Patrick Derham, Headmaster, Westminster School

Dr Katy Ricks, Headmistress, Sevenoaks School


Ralph Lucas, Editor of the Good Schools Guide


What's the point in paying for the same curriculum that state schools provide for free?

Many parents carefully consider the opportunities that their child will enjoy at an independent school, and pay handsomely for them. But when it comes down to it, are the lessons taught and information transferred really that different, especially when universities expect privately educated applicants to secure higher grades?

Patrick Derham has been Head Master of Westminster School since September 2014. After studying History at Cambridge he taught at Cheam and Radley before becoming Head Master of Solihull School in September 1996 and Rugby in September 2001.

Passionate about widening access Patrick set up the Arnold Foundation for Rugby School in 2003 which provides a boarding education at Rugby to under-privileged children and was instrumental in the setting up of the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation, a new national charity closely modelled on the Arnold Foundation, in November 2012. He is also Deputy Chairman of Trustees of IntoUniversity and a Trustee of the Gladstone Library.  At Westminster Patrick is closely involved with Harris Westminster Sixth Form, an academically selective free school which has as its key objective to transform the education of the most able London students.

Patrick co-edited Liberating Learning Widening Participation with Michael Worton (2010) and Cultural Olympians with John Taylor (2013) and edited Loyal Dissent (2016).


Dr Katy Ricks joined Sevenoaks School as Head in September 2002. She has enjoyed a distinguished academic career.

Before moving to Sevenoaks Dr Katy Ricks was Deputy Head (Academic) at Highgate School. Her previous posts included Head of English at St Edward's School, Oxford, where she was involved in the planning for full co-education, and she also taught at King Edward's School, Birmingham and Latymer Upper School.

Katy was educated at Camden School for Girls and Balliol College, Oxford, where she studied English, graduating with first class honours. After three years at Balliol as a postgraduate she then joined the staff of St Paul's Girls' School. She completed her DPhil in 2013. A Governor of Sir James Henderson School, Milan, she has served as Trustee of the Turner Contemporary Trust and Secretary to the International Baccalaureate Board of Governors membership. She is married to David Ricks, Professor of Modern Greek & Comparative Literature at King's College London.


Ralph Lucas is the Editor of The Good Schools Guide, the invaluable reference point for parents looking for schools, covering schools in both the independent and the maintained sectors. The Guide has a team of inspectors who research schools with parents and others, visit them, and then write their independent and critical reviews.

Ralph was educated at Eton and Oxford, became a Chartered Accountant and then worked for S.G. Warburg (merchant bankers). He has run The Guide since 2000, and has been an active member of the House of Lords since 1992.