Subjects

A broad range of fascinating subjects are covered throughout children’s time with us, enabling them to grow in knowledge and flourish in a range of areas. Click on the subject headings below to learn more.

English

English is taught on a daily basis from Nursery to Year 3. In the Lower School your child uses their imagination in an engaging curriculum suited to their age and stage of development. English lessons are progressive and start with a stimulus which is built upon throughout the week. They learn and explore a range of literary genres throughout the year through various topics. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar are embedded within each lesson and they are encouraged to structure their sentences correctly. We will assess your child’s writing each half term and allow their imaginations to flow with this piece of independent writing.

Phonics is taught weekly and we use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to deliver short, engaging sessions throughout the week. Pupils are taught the different phonemes and graphemes through songs, interactive games and other activities, allowing them to practise and apply what they have learnt.

Weekly handwriting lessons are taught from Reception to Year 2 using the Nelson Thornes Handwriting Scheme. Your child will be taught how to form their letters correctly and practise positioning their letters on the line, ensuring they are the correct height and length. They start to practise the horizontal and diagonal joins in Year 1 to prepare them for Year 2 where they start joining their writing.

We encourage your child read regularly and practise their decoding, fluency, expression and comprehension through having them bring a new book home each week. In the Lower school, an adult will listen to your child read throughout the week to ensure they are progressing. They are able to access different kinds of books to broaden their learning and understanding, and we monitor their choices on a regular basis to make sure they read a wide range of books before they progress to the next level.

From Year 4, English is taught daily by subject specialists. Our Upper School English department delivers a challenging and stimulating curriculum designed to engage and stretch your child. During their time in Upper School, your child will study and explore broad and exciting themes within literature from the classics such as Shakespeare and Dickens to a wide range of contemporary fiction. Igniting a lifelong love of reading is our goal in English, and all year groups are encouraged to participate in termly Reading Challenges.

Your child will continue to develop their writing skills as they move into Upper School. Each week they have the opportunity to explore and practise a range of writing genres, including poetry and prose. The teaching of spelling, punctuation is also taught explicitly and implicitly on a weekly basis. We regularly assess progress in both reading and writing, and have readily available interventions to support and accelerate learning.

Throughout the academic year the English Department regularly runs exciting competitions, one of our most prestigious events is the Poetry Competition. Each year we encourage Upper School to learn and memorise a poem with the finalists performing in front of the school, parents and judges. Book Week at Staines Prep is another exciting event. Not tied to just one day, we hold a full week of book-themed activities, workshops from visiting authors and participate in World Book Day.

Maths

We teach ‘Mathematics for Mastery’ right from the start of your child’s journey with us. This is an engaging and accessible style of Mathematics teaching inspired by Singapore and Shanghai which enhances depth in Mathematical understanding, enjoyment and achievement. Your child will be encouraged to physically represent mathematical concepts using real objects which helps to deepen their understanding, especially when beginning to learn new concepts. Pictures are used to demonstrate and visualise abstract ideas, alongside numbers and symbols. Mathematical concepts are explored in a variety of representations and contexts to give your child a richer and deeper learning experience.

Teachers plan lessons carefully using ‘White Rose Maths’ and move at the right pace for your child to ensure they have a secure and deep understanding of the content taught. They practise skills of fluency (developing an instant recall of key facts, such as number bonds, times tables and addition/subtraction facts) and reasoning; exploring what they have learnt through solving problems.

There are a range of opportunities to further develop Mathematics skills outside of traditional lessons: your child will participate in enriching and fun STEAM week activities and have the option to join in with extra-curricular STEM clubs.

In the Upper School, we continue teaching ‘Mathematics for Mastery’. The focus is to deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts and ensure they can apply this knowledge in different contexts. Being able to describe and explain reasons behind calculations is fundamental to strengthening your child’s competency. We also make use of physical manipulatives to explore new concepts and approaches to problem-solving.

Careful planning in Upper School Mathematics uses the ‘White Rose’ framework for Years Three to Five, and then in Year Six we revise the Key Stage Two curriculum in preparation for entrance examinations. Teachers consider the needs of pupils in order to build confidence. Your child will develop their skills in fluency, reasoning and problem-solving as they learn to apply their understanding across different contexts. In addition to the National Curriculum, teachers plan lessons to develop skills in approaching Non-Verbal Reasoning.

We take part in the Mathematical Association’s Maths Challenges every year, involving all of Year 6 (Primary Maths Challenge) and Year 4 (First Maths Challenge) who compete in school and internationally. We also send teams from Year 5 to external events such as the Hampton School Maths Wizard competition and DCBEAGAL challenge days.

Science

Science is a process by which pupils gain knowledge and understanding of the world around them through observing, experimenting, pattern-seeking and applying. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities are threaded throughout our curriculum, developing the pupils’ creative and critical thinking skills.

Whether classifying Flora and Fauna, investigating the effects of gravity by dropping parachutes, predicting, planning and carrying out experiments using the Bunsen burner, researching genetics or growing their own microorganisms, Science at Staines Preparatory School is exciting and engaging. We fuel your child’s natural curiosity to explore the world around them.

Our methods of enquiry and investigation stimulate creative thought, develop a systematic approach to problem solving and allow development of practical skills. The pupils explore scientific concepts through ‘hands-on’ experimentation in our excellent purpose-built laboratory as well as connecting with nature in our Forest School.

Modern Foreign Languages

At Staines Prep, your child will have the opportunity to learn not just one but two foreign languages. This provides an opening to other cultures, encourages intercultural knowledge and develops communication skills. French is taught from Year 1 and pupils move onto to Spanish in the summer term of Year 5.

Your child will learn to speak with confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation. We will foster your child’s curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world, helping to nurture a lifelong passion and curiosity for languages and consolidate skills for future language learning.

From Year 4 your child will have the option to visit mainland Europe during the school holidays, allowing them to become immersed in the culture and language whilst creating lifelong memories with their friends.

History & Classics

History provides a fascinating context through which to teach fundamental skills needed to make sense of the world. Children are naturally curious about and often captivated by the stories of famous figures, important events and significant civilisations that have shaped the world. Our goal is to harness this enthusiasm and develop a lifelong interest in history. By learning about history, we create inquisitive and critical thinkers who are able to interpret the world around them and use evidence to develop their own opinions, while showing awareness of opposing views and developing a sense of empathy. In History, your child will be encouraged to:

  • Ask questions
  • Make connections between the past and present
  • Debate ideas
  • Analyse evidence
  • Explore important historical themes including chronology, context, continuity and change, causes and consequences, and significance

The History curriculum at SPS provides a balanced understanding of the world. The curriculum stretches from Ancient Egypt to the Second World War, and covers many key events and eras in between. Your child will be taught a topic-based approach by their class teacher from Years 1-3, exploring different time periods and how they compare/contrast to the world today. From Years 4-6, History is taught as a specialist subject, following a largely chronological approach. The history of Britain is charted from the Stone Age to the Victorian Era, encompassing the various groups of invaders and settlers of the British Isles, the misery of life in the Middle Ages and turmoil of the Early Modern period, through to the expansion of the British Empire and the rapid modernisation caused by the Industrial Revolution. This broad sweep of history allows your child to identify how the country has been shaped by its interaction with the wider world, as well as the impact that Britain has had on the world in return.

In Years 5 and 6 your child will also be taught Classics, in which they explore the achievements and legacy of the classical civilisations of Ancient Greece and Rome. They are introduced to the ideas of the Greeks and Romans, including their wonderful stories (especially the myths and legends), their impressive philosophical, artistic and architectural accomplishments, and their compelling socio-political culture; all of which have heavily influenced our own society. Your child will be encouraged to identify the similarities and differences between these ancient cultures and our own, developing an understanding of how these civilisations have helped to shape our world. They are also introduced to the classical languages of Greek and Latin, exploring particularly how they influence the English language.

Learning in History and Classics is brought to life through role-play, themed days, artefact handling and trips to historic sites and museums. Examples include visits to the British Museum, Roman Verulamium, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace and, during our Year 6 residential trip to Bath, visits to Stonehenge, the Roman Baths and the SS Great Britain.

Geography

We start our Geography studies in Year 1 by looking at features of our local area before moving on to study our world in greater detail, focusing on seasides, islands and India in Year 2. In Year 2, as part of their ‘our world’ studies, your child will start to investigate countries, continents and oceans, selecting a country to independently research before presenting their work to the class. This also includes making their own national costume from their choice of country before parading their outfits as part of the Year 1 and 2 Geography Day.

As we move up to Year 3 our focus moves to human and physical features of The Amazon Forest. Our studies include identifying where in the world The Amazon Rainforest is, and The Rainforest’s environmental aspects, climate and layers.

In Year 4 we begin to look at settlers and their requirements. We then study where our food comes from, including global food production and transportation methods, before investigating how farming has changed in the UK. Finally we look at the relationship between ourselves and our European neighbours.

Moving on to Year 5, our focus is on water and sustainability, both domestically and in less economically developed countries (LEDCs), and how organisations like WaterAid can help in these places. We look in detail at human and physical geographical aspects of Scandinavia, before completing our studies by looking at world mountains and rivers.

By Year 6 your child will start by investigating coasts, coastal formations and methods of coastal protection, before looking in depth at North America. Their work in the summer term revolves around their field trip to Bath and The Mendips. Pupils focus on human and physical geographical aspects and look at the geology of the area.

Throughout the year we aim to supplement pupils’ studies by visiting areas of relevant interest, as well as undertaking field studies to provide context to their learning.

Religious Education

At Staines Prep, Religious Education promotes equality and respect for people of all faiths, cultures and lifestyles. This supports our school’s strong multicultural ethos. The curriculum is based on six of the world’s major religions and we demonstrate this through celebrating festivals from all faiths including Eid, Diwali, Wesak, Hanukkah, Christmas and Easter.

We will encourage your child to share their knowledge about their own religious practices and traditions through open discussion. Each year group are given the opportunity to visit a place of worship, or attend an event by a speaker from a religious community, helping to enrich their understanding of the particular faith they are studying.

Religious Education lessons build on pupils’ previous knowledge, ensuring progression throughout their time at Staines Prep. They are taught about spiritual development, which guides them to reflect on their learning about life and religion. Children have the opportunity to think about equality and acceptance in the world in which they live, both locally and globally. They are taught to be compassionate of other people’s values and beliefs and how we can learn from each other.

Culture and Diversity

Culture is the framework around which we build our identity. It influences how we engage with the world, the perspectives we have, and our expectations. Every one of us has a culture, and most of us have identities built from a combination of different cultures.

At Staines Prep your child will be asked to share their stories and relate their cultural experiences to lessons being. To foster diversity and respect for other cultures, we hold assemblies based on a variety of festivals such as Eid, Chinese New Year and Diwali. There are strong cross-curriculum links with Religious Education and Modern Foreign Languages.

By learning about different cultures during their education, your child will feel more comfortable with cultural differences later in life. This will allow them to interact in a wider range of social groups and feel more comfortable in themselves as well as in their interactions with others.

PSHEE

At Staines Prep we will encourage and equip your child to develop into a well-rounded, healthy, independent and responsible member of society. Our approach to Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education (PSHEE) is fundamental to this.

PSHEE provides your child with the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions on a range of important issues in a safe and supportive environment, and be introduced to others’ views. The diverse topics presented and discussed in PSHEE help them to appreciate what it means to be part of a multi-cultural, modern society, treating themselves and others with respect and tolerance, regardless of their identity. They learn about their rights and responsibilities, encouraging them to participate positively as members of a community. This leads them to become more informed and involved as contributing citizens of the world.

PSHEE is taught by tutors and class teachers during time-tabled lessons each week. Our curriculum is based upon the leading ‘Jigsaw’ programme, which we adapt and supplement to best suit the needs of our pupils. This follows a spiral progression in which all year groups explore a common theme each half-term, allowing an age-specific approach to discussing issues and giving your child relevant learning experiences to navigate their world. They explore important ideas that impact on their lives and revisit topics as they progress through the school.

In addition to these regular PSHEE lessons, your child will engage with important themes through assemblies, trips and events, including Internet Safety, Mental Health Awareness, Anti-Bullying, Healthy Eating and Junior Citizenship. Your child will be encouraged to become involved in school life with the opportunity to represent their class as an elected member of the School Council and Eco Committee, working hard to make positive contributions to the school.

In Year 6 they will have the opportunity to be appointed to roles of responsibility including prefects and house captains. They act as role-models for younger pupils, developing leadership skills and giving back to their school. They are also delighted to have the opportunity to serve as playground ‘buddies’ to younger children at the school upon reaching this stage in their time with us.

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Twitter | 19 January 2024

Pupils in Year 4 created their own human digestive system and looked at the process of digestion. Lots of fun!!! #StainesPrepYear 4 #StainesPrepScience https://t.co/qtSCgy4QVS

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