|In the junior boarding houses we offer a safe, homely and friendly environment which fosters the College’s ethos of developing happiness, confidence and achievement. Our pupils value the social aspect of having their friends over every night, as well as an element of freedom, designed to develop responsibility and independence.
The pupils have a time set aside in which they complete prep, with tutors supervising to offer assistance and encouragement. All Junior School pupils have a specialised team of tutors, fully experienced in the needs of 11-14 year olds and ideally placed to develop young people and prepare them for life in the Middle School and the future demands of GCSE courses.
The pupils have full and exciting days and consequently value the added time spent here instead of travelling – even if this does mean a lie in on occasions… They also love the range of breakfast on offer in the dining hall, whether cereal, continental or a full cooked breakfast. We work hard but also play hard too – enjoying the College’s range of facilities, whether it be the golf course, IT rooms, library, cricket nets, swimming pool, sports hall, extensive grounds and sports pitches or socialising in the Tuck Shop. Boarders’ outings are arranged every weekend and a list of what will be available is sent home each half term.
We believe it is important to have a three way relationship between pupil, parent and school tutors to ensure each child develops to their potential. We offer an exciting, challenging and enjoyable experience with some of the benefits of home life, added to an outstanding boarding experience provided by professionals who will care for young people as individuals. Our aim is to develop confident, happy young people who will achieve their potential and benefit from the countless pastoral, academic and social benefits the Junior School has to offer.
Whether a boy joins us at 11 from an independent or state school, or at 13 from a preparatory or middle school, they will come into the Junior School under the care of Mr Adrian Bonell and his team of tutors.
Adrian Bonell graduated from Warwick University with a B.Ed Hons in Biology and Physics. With the backing of the Royal Geographical Society, he led a scientific and climbing expedition to Mount Kenya and later climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He has guided on the Tour de Mont Blanc and in many other areas of the Alps. He has worked as a freelance outdoor pursuits instructor in UK and North America and is a qualified mountain leader, rock climbing instructor, orienteering and open canoe coach. He has rock climbed in many countries and has completed three British first ascents on the Island of Rum. He has dived around Japan and cave dived systems in England and Northern Ireland. Over the years, he has taken groups on expeditions to the Hebridean islands of Taransay, the Monach Isles and has sailed aboard the Tall ship STS Jean De La Lune to St Kilda. In 1993 he received an International award for generosity and altruism, the Giancarlo Tofi Trophy. Before moving to Denstone Adrian was Deputy Head and Head of /Science at Stancliffe Hall Preparatory School. He currently teaches biology and physics. He is also a trustee at St Peter and St Paul’s School in Chesterfield.
Laure Finat-Duclos was born in France but spent her early childhood in Cairo then Mexico City. She returned to Paris aged 11. She studied Biology and Organic Chemistry at the University Paris XI, before moving to England to complete her Masters in Organic Chemistry at the University of Kent, Canterbury. She worked in the chemical industry for 10 years before starting her career in education in France teaching maths and English in a secondary school in the Alps. She returned to the UK in 2010 to complete her PGCE at the University of Leicester. Laure joined Denstone in 2012 and joined the boarding house on January 2015 as Assistant Head. She enjoys the outdoors, hiking and skiing and lives with her Springador Arya and her cat Bella.
David Baker, a tutor in Junior School, is Director of Teaching and Learning and Head of English. He grew up in Burton upon Trent, and went up to Peterhouse, Cambridge to study Maths, before changing to English. He remained at Peterhouse for his Masters, and then taught at Denstone for four years, working as Assistant Head of Junior School, before moving to Durham to complete a doctorate. He returned to Denstone in 2014. He lives with his wife, Sian, his daughter, Felicity, and his son, Sebastian, in Denstone village. One of Dr Baker’s greatest pleasures in boarding life is Yard Cricket, to which, in spite of his obvious sporting incompetence, he is famously devoted.
Catherine Ashurst is a tutor in Junior School. Catherine studied Spanish and Latin American studies with European film at Newcastle University, during which she spent a year studying at Malaga University and 3 months studying and travelling in Colombia and Costa Rica.
Catherine did her PGCE in Spanish at Exeter University after which she moved east to work at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire, teaching Spanish and French and spending 3 years as a resident tutor. After getting married, she moved to Berkshire to Bradfield College and spent another year studying and tutoring, before moving to Denstone College with her husband and Labradors Holly and Max. Catherine teaches in the languages department at the College, Spanish being her main subject. She lives with her husband, Chris, and her daughter, Isabelle. She is very keen on sports, mainly hockey, swimming and skiing and she coaches girls’ and boys’ hockey at Denstone.
Nicholas Lyle grew up in Surrey and studied Theology in Durham where he completed a BA and MA. After spending two more years converting to law, he worked for a year and a half in an offshore law firm in Guernsey as a paralegal. He returned to the UK where he spent two years completing his legal training. It was during this time that he decided to pursue a career in teaching Religious Studies. He completed his PGCE while working as a teacher at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire and joined Denstone in September 2016. He enjoys action-adventure films, particularly if they pose philosophical and ethical questions, and spends his holidays with his family either in Guernsey or the Isle of Wight.
Ruth Martin is Matron in the Junior School. She was educated in London, and having an interest in maths, chose a career in City of London banking. Her main sport interest is swimming, and in particular lifesaving. On re-locating to Denstone, Ruth has worked as the Schools’ Sport Partnership swimming co-ordinator until 2011, and now manages her own swim school based at Denstone College Prep School at Smallwood Manor. She is also Pool Manager at the College. Ruth has three children who all attended Denstone College and plays the harp.
Jack Moran lived in New Zealand for a year following completion of his A Levels. He studied History at Sussex University graduating in 2014, and went on to work at Sevenoaks School in Kent as a graduate teaching assistant. Jack then carried on his studies at Durham University to complete a PGCE in Secondary History Teaching, whilst also working as a coach for Durham University Rugby Club.
He joined Denstone College in 2016 as Director of Rugby and Teacher of History, joining junior boarding as a tutor at the same time. Jack is a keen sportsman and enjoys all sports, the outdoors and travelling the world.
Tom Forster was educated in Surrey and completed an Open University degree in Geography, whilst working as the Head of Rugby at Cranleigh Preparatory School and Sports Coach at Cranleigh School. After graduating he re-located to Shrewsbury to complete his Geography PGCE. Tom Joined Denstone, in 2016, as a Junior School Tutor and Geography Teacher. He is also heavily involved in sporting life here at Denstone and is coaching the 2nd XV rugby and also the 1st X1 hockey team. Tom is, himself, a keen sportsman and also likes to spend his free time with his friends and family.
To contact the Head of Junior School, please see the staff list: