An education at S. Anselm’s is an education for life. High standards in the classroom, excellent manners, decency and consideration for others all combine to give our pupils essential preparation for their future.
We accommodate pupils of a wide range of abilities and are proud to prepare our children for many different senior schools.
As a ‘stand-alone’ Preparatory School, we teach to a very high standard so that our pupils may move on to a school that most suits them, including some of the most prestigious schools in the country: Ampleforth, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Downe House, Eton College, Giggleswick, Harrow, Malvern, Oakham, Oundle, Queen Margaret’s (York), Repton, Rugby, St Edward’s (Oxford), Sedbergh, Shrewsbury, Tudor Hall, Uppingham, Winchester, Wycombe Abbey and many others, not to mention S. Anselm's College.
The Junior Forms
Younger pupils in the Prep School in Years 3, 4 and 5 are taught in the Junior Forms, ensuring children receive a firm grounding from which to progress. Pupils are taught by form teachers within classrooms that are based in the heart of the school. Our primary teaching specialists plan together closely within year groups and as a department to deliver a rich, broad, stimulating and child-centred curriculum.
Teaching follows a project-based approach with form teachers linking English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and Religious Studies to form specific projects with specific end products and goals. If a subject, or specific topic within a subject, does not fit into a project then these subjects or topics continue to be taught discretely. In this way we ensure we are covering all the required areas of the curriculum to a high level. Projects run for different time scales ranging from a week to a full term.
Project-based learning allows students to learn through doing and applying ideas. A project-based classroom allows students to investigate questions, propose hypotheses and explanations, discuss their ideas, challenge the ideas of others, and try out new ideas. This activity and interaction with learning means that pupils develop a deeper understanding. Projects are situated in real world contexts and as a result pupils can more easily see the value and meaning of their tasks.
Project end products or goals vary widely and may include posters, models, films, presentations, books made for specific audiences, competitions or pieces of art work. Examples have included:
- scaled models of bridges constructed from various materials (see above)
- a 3D printed chess set depicting a battle between the Celts and the Romans
- the design and production of chocolate bars which were then packaged and marketed to parents through creating adverts
- inventing magnetic gadgets to help those in need and pitching them to a ‘Dragons Den’
- studying special people from the Bible, creating a poster about one special person and presenting what we may learn from them today
- learning all about the Stone Age and making Stone Age shelters which were then presented to Year 2 pupils
- creating a stop motion animation of the digestive system incorporating Lego (see below).
Projects are supported by inspiring excursions, guest speakers, workshops and use of our Innovation Studio to further enrich the children’s learning.
Where appropriate, setting in English, Spelling and Mathematics ensures that the children receive a curriculum that is shaped especially to their individual needs. All pupils are taught an hour of English (which may be linked to a specific project) and an hour of Mathematics every morning. French, Spanish, Art, Latin, Music, ICT, Drama, Physical Education, Swimming and Games are taught by specialist teachers with lessons taking place in different parts of the school. Where possible and appropriate these subjects are linked to specific projects e.g. creating a graphic score and the sound effects for a Lego animation of the digestive system in music lessons.
Our small class sizes ensure that teachers have a good understanding of pupil progress as well as awareness of their social, cultural and moral development. The friendly and industrious atmosphere that is so evident throughout the Prep School, together with high expectations and meaningful projects, results in the pupils producing work of a very high standard. Children are encouraged to express their ideas freely, work independently and collaboratively and have plenty of opportunities to develop into confident, well-rounded and independent individuals whilst under the direct care of their form teacher.
Saturday Morning School is optional for pupils in the Junior Forms. The mornings are very well attended and pupils have the opportunity to choose from a variety of activities including Drama, ICT, Music, Art & Craft and Games.
The Senior Forms
The Senior Forms consist of Years 6, 7 and 8, in which pupils are taught by specialist subject teachers and learn to become more independent.
Small classes allow for increased teacher attention and for children to learn at their own pace. Some setting is in place throughout the school but this is very flexible, according to a child’s needs. Subjects are explored in great depth, beyond the confines of the national curriculum. Teaching takes place not only in the classroom but in the Innovation Studio, the science laboratories, the music school and the art room. We believe that creativity is the root of learning and that a child’s confidence is built through performance, through music and through art.
We are very proud of our academic record. S. Anselms' Common Entrance grades are invariably outstanding with children gaining places at their first choice of senior school. Our scholarship successes are also a source of pride, not least given the increasingly competitive nature of awards.