Leicester Grammar School
Leicester Grammar School has impressive facilities, an unpretentious atmosphere, a new Head and a whole clutch of brilliant results. Fancy a closer look?
Leicester Grammar School is an independent school for for 10-18 year that has a very modern feel, both aesthetically and in terms of its outlook. Co-educational with 839 pupils (470 boys and 369 girls) – just below capacity and there’s a big emphasis on both sexes mixing with each other.
Founded in 1981, the school moved from its city centre location in 2008 to a much larger (75 acres) purpose built school in the village of Great Glen, south Leicester. Eleven years later and the building still looks brand new so if you like your schools polished, you’re in the right place.
The school is split into two parts – the left side of the building houses the Juniors (ages 3-11) and the rest is home to the Seniors (Year 6 – 13). The main corridor, is known as the ‘Street’ and connects the entire length of the building so despite its size, you never feel lost. Classes and departments veer off to the back of the building and just across the car park is the sports centre, coffee shop, pavilion and sports pitches.
Are you ready?
There’s 2 floodlit hockey pitches, 5 rugby pitches, 4 cricket pitches, 8 hard tennis/netball courts as well as a dedicated indoor sports complex with badminton, basketball, netball, cricket nets (girls play too and the U13 team were runners up in the Lady Taverners’ National indoor competition at Lords) as well as trampolining, table tennis and the 25 metre, 6 lane swimming pool. There’s also a fitness suite, dance studio and a gym (with more equipment than my local one) making this one happy environment.
On the education front it’s just as impressive. The Design Engineering and Technology Department covers a range of classes from metal work to textiles. When we visited pupils were designing electronic door hangars as well as mini lego figures using a nifty computer software called Fusion 360 and a state of the art 3D printer of course. I’m the least arty / techy person and even I wanted to get stuck in and create something.
Year 7/8 get the chance to dabble in everything gradually honing down those they find of most interest ready for their GCSEs.
Then there’s the art department – complete with a ceramic studio, kiln, pottery wheels and even a printing press plus, Sixth Formers have their own art studio. If music is more you’re thing, they’ve got you covered, and we’re talking more than just fancy keyboards – there’s a recording studio, kettle drums, a marimba (google it) and even a gong! Around 30 ensembles rehearse here each week, including choirs, orchestras, concert bands, a big band and even a folk group.
Unsurprisingly, science is a big deal here too and takes up the entire fourth wing of the school and includes a science lecture theatre. Year 6/7 do a double (general) science and from Year 8 the kids to double biology, physics and chemistry and are expected to do it at GCSE. Budding Einsteins will feel very much at home.
2019 A level results were outstanding with 81% of all grades achieved at A*- B and an impressive 50% at A*- A. An incredible 30% of all GSCE results achieved were at the new and highly elusive grade 9, with 57% at grades 9/8 (equivalent to the previous A*), and 76% at 9/8/7 (A*/A).
There is however, no pressure to be excellent in every single subject. Staff nurture each individuals strength and while many of the pupils go on to study medicine, others have been successful in music and of course sports – you can see the ones that have reached a national standard as they’ve been honoured in the Sports Centre and pavilion.
Space is something that the school doesn’t lack and you get a sense of this from the moment you walk into the light, bright, open foyer. There’s no squeezing along tight corridors or narrow staircases, class rooms never look like they’re overflowing (large years are split into smaller forms of 20-24 pupils) and when you see the refectory feeding 1400 people in two hours, you start to get an idea of how effectively this school runs.
The Student Support Group is made up of Sixth Form students who go on a 12-week course so they are fit to guide the younger ones. Homework Club works in a similar way so despite its size, the atmosphere and general feeling of the school is that everyone is part of ‘one’ community.
Language is also a big deal here. Everyone learns French and Latin in Year 7/8 and have the option to add Spanish, German or ancient Greek in Year 9. The super talented ones are invited to take Italian too and there are whispers of possibly starting Arabic and/or Mandarin.
Tonnes of co-curricular activities – think astronomy, gardening, big band, poetry, debate club and that’s just a few I liked the sound of. They also have holiday club.
Year 7/8 students use a lunchtime session to build an electric car and get it ready to race at Goodwood Motor Circuit (Chichester) and Aintree Golf Course (Liverpool) and in the first year of doing this, they won the IET Engineering Award for Best Constructed Bodywork as well as Best Newcomers.
The canteen is cashless and uses a nifty biometric system which connects to a catering account topped up by parents on an app – handy in a school with more than 1000 bods. The coffee shop works the same way but is exclusively for Sixth Form students, staff and parents..
The former headmaster set up a school in Moshi, Tanzania and every few years, sixth form pupils have the chance to visit. They get involved in everything from teaching the local kids to repainting classrooms and also raise funds for the sister school.
Science boffs will love the opportunity to travel to CERN, Switzerland and a few years ago the school planned a trip to Florida and visited NASA, Cape Canaveral, The Orlando Science Centre and managed to squeeze in EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom (why wouldn’t you?) plus their sports tours to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Barbados sound amazing!
The school’s also built up some brilliant partnerships which benefit the kids massively. The Bardi Orchestra use the school’s music facilities and in return, some of the kids are able to rehearse/perform with them and their bi-annual Big Bang Science Fair earlier this year attracted a whopping 3000 visitors. The free event brings Science and Engineering to life through a huge variety of interactive exhibits and fun-filled theatre shows.
John Watson was previously at Bablake School, Coventry. He hasn’t even done a full year at Leicester Grammar School, but is already making positive changes by listening to what the parents, pupils and staff have asked for. Amongst other things, he’s already set up an LGBT Society, introduced a private study for the sixth form, reviewed the sports provision, introduced a wider range of healthy eating options and improved the information available about mental health support.
WRAP AROUND CARE
It’s very good. Buses whizz around collecting children from as far as Loughborough and Lutterworth which means no stressful school runs, YESSS! Kids can come in from 7.45am and take part in a variety of clubs or activities in the morning or after school between 4-5pm or pupils can stay for Late Room in the library to do their homework until 5pm.
WORD ON THE GROUND
Parents love the facilities as do the kids as well as the choice of clubs and after-school options and in such a short time, the head has already made a good impact on the staff, parents and pupils.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
GOOD FOR: Parents looking for an educational grounding (but not a hothouse) with fab facilities in a relaxed, but mature setting to get the kids ready for university or life beyond. All-rounders, joiner inners, and sports lovers. The kids we saw looked really happy and confident and were very much at ease with the staff.
NOT FOR: Kids that are really shy or those who would prefer a smaller school or a city centre location.
DARE TO DISAGREE: Don’t take my word for it! Have a look for yourself at the Open Day on 2 Nov.
Leicester Grammar School, London Road, Great Glen, Leicester, LE8 9FL. Tel: (0)116 259 1900.