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Dame Catherine Harpur's School in Ticknall?(5 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.
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