Prep School Curriculum
Our curriculum is unusually broad. All pupils study the traditional academic subjects: English, Mathematics, Science (from Year 7 as separate subjects Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Geography, History, Religious Studies, Modern Foreign Languages and ICT.
The approach to language learning in the younger years is multi-lingual and focuses on pupils enjoying and gaining confidence in communicating in languages other than their own. From Year 7 pupils are able to choose two of French, Spanish, Latin and Classical and Cultural Studies. School visits are a vital part of pupils’ learning experience and afford the opportunity to experience a hands-on and stimulating approach to learning in some remarkable locations.
We place a strong emphasis on the Creative and Visual Arts, Design Technology, Sport and Physical Education. All pupils receive weekly curriculum time in Art, Design Technology, Performing Arts, Music and Physical Education. They all have the opportunity to perform in our Drama, Dance and Music productions. There are four sports sessions a week (not including Physical Education lessons) and there is a very extensive programme of sports fixtures and events that offer the opportunity for every child to represent the School in matches. This balanced curriculum, together with the extensive activities programme, allows pupils to pursue their interests and develop new strengths and enthusiasms at a relatively young age.
“This is a happy, well run prep.“
The Good Schools Guide
Each department is run by a subject-specialist head and departments are well resourced with subject-oriented accommodation. We have a well-stocked and vibrant library and a modern Information Technology Centre, as well as very good IT facilities around the school. Pupils benefit from our well-equipped Design Technology and Art Departments and a purpose-built Music Centre.
We set pupils by ability in many subjects, allowing us to cater for the needs of each child and ensure that all pupils learn at a rate consistent with their abilities. Our average class size is around 14, which enables teachers to give pupils the individual attention they need. We aim to maximise every child’s potential and strive to help all pupils develop good study habits and a real love of learning.
Whilst Gresham’s does not teach to the Common Entrance syllabus all pupils are prepared for scholarship or entrance to Gresham’s Senior School and other leading independent schools. Our pupils have an outstanding record of performing very well in these exams and gaining entry to their first-choice school. We deliberately do not publicise or have honours boards for exam success as we count all pupils achievements as equal. Pupils transferring onto Gresham’s Senior are part of a Year 7 – 9 curriculum programme that ensures continuity of study and monitors their progress as one continuous process.
Extending the able
Gresham’s prides itself on its ability to provide excellent opportunities for all pupils which not only play to their strengths but also help them to overcome their weaknesses. The combination of a flexible curriculum and excellent teaching means that the most able pupils are extended and able to excel at their own pace. Children with specific academic strengths are encouraged to investigate and explore ideas and concepts in more depth and greater detail, irrespective of whether or not it is directly relevant to the curriculum.
There are also many opportunities outside of the curriculum which are accessible to all children, but allow the most able students to excel. For example: the Headmaster’s weekly questions and holiday challenges; a wide assortment of hobbies; participating in General Knowledge quiz teams; Science and DT competitions and debating, to name but a few. Every year the available options change and evolve not only to accommodate the individual requirements of specific pupils but also to allow the staff to explore fresh ideas and enter any specific local or national competitions which might be running.
Within the school there is a large, vibrant and well-resourced Learning Support Department which is staffed by teachers qualified and experienced in working with pupils with a wide variety of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
The department is integral to the life of the school, working alongside any pupil with SEND as well as closely liaising with parents, school staff and external agencies in order to meet the individual needs of each child.
“An excellent education. Opportunities for pupils with different strengths i.e. not just for academically successful pupils.”
Current Parent, December 2013
We offer an excellent programme of assessment from basic screening of all pupils to ensure early identification of need, to specialist teacher assessment, exam access arrangements and psychological assessment from a visiting professional.
The majority of Learning Support lessons are taught one to one, using structured, cumulative, multi-sensory teaching methods and clear, achievable targets; although small group sessions are also offered. English as an Additional Language lessons are available to support any pupil for whom English is not their first language.
Learning Support lessons are charged as an extra. Details can be found on the Fees section of the website.