Our Parents' A - Z is intended as a guide to help you discover and understand all that happens at Pennthorpe. It is arranged alphabetically for your convenience. Please click on a letter below to find out more!

Scroll down to discover more


If pupils are absent for any reason, please telephone the Front Office (01403 822391) between 7:30am and 9:00am or alternatively email

Any absence from school during term time, other than for illness, requires an email to the Head requesting permission. This is a legal requirement and unauthorised absence is reportable to West Sussex.

Any unexplained absence will be followed up by the school in the form of a telephone call from Matron.

Prolonged absence will be investigated by the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).

If your child requires time out of school during the school day, for example to attend a medical appointment or a music exam, please let your child’s Class Teacher/Form Tutor and Matron know in advance so that we can ensure they are ready for you to collect from the Front Office. All children leaving the premises during the school day must blob out at the Front Office, and sign back in on their return, to ensure that we are aware who is on site in the case of an emergency.

See also Sickness and Holidays.


Records are kept of all injuries to children, staff and visitors that happen whilst on the premises, or as a result of a school activity. These records are kept confidentially in the school database.

Parents are informed by telephone and/or email if your child has bumped their head or endured a more serious accident, other than a scratched finger or grazed knee, or if your child has been given any non-prescription medication.

If you have any questions please contact Matron.

Address and Contact Numbers (Parents)

The school database holds all parent contact details, including email, telephone numbers and emergency contact information (people who can be contacted in an emergency if parents are unavailable – we will always try and contact parents first!) .

It is essential that this information is kept up-to-date. You can view the information that we hold in our database via the Parent Portal, and you can advise us of any updates required directly from there.

At the start of each academic year, the school will explicitly ask you to check this information.

It is your responsibility to inform us immediately if there are any changes to your contact details, such as when you move house.

Please also inform us of any temporary changes, for example if you are going away for a short time and your child(ren) will be staying elsewhere, as it is crucial that we know who to contact in case of illness or emergency whenever your child is at school.

If you need any help with the process of updating your details, please see our Parent Portal User Guide or ask in the Front Office.

All personal information is kept confidentially, and in-line with GDPR guidelines.

After School Supervision (aka Extended Day, Flexiday or Wraparound Care)

After school care is available for all children after their school day, between 3.30 – 6.00pm for our nursery children, and until 7:00pm for school aged children. It is designed as an opportunity for the children to relax, with supervision, until they can be collected from school. Children are encouraged to play, read and chat, and there are many games and resources available to them. If the weather is good, they will often be outside in one of the various play areas.

Parents are able to book care in advance, or on an ad hoc basis (if parents need support with any last-minute issues). Priority is given to those booking for whole terms.

Sessions can be booked via the Parent Portal or by emailing

For each session there is a charge, which will be added to your next bill. All sessions booked are charged for, even if your child does not attend.

See also Extended Day and Wraparound Care.


At Pennthorpe we have many children with allergies. We manage these in partnership with our parents, our catering team, Matron and all other staff members. Matron will seek discussion with parents in relation to any necessary medication, or other arrangements, for any new pupils with allergies, as well as when changes to a child’s allergy management plan are required.

To help us ensure the school is safe for children with nut allergies, we require that no products containing nuts are brought into school at any time, either by pupils, parents or staff. Thank you for your cooperation.

Please contact Matron if you have any further questions.

See also Medication.


All staff are available to talk with parents about concerns, pupil progress or any other matter. Teaching staff are usually available at drop off or pick up, but the priority at these times remains the supervision and welfare of the children.

Please feel free to make an appointment to see any team member by emailing the staff member directly or via the Front Office, in person or via email at


If your child is asthmatic and manages their own inhaler at home, we are happy for this to occur at school provided you have agreed this with Matron.

Children can carry their own named inhalers and older pupils are supported in taking their inhalers on matches or trips.

Additional spare, named, inhalers should be kept in the Medical Room. These are returned at the end of term and Matron will send reminders to parents with regards expiry dates and replacement of missing inhalers as required.


Pennthorpe monitors every child’s progress closely through a planned programme of assessment, analysis and action. We monitor every child as an individual to ensure they don’t feel any unnecessary pressure or failure. Informal teacher assessment of learning objectives covered in teaching, takes place throughout the year. The information gauged assists us in keeping parents informed and also helps us monitor the effectiveness of our own teaching.

We give clear assessment information to parents through formal written reports, parents’ consultation meetings, and half termly Academic, Pastoral and Attitude grades (for selected years).

All pupils are assessed annually using Progress Tests in English, Maths and Science, as well as using CAT assessments (Cognitive Abilities Tests) for children in Years 2 to 8. CATs assess pupils’ reasoning (thinking) abilities and give standardised data, which baselines pupils performance against national benchmarks.

Reception children complete a Baseline assessment in English and Maths in the first half of the Autumn term, then again in the second half of the Summer Term, which enables us to understand their progress over their time in Reception. Results from both assessments, as well as the progress outcomes, are shared with parents.

All these standardised tests provide reliable pictures of children’s attainment or, in the case of CAT, different aspects of ability, across an age range. This helps us to track the progress of individual students, and over time, becomes an invaluable record of what our children have achieved and how they’ve progressed, both individually, as a cohort, and when measured against pupils nationally.

See also GL Assessment and Baseline in Reception.


Our school community is governed by the Pennthorpe Purpose, which guides how we conduct ourselves around school.

We additionally have a set of School Rules, which all children are asked to abide by.

We have a number of incentives to encourage the children to behave well in school and take active responsibility for their conduct.

Further insight can be found in the school’s Behavioural Management and Sanctions Policy.

See also Rewards, Pluses and Minuses.


We appreciate how special young children’s birthdays are and we help them to celebrate the occasion every year.

Children receive a birthday box and balloon at lunchtime from our catering team, and their peers always sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to them!


All children from Reception to Year 8 are expected to have a blazer as part of their school uniform, which they should wear when arriving at school and when going home, throughout the academic year.

During the winter months, children may wear their school coat over the blazer.

At the top of the school you may notice that pupils’ blazer lapels become laden with badges that they have earned over their time at Pennthorpe! This starts with Merit badges, in the Pre-Prep, which are awarded for good behaviour, and builds to things such as Pennthorpe Citizen badges, which are awarded to children who live the Pennthorpe Purpose in their everyday lives. Please do stop and ask pupils about the badges they proudly wear; they love to talk about their accolades and inspire younger pupils to earn their own 🙂

Further information on our uniform can be found here.

See also Uniform.


‘Blobbing’ is a Pennthorpe name for signing each child out of school each day!

It is really important that all children leaving school have ‘blobbed’ out, so that we are aware of who is on site in the case of an emergency. Pupils can ‘blob’ out with their Class Teacher/Form Tutor, or at the Front Office or other designated ‘bobbers’ (members of staff with ‘blobbing’ responsibility at the end of each school day).

See Collection of Pupils.


At Pennthorpe, we do not tolerate any unkindness or bullying.

Any concerns should be addressed to your child’s Class Teacher (Pre-Prep) or Form Tutor (Prep) in the first instance.

Of course, there are always two sides to every story, so we ask parents to bear this in mind when talking to their child about incidents that might not yet have been investigated.

For more information see our Anti-Bullying and Cyber-Bullying Policy.


Pennthorpe offers bursaries to children in Year 3 upwards. All Bursaries are means tested.

Awarding of Bursaries is overseen by the Head and Governing Body under the guidance of the Bursaries Committee. More information can be found here, but also, parents can contact the Bursar with specific questions.

Breakfast Club

All children are able to start school at 7.30am for breakfast each morning. A range of foods is available, from toast and cereal, fresh juices, as well as cooked items, such as bacon, eggs and hash browns.

Breakfast Club can be booked via the Parent Portal for the term ahead or by emailing if required on an ad hoc basis.

Please note that to ensure the kitchen can accommodate your child, ad hoc sessions must be booked before 6:00pm the previous day.

See also Extended Day and Wraparound Care.


All children should have a Pennthorpe school bag for carrying their equipment to and from school, as well as a sports bag for their kit. All bags are available to purchase from the Uniform Shop, or via our website here.

In the Pre-Prep, the children have a book bag and a drawstring sports bag for their kit.

In the Prep School, the children have a rucksack for their books, and an initialled Pennthorpe sports bag.

See also Uniform.

Baseline in Reception

Reception children complete an assessment, called Baseline, at the beginning of the academic year. This is designed to find out what each child knows, and can do, before teaching in Reception begins.

The assessment is adaptive to each child, so as the test progresses, the questions gradually get more difficult.

When a child starts getting the answers wrong, the test will stop asking harder questions and move onto the next section.

The assessment is repeated again at the end of the academic year, so progress can be seen. The results of these assessments are shared with parents.

See also Assessments.


The school publishes a calendar on a termly basis, which is shared with parents as a little pocket booklet, alongside electronic versions on our website and in the Parent Portal. The calendar lists all of the events taking place throughout the term.

Parents are able to add school calendar events into their personal electronic calendars, via the website or the Parent Portal. Should you require assistance with this functionality please refer to our Portal User Guide, or the Front Office.

Amendments do occasionally take place, due to unforeseen circumstances or special events, but parents will always be informed of changes at the earliest possible opportunity, usually via the weekly communication email, which parents receive on a Friday.

Carol Service

Pennthorpe holds a beautiful Carol Service at the end of the Autumn term, held in the Chapel at Christ’s Hospital School.

The date of the service is always published in the calendar, and involves from children in Years 1 to 8 and their families. All parents are invited to attend.

Car Park

Parking spaces are limited at Pennthorpe. Next to the main car park is a ‘Drop off Zone’, where parents are encouraged to stop, rather than park, to drop off children who can then independently walk into school. Parents are asked not to park in this area – if you need to leave your vehicle please instead wait for a spare car parking space.

Parents are asked to drive carefully through the school car park, or anywhere else on site. Children are not permitted in the car parks unsupervised.

Sometimes, parents may choose instead to park around the village. Please be mindful of our local residents when parking on local roads, and always follow the highway code; do not block drives, park on double yellow lines, or too close to junctions.

Pennthorpe’s Sports Fields and MUGA are a short walk from the school buildings, which can be difficult to reach for some spectators with mobility issues as there is a steep hill to climb. If you would like us to try to arrange easier access to the Fields and MUGA please contact the Front Office ahead of the event you wish to attend, and we will do our utmost to help.

See also Parking at Drop Off and Drop Off.


All of our food is prepared by our brilliant catering company, Holroyd Howe. All food is cooked by the team, on site, and the range and quality is outstanding.

See also Food, Breakfast Club, Supper and Snacks.

Celebration Huddles

These are special assemblies, usually held half termly, which parents are warmly invited to attend.

Celebration Huddles are designed to celebrate the children’s achievements over the course of the half term, as well as offering an opportunity for children to share a little about what they have been learning and discovering in school.

Champion and Coaching Sessions

Each child in the Prep School has a Champion. This is a member of the pastoral team who meets with them half termly, on a one-to-one basis, to support their wellbeing and development.

A child’s Champion will liaise with their Form Tutor, and vice versa, to ensure each pupil is given the right support, encouragement and guidance.

In Years 7 and 8 pupils have additional half termly coaching sessions with their Champion: this is an opportunity for them to meet 1-1 with their Champion. Through these sessions, each child gains greater awareness of who they are and how they fit into the world around them; they learn what is important to them; they reflect on their strengths and challenges; they explore what options are open to them; they discuss actions they could take in order to get them where they would like to be.

More information can be found here.

See also Pastoral Care.

Charity Committee

Pennthorpe supports a wide range of local, national and international charities. The organisation of our charity days and events is run by an enthusiastic and committed Charity Committee. The committee is made up of children in Years 7 and 8, who apply to join and are interviewed as part of the application process.

The Committee meets twice a term and children put forward ideas for the groups and organisations they would like the school to support. The team all have specific roles that they undertake, and they are the backbone of our fantastic fundraising events!


Children who embody the Pennthorpe Purpose in their daily life may be recognised, by their peers and staff members, and nominated to become Pennthorpe Citizens. Once a child becomes a Pennthorpe Citizen it is an honour they keep for life.

Those who are chosen as Citizens are awarded a special badge and which they wear on their blazers with pride.

Citizenship at Pennthorpe is all about valuing those pupils in our community who best reflect our culture; confident all-rounders who are ‘born not for ourselves alone’.

Child Protection (aka Safeguarding)

The school has a duty of care to all children attending the school. Should the school have any concerns regarding a pupil’s welfare, health or wellbeing, the parents will be contacted in the first instance, where appropriate.

Similarly, if parents have concerns regarding the welfare of any pupil, the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) should be contacted. All staff receive annual training regarding child protection and the surrounding issues, but key contacts are identified here.

For further details of procedures, please see the School’s Safeguarding Policy which is updated annually or as and when regulation changes.

Classes (aka Forms)

There are usually two classes or forms per year group, with the exception of Honey Pot and Beehive, our two Nurseries.

Classes in the Pre-Prep are named after their animal mascot; Caterpillars and Ladybirds in Reception, Squirrels and Hedgehogs in Year 1, and Woodpeckers and Owls inYear 2.

In the Prep school, the forms are numbered according to the year group the pupils are in and defined by the Form Teacher’s surname initial.

Class Reps (aka Form Reps)

Each class or form has a parent representative (aka Rep), who is part of the Friends of Pennthorpe (FoP). The Reps organise class events such as coffee mornings, evenings out for parents, collections for pupil gifts, and are also available to support new parents who have recently joined the school.

Reps usually help set up class/form/year WhatsApp groups, where they provide informal reminders and communications about things pertinent to your child’s class. You can find out who your Class Rep is, and how to contact them, via the FoP chair.

Class Sizes

Pennthorpe is committed to small class sizes, where all children can experience a personalised educational experience.

Honey Pot and Beehive are run on a sessional basis with a ratio of 1:4 for 2 year olds and 1:8/1:13 (according to staff qualifications) for our 3-year olds.

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. Overall, the average class size throughout the school is approximately 14 pupils.

Collection of Pupils

All children must be ‘blobbed’ out at the end of each school day, and their care handed over to a designated person. Please let the school know who you designate can collect your child, as for security reasons we will only be able to hand them into the care of people we know have been designated to have this responsibility by you.

Our nursery children should be collected from the Honey Pot or Beehive as required. Children in the Pre-Prep should be collected from the rear of their classroom. All other children should be collected from the front of school.

Collection time can be an ideal opportunity for parents to quickly chat with staff, so please do take the opportunity to ask how the day has gone. If your conversation needs more time we will help you find an alternative appointment time. Please talk to members of staff directly about finding a suitable time for an appointment, or through the Front Office in person of via email (

Children staying for our Extended Day should be collected directly from their hobbies or supervision, where they should blob out with their supervising member of staff.

We ask parents to try hard not to be late picking up their children; however, we do understand that in exceptional circumstances this can happen. Please contact the Front Office (01403 822391‬) before 5:00pm to let us know if you are going to be late, otherwise use the After 4 mobile number (o7388 124547‬) as the Front office will be closed.

Once blobbed out, pupils become the responsibility of parents. Please be mindful of traffic on site, and supervise children carefully at all times.

See also Blobbing.

‘Come and See What We Do’ events

Pennthorpe runs ‘Come and See What We Do’ events about twice a year, when parents and relatives are invited in to school to be given a tour by your own children. The children will also show you all of the work they have completed that term, and there will be opportunities to share in activities together.


All our children’s details and records are kept securely and in-line with the General Data Protection Register (GDPR) laws of 2018.

When pupils join us, parents are asked if they would like to join a ‘party list’ for their child’s year groups. Those that opt in are giving the school permission to share basic information with other parents in your child’s year, in order to organise birthday parties, for example.

Contacting Staff

Common Entrance

Common Entrance exams are sat at the end of Year 8, during a pupil’s final half term at Pennthorpe. Traditionally, these exams were used by Senior Schools to determine whether they offered a Year 9 place to a pupil, however this is rarely the case now, as the majority of Year 9 places are offered during a child’s Year 6 at Pennthorpe. Instead, the Common Entrance exams offer a really valuable experience for our children to practice their exam preparation and performance, ahead of their GCSEs in Years 10 and 11.

Exams are sat in English, Maths and Science and are taken in the Sports Hall under exam conditions. As such, they reflect a very similar experience to that which the children go through for their GCSEs; they offer a trial run, to learn how to manage any exam-related anxiety and revision strategies, before GCSEs, when the outcome has a much more significant impact on a child’s future.


There is a LOT going on at Pennthorpe, and it can be difficult for parents to get a handle on what they need to know and when they need to know it! Any overview of how the school communicates with parents is provided here.

See also Parents’ Evenings, Reports, Letters and Email.


Technology and computers compliment, rather than dominate, a Pennthorpe education. Children are able to experience a range of Apple and Android devices, as well as electrical circuits, robots, 3D printers and more! At Pennthorpe our use of technology goes beyond teaching our children digital skills and delivering lessons via a screen, but rather using technology to provide a blended learning environment, offering children choices in the tools they use for their learning.

All classrooms are equipped with iPads, desktops and a hybrid classroom, enabling children to access the curriculum even when they are forced to isolate at home. Our fully equipped Computing Suite, a recording studio and an abundance of laptops gives access to all, with every pupil in Year 5 upwards owning their own laptop, supported by the school.

From Reception, all children have a timetabled Computing lesson each week, with a specialist teacher in our ICT Suite, in addition to accessing technology within all curriculum lessons. In their Computing lessons, children learn a vast range of ICT skills from programming, to full use of the Microsoft package, creation of their own websites, games, as well as all pupils learning to touch-type.

We also help to ensure that children and parents are well educated and supported in understanding the difficulties and risks associated with the use of social media and the internet. See our Top Tips for some discussion pieces on key themes.

See also E-safety.

Concerns and Complaints

Sadly, sometimes things go wrong. If you do have any worries, we really need to know. In most cases issues can be resolved by talking informally to the teaching staff.

However, if this does not resolve the matter, then please do feel free to escalate an issue, via the pathway shown here.

The last point of call, which we hope is rarely required, is the Chair of Governors, care of the Bursar.

Please see the school’s Concerns and Complaints Policy for more information.


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.

See our Curriculum Policy and EYFS Curriculum Policy for more information.

Design Technology

We are lucky to have a fully fitted Design Technology workshop situated in the Art and Design Centre.

From Year 3, pupils have weekly lessons with specialist DT staff, where they use a range of materials (such as metals, acrylics, fabric, food and wood) to design and create a variety of items. Examples of past projects have seen pupils making jewellery from pewter, audio speakers including the electronics and encasements, catapults, clocks, chocolates, and go carts!


It is very rare that a child will be given a detention at Pennthorpe, but on the rare occasion that they are required to attend a detention, these will be with their Head of Year, and will take place in a child’s free time during their lunch break.

Detentions have likely changed significantly since those our parents might have experienced, and generally focus on a constructive activity, such as reflecting on the behaviour that triggered the detention.

See also Behaviour, Minuses and Pluses.


Dogs are allowed on school premises but, in order to safeguard the welfare of our pupils, must be kept on a lead. If your dog is prone to being aggressive, we would ask that you leave them at home.

If bringing your dog to the Pennthorpe site, please also ensure you clean up after it 🙂

Drop Off

Pupils can be dropped off early in the morning for breakfast from 7:30am. Breakfast must be booked in advance, and is served in the Dining Room or Beehive depending upon your child’s age.

Children not with us for breakfast, can arrive from 8:00am. Between 8:00am and 8:20am children arriving are supervised as follows:

  • Pre-Prep children head to the Pre-Prep Hall, where they will be supervised by a member of the Pre-Prep team
  • Lower and Middle Prep children (Years 3 – 6) head to the Courts or Sports Hall (depending upon the weather)
  • Senior Prep (Years 7 – 8) should make their way to the Attic.

Class Teachers and Form Tutors will collect pupils for Registration at 8:20am, with the exception of Senior Prep children who should ensure they have blobbed in independently and then make their way to their Form Tutor briefing session ready to start for 8:20am.

Children’s registration times are as follows:

  • Honey Pot & Beehive: 8:30 – 9:00am
  • Reception – Years 2: 8:30am
  • Years 3 – 8: 8:20am

Children who arrive late must sign in at the Front Office on the way to their classroom please.

See also Registration, Parking at Drop Off, Breakfast Club and Extended Day.

Eco Council

Pennthorpe has an Eco Council, which is made up of elected children from Year 1 to Year 8.

The Eco Council has a Charter that sets out the rules for our Pupil Councillors to take part in school decision-making. To enable them to be successful in this, the school provides resources, training and support, and listens carefully to the Eco Council when it makes its proposals.

Our Eco Council meets once each half term, before school at 8:00am, and always enjoy a lively discussion and action planning session over a cup of squash and a cookie!

The Eco Council has achieved its Silver Award and is now working towards the Green Flag.


In order to save trees, the school sends the majority of information to parents electronically, usually via email every Friday.

If you require a hard copy of any letters please ask at the Front Office.

Please ensure that the school has your up-to-date email contact, in order to ensure you get all relevant school information.

Key email addresses that may be useful are:

Emergency Procedures

Via our Health and Safety Policy and procedures, we are prepared for emergencies that may arise. This could range from emergencies caused by extreme weather such as snow and storm damage, a lack of water supply, or even fire damage. Luckily emergencies are extremely rare, but of course, it is better to be prepared for such possibilities!

The school database contains all parental contact details, and should any of the above issues arise, parents will be contacted via the best available method. As such, please make sure that your details are correct at all times.

See also Fire Drills.

Entrance Requirements

Pupils can join Pennthorpe when they are between 2 – 13 years old. Although most new joiners start with us at the beginning of a new term, we are able to accept children mid-term if places are available.

An overview of the admissions process is provided here, which outlines how we aim to make the process as simple as possible, and bespoke to your family and your needs.

All prospective children are invited to spend some time with us on Taster Day (or Stay & Play session for the youngest children). The aim is to give each child an opportunity to meet their peers and experience ‘a day in the life’ of a Pennthorpe pupil.

Children are not tested formally on entry at any level; however, during their taster session, school-aged children will undertake 1:1 assessments with a member of the senior team to understand whether the school can meet their needs. These assessments will gauge the child’s reading, writing and maths ability, to help us to understand where each child lies academically. If any additional support is identified as being of benefit to a new child, perhaps because they need additional challenge or a short booster, these initial assessments ensure that we meet the needs of the child as soon as they start at Pennthorpe.

More detail can be found in our Admissions Policy.


Some of our children require EpiPens, to help keep them safe in the case of an allergic reaction. All children requiring an auto-injectable device must have a Health Care Plan drawn up in partnership with the school, and at least one named device at school.

If you have any queries regarding EpiPens please contact Matron.

Further details of the school’s procedures are documented in the First Aid and Medical Policy.


All key equipment is provided for the children. In addition to the school and games uniform list, however, we ask you to provide the following items in particular year groups:

  • Honey Pot and Beehive: Nappies, wet wipes and spare clothes as required
  • Years 5 – 8: A pencil case with key stationary items.

See also Stationery.

ERIC (Everyone Reading in Class)

All children across the school enjoy a reading period daily, providing an opportunity to develop their reading skills, and a love of literature.

Our ERIC initiative is designed to enable pupils to read to themselves (this includes the staff!), read group texts, share books with older and younger pupils, listen to stories, or be read to by an adult.

The children have access to a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books via the Library, and they keep a reading journal in which they record all that they have read. Children and parents are encouraged to record any reading they do at home in their reading journal.

See also Read Write Inc.


The school takes the safety of its children seriously and several areas of our curriculum consider the dangers of being online, use of email, and other digital communication modes, such as social media.

Children have no access to social media in school, but we have been occasionally involved in supporting children’s social media use outside of school hours, as pupils are learning to use it appropriately.

We provide workshops with e-safety advice for all children as appropriately. We also provide parental information sessions, and crib sheets, to help parents support guiding your children at home.

See our Online Safety Policy for more information.

See also Computing and Mobile Phones.

Extended Day

When it comes to Pennthorpe’s Extended Day, flexibility is the name of the game!

The Extended Day at Pennthorpe is the name given to everything that takes place each day outside of core school hours. It comprises four types:

  • Breakfast Club (from 7:30)
  • Supervision (aka Prep for Years 5-8) – a flexible end to the school day in a supervised class setting, or in the Library, to help parents to manage staggered start and end times
  • Hobbies (aka Extracurricular Clubs) – Children can choose form a fantastic range of age specific activities
  • Supper – a cold meal available as a takeaway, or with supervision until as late as 19:00 for some children.

Today’s busy lives mean parents are often spinning many plates. The opportunity for children to be absorbed in socialising with other children, learning a new skill, or catching up on homework in a conducive environment, rather than playing video games, watching television or scrolling social media, can only be a good thing for young people, their development and academic performance.

Our Extended Day can be booked by the term in advance and, with the exception of Hobbies, on a day-to-day ad hoc basis too (subject to availability). Please email with specific questions, or see an overview of how it works and what is available here.

See also Hobbies, Wraparound Care and Prep.


Our current fee lists, including costs for the Extended Day and ad-hoc nursery sessions can be found here. Fees are due on or before the first day of each term, or can be paid monthly via direct debit.

If you have any queries, please raise these with the Bursar as soon as possible so that they can be addressed before the due date. Interest may be charged on any fees not paid by the end of the first week of term and on any undisputed amounts owed.

Fire Drills

We carry out regular fire practices at Pennthorpe, at least once per term. This ensures that staff, pupils, visitors and parents are aware of the correct procedures to follow in the case of a fire.

These procedures are recorded and evaluated by the Bursar, who acts as the school’s Health and Safety Officer. The school’s Fire Policy contains more information.

See also Emergency Procedures.

First Aid

If your child is ill at school they will be assessed by Matron in our Medical Room. If your child has an accident at school, immediate first aid will be administered by Matron, or a qualified First Aider. If the injury is assessed as serious, parents will be notified immediately. All injuries are dealt with according to our first aid procedures, more detail of which can be found in our First Aid and Medical Policy.

All school staff are required to attend a First Aid Course and all staff undertake an annual update in procedures, including asthma, epilepsy and anaphylaxis.

At the end of the school day, please check any injury that your child might have sustained at school. Any injury will be reported to parents by either the Class Teacher or via an email from Matron. Should a child receive a knock to the head, they will also be given a head bump sticker (for our Pre-Prep children) and a head injury notification will be emailed immediately to parents, informing them about the injury and what to look out for. All head bumps are seen by Matron.

If your child needs to have medicine administered during the school day, such as antibiotics or antihistamine, please ensure you communicate the requirements clearly to Matron via our electronic Medical Request Form. No medicine can be administered in school without this form.

If you have any questions please contact Matron.

See also Medication.


At Pennthorpe we cater for all diets, including allergies, special diets required for religious or medical reasons, as well as vegetarians and vegans.

Please speak with Matron, in the first instance, about any dietary requirements that your child has.

Our catering team have an excellent reputation for healthy eating, and strive to provide the children with nutritious meals. There is always hot food at lunchtime, including vegetarian options, as well as a salad bar. Children are encouraged to try new foods, but also helped to ensure they always find something that they know they will like.

Each day there are a selection of deserts, which will usually include something baked that day in the kitchen, as well as yoghurt and fruit.

At break times, all children have a drink and a snack.

Pennthorpe caters for many allergies, and therefore nobody is permitted to bring any food items into school to enable us to ensure the safety of our pupils. Please help us to keep everyone safe. Nuts, in particular, must not be brought into school in any circumstances, including on school trips.

More information can be found here.

See also Catering, Breakfast Club, Tea and Snacks.

Food Technology

We are lucky enough to have a Food Technology suite situated in the Art and Design Centre. All children from Reception upwards use the room to learn how to cook, as part of our cross-curricula activities. This ranges from simple baking to learning how to use a sharp knife, and then on to planning and preparing a three course meal.

Form Time

All pupils across the school have allocated Form Time each week.

In Form Time pupils undertake our pastoral programme; this includes PSHEE and our Roots, Shoots and RISE wellbeing curriculum.

Form Time also provides some breathing space in a busy timetable, where children can chat informally to their Class Teacher or Form Tutor.

See also Pastoral Care.

Free Entitlement (FE), Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare

Pennthorpe takes part in the Government’s Early Years Free Entitlement scheme, and eligible families can receive up to 15 hours of Free Entitlement each week.

Pennthorpe can accept Childcare Vouchers, or payments from Tax-Free Childcare Accounts, as payment towards school fees for children up until the term they turn 5, some elements of our Extended Day, and certain sessions taking place outside of normal school hours.

Further details are available from the Bursar.

Forest School

Pennthorpe’s very own woodland is a fabulous resource, which the children benefit from daily. With over 14 acres of woodland, is enclosed a smaller learning environment within a secure fence, to enable our smaller children to safely roam and discover. The ‘outer woodland’ area is where older pupils carry out forest school activities and explore.

Pennthorpe has its own pond dipping centre, where the children hunt for minibeasts and tickle the tadpoles, under careful guidance of course!

Our outdoor classroom, also known as ‘The Camp’, is where children chill out around the campfire on Woodland Days.

The Pre-Prep children follow the Pennthorpe Outdoor Learning Programme, with timetabled ‘Forest School’ sessions each week. Older children  benefit from woodland break times, Woodland Days, outdoor learning and extracurricular activities that make use of this resource, such as Young Adventurers and Mountain Biking.

The Pennthorpe Outdoor Learning Programme encourages our children to:

  • Choose, initiate and drive their own learning and development
  • Experience appropriate risk and challenge
  • Become competent to explore and discover
  • Develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world
  • Experience regular success
  • Develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
  • Use and store tools appropriately learning their function and use
  • Learn how to use and respect fire.

The natural environment is a rich and wonderful place where young children can develop their self-confidence, self-esteem and learn to assess and take risks. Through exploration of our natural world, children develop a curiosity and respect for wildlife, and each other.

See also Waterproofs & Wellies.

Friends of Pennthorpe (FoP)

The Friends of Pennthorpe (FoP) is a social and fund-raising organisation made up of current Pennthorpe parents. The FoP meets once or twice a term and communicates to all parents through the Class Reps. The meetings and events are a lot of fun, and we would strongly recommend new parents to get involved!

FoP raises funds for projects within the school, as well as for charities. Past projects have included the refurbishment of the school Library, a new outdoor play area and other items benefitting our children. FoP regularly supports local charities such as Bags of Support, as well as national charities such as CRY.

FoP also organise fun activities for our school community, such as Summer Parties, a Christmas Fair, Mothers’/Fathers’ Day shops, Black Tie Balls, Barn Dances and a hugely popular annual Quiz Night for the parents!

For more information please contact the FoP Chair.

Front Office Hours

The Front Office is open from 8:00am until 5:00pm. Occasionally during the day the answer machine may be switched on if the school secretary is called away to assist a child.

You can make contact with the Front Office via the main school number (01403 822391‬) or via email (

If you are dropping off or collecting your child outside of these hours, for example for Breakfast Club, or Care/Clubs after 5:00pm, please note that the Front Office will be closed and children should be collected via the conservatory or directly from their club location. Our After 5 Team have a school mobile phone (07388 124547), which parents should contact if they are running late to collect their children from school and it is after 5:00pm. Please note, this phone will not be monitored at any other times of day.

Future Schooling

Starting in Years 5, all parents are invited to meet with our Educational Pathways Coach regularly, to discuss options for each child’s ongoing education once they leave Pennthorpe. Should you wish to discuss options earlier than this please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Front Office.

In partnership with staff who know your child really well, our Educational Pathways Coach works to help parents to consider each child’s academic profile, their strengths, passions and interests, parental values and other logistics that are important for everyday life (e.g. day or boarding). Our staff team are here to guide you through the process of making decisions about the next steps, and offer a wealth of knowledge and experience that is invaluable to parents. An overview of how we help can be found here.

Registration for Senior Schools is typically required during the Autumn term of Year 6.

See also Pre-Tests.

Games & PE

Sport forms an important part of life at Pennthorpe. Sport develops our pupils’ physical confidence ad competence, as well as providing opportunities for pupils to be competitive both individually and as part of a team.

All children participate in weekly Games and PE lessons, taught by dedicated Sports staff.

From Year 3, all children have the opportunity to represent the school in matches against other schools, to which parents are invited to come along and share with your children (as well as enjoy the treat of ‘match tea’!).

Sports fixtures are shared with parents in our termly calendar, and team sheets are prepared each week by the Sports department and emailed to parents, as well as displayed in the Sports Notice Boards.

For more information about our Sports ethos, and the types of sports played, see here.

See also Matches and Swimming.

Gifted, Able and Talented Pupils

Pennthorpe has a number of  ‘Most Able’, as well as ‘Gifted and Talented’, pupils. We identify these pupils in order to ensure they are provided for in lessons and that additional opportunities and challenges are given to them, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Our definition of ‘Most Able’ pupils includes:

  • Pupils who work consistently and considerably above the expected level for their age group
  • Pupils who have a persistent and studious attitude to learningl
  • Pupils who respond to marking, targets and feedback to improve the standard of their work.

‘Gifted and Talented’ Pupils are defined as:

  • Pupils who are capable of producing work which inspires others and excites its intended audience
  • Pupils who possess a natural skill or flair
  • Pupils how have a creative approach to solving problems or completing tasks
  • Pupils who have a passion to develop independently or outside of lessons.

Invitation only Enrichment Sessions are offered to pupils identified as having potential in a certain area. Enrichment Sessions for children in Years 1-4 usually take place during the school day, whilst those for pupils in Years 5-8 take place on a Saturday morning between 9:00am – 12:00pm.

GL Assessment

Pennthorpe uses GL Assessment to understand our pupils ability and progress across the academic curriculum. These assessments inform our teaching and learning, provide evidence of pupil progress to our parent body and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), help to identify barriers to learning, diagnose and monitor additional educational needs and go towards facilitating whole school improvement.

GL Assessment is the leading provider of formative assessments to UK schools, as well as providing assessments for overseas international schools in over 100 countries worldwide. They have been established for over 30 years and provide assessments for children’s education, mental health and wellbeing.

Pennthorpe’s GL Assessments are administered to children in Years 1 and above in digital form, in Wellbeing, English, Maths and Science. Children in Reception work, with the assistance of their class teacher, to complete their Baseline and Baseline Progress tests digitally in English and Maths.

See also Assessment, Baseline in Reception and Grades (below).

Goblin Car

Pennthorpe’s ‘Greenpower Goblin’ offers pupils the opportunity to build electric kit cars and race them, at school and in a variety of competitions. We have enjoyed great success in recent years and the children love the building, the racing and the team spirit this creates.

Golden Time

Golden Time is used to promote and reward positive classroom behaviour and to help maintain a calm and respectful classroom culture.

During Golden Time children are allowed to select an activity that they really enjoy such as playing with special toys, making models, threading beads to make jewellery, making cards or playing outside. The children see this as a special time that they have earned through hard work, excellent behaviour and displaying the Pennthorpe Purpose.


The school is a charity managed by a group of Trustees named as a Board of Governors. Their purpose is to have overall responsibility for the school, delegated on an operational basis to the Head and the Senior Leadership Team.

To find out a little more about our governors see here.

The Chairman of the Governors can be contacted via the Bursar, either by email ( or via the school’s postal address: The Bursar, Clerk to the Governors, Pennthorpe, Church Street, Rudgwick, West Sussex, RH12 3HJ


Parents are given half termly reports on their children’s progress.

In the Pre-Prep, reports focus on teacher observations in specific areas of Literacy and Mathematics, as well as Communication, Physical, Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Reports will also suggest next steps for your child’s progress.

In the Prep, reports are broken down into individual subjects and focus on an Attitude to Learning grade and qualitative report. From Year 4, children are also given an Academic Contribution Grade, as well as an Ambition Grade.

All grades are compiled after a great deal of discussion by the various members of staff. The grades are discussed with the children at an appropriate level and they are encouraged to articulate their opinions and how they feel they can strive for greater improvement the following term.

See also Assessment, Baseline in Reception and GL Assessment (above).

Growth Mindset

Our children are all wonderful individuals, each with their own interests, needs, talents and passions. Motivation is the key to pupil achievement at any age. Here at Pennthorpe creativity flows through our teaching methods, which allows us to ignite interests, inspire passions and appeal to all learners.

Children are still discovering for themselves which learning methods work best for them, therefore we recognise and take account of this through careful, creative planning so that children have a rich learning experience and can discover what works best for them. We celebrate what a child excels in, but also encourage and motivate children to take risks and find ways of finding solutions for themselves to conquer fears and challenges in their voyages of discovery.

Through making mistakes and taking on new challenges and risks, our children quickly learn and succeed.

Hobbies (aka Extracurricular Clubs)

There are a wide range of hobbies available for children from Beehive to Year 8, which take place between 3:00pm-6:00pm, Monday to Friday. Our extracurricular offering aims to cater for a wide variety of interests; active, creative and academic.

The majority of hobbies are delivered by outside providers, who visit the school to share their skills and interests. These hobbies incur additional charges, determined by each provider, which are billed in arrears in your next term’s invoice. All providers undergo an advanced DBS check to ensure they are able to work with children, as outlined in the school’s Safer Recruitment Policy.

The hobbies on offer are reviewed each term, and a termly programme is published to parents in the last few weeks of the preceding term.

Children may be required to wear specific clothing for some hobbies. If there is no such requirement your child is welcome to either wear their Pennthorpe sports kit or personal kit.

See also Extended Day.


Long hair should be tied back. Hair accessories must be blue or co-ordinated checked ones.

Please keep shorter hair styles out of the eyes.

Happiness Survey

Every term we carry out a Happiness Survey with all pupils in the Prep School. We use the children’s happiness scale which generates a happiness score, and then track this on our happiness tracker so that we can monitor a pupil’s happiness over an extended period of time.

The analysis of the data allows us to identify themes for a cohort or across the school, which we are then able to address. Individual pupils who’s happiness has dipped will have a tutorial so we can unpick areas causing them unhappiness or worry.

We strongly believe that happiness and emotional wellbeing should be valued and monitored, just as closely as academic success, and we are committed in our desire to ensure that all of our pupils at Pennthorpe are happy, healthy and flourishing.

Find out more about Being Well at Pennthorpe here.

See also Pastoral Care and Champion and Coaching Sessions.


The Head, Mr Chris Murray, is contactable at the address below:

The Head, Pennthorpe, Church Street, Rudgwick, West Sussex, RH12 3HJ.


Find out more about the Head’s ethos via our Head’s Welcome here.


School holidays and term dates can be found on our website here, as well as via the school calendar.

We ask that parents avoid booking family holidays during term time, wherever possible, as this can impact your child’s progress, as well as other members of the class. If term time holidays are unavoidable, please make a request in writing to the Head (, with as much notice as possible.

See also Absence.


See Prep.

House System

When children join Pennthorpe they are allocated a House, in which they will remain right the way through their Pennthorpe journey. We have four Houses: Baynards, Gaskyns, Pallinghurst and Tismans, and siblings are always being placed together in the same house.

The Houses are an integral part of each school day. House points (or pluses) are earned for all sorts of positive things, such as an amazing piece of work, holding a door open for others, or even cheering others up with their beautiful smile! All pluses go towards a whole school total, and count towards a chance of winning the House Shield/Cup.

There are a range of Inter-House sports, quizzes and music competitions that take place, covering all sorts of areas, such as swimming, netball, rugby and music. We even have an annual quiz and Easter egg hunt competition, which quite often is the most competitive of all!

See also Pluses and Minuses.

Whole School House Meetings take place half termly, enabling all pupils with each house to mix with older and younger children and staff, and work collaboratively on challenges and at House Events. Each House has a staff House Captain who has overall responsibility for the leadership and management of their House.

A pupil Head of House is appointed from amongst the Year 8 pupils, along with a Sports Captain, and these senior pupils help with the organisation of House events.  House Captains are also appointed from our Year 2 cohort and they specifically help lead and support in the Pre-Prep.

Information Evenings

Throughout the academic year the school presents a variety of information evenings. The aim of these is to inform parents about a whole host of topics, from how we teach Maths, our approach to behavioural management, how to help your child build resilience, to practical sessions for parents in the Science Lab.

Parents are actively encouraged to attend these, but wherever possible we will share presentations and notes with parents after the event, for those unable to make the session.

All information sessions will appear in the school calendar.


Music plays an important part of the development of our children at Pennthorpe, and the children are given lots of opportunities to play a range of instruments, either together in their class or via individual peripatetic music lessons.

Instruments are sometimes available to borrow from the school, for those who wish to try something new.

If your child has their own instrument, please make a note of any serial number, and ensure the case is named.

Privately owned, as well as borrowed, instruments should be adde to your personal ‘All Risks’ insurance policy.

Instrumental Lessons, Orchestra and Choirs

Almost any instrument can be learned at Pennthorpe, ranging from vocal training, piano, guitar, violin, flute, clarinet, drums, trumpet and more!

Instrumental lessons are taught in class groups, or on a one-to-one basis with a peripatetic music teacher. These individual lessons are normally arranged on a weekly rotational basis, in order to minimise disruption.

There are various orchestra and ensembles options, to give pupils get the opportunity to perform as part of a group.

Pennthorpe also has a proud tradition of choral singing and boasts a Chamber choir (which children must audition for) and a Rock Choir (which is open to all).

If your child would like to take up an instrument, please submit a request to the Director of Performing Arts here. Pupils are always able to take a trial lesson or two, before you are asked to commit to lessons.

Please note that a term’s notice is required in writing to the individual peripatetic teacher, if you wish your child to stop individual or small group lessons.

Insurance of Belongings

The school’s insurance policies do not cover the personal effects of the pupils.

Please ensure that your child doesn’t bring anything of great value into school, and all belongings coming into school are visibly named.

Involvement in School Life

Pennthorpe has a lovely family feel, and we strongly encourage parental involvement in school life.

The Friends of Pennthorpe (FoP) is a parent body who organise social events for parents, children and staff; which include Quiz Evenings, Mother’s Day shops, Summer Fetes and Easter Egg Hunts to name a few. Each class has a Class Rep who will help ensure all parents are involved and aware of the FoP’s activities, and other social gatherings.

All parents are welcome and actively encouraged to attend matches, plays, concerts, nativities and Carol Services.

Parents are also encouraged to volunteer their time, for example in listening to readers, assisting in classrooms, attending school trips and performing specialist activities. If you are interested in supporting the school in this way, please complete an application here, or get in touch with the Head’s PA, Mrs Tilly Strong.


As a general rule, jewellery is not allowed in school, unless prior agreement has been made with the Head.

Simple stud earrings may be worn, but this is at parents’ risk and they must be removed for all physical activity.

Key Person

Each of our Early Years children will be allocated a Key Person and a deputy Key Person, who will usually be their Class Teacher and a Teaching Assistant respectively.

The Key Person ensures that every child’s learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs. The Key Person will support parents in guiding their child’s development at home. Specialist support will be advised if appropriate.

Parents can turn to their child’s Key Person for information, reassurance and to share concerns about the continuity of care, learning and development for their child.

Parents are, however, welcome to talk to any member of staff with whom they feel comfortable.

See also Nurseries.


Our catering team do their utmost to cater for all dietary needs, and all food is prepared in our onsite kitchen.

Our menu operates on a rotational basis, and is available on the noticeboards at the front of school, as well as on the website here.

Please feel free to discuss any concerns with regards dietary needs or food via Matron.

See also Food and Catering.

LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art)

Pennthorpe is a centre for LAMDA tuition and many children take their graded exams. LAMDA lessons are an excellent way for pupils to explore the skills required to speak publicly, as well as confidently present their ideas and pieces of prose.

Through weekly lessons, pupils have the opportunity to explore the use of the voice from function to finish and how best to get an idea and story across to the audience.

If you’re interested in your child beginning LAMDA lessons please submit your request here.


All children in Year 5 – 8 have their own laptop device in lessons to assist with their studies. Devices can be purchase privately, or via the school, and all devices must meet the school’s network requirements before they will be granted access to the network.

Banks of school owned laptops are available for children in our younger years to use as and when required, however these cannot be taken home.

See also Computing and E-safety.

Last Day of Term

On the last day of each term school finishes just before lunch.

The specific timed are published in the termly calendar, but tend to be:

  • 11:40am: Early Years
  • 11:50am: Years 1 – 4
  • 12:00pm: Years 5 – 8

No lunch is served on this day each term, and there are no Extended Day options or minibus services.

Learning Journals

In our Early Years we use iConnect to record key moments in each child’s life at school. These precious milestones are normally only witnessed by those lucky enough to be with the children on a daily basis, but via iConnect the staff are able to securely share these achievements with our parents.

The iConnect ParentZone contains photographs and records, which show your child’s achievements and personal development. You are welcome to add information which you would like to share with us, i.e. photos from a special occasion or event, an outing, or perhaps a record of a developmental milestone.


We rarely use paper any more to communicate with our parents. When it comes to conveying messages, young children can be unreliable, so we don’t want to put them in charge of delivering important information to parents. We can’t be certain that pieces of paper given to the children will actually make it home, so our preference is to send everything directly to parents electronically.

There are certain situations, however, when signatures on pieces of paper are a legal requirement, and so if we need to get your autograph, for example, to consent to your child going away from home on a residential, then we will revert to paper in addition to electronic versions. Copies of these paper versions will always be available from the Front Office, so if your copy doesn’t make it home, please pop in to ask for another.

A digital copy of all school letters is kept on the Parent Portal, along with an up to date calendar of school events, details of any wraparound care activities and other important information. Our Parent Portal user guide contains useful information to help you to find what you need.

See and overview of our Parental Communications processes here.

Lost Property

Items of lost property are placed into the green bins outside the Sports Hall. Lost property may also make its way back to the Front Office or Medical Room.

All pupils are encouraged to take care of their own possessions and to hand in any mislaid items. To help reunite lost items with their owners, please make sure that all personal items and clothing are clearly named.

Learning Support

It is the policy of Pennthorpe to appreciate the individuality of each child who comes into our care, and to support and nurture their physical, intellectual, emotional and social development, irrespective of their starting point. Inclusion is one of the pillars of our school and as such we seek to reduce barriers to ensure that all children are able to access the curriculum and enable all children to reach their potential.

We consider a child to have an individual special educational need if he or she:

  • Is experiencing significant difficulties achieving his or her learning goals, when compared with his or her peers (though it is acknowledged that this may be a developmental delay rather than a learning difficulty)
  • Has a disability which prevents him/her from making use of the educational facilities
  • Experiences significant communication and/or social interaction difficulties
  • Presents persistent emotional and/or behavioural difficulties
  • Has experienced a significant emotional shock or trauma
  • Is considered to be significantly more able in one or more areas of the curriculum, or has a specific gift or talent.

We aim to provide a graduated approach to the provision we make for children identified as having an individual or special educational need. We aim to work with parents to ensure individual needs are identified as early as possible, and an action plan is determined in consultation with parents. Of course, the views of each child are also taken into consideration.

Teachers use a variety of teaching and learning strategies in order to enable their pupils to access the curriculum, and provision and progress are monitored and reviewed regularly. Wherever possible we will utilise the experience and expertise of other specialists to determine an effective approach; this could include external agencies such as an Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist or Occupational Therapist.

See Gifted, Able and Talented Pupils.


At Pennthorpe we have a simple system of ‘Manners Non-Negotiables‘, which we expect all members of our community to exhibit. These non-negotiables ask all pupils to:

  • Hold doors open
  • Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
  • Respond positively to all.

Respect for others is the underlying philosophy at Pennthorpe.


Throughout the Prep school there are weekly opportunities for children to represent Pennthorpe in sports matches against other schools.

Opportunities are inclusive, and all children are encouraged to take part regardless of their natural sporting ability.

Inter-school matches for Years 5 – 8 usually take place on Wednesday afternoons and Year 3 – 4 on Thursday afternoons.

There is an array of tournaments and other competitions throughout the year, in addition to the standard match days and Year 2 pupils have occasional matches and tournaments too.

Team sheets are published each Monday afternoon.

All parents, friends and relatives are warmly invited to attend matches to spectate, whether home or away. All visitors are also invited to join us for match tea after the match has finished, or during the tea interval for cricket.

See also Games & PE.


If your child requires any medication to be administered whilst they are at school, such as antibiotics, or preventative medicine for hay fever or allergies, parents must first make a request here.

All medication should be in its original container with the child’s name, dosage and frequency clearly marked. Medicine cannot be administered without the form, and without its original packaging.

For any questions, please get in touch with Matron (

See also Absence and Sickness.


You can find out more about our menus here.

See Food.


See Pluses.


Pennthorpe runs a number of minibus services each morning and evening, providing transport for children to and from school from surrounding towns and villages. The service helps families who would otherwise struggle to get children to and from school, as well as reduce the traffic flow and emissions in Rudgwick.

Bus routes and timetables are reviewed annually, and we are always happy to consider alternative collection points. To book your child on to the minibus service, or for any other minibus enquiry, please contact Charges for minibus transport are made in arrears and will be collected in the following term’s invoice.

Further information can be found on our website, Transport & Minibuses.

To increase the breadth of educational activities available to our children, the Pennthorpe minibuses are also used to transport children to many off-site activities, such as day trips, residentials, away sports matches and swimming lessons.


Pennthorpe’s approach to behaviour management is focused on rewarding good behaviour, with particular focus on guiding our children towards the values embodied by our Pennthorpe Purpose. This positive reinforcement is incredibly effective, and there is rarely a need for minuses or other sanctions, however from time to time they are utilised to instil fairness and be effective.

Minuses, or Minus House Points, may be given to children in the Prep school for small misdemeanours during the school day, for example being disruptive in a lesson, or failing to hand in homework.

Form Tutors will monitor closely the behaviour of children who persistently accrue minuses, and plans will be put in place to help promote more positive behaviours.

See also Pluses, Detention and Behaviour.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones are not permitted in school or on school transport, without the express permission of the Head. Any phones needed by pupils for the end of the day, must be left at the Front Office during the school day, where they will be securely stored and returned to pupils at the end of the day.


Generally, children are not permitted to bring money into school. However, occasionally there may be an opportunity to bring money in to school for charity days or outings,. This should be handed to the Front Office, Form Tutor or Class Teacher at the first opportunity, in a clearly named purse or envelope.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are compulsory for children playing rugby and hockey. Pupils will not be allowed to play games without them.

See also Games & PE.


This is the word we use for the children’s home clothes! The children are allowed to wear mufti for charity days, and on other special occasions, and parents will always be notified in advance.

Music Lessons

Nappies and Toilet Training

If children join our nurseries still wearing nappies, we will help you with potty training and support routines established at home.

For those still earring nappies, please supply enough disposable nappies, wipes, and spare clothes for your child’s needs. These must be clearly labelled and stored in your child’s individual cubby hole in the Honey Pot or Beehive.

New Pupils

All children will be offered a ‘taster’ of the school before you make your final decision on whether Pennthorpe is the right school for them. For our tiniest tots, this might be for an hour or a morning, and for school aged children this would usually be a full day. This taster is intended to give each child a realistic experience of how their life would be as a Pennthorpe pupil, and is a great opportunity for children to make friends before they join us and get a sense of our happy and dynamic atmosphere.

For children of Reception age and older, we carefully choose some ‘buddies’ who we think they will hit it off with, and who will help show them the ropes. Buddies will be in the same class as the new child and make great ‘first friends’. The children chosen as buddies love to take on this responsibility, and do a really great job of helping new children to settle in. Many children are still the best of friends with their buddies, years later.

New pupils are given huge amounts of support by their teachers, which means they always have a choice of people to turn to if they are finding things tough. Find out about how we ‘Champion our Children’ here, which of course starts from day one for all of our new children. All our staff are very experienced in giving new children a warm Pennthorpe welcome, and will do everything possible to help them to feel at home.

See also Registration at Pennthorpe.

Notice Boards

There are several notice boards around school, situated outside the front of the Main House and the Front Office, as well as by the Sports Hall, at the front of Honey Pot and Beehive, and the Pre-Prep building.

These display information relating to school events, weekly updates, match selection, newsletters and FoP notices.

Notice Period

Parents are required to provide a term’s notice, in writing, to the school should they wish to withdraw a child from Pennthorpe. This is declared in the Terms and Conditions, agreed on entering the school which form a legally binding contract.


Our Nurseries are made up of our:

  • Honey Pot (ages 2-3)
  • Beehive (for the pre-Reception year for children aged 3-4).

Children can join our Honey Pot from their 2nd birthday.

See also Key Person.


The Front Office is open from 8:00am – 5:00pm (Monday to Friday) during term time. If the office is unattended, an answer phone will be switched on. You can contact our School Secretary via email at .

Our Front Office staff are a fountain of knowledge and information and will be happy to deal with your queries during office hours.

Off Games

If your child has been ill or has an injury and needs to be excused from games, please complete an Off Games form with as much notice as possible.

Please contact Matron if you have any queries ().

See also Medication and Sickness.

Open Mornings

We have a number of Open Mornings scheduled each year. These provide an opportunity for prospective parents to see our wonderful school in action. Pupils follow their normal lessons, with the exception of selected pupils, who act as ambassadors and conduct tours for visiting parents.

Find out more about our Open Mornings on our website.

For our current parents there are a wide variety of opportunities for parents to come and look at the wider school, as well as view their children’s’ work, for example through ‘Come and See What We Do’ days.

See also ‘Come and see what we do’ Events.

Parents’ Evenings

Parents are always warmly invited and encouraged to talk with staff on a regular basis, and as a school we operate an ‘open door’ policy where parents can speak with staff whenever they feel the need.

There are more formal Parents’ Evenings scheduled during the school year, where progress is shared and learning celebrated. These take place once a year in the Prep school and twice a year in the Pre-Prep. During Parents’ Evenings we will discuss your child’s targets and progress in a more detailed manner.

To aid with transition, when pupils move from one year to another, we hold Open Evenings for parents in the last half of the Summer Term and the first half of the Autumn Term. During these events parents will be introduced to their child’s new class and subject teachers, as well as learn about new expectations, events and the teaching and learning in the forthcoming academic year.

All Parents’ Evenings will appear in the school calendar.

See also Assessment and Grades.

Parent Portal (AKA Engage)

Pennthorpe’s Engage Parent Portal is used for sharing pupil progress reports, timetables, medical incidents, emergency contact information, day-to-day email messaging, booking before and after school activities (including wraparound care), fee delivery and more. It is in effect a ‘library’ of all important communications and can be accessed by parents on any day and at any time.

Our Portal User Guide provides a quick tour of the most valuable functionality in the Portal.

All parents are provided with a log in to the Parent Portal upon joining the school.

Parking at Drop-off

Due to our staggered start to the day, drop off takes place between 7:30am and 9:00am each day. We encourage all pupils who are independent enough to do so, and ideally all pupils from Years 3 to 8, to walk in from the ‘drop off zone’ to the classrooms unaccompanied. This leaves the limited parking spaces in the car park for those parents with younger children, who need to escort their little ones down to the classrooms.

Parents should not park in the ‘drop off zone’ as this creates jams and can make the zone unsafe for children crossing into school in the morning.

Staff are at the front of school every morning, and will assist parents with younger children, collecting them from cars and walking them down to the relevant classrooms, if this is helpful.

Parking can be a challenge at Pennthorpe, and therefore some parents may choose to park in the near by residential streets. If you do this, please be considerate of our neighbours, and always park within the Highway Code.

See also Drop Off, Registration and Collection of Pupils.

Pastoral Care

The happiness and wellbeing of all pupils is our top priority.

We have a multifaceted approach to wellbeing, which ensures there are numerous systems and support mechanisms in place.  We proactively teach about wellbeing and mental health in our Roots, Shoots and RISE programmes as well as through our PSHEE curriculum.

Our pastoral staff are well trained and qualified in supporting the wellbeing of young people and act as Tutors, Champions and Mentors.  Our pastoral programme enables staff to hold regular emotional temperature checks, one-to-one sessions and small group discussions.  We also have a ‘Wellbeing Guardian’ whose sole purpose at the school is to support the emotional wellbeing of pupils through counselling and empathic listening sessions.

There is a core pastoral care team for each child at Pennthorpe:

  • Class Teachers/Form Tutors work with pupils as part of a Class/Form. They oversee the pastoral welfare of all of the pupils in their Class/Form on a daily basis.
  • In the Prep School each pupil also has a Champion. This is a member of the pastoral team who meets with them half termly, on a one-to-one basis, to support their wellbeing and development.
  • Our Wellbeing Guardian is fully qualified in supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, using a variety of therapeutic approaches. Our Wellbeing Guardian is available in school every day.
  • Pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors are members of Year 8 who have been trained to help look after the wellbeing of their peers and younger pupils. Each half term, all pupils are invited for a Hot Choc ‘n’ Chat with our team of Pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors.
  • Our Heads of Section support the Class Teachers/Form Tutors: Our Head of Pre-Prep & Years 3-4, Head of Years 5-6, and Head of Years 7-8.
  • The Deputy Head has oversight of all pastoral matters in the school.

All children have daily pastoral sessions to provide a valuable opportunity for pastoral staff to build connections with the pupils. Pastoral sessions are also used to undertake our wellbeing programmes, as well as our PSHEE and RSE curriculum.

See also Champion and Coaching SessionsHappiness Survey and Roots, Shoots and Rise.

PE (Physical Education)

See Games & PE.


Pennthorpe School has a whole range of policies in place, which outline the procedures we will follow in particular circumstances. Parents can access our policies via the school website here or from the Front Office.

Pennthorpe Purpose

Our culture is encapsulated by a clear set of Core Values and Learning Dispositions, which together form the Pennthorpe Purpose; the representation of how we make a positive difference to ourselves and others. The Pennthorpe Purpose is born from our motto, ‘non nobis solum nati – born not for ourselves alone’, which is based on the early writings of Cicero in 55BC, but plays a crucial role in our ability to keep pace with progress. The set of attitudes and skills define the key character traits we aspire to inculcate in our pupils today, in the future, and remain those that were sought at the school’s inception in 1930.

The Pennthorpe Purpose forms the backbone of our daily life, and is common vocabulary for all in our community. Our motto, and the culture captured by the Pennthorpe Purpose, expresses that our reason for being is not selfish, but for the goodness of humanity. We do not exist just to serve our own intentions, but have a duty to positively contribute to the lives, and benefit, of others. By giving the best of ourselves to the world, we make it a better place.

Please see more information on our website – The Pennthorpe Purpose.

Performing Arts and Productions

From the age of 2, our children enjoy specialist Performing Arts coaching from our specialist Performing Arts staff team. As a result, our children benefit from the expertise and passion of professional performers, as well as the incredible facilities we have on site; including dedicated music and drama studios, our theatrical setup of professional lighting and sound, stage and tiered seating.

Major productions take place throughout the year for all children with all children being involved, on or off the stage. Parents, family and friends are encouraged to come to performances whether or not they have children performing.

Pennthorpe is also a centre for LAMDA tuition and many children take their graded exams. If you are interested in LAMDA lessons please contact our Director of Performing Arts.

Find out more information on our website – Performing Arts.

See also Instrumental Lessons, Orchestra and Choirs and LAMDA.


At Pennthorpe we love to take photographs! Society has embraced the culture change of photographing everyday life; we don’t have to travel to exotic places to take great photos. Parents love to take photos of milestones, to capture the most important chapters of family life to ensure they are not forgotten. Whilst you might take a ‘few first day of school’ images, usually parents don’t get to see first-hand the daily routine of life at school. However, school days are just as important as any milestone. We want our parents to be a part of this, and we want our children to be able to look back one day and remember these days. There is always something in each day that is worthy of being captured forever.

Each day we see tons of little things that make our children who they are. We see their Eureka moments, we see their joy at spending time with friends, we see them concentrating hard to master new skills, we see them discovering a love for something they are doing for the first time. Photographs also promote positive learning experiences for our pupils when they are used for reflection; they can absorb how far they’ve come and what they’ve learned along the way. We also note a child’s sense of pride when they see themselves representing the school on our website or in our school prospectus. Often this is a self-fulfilling prophecy; when a child’s photograph is used to represent the school it translates into their everyday behaviours – they become ambassadors of our motto and purpose.

Of course, there are good reasons for some pupils’ images not to be captured and made available to others. We accept the wishes of all our families in this regard, and where parents choose for their child’s image to remain private we honour this. You can check your child’s image status in the Portal, and update it here at anytime.

Each academic year we invite a professional photographer into school to take photos of individuals, teams, classes and biennially we take a whole school photo. These are made available for parents to purchase.

Photograph dates are always placed in the calendar.


Pennthorpe hosts a Prize Giving annually on the penultimate Saturday of the Summer term. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all of our children’s achievements and successes as well as listen to the Head’s report and some phenomenal musical performances by the children.

All children are expected to attend from Year 1 – 8.


All the children enjoy time outside of the classroom for play each day.

Children in the Pre-Prep have regular playtimes during the day when they can let off steam, relax and enjoy developing social skills with their peers.

The children in the Prep school have a morning and lunch play break.

All children have access to a wide range of areas including the lower woodlands, ball court, Conker Corner, Sports Fields, MUGA, and the Library. Years 7-8 also have access to The Attic.

Toys, balls, and various other pieces of equipment are available to give the children as much opportunity as possible to have fun and let off steam.

All children are well supervised by a variety of staff across app play areas.


Pluses, or House points, are earned for all sorts of positive things, such as an amazing piece of work, holding a door open for others, or even cheering others up with their beautiful smile! All pluses go towards a whole school total, and count towards a chance of winning the House Shield/Cup.

Children in Years 1 to 5 who receive 10 pluses in a week will be awarded a Merit badge for the week, which they wear proudly on their blazers to demonstrate their success. Year 6 to 8 will be awarded a merit for achieving 8 pluses in a week. Children throughout the school who receive 100 pluses (Years 1 to 4) or 80 pluses (Years 5 to 8) will be awarded a bronze merit badge to wear on their lapel for the remainder of the school year. Silver and Gold merit badges are available to earn too.

See also Rewards, Behaviour and Minuses.


Aa part of the Flourish programme, ‘prefects’ are a position of responsibility earned by our senior pupils. Once a pupil has reached Senior status (see Seniors) they may choose to apply to become a prefect. They must fill out an application form, stating their reasons for wanting to put themselves forward for this position of responsibility. They will then be invited to interview with the Head and Head of Years 7-8.

Prefects shine as leaders amongst our school community. If they are not successful first time round they will be given feedback and targets and may be asked back for interview later in the year. Prefects are appointed throughout the year; there are no deadline dates for application.

See also Seniors.


Prep (aka homework) is used age-appropriately to extend the learning that takes place within school, and it is also an important tool for helping our children to become more independent. From when they are ready in Beehive, children will bring home reading books each day, and this progresses to phonics, spelling and times tables as the children move through the school, to across all subjects by the time they reach the senior years.

Prep is explained to children during their lessons, and details will be added to Microsoft Teams (in the Prep school), as well as your child’s Reading Diary/Prep Diary/Planner. Where possible, ‘Must’, ‘Should’ and ‘Could’ is used for the setting of Prep, so that pupils are able to work at a level most suitable to them.

Online learning resources, which can be used at home to help learning, are frequently recommended to parents via Prep set, as well as weekly parental communications.

At all ages, children will benefit hugely from spending time reading with an adult at home, as well as practicing times tables and spellings. We encourage parents to make these activities fun and exciting in your own family way. From songs in the car, to games around the table, and chapters of a favourite book each night; children will love learning with you.

In Years 1, 2 and 3 , Prep is set no more than once a week in a Learning Journal that will come home with your child on the designated day. In Year 4 the children are given two homework tasks a week. In Years 5 and 6 pupils are set one Prep task a night, and in Years 7 and 8 it is one or two Prep tasks each night. Children in Years 5 and above have the opportunity to complete their Prep during supervised sessions after school.

See also Extended Day.


All children who intend to enter into an Independent Senior School, are required to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test in Year 6. These tests are completed online and at Pennthorpe in an environment the children are very familiar with . The tests involve assessment of English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

Each child is given a personalised code and the data is then accessed by any Senior School the child might be considering for a future school. This way, the child only has to sit one set of exams rather than the historical system of the child visiting two or three schools and sitting tests at each one. Senior Schools then offer places for Year 9 entry and the place is secured with a deposit, enabling the child to then enjoy the last two years of Prep School and the many advantages it serves.

All parents will meet with our Educational Pathways Coach to discuss future schooling and the tests in greater detail from Year 5.

Pupil Safety

Parents are required to inform us in writing if a person other than a parent or guardian will be collecting your child. A single email will cover regular collection arrangements, but we must be told about any further changes from day to day via your child’s Class Teacher/Form Tutor or the Front Office either by telephone, in person or email.

For your child’s safety and security, we will not allow them to leave with another adult or child unless we have been advised about the new arrangement in advance. We ask that you offer any one-off collectors a password, which you also communicate to us, which will then enable us to verify that you have given them permission to collect your child. Failure to do so, will result in the child not being released.

Please notify the Head if there are any changes in your family circumstances that affect collection arrangements for your child.

See also Child Protection and Site Security.


As we say to the children: no question is a silly question!

Please just come and ask any member of the team, in person, by telephone (01403 822391) or email (). We are here to help.

Read Write Inc.

To support children in learning and understanding phonics (the stage prior to reading) Pennthorpe uses a phonics scheme called Read Write Inc. This is a whole-school approach to teaching literacy for 3 to 9 year olds which we introduce the scheme in the Honey Pot!

In the Honey Pot, the children begin the Nursery scheme towards the end of the year. This encourages children’s vocabulary to grow through role-play, discussion, building sentences and using productive questioning. This Nursery programme places huge emphasis on developing children’s love of reading through enticing story and poetry times.

This will be carried on into Beehive and, when individual children are ready, they will begin on the Read Write Inc. synthetic phonics programme, which focuses on reading and spelling development.

Synthetic phonics is the process of breaking the English language into individual sounds (phonemes) and the letters that represent them (graphemes). There are 44 different phonemes in the English language; some of these are represented by a single letter and some are represented by two or three letters together.

During the year parents are invited to many Parent Information sessions, to help you to help your child learn to read at home.

See also ERIC.


Parents have the right to request access to all reports and records concerning their child including the Early Years Profile. Please contact the  for further information.


Children’s registration times are as follows:

  • Honey Pot: 9:00am
  • Beehive & Reception: 8:45am
  • Years 1 – 2: 8:30am
  • Years 3 – 8: 8:20am

Children who arrive late must sign in at the Front Office on the way to their classroom please.

See also Drop Off.

Registration at Pennthorpe

Registering your child, registers your interest for your child to join Pennthorpe, and means we will keep you informed of the availability of places in your child’s year group. At this point we request the payment of a non-refundable registration fee. You can register and transfer the registration fee electronically here.

It is advisable to register children as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.



Parents are given half termly reports on their children’s progress.

In the Pre-Prep, reports focus on teacher observations in specific areas of Literacy and Mathematics, as well as Communication, Physical, Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Reports will also suggest next steps for your child’s progress.

In the Prep, reports are broken down into individual subjects and focus on an Attitude to Learning grade and qualitative report. From Year 4, children are also given an Academic Contribution Grade, as well as an Ambition Grade.

All grades are compiled after a great deal of discussion by the various members of staff. The grades are discussed with the children at an appropriate level and they are encouraged to articulate their opinions and how they feel they can strive for greater improvement the following term.

See also Assessments, Baseline in Reception, Parents’ Evenings and GL Assessment.


Pennthorpe’s School Rules form the code of conduct that we ask all pupils to agree to abide by, and reflect the core values represented in the Pennthorpe Purpose.

See also Rewards (above), Behaviour and Pluses.


We take a positive approach to motivating and inspiring children and there are a wide range of incentives and rewards on offer, depending upon the age of the children.

In the Honey Pot, Beehive and Reception these include:

  • Verbal Praise given by class teachers and TA’s and specialist teachers.
  • Stickers given by class teachers, TA’s and specialist teachers.
  • Leader of the Day: a reward given to children in Beehive and Reception
  • Celebration Certificates are presented in Huddles, displayed in school for a week, then taken home
  • Star of the Day certificates are introduced in Reception and are for a range of different achievements. The ‘Star of the Day’ winner gets to sit on a ‘Star of the Day’ chair the following day.
  • Visit to Head of Pre-Prep: for something really special children can visit the Head of Pre-Prep and get a little certificate to take home
  • Marbles in a jar which encourage good collective behaviour such as lining up, walking to Chapel etc.

In Years 1 – 2 this includes:

  • Verbal Praise is extremely important and is prevalent in all our contact with children. Stickers are also used to reinforce verbal praise.
  • Pluses for helpfulness, good manners, good standards of work or simply working hard. Merit Badges: if a child gains 10 or more pluses in a week they will be awarded a Merit badge at the weekly House Meeting.
  • Good work Certificates: presented at Celebration Huddle. The certificate and accompanying work are displayed in the Pre- Prep for that week.
  • Stars: Presented at Celebration Huddle in recognition of a child who has followed the Golden rules.
  • Praise Postcards may be sent home directly by a teacher, allowing you to share in your child’s success.
  • Golden Time to promote and reward positive classroom behaviour and to help maintain a calm and respectful classroom ethos.
  • Head of Pre-Prep Certificates: presented for outstanding work, effort or pastoral achievements.
  • Head’s Lunches: these are held for a variety of reasons and take place in the Head’s Study.

For the older children:

  • Pluses and merits
  • Praise Postcards
  • Head’s Awards
  • Head’s’ Lunches
  • Colours
  • Citizenship
  • Seniors and Prefects (Years 7&8)
  • Head Boy and Girl.

See also Behaviour and Pluses.

Roots, Shoots and Rise

We have developed our own bespoke wellbeing programmes, which span children of all ages at Pennthorpe, focusing on helping our pupils develop the tools they need to manage their own emotions and cultivate habits that will help them live a happy and fulfilling life.

Made up of our Roots, Shoots and RISE programmes, our wellbeing curriculum focuses on pupils working closely with Form Tutors and Champions, both in small groups and one to one, to develop the emotional robustness they need to navigate more complex social situations, and take responsibility for their choices, at every step they take as they get older.

The RISE strands contribute:

  • R – Resilience and Responsibility (developing leadership skills)
  • I – Intelligence (analytical ,creative and emotional) and Interpersonal Skills
  • S – Self-discipline and Social Responsibility (locally as well as in the wider environment)
  • E – Emotional Wellbeing (being confident and happy)

Our wellbeing programmes are one of our proactive ways to support the emotional and mental resilience of our children, and are delivered through taught elements, as well as experiential opportunities.

Our Roots, Shoots and RISE programmes reflect the research that half of British young people’s mental health conditions develop before the age of 14, correlating with them having to navigate more complex social situations and take more responsibility for the choices they make as they get older. Features of our programmes include;

  • The Retreat – a dedicated space to focus on wellbeing
  • 1:1 personal coaching sessions with a school counsellor
  • Pupil-led ‘hot choc and talk’ sessions – to discuss and reflect on current issues
  • Daily reflection of ‘3 good things’ – to reframe the mind
  • Tissues & Issues Box – a discreet way to offer targeted support
  • The RISE diploma – acknowledging character development and commitment to owning their wellbeing
  • Mindfulness & Meditation Sessions
  • Parent Tea & Talks
  • Weekly Pennthorpe Pulse – musings and advice on topical issues.

See also Pastoral Care and Happiness Survey.


See Child Protection and Security (below).

School Council

Pennthorpe’s School Council meets half termly to discuss various issues which involve the children within the school. The Council consists of members from every form, from Year 1 to 8. Each class rep is responsible for gathering thoughts and opinions from their form and bringing them to meetings for discussion.

The aims of the School Council are:

  • To enhance Pennthorpe’s school community
  • To enable pupils to become partners in their own education, making a positive contribution to Pennthorpe’s ethos and environment
  • To teach children to listen and learn from others and to recognise themselves as individuals with a right to be heard
  • To teach children self-confidence, social skills and morally responsible behaviour towards members of the school community and beyond
  • To enhance the influence of positive peer leadership.

Senior School Scholarships

Most senior schools offer a number of scholarships. These can include, but are not limited to; Academic, Sport, Drama, Music, Art & DT and All-rounder.

Pupils who show potential for going on to senior school Scholarships will be identified early in the Prep School and parents will be informed.

Should parents and pupils decide they are keen to prepare for a scholarship the school will support the preparations by providing additional work and challenges, set both in and out of school.

Any pupil can apply for a senior school scholarship but senior schools generally will require this to be supported by Pennthorpe. Please get in touch with our Educational Pathways Coach should you wish to find out more information.


The security of our pupils is paramount and a responsibility the school takes very seriously. With this in mind, ALL visitors to the school must report to the Front Office where they will be required to sign in and wear a security badge.


Our leadership system across Year 7 and 8 is designed to offer all of our pupils greater opportunities to shine as leaders and to have their efforts recognised and rewarded. Pupils will be tracked half termly and a balanced assessment of the following indicators will be used to inform decisions about Seniors and Prefects throughout the Senior Years:

  • Duties
  • Pluses and Merit badges
  • Minuses
  • Effort grade averages
  • Evidence of character and personal leadership.

Each pupil will receive a half termly tutorial regarding their progress towards these positions of responsibility, to support their on-going leadership development.

See also Prefects and Rewards.

Setting (AKA Differentiation)

Differentiation is vital to successful learning and is a fundamental part of our teaching and learning at Pennthorpe. We differentiate in our lessons in many ways, setting personal targets and supporting each child’s individual needs.

Differentiation based on ability in some subjects, at certain ages, is one method by which we are able to extend and scaffold our teaching to personalise each child’s learning journey. Pupils are fluidly set from Year 1, in English and Maths, 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. Mixed ability groupings remain incredibly valuable, and the children benefit from working in mixed ability groups across all other subjects at this age.

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. Setting is reassessed continually, and children move between sets as and when it best suits their progress.

All other subjects are taught in form groups in mixed ability sets.


Children across the school are provided with snacks in the morning and afternoon where applicable. In Pre-Prep, snacks are brought to the classrooms. Children in Prep can collect a snack from the tuck trolley in the play areas at morning break.

Snacks consist of fresh fruit e.g. watermelon, pineapple, apples and other options such as chocolate brownie, blueberry muffins and flapjacks – all of which are baked by our catering team.

See also Food and Catering.

Special Educational Needs


See Games & PE.


Meet the staff here, to find out a little about our wonderful staff team.


Home is the best place for sick children to recover. If children need medication at the beginning of the day, such as paracetamol or Calpol, or have a temperature, it will usually be better for them to stay at home until they are back to full health. If a child has sickness and diarrhoea at home, they should not return to school for at least 48 hours after symptoms have stopped, to avoid infecting others.

If your child becomes ill during the school day, Matron will make contact with parents and ask them to be collected from school.

If your child is ill, and therefore staying at home, please contact Matron before 9:00am either via email () or telephone (01403 822391).

Medical appointments in the term time are occasionally unavoidable but we would be grateful if routine matters could be arranged in the holidays where possible.

See also Absence and Medication.

Site Security

The security of our site is a priority and all of our boundaries are secured with electronic gates. Children are supervised at all times by staff, and children are regularly accounted for at core registration times and when entering and leaving buildings to use the outdoor areas for example.

Parents can help us by ensuring that the gates are secured behind you when leaving the school and if parents are coming in to help with a school activity or event or arriving/collecting outside of normal session hours (i.e. collecting a child for an appointment at 10.00am) we ask that you sign in at the Front Office before going to the classroom.

Please also ensure that your child has ‘blobbed’ out before you leave with them at the end of the day, so that we are aware of who is on site at all times.

Social Media

Pennthorpe is proactive on social media. Our official Facebook page (@PennthorpeSchool) gives updates of upcoming events and provides the headlines of what we have going on in school. We’re also on Instagram (@PennthorpeSchool), which captures images of daily life at Pennthorpe. Our Twitter feed (@PennthorpeSch) keeps people up-to-date with highlights of what’s going on, and we also have a feed dedicated to our Pennthorpe Pals (@pals_penn), the class mascots of our Pre-Prep and Nursery children, keeping people abreast of their weekend antics with our children! We’re on YouTube (@PennthorpeSch), where we store lots of videos of daily life at school, and the Pennthorpe profile on LinkedIn is where we share updates, job opportunities and thought pieces.


Children in Pre-Prep to Year 4 will have all equipment provided by the Class Teacher.

Children in Years 5 to 8 are asked to have the following items in a named pencil case:

  • Pencils
  • Rubber
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Fountain or Handwriting Pen (not biro)
  • 30cm ruler
  • Coloured pencils
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors.

In Years 7 and 8 pupils will need a Scientific Calculator (Casio fx-83GTX Scientific Calculator).

Specialist Teaching

Our pupils benefit from specialist teaching from 2 years old, within facilities designed to enhance the experience of our children.

Our littlest children, in our Honey Pot and Beehive nurseries, visit the MUGA, Sports Hall and Performing Arts studios for specialist Sport and Performing Arts lessons. From Reception, the children also visit the Art Studio and Computing Suite for their Art and Computing lessons. MFL Staff visit the classrooms in Pre-Prep for language lessons, and then from Year 3, all Science lessons take place in our specialist Science Labs.

Full specialist teaching begins from the age of 9, in Year 5.


Children enjoy swimming lessons from Reception until the end of Year 2. Children are taken off site to Billingshurst school once a week where the swimming coaching is excellent. During swimming lessons they work through the various stages and will be awarded the appropriate rewards when the relative standard is reached.

All children, in all year groups, have the opportunity to participate in various Swimming Galas, arranged by other schools and our very own House Gala in the Spring Term.

See also Games & PE.


Supper is usually a cold meal with various options. This is a popular choice for working parents as it enables you to spend more quality time with your children after picking them up.

As part of our Extended Day, supper is available for the children at the end of their school day, either as a takeaway option or as part of a block of supervision or Supper Club. This must be booked, in advance via the Parent Portal, or by emailing for ad hoc bookings. Please note that ad hoc bookings must be made by 5:00pm the day before they are required, in order to give the kitchen sufficient notice to be able to accommodate your child. Of course, we understand that sometimes things happen that mean you are unable to provide notice, in which case we will do everything we can to help but cannot guarantee a supper.

See also Food and Catering.

Tea and Toast

Our oldest children in Years 7 and 8, enjoy tea and toast most afternoons in The Attic, (with the exception of Wednesday for matches) at 4.00pm. This is a short break between their lessons and ensures they can sustain their working day until 5.00pm.

Telephone Calls

Your child will have access to a telephone via the Front Office, should they need to phone home if they have forgotten some work, kit or there has been a change to when they need to be collected. However, we do not encourage children to phone their parents for minor items they have forgotten, as we would prefer to help the children develop their resilience and organisation skills 🙂

Tenner Challenge

Year 7 take part in the national Young Enterprise Tenner challenge each year, whereby the children are each given £10, with which they set up their own business with the goal of growing their money. This is an exciting opportunity to run a real business for 4 weeks and supports our RISE program with the development of confidence, resilience, interpersonal skills and problem solving, as well as the English and Mathematics programmes of study.

All money raised through this enterprise is reinvested back into the school or donated to charity.


Children’s timetables are issues at the start of the academic year, and are available for parents to view via the Parent Portal. Our Portal User Guide (section 8) gives an overview of how to view timetables and export them for printing at home.

Timings of the Day

An overview of the School Day is here.

Trips and Outings

Our pupils undertake a wide range of educational visits, which are not only exciting but enrich their learning, encourage independence and help them to access the wider world around them. Day trips range from theatre trips to railway walks, nature reserves and museum visits, and are linked to topics being studied in the curriculum at the time. Each child will usually get the opportunity for at least one day trip each term.

In the Prep school, our pupils are encouraged to attend a residential trip each year. As well as being great fun, these trips are designed to foster independence, team work, initiative and leadership skills. Trips on offer range from visiting the battle fields of the Somme to the volcanoes of Iceland, outdoor pursuits in Snowdonia to skiing in the Alps.

Trips are not compulsory; however, we recommend the children take part whenever possible, as they support the curriculum and develop the child.

Prior to any trip, you will receive details concerning the itinerary, required equipment, and additional charges, well in advance.

At the beginning of each academic year, parents of Year 1 children and above are asked to sign a consent form which covers all school outings, with the exception of the residential visits. Parents of Early Years children will be asked to sign a consent form for each trip that is planned.


We hope all Pennthorpe pupils take pride in their appearance, and are dressed smartly and appropriately for all occasions.

We have a uniform shop on site, from which you can purchase and try on new uniform.  Sports Kit for children in Years 1 – 8 can be tried on in the uniform shop for sizing, but must then be purchased on line.

Friends of Pennthorpe run regular Pop-Up Second Hand Uniform Sales, and parents can also  them directly to see if there are particular items in stock.

Please see Uniform for more information, including uniform and kit lists.

See also BagsBlazers and Waterproofs & Wellies

Virtual Learning Environment

Pennthorpe uses Microsoft Teams as our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)


Pennthorpe has a long term Strategic Plan, which outlines the school’s vision and overall strategy. Both documents are broken down into an annual Implementation Plan, which outlines the specific plans for the forthcoming academic year. These are not public documents, but are issued to all staff and governors annually.

The school’s Aims & Ethos are public facing, and firmly outline the school’s vision and strategy at a high level.

Waterproofs & Wellies

All children should have their wet weather gear in school at all times, so that they can get outside whatever the weather. This is especially the case in the Pre-Prep, who are inclined to spend significant time in the woodlands.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

Waterproofs are available from the uniform shop, and should be navy blue please. Wellies are pupils’ choice!

See also Uniform.


Wraparound Care (aka supervision or Flexiday)

We offer busy parents supervision at the beginning and end of the school day during term time, from 7:30am until 7:00pm (6:00pm for our nursery children). It is designed to be relaxing and fun for the children, and provides a high quality childcare service in a safe, familiar and welcoming environment.

Parents can choose how much or how little they would like their children to take part in outside of core school hours, and choices can be adapted depending upon the stamina and needs of each individual child.

Ad hoc sessions can be booked, as well as termly bookings in advance. Ad hoc bookings should be made via the Parent Portal, or by emailing Please remember to give sufficient notice to ensure we can accommodate your child, especially so if you wish them to have a meal (notice must be given before 5:00pm on the preceding day for breakfast, or 12:00pm on the day for tea).

Find our more on our website – Extended Day.

See also Extended Day.



Watches can be worn by the children, but we strongly advise that they are named. We prefer children to wear analogue watches, rather than digital, to help them to get used to telling the time.

Water Bottles

All children should have a named, transparent, water bottle in school at all times. The children are given the opportunity to fill their bottles during the day and are encouraged to drink whenever they are thirsty.

Waterproofs and Wellies

All children should have their wet weather gear in school at all times, so that they can get outside whatever the weather. This is especially the case in the Pre-Prep, who are inclined to spend significant time in the woodlands.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

Waterproofs are available from the uniform shop, and should be navy blue please. Wellies are pupils’ choice!

See also Uniform.


Wraparound Care (AKA Supervision or Extended Day)

We offer busy parents wraparound care at the beginning and end of the school day during term time, from 7:30am until 7:00pm (6:00pm for our nursery children). It is designed to be relaxing and fun for the children, and provides a high quality childcare service in a safe, familiar and welcoming environment.

Parents can choose how much or how little they would like their children to take part in outside of core school hours, and choices can be adapted depending upon the stamina and needs of each individual child.

Ad hoc sessions can be booked, as well as termly bookings in advance. Ad hoc bookings should be made via the Parent Portal, or by emailing . Please remember to give sufficient notice to ensure we can accommodate your child, especially so if you wish them to have a meal (notice must be given before 5:00pm on the preceding day for breakfast or supper).

Find our more on our website – Extended Day.

See also Extended Day.