How do you measure individual achievement and progress?

Children are assessed continuously through teacher observations and interactions in the classroom, to ensure they have understood the skills and knowledge being shared, and are enjoying their learning. Formal assessments happen throughout the academic year, with termly monitoring of reading and spelling and annual underlying ability data, benchmarked against English and Maths assessments. The majority of data is shared with parents, analysed and used to further improve the learning in classrooms.

All children from Year 3 upwards, receive half termly grades for attitude to learning and progress in learning, as well as an ambition grade. These are shared with parents and pupils and offer all parties an ongoing narrative of progress and how to continue to move forward.

What curriculum do you use?

As an independent school, we give consideration to the National Curriculum and the Common Entrance syllabus but we tend to work above and beyond this. There are aspects of the EYFS Framework and the RSE curriculum which are mandatory for all schools.

Pennthorpe devises its own syllabus which is both stimulating and age appropriate. We consider topics which are inspiring, fun and intriguing for our children, and deliver them in a manner which is interactive and appealing, with a strong combination of knowledge and skills.

How do you integrate technology?

Technology is a vital part of our children’s lives, more so following the COVID pandemic. Pennthorpe is very passionate about digital learning and how our pupils develop skills in the digital world, including digital citizenship.

We use Apple iPads in Pre-Prep and Microsoft laptops and desktops in the Prep school to enable children to experience the two largest providers, they are likely to encounter in adult life.

We have a cross curricular approach to teaching Computing, as well as focused teaching with all children enjoying a devoted lesson per week, across the school. We run a range of extra-curricular clubs, such as Code Club, allowing our pupils to play and experiment with new technologies. Our Years 5 to 8 pupils bring in their own devices enabling them to learn how to manage these and understand when technology should be used in class appropriately.

Technology keeps evolving and we try to adapt to these changes so that pupils can constructively use technology to enhance their learning experience.

What type of homework do you set?

Homework is critical to support children in developing routine, independence and the ability to self-organise and hold themselves accountable. Initially children receive spellings and times tables to learn, but this builds slowly to daily homework of no more than 25 minutes. In Year 8, pupils receive two homework’s (aka preps) each night, to ensure they are fully prepared for the increased load that senior schools will expect.

Children access their homework on Microsoft Teams and via a diary. They can complete their homework in school under the supervision of the teaching staff, or at home if they prefer.

Do you have ability setting?

Pupils are fluidly set from Year 1, although the children are wholly oblivious to any grouping. This is purely to ensure we offer suitable support to those who need it, and can stretch and challenge the most able children.

As the children enter Year 5, and begin specialist teaching for all subject areas, they are set in English, Maths, Science, and Languages. Sets are not based on end of year exams but on achievement, progress and ongoing performance and effort.

I do not know much about future schools. Where do I start?

Do not fear; Pennthorpe will hold your hand from the beginning to the end of the journey! The Future Schools brochure outlines the process in great detail, and there is a useful overview here. You are never alone and our Educational Pathways Coach will spend as much time as is needed to ensure we find the right school for your child’s future.

What is the average class size?

From Reception upwards, we have two classes per year group. Class sizes range from 10 pupils to 20, with classes getting larger further up the school.

In Reception, we take no more than 16 pupils with two staff (a full time Teaching Assistant supports each Reception Teacher). Overall, the average class size throughout the school is approximately 14 pupils.

What does the timetable look like?

Our timetables vary depending upon the age of the child. All children enjoy English and Maths every morning, the optimum learning time. In addition, children enjoy the following subjects weekly:

  • Science (separated into Physics, Chemistry and Biology from Year 5 upwards)
  • Reasoning (in Year 5 and the first term of Year 6)
  • Languages (one or more of French, Spanish, Italian or Arabic depending upon the child’s year group)
  • Humanities
  • Philosophy and Religion
  • Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) & Relationship and Sex Education (RSE)
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Art
  • Design & Technology (DT)
  • Computing
  • Library
  • Pre Senior school Baccalaureate (PSB) project time 
  • Think Tank (from Year 6)
  • Forest School (in the Pre-Prep)
  • PE
  • Games

What time does school start and finish?

Year GroupBasic School Day
Nursery Morning Session08:30 - 12:30 (includes lunch)
Nursery Afternoon Session12:30 - 15:30
Reception08:30 - 15:30
Year 108:30 - 15:30
Year 208:30 - 15:30
Year 308:20 - 16:00 (15.55 on Wed)
Year 408:20 - 16:00 (15.55 on Wed)
Year 5 & 608:20 - 16:00
Year 7 & 808:20 - 16:00 (dependent on sporting fixtures)

Wraparound Care is available to extend the school day for all pupils, from 7:30am (including breakfast) until 7:00pm (including tea).

More detail of the timings of our typical day is provided here.

Do children learn another language?

All of our children from Beehive upwards enjoy weekly access to a wide range of Languages, including French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic.

In Pre-Prep the children enjoy French in Reception, Spanish in Year 1 and Italian in Year 2.

From Year 3 onwards, all children enjoy weekly lessons in Spanish and French.

Our Languages are taught by 4 specialist teachers who are fluent in a range of languages.