Five Minutes With Dr John Price, headmaster of Worksop College
Based across two sites in the middle of beautiful North Nottinghamshire countryside, the independent school educates children aged 2-18, offering day, flexi-boarding and full boarding places.
And as the school gets ready to re-open its doors, Dr Price reflects on lockdown and how staff, families and pupils have managed.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed,” said Dr Price.
“We resumed teaching online in the summer term, with face-to-face lessons and a full programme from 8.30am-4pm every day.
“The way staff and pupils adapted was amazing.
“We had everything from online assemblies and sports tuition to music lessons and cookery.
“In many ways, lockdown taught us all to think differently and allowed us to be creative – that’s incredibly positive.”
The school has seen a significant increase in enquires over the last six months, with some pupils even joining part way through the summer term – getting involved in remote lessons.
“I believe what we offered plays a big part in the increased interest in our school,” continued Dr Price.
“We were absolutely determined to offer our young people a sense of normality and to run almost every type of lesson we had before lockdown – albeit in a different way.”
The school will see some more changes this September, as they get set to welcome children from age two for first time in the school’s history.
“This is just the beginning,” explained Dr Price.
“Interest in our nursery provision has increased significantly since we announced the change and so the next step will be to look at a provision for under twos, and potentially babies.
“Our junior school Ranby House sits on 60 acres, with an abundance of outdoor space, including a ‘mud kitchen’ in the forest.
“It really is the most idyllic place for little ones to begin their learning journey.”
“Whilst realising academic potential is paramount, I believe passionately in the importance of emotional intelligence,” he said.
“There will be an increasing ne ed for young people to develop such skills to be successful in the workplace of the future”.
This philosophy has led quickly to the introduction of a co-curricular and life skills programme at the senior school which will see young people taught important skills such a public-speaking, understanding mortgage rates, and even how to change a car tyre.
“These are skills that are important in any walk of life,” said Dr Price.
“We’re really excited to be launching this programme and have had overwhelming support from our parents.”
AS well as life skills, students at Worksop College and Ranby House have a full co-curricular programme that covers everything from sailing to Zumba, Eco Club to robotics.
Running every day after academic lessons finish, as well as a Saturday morning, the programme is included in the fees – giving parents the flexibility to opt in and out of what suits them, their child and their family circumstances.
And what of the future as schools go back and teaching staff contemplate how a ‘second wave’ or isolated lockdowns might impact learning?
“While we are hopeful a second wave of COVID will not impact school, we’re fully prepared,” he explained.
“Remote learning will resume and we’ll continue to teach our young people online, as we did for eight weeks.
“In many ways, this simply teaches pupils resilience and adaptability and we know that with the right support, care and attention, we’ll get through whatever challenges lie ahead.”
Worksop College’s story dates back to the 19th century when the school was founded by Victorian educational reformer, Canon Nathaniel Woodard.
After his death in 1891, it was left to Henry Meynell to ensure that Woodard’s vision was realised, and the college opened in September 1895, with just five Masters and 44 boys.
A generous gift of land from the Duke of Newcastle’s Clumber estate has been extended over the years to provide the 330-acre estate on which the college stands today.
To learn more about Worksop College and Ranby House, visit wsnl.co.uk