Derby Grammar School

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Derby Grammar School
DGS 1.png
Motto Vita sine litteris mors
Latin Life without learning is death
Established 1160 (reformed 1995)
Type Independent
Religion Church of England
Head Dr Ruth Norris
Location Littleover, Derby
DE23 4BX
Staff 45 (approx.)
Students 270 (approx.)
Gender Boys; Coeducational Sixth Form
Ages 7–18
Houses Atkinson, Bemrose, Blackton, Derby
Colours Green & navy blue
Chairman of Governors Tim Wilson
Visitors The Bishop of Derby, The Duke of Devonshire
Former pupils Old Derbeians

Derby Grammar School is a selective independent school in Littleover near the city of Derby, England. Refounded as a reincarnation of Derby School in 1995, it takes boys aged 7–18 and girls aged 16–18; it currently has around three hundred pupils. The Sixth Form has been co-educational since September 2007. Although only recently formed, Derby Grammar School aims to continue the ethos, tradition and spirit of Derby School.

The school is academically selective, admitting those within the top twenty-five per cent of the ability range; scholarships and bursaries offering a discount on the school's fees are available for those who excel the most.


The school occupies Rykneld Hall, a Grade II listed 18th century country house at Littleover, built as a private residence in 1780 and used as a hospital through the later 20th Century. After conversion, the school was opened in 1995.

Teaching buildings for Humanities, Sciences, Design and Technology, and Arts have been added to the site, along with the main school hall, which is linked with the old quadrangle and contains a stage and an organ, with an attached kitchen. The new block, called the Bagshaw Building, was opened in 2000. A new cricket pavilion has also recently been built.

The woodland, mature trees, grassland, and water areas in the school's grounds are designated as Wildlife Site 38 and safeguarded in the City of Derby's Local Plan, Policy E4 (Nature Conservation). Such sites are "considered irreplaceable".[1]

New school sports facility, Rykneld Sports Centre, located a short distance away from the main site, was opened in September 2017.


The curriculum is built around teaching for GCSE and A-level. Subjects taught include English, Latin, French, German, Spanish, Classics, Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, History, Ancient History, English Literature, Geography, Religious Studies, Art, Music, Design Technology and Economics.


The main sports offered at the school are cricket, hockey, and rugby union, plus Athletics, cross-country, swimming, squash, and badminton.

The 2007 Under-15 rugby team were county champions, and have won the county cup twice, as have the under 16s once. The 2007 under-16s were the first DGS team to win all their games, although the under-15s later did the same. In 2007, the under-16s reached the fourth round of the Daily Mail Cup, and over half of the team members also played for the First XV. The school's First XV [season '10/'11] were the school's first undefeated first team, with eight recorded victories throughout the season.


Activities include school dramatic productions, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, public speaking, World Challenge, debating, a School choir and orchestra, adventure training and the Arts Award examined by LAMDA. There are music and drama workshops, some being joint events with Derby High School for girls and the Hot House Music Schools youth music group.

The School supports various charities, including YMCA Derbyshire and the Gedeli B School in the Mwanza Region of Tanzania. It raises money annually for both projects and sends Sixth Form students out every year to Gedeli B School to assist with teaching, maintenance of classrooms and other tasks.

School motto, arms and badge[edit]

The school's coat of arms, badge, and motto, are all based on those of the former Derby School. The motto, Vita Sine Litteris Mors (Life without learning is death), is that of the former school and is a quotation from Seneca's Epistulae morales ad Lucilium.

Old Derbeians[edit]

The term "Old Derbeians" originally meant only former pupils of Derby School, but the Old Derbeians Society is now open also to ex-pupils of the new school, who are called both New and Old Derbeians.[2]

The front facade of the Main Building


  1. ^ "City of Derby Local Plan Review – Adopted Plan. Ch 9 Environment". City of Derby Local Plan Review. Derby City Council. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  2. ^ Main page of the Old Derbeian Society web site, accessed 27 February 2008

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°53′42″N 1°31′39″W / 52.89500°N 1.52750°W / 52.89500; -1.52750