I understand that the Prepatoria has created its own curriculum. Why not use the National Curriculum?
The National Curriculum was designed to ensure that all children, no matter which school they attend or where they live, receive the same education, the same content delivered in exactly the same way.
This ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, however, doesn’t take account of the way in which very young children learn. It doesn’t allow for children to be treated individually, with all their different skills, needs or gifts. It doesn’t allow for the incredible talents of the individual teachers to shine. Importantly, the National Curriculum doesn’t support the personal, social and emotional needs of the child. It is more a ‘race to the goals’ measuring achievement with the same standard for every child.
We understand, and value, the individuality of each child, recognising that for some children learning to read will be an easy process but for others this will be a long and difficult path. The Prepatoria Curriculum rewards and supports resilience and perseverance recognising these as important life steps.
I’m worried that if my child doesn’t learn using the National Curriculum they won’t learn to read or understand maths. How can I be sure they will still learn all that they need to?
The Prepatoria Curriculum has all the same subjects as the National Curriculum. Literacy, Maths, Science, Geography, History, I.T, Creative and P.E. will all be taught, just with different titles. However, The Prepatoria Curriculum has, ‘overarching principles’ which are; spiritual, social, moral, cultural and personal development (more about this below). Children will learn to read, write and become numerate too. But all subjects will be taught in a way that allows children to learn at their own rate and pace and in their own way.
I really like the idea of my child having a different experience of school, but I don’t want them to fall behind.
They certainly won’t.
Children fall behind for a number of complex reasons, not necessarily to do with the education they are receiving. If children are to make progress they need to feel excited and motivated to learn. They should have a strong desire to explore and investigate. Children will need to feel confident and capable so that they can ask questions and continue to try in the face of challenge. Having a strong sense of themselves as capable supports the ability to learn new skills and knowledge. The Prepatoria Curriculum is unique in supporting the spiritual, social, moral, cultural and personal development of each child as a priority know that children learn best when these life skills are the firm foundations on which learning can begin.
How will the school terms and days be structured?
The school day will be structured much as it is in other schools. We will start at 9.00am and teaching will finish at 3.30pm. There will be a lunch break of about an hour too. There will be ‘before’ and ‘after’ school clubs for those who want it.
The way in which terms are structured in schools today is no longer necessary and doesn’t fit in with family life. Also we know that the long summer and winter breaks can be disruptive to the way in which children learn. Returning to school after a long break can be difficult for children as they have to try to readjust behaviours and attitudes to the new structure.
The Prepatoria School will be open for around 48 weeks of the year. Teaching will take place at a slower pace all year long and in terms without a break. Subjects will be revisited across the year so that when children are on holiday they will not miss out on important subjects.
If you’re open all year long can we still take family holidays?
Absolutely. Expensive holidays, out of term time, will be a thing of the past. You will be able to take almost nine weeks holiday at any time throughout the year without penalty or fear of your child missing out.
Do we have to pay extra because the school is open in the holidays?
No. Our fees cover the whole cost of education for your child. You will have no need to book or pay for expensive holiday clubs. Instead your child will remain in school learning and playing in a way that meets their individual needs best of all.
Our daughter has been attending gymnastics and ballet, so we want her to continue to develop her physical skills. Do you have space for P.E. and can you provide the same experiences as other schools?
Did you know that the National Curriculum allows for just two hours P.E. per week and this has to include the twenty minutes it takes to get children dressed and undressed too? This means that most 5 and 6-year olds will have only 80 minutes P.E per week!
Physical development has an impact all other areas of learning so we’re very keen on developing this area in children too. And we can do it better than most other schools! Of course, a good school will offer extra-curricular sports for you to purchase.
We don’t have to do that. With a longer school year than normal we can really develop our Physical Education program. Children will enjoy outdoor play, learning and activities as part of the normal day in the Prepatoria garden. We will also provide all children with free membership of the Shrewsbury Sports Village and there are potentially many other sports and recreational facilities and memberships that can be incorporated since we are not tied to any school timetable. They will therefore have the opportunity to learn and develop a very wide range of skills.
We will continue to deliver Forest School activities both on and off site. We can access the Climbing Walls centre and can spend whole days at a time off site involved in physical activities. We believe that children will have greater opportunities to develop physical skills than if they accessed mainstream school.
Will children have lots of homework to ensure they keep up?
No, it won’t be necessary for children to spend long periods of time doing homework activities. We know that Homework places a real burden on working parents, and the completion of homework topics can be very stressful. Homework also eats in to the few precious hours families have together at the end of the school day.
The Prepatoria Curriculum, the structure of the year and the school day all mean that children will cover all the subjects they need to within the school day. Without homework children can attend extra clubs or groups, off site, such as ballet, football and gymnastics or just enjoy spending time with other family members
Children will bring their reading book home to share with parents, and of course there will be lots of lovely activities to do at the weekend or after school, that you can opt to participate in if desired.
Will my child be able to fit easily into mainstream school having experienced such a different approach?
We believe that the life skills children gain from attending the Prepatoria School and enjoying the Prepatoria Curriculum will equip them with all the skills and more that they will need to thrive in a different environment.
The academic focus of our curriculum will ensure that children achieve their full potential in a way that may not have been possible in mainstream school.
Will you be able to offer a wide range of other experiences to the children such as music and foreign languages?
We currently buy in the services of Lingotots to deliver our French lessons. We can continue to do this, if needed, for both music and foreign languages. However, it is hoped that the Reception teacher would be able to deliver some of these in house too.
The school year is very long for the teachers too, they are used to getting very long holidays. How can you attract a teacher to The Prepatoria School?
We know that many teachers are disenfranchised with the National Curriculum. The prescriptive nature of the National Curriculum doesn’t allow for great teachers to be creative or exciting in their approach. The ‘race to the goals’ and the pressure on children to ‘achieve’ all take its toll on teachers too. They need the long holidays to recover!
The Prepatoria School will take an innovative approach to teaching, which is exciting and refreshing. We believe that by delivering the curriculum in a new and thoughtful way we can reduce the stress on teachers and encourage and allow them the freedom to be truly inspirational and creative pedagogues.
In recognition of the incredible role teachers play, we will offer a number of incentives such as additional holiday entitlement, to that normally experienced in Early Years and paid planning and admin time. We have already been approached by a number of great people who would love to be interviewed for the post.
If this model for education is successful, can my child stay on beyond Year One?
At the moment, on the advice of the Department for Education (DfE), we have only registered to take children for the Reception and Year One stage. We can apply to add extra classes or groups easily as required.
As an Independent school what sort of fees can we expect to pay?
Fees for the whole year will be just £545 per month. This includes the cost of all teaching for just under 48 weeks of the year, music, foreign language classes and membership of a Sports facility for classes taken during the school day. This also includes mid-morning snack of milk and fruit. There will be a small daily charge for school meals at £3.00 per day.
Our fees represent great value, at about a third less the cost of many other Independent Schools.
We estimate that the average family, normally accessing the state school system, can save up to £3,000 p.a. by being able to holiday during term time and avoiding the need to pay for childcare and holiday clubs during the 13 week shut down.
Families who would normally access the Independent school system could save as much as £6,000 p.a.
What size are the classes?
Our maximum number will be 12 children. This can be made up of a mixed Reception and Year One class or may be just Reception children.
I’m interested, what now?