The Independent Grammar School: Durham offers an outstanding education within the private sector but at an affordable cost.
The values and high standards traditionally associated with a Grammar School education will characterise all that your child experiences at IGS: Durham. There will, however, be no selection on the basis of ability. We believe all children can achieve their personal best within an atmosphere of stretch, enjoyment and academic rigour. As an independent school we will pursue the best of the national curriculum but add our own distinctive flavour to it. This means we will teach what many would describe as a traditional curriculum in a traditional style, focusing on a thorough grounding, through repetition and consolidation where necessary, of basic skills and knowledge. In addition we will use the Core Knowledge curriculum (see link) to enhance learning. In the Early Years we will follow nationally-agreed requirements. All of this will be supported by great teaching from enthusiastic teachers who love children and are excited by the vision of the school.
The vision of The Independent Grammar Schools (of which IGS: Durham is the first) is built on the significant experience of James Tooley, Professor of Education Policy at Newcastle University, who has a global reputation in the establishment of low cost private schools across the world. Professor Tooley has seen impressive results from this approach in many countries as far afield as Ghana, Nigeria, Honduras and India. He has now joined forces with Chris Gray, formerly Principal of a successful private school in the North East, and Dr Barrie Craven, a University Researcher with a strong interest in education. Together, we are committed to providing the best possible education for the greatest possible number of children. With that in mind, IGS: Durham will operate at a fee level very much lower than almost all other private schools. We want to give parents the choice - if they want their local school, fine; if they want a typical private school (average fees around £10,000 a year), fine; but if they would love a school that combines the best of both, we think many would choose that option. We are here to deliver that vision.
For us, low cost does not mean low quality. It does not mean "cheap and cheerful". What it does mean is that we will focus on what makes the difference in education. That is not money. It is people. The heart of our school and its defining characteristic will be the highest quality of teaching from teachers who simply love to be in the classroom with children. Of course we will have good resources, but the expression we have often used to describe our vision for a low cost school is "no frills". We will not participate in the "race to the top" which sometimes characterises private schools. This involves constant, unsustainable investment which, in our opinion, is contributing to the increasing unaffordability of private education for all but the richest in our society. We believe, based on considerable research carried out by the E G West Centre at Newcastle University, that the fee levels we are proposing are attractive to many parents who otherwise could only dream of an independent education for their children.
We will operate clean, hygienic, welcoming premises. We are delighted that our first school, IGS: Durham, will be based in the magnificent and recently refurbished Christchurch Durham building on Claypath. Prospective parents visiting the premises there will, we are sure, be impressed by the accommodation.