No longer a small child, the 5 to 7 year old is energetic and increasingly competent – it is a delight to see their unfolding wonder at the world and to share their satisfaction as they discover their potential.

These years see the students exploring the joys of reading, choosing their own playmates and, importantly, learning how to enjoy school and all that it has to offer. Each child’s journey is different, and we are here to support and guide them. It is a time to trust your children, letting them take their time to make their own discoveries

Inquiry based learning remains at the forefront of what we do in Lower Prep and Upper Prep and we continue to explore and build on core skills developed in Nursery and Reception. In our classrooms you will find students who are exploring, wondering and questioning.

Lower Prep

Lower Prep students continue to learn through play, as their day becomes more structured. The curriculum is engaging, challenging and relevant and they will learn in lots of different ways. A daily phonics session might start off with a scavenger hunt around the classroom to locate tricky words, followed up with differentiated tasks for them to practise reading and/or writing these words in different contexts. Students continue to expand their knowledge of phonics and reading really takes off for most children at this age.

In Maths, there are still lots of hands-on, practical activities to aid understanding and exploration of concepts. This encourages students to take part in discussion with peers and staff, often leading to the most unexpected questions!  Lower Prep is a year of increasing independence. It is not at all unusual for our students to select their own resources to support themselves and come up with their own unique ways to solve dilemmas.


When in Lower Prep, student learning is enhanced by specialist lessons. Throughout the week PE sessions include a wide range of activities such as gymnastics, dance and team games which enable students to continue to develop their spatial awareness, core strength and teamwork. They take part in our annual Fun Run and Sports Day, as well as enjoying swimming at school.

In Computing, our younger students start developing an understanding of the key concepts of the subject. Through dedicated weekly Computing lessons, taught by specialist teachers in our Junior School Computing Suite, students have an opportunity to explore the foundations of the subject through inquiry and exploration. SeeSaw, an online platform for work-sharing, is used by our students in school.

Students are taught by specialist Music teachers and take part in a variety of sessions which involve making music, listening to music and of course singing. Lower Prep has the opportunity to be part of the choir in Abbey Gardens, which many students love to do. They also get a taste of musical performance as part of the Lower Prep production and at events such as our Christmas tea and form assemblies, all of which parents are warmly invited to join us.

Outside the classroom

Lower Prep love nothing more than putting on their wellies and exploring the garden, whatever the weather! We are very lucky to have ample outside space to learn and play in.  Students have been keenly involved in developing this space and have created some very colourful bottle-top mosaics of insects, which can be seen as you enter our Abbey Gardens building. They also regularly top-up the bug hotel for its residents. Students and staff make the most of the outdoor space, not only at break times but also through a number of lunchtime clubs. Recent offerings have included Bells and Boomwhackers (a musical-based club), Cupcake Decorating, Construction Club and Fun Crafts with Wool… to name but a few.

As well as learning on-site we also take our students to visit other locations and have visitors come to us. There is no substitute for real experiences in the wider world! We have taken our Lower Prep classes to Roche Court (Salisbury Sculpture Park), where they can stand next to or indeed in some cases walk through artwork, which has then inspired them to create their own! They have loved re-enacting the pollination of flowers whilst standing in a flower meadow at a local Nature Discovery Centre and as a result, made connections with the scientific knowledge they had learned previously in the classroom. Our annual theatre visits to The Watermill are another highlight. Each year the visitors to our school and the education visits we go on change, to reflect our lines of inquiry in the classroom!

Our on-site food team, Holroyd Howe, offer a healthy and balanced menu for our students, catering to a wide variety of dietary requirements. Main meals are served to the children at their table, and the children take responsibility for clearing their place setting and collecting their dessert. Children will enjoy a cooked lunch, as well as a morning and afternoon snack. Our menu is published to families via My School Portal.

Upper Prep

During a busy year in Upper Prep, our students become increasingly independent in their learning and develop greater resilience when facing challenges. Much of the curriculum is integrated, enabling the girls to make connections between different areas of their learning.

Upper Prep is not only a year when students continue to develop in academic ability, they are also encouraged to blossom in all aspects of their skills as learners. We focus on developing students’ inquiry skills – in particular, their confidence to question effectively and their ability to research independently. Students are challenged, not only to be able to communicate their thoughts but also to begin to reflect on their own understanding and seek to respond thoughtfully to the perspectives of others. Their language and speech will become increasingly more complex and they will be able to articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions during discussions and debates. There is a strong emphasis on enabling them to use language to work together effectively and collaborate on activities.

We continue to build on their phonics work from Lower Prep and move towards increasing fluency. We maintain an important focus on reading for meaning and regularly have interesting discussions about what words mean, leading to using them in different contexts. Students move towards making more independent choices about what they want to read and it is often at this age that they really develop a love of reading and find a particular author or series of books that captivates them. That joy of witnessing a child absorbed in a book is a familiar sight in Upper Prep.

Students are encouraged to apply their ever-increasing phonics knowledge when writing and they become more proficient at writing for different purposes and start to be able to adjust their writing for different audiences. That all-important letter to Father Christmas is a very different letter to one to Mrs Kaura asking her to consider us wearing our own clothes rather than our uniform to school! Students also develop the stamina needed for more extended writing tasks. In Maths students continue to extend their knowledge and explore even further how to apply and understand it in different contexts. They are not too old to use resources, in fact, we actively encourage this. Our learners are challenged to explain their thinking and they become increasingly aware that there is often more than one way of approaching or checking something.


Upper Prep continues to have a wide range of specialist lessons in Music, PE, Computing, Drama and Modern Foreign Languages. There are opportunities to showcase their music-making and drama skills during our form assemblies and our Christmas Production, all of which we encourage parents to come in and enjoy. In PE, students continue to build on the skills practised in Lower Prep, including swimming lessons all year round, much to their delight!

Immersion into Modern Foreign Languages begins in Upper Prep, with an introduction to the Spanish language and culture. The lessons centre around cultural themes and interactive language opportunities. Themes include festivals and celebrations, Latin American countries and traditions and traditional foods. Teaching is fun and interactive and allows students ample opportunity to put the language into practice through songs, games, mini dialogues and puppet-play.

Outside the classroom

There are lots of opportunities for trips, workshops and engaging with visitors. One of our recent inquiry units was all about ‘Expressing Ourselves’ and our students interviewed a wide range of people including an artist, a puppeteer and a dancer. The children were full of questions for their visitors! Trips in Upper Prep can be varied and are often in response to things that have been explored during our inquiry-based learning. In recent years we have visited Windsor Castle, Legoland and Milestones, as well as the Cinema and the theatre. One of our more unusual workshops was our ‘Plastic Soup’ workshop, which was based around the importance of recycling and environmental issues; it certainly raised awareness amongst our young citizens!

Upper Prep also provides students with their first opportunity to take part in our residential programme. At the end of the summer term, students are invited to stay late after school to experience time away from home out of normal school hours. They have great fun taking part in lots of fun activities and we always end up toasting marshmallows over a campfire with a song or two as well. In addition to this, there is a much wider range of lunchtime clubs to get involved in. Some favourites include origami, nature detectives (where you get to make your own mud pies!), yoga and football.