26 Jun 2020

Meet Mr Harper – Head of Primary at Derby High School

Meet Mr Harper – Head of Primary at Derby High School


In September Mr Jeremy Harper will be joining Derby High School as Head of Primary. Many pupils and staff will have already met Mr Harper. He has been busy preparing to join our school over the last two terms.

Mr Harper joins Derby High with a wealth of teaching and leadership experience gained at highly successful independent and state maintained schools. Mr Harper is currently Deputy Head at Ranby House School, a position he has held since September 2015. Prior to this he was at The Elms as a Year 6 class teacher, Head of Boys’ Games, Key Stage 2 Pastoral Leader and Key Stage 2 Academic Leader, Director of Studies and latterly Acting Deputy Head.

In spring term our pupils had the opportunity to meet Mr Harper and get to know him better. This is what they asked him;

Why did you become a teacher?

I have always had a thirst for learning and an enjoyment of school. In particular I loved primary school and had several inspirational teachers. One in particular lives strong in my memory and I have always tried to emulate him by developing a life-long love of learning in others. 

What were your favourite lessons at school?

I enjoyed the breadth of subjects in Primary and Secondary School and looking back realise that on some times this was the subject content but mostly it was the teacher who brought the subject alive. I loved PE and relished every sporting opportunity, especially when this led to representing the school.     

Maths or English? 

In Primary School it was Maths as I Ioved the logic, connections and sense of achievement in solving problems and finding the reasons for answers. In secondary school it was English, one particular English teacher opened my mind to the world of literature and the creativity of using language.  

Favourite school dinner?

Roast dinner with lots of vegetables and thick gravy. 

Newsletter or Twitter?

That depends on the time available. In a world of immediate information at our fingers tips, Twitter does the job, with time to relax and digest, I would enjoy immersing myself in a newsletter.

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what would you have done instead?

I would have loved to be a fighter pilot. I still have a fascination for flying planes and one of my best ever birthday presents was a flying lesson. 

What’s the one thing that makes you most proud of your career choice?

I appreciate that I am biased, but teaching really is the best career. Working with brilliant young people is such a privilege and playing a part in enabling each child to reach their potential brings such satisfaction and joy. It is usually on reflection, when meeting the young adult that the child has become, that there is a sense of pride, which is shared by everyone who played a small part in helping them become the person they are today. 

What brought you to Derby High School? 

Having grown up in neighbouring Mickleover, I have always admired Derby High. I even visited early on in my career as a teacher with sports teams from other schools and wondered if, one day, I might return to teach here. When I met Mrs Chapman in October half term last year, who kindly took me on a tour of both the primary and senior, I was incredibly excited about the opportunity to join such an amazing school as Head of Primary. When I returned, as part of the interview process, and met the children and staff, I could sense the wonderful community here at Derby High and what a special place it is. I can hardly wait for the summer to come when my wife, two children and I will relocate from Ranby in north Nottinghamshire, ready for September. 

What’s your favourite film? 

As a child growing up in the 80s I was a huge Star Wars fan. I feel very fortunate to now share that interest with my own two children. Return of the Jedi was my favourite then, but I do enjoy watching the latest releases too.

What would be your Desert Island Disc(s)? 

Every summer I create a playlist of favourite tunes for our family trip to Cornwall. This tends to be latest releases, artists we have recently discovered or songs we particularly enjoy singing to at the top of our voices with the windows wound down.

How do you relax? 

Walking my loyal cocker spaniel, Bonnie, being physically active such as cycling with friends, completing gardening or home-based projects and immersing myself in sport. This used to be actively playing, but now tends to be supporting my children when they play football, rugby, hockey or cricket.