John Port School

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John Port School
John port school lake Etwall.jpg
Motto Big Smiles, Exciting Challenges, Bright Futures
Established 1956
Type Academy
Head-teacher Unknown as of when written (Chris Sainsbury suspended)
Location Main Street
DE65 6LU
52°53′04″N 1°36′10″W / 52.88443°N 1.60266°W / 52.88443; -1.60266Coordinates: 52°53′04″N 1°36′10″W / 52.88443°N 1.60266°W / 52.88443; -1.60266
DfE number 830/5405
DfE URN 136591 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Students 2100
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Colours Oxford Blue

John Port School is a very large academy in the village of Etwall, Derbyshire, England.[1]


With the current number of students around the 2100 mark[2] it puts John Port as the largest secondary school in Derbyshire, and one of the largest nationally.[3] The current head-teacher is Chris Sainsbury, following the resignation of Wendy Sharp in September 2013.[4]

John Port is a mixed school, with the student age range between 11 and 18, and with the 6th Form taking students from the ages of 16 to 18. However, even with the large size of the school a very sense of community is maintained through each year being split into 12 forms and the whole School being divided into eight houses named after various gods. A child on entry to the school joins a form into which they stay until they leave in Year 11. Each form generally has the same personal tutor that follows their form through their years at John Port. Each house also has a Head of House, to whom authority of the house is given.

There are approximately 141 full-time and temporary members of the teaching staff.


The school is on the site of a demolished country manor, Etwall Hall, Etwall, situated just outside Derby, traditionally of the Port family who were the wealthy landowners/farmers of the parish.[5] In 1952, the Derbyshire County Council bought Etwall Hall from Reg Parnell, the famous racing car driver. The hall had been used during the Second World War by the Army, first as a petrol depot and later as an equipment supply centre and been left in a somewhat dilapidated state. After its demolition a secondary modern, Etwall Secondary School, and a secondary grammar school, John Port Grammar School, were built on the site. In 1965, they were amalgamated to form the John Port School that occupies the site today.

The name of the Port family, who lived at the hall, has been associated with Etwall since the 15th century. The family’s most famous son, Sir John Port, was the founder of the nearby Repton School and committed to the furthering of education for young men in the village. It therefore seemed entirely appropriate that the new school was named after him.

School site[edit]

A green site

The large attractive site[6] has an open feel, being a 'green' campus with plenty of well maintained open spaces between the individual teaching facilities. The centre of the site is focussed around the lake, one of the original fishing ponds that were in the grounds of the Etwall Hall.

Teaching facilities are spread across the site, with each faculty having a separate building. The buildings are mostly named after settlements and features in Derbyshire and the Peak District, with the exceptions to this being Flamsteed, named after a famous local scientist John Flamsteed, and the Jubilee Centre, named to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Blocks are named from A to J alphabetically, in chronological order of when they were first built. The naming system gives order to classroom numbering and also a 'short name for each block, i.e., 'A12' is the twelfth classroom in 'A' block (Ashbourne). The original school started with 'A' and 'B' blocks, and has expanded from there. Students are into eight houses (named after various gods e.g Apollo) each house is assigned a facility in which students in their forms will come to be addressed in the morning.The faculties and corresponding blocks are as follows:

  • Ashbourne - Mathematics
  • Bakewell - Modern Foreign Languages, ICT
  • Chatsworth - English, Economics, Politics, Sociology, Psychology, Business studies
  • Derwent - Design Technology, Food Technology, Health and Social Care
  • Edale - Humanities (Geography, History, Philosophy Religion and Ethics) and Student Support
  • Flamsteed - Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Studies)
  • Glossop - 6th Form Centre of higher education
  • Hathersage - Expressive arts (Art, Drama and Theater Studies, Music, Dance, Textiles)
  • Ilam - temporary building, various subjects
  • Jubilee Centre - English and Construction

The Learning Resources Centre is situated centrally on the site, occupying most of the ground floor of 'B' block. It has a full computer suite and a library stocked with 14,000 books on all subjects taught at the school, and aimed at 11–18-year-old readers. It is staffed by a professionally qualified Chartered Librarian, Mrs Durkan, to ensure that it is always well maintained and stocked to the needs of the student base.

There were originally three canteen dining halls on the site, one each in 'A', 'B' and 'C' blocks, until 'C' was closed and therefore 'A' and 'B' are the only catering areas at the present time. It serves hot lunches and also caters for morning break. 'A' block hall has, in the past, served both snacks and hot food, while various incarnations of 'Ashbourne Stage' and 'Lite Bite' cafes have also run from the block.

The site is also home to the Etwall Leisure Centre, with public access from Hilton Road. This new centre was officially opened on 17 July 2009, although it didn't open to the public till 5 August 2009. The new facilities include a six-lane 25 m swimming pool, squash courts, fitness suite and large sports hall. The old centre closed to the public after the early morning swimming on 24 June, having shut earlier than planned because the main circulation pump fatally failed the previous night. It was decided not to replace the pump because of the large cost. The pool was then drained, and the building was refurbished and converted into what is now Jubilee block, with construction completed by 2012.

Both boys and girls PE have been transferred to the new sports and leisure centre. The future of the previous 'A' Hall gymnasium facilities has not been disclosed past 2010, although 'C' gym has been transferred into use as an examination centre, resulting in a full re-cladding of the building in 2010.

The central location of 'E' block also houses the student welfare offices, which includes a local Connexions office on site. Student support was moved to the Jubilee Centre, from being spread over the site, in 2016.

Academic performance[edit]

The school gets well-above-average results at GCSE, and standards at both GCE AS and A level are above average according to Ofsted.[7] The school is twinned with the Gymnasium Melle,[8] and there are annual joint exchanges with their windband, with a bi-annual concert being held at John Port School.[9] The friendship of the schools arose out of the twinning arranged by the mayor of Osnabruck.[10]

Notable students[edit]

John Port Grammar School[edit]

  • Sir Howard Newby (1959–66) - Sociologist, former head of the Economic and Social Research Council [13] University Vice-Chancellor at Southampton, UWE and currently Liverpool
  • Mark Sharman (1961-8), Head of News and Sport at ITV.

Catchment area[edit]

The size of the school means that it has a very large catchment area, covering 31 parishes of South Derbyshire.

Ash | Barton Blount | Bearwardcote | Boylestone | Burnaston | Church Broughton | Dalbury Lees | Egginton | Etwall | Findern | Foremark | Foston | Hatton | Hilton | Hoon | Marston on Dove | Mickleover | Newton Solney | Osleston | Radbourne | Repton | Rolleston on Dove | Scropton | Stenson | Stretton | Sutton on the Hill | Thurvaston | Trusley | Twyford | Tutbury | Willington

And includes the following primary schools:[14]

  1. Church Broughton Primary School
  2. Egginton Primary School
  3. Etwall Primary School
  4. Heathfields Primary School
  5. Findern Primary School
  6. Hilton Primary School
  7. Longford Primary School
  8. Long Lane Primary School
  9. Mickleover Primary School
  10. Ravensdale Primary School
  11. Repton Primary School
  12. Silverhill Primary School
  13. Sudbury Primary School
  14. St Clare Special Needs School
  15. Willington Primary School


the school crest

External links[edit]