Choosing the right school for our children can make all the difference in nurturing a love for learning and fostering personal growth. In this Q&A session, we delve into the distinctive aspects of Years 5 & 6 at Pocklington Prep, where every detail has been meticulously crafted to create an exceptional educational experience.
From the holistic approach to education, prioritising pastoral care, to the seamless transition to senior school and a vibrant array of co-curricular opportunities, Pocklington Prep stands out for its commitment to fostering curiosity, independence, and a genuine passion for knowledge. In this Q&A session with Head of Prep School, Suzy Ward, we learn how she ensures that children not only thrive academically but also relish every moment of their school years.
And if you're contemplating a visit to see firsthand what Pocklington Prep has to offer, keep reading for details on taster clubs and workshops.
What makes Years 5 & 6 at Pocklington Prep the very best environment for my child?
Every aspect of life at Pocklington Prep has been carefully considered to ensure that the children love school and make excellent progress. We believe in a holistic approach to education, and every aspect of school life is seen as an opportunity to learn. We prioritise our pastoral care, believing that happy children learn better. Even as the children progress through the higher years of our school, we maintain a family approach based on high expectations, care, trust and a determination to succeed.
How does being a part of the Prep School help my child’s transition to the Senior School?
When children join us in Years 4, 5 or even 6, they quickly establish a firm group of friends. Our school is a welcoming and happy place and our children love to support our new-comers. Established friend groups provide a real sense of security as children move to the Senior School, removing one of the key worries many pupils might have about attending a larger school environment. On top of that, familiarity with the school grounds, the Senior School staff and the older children makes the transition just that little bit easier.
What co-curricular opportunities do you offer that my child might enjoy?
Well, the answer to this could be quite long! We offer a variety of lunch time and after school clubs, all carefully curated to provide a broad and balanced approach. You might choose to do some embroidery in your lunch hour on Monday, run the cross-country course after school on Tuesday, do some Creative Writing on Wednesday and attend our competitive Chess Club on Thursday! There is so much on offer and we expect (encourage?) all our older children to engage with at least one club per week. The vast majority do at least three! We really do believe that to find what we love, we need to try new things as much as possible!
How do you ensure that all children make excellent progress?
Small class sizes, even for our older pupils, allow our teaching team to really get to know each one of our pupils both academically and pastorally. We know their individual strengths and areas for development, allowing us to guide, support and encourage them to be the very best version of themselves. Specialist teaching throughout the Prep School provides opportunities for pupils to make excellent progress in all curriculum areas, allowing us to nurture emerging talents early. We have excellent links with the Senior School and we are able to hand over a great deal of information to ensure that our Prep leavers are known by the Senior School staff before they even arrive – a huge advantage to have!
How do you keep the curriculum as interesting as possible?
Our Curiosity Project was developed with our older children in mind! We thought a great deal about what sort of a learner we wanted our pupils to be and concluded that, above all else, we wanted our children to be curious. From the very beginning, our children learn to be independent learners who want to know more about the world around them. As they move into Years 5 and 6, their Curiosity Questions become increasingly challenging: When is conflict worthwhile? What does it mean to truly belong? Am I always responsible for my own actions? The debate, research and assimilation of information associated with these questions creates a learning environment with depth and challenge. Our children leave us ready and eager to learn more!
How does your pastoral care prepare the older children for Senior School?
In the Prep School, we place a huge emphasis on showing respect by taking responsibility for our own actions. We encourage this level of responsibility and independence through all aspects of school life. We provide our older children with real leadership opportunities so they can begin to understand their own ability to change situations and support others. We accept that arguments happen and mistakes are made and we expect children to dedicate themselves to working through difficulties towards an outcome that is good for all. We support the work we do through our PSHE curriculum and our Pastoral Policies, which are written by our own experienced staff.
What are your staff like?
Our staff are the absolute strength of our school! The care they take with each and every child they work with is exceptional. They constantly strive to improve their own practice and challenge the children with thrilling new ways of learning. Most importantly, they have the best sense of humour and are always up for a bit of fun – you only need to see us on World Book Day to appreciate that! As the children get older, their relationships with staff change. They move towards a mentoring role and the expectation of each child develops. The environment of the Prep School allows us to prepare the children for more ‘grown up’ relationships with the Senior School staff, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition.
How would you characterise the children at Pock Prep?
The children at Pocklington Prep love life and love their school. They are hands-on, resilient children who like nothing more than a challenging, engaging lesson followed by a run around in a bit of mud at break time! They take their studies seriously, show respect to their peers and staff and try to embrace as much of school life as they can. In short, the Pock Prep pupils are our reason for coming into school every day!
Would my child need to sit any form of exams to get into the Senior School?
The short answer to this is no! Once your child has sat our own Prep entrance assessments, they have a smooth and stress-free transition to the Senior School. Additionally, our Year 6 children do not sit SATs. This means they have more time to develop their love of learning and enjoy everything that our wonderful school has to offer!
Finally, how can my child come and experience some of what you have to offer?
There are several options, but why not book in for one of our taster clubs or workshops in the week of the 4th March? These clubs and workshops take place after their usual school day has finished, so no need for them to miss anything at their current school. There are lots to choose from – you can book here. Hurry, because spaces are limited!