We believe that learning in the Prep School should be rewarding.
Our curriculum is designed to be challenging and engaging, as well as highly motivating and inspiring. Through carefully planned and graduated schemes of work we aim to instil in pupils a real sense of enjoyment and passion for learning. Teaching & learning opportunities provide for many varied tasks and activities that seek to develop all aspects of a pupil’s academic and social development. Lessons have clear learning objectives and comprise of a mix of direct and interactive teaching. Carefully constructed open ended and closed questioning, pupil discussion, individual, paired or group work, using a range of hands-on and other resources support and enhance the development of pupils’ learning and understanding. The curriculum is designed to ensure smooth developmental progression of concepts and skills and continuity of learning in preparation for entry into the Senior School. Each pupil’s progress and attainment is carefully monitored and tracked using a range of informal and formal assessments.
Parents are regularly informed about their child’s attainment and progress through the academic year in parents’ consultation evenings and written reports.
Learning starts through play in Nursery and Reception, and gradually becomes more formal as the children move up through the year groups.
Our youngest pupils join the Pre-Prep and have classes in their own building (Mottrams).
Early Years Foundation Stage
Nursery (3-4 year olds)
Reception (4-5 year olds)
Key Stage 1
Year 1 (5-6 year olds)
Year 2 (6-7 year olds)
At the end of Year 2 the children move up to the Prep department into Year 3. Prep pupils (Key Stage 2) are taught in Shirley Goss which is next door to Mottrams:
Key Stage 2
Year 3 (7-8 year olds)
Year 4 (8-9 year olds)
Year 5 (9-10 year olds)
Year 6 (10-11 year olds)
Once they reach Year 7 pupils usually transfer into the Senior School, which is one of the top co-education day and boarding schools in England.
Nursery and Reception
The Nursery and Reception classes lay the firm foundations for all future learning and provide the warm, caring family atmosphere and stimulating environment which is so vital in these early years. The children will feel safe and happy as they participate in activities which seek to build their self-confidence. It is important for the children not to feel pressurised at a very young age. Above all the learning process should be fun!
Early Years Curriculum
The Early Years Foundation Stage framework provides statutory learning and development guidelines for children from birth to five years old. The latest framework supports children’s learning and development within Prime and Specific areas of learning and development, these are interconnected.
The prime areas of learning and development are:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
This prime area of learning and development encourages the children to have self-confidence and self-awareness. It provides tools to manage feelings and to develop self-control. The children are in an environment where they can start to make relationships and begin to understand other people around them.
Children need to develop their gross and fine motor skills in order to access all areas of the curriculum. They will be encouraged to move around the environment in many different ways and to handle equipment correctly and safely. Through accessing different foods and talking about how we can stay healthy the children will start to understand how to look after themselves and feel healthy.
Communication and Language.
Children need to be able to listen and to pay attention. Through a variety of games and experiences they begin to be able to extend these moments. They begin to understand how a story unfolds and can express their feelings on the story or continue it themselves. Children are given plenty of opportunities to question, discuss and speak, to reason and to extend their vocabulary.
The specific areas of learning and development are:
Children love to handle books, to join in with a familiar story and to point to the letters they recognise at an early stage leading on to the joy of sounding out, blending and reading. They love to hear the sounds in their name and then to learn the ‘Jolly Phonics’ songs and actions. This leads on to the ability to mark make and to then form their letters as they begin to write independently.
The children begin to use Numbers all around them. Counting, calculating, recording in various ways and then recognising shapes and patterns.
Understanding the World.
In talking about and sharing everyday events in their lives the children learn about people and their communities. They find out about the World around them, acquiring skills necessary for Geography and History, and by using a whole range of technological tools can prepare themselves for ICT in Year 1.
Expressive Arts and Design.
Children love to explore colour, texture, shape and space, using a wide range of media and materials. They love to be imaginative though art work, music and dance and by expressing themselves through song. Children will progress at different rates and individual achievement will vary, but within the revised framework all children have the opportunity to make maximum individual progress toward the Early Learning Goals and, at the same time, enjoy themselves! The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is taught through topics. These topics may be a result of the children’s enthusiasm to learn more about a certain aspect of, for example, Outer Space, or they may be chosen by their Teachers in order to achieve a specific learning goal. They all aim to draw upon the children’s existing knowledge, experiences and interests and to stimulate and develop their natural curiosity and desire for learning. As such they will vary
The Early Years children have lots to keep them busy; sandpits, water, bikes, painting, listening to stories and much, much more. Reception children even start to learn French by singing French songs and playing games.
Nursery and Reception:
Pupils learn through adult lead and child initiated activities that are focused through the seven areas of learning.
- Communication and Language
- Personal, Social & Emotional Development
- Understanding of the World
- Physical Development
- Expressive arts & design
Years 1 and 2:
The learning is focused through subject areas. The primary focus is on Literacy and Numeracy; with other subjects being taught in a more cross curricular manner. In both these year groups pupils are taught mainly by their form tutor with the assistance of teaching assistants. Some subjects are taught by specialists.
Pupils are taught by their form tutor for English, Mathematics, Science, History and PSHCE. For all other curriculum areas they are taught by a subject specialist.
Pupils are taught by their form tutor for English and Mathematics. Other curriculum areas are taught by subject specialists. In Mathematics pupils are grouped and taught by either one, or other, of the Year 4 form tutors.
Years 5 and 6:
The pupils have a form tutor who may teach them for only one subject. All pupils are taught by subject specialists for all the curriculum areas. In Year 5 pupils are set into two distinct sets for English, Mathematics and Science. For all other areas of the curriculum they are taught with their form groups. In Year 6 the pupils are set into three distinct sets for English, Mathematics, Science, Spanish and French. For all other areas of the curriculum they are taught in their form groups.
Use of additional support
Classroom support is also provided to assist with teaching and learning. There are teaching assistants throughout the Pre-Prep. In Year 3 one teaching assistant is shared between both parallel classes. Other pupil support is arranged in accordance with the needs of individuals within classes. This support is managed by the Director of Studies through discussion with the Deputy Head. There is a designated S.E.N. teacher, whose support is directed to the specific needs of individual pupils, or groups of pupils. Some specific learning support is given through extraction from lessons and where appropriate within the context of the lesson.
ICT is an increasingly valuable resource that is used to support and enhance learning across the whole curriculum. The use of the ICT suite at the Prep School is timetabled by the Director of Studies in consultation with the ICT coordinator. The Pre-Prep have the use of their own ICT suite. The Maths room has a bank of computers that are utilised to support mathematical learning. Each classroom has either an interactive touch screen monitor or an interactive whiteboard and the use of at least one computer.
The Pre-Prep and Prep libraries are a valuable resources that pupils are encouraged to use both for selecting books to read for pleasure, as well as a source of information.
In conjunction with the Senior School we are developing our experience of digital learning and we plan to extend the use of this expertise, including mobile devices, quite rapidly.