Please join us for a live Q & A with our Head of Prep, Mrs Nike: Thursday, 11 March at 9:30am.  

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Curriculum

The Curriculum

We offer a broad and balanced curriculum that is creative and designed specifically to meet the needs of our pupils.  Engaging, challenging and designed to foster curiosity and develop learning, our curriculum enables our pupils to innovate and express what they have discovered in unique ways. It offers key skills and knowledge and ensues our pupils gain a real depth of understanding in all subjects. Supporting this is the opportunity for pupils to take part in a number of external competitions including engineering, DT, Maths and poetry.

Cornerstones

We have introduced an exciting new curriculum called ‘Cornerstones’. This ensures full coverage of the National Curriculum through exciting and stimulating topic-based activities. For example, each project begins with a memorable event to stir the girls’ interest, and culminates in an ‘innovate’ challenge lasting a few days.

View our Cornerstones film here

Within each topic, pupils learn aspects of Science, History and Geography and complete related Art, Computing, Drama, DT, Music and PE activities. In English, their reading and writing tasks are also topic-based. In addition, our specialist French teacher includes relevant work in the girls’ modern foreign language lessons. This cross-curricular approach enables the girls to apply their learning in different contexts, thereby deepening their understanding.

The topics for each class change every half term. Here are some examples:

Reception: Reception pupils have been very busy learning all about seasonal changes in autumn.

The girls went for a walk in their local park or woodland and collected all sorts of autumn treasures such as conkers, acorns, crunchy leaves and pine cones. In the classroom, we sorted these treasures into di erent tubs and used our phonics to read and match the labels correctly. Some tubs didn’t have a matching label so we used our sounds to write one!

They have also been exploring land art. We used natural resources such as owers, leaves, stones and sticks to create our own beautiful sculptures.

Year 1: During their ‘Enchanted Woodland’ topic, pupils wrote party plans for Mr Fox and then gathered with their teachers around a bonfire on our field to toast marshmallows. This created much excitement! Another topic was ‘Paws, Claws and Whiskers’ and the girls spent a happy break time enjoying a visit by our PE teacher’s very patient dog! They also looked after some guinea pigs for the day.

Year 2: For ‘Wriggle and Crawl’, Year 2 pupils acquired an African Land Snail, who they appropriately named ’Sahara”, and wrote instructions for looking after her. They changed her food and water daily. In ‘Movers and Shakers’, the girls are studying individuals who have had a major impact on the world.

Year 3: ‘Mighty Metals’ is a highly innovative topic ending with a DT project to make companions for Iron Man, involving soldering tin cans and building electric circuits for his eyes. Another topic ‘ Rocks, Relics and Rumbles’ sees the girls make model volcanoes and test them with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Year 4: Pupils study the Romans and the exciting climax see them spend a week as Roman legionnaires, mapping their invasion route, learning their army formations using shields that they made in Art and DT and making the kind of bread that legionnaires would have eaten during their campaign. The girls were visited by Boudicca, learnt about rebellion and debated as to whether she was reckless or brave. They even learnt some Latin words for Roman towns and weapons. In English, pupils study reports on modern Rome and an aspect of Ancient Roman life, soliloquies on the eve of battle and rousing victory speeches.

‘Playlist’ sees pupils learn about the science of sound and the history of music, writing explanations, onomatopoeic poems and narratives and creating their own music and body percussion compositions.

Year 5: ‘Alchemy Island’ is a very exciting topic which includes the history of alchemy, map work using a six-figure grid reference and imaginary setting descriptions. Pupils even get to make their own gold! Another favourite topic is the aptly named Tudor project ‘Off with Her Head!’.

Year 6:

We prepare our Year 6 students for our own, Old Palace entrance examination together with the 11+ examinations. They enjoy a wide variety of lunchtime and after-school clubs and also have the opportunity to take part in Senior School productions, concerts and choirs (including concerts at Croydon Minster). Girls are introduced to water polo, tennis, dance, hockey and netball and are given the opportunity to try out for teams and play competitively.

Taking part in the Arts Award is a very popular activity with our Year 6 students, who relish the challenge of creating their own plays and presenting them to their parents at the end of the year. Another highlight, and one which is very much looked forward to, is the annual residential trip to the Isle of Wight.

Expanding the horizons of our students in this way ensures that Year 6 at Old Palace becomes a valuable and rewarding experience. Most importantly, it helps build confidence which plays a significant part in reducing any anxiety a girl may experience when transferring from Year 6 to Year 7.  Indeed feedback on our Year 6 provision from both students and parents is overwhelmingly positive and we are immensely proud of all that our Year 6 girls achieve.

Assemblies, Trips and Events

Life at Old Palace Prep is never dull; days are filled with inspiring and uplifting assemblies and exciting trips and visits (including residential).  We celebrate important events such as harvest festival, Diwali, Black History Month and Remembrance Day.

Music

We love music at Old Palace and the opportunities for our pupils are extensive and wide-ranging. We have an orchestra, run polyphonic lessons and our Prep School choir even sings at Croydon Minster. We regularly perform at the Whitgift Care Homes as well as the Fairfield Halls, and we take part in the very popular ‘Young Voices’ at the Royal Albert Hall.  We also offer choral music scholarships in Year 3.

Sport

Reception – Year 2

Sport plays a crucial part in our curriculum. Foundation PE from Reception to Year 2 focuses on the ABC of sport matrix. This centres on Agility, Balance and Co-ordination. Pupils learn the FUNdamental skills that are generic to different sporting activities and the social skills associated with them. Pupils are taught to remember, repeat and rehearse movement to work alone and with others and all to enjoy what they do.

This will all be covered in a variety of sporting activities including Gymnastics, Multi skills, Summer Games, Athletic Activities, Dance, and Swimming.  All pupils have weekly Swimming, Dance and Physical Education lessons.

Year 3 – Year 6

At Old Palace, from Year 3 onwards, pupils are introduced to the recognised versions of specific sports including using rules and tactical play. They are involved in the traditional major games as well as less conventional activities in order to build their skills and self-confidence.  In the winter term pupils will take part in Cross Country and Gymnastics.  As we move into the spring term the focus moves toward Netball and other Games. We field teams from Year 4 upwards and play competitive netball matches against other local schools

During the summer term, pupils enjoy Rounders and Athletics.  There are also opportunities for Football and Tennis. All pupils are given the opportunity and involved in competitive situations such as matches and tournaments or inter-house activities. Pupils develop their physical self-confidence by involvement in a range of activities.

Our activities change in the Winter and Summer Term.

Winter

  • Netball
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Cross Country
  • Dance
  • Swimming

Summer

  • Rounders
  • Athletics
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Swimming
  • Dance