At the Prep, we pride ourselves on providing a nurturing and challenging academic curriculum that develops pupils’ confidence; encouraging them to take risks, think independently, and question the world around them.
At the Prep, we pride ourselves on providing a nurturing and challenging academic curriculum that develops pupils’ confidence; encouraging them to take risks, think independently, and question the world around them.
The curriculum is broad-based in order to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and promote enjoyment in learning.
The Prep is split into three sections: Lower Prep for Years 3 and 4, Middle Prep for Years 5 and 6 and Upper Prep for Years 7 and 8.
The Lower Prep works closely with the Pre-Prep to continue to follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC); teaching Science, History, RS and Geography thematically through appropriate and stimulating projects. This is delivered by the form teachers, providing pupils with excellent continuity in the core academic subjects, taught by teachers trained in the pedagogy of young pupils in a nurturing and caring developmental environment. Pupils also take lessons from specialist teachers for Music, Art, Design Technology (DT), Information Communication Technology (ICT), Physical Education (PE) and French, finding links to the IPC where appropriate.
The Middle Prep forms the central, pivotal years in the Prep at Mount Kelly. Pupils are now increasingly taught by specialist teachers: English, Maths, Science, French, History, Geography, Religious Studies (RS), Art, DT and Music. This requires greater autonomy on the part of pupils as they find their way around the Prep campus, however, 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 the Upper Prep, pupils continue to experience a rigorous and varied curriculum. Through engaging academic work, sports, music, drama, Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) and our Shackleton Programmes, all Mount Kelly pupils are guided on the road for lifelong learning, empathy and personal resilience. Our Form Tutor system, in tandem with wrap-around Pastoral care, ensures that all pupils are cared for throughout their time 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; in achieving this we ask our pupils to adopt a growth mind-set.
In Years 1 to 4 we use the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) to deliver our Science, History, Geography, RS, Art, DT, PE and Music topics through engaging and creative thematic units. The units within the IPC are interesting, 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 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 (including of course Victoria sponge!). In this way, the IPC captures the imagination of all 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.
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.
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.
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. Previous performances include Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol, Pirates of the Curry Bean, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Romeo and Juliet and The Highwayman. 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 Music and Dramatic Arts) examinations, joining the group tuition scheme run by our visiting LAMDA Teacher.
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 R. J. Palacio, 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 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. We hold an annual Poetry Recital Competition in which all pupils take part during class, the final is held in the Front Hall and is a much anticipated event in the School calendar..
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 alongside debating competitions such as the Rotary Club ‘Youth Speaks’ events.
The EAL Department is about so much more than helping with language aquisition. It is also important to ensure that overseas pupils settle down happily within their new environment and to help them with any initial learning difficulties, culture shock and possible homesickness. For pupils who are far from home it is essential that we do all we can to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and we achieve this through tuition on a one-to-one or very small group basis with each pupil’s needs individually assessed. We provide a teaching programme of English Language support to enable pupils to work effectively towards their GCSE or A-level examinations and we prepare them for EAL examinations such as Cambridge English: First (FCE); the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE); the Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE); and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination.
Years 7 – 9
Overseas pupils will study EAL as one of their subjects. This is usually instead of a modern language (French or Spanish), depending on their language ability and EAL requirements, or will be instead of another subject. EAL lessons range between one and four lessons weekly; an English skills analysis on entry to the school will determine their needs.
Years 10 – 11
Overseas pupils will study EAL as one of their four options, which would normally be timetabled as three lessons per week. We endeavour to carry out a range of topic-related projects on themes, which will complement their academic studies and broaden their cultural and social experience in English.
Lower Sixth Form and Upper Sixth Form
Experience has shown that pupils benefit from extra EAL lessons in the Sixth Form. Consequently, in the Lower Sixth, they have two compulsory lessons weekly, either on a one-to-one basis or shared in very small groups, as part of their timetable; this will revert to one lesson weekly in the Upper Sixth. This helps to maximize their achievement at A Level, gain one of the Cambridge University TESOL exams and ensure the attainment of university requirements in English, such as IELTS, for British universities.
Pupils in Years 7 to 9 take an internal EAL exam, alongside other mainstream subject exams.
Pupils in Year 10 and 11 take GCSE English and one of the Cambridge ESOL exams.
Sixth Form pupils take one of the Cambridge ESOL exams and if needed, the IELTS exam; an obligatory requirement if they are intending to go to a British university.
All the Cambridge University ESOL examinations are internationally recognised, prestigious awards and a credit to any pupil when returning to their own country.
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 an extensive and detailed journey from Year 5, investigating the Romans, the Vikings and the Saxons leading through to the beginning of the 20th 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, 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 visit Morwellham Quay to learn about Victorian life and the wealth of National Trust locations in our area, including Cotehele and Buckland Abbey, help to bring learning to life and bridge the gap between the centuries.
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 that 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.
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 our ultimate aim is to prepare pupils for Common Entrance and Scholarship in Year 8, we also strive to give pupils confidence and a variety of opportunities to stretch and challenge their understanding of mathematics. 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 online 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 enjoyed great success including a number of Gold awards and one Year 8 pupil qualified for the Maths Olympiad.
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. 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 with a piano, it is a well-resourced department. The boarding community is encouraged to practice each morning and throughout their free time, and day pupils are always welcome to the department for extra practice.
Pupils of all age, ability and instrument are encouraged to perform to their peers during Assembly on a Monday; vocalists, pianists, saxophonists, cellists, violinists, clarinet, trumpet and flute players from beginners to diploma level have been a pleasure to see. An accomplished and professional team of Visiting Music Teachers are on site daily to deliver quality music tuition on many instruments.
There are many studies which show the considerable benefits to the pupil including increased fine motor coordination, visual processing and social confidence especially when taking part in a musical ensemble.
Later in their school careers, pupils find the experience of playing music provides a refreshing diversion from academic studies especially during exam periods. When applying to university, pupils are finding that admissions tutors are particularly impressed by those candidates who have had the dedication and determination to pursue music alongside their other studies. It is also worth noting that every Head Boy and Head Girl for the last three years have been active musicians!
Lessons in the full range of instruments, including singing, are available within the school from a team of dedicated and experienced teachers, with a track record of outstanding tuition and results. Taster lessons are available before committing to a full term and these are charged pro rata.
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’ French programme, developing into a broader range of materials drawn from the ISEB syllabus. Spanish is introduced in Year 7, 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.
Personalised Learning at Mount Kelly encompasses Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (including Potential High Achievers), Medical and Mental Health, English as an Additional Language and the demands on our performance swimmers and athletes.
Our aim is to ensure that the learning styles and requirements of all our pupils are met through the benchmark of Quality First Teaching and a graduated response of Wave 1, 2 and 3 interventions.
At the Prep, we operate a ‘whole pupil, whole school’ approach to the management and provision of support for special educational needs. Support and advice is offered to all staff working with special educational needs pupils. All children with an additional need are identified on the Prep Provision Map which is regularly reviewed.
We actively encourage all children to develop independence within the classroom and as far as possible this is promoted via Wave 1 level support and Quality First Teaching. Some children will require a more bespoke package of support and will attend booster sessions in small groups through non-academic time.
Children who have specific needs will receive an individual Pupil Passport, put together by staff in close collaboration with the child and parents. In rare cases some children may require some 1:1 support. This is agreed in conjunction with the Assistant Head of Personalised Learning, relevant Heads of Faculty and the Deputy Head Academic.
At the College, we make reasonable adjustments for pupils who require additional support and offer small group interventions or additional study skills. One-to-one sessions are provided on an ad-hoc basis but are not a timetabled option. From 2019, all pupils in Year 9 will be screened using Lucid Exact to take a snapshot of reading comprehension and speed, writing speed, spelling and typing speed.
Pupils have access to an academic mentor to help extend their study and research skills. In some lessons, there is the input of a Teaching Assistant. Our SENCo holds approved teacher status from the British Dyslexia Association.
Personalised Learning Profiles assist teachers in understanding the classroom strategies that help individual pupils. Support is reviewed regularly with pupils, parents and teachers involved in the process.
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.
Religious Studies 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 are reinforced, for example, the study of the Holocaust within the Upper Prep coincides with International Holocaust Day and is marked through holocaust literature in English and the wider context within history. We do not believe in examining personal systems of belief, and studying Fundamental British Values alongside Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural aspects of learning 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 or belief system as part of a group (Year 7) and then individually (Year 8).
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, and progress 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 project work are typical applications of this essential and effective tool. Mount Kelly’s grounds boast a healthy diversity of flora and fauna and we have our own greenhouse, a poly-tunnel, pond and environmental study area as well our own lake and access to the River Tavy. The whole campus is one huge outdoor classroom!