Amesbury educates pupils to 13+ because our experience tells us that all things being equal it is the best age of transfer for a pupil.
In those final two years parents and pupils come to see the rewards of the work that has taken place in the earlier years and realise the full value of a prep school education. These final two years at Amesbury are characterised by academic rigour and momentum. When the time come for a pupil to leave in Year 8, GCSEs are just three years away and it is that academic rigour which we believe is at least in part responsible for their GCSE success. Reaching the top of Amesbury gives a young adolescent more time for his or her character to form and the opportunity to reflect on their values and realise their talents and ambitions. It also enables the parent to have longer to find the right fit between child and senior school.
Our purpose built Academic Block forms the base for Years 3-8. We start to encourage the children’s independence by asking them to travel around the school for specific lessons with corresponding books and equipment.
The only other major change from Pre-Preparatory years is that they will get a choice of food at lunchtime with many opting for 3 courses…
Years 3 & 4
In these year groups pupils have a Form Teacher who is responsible for teaching a significant portion of the curriculum to their class. Most of the academic teaching takes place in the large Form Rooms. Nevertheless, even at this age, there is specialist teaching in French, Art, Drama, Music, ICT, PE & Games. The Form Teacher is the main point of contact between home and school. Two parallel classes in Year 3 (aged 7-8) and in Year 4 (aged 8-9), with 38 pupils in each year group are taught by experienced classroom teachers supported by classroom assistants.
For Years 3 & 4 the school day starts at 8.15am and finishes at 4.00pm. Sport fixtures for Years 3 & 4 take place on a Thursday afternoon.
Amesbury is not in the least bit intimidating to my two boys who started in Year 3. Children should not be scared of going to school or nervous on a Sunday night. Amesbury has been fantastic for us in this regard.
Years 5 to 8
In Year 5 (aged 9-10) and Year 6 (aged 10-11) there are between 42-45 pupils in each age group. For pastoral purposes the pupils are divided into three Tutor Groups. From Year 5 onwards subjects are taught by subject specialists and children move around the school for their lessons.
In Year 7 (aged 11-12) and Year 8 (aged 12-13) there are normally between 30-32 pupils in each year group. For pastoral purposes they are divided into three/four Tutor Groups. Each child remains with the same Tutor for two years.
In Years 5-8 the day starts at 8.15am and finishes at 4.40pm. The option to do Prep at school is widely taken up, thus their day usually finishes 5:45pm. Sports fixtures for Years 5-8 take place on a Wednesday afternoon.
The key strength of Amesbury is being the ability to offer a high quality of academic achievement, with an inclusive extra-curricular programme including sports and arts. It would have been very easy for our son to settle in to an ‘academic’ prep, missing out on the broader sporting and arts experiences Amesbury offers
THE SCHOOL DAY
Children in the Prep School have a morning break of 25 minutes, a lunch break of 60 minutes and ‘low tea’ break of 20 minutes.
There is no school on Saturday or any school commitments at the weekend. That time is left as sacrosanct, a time for the family. We want them to work hard but also to make friends outside of school and integrate themselves into the local community by way of sports clubs, art groups and other activities.
Relaxed, open-minded, friendly nature of the school which attracts a mixed community of families. The balanced, ‘all-round’ approach to education – academics, sport, dance, drama, music etc.
A forward thinking yet, in many ways, a traditional prep.