Prep School (Years 3-6)

Year Groups

Following Jesuit tradition, the year groups are named as follows:

  • Year 3 - Lower Prep 1
  • Year 4 - Lower Prep 2
  • Year 5 - Preparatory
  • Year 6 - Elements

Curriculum Policy

Parents may visit our 'School Policies' webpage to download a copy of the Prep School Curriculum Policy.


The Prep School follows the Independent Curriculum (full details can be found at The following subject areas are taught:

Core Curriculum Foundation Curriculum
Religious Education
Information Technology
Design Technology
Physical Education/Games

Classes are largely taught by their form teacher, believing that the development of a close relationship with the form teacher is of great benefit at this stage of their education. Music, PE, Art, French, ICT, and Games are taught by subject specialists.

Children are set in Mathematics and English according to ability.

Parents are issued with details of the Curriculum to be covered in their son’s year group shortly after the beginning of each term. (These Curriculum outlines may be downloaded from the box on the left.)

Music plays a very important part in the life of the school. There is a Senior Choir, Junior Choir, Orchestra and Brass Band. Regular concerts are held and allow children to perform publicly, individually and as members of a group.

Instrumental lessons are given by peripatetic instrumental staff on a wide variety of instruments and pupils are entered for public examinations when the required standard has been achieved.

Circle Time

Donhead uses Circle Time to help pupils develop skills of listening, co-operation with each other and friendship skills. Each class sets aside 30 minutes once a week for Circle Time. Circle Time is our way of delivering the PSHE curriculum within the school.

11+ Preparation Programme (Years 5 & 6)

Donhead is fully committed to ensuring that each boy achieves his full academic potential. In line with our commitment to the development of personalised learning, including Assessment for Learning, we run a structured preparation and assessment system in Year 5, and the first term of Year 6, in order to prepare boys as thoroughly as possible for any 11+ or independent school entrance exams that may be taken. This is incorporated within our existing curriculum.

This is an entitlement provided to all boys, appropriate to their level. The programme will be of benefit to all, including those destined for non-selective secondary school.

State grammar school examinations typically take place in the November prior to entry and independent school entrance examinations in the January prior to entry.

Although there is some individual differences between the various schools the 11+ is typically composed of:

  1. English
  2. Mathematics
  3. Non-verbal Reasoning
  4. Verbal Reasoning

Year 5: Throughout Year 5 all boys will follow a fortnightly cycle of practice exercises in English, Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning with the results being logged and analysed. Levels of progress will be carefully monitored and areas of weaknesses for individual pupils will be highlighted and addressed. Progress will be reported to parents at half-termly intervals and targets set for future performance.

Year 6: During the autumn term of Year 6, weekly practice exercises will take place and progress reported at the October half-term and at the end of term.