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The Prep is split into 3 sections: Lower Prep: Years 3 and 4, Middle Prep: Years 5 and 6 and Upper Prep: Years 7 and 8.

The Lower Prep works closely with the Pre-Prep to continue the IPC (International Primary Curriculum), teaching Science, History, RS and Geography thematically through appropriate, stimulating projects.  This is also delivered by the form teachers providing the pupils with excellent continuity in the core academic subjects.  The pupils also take lessons from specialist teachers for Music, Art, DT, ICT, PE and French finding links to the IPC where appropriate.  We believe that the genuine specialism at this age is with teachers trained in the pedagogy of young pupils and so, within the Lower Prep, pupils will spend the majority of their time with their Form Tutor in a nurturing and caring developmental environment.

The Middle Prep form the central, pivotal years in the Prep at Mount Kelly.  Pupils are now increasingly taught by specialist teachers: English, Maths, Science, French, History, Geography, RS, Art, Design Technology and Music. Of course, this requires greater autonomy on the part of the pupils as they are now finding their way around the Prep campus but the role of the Form Tutor is not diminished and the registration room remains a base for all pupils at morning and afternoon registration periods.

In Years 7 & 8, the Upper Prep, pupils continue to experience a rigorous and varied curriculum.  As they approach the end of their time at the Prep, preparation for entrance exams to senior schools via Common Entrance, Academic/non-Academic Scholarships, our pupils become increasingly confident during these final two years at Prep School, learning the meaning of maintaining a healthy balance between academia and other areas of Prep school life alongside areas of individual responsibility such as becoming a Prefect, Head of House or even Head Boy or Head Girl.

Through engaging academic work, sports, music, drama, activities and our Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) and Shackleton Programmes, all Mount Kelly pupils are guided on the road for lifelong learning, empathy and personal resilience. Our Form Tutor system, and wrap-around Pastoral care ensure that all pupils are cared for throughout their time at the Prep. At the Prep, our overriding aim is to offer a broad and balanced curriculum allowing all pupils to be both stimulated and challenged to reach their full potential.  Our appealing and current curriculum provides many and varied opportunities for real-life learning to ensure that our pupils are fully prepared to move on to their senior schools at the end of Year 8. We ask our pupils to adopt a growth mind-set. We are non-selective school, and yet achieve a 100% pass rate at Common Entrance to the College at Mount Kelly and a broad range of other Public Schools including, in recent years, Marlborough College, Bryanston, Sherborn Boys and Sherborn Girls, Winchester College and Eton. Additionally many of our Year 8 pupils win academic and other scholarships to a similar range of senior schools.

Academic Areas

In Years 1 to 4 we use the International Primary Curriculum to deliver our Science, History, Geography, RS, Art, Design Technology, PE and Music topics through engaging and creative thematic units.  The units within the IPC are exciting, modern and relevant to the pupils’ lives, whilst retaining the rigour of each subject. Each unit starts with an exciting Entry Point, before the pupils explore the big themes and share their prior learning through a Knowledge Harvest. The pupils then visit the topic through each subject lens, being scientists, then geographers, then historians and so on. Each unit comes to an end with an engaging Exit Point, which is assessed by the pupils themselves, their peers and finally teachers.  During this assessment, the pupils share their learning and experiences with their peers and other visitors to the classroom – recent such events have included a ‘What’s on the Menu?’ feast and a Victorian Afternoon (of course including Victoria sponge!). In this way, the IPC captures the imagination of all the pupils in Years 1 – 4, ensuring school is engaging, stimulating and relevant to real life. Whilst literacy and numeracy skills are still taught separately, the IPC magnifies and develops all cross-curricular links. Links are made with other schools internationally where pupils are studying the same topics; the breadth and depth of this genuinely 21st Century curriculum is something of which we are very proud advocates. 


Reading, coordinated by the Accelerated Reader scheme, is central to the ethos and passion which drives the English department at the Prep.  All year groups study and read work from current and classic authors from a range of cultural backgrounds developing not only the literacy skills inherent in such activity but also developing a deeper sense of empathy, moral questioning and wider social awareness. Examples of the range of texts studied are: Wonder by Jenny Packham, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. The importance of spelling, punctuation and grammar within writing is key to the development of all our pupils and is another essential strand of teaching within the department. Poetry also offers an opportunity for pupils to explore forms and varieties of expression they may not otherwise be exposed to and all pupils are engaged in the learning, recitation and writing of poetry, developing their own anthologies across the course of an academic year. As part of developing personal awareness and ability, we encourage pupils to take part in writing competitions throughout the year, including the likes of BBC 500 words and the SATIPS poetry competitions. 


Our Mathematics department is an essential part of the academic life at the school. Lessons are taught through a variety of activities, investigations and games, concentrating on many different areas of Mathematics, whilst giving pupils the opportunity to explore ideas and concepts. Whilst out ultimate aim is to prepare pupils for Common Entrance and Scholarship in Year 8, we also strive to give pupils confidence, understanding and a variety of opportunities to stretch and challenge their understanding of maths. Most importantly, pupils at Mount Kelly enjoy solving puzzles, conquering new skills and the joy of success. Increasingly, we are developing learning through the use of ICT and on-line resources to reinforce and augment the learning that takes place both within and outside the classroom, for pupils of all ages.  During the year, we aim to enter pupils into various Mathematical challenges, such as the Primary Maths Challenge and the UKMT team competition where we recently had great success including a number of Gold awards and one Year 8 pupils qualifying for the Maths Olympiad. 


The Science Department is housed in two spacious, fully equipped laboratories, each with interactive whiteboards. The laboratories are used by the specialist science teachers and their classes, as well as by the Lower Prep for aspects of their IPC curriculum. The labs. are supported and maintained with the assistance of a laboratory technician. Our main ethos is to provide an engaging learning environment, with exciting practical investigations being the focus of the majority of lessons, moving away from more formal and formulaic written assessments. Twice-yearly examinations are conducted progress supported and monitored through regular practical work. ICT is a part of the curriculum and pupils have every opportunity to use it in their daily lessons. Internet research, data-handling and logging and projects are typical applications of this essential and effective tool. Independent and individualised learning is very much what we are about. The Mount Kelly grounds can certainly boast a healthy diversity of flora and fauna and we have our own greenhouse, a poly-tunnel, pond/environmental study area as well our own lake and access to the River Tavy within the school grounds. The whole site is one huge outdoor classroom! 


The ICT Department of Mount Kelly believes that the ability to use ICT effectively is an essential 21st Century life-skill. We aim to develop our pupils into learners who are confident, safe and effective users of ICT. ICT is an increasingly essential tool for learning and is key to raising standards across a wide range of subjects. From Year 5, ICT is such a fundamental part of all learning it ceases to be taught as a discrete subject. By this age, our pupils have acquired a good set of IT skills that they can apply in all subject areas, enabling ICT to become fully integrated within the curriculum as a whole. Pupils use ICT at Mount Kelly to communicate and handle information and present it in a variety of ways alongside learning the basics of coding and programming. ICT is also very much viewed as a cross-curricular element, helping pupils to meet their statutory requirements for using ICT as outlined in the Programmes of Study for each subject.


At Mount Kelly we believe that learning a language is key to underpinning communication with people, helping pupils to open their minds to the wealth of different countries and cultures. Great emphasis is placed on oral fluency, leading to an oral exam in Year 6 and 7 and up to the all-important Year 8 CE and Scholarships. Our teaching approach is to develop pupils’ linguistic competence and confidence, within the Lower Prep through the 'La Jolie Ronde' programme, developing into a broader range of materials drawn from the ISEB syllabus. Spanish is introduced in Year 6, with pupils continuing to study both French and Spanish for their final two years at the Prep. Cultural awareness is promoted at every opportunity, with after school clubs including Japanese and Russian to further develop and engage pupils of all ages in promoting an international mindedness and a love of languages. 



Pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding develop alongside their thinking skills, allowing them to expand ideas and form opinions.  Pupils participate actively in their learning; their enthusiasm and individuality is valued and they are given opportunities to complete tasks in ways that suit their learning styles and the department encourages and supports the use of a range of technology for individual, group and class research. In the Lower Prep, Geography is an essential and integral part of the IPC, forming the basis for much of the learning through topics such as ‘Adventurers and Explorers’ and ‘Active Planet’. From Year 5 pupils move on to reinforce prior learning, looking at developing fieldwork and research skills alongside local and international case-studies, leading, in the Upper Prep, to their CE Geography coursework – a personalised study worth thirty percent of the final mark. With strong cross-curricular links to our Shackleton and LOTC programmes, pupils will also be learning essential map reading, orienteering and OS skills. 


Following on from the work within the IPC, pupils follow and extensive and detailed journey from Year 5, investigating the Romans, the Vikings and the Saxons leading through to the beginning of the twentieth century in the Upper Prep and everything in between. Pupils are engaged in a great deal of Learning Outside the Classroom, with visits to local areas of historical interest, visits from ‘real’ Roman soldiers who put the pupils through their paces and the enactment of significant historical battles within the extensive grounds of the school. Key periods in history are brought to life through dramatic presentations of events such as the trial of Charles the First and the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket. Younger pupils journey out to the local Morwellham Quay to learn about Victorian life and the wealth of National Trust locations in our area further serves to enrich the History curriculum at Mount Kelly Prep which also forms a key part of our LOtC programme with trips out to places such as Cothele and Buckland Abbey serving to bring learning to life and bridge the gap between the centuries. 

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

Studying PRE at Mount Kelly creates the opportunity for each child to study religion and the nature of existence, questioning and discussing philosophical concepts and issues. From Year 5, connections with other subject areas (including History, Geography, Science, initiated through the IPC) are reinforced with the vision and values of the school embedded within the curriculum; a strong example of this is the study of the Holocaust within the Upper Prep during the Lent Term, to coincide with International Holocaust Day also marked through holocaust literature in English and the wider context within history. We do not believe in examining personal systems of belief and so studying Fundamental British Values alongside Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural aspects of learning in this way, allows pupils the freedom to explore, learn and express their opinions in a safe and supportive environment. Classrooms are considered ‘safe spaces’ where an atmosphere of mutual respect, consideration for others and tolerance is fostered. Within the Upper Prep pupils are challenged to research a chosen world religion/belief system initially as part of a group (Year 7) then individually (Year 8) assessed by their peers through presentation to the year group. 

Latin and Classics

Steeped in the myths and languages that have shaped our culture of today, Classics at Mount Kelly aims to provide pupils with a sound knowledge of the Ancient World.  We explore the Roman way of life and lead pupils towards an insightful understanding of Classical languages. Ours is a heritage both Greek and Roman and, via the medium of broad linguistic and cultural experiences, our pupils are able to see how this is at the heart of contemporary society. Some pupils opt to go on and study Latin within the Upper Prep, leading to Common Entrance examination. 


Thriving and bursting with energy, the Music Department at the Prep is pulsing with life. The children from Nursery to Year 8 have weekly music lessons in the spacious Music School at the Prep.  With 12 keyboards, an upright and grand piano, 20 ukuleles and wide range of tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments in the main teaching room, an ensemble room with drum kits and 14 separate practice rooms each with a piano it is certainly a well-resourced department.  The boarding community are encouraged to practice each morning and throughout their free time and day pupils are always welcome to the department for extra practice time.  

The range of abilities, ages and instruments performing to their peers from years 3-8 on a Monday morning to open assembly have been a joy to see and hear: vocalists, pianists, saxophonists, cellists, violinists, clarinet, trumpet and flute players ranging from beginners to diploma level have been a pleasure to hear and watch.  An accomplished and professional team of Visiting Music Teachers are on site daily to deliver quality music tuition on many instruments.


Drama helps to build a child’s self-esteem, confidence, creativity and communication skills and encourages teamwork. Our drama activities form a natural extension to academic studies with every year group involved in a drama production at different times throughout the year. Pupils gain knowledge of all aspects of theatre, including presentation, design, lighting and stage management. Mount Kelly also holds a poetry recital competition in the Lent Term. 

Outings are arranged to the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, The Minack Theatre in Penzance, and to other productions in the surrounding area, offering pupils a great opportunity to experience professional live performance.

Many pupils elect to work towards the LAMDA (London Academy of Mime and Dramatic Arts) examinations, joining the group tuition scheme run by our visiting LAMDA Teacher.

Design Technology 

The newly appointed Design Technology Department is situated at the heart of the Prep, within the courtyard. The department has been fitted with a band saw, scroll saws, pillar drills and belt sander to aid the learning journeys of children within this subject. The main focus for learning is to work with wood; joining, shaping and finishing to a high standard. The enthusiasm and quality of learning is testament to the quality teaching methods, projects and determination of the children to succeed in all areas. 

Pupils in Years 3-7 are taught at the Prep, where they build on a range of skills and learn to use workshop tools and machinery. Year 8 pupils visit the DT department at the College to develop their design skills further before stepping up to Year 9.


Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education plays a vital role in developing happy children who feel confident and resilient enough to learn and thrive in our fast changing world. Our excellent pastoral and academic care systems encompass much of the PSHE syllabus, however we also include weekly lessons with Form Tutors to cover specific areas of our care in both a proactive and reactive manner. This ensures that pupils develop an understanding of right and wrong, life skills such as budgeting, human development and how to stay safe. We believe that it is essential for all children to share their experiences and ideas to help generate a strong community based on mutual respect. 

We tackle some of the more challenging aspects of the syllabus through stand-alone seminars at various points through the year, utilising external speakers or the expertise of our own teachers. 

The programme encourages positive attitudes, independent learners and develops resilient characters who can thrive in our friendly environment.



In a vibrant and lively Art Department, all pupils from Years 3-8 work in a wide range of media from drawing and painting to clay and textiles. The curriculum is designed to inspire a love of creating, experimenting, exploring and learning. Each class explores a topic or theme each term which offers a new skill or technique to learn and develop. In the lower Prep, projects often support the current IPC topic. In the middle Prep the focus is on fine art skills whilst looking at a wide range of artists and makers for inspiration.  By Year 8, pupils are encouraged to embark upon more independent projects in any media they choose.

The Art Department runs a range of clubs at lunchtimes and after school as well as a Scholarship program for pupils with a real passion for the subject.

Learning is also supplemented by visiting artists and the school’s involvement in community projects that celebrate the arts.