Shaping a Love of Learning

In the Prep School, we aim to provide an education that enables all our pupils to develop their love of learning, academic potential and individual talents in a caring community which fosters sensitivity, confidence, a sense of service and enthusiasm for life.

Happy children are successful learners. Ardingly pupils are excited to be with their friends and inspired by their lessons. They are learning in a supportive atmosphere, where our passionate teachers are committed to supporting our children in reaching their very best educational potential: encouraging independent learning and development, through the use of questioning and discussion.

Interactive methods of teaching are used increasingly in learning. Our aim being to ensure that all Prep pupils are aware of, and are ready to take on, the challenges of the fast-moving digital world.

Educational trips are also arranged to enrich the children’s subject knowledge.

Maintaining a healthy balance between different ways of teaching and learning ensures wider levels of interest and boosts children’s confidence and happiness.

The Curriculum is structured as follows:

  •        Core subjects – Maths, English, Science
  •        Humanities – History, Geography, R.E
  •        Languages – French, Spanish/ Latin (Year 7)
  •        Games, Swimming, Music, Drama, Art, ICT and PSHE

Years 3-6

The National Curriculum at Key Stage 2 is the starting point on which we build a full and varied curriculum for Years 3-6.

The emphasis is on engagement and enjoyment. The Humanities subjects are taught through a Creative Curriculum which involves topic-based learning in Years 3-5. This fires pupils with enthusiasm and puts academic subjects into a real-world context. It means children are captivated by the subject and become more independent learners. Each topic has a Stunning Starter, Marvellous Middle and a Fabulous Finish!

In Years 3-4, most subjects are taught by Form Tutors in their form groups, except French, Music, Swimming, Games, Drama and Art which are taught by specialist teachers. Pupils are set for Maths and Spelling.

The Forest School and Outdoor Learning journey starts in Pre-Nursery and continues throughout a child’s time in the Pre-Prep and on into Year 3.  Each Year 3 class has weekly sessions which take place in all weathers at our dedicated Forest School site in Standgrove Woods. The sessions are led by an experienced and qualified Forest School Leader.

In Years 5-6, all subjects are taught by specialist teachers. In Maths and English, the pupils are set according to the teaching pace from which the teachers feel they would most benefit.


  • Years 3 & 4 are encouraged to spend a short amount of time each evening reading and they will receive weekly spellings and times tables.
  • Year 5 are set a formal prep to be done during Prep time on a Monday. They also receive weekly spellings.
  • Year 6 are set a formal prep to be done during Prep time on a Monday and Thursday. They also receive weekly spellings.

Years 7 & 8

Pupils begin to take more responsibility for their learning in preparation for their transfer to the Senior School. This ensures that, when the time comes, they have the acquired skills to make the transition a smooth one.

They have some choices to make, such as what language to choose and what topic to cover in their final Humanities project. In Years 7 & 8, pupils work towards the Common Entrance (CE) examination in English, French, Maths and Science, which are taken in the Trinity term of Year 8. CE is used to introduce pupils to revision strategies, examination practice and for setting purposes in the Senior School.

Humanities are taught through our Inquiring Curriculum, an academically rigorous course that spans both Years 7 & 8 in the Prep School. Many of the topics covered link into one another to give the pupils a greater depth of understanding.

All subjects are taught by specialist teachers. Pupils are set according to the teaching pace from which they would most benefit in English, French, Maths and Science.

Educational trips become even more exciting with international excursions, sometimes in conjunction with the Senior School.

Pupils benefit from being attached to a Senior School. The Director of Studies in the Prep, and the Head of Middle School work together to prepare students for the academic rigour of Senior School.

During the school year there are masterclasses organised by the Senior School to enrich their learning of certain subjects including Music, Science and Maths. Our STEM Day is one of the most popular events;  in teams pupils build a mini solar powered car and race it along the ‘Ardingly Speedway’.  In the summer, there is also the opportunity to join in the Life Skills Week Programme.


  • In preparation for the homework demands of Senior School, whilst promoting independent study, Year 7 attend a prep session on a Monday and Thursday, and Year 8 on a Tuesday and Thursday. This is done under the supervision of Form Tutors who are available to offer support and guidance to pupils, should they require it.

*Prep timings are 4.40 – 5.30pm