The philosophy behind the Prep School curriculum is to provide a balanced programme which gives a thorough grounding in the core subjects while offering the children a broad spectrum of experience in Language, Art and Design, Music and Drama, and Sports. We want our pupils to have a love of learning and a thirst for finding out new things.
Our academic standards and expectations are high, and our learning is centred around the enquiry based International Primary Curriculum (IPC). The IPC has 8 Personal Goals which underpin those qualities and learning dispositions we believe pupils will find essential in their future life. These are: adaptability, communication, co-operation, enquiry, morality, resilience, respect and thoughtfulness. Topics in all year groups change every half term and begin with an exciting and inspirational Entry Point which grabs the pupils’ attention and encourages them to think about the forthcoming topic. Each class then completes a ‘Knowledge Harvest’ where the children pose questions about things they would like to learn over the course of the topic whilst also considering what they already know. This is revisited at the end of the topic and provides a focus for many of the lessons.
The pupils’ learning is supported by a programme of educational visits directly linked to their studies, and by voluntary participation in a wide range of co-curricular activities.
Those who join our Nursery and Reception classes benefit from broad and enriching experiences related to the world around them. Their busy ‘hands-on’ days are filled with learning activities, outings and visiting experts, together with the all-important opportunities for play and developing friendships. The foundations for literacy and numeracy are laid and creativity is encouraged.
The curriculum for the Under 5’s centres around the seven areas of learning. These are made up of three prime areas which are communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development and the four specific areas: literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive art and design. The well-planned activities covering all these areas ensure that pupils make very good progress in a happy well-balanced way. We use ‘Seesaw’, an online learning journal which is shared with parents.
Subjects studied in years 1-6
An artist requires inspiration and opportunity, and the Art Department in the Prep School provides both. The Art Atrium, where Upper Prep lessons take place, provides a light, spacious, stimulating space where pupils can fully engage in drawing, painting, sculpture, clay, printmaking and textiles.
In Computing, pupils enjoy access to ICT suites containing desktop computers as well as laptops, iPads and VR headsets. Pupils progress through a structured scheme of work and are taught by a specialist Computing teacher from Year 1 upwards. Lessons compliment the International Primary Curriculum by linking across topics for specific subject areas. Throughout their educational journey in the Prep School, pupils create animations, websites, comic books and videos as well as learn how to effectively use the programs available through Office 365. Pupils are taught coding skills from Year 1 upwards, beginning with simple block coding and gradually building up to Java Script and HTML in Year 6. Online safety is a key focus in all year groups. Pupils are taught the importance of staying safe online and are given strategies to do this, as well as being provided with opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of this area in a safe environment.
Design & Technology
Design & Technology at Wellingborough allows pupils to be creative and encourages the development of new skills and knowledge through practical activities. Pupils embark upon a series of projects from Year 1 through to Year 6, using a wide variety of materials and processes. From Year 4 upwards, pupils study in the exciting and vibrant environment of the Gent Centre which is the same well-resourced specialist facility used by our Senior School pupils.
English & Drama
We wish to inspire every child to use English, now and in their future lives, to the best of their abilities. Pupils are given the tools with which to analyse what they read (identifying elements of the author’s craft), to persuade others of their views, compare texts, inform the reader and argue points. Above all, pupils are encouraged to enjoy themselves so that they can step confidently into the future, making their mark through the spoken and written word. Our library is well stocked with both classic literature and continually replenished with modern literature. As a school, we place a high value on reading, encouraging reading at home, during form time and at breaktimes in the library. We use fiction and non-fiction texts across every area of the curriculum. We regularly read with the pupils and have sets of class reader texts to share. As teachers, we always discuss our own enjoyment of reading. Accelerated Reader is a system that is both a motivational tool and guide to help pupils choose books. It also sets personalised targets to work towards and has an integrated reward system to encourage even the most reluctant of readers.
In Drama, pupils explore all aspects of performance through a series of modules and audience attended events as well as developing technical skills involving voice and movement. Each year we have a visiting theatre group come to entertain and inspire the pupils.
We are passionate about Geography and about our pupils becoming active and engaged citizens of the world. We want them to learn and understand key concepts, terms and processes, but also to think about the relevance of the subject to our everyday lives and possible future careers. We encourage pupils to think creatively, yet critically.
In Years 3 and 4, Geography is delivered by the class teacher through the topic based International Primary Curriculum. In Years 5 and 6 it is taught as a stand-alone subject by specialist teachers whilst linking to the IPC topic being studied.
In the Prep School, we aim to create inquisitive and enthusiastic historians. We investigate not only British history, but also the history of the wider world. Children are exposed to a diverse range of human experiences so that they can better understand their place in society.
Pupils develop their research skills to find relevant information. They learn to examine a range of sources and consider different viewpoints. Chronological understanding is enhanced, and pupils are given the opportunity to share what they have learned in a variety of creative ways.
In Year 3 and Year 4, History is delivered by the class teacher through the topic-based International Primary Curriculum. In Year 5 and Year 6 it is taught as a stand-alone subject by specialist teachers whilst linking to the IPC topic being studied.
Our approach to teaching Mathematics is to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding of mathematical concepts at a rate suitable to individual pupils. We use lots of practical methods to ensure an understanding of the subject is embedded.
We aim to make pupils confident in their ability and enjoy the challenge of solving mathematical problems by applying a growth mindset approach and bringing the subject alive through fun creative lessons and inspirational teachers.
We make good use of technology in our Maths lessons, including online tools such as Times Tables Rock Stars to improve the recall of times tables, as these should be fluent by the end of Year 4.
Modern Foreign Languages (including French and Spanish)
Studying languages in the Prep School is an enriching and exciting experience. Spanish is taught in small groups in Years 1 and 2 using a variety of resources with an emphasis on vocabulary learning through repetition, games and songs. French is the main language taught in Years 3 and 4. In Year 5 and 6 there is approximately a 60/40 split between French and Spanish respectively to help pupils prepare for Senior School language learning and future choices. We also seek to offer pupils a broad and varied understanding of the world of language study and cultural difference.
All lessons are delivered by a specialist subject teacher who brings an in-depth knowledge and a passion for languages. Pupils are encouraged to express themselves creatively through participation in authentic and fun situations such as café conversations whilst simultaneously naturally developing both their acquisition of vocabulary and knowledge of basic grammar concepts. Pupils are introduced to online learning websites such as linguascope.com and languagenut.com and wherever possible, links are made to their IPC topic.
In Year 6 there is the opportunity to visit the Opal Coast to enhance the pupil’s spoken French and immerse themselves in the French culture.
The Music Department is an exciting and creative place to be where we aim to inspire pupils to enjoy music making at a variety of levels. We provide enthusiastic, energetic and expert musical training throughout the Prep School through a range of visiting music teachers who offer one to one tuition. All pupils in Year 2 take part in an inspirational ‘strings project’ where children spend time in group lessons learning the violin or cello with a similarly run woodwind and brass project in Year 5. There are a number of choirs, orchestras and music ensembles who meet regularly and opportunities for performance occur regularly throughout the year.
We are proud of our strong sporting tradition and our sporting ethos, ‘Sport For All’, challenges pupils of all abilities to work towards realistic goals and achieve their true potential.
Physical education develops pupils’ physical competence and confidence, and their ability to use these to perform in a wide range of activities. Physical education provides opportunities for pupils to be creative, competitive and to gain experiences and different challenges as individuals and in teams.
Religious Studies provides pupils with the opportunity to consider the importance of the main religious traditions in shaping our values and attitudes as individuals, neighbours and citizens.
As they progress through the School, pupils become aware of the distinctive characteristics of the different world faiths and are challenged to consider their own responses to important contemporary issues and to their spiritual and cultural identities.
In the Prep School, we aim to stimulate pupils’ curiosity about phenomena in the world around them, offering opportunities to find explanations and to understand the applications of science. Experimentation and modelling are used to develop and evaluate explanations which encourage critical and creative thought. Pupils in Years 1 to 4 are taught Science by their class teacher as part of the International Primary Curriculum. In Years 5 and 6, pupils are taught in science laboratories by a subject specialist teacher as this enables them to acquire a sound foundation of knowledge and understanding in all three scientific disciplines, ready for the transition into the Senior School.
Our Learning Development Team provides support and guidance to nurture pupils who experience difficulties in any aspect of their learning and helps build their confidence and self-esteem, and through appropriate support, enables them to realise their full potential. Pupils may receive support in class, in small groups or on a one to one basis as required. Specialist support staff and subject teachers work together to ensure the support is targeted and specific, and Learning Development also keep parents up to date on the progress being made and encourage communication and the sharing of ideas through meetings, email and telephone contact.