Children progress from our Pre-Preparatory Department at 7+, with a small number of pupils joining us at this stage and later from other Schools, if space is available.
There are five year groups in the Prep Department and we have no more than 20 pupils in each year group.
Prior to entry, pupils are invited to visit the School for a day, or half-day, to join their intended class. This gives the pupils the opportunity to meet their prospective new classmates and allows us to gauge potential ability and assess the child’s ability to cope with our curriculum.
For the first two years in the department, pupils are predominantly taught by class teachers, though subject specialists are used for French, Art, Design, Information and Communication Technology, P.E and Music. At the age of nine Latin is also added to the programme. All the elements of the National Curriculum are covered with particular emphasis on the basics. From 9+, most of a child’s weekly timetable is taught by subject specialists and the curriculum covers all aspects required for National Curriculum and Common Entrance.
Pupils’ work is very carefully monitored by subject staff, form teachers and the Head teacher. There are twice-yearly reports and twice-yearly Parents’ Consultation Evenings, but parents are encouraged to discuss their child’s work at any juncture in the school year.
The School is divided into four houses, and a system of stars and minuses provide a highly motivating approach to pastoral care, with keen competition among pupils. In accordance with our aims, rewards are given for effort as well as achievement, and for success in non-academic areas such as Sport and Music.
At the heart of our curriculum is the intention to lay a firm foundation on which to build future studies. For many years all Common Entrance candidates have passed through to the Senior School of their choice. In addition many Scholarships, Exhibitions and Bursaries have been won at Senior Independent schools in Music, Sport and Art, as well as academic disciplines. A list of recent successes is enclosed with the prospectus.
In English, pupils are taught the basic grammatical structure of language, with encouragement to develop oral and dramatic skills, wide reading habits and the ability to both talk and write intelligently. An annual play is performed in which the majority of older pupils perform. There is a Library with a good selection of books and audio tapes which all pupils are encouraged to use.
Our approach to Mathematics enables pupils to gain confidence in basic numeracy and to develop higher level skills in problem-solving and algebra. Our well-equipped Computer Room is widely used to supplement work in many subjects, and to develop Information Technology skills in all pupils.
A full range of subjects, including Science, French, Latin, Geography, History, RS, Art and Design, Information Technology/Computing, Music and PE, ensures a broad and balanced curriculum enabling all our pupils to benefit from a wide range of educational experiences.
The Music Department organises Concerts and we have a junior and senior choir, an orchestra, wind band and guitar club who all perform to a very high standard. All pupils learn the descant recorder and keyboard skills. They may also have lessons with our peripatetic woodwind, brass and violin teachers who visit the school each week.
Physical Education forms an important part of our wider curriculum and all pupils participate. In the winter season, Football, Rugby , Hockey and Netball teams compete very successfully with full fixture lists. During the summer, Cricket, Rounders and Athletics form the basis of our PE programme. Children are encouraged to enter national standards competitions such as Super Skills, 5-Star and BAGA award schemes.
Whilst Independent Schools, at this point in time, are not constrained by the National Curriculum, there is little doubt of its impact on all aspects of education. We cover all elements required at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 and children take the end of Key stage tests.In doing so the best elements of the National Curriculum are combined with the tried and tested traditional ideas. Learning is further enhanced by our specialist teachers and specifically designed areas for Music, Science, Art and Design.
We are very committed to foreign languages with all pupils learning French from seven and Latin from nine. Our fixture list and team sports from an early age gives an additional dimension where many pupils flourish. Within the School, there is a mixture of formal and informal teaching styles: well-established as well as innovative methods; traditional subjects and new areas of study such as Information and Communication Technology. Together these provide the breadth of education experience so important for our pupils in a world that is constantly changing.
There is a broad range of extra-curricular activities that change from time to time. All pupils in the Preparatory department join clubs, some even join five clubs each week! Currently Clubs are organised in:
There is a School uniform that all pupils are required to wear. The Parents’ Association arranges sales of nearly-new uniform items several times a year.
Pupils have a substantial cooked meal each day, with a vegetarian option. Staff and children sit together for lunch, providing an important opportunity for informal contact and social training. We strongly believe in the importance of good manners and conduct.
We have a Learning Support Co-ordinator who tests pupils experiencing difficulty in a subject, arranges extra sessions or will suggest other tests or outside help.
A biennial Adventure Holiday is arranged as well as a biennial residential trip to France. All pupils have educational day visits ranging from theatre trips to fieldwork days, museums, farms, castles and art galleries.
Our aim is for pupils to leave us confident and fulfilled, having found areas of strength to contribute to the wider school community - whether academically, in athletic or aesthetic spheres. This, together with an awareness of their environment and consideration for others, sends them on to Senior School as caring and capable members of Society