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Overview

The Preparatory Department caters for children from National Curriculum Years 3 to 6. The syllabuses we teach take account of the National Curriculum so that pupils coming to us are more likely to slot into their year groups easily. However, our focus upon the individual as part of any class allows us to work with pupils according to their needs, extending them and supporting them according to their strengths and weaknesses. Pupils in all year groups are taught the following discrete subjects throughout the year: English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, RE, French, PSHE, Art, Music, PE, Games and Swimming. ICT is delivered through the range of subjects, incorporating data handling, safe use of the internet for research, and word processing.
The school day is predominantly academic in the morning and more practical in the afternoon. A pupil will undertake English and Mathematics lessons at least four out of five mornings of the week, the fifth day being used for the other core subject, science. Two of the three core subjects are taught every day to every child. In the afternoons the focus tends towards the more practical subjects: on Mondays and Tuesdays Art and Music are taught; on Wednesdays and Fridays the whole afternoon is devoted to sport (rugby, football and cricket for boys, hockey, netball and rounders for girls); on Thursdays a double lesson of the afternoon is devoted to an activity slot run on a round-robin cycle over the course of the year; this is followed in the final session of the day by choir practice which all pupils attend. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays there is a prep session between four o'clock and quarter to five. Pupils expect to finish most of their homework for the week in these sessions.

During the first two years of the Preparatory Department pupils are taught almost exclusively by Key Stage 2 specialists. In Years 5 and 6 however the children have the advantage of senior subject specialists for PE, sports and Science. They make use of the senior facilities too, with PE in the sports hall and Science in the senior laboratories every week. As with the rest of the school, swimming is taught throughout the year in our 25m indoor pool on site.

Academic achievement is rewarded through a star system. Obtaining thirty stars earns a Bronze Certificate, sixty a Silver Certificate and ninety a Gold Certificate. Pupils who work hard and achieve well should expect to be working towards their Gold Certificate in the Summer Term. These are highly sought and precious certificates, awarded in Chapel on a Friday morning. Sporting success is acknowledged in assembly on a Monday morning. Academic achievement and sporting success are therefore treated equally but separately, so that they may be celebrated but not conflated.

Pupils experience education at Saint Felix as part of a through-school approach. The aim is to provide a happy learning environment where children are given the opportunity to stretch themselves, being guided rather than driven, led rather than pushed. The Preparatory Department, to paraphrase the well-known advertisement, does what it says in the title, namely to prepare children for the next phase of their education. In Key Stage 3 pupils will begin to look towards GCSE; we in the Preparatory Department give them the chance to develop both depth and breadth of learning through wide-ranging educational opportunities.

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