In Conversation with Roy Page, former headmaster of the Royal Grammar School High Wycombe

Woody, Roy and Luke outside BYT High Wycombe

In light of a particularly sunny morning in High Wycombe, certifying the break of spring and promise of longer and daresay warmer days ahead, we were rather fortunate to have an quite an esteemed guest pop in for a tea and a chat.

Roy Page is the now retired Headmaster of the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. Highly respected amongst the student and staff bodies alike (RGS at current look has over 1400 pupils and 150 staff) for his work as headmaster for over 9 years, Roy has had a long, successful relationship with the school and is a key contributor to the education sector in the Buckinghamshire area. Hence we were delighted on his taking a time out of his morning to come and see us.

Our first point of discussion

Our first point of discussion

We all found ourselves meeting in agreement discussing the pros and cons of the 11 plus and how it can and has often caused furore. Roy recounted that in his experience the key is to always teach the subject not to pass the test.At BYT we’ve felt the importance of the 11+ is as a good indicator of skill level and a useful way of streaming students into appropriate ability tiers. Maths and English skills should be taught as an end in themselves and should never be resultantly subservient to the pressures of coaching students for an exam intentionally or no. With this in mind Roy mentioned being pro the Durham CEM 11+ being designated as tutor proof — the focus therefore is that schools keep teaching focused on embedding core numerical and literary skills as an end in themselves.

Indeed, Roy made an impassioned point outlining his underlying ethos in education:

“(I’m)motivated by the notion of giving every child the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”

It was a something that certainly resonated with us at BYT.

Hence, Max Tovey, assistant centre director at High Wycombe added:

“At BYT we are never in the business of giving up on a child. We’re passionate and driven to get all students to pass the 11+ and if, for whatsoever reason they can’t pass the 11+ then we are here for them too”

Attitudes and school support

Attitudes and school support

We discussed with Roy how BYT can work well in conjunction to school education and our keenness to develop partnerships with more local schools in the Buckinghamshire area. We provide a bright, airy space where students are given time, attention and focus in a small classroom environment to embed and re-enforce their school work — allowing them to return re-energised, confident and ready to succeed.

Roy talked of his experience in seeing how pupils can sometimes grow disenfranchised in mainstream schooling: falling behind with work leading to a downward spiral in attitude and attainment. We added that our hope was that BYT might be able to provide an affordable solution for outside school support for students who might otherwise slip through the net.

It was particularly enlightening to hear Roy’s urge the need for equitable funding across the country for Education and the importance of further provision being made for students with special needs but it was his key point that truly hit home for us:

“If we don’t teach our youngsters to understand different cultures, lifestyles and religions then we aren’t giving them full preparation for life.”

It was, we felt, a pertinent point well made that had us abuzz with thought as Roy headed off into the Spring sun and left us with even more determination to do the best we can by our students.

BYT High Wycombe

BYT High Wycombe

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