In the Prep School, our aim is to protect and celebrate childhood, whilst also ensuring that the children are ready for what comes next. When the children leave at the end of Year 8, they depart confident young people, equipped with the knowledge, skills and values that will enable them to flourish at senior school and in the world that awaits them.
Our teachers provide a broad range of learning opportunities, which encourage children to explore ideas, ask questions and think critically and creatively when solving problems. We also encourage our children to be ambitious for themselves and to strive for success in everything that they do.
Fundamental to the success of every child at Vinehall is the strength of relationships that the children enjoy with the teachers. We know that happy children who feel a genuine sense of belonging will thrive in everything they do.
Juniors – Years 3 and 4
We start preparing the children for the transition to the Prep School in Year 2, with short visits to the Junior classrooms initially, building to spending the whole days in the Prep School.
The Juniors are mainly taught by the class teacher, providing them a safe and familiar environment – a ‘home’ that they know they can return to at any time. The children benefit from specialist teachers for Art, Carpentry, Computing, Music, Drama, French, Life Skills and Sport. Our expert teachers create exciting learning experiences, unconstrained by the limitations of the National Curriculum, giving every child the opportunity to discover and develop areas of personal interest and find joy in learning about the world around them.
We aim to develop the children’s independence and encourage them to be resilient and resourceful when faced with challenges, both in the classroom and when playing at break times. We encourage the children to recognise that everyone is different and that by working collaboratively we can support each other to overcome obstacles or make them feel a little less dauting.
Middles – Years 5 and 6
From Year 5, the children are taught by academic specialist teachers. Moving around the school for their lessons, the children begin to become more independent, taking responsibility for making sure that they have everything they need for their lessons. In addition, the children begin to take more responsibility for their own learning, developing strategies to enable them to work with greater independence.
In Years 5 and 6 STEM is taught as part of the curriculum, and in Year 6 children have the option of learning either Latin or Spanish in addition to continuing to learn French.
Form teachers continue to have responsibility for the children’s wellbeing, encouraging the children to be kind and empathetic, and to recognise the importance of treating others equitably. We support the children in becoming more emotionally resilient and help them to develop and use strategies to overcome challenges.
Seniors – Years 7 and 8
We want the Seniors to be serious in their endeavours, striving for success in all that they do, whilst learning not to take themselves too seriously. Our hope is that they will find joy in learning as confident, self-motivated learners, as well as finding both delight and comfort in the relationships they enjoy with their friends and teachers.
We recognise that leadership skills are developed by giving children the chance to lead, and over the course of their final two years at Vinehall, the children have many opportunities to take on positions of responsibility as Prefects, House Captains and Committee Leaders.
Over the course of their final two years at Vinehall, we work with the children individually, providing them with the support and guidance they need for the next step of their journey, whether they are working towards taking Common Entrance Exams for Eastbourne, preparing for an academic scholarship for Tonbridge or preparing for a music scholarship to King’s.
All children at Vinehall complete the ISEB Project Qualification, which requires the children to come up with their own research question and then answer that question, giving the children the opportunity to put into practice the independent research skills and the critical thinking skills that have been honed over the course of their time in the prep school.