In the Prep school we aim to inspire children to be high achievers, independent learners aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and the needs of others; self-motivated and with good personal organisation. Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTs) support daily objectives.
With no more than twenty children in each year, we aim to focus on the needs of the individual.
We have a strong track record of achieving outstanding academic results. This comes from diligent and inspiring work from the highest calibre of teachers sharing the joy of learning with pupils who have a thirst for learning. Strong parental support at home has a significant role to play.
We are delighted to regularly achieve major scholarships to local independent senior schools. Approximately half of our Form 8 leavers move to local state senior schools and the remaining half move to independent senior schools.
Our pastoral care is outstanding and we pride ourselves on the togetherness we have as a school and the care and respect our pupils show for each other. As a school we have many rewards and few rules and we are incredibly proud of the wonderful behaviour our children display.
Pupils arrive in school from 8.00am. Registration takes place at 8.10am followed by a tutor period until 8.30am. The day finishes at 4.30pm.
There is one lunch sitting for all of Prep school from 1.00pm. Delicious healthy hot food is freshly prepared by our chef and her team. We encourage children to eat a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables included. An extended break follows until 2.15pm.
We have whole school assemblies twice a week. These present an important opportunity for our pupils to reflect on key issues and to develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural values. Our assemblies bring together the whole school from Reception to Form Eight. Pupils have the opportunity to take part in class presentations throughout the year which help children increase confidence in public speaking. We welcome parents and grandparents to join us to see their children in action and find out about a topic or theme they have been focusing on in class.
We organise our pupils into a House system and hold regular house meetings of the different houses; Ridgeway, Maumbury, Frome and Purbeck. Each child is allocated a house when they start (siblings are put into same house – emphasising the family feel of the school) and have opportunities to compete against the other houses in school organised team events such as swimming galas.
In Form Eight, we give all our pupils leadership opportunities which help to further strengthen our school family.
As additions to the school day, there is a breakfast club every morning from 7.30am to 8.00am and an after school club from the end of their school day until 6pm. A high tea can be ordered for a small extra charge.
A broad, rich and testing curriculum is followed that undoubtedly sets the highest aspirational standards.
Academic rigour is the norm in our Prep school and we have very high expectations for all our pupils. We closely monitor attainment and endeavour and keep in close contact with home via a range of reporting methods and meetings. A home/school diary is in frequent use. Homework is set in all written subjects, with core curriculum subjects having two pieces per week and other subjects allocate one piece per week.
In Form Six all pupils sit the ISEB (Independent Schools Examination Board) English, Maths and Science 11+ exams. This provides an excellent platform to then move on to our own demanding 13+ syllabus in all major subjects. We aim to help as many pupils as possible to sit some form of scholarship for their next school.
The choice of your next school is a very important topic of conversation that is started in Form 6 and normally narrowed down to two schools in Form 7. Parents have an excellent choice of outstanding Senior Schools in Year 9 from The Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester to nearby schools such as Bryanston, Canford, Clayesmore, Milton Abbey and Sherborne.
We believe that enrichment activities are incredibly important in our pupils’ development and a programme of activity takes place every Friday afternoon. This is an opportunity to develop new skills. For example, we run outdoor education activities, food technology, DT, Shakespearean plays, lots of creative arts and much more.
We have an extensive clubs programme to encourage all our Prep school pupils to get involved. Some have an academic focus, such as scholarship, advanced maths or Mandarin; some are based on hobbies, such as cookery and chess; others are sport based such as skiing, sailing, lacrosse; and some are based on the performing arts such as dance, drama and rock band. Where necessary we use specialist instructors and believe that our clubs offer valuable opportunities to develop new skills and to take part in exciting activities.
We share a great love of all sports with our children. The major sports for boys are football, rugby, hockey and cricket. For girls they are hockey, netball and rounders.
As a small Prep school every individual is needed to make up a team. We are an “opt in” school and even if you arrive here not being a keen sportsperson our strong desire is to help you leave with a great love.
Sports matches take place Wednesday afternoons. These are against local Prep schools and help our pupils to develop a competitive spirit and test their team skills. Home games are always followed by delicious home cooked match teas, loving created by the Prep school chef and her team.
We are really proud of our many and varied public performances. In 2016, we delighted our audiences with a whole school performance of the ‘Lion King’ which included 139 children on stage, a staff and parent choir and hundreds of costumes and masks which we made ourselves. We had two casts and performed the show over four nights.
Individual music and singing lessons are available to our Prep school pupils, and most children in school learn at least one instrument, take examinations, opportunities to perform in public within school and go on music trips arranged by independent senior schools.
Children in Form 7 English lessons work towards a public speaking competition ‘Youth speaks’ learning how to debate a variety of key issues/ topics and learn how to present debate in a formal way to a wider audience.