Children follow a broad and balanced curriculum which is based upon, but not restricted by, the New National Curriculum. In addition to English, Maths and Science, the curriculum includes History, Geography, Music, Religious Education, Drama, PE (including swimming and outdoor games), Art, Design Technology, Computing, Languages and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education).
Pupils are encouraged to develop skills in reading, writing and speaking so that they can express themselves well. The aim in Mathematics is to provide pupils with a richly enjoyable experience, developing appropriate knowledge, skills and concepts so they can use these in their lives. Some additional support is available for those with specific learning differences in English and Maths where a child is usually able to access the curriculum provided in lessons. Science lessons stimulate curiosity, enquiry and understanding of the natural and man-made world.
All children are encouraged to experience the enjoyment of music through performing, composing and listening and all pupils take part in two major concerts held during the year. A wide range of musical activities are offered to pupils, generally at lunchtime. These include singing in one of the school choirs (for example Junior or Chamber Choir or Super Singers), playing in one of the recorder ensembles, the string ensemble, or the school Orchestra. Some pupils also sing with the Senior School Chapel Choir or play in the Senior School Intermediate Orchestra. All pupils in Year 3 learn to play a stringed instrument - violin, viola, cello or double bass as part of the curriculum. The school has an excellent reputation for the quality and extent of its music-making. Prep pupils join Senior School pupils for Ipswich School concerts held at Snape Maltings and Ipswich Corn Exchange, offering them unforgettable experiences.
"Achievement in music is a strength of the school, with most pupils involved in making music individually and in groups across a wide range of styles... Pupils benefit from particularly strong provision in English, mathematics and science."Independent Schools Inspectorate Report, June 2013
Drama features each week as a discrete lesson or through other subjects in the curriculum. As with Music, Drama plays an important role in the development of children's confidence. The Lower Prep perform wonderful Christmas plays each year and Year 6 mount a major production each year in the excellent performing arts centre that is shared with the Senior School. Other year group productions are also held in the more familiar surroundings of the Prep School hall.
In History, pupils study a wide variety of historical periods, events and themes, encouraging them to develop a sense of chronology and a questioning approach. There is considerable opportunity to develop thinking skills. In Geography, children learn about, and make sense of, their immediate surroundings, and develop an understanding of other contrasting places and environments. All children explore a wide range of experiences in Art, studying drawing, printing, sculpture, painting, collage and textiles. In Design Technology they have opportunities within food technology, graphics and construction, to identify needs, to generate ideas, carry out practical tasks and evaluate their work in excellent purpose built facilities. French is taught in the Lower Prep with a year each of German, Russian, Spanish and French in the Upper Prep.
All classes have one swimming lesson a week in the school's indoor pool and one PE lesson up until Year 5 when the year’s programme is split between PE and swimming. We believe it is extremely important for the children to be healthy and active. Children are encouraged to participate with confidence and enjoyment in team games and to compete in the wider community against teams from other schools. Pupils experience a wide range of sports, including athletics, rugby, touch rugby, netball, hockey, cricket and rounders. In Years 3 - 6 all children have two longer sessions of Games, delivered by very well qualified coaches. Ipswich Prep is known for the many opportunities its children enjoy in order to develop their sporting skills. We have excellent links with many of the Senior School games staff to add consistency to games coaching in both schools. We feel this approach has been instrumental in the success of the Prep and this has, in turn, also benefited the Senior School. Girls’ and Boys’ teams are regularly successful at local and national levels in hockey, swimming, rounders and tennis.
The school's aim in Religious Education is to help children explore what it means to have a faith. Children are introduced to a number of world faiths as well as exploring world issues. Computing helps children to develop skills which serve their needs in all subjects. They have opportunities to handle text, images, numbers, graphs, instructions, sound and music and they achieve very high standards as well as starting to program from an early age.
All children follow a homework timetable and are encouraged to read regularly at home. Parents are encouraged to take an active interest in their child's learning. Homework will generally take 20 minutes per day up until Year 5 where 30-40 minutes per day prepares the children for a more rigorous programme of PSC (Preparation, Stretch and Consolidation) in the Senior School.
Behaviour, Discipline and Personal Development
Courtesy, good manners, respect and consideration for others, together with self-discipline, are all important aspects of a child's education. We encourage children to treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves and support them in this by providing a friendly and happy environment in which they are valued and trusted and where they are encouraged to develop high self-esteem. The school has a set of guidelines which make clear the expected level of behaviour and the sanctions which will be applied to those who break the code of conduct. Staff actively seek opportunities to praise and reward children for good work and behavior, especially through the awarding of House Points and 'special badges', commendations and Headteacher's awards. Personal development is fostered both in school and through a programme of visits, one of the highlights being the residential courses for Years 4, 5 and 6, learning survival techniques.
Instrumental Music Tuition
Tuition is offered in a wide variety of instruments, and in singing, at an additional cost. A large number of pupils take advantage of this opportunity. These lessons are taught by visiting staff on a weekly basis in regular lesson time or in breaks, following a rota system. Lessons are available for children from year 2 upwards. Children from Year 3 upwards are expected to catch up on the academic lesson missed.
Activities and Clubs
Pupils in Years 3 - 6 are offered a variety of stimulating activities which are incorporated into a timetabled slot each week. In addition, children from Reception upwards can participate in a wide range of clubs such as 'fun with food', sewing, percussion and drama clubs, plus different sports clubs are held after school, including ballet, yoga, fencing, skiing and sailing. These clubs generally vary from term to term, although some clubs run throughout the year. Children are also able to receive out of-school tuition in Speech and Drama.