Academic Curriculum
Prep School

Art and DT

In Art we aim to instil confidence in a wide range of different media and materials. Children gain experience in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics through the study of historical and contemporary art. Some projects also use digital media. Children enjoy observational and imaginative drawing, colour mixing, working with clay, making three dimensional models, photography and image manipulation amongst other projects that help children make sense of the world around them. A range of different extracurricular activities also gives the opportunity to enhance particular skills.

In DT, we teach how to plan, make, adapt and evaluate. Engineering and problem-solving activities and responding to a design brief, both provide opportunities for collaboration and individual responses. We aim to build understanding of materials and their properties, as well as shape and form. Through practical tasks pupils learn new skills (such as design drawing on paper and with CAD), techniques (such as how to join materials) and the underlying principles of mechanisms, structures, circuits and nutrition. Our DT projects develop pupils’ skills with tools including measuring, marking, cutting and shaping materials.

Classics

We encourage mental discipline with a focus on logical and analytical thought when translating from and into both Latin and Greek. Children also develop a more refined understanding of their own language through the learning of parts of speech, tenses and derivations. The breadth of this subject provides a route for us to explore a culture which underlies Western civilisation, leading children to reflect upon our relationship to it, and discuss issues arising from comparison with it.

Pupils spend two thirds of their time on an introduction to the Latin language, translating from and into Latin. We use our own in-house text book and materials. We spend the other third of our time developing a classical background, exploring Roman and Greek gods, the Greek epics The Iliad and The Odyssey, some of the Greek mythological heroes and receiving an introduction to ancient Greek using our own in-house materials.

Computing

We aim to inspire creative computer programmers, designers and developers of the future who employ logic to solve problems when using technology. A focus on coding principles alongside digital literacy supplies the children with the skills to access, present, create and control information across the curriculum. Safe and responsible use of technology is essential, supported by dedicated e-safety work every year. Children benefit from two dedicated computer suites, Chromebooks, iPads and Microsoft Teams as a virtual learning environment.

In Year 3, pupils learn to use Microsoft Office and explore coding basics. In Year 4, pupils enjoy stop motion animation, graphic design and data manipulation. By Year 5, pupils expand their coding skills with BBC Micro:bits. By the end of Year 6, they develop further coding confidence, experimenting with text-based programming languages, with physical applications. Year 6 take part in the international Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge. A range of extracurricular activities also promote the use of technology.

Drama

With live performances as a major focus, children have regular opportunities to participate in dynamic on-stage productions in every year group. Children benefit from exploration of a wide variety of dramatic conventions, helping their confidence grow both creatively and with public speaking. Our rich and varied curriculum provides important team building skills, crucial for success. We encourage children to use dramatic techniques to access sometimes complex and powerful issues.

As well as focusing on preparing for productions, the drama curriculum is separated into four strands – drama skills, script work, improvisation and public speaking. Children in all year groups develop these skills in termly projects. Every year group benefits from extra-curricular opportunities to further their interest in the creative arts as well as experiencing drama on a weekly basis as part of the timetable.

English

We explore language and literature in creative ways through texts, drama, media and discussion. We help pupils develop fluency in language and become effective communicators. We aim to ignite a lifelong love of the rich cultural tapestry of literature and drama. Pupils develop the confidence and skills to express themselves clearly on the page and in spoken form, along with the ability to interpret and analyse the world they encounter, inspired by a diverse range of writers.

Each term focuses on a different set text. Pupils begin in Year 3 with consolidation of comprehension and the basics of good written expression. Over time they develop their skills to enable more complex analysis and learn to employ a range of advanced writers’ techniques for effect, considering purpose, audience, language and structure. Their study of English culminates in an exploration of Shakespearean plays in the original language. Writing competitions and speaking events allow the children to hone their skills learnt in the classroom. Children access the library (with a dedicated librarian) throughout the curriculum and in their own time.

French

We aim to develop confident and relaxed linguists who are comfortable speaking, listening, reading and writing French. By focusing on key language-learning strategies and igniting a curiosity about other cultures, we seek to lay the foundations for a life-time of linguistic discovery. Regular cross-curricular projects allow pupils’ creativity to shine as they become French exercise instructors, art critics, fashion designers and movie makers, while the exploration of Francophone countries around the world broadens horizons.

In Year 3, there is a strong emphasis on games and songs as pupils learn numbers, colours and pets. In Year 4, our budding linguists explore celebrations, families and the home. The highlight of Year 5 is undoubtedly the trip to northern France, where children put their language skills to the test in unscripted situations. By the end of Year 6, pupils are tackling a challenging curriculum which pushes into KS3 objectives and allows for greater independent work.

Geography

We aim to foster in pupils a sense of wonder at the beauty and diversity of the world around them. We stimulate an interest in their surroundings and in the variety of human and physical conditions on the earth’s surface. We promote a sense of enquiry which, along with important geographical skills, enables pupils to develop knowledge of places, an awareness of patterns and processes and an understanding of environmental change and sustainable development.

In Year 3, children learn about continents, countries and the UK. In Year 4, pupils explore the Americas and complete field work as part of their topic on weather and climate. In Year 5, pupils learn key map reading skills, conduct a detailed study of Egypt and learn about a river’s journey. In Year 6, children investigate a range of natural hazards, explore India and its rich geography and discuss the causes and effects of climate change.

History

Through knowledge of the past our pupils make sense of the world in which they live and develop an understanding of people and societies. We believe that it is important for pupils to understand chronology, historical concepts and vocabulary. Pupils are encouraged to make their own interpretations of the past based on a variety of sources and evidence. This includes use of contemporary writing, paintings, photographs, documents and historical reconstructions.

We introduce pupils to ancient civilisations and important events and developments in British and world history. Pupils begin with the study of early man through to ancient civilisations in China, India, Greece and Egypt. They explore the development of Rome before focusing on Britain and the world of ‘invaders and settlers’ Celts, Romans, Saxons and Vikings. Later years move to Norman, Medieval and Tudor periods. Finally, we investigate the Stuart era through to later industrial, economic and political changes in Britain.

Maths

Confidence is key in maths, and we want pupils to enjoy the challenge of unfamiliar problems. We aim to help pupils develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to work effectively in the world at large, but also to enjoy and appreciate maths. We want our pupils to leave with a fascination for numbers and for ideas like infinity, relationships, pattern and order, as well as for a sense of mystery and space.

In Year 3 pupils explore the four number operations, handling data, number sequences, and basic fractions. In Year 4 pupils are introduced to topics including decimals, angles and probability. In Year 5, they begin to explore square and prime numbers, percentages, averages and algebra. In their final year at the Prep they carry out project-based work. They work increasingly independently to tackle problems, selecting and applying the appropriate maths solutions to real-life questions. Year 6 take part in national maths challenges and competitions.

Music

Music is a powerful means of communication. It brings people together and creates opportunities to work with one another using a language that transcends barriers. It’s a subject which really allows children to develop and extend their curriculum work beyond the classroom.

In Year 3, pupils are introduced to key musical concepts and the elements of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo and duration. In Year 4, pupils explore the instruments of the orchestra. In Year 5, pupils are introduced to the Pentatonic Scale and the principals of melody writing. In their final year, we dedicate a portion of the curriculum to all the aspects of a musical production, which is performed by all Year 6 pupils.

PE and Games

Our aim is for children to leave the Prep a with a love of PE, physical activity & sport. Children experience a wide variety of sports and performance-based activities, in school fixtures, house matches and sports days. We endeavour to assist pupils through their physical stages of development and encourage them to make good decisions to enhance this in the hope that children will realise their own personal sport and activity preferences whilst pursuing a healthy, active lifestyle in their future.

We divide sport into PE (gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse) and games (hockey, rugby, football, netball and cricket). Throughout their time at the school, we aim to progress our pupils’ abilities in all these areas. In Year 3 we start with a focus on gross motor skills developing the fundamental basics of movement using games and activities. By Year 6 we are encourage pupils to take responsibility for their own learning through pupil-led activities and group tasks.

PSHE

We aim to equip pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding to deal with life’s everyday challenges and lead confident, healthy and independent lives. Alongside dedicated lessons, PSHE is delivered implicitly as well as explicitly across the curriculum and through many areas of school life. Assemblies, form time, buddy schemes and campaigns like Anti-Bullying Week, Safer Internet Day and Mental Health Awareness Week all contribute to the core themes of health and wellbeing, relationships and living in the wider world.

In Year 3, pupils learn how to forge positive friendships, recognise and express emotions, and be sensitive to their environment. In Year 4, children explore how to manage risk and develop skills for coping with strong emotions and change. Pupils in Year 5 study the impact of peer pressure whilst developing their self-awareness and communication skills. In Year 6, children investigate prejudice and discrimination, consider how to manage personal finance and develop further understanding of relationships.

Religious Education

We teach pupils tolerance and respect for other cultures and faiths, through an understanding of the nature of religion, beliefs and practice. This includes understanding what and how people worship, what creates feelings such as awe, wonder, reverence and humility and how religious faith affects people’s everyday lives. They learn to understand the value of living in a multicultural, multi-faith and multi-lingual society and are encouraged to develop open minds, forming opinions based on evidence and argument.

Pupils grow to understand the key concepts, beliefs and practices of Christianity and five of the other major world faiths. We explore prayer, symbolism and festivals, influence, caring, worship and attitudes towards living things, key events and influential figures from each faith’s history and at how they are commemorated by followers. Year 6 receive an introduction to philosophy and confront the ‘ultimate questions’. Moving outside the classroom, we aim to establish links, where appropriate, with local churches and other religious communities and their members.

Science

We provide a range of experiences which foster intellectual curiosity across the breadth of scientific knowledge with a focus on investigation, developing an enquiring mind and a scientific approach to problem solving. Children learn key practical skills alongside a wealth of knowledge and understanding. Children benefit from two ‘senior school’ style labs, fully kitted with a variety of specialist equipment.

In Year 3, pupils start to learn the scientific process building up to full scientific investigations in Year 6. Year 3 pupils explore ideas around life processes, materials, light and sound. In Year 4, pupils learn about the particle model in changing states, microbes and energy. In Year 5, the pupils build on these core principles and take a look at chemical reactions, photosynthesis and forces. By the end of Year 6, they deepen further their understanding of the human body, looking at the heart and lungs, make use of the Bunsen burners in dissolving and explore colours in light.

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