The classes are small (never more than 1:15 with an excellent Teaching Assistant too), so lessons can be individually tailored for each child. The staff are first class and get to know the children on a personal level - it has the feel of an extended family yet in a structured school setting. They follow the National Curriculum but have chosen not to do SATS so they don't 'teach to test' if you know what I mean and the children get to learn in such fun, different ways with a lot of activities and interesting trips. Check out the recent Ofsted - "Good" in all areas, a reassuring endorsement if you needed it. I feel my boys have the opportunity there to truly enjoy their childhood schooldays, learning without the pressures of obvious assessment. Saying that, I do know that those who leave at aged 11 to go on to Foremark/Chellaston/Ivanhoe/Repton have all done really well academically and their confidence has been commented by their new Head Teachers. The school is small but I feel the positives far outweigh any perceived negatives, it's really refreshing to see different aged children playing together at break & lunch, it's been really good for my son's confidence to mix like that - he's no longer in awe of "the big boys". Yes you're right, fees are low, a fraction of other Independents, it's a bargain really for what they offer. It's run on a non-profit making basis and there is alot of parental involvement and fundraising which helps to keep costs down. All the children (Reception included) have weekly swimming lessons at Repton, they also do weekly French and some Latin - I can't recommend it highly enough, it's a special place! You should ring up and have a tour round maybe? Do let me know if you need any other info. Good luck
I agree wholeheartedly with fctickmum, our three children all went to Dame Catherines, from age 3 till 11. They had a fantastic time and received a good all round education which has enabled them to progress confidently into Chellaston Academy, a very large comprehensive, achieving high academic grades. Education at DCHS is not restricted to teaching to the test nor is it obsessed with key stage levels which is prevalent in other local primary schools, but tailored to the childs ability at that particular time of their development.
The other huge benfit they gained from DCHS was respect for themselves and other children/adults, all children from Dame Catherines are well mannered, polite and have empathy for others, which is frequently commented on by external organisations during school trips. Also at Dame Catherines, the children are still children, there is not make up/boyfriend obsessions, there is not the macho showing off and swearing which is very common in local primaries, the children all hold onto their innocence a bit longer, but still with the ability to know right from wrong. Go and see for yourself - I highly recommend it.
Citymum, be careful of posters who have no posting history at all apart from their post on here.
My eldest attended the nursery and is currently in the main school. They are constantly stimulated and inspired by the work that they do at school and regularly comes home talking about her day or wanting to carry on with the subject at home.
They love going, and is one of the only children that I know that is excited to be going back to school after a holiday, and the extra curricular of the swimming lessons have helped them to get over a fear of getting their hair / head wet.
I have other children who will be going to the school also, when they are old enough.
And yes, I am a new posted on here however I've read many an article on here and used the advice to help raise my child to be the person they are today! So couldn't let the above experiences go without my experience of what is a very good school.
Another first timer, but then there is a first time for everything! My son attended the nursery at Dame Catherine's for two years and I left him there each time knowing that he was truly loved and respected. He has memories to treasure and developed valuable skills that will benefit him for a lifetime. I decided to home educate him when he reached 5, but he's recently returned to take advantage of the home educator sessions now on offer there. Dame Catherine's is a gem of a place and the area is blessed to have this rare educational opportunity. I can confirm that the positive things said about the school on this thread are true. The confidence and self esteem of every child at Dame Catherine's is a pleasure to behold. There are no snazzy gimmicks at this school and they have to be creative about making ends meet but if you are looking for those important things that money can't buy, Dame Catherine's has them in abundance.
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