At Rydal Penrhos Prep School, we are ambitious on behalf of every one of our pupils as unique individuals, and we aim to support their development into well-rounded learners who are fully equipped with the resourcefulness to embrace whatever lies ahead in the rapidly changing global marketplace that they will grow into.
We have designed our curriculum to capture the fun, inquisitiveness and creativity that we believe should lie at the very core of teaching and learning.
During Years 3 to 6, we offer a broad and rich learning experience that is delivered through a dynamic, thematic curriculum. English, Science and Maths form the core of our learning experience, with specialist teaching in areas such as Art and Design, Music, Drama and Computing also implemented to further boost every child’s overall development.
Combining the very best primary practice with an extremely varied extra-curricular provision ensures that every child is challenged and develops the skills necessary for learning
We aim to ignite children’s imaginations while simultaneously equipping them with the skills they will need for wherever their life and learning will take them.
From Year 2, children benefit from lessons with a specialist subject teacher.
Lessons take place in the dedicated and well-equipped art studio, where pupils are given the opportunity to work with a wide range of materials and techniques including collage, painting, drawing, 3D design, ceramics, sculpture, print making, textiles and photography.
Pupils enjoy two hours of art lessons each week. An emphasis is placed on drawing and painting skills during lessons, with pupils exploring a variety of themes ranging from portraits to landscapes, as well as creating work inspired by other artists and cultures.
Pupils explore the subject through a thematic approach, culminating in work being displayed throughout the school for pupils and parents to admire. The school is full of artwork and this ensures every child has a feeling of pride and ownership.
Senior School art students regularly volunteer at the Prep School and this creates a wonderful partnership between the two sites. Artists from the Sixth Form will visit the classroom to discuss their own work, whilst helping pupils with their own ideas and designs. Pupils have the opportunity to visit the art studios at the Senior School.
Art is a unique and exciting experience at Rydal Penrhos Prep School, it is a place where pupils can develop their communication and creativity skills while also building their self-confidence. Above all they have the freedom to express themselves and have fun.
At Rydal Penrhos Prep School, every pupil is encouraged to read for pleasure and to write with precision and fluency. Reading is an integral part of the timetable and is supported by class reward systems and a dedicated library.
Children are exposed to and encouraged to read a wide range of different texts, both fiction and non-fiction. We take reading seriously and provide a wide range of class book sets to challenge and excite our pupils and further develop their reading and comprehension skills.
In terms of writing, as a school we have adopted Ros Wilson’s Big Writing model. This provides the school with a comprehensive model that helps ensure both teachers and children know what they can do well, and helps to identify any gaps accurately to inform the next steps in teaching and learning.
The approach makes writing purposeful and fun, whilst at the same time it seeks high expectations for all pupils. Underpinning the whole programme is a rigorous focus on achieving accurate basic skills in spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting.
Confidence in communication is considered vital and pupils are actively encouraged to develop their skills through speech and drama competitions, public speaking and through taking part in our ambitious drama productions.
For the initial development of reading and writing skills, the Pre Prep Department employs the ‘Read Write Inc’ Literacy scheme. As the name suggests, this encompasses both reading and writing and uses a series of graded reading books, each linked to and emphasising a particular sound. The reading books have associated writing tasks which help the children to practise spelling the pertinent sound as well as other relevant words, and these spelling patterns become increasingly non-phonetic as the scheme progresses. Included in the writing tasks are graded punctuation and grammar activities.
The Prep Department, teachers utilise Hamilton Trust plans, since the layout allows us to see and track progression in composition, comprehension and grammar, according to National Curriculum headings through each unit. Ultimately teachers use the plans as a guideline and starting point for their own planning, often adding their own ideas to allow for teaching autonomy.
Schemes of work are based on the Welsh Government’s Curriculum for Wales – Programme of Study for English, and also the National Curriculum framework as set out by the DFE for England. These documents provide comprehensive set of guidelines and expectations for pupils’ learning at different stages in their education and help to ensure continuity and progression, whilst still allowing for teaching autonomy and endless possibilities for a diverse range of learning experiences.
French is introduced in Pre-Prep, before being taught as a subject in one forty minute lesson each week for pupils in Years 3 – 6.
The current units of work are as follows:
Lessons are mostly taught using games, toys (everybody knows about Plankton, our regular visitor!), and songs. Slideshows and visual aids cater for all kinds of learners. It is a very relaxed, informal atmosphere where pupils can feel confident and experiment with the language. At this stage, French learning is a question of building up confidence.
Through air travel and ever-improving communication technologies, the world has truly become globalised. Our Geography Department, therefore, tries to equip children with the skills and knowledge to compete in a ‘global village’.
Studies take place on the local, national and international scale and children encounter both physical and human processes.
As well as finding out about different places, cultures, landscapes and climates, the children develop their core skills in relation to maps, plans, scales, and directions.
The children enjoy practical lessons in and around the school locality; conducting surveys, drawing maps and plans, and measuring temperature and rainfall.
They also spend time thinking about the environment and the need for humans to stop harming the planet and start protecting it.
Year 4 children conduct a recycling workshop with the local council and the school’s Eco Committee develop many ideas touched upon in Geography lessons to ensure the school is working hard to tackle environmental issues.
History is made every day and here, at Rydal Penrhos Prep School, where the children encounter a broad and varied history programme.
History is brought to life when children enter Year 3 with time travel expeditions on board the ‘time machine’ to Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. The children are encouraged to ‘look out’ of the window and wave goodbye to the current year, the year they were born and so on. Through fun exercises like this the children are able to build up their historical knowledge base and can start to sequence important historical periods.
Role-play and drama techniques remain an important tool as children progress up the school. They allow the children to ‘walk in the shoes of a Roman Legionnaire’ or a ‘Tudor Explorer’ for example, and emphasise with past lifestyles and conditions.
The depth of study is further enhanced by the wonderful volume of resources the History Department has to offer. Children become familiar with primary and secondary sources and can effectively use them to make deductions about the past.
Each year group also boasts the opportunity to go on a visit to a place of historical interest.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contributes to the school curriculum at Rydal Penrhos Prep School by preparing our pupils to participate in a rapidly changing society in which work and other forms of activity are increasingly dependent on ICT.
The subject develops pupils’ information skills, including the ability to use information sources and ICT tools to help them find, explore, develop, analyse, exchange and present information and to support their problem solving, investigative and expressive work.
An essential part of ICT capability is discriminating about information and the ways in which it may be used, and making informed judgements about when and how to apply aspects of ICT to achieve maximum benefit. Pupils also develop understanding of the implications of ICT for working life and society.
The use of ICT significantly enhances teaching and learning in other subjects by enabling rapid access to knowledge, information and experiences from a wide range of sources. The use of ICT throughout the curriculum encourages critical thinking, imagination and creativity, problem-solving, initiative and independence, teamwork and reflection.
Numeracy is another essential element for supporting our daily lives. It equips our pupils with a powerful set of tools to understand and influence their world.
As with Literacy, the set of guidelines provided by the DFE in the National Strategy for Numeracy and the National Curriculum for Numeracy in Wales, provides a detailed scheme of work and outline of the expectations of pupils’ learning at different stages in their education.
More emphasis is now being placed upon number fluency, reasoning and developing problem-solving skills.
The school has adopted an innovative and up to date scheme, Abacus Evolve, along with other materials to support the delivery of an interactive and stimulating mathematics programme across the school.
Our daily lessons are supported with specific online games that can be accessed at home. Children are taught maths in their class groups except on a Wednesday when they are grouped by ability across the age ranges.
This ‘Focus Maths’ session enables us to extend our more-able Mathematicians with tasks and activities suited to their specific level. We are also able to support children with a tailored approach to their mathematical learning needs.
At the Prep school, children are taught music from when they arrive Early Years. Pre-Prep receive 40 minutes of music a week, and Prep receive two 40 minute lessons a week.
The aim of the music department is simple. To teach musical skills and develop knowledge and understanding through exciting and varied musical activities so that children are able to develop both a love for music and the necessary skills to participate in and appreciate music making for life.
Performance is at the heart of what we do here, reflecting the demands of performance in the music profession, and our specialist music staff nurture performance skills and values that transfer into all aspects of life: confidence, team work, mutual respect, literacy and numeracy – the list goes on.
Our curriculum and performance repertoire shows no musical bias – we are as interested in Ed Sheeran, ABBA and One Direction as we are in Mozart, Stravinsky and Miles Davies, and we encourage children to be open minded and explore as much music as possible.
Children are taught the rudiments of music theory so as to be able to understand how music works; historical, social and cultural contexts so as to be able to appreciate music and all of its facets; how to improvise and compose to enable them to take ownership of and create their own music and rigorous performance and musicianship skills to allow them to hold the highest standards and enjoy making a vast range of music, be it instrumental or vocal.
We treat every child like they have the potential to be a professional musician, and whether or not they choose to pursue music later on in school, they leave the Prep School with an appreciation and understanding of music and the skills to be able to sing, play and listen recreationally for the rest of their lives.
At Rydal Penrhos Prep School we believe that physical education makes a valuable contribution to the whole school curriculum.
Pupils are involved in developing their skills, knowledge and understanding within a range of physical activities so that they can perform with increasing competence and confidence.
Physical education provides the opportunity for pupils to be creative, competitive and work together co-operatively in a variety of different contexts.
The different learning experiences within physical education encourage moral, social and cultural development alongside personal growth in terms of self-confidence and self-esteem.
The physical education experience provides intellectual and physical challenges, which promote positive attitudes to learning. Physical education teaches pupils the importance of physical activity and its contribution to a healthy lifestyle.
At Rydal Penrhos Prep School, PSHE and Citizenship are central to all that we do.
We aim to provide a secure and caring atmosphere where moral and spiritual values will be developed throughout the whole curriculum. We believe that by developing the ‘whole person’ we will enable individuals to lead a rewarding, satisfying and fulfilling life.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education provides the opportunity for all members of the school team to explore and understand their own emotions and wellbeing, their relationship to others and the world we live in.
We aim to provide every pupil with opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes which enable them to become effective learners and citizens both within and beyond school by:
All of our children have the opportunity to contribute towards decision-making and organisation, taking more responsibility as they get older. PSHE and Citizenship is more than a part of the curriculum, it is a way of life for the whole community.
For example, we invite children to:
As an educational establishment with a Methodist foundation the children learn about the beliefs and practices of the Christian faith in many different ways across the life of the school: for some this will be through grace at meals or prayers in the class; for all it will be through regular assemblies and acts of worship; and even our end of term dramas may become vehicles for teaching core elements of the life of Jesus.
RS deliberately does not take a faith-based approach, but aims instead, by academic methods, to introduce the children to most of the six major world religions and to help prepare them for a world where religion continues to play a substantial role in the majority of people’s lives.
We achieve this though a wide-ranging and age-appropriate syllabus. At the lower end of the school this is done mostly through overarching themes such as a ‘Celebration’ or ‘Light’, which allow the children to explore key stories and events from the main traditions.
Then as we work up through the school so the teaching becomes more focused and detailed; we may still teach thematically, e.g. by looking at the sacred scriptures of each religion, but we go to greater depth and also try to help children become articulate in the unusual language and concepts of religion.
All the while we try to back up this learning by visits to local places of worship and by inviting faith practitioners to talk about what is dearest to them.
By its nature RS investigates the great questions of life by means of some of the most sublime writings human beings have produced and by meeting some of the most striking characters ever to have lived. It is, therefore, never a dull subject and the children often surprise themselves when they discover just how fascinating it can be.
With science being a part of daily life, our science programme is practical, relevant and fun enabling the children to grow to appreciate, develop an understanding of, and relate to the world around them.
The emphasis is on developing enquiring minds and thinking skills.
Children in the Prep Department benefit from the use of their own large, well-equipped science laboratory and access to the ICT suite to apply their ICT skills within a scientific context.
A new addition to the Prep School curriculum, Spanish is the official language in the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
It is the fourth most widely spoken language.
Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world.
The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language.
The Welsh Department has been running at Rydal Penrhos School since September 2007.
The department also provides a facility for teachers and parents who want pupils to have some knowledge of the language and the culture of the country in which they reside.
Pupils attend Welsh during enrichment times, to improve their skills and build on knowledge they have attained in previous education.
We also encourage pupils to enter the Urdd competitions in Art, Cooking, Reciting and Writing, so that they have every opportunity to express themselves with confidence and individuality.