September parent talk image

New beginnings

After a wonderful summer break, the staff and children at Queen’s College Pre-Prep have returned to school feeling refreshed and ready for another term full of wonderful learning opportunities.

We know the children are excited about getting to know their new class mates and the teachers, equally, are looking forward to getting to know the individual personalities of the pupils in their new classes.

Whether it is the first or the last day of term, our dedicated teachers and teaching assistants approach each day enthusiastically, ensuring that every pupil, whatever their needs, engages energetically in our broad and balanced curriculum.

We feel very privileged to support our Reception children as they begin their educational journey and settle into ‘big school’.

Their transition began in the Summer Term with a range of activities to support their move into the Pre-Prep and this will ensure a relaxed and happy start. They will no doubt take to school like ducks to water and confidently get to grips with school life! 

Year 1 and Year 2 pupils will continue to develop the academic and personal progress made last year and will thrive on the new challenges of the academic year.

Our aim at Queen’s College Pre-Prep is to educate in its widest sense and develop skills which are essential for life.

Our teaching encourages the development of thinking skills, independence and learning through discovery.

We recognise how vital it is to build a child’s confidence, self-esteem and resilience to enable them to cope with future challenges.

Our small class sizes ensure each child is supported and encouraged in all aspects of their personal and academic development, allowing them to thrive and reach their full potential.

May Parent Talk image

Building confidence

Our Summer Term at Queen’s College Pre-Prep proved to be both exciting and eventful.

It included a busy programme of transitional activities for those children who would be joining Reception in September as well as familiarisation activities for our Year 2 children who would become Junior pupils.

These events provided the children with a taste of what to expect in their new environment, giving them the opportunity to meet their new teachers and ensure a relaxed and happy transition.

During the Pre-Prep years, we provide a range of activities to help the children develop their confidence which is key to them settling and achieving. It is always a joy to see those quieter, less confident children blossom as their confidence grows.

Our supportive learning environment, where all are encouraged to have a go, and the variety of educational activities inside and outside the classrooms ensure a range of opportunities for children to experiment and try out activities which might normally be out of their comfort zone.

Our Enrichment Week is always a highlight for the Pre-Prep children.

This year our programme included a History day, an Environmental day, a Physical day, a Forest School day and a Creative and Performing Arts day.  

Our enrichment activities allow the children to challenge themselves with new experiences, improve social and interpersonal skills and further develop self-esteem, confidence, and emotional awareness – all core life skills.

Basic life skills learned early serve as a strong foundation and building block for a child’s future development and, at Queen’s, we recognise that, in a constantly changing environment, developing relevant life skills is an essential part of being able to meet the challenges of and adapt to everyday life.

Today’s students enter into a world requiring flexibility, resilience and adaptability. It is our aim to ensure that, from an early age, we provide our pupils with the skills set needed to ensure successful and fulfilling futures.

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Starting school advice

What do parents look for when choosing their child’s first school?  (writes Samantha Horner, Head of Queen’s College Pre-Prep).

As the parent of a child who is about to take her first steps into school life, my main focus is for my daughter to feel excited about starting school, engaged with the transition activities into Reception and happy and safe in the new setting. 

At Queen’s College Pre-Prep we recognise that a caring, nurturing, supportive environment is critical to a child’s educational success in the early years.

Our small classes ensure consistency and offer an engaging, positive learning environment where every child is respected as an individual.  I never cease to be amazed at the remarkable level of learning our children achieve in their Reception year, and the high standards they achieve ensure they are well prepared for their move into Key Stage One. 

A broad and balanced curriculum delivered in an exciting and tailored way ensures all children fully participate and enjoy their learning. 

In a recent parental questionnaire, our Reception parents commented that Queen’s College Pre-Prep “… provides a safe and comfortable environment in which our child is thriving”; offers “ … a wide range of activities and my child feels happy to participate without pressure”; “… makes my child feel nurtured and supported”; “ … goes above and beyond what is expected”; “ … gives the children the opportunity to express themselves”. 

We are delighted to be delivering the wonderful experience any parent would want for their child.

March Parent talk image

Developing Children’s Confidence

At Queen’s College Pre-Prep we ensure our pupils are confident, happy learners who enjoy taking part in both curricular and co-curricular activities and who are willing to challenge themselves in situations which may not be part of their normal comfort zone. 

Our recent whole-college dance show, ‘Belle’, featured pupils from Reception through to the Sixth Form and illustrated the confidence, joy and enthusiasm of our youngest children, who were completely relaxed when performing in front of audiences of more than 500 people. 

The focus, commitment and enjoyment of the children, who attend after-school sessions with our Performing Arts Academy, was a delight to see in the stunning dance spectacle.

One Reception parent commented that she could not believe the developing confidence of her four-year-old son and the transformation in his character in just six months at school. 

Our focus throughout Pre-Prep is to ensure all children are nurtured and supported in all areas, and taught in accordance with their learning styles, allowing them to progress securely through the Early Learning Goals and move into the Key Stage One curriculum. 

Our small class sizes and high staff ratios ensure each child is supported and encouraged in all aspects of their personal and academic development. 

Activities such as Forest School raise children’s self-esteem and confidence, while also encouraging independence. Forest School and off-site visits provide wonderful opportunities for active outdoor play and discovery where communication, relationships and problem-solving skills are developed. 

We are very proud of the individualised education we provide and the strong foundation we build for future learning.  

February Parent Talk image

Our smooth transition process

The transition process at Queen’s College Pre-Prep ensures the children are happy and confident with the next stage of their education. 

Our excellent and consistent communication with parents and series of transition events and activities from pre-school to Reception and then from Year 2 into the Junior School ensures a seamless, relaxed and smooth move from one stage of education to the next. 

Our recent ISI inspection praised our transition focus and commented that: ‘Excellent communication between all parts of the school ensures each child has a seamless transfer between the different phases, and is ultimately prepared for the next stage of their lives’.

During the Summer Term, prior to them starting school, our new Reception children visit regularly spending time with the Pre-Prep staff, engaging in ‘Fun Phonic’ sessions as well as joining our weekly assemblies and other events. 

This allows the children to become familiar and confident with the school process and assists with a confident start to school.  Our small classes, each with a teacher and teaching assistant, allow staff to really get to know every child, understand their specific learning needs and tailor the teaching accordingly. 

Our Year 2 pupils thoroughly enjoy the varied curriculum opportunities offered to them here at Queen’s Pre-Prep and have access to facilities across the whole of the Queen’s College site. Their regular PE lessons and weekly swimming lesson (in our indoor, heated pool) are taught by specialist, experienced Queen’s staff.

This means that, when the children move from Pre-Prep to Year 3, they are already familiar with many of the Junior School staff and comfortable with the site. The opportunities to build relationships across the College, and use the facilities within the campus, enable the children to become comfortable with their move into Year 3 and beyond.

Ensuring a relaxed, smooth and happy transfer from one stage of education to the next is just one part of our outstanding pastoral care. We recognise how important it is for a child to feel secure and comfortable and our focus is always to develop each child’s self-esteem to enable confident learning and to maximise progress.

Queen’s College Pre-Prep and Nursery is holding an Open Morning from 9.30am to 11.30am on Tuesday, February 27th. To attend – or to book a personal visit on another date – please email or call 01823 278928.

Parent talk - January image

Reception achievements

We are delighted at how quickly our Reception 2017 children have settled and are very proud of all they have achieved in their first term.

Within the first couple of weeks, new friendships were made and routines of the day mastered.  It has been wonderful to watch the children’s confidence develop and witness them embracing and enjoying all the wonderful new play and learning opportunities offered at Queen’s Pre-Prep.

Our experienced and highly qualified Early Years team ensure that, throughout Reception, all the children continue to make excellent progress, achieve and embrace the Early Learning Goals.

I am always amazed and delighted to see our Reception children using their early phonics skills to read and write independently within a few weeks of starting school. 

Our small group phonics and regular individual reading sessions allow us to focus on each child as an individual, tailoring their learning and ensuring that they all make continued progress.

Throughout the term, our two Reception classes have joined together for planned play activities which have allowed friendships to develop across the year group and provided the children with excellent opportunities to develop their language and communication skills. 

These joint play activities have encouraged learning about the art of sharing, negotiating and collaborative play.

At Queen’s College Pre-Prep, we recognise that a pre-requisite to learning is for a child to feel safe, secure and happy.

We achieve this by ensuring a pattern to the day, providing opportunities for the children to get to know all of the Pre-Prep staff, so they can be supported in all aspects of the curriculum, and tailoring a child’s education to their specific individual needs.  

Parent Talk - December image

Tailoring our teaching for each child

At Queen's College Pre-Prep, we recognise how important it is for children to enjoy school and feel motivated to learn.

We pride ourselves on really getting to know every pupil, allowing us to tailor our teaching for each child and to afford them the personal attention they need to flourish in their learning.  

Our high expectations are understood and embedded from an early age and we encourage our pupils to always do their best. 

Our recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspection recognised how our pupils “have highly positive attitudes to learning and, as such, achieve a high level of success”.  

Our experienced, caring and dedicated staff are committed to ensuring that the quality of our pupils' personal development is excellent.  

Throughout Pre-Prep, we develop the children’s life skills. Our Forest School and outdoor learning activities allow them to apply problem-solving and thinking skills to real life situations.

ISI acknowledged that our pupils' social development is excellent and that they “learn how to work well with others, to collaborate in solving problems ... through the many opportunities available to them, both inside and outside the classroom”.  

ISI also identified that our pupils “display excellent communication skills in the wide range of opportunities they are given across the curriculum and activities”.

Our interactive teaching style ensures that, from an early age, our pupils become good listeners who communicate confidently and clearly.

We offer our pupils a breadth of experiences, laying the foundations and building the stepping stones for their future. 

At Queen’s, learning is so much more than academia – our goal is to develop the whole child, ensuring that every student is the best they can be and achieves their full potential.

Parent talk - October image

Transition from Reception to Year One

At Queen's College Pre-Prep we are proud of our seamless transition from Reception to Year One where the children move from the Early Years Foundation Stage into Key Stage One.  

Each class has a teacher and a teaching assistant and our small class sizes allow staff to really get to know each individual child, understand their specific needs and tailor the teaching accordingly.  

Our staff are extremely caring and professional, patiently explaining concepts and ideas so that every child feels supported, enjoys their learning and is confident to contribute.  

We adapt our teaching to each child's preferred learning style, ensuring progress and development.  We focus on developing and enriching children’s interests in an active, multi-sensory learning environment.  

Consistent praise and encouragement contribute hugely to creating happy, confident and successful learners.

The Year One curriculum continues to build on the reading and writing skills developed during the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Particular importance is placed on developing the children’s speaking and listening skills and collaboration, ensuring a strong foundation for their learning throughout Key Stage One.  

Topic-based learning allows curriculum areas to be covered in a dynamic, stimulating and interesting way with the result that the children are enthusiastic and excited about their learning.  

Our approach to teaching encourages our pupils to be curious about their world and keen to learn and provides a thorough grounding in and understanding of the key skills of communication, language, literacy and mathematics.

New reception class

Starting School

Starting school is always an exciting milestone for any four year old. 

Here at Queen's Pre-Prep we offer a warm and happy environment where our youngest pupils, taking their first steps into school, quickly gain confidence.

Our experienced teachers and teaching assistants are extremely caring and professional, patiently engaging the children in a broad and enriched curriculum where every child feels inspired, is able to contribute and enjoy their learning. 

Starting school is the beginning of an exciting journey.  

Within our caring community we ensure the building blocks to a lifelong learning adventure are firmly in place. 

We want our children to be enthusiastic and excited about their learning, to be involved, to feel confident and secure, to run about and enjoy outdoor play, to be able to express themselves and to look forward to coming to school. 

We pride ourselves on excellent communication with parents and ensure a smooth transition from pre-school to school. 

Our youngest additions to the Queen’s Pre-Prep family (pictured above) have thoroughly enjoyed being part of our friendly school, settling quickly and gaining confidence and independence with their learning. 

Parent Talk - June

Enriching young lives

Our aim at Queen’s College Pre-Prep is to educate in its widest sense. We are passionate about enriching our pupils’ lives, by teaching, encouraging and developing skills which are essential for life.

The concept of lifelong learning is promoted through our daily activities, reinforcing the fact that children and adults can learn new things every day.  Our focus ensures learning is a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. 

The development of concentration, self-awareness and resilience is key and we introduce strategies for children to support them when they feel challenged.

Strategies such as mindfulness can help children cope in their future lives with things like exam stress or challenging situations they might encounter.

Forest School and outdoor learning is an important part of Pre-Prep life.  Children are stimulated through exploring the outdoors, including practical hands-on learning activities. Over time they experience an increase in self-belief, confidence, learning capacity, enthusiasm, communication and problem-solving skills as well as emotional well-being.

Visiting speakers feature regularly in our curriculum and also enrich and add a new dynamic to our pupils' learning experience.  Welcoming other voices into the classroom provides our pupils with access to different perspectives, adds variety to the classroom routine and demonstrates that learning is a collaborative process.

Visits from the Somerset Museum Service, help to bring history alive for the children by involving them in role play and providing opportunities for them to handle artefacts. 

At Queen’s we value each pupil as an individual and enjoy sharing and participating in the richness of cultural backgrounds of the children we teach. 

For example (picture above), the Pre-Prep children enjoyed an informative presentation about Japanese Children’s Day from two of our Year 4 pupils from Japan.

Pre-prep Parent Talk pic - May 17

Nurturing individuality and creativity

At Queen’s College Pre-Prep, we offer an education for our children which encourages thinking skills, independence and learning through discovery. 

Our aim at Queen’s is to provide an environment where, from a very early age, our children can start to develop skills for life.

We use our daily teacher observations to form assessments of our pupils throughout the year in a non-pressurised, unobtrusive, stress-free way and use summative assessments at key points throughout the year to make judgements against national expectations.

This means that, at any one time, we are aware of the level at which each child is performing in relation to the national standards and can tailor our teaching to support and further their progress.  

We recognise the importance of each child’s mental wellbeing and how this contributes to their continued progress and allows them to thrive. 

One of the assessments we carry out allows us to evaluate pupils’ happiness within our educational setting and the results have shown that our pupils are very happy with their learning experience here in the Queen’s College Pre-Prep. 

Our aim is to nurture creativity and emphasise the importance of learning so that our pupils go through school knowing they can thrive and discover.

The best start in education

We believe that our small classes, engaging teaching and superb facilities ensure children have the very best start in Early Years education, building a strong foundation for future learning.

We were delighted to have this reinforced with an ‘outstanding’ rating in EYFS in our last OFSTED inspection. Our aim at Queen’s College Pre-Prep is to nurture and develop every individual’s talents, ensuring that every pupil is the best that they can be and achieves their potential.

Our reception classes provide a stimulating, fun, child-centred learning environment. We encourage our pupils to follow their natural curiosity and become enthusiastic learners and recognise that children flourish when they are allowed the freedom to control their own learning.

Dynamic and creative topic-based teaching provides a broad, balanced and inclusive curriculum for all children. Every week, our children take part in a Forest School activity, swim, enjoy two PE sessions, French and Music.

We pride ourselves on our outstanding pastoral care – building strong relationships with our parents and focusing on getting to know each individual child to develop their self-esteem, confidence and independence. 

We offer a variety of transitional activities to our pre-school children in the term before they start Reception to allow them to become familiar with the setting and teachers and to ensure a relaxed, happy and smooth introduction to school.

We recognise that parents may be apprehensive about their child starting school and invite them to information evenings and other events prior to their child joining.  

We also hold weekly parent coffee mornings and a weekly family assembly while our parents’ committee organises regular social events for parents and families.  

A safe and engaging environment

Queen's College Pre-Prep understands the importance of supporting working families and offers a safe and engaging environment, managed by our experienced and dedicated staff, where children enjoy free early morning supervision, from 7.45 am and after school care until 6 pm.

We provide an extensive and varied range of free after school co-curricular activities such as football, cookery, art and craft, construction, science, playground and board games. These encourage the development of personal skills such as team work, creativity, problem-solving and fair play.

Our Performing Arts Academy offers a range of after school classes to children from Reception upwards, including ballet, street jazz, hip-hop, tap and contemporary dance.

We are proud of the broad and balanced curriculum we offer, ensuring every child flourishes no matter what their personal interests and abilities.  

The Pre-Prep children have three sports lessons a week, taught by our specialist, experienced PE staff.  This includes a weekly swimming lesson in our on-site heated pool. The children also have the opportunity to use the more extensive Queen’s College facilities including state-of-the-art pitches and AstroTurf surfaces.

From an early age children have the opportunity to learn a variety of instruments, including piano, recorder, drums, violin, cello and guitar and are taught by our talented peripatetic music teachers.

Speech and Drama lessons allow the children to develop their communication, creative and performance skills as well as boosting confidence, building self-esteem, and overcoming shyness.  The children have the opportunity to perform in the Taunton Speech and Drama Festival and take exams. We are always incredibly proud of how outstandingly well they perform.

At Queen's College Pre-Prep we also take learning outside the classroom to support lessons and our Forest School sessions in the woods provide hands-on outdoor learning opportunities to develop confidence and self-esteem, which in turn impact on a child’s emotional and mental well-being.

Queen’s College Pre-Prep offers a wealth of opportunities to challenge, expand and develop your child's creative, sporty and inquisitive sides and our dedicated staff are committed to ensuring every child achieves their full potential. 

Our Head of Pre-Prep

Miss Sam Horner took over as the Head of Pre-Prep at the start of 2017.

Previously Year 2 teacher and Maths co-ordinator, she replaced Mrs Jan Williams who retired at the end of the 2016 Autumn Term.

Miss Horner, who grew up in Cornwall, completed a four-year teaching degree at Westminster College (Methodist) in Oxford.

She taught in a state school in Milton Keynes for two years before moving to independent Christ Church Cathedral School in Oxford, teaching year 1 and also running Pre-Prep.

Miss Horner moved to Queen’s in 2004, originally teaching Year 3 and living on-site as the resident boarding tutor in Cotlake House. Her daughter, Amalie, goes to Highgrove Nursery and will continue her education through Queen’s.

Miss Horner said: “I am thoroughly looking forward to taking up my new role as Head of the Queen’s College Pre-Prep department and developing the dedicated work of Jan Williams.

“We have a fantastic experienced team of staff in the department and I look forward to leading them.

“We provide an excellent early start to school for young children and I am passionate about ensuring their learning experience is fun and allows all our pupils to flourish.

“I want to make sure every child has their individual needs met and thus allow them to develop into confident pupils.”

Miss Horner said that Queen’s Pre-Prep offered music, performing arts, after school clubs, sports, swimming, outdoor education and Forest School.

“We aim to bring out the best in the children, developing their confidence and self-esteem.

“We want to spot identify and unlock individual talents and ensure all our pupils flourish.”

Our Head of Junior School, Mrs Tracey Khodabandehloo, said: “Sam brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the role and we are all looking forward to working with her.”

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School Office: +44 (0)1823 272559

School Office: +44 (0)1823 272559