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Fabulous music school that is shared with the other schools in the Loughborough Endowed Schools foundation. Please note the grand piano (Steinway) in one recital room; they have others too. Plenty of teams for all. Sport rotated and varied, so even the least sporty boy can find a niche. Mention must go to DT: a massive department, with state of the art equipment, run by a very enthusiastic teacher.  The boys are taken driving round a local race track in the cars they have restored and built...

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2016 Good Schools Guide Awards

  • Best performance by Boys taking Spanish at an English Independent School (GCSE Full Course)

Other features

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2016, Duncan Byrne (40s). Languages degree from Cambridge (choral scholar) followed by MEd from Buckingham. From a teaching family, ‘so it was always in the back of my mind.’ Didn’t fancy being behind a desk all day, ‘working with young people is unfailingly interesting and varied: there’s always something unexpected, often humorous, that happens most days.’ Very keen on single sex education for boys, ‘they take more risks intellectually.’ Encourages boys to contribute to local community, ‘it makes them feel part of something and helps with well-being.’ He’s settling in well and making his mark. Parents like him, and we can see why, he’s charming, affable and chatty. ‘He’s very easy to talk to,’ was said more than once. Parents appreciate communications from him and follow his blog and social media posts. All say they like him and he feels very welcomed by community. Two boys, one at the school, another still in London, a chorister at Westminster Abbey. A musical family; head was attracted to Loughborough because of its music credentials. Lives on site in headmaster’s house. Teaches languages to year 7s. Attends all home matches and has a high profile around the school.

Academic matters

In 2017, 65 per cent A*-A/9-7 at GCSE; 57 per cent A*/A at A level, 82 per cent A*-B. Excellent results but remember the school is fairly selective, though 'not as selective as you might expect,’ says the head. French, German, Spanish, Latin and Greek all taught to A level. Head very keen for languages to flourish; 33 per cent of boys do two languages, 35 per cent study classics including Latin to GCSE. Maths is king, with around two-thirds studying it for A level. Sciences also very popular. Results have improved in the last few years with tracking of pupils becoming more effective. This means intervention is more prompt. ‘Some boys are naturally lazy if they are not pushed,’ says the head. Parents back this up, commenting on ‘outstanding teachers who push the boys.’ Parents kept well informed of progress. Lots of clinics for different subjects. Boys take advantage of these. ‘They get lots of homework,’ said one parent, who talked about the headmaster’s blog explaining that the boys needed to do more at home. School well aware of boys and their foibles. All homework online so no excuses. iPads for all from year 8. The jury is out, with the head and parents unsure about the effectiveness of these as an educational tool. Half of the boys’ work is handwritten so still lots of emphasis on ‘old fashioned’ skills.

The school is cleverly laid out with defined areas for each subject. Impressive library with spiral staircase in oldest part of the building. Chapel now used as a classroom, but small services still held here. Boys working hard and taking part in discussions in classes we viewed. Each science subject has its own block with impressive labs. Setting in maths. Lots of artwork on display. Mention must go to DT: a massive department, with state of the art equipment, run by a very enthusiastic teacher. Please note the electric racing car, built by the boys. Some 25 boys study DT at A level. The boys are taken driving round a local race track in the cars they have restored and built, age of 14. Sports car being restored, and driven on sports day, funded by parents via the PA. Many more boys who are not studying DT join in with restoration work. The school has the UK Young Engineer of the Year winners for 2017 and many go on to engineering careers, including in motorsport. Some sixth form subjects are taught with the girls from Loughborough High: psychology, music, languages and politics.

Some 40 boys on the SEN register, one boy with an EHCP. Five per cent of these are seen every week by learning support at no extra charge, as yet. Around 120 boys are on the monitoring list. Diagnostic testing for all boys in year 7, 9 and 12. Class sizes average 16 in the main school, 10 in sixth form.

EAL support is very good. There is an EAL co-ordinator who works four days a week helping the boarders, in particular, who are offered at least two hours a week support. Day boys can also use this service. Many boys, in line with the ethnic diversity in the area, speak a second language at home.

Games, options, the arts

Sport is compulsory right into the sixth form; ‘it's good for them,’ says the head, and boys are expected to participate and contribute. Rugby very popular and successful. Hockey, cricket and football also well supported, as are cross-country and athletics. Plenty of teams for all. Sport rotated and varied, so even the least sporty boy can find a niche. Excellent facilities a short minibus ride away at Quorn, their 70 acre site where most sports are played. On site are a swimming pool, large gym and cricket pitch. Parents happy that sports stars not favoured; ‘they all muck in together,’ said one parent. Another said their son ‘didn’t miss out by not being sporty.’ One parent did complain about ‘the amount of sports gear we have to buy. Do they really need at least two sets of shorts and so many different tops?’

Fabulous music school that is shared with the other schools in the Loughborough Endowed Schools foundation. Please note the grand piano in one recital room; this is a Steinway School. Many boys have individual music lessons. As [typo] expected, music excellent and parents rave about the concerts and reviews, ‘they have an amazing choir.’ There are over 40 weekly ensembles that the boys can take part in. Plenty of orchestras, bands, choirs, most combined with the girls’ schools in the foundation. Lots of instruments lying around the school during our tour. Drama and school plays talked about a lot by parents. ‘They are well co-ordinated with lots of rehearsal time.’

Far too many clubs to mention but a nod must go to bridge and chess, and the slightly more unusual beekeeping. The head was very pleased to be presented with a jar of honey shortly after his arrival. CCF very well supported, joining forces with the girls. D of E popular and lots of school trips including trekking in Vietnam and plenty of sports tours. As one parent said, ‘there is so much available, it’s up to the boys to take advantge of these opportunities. They are pushed to try things, which is excellent.’


Nearly half of the boarders are in the sixth form. Virtually all of them international, the vast majority from Hong Kong and China. LGS has been an international boarding school for 25 years. There are two boarding houses: one, the old headmaster’s house, within the main quad, the other in a refurbished Victorian property next to the main offices. Most boarders start in year 9, the odd one in year 8, but that is quite unusual. Lots of cultural trips for the boys including trips to London, Oxford University and a pantomime at Christmas, as well as many more local trips to nearby matches. The boys are kept busy, encouraged to join the CCF and take part in the musical activities.

Very experienced housemasters know the boys well. ‘The common room is the heart of the house,’ said one; during the refurbishment he made sure that there was room to sit all 31 boys together. There is a house meeting every day at 6.30pm, even if it’s only for five minutes. The newly refurbished dormitories house up to four boys; sixth formers usually in pairs. Each boy has his own desk where homework is done. Very cleverly supervised, but allowing independence, doors are propped open between 6.30-8pm. Computers and phones allowed but wifi use closely monitored, any misdeeds picked up immediately.

Sport compulsory three evenings a week, usually basketball, which is very popular. Boys allowed into town, which is a five minute walk away, but have to be in at least pairs and out of school uniform. With all this activity it’s easy to keep the computer nerd off his laptop. English language classes held in the house. Unlimited supply of hot water greatly appreciated by the boys. Note the chickens in the garden; boys enthusiastically collect eggs for breakfast.

Background and atmosphere

Established within the town since 1495, the school has been at its present site since 1852. A state grammar school until 1974. Sited just on the edge of Loughborough, a town not noted for its aesthetics, the school itself is something of an architectural revelation. Part of the Loughborough Endowed Schools foundation which comprises four selective independent schools, Loughborough Grammar, Loughborough High School, Fairfield Prep and, since 2015, Our Lady’s Convent School. Loughborough Grammar shares a campus with the High School and Fairfield.

Located on a massive site, next to the other schools, this handsome Victorian red-brick school is built around a quad. Modern extensions, which have blended in exceptionally well, are difficult to tell from the old. As you enter under an arch, which is a memorial to fallen pupils, the school stretches out in front of you. Neatly mown grass, which only the upper sixth - and your guide - are allowed to walk on. Over the years the school has bought most of the Victorian and Edwardian houses on the opposite road so boys can roam safely in a traffic free environment. It is slightly confusing trying to find the main office; luckily a friendly sixth former took pity on us and guided us in the right direction (across the road). Very confusing, we imagine, for visitors. Upper sixth boys have their own car park, boys in the year below are not allowed to use it – the privileges of being in your final year.

A large school, both in number of boys and area covered; there is plenty of space for everyone. Lots of outside space for boys to let off steam. A school of all creeds and colours, the boys all seem to rub along well together and the atmosphere is cohesive and cordial.

Pastoral care, well-being and discipline

The head was honest enough to say that in a school of this size bullying does exist but is dealt with rapidly. Backed up by a parent who talked of problems on the school bus ‘that were dealt with effectively and fairly.’ All parents were happy with discipline, many of them saying, ‘the boys are not allowed to step out of line, standards are to be met.’ Good. Heads of year play an important part in the boys’ welfare and discipline. Parents spoke highly of them and said ‘staff know my son.’ Boys understand sanctions that are handed out and reasons for them.

School very attuned to mental health issues and is proactive and preventative. ‘We want the boys to know and like who they are and learn to be good at being themselves.’ Very keen to ensure boys have a balanced lifestyle, hence plenty of sport and music as well as studying. Certain parents need to have this balance explained, school happy to do this. Parents happy with pastoral offerings. ‘The reverend and his team are always available if necessary.’

Pupils and parents

Boys travel from about a 25 mile radius covering Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Busses from all areas. The school has a broad social and ethnic mix with a number of pupils speaking a secondary language at home. Families vary from old county families, where a pupil could be the fourth generation to study here, to university staff, academics, professionals, engineers, as per the area, and many medics. All parents want a broad independent education; interestingly not many showed a strong preference for boys only. Parents have high expectations and most are working hard to be able to afford the fees. Boys mix well and strong friendships are formed. Good to see that the geeky quiet boy is as accepted as the rugby stars.


Entry into year 6 is small, 17, and not publicised. Mainly to accommodate families with older siblings. Most boys, 131, join in year 7, with a third coming from the affiliated prep school Fairfield, the rest from state primaries. Entrance exam; they are looking for bright sparks. A small number join in year 9. Another 25 or so join the sixth form, 10 overseas boarders, the rest from the state system, mainly to study maths and sciences. Five B/6s at GCSE as an absolute minimum are needed for the sixth form, higher for certain subjects including maths, sciences and languages. Most new entrants have a fistful of A*/8-9s. School happy to turn a boy away if attitude and work ethic isn’t right.


About 20 leave at the end of year 11 to mixed colleges in the town. Virtually all go to university, 80 per cent to Sutton Trust Top 30 group. Six to Oxbridge in 2017, many more medics (eight in 2017) and engineers, ‘it’s in the genes,’ says the head. Gap years and apprenticeships not mentioned.

Money matters

Scholarships - music and academic - and bursaries on offer of up to 105 per cent of fees.

Our view

A large, traditional, urban boys' school offering a good, well rounded education. It’s not just about grades, albeit these are an important part; these boys are turned out as grounded young men with a broad outlook on life. Fees are excellent value for money, deliberately kept low. The parents appreciate this.

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