Every child has the opportunity to discover their unique gifts at Bradford Grammar Junior School. For some, it’s about pursuing a love of rowing or championing a change in school uniform for girls. For others, writes Deputy Headteacher Felicity Robertshaw-Hughes, it’s discovering a passion for jazzy shoes.

I have a passion for shoes. Bright shoes, jazzy shoes, jolly shoes. One morning, as I went across the playground to collect Year 3, a brave and strident voice cried: “Mrs Robertshaw-Hughes, why do you wear silly shoes?” My first response was to roar with laughter, but I also filled with pride, and not just for my rainbow adorned footwear. Clock House is the sort of place where questions can be asked, and difference is part of the daily rhythm. Quite simply, the shoes make me happy, and too often in wider society, we feel we have to conform. I’m proud that Clock House is a haven where everyone (including me) can find their niche.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Clock House is very definitely a part of the wider School community, but perhaps a small nest in the larger tree where the children learn to spread their wings, discover their passions and build strong roots for academic growth. After only a few weeks in the Junior School, Mrs Sumner, a Year 2 parent, commented that every morning her child was greeted by name. We knew her already and the family was part of the community. Clock House is small enough to know each child, their needs and passions and nurture these, but with the benefits of the ‘big school’ as many of our children call it.

Josh, in Year 6, has been attending our boathouse at Saltaire with his older brother for two terms. Mr Darnbrough, our specialist rowing coach, couldn’t resist getting him on the water. Josh now takes part in regular training sessions and reports that it’s really relaxing and has been quite easy to master. “Once you’ve got the timing and the motion, it’s a great way to spend time with other children.” On Saturday mornings, despite the cold, he looks forward to jumping on the river, a particular highlight is seeing the kingfishers that can be found in the area. Specialist sports teaching and provision allows our children to excel in a range of disciplines including tennis, squash, and netball but it's not just about the accolades – it’s the perseverance, grit, teamwork and determination that the children learn through these – the ‘Hoc Age’ spirit.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

One of the places where our children really bring their ideas to the fore is our School Council. They’re not only a voice for their peers but a barometer for the Clock House family. Their charitable work, reflecting school values of compassion and service, is commendable. They also bring about other changes too. Last year, after a particularly lively meeting with mentions of suffragettes and equality, Gabrielle, who was in Year 5 at the time, offered to act as a spokesperson and penned an impressive letter to our Headteacher requesting a change to the uniform policy, namely girls’ trousers and shorts. This year, we see the girls choosing the uniform that makes them feel comfortable and ready to learn. “I think it’s good girls can wear trousers now,” said Ayra, in Year 3. “They’re warm in the winter and make me feel sensible.”

My days can be quite busy, but when I kick off the shiny shoes under my desk, it’s knowing our children that makes me smile: the names of their pet birds, the boy who came to tell me about his dancing competition or a rather raucous game of Dobble with my nurture group (apologies to Mrs Reilly at this point). We’re all a bit different in many ways, but it’s knowing our children well that makes us a family and allows them to feel comfortable enough to speak up and shine.

Bradford Grammar Junior School will be welcoming its first Reception and Year 1 children from September 2024. To find out more, contact the admissions team at admissions.jnr@bradfordgrammar.com or call 01274 553713/553702. To register for a future open event, visit bradfordgrammar.com/signup