Headmaster’s Message

Nelson Mandela once said,

“There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one that you are capable of living.”

I believe that every single child who comes to our school is capable of achieving greatness. This may be on the games field, it may be in design, music, writing, exploration, technology, art, maths or indeed, any of the other avenues open to us.

Our job is to work with you, whether you are a child reading this or a parent, to help the child to achieve their goals. To achieve this we need to eradicate the fear of failure that seems to grip so many of us at a very early age. Instead, we need to embrace it, to understand that making mistakes is what helps us to learn, to get better and, eventually to start “playing big”.

The breadth of education that we strive to provide for the children evolves constantly.  103 scholarships and exhibitions over the past six years, the most successful period in the School’s history, has not happened by accident.  Superbly talented teachers bring their enthusiasm into the classroom and make the shared experience of learning enjoyable, challenging and fun!

I do not believe that it is a coincidence that over this same five year period we have introduced over 30 new after-school activities, ranging from fencing to origami, from croquet to Zumba and from police cadets to bug club, and that all of the children in the prep school (and their parents and siblings!) have the opportunity to camp out in our beautiful 50 acre grounds. We also now have activities-based sleepovers in the Manor House for the whole prep school and our six main team sports for the year are now available to both boys and girls, leading to mixed teams in some sports and a genuine “sport for all” philosophy, where everyone has the opportunity to represent their school in fixtures. Furthermore, residential trips have increased from one to three, with trips going to Ilam Hall, PGL and Outward Bounds throughout the year.

I say it’s not a coincidence, because I believe passionately in providing the broadest possible education.  We have a superbly talented choir, four drama productions a year, involving every child in the School, from the two year olds upwards, our artists exhibit their work across the county and further afield and we get outside as often as we can!

Our facilities and the opportunities that we provide would be the envy of many schools in Staffordshire and Derbyshire and we still seek to move forwards.  The new astro surface has made an enormous difference to our hockey players and will also save many football and cricket matches from being affected by inclement weather.

As a family school with family values we aspire to all that was important to our founder, Nathanial Woodard and the virtues of good manners, kindness and consideration for others are central to everything that we do.  We aim for the stars!

Jerry Gear