Academically and pastorally, the Upper Prep is focussed on preparing pupils for the transition to their Senior School. Naturally progressing from the Lower Prep, there is more emphasis on independence and specialist subject learning aimed towards the Common Entrance or Scholarship examination at 13+. A high degree of personal organisation is now required from the pupils whose entire learning takes place with specialist teachers around the school.

The pupils have their own day rooms, are encouraged to develop independence of thought and organisation and are closely monitored by their form tutors. Fostering trust and personal responsibility, Year 8 are given certain privileges, including the chance to visit the village shop. Some Year 8 pupils are appointed school Prefects, which in itself confers a certain degree of self-motivation and respect from the whole school.

French is introduced in Year 7 and Classical Greek is offered as a further option in Year 8, while all the other disciplines continue with specialist teachers. The pupils are encouraged to attend lectures, both within the school and out, and a gifted and talented programme stretches the more able students by encouraging them to ‘think outside the box’. Music, Drama, Sport, Physical Education and Art remain integral parts of the curriculum and pupils are expected to take larger roles in school drama productions, whether in the annual musical, play or Year 8 leavers’ production. All pupils are given the opportunity to be involved in the school’s extensive programme of competitive sports.

In addition, almost all pupils take full advantage of the wide programme of extra-curricular and evening activities, eagerly signing up for boarding on an occasional or flexi basis which is itself an excellent preparation for those considering a senior boarding school.

Two expeditions round off our pupils’ years with us: the Year 7 trip to the Ardèche Gorge where, amongst other activities, they complete a two-day descent of the Durance River, and the Year 8 mountaineering and whitewater-rafting expedition to the Alps, both truly exceptional experiences for pupils of this age.