After the cosy, nurturing atmosphere of the Pre-Prep, boys enter Year 3 (age 7) with the confidence to embrace all that our boys' Prep School has to offer, underpinned by a continued sense of exploration and adventure.
Moulsford Prep School: Designed for Boys
Everything in the Prep School at Moulsford is designed to suit boys, to extend and enrich learning at all levels, and to prepare them for their chosen senior schools at 13+ and life beyond.
Independence in learning, self-discipline and taking responsibility are key, as is keeping a sense of fun!
Creativity is encouraged in all aspects of preparatory school life. Whilst the focus naturally becomes more academic in the classroom, we know that it is the rounded education and wealth of opportunities that we offer which allow boys to achieve the best in their learning. We know our boys very well and small class sizes allow for a personalised educational experience.
There are two, three or four classes in each year group from Years 3 - 8. Year 3 is not academically streamed, with the classes being of mixed academic ability. For Year 4, a decision is made annually as to whether the classes are streamed by their English ability or not, depending on the dynamic of each individual cohort.
From Year 4 upwards, Maths is streamed throughout the school.
In Year 6, boys can choose to study Latin and Classical Studies or Spanish with the intention of following this course through to the end of Year 8.
In Year 7 and 8 one stream follows an Academic Scholarship Curriculum and the other two classes study the Common Entrance Curriculum for English, Maths and Science, and follow bespoke Moulsford courses in other subjects. All boys are thoroughly prepared for entrance exams to their senior schools.
In all year groups, classes are regularly reviewed to consider whether boys are in the most appropriate set or group for their development at that time. All boys mature at different rates, and it is important to ensure that the pace of work in each class and set matches a boy’s development and ability at that particular time.
Boys need downtime to relax and run around.
We do our best to strike the right balance between providing opportunities to reinforce learning outside of class, in the form of prep and homework, as well as giving them free time at the end of a busy school day.
Boys in Year 3 and 4 have ‘standing homework’ of times tables and spellings; they will also have other tasks to do from time to time at home.
From Year 5 onwards, boys are expected to complete regular homework on a daily basis, and are encouraged to learn to manage their time and respond to deadlines. The amount given is gradually increased as boys progress through the school, with form teachers and Heads of Year monitoring overall quantity to ensure there is a good balance and appropriate amount across all the subjects.
Boys from Year 4 to 8 are required to complete 15 minutes of touch typing exercises each week. We actively encourage all boys throughout the school to read for pleasure alongside any homework they receive.
Moulsford prepares boys for a wide range of both boarding and day, co-ed and single sex senior schools for entry at 13+.
A close dialogue is established between Moulsford, parents and senior schools to help parents decide which one will suit their son best. This process generally starts in Year 5, but the Headmaster is available at any stage in a boy’s career at Moulsford to advise and guide families through the 13+ entry process. During the Summer Term of Year 5 we hold a Senior School Preparation Day for boys, to help familiarise them with the upcoming process, followed by an information evening for parents in the September of Year 6.
Over the last decade the admissions landscape for entry to senior schools has gradually but steadily shifted in favour of Pre-Tests. Historically, pupils sat Common Entrance to senior schools at 13+ in June of Year 8, and this was a competitive exam. More recently, Common Entrance has become a qualifying exam whereby the senior schools have the right number of candidates for the places they have available - hence all pupils are expected to pass. However, to get to this stage, senior schools need to have some form of filtering process well in advance of June of Year 8 and this is where the Pre-Tests come in.
Virtually every senior school now operates a Pre-Test either in Year 6 or Year 7. There is no common system across all of the schools, although a critical mass of schools are now gravitating towards the ISEB Common Pre-Test.
Pre-Tests are designed to identify potential as well as attainment. Examples and practice questions are provided during the testing period so that candidates understand what they have to do.
‘The interview’ is becoming an increasingly important part of the selection process for senior schools. With this in mind, we routinely give boys comprehensive practice interviews and preparation guidance before they go to their assessment days.
Our chief aim is to match each boy with a senior school that suits his particular strengths and academic ability, so that he is comfortably stretched when graduating to his new environment.
At Moulsford we are keen to foster a love of reading amongst the boys as early as we can as this will undoubtedly stand them in good stead in all that they do throughout their lives. The Moulsford library is housed in what was originally the dining room of the main house. It overlooks the outdoor swimming pool and the River Thames beyond, and is a wonderfully tranquil and peaceful room. A recent refurbishment has created a calm and very comfortable space where boys are welcome to come and borrow books, read, study and relax.
To learn to read is to light a fire - Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
For some reading comes easily and for others it is more challenging. With this in mind, we aim to offer suitable books and incentives to establish good reading habits for all of the boys, irrespective of their reading ability.
As a school we have recently invested in a programme called “Accelerated Reader” (AR). This has a proven track record in both the independent and state sectors in terms of helping boys to read more and to read at the right level, thus improving their reading skills more quickly than would otherwise have been the case. Alongside this, AR also allows teaching staff to see more clearly and quickly what boys are reading and whether they have an understanding of the texts.
Boys are able to select books from the library and their classrooms on the basis of the AR level as well as by interest. Teaching staff and the Librarian are on hand to make reading suggestions and to help boys to consider their reading choices. We keep a collection of classical titles, poetry and more popular books, as well as a selection of non-fiction books.
As well as books the library also has a number of weekly and monthly publications available for boys to browse in the library.
Book suggestions from boys always meet a favourable response, both to continue the establishment of the individual’s reading journey and as a potential source of interest for others.
Book reviews, book clubs and competitions all serve to garner the boys’ interest in books and reading. We also follow the many book awards that take place annually, take boys to the Henley Children’s Literary Festival and invite authors and relevant speakers into school in an attempt to make reading exciting for all.
Our Prep School starts in Year 3 for boys aged 7 and continues up to Year 8 when the boys are aged 13.
In the Pre-Prep the boys can arrive from 8am for Early Bird Club where they will sit quietly and read, talk with friends or perhaps colour in. Otherwise, the day begins with boys arriving between 8:25am and 8:40am. At the end of the day boys can be collected at 3.30pm and we also run a full activities programme which runs until 4:15pm. If required we have Late Stay which runs until 5:30pm. In the Prep School the day begins at 8.30am and runs until 4.15pm with the option to stay for Prep and After School Activities until 5.45pm.
Private schools do follow the national curriculum and at Moulsford our curriculum for core subjects is based on the National Curriculum for KS2 and KS3. This prepares pupils well for pre-tests for senior schools. In non-core subjects we have developed our own curricula. In all subjects we focus on what we call ‘soft skills’ as well as the acquisition of subject knowledge. These include creativity, communication, independence, resilience, collaboration, leadership and presentation to name but a few. We also have our own Super Curriculum designed for boys who need stretching and challenging but this is accessible to all.