Pupils aged 7-11 work for the majority of their time in the Junior Department. The pupils study in small classes, headed by a group tutor who is responsible for their pupils' general programme and welfare; they also teach many of the lessons. We believe it is essential that all pupils acquire a good grasp of English and Maths and the Junior staff also teach Science, Humanities and Art through the inquiry-based International Primary Curriculum. Other subjects such as DT, ICT, Languages, Music, Drama and PE are taught by subject specialists who are experienced in teaching primary aged pupils. In Year 6, pupils are taught by specialist teachers and some class-based tutors.
In Years 6-8, your child will be taught by some further specialist subject teachers and class-based tutors. The programme will continue to be overseen by their group tutor, who will also keep a close and friendly eye on how your child is developing outside the classroom – in Sport, Music and other activities. English and Maths are still central to the curriculum. Pupils also study Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Humanities, Religious Studies, Art, Food Technology, Design and Technology, Computing & ICT, Music, Drama and PE. Language options include French, Spanish and Latin.
- Computing & ICT
- Design & Technology
- Drama & Media Studies
- English as an Additional Language (EAL)
- Food Technology
- Modern Languages
- Religious Studies
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
- Pablo Picasso
We believe every child is an artist and our aim is to build confidence through creative play and visual self-expression, so as to allow their potential to flourish.
Drawing underpins everything we do and is the skeleton onto which we build any body of work. An expansive range of skills and techniques are taught, which are used to develop imagination and independent creative thinking.
We are very fortunate to have fantastic facilities and to be surrounded by such inspiring natural beauty. Pupils experience and are taught the full range of both 2D and 3D processes. We have a well-equipped pottery studio and a purpose-built carving area, where pupils are taught to carve in stone.
The department is a hive of activity throughout the week, as well as weekends, with a full range of clubs and activities for all ages. Art trips are organised across the age ranges, that offer excellent learning experiences beyond the classroom.
Every pupil has the opportunity of exhibiting their work around the school and each week one piece of art is highlighted and becomes the ‘Picture of the Week’.
Whatever pupils go on to do in the future, IT skills will most probably be essential, as everyone is now expected to have sound digital skills.
Pupils are taught the following skills during their time at Millfield Prep:
• Word Processing
• Desktop Publishing
• Graphical Representation of Data
• Online Communications
• Multimedia Presentations
• Monitoring & Control
• Video Editing
• Digital Imagery
• Graphic Design
• App Design
• Programming/Game Creation
In Years 3 and 4, pupils begin to learn the basics, including sending emails, using different fonts, search engines, creating and using databases, cutting and pasting text, creating pie charts and graphs, interpreting and analysing information in graphs and simple programming & coding using Scratch and the Dot and Dash robots. In Year 5, they begin to use spreadsheets and sensors, collect and interpret data, use a digital camera and edit the images from the camera. On top of this, they create interactive presentations/storybooks using Purple Mash and develop their programming & coding skills further through game creation in Scratch, and by using the Lego EV3 and Sphero robots. In Year 6, pupils look at creating various graphs in some detail, as well as becoming familiar with Microsoft Word. They go on to design a poster, learn more skills with a digital camera, and create a slideshow and are introduced to simple video editing.
In Year 7, pupils look at digital imaginary using Adobe Photoshop, further develop their knowledge of spreadsheets, create a presentation, learn how to perform basic programming functions using a BBC Microbit, and become more familiar with Microsoft Office 365. In Year 8, pupils develop many of the skills learnt over the previous years, including Photoshop, Excel, Word, as well as being introduced to App Design and further developing their programming skills via a Raspberry Pi and the Python programming language
Incredible facilities at your fingertips
We have three purpose-built computer labs, each containing 17 PCs running a Windows 2012 Network and Windows 10 on each work station. Each lab also contains scanners, digital cameras, a colour laser printer, a multimedia projector and interactive whiteboard.
As part of our Mobile Learning Project, pupils in Year 6 are given a school-owned iPad on a termly basis. In Years 7 and 8, it is compulsory for pupils to have their own iPad.
The Junior Department has a supply of iPads, that are used in both ICT and subject teaching.
Design & Technology at Millfield Prep is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject.
Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. In doing so, they acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they also develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world.
Design & Technology is taught to Years 3 and 4 on a weekly basis throughout the academic year in the technology workshops. From Year 5 upwards, pupils learn Design & Technology for two terms and Food Technology for one term each year, working on a rotation carousel. After school clubs are available for all ages, as we look to provide opportunities for all those interested. This subject is growing at Millfield Prep, with Year 9 Design and Innovation Scholarships available at Millfield Senior and success being gained by the Year 6 Kit Car Club at the external Goblin Kit Car regional competition.
Coming up this year:
- Dragster car design and racing using CAD/CAM technology
- Graphic design projects
- 3D CAD drawing experience
- Electronic Kit Car Club
- Year 8 Scholarship Group
"Drama is life with the dull bits cut out."
- Alfred Hitchcock
Drama is available to every pupil at Millfield Prep and is part of the curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to find ways to express themselves, develop greater confidence, work in a team and share the ‘limelight’, fostering a love of film and stage that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
All pupils have the opportunity to perform to an audience, be it their peers or the whole school. Each year group has a production and if a child auditions and is willing to devote time and energy then they will not be turned away; auditions are used solely to assign roles. Recent productions have had casts of over 60 children, all with speaking roles.
- The Jungle Book
- Dick Whittington
- Fairy Tale Adventures
- Mary Poppins
For those who enjoy the technical side of theatre, there are also opportunities to play a part. One of our ex-pupils who managed lighting and effects in several shows is now Production Manager for The Lion King.
In tandem with studying Drama, we incorporate Media Studies and introduce topics such as Audience, Genre, Narrative, Marketing and Symbolism. We have recently introduced a portable TV studio, where pupils can learn to produce, edit and manage sound and lighting for film productions. They can also create music videos and DVDs.
Pupils can also choose to take LAMDA exams and participate in Speech & Drama as a co-curricular club.
Millfield Prep's Drama lessons lead to many pupils becoming involved. Parents have been amazed at the positive effect of school drama on their children
The Good Schools Guide
“English is capable of defining sentiments that the human nervous system is quite incapable of experiencing.”
- Robert A Heinlein
By introducing pupils to a wide range of literature, composition styles and technical knowledge, the English Department aims to:
- Awaken and encourage a lifelong love of literature
- Enable the clear transmission of ideas through written and spoken language
- Encourage the discovery of 'voice' and 'style' in written pieces
- Develop accurate use of written and spoken English
- Talk about language and literature using specific technical terms
- Use technology to enable clear and efficient communication
- Nurture comprehension skills to raise awareness of the world around them
Topics include Reading Comprehension, Private Reading, Punctuation Exercises, Planning and Drafting Strategies, Public Speaking, Spelling Activities, Grammar Exercises, Recount Writing, Persuasive Writing, Explanation Texts, Shakespeare, Pre-19th Century Literature, Myths and Legends, Creative Writing, Narrative Writing, Descriptive Writing, Discursive Writing, Poetry and Information Texts.
In the Junior Department, English is taught by class teachers. Year 7 and 8 pupils are taught by English specialists and, where appropriate, by teachers in our Learning Development Centre. The curriculum is constantly being revised to keep it fresh and new. Each teacher brings their own passions and teaching style to the subject and this is demonstrated by the exciting new topics, books and resources introduced each year.
Learning about English does not end in the classroom and we organise theatre trips, visiting speakers, performers and much more.
Integration from the start
Some pupils who don’t have English as their mother tongue may find it difficult to fully access certain elements of the curriculum when they start at Millfield Prep. We neither throw them in at the deep end, nor do we segregate them from their native English-speaking friends. All of our pupils are integrated into the life of Millfield Prep from the very start of their time here. Boarding pupils live in a boarding house along with people from England and all around the world, and represent the school in sports teams alongside their British classmates. They form strong international friendships very quickly.
Catering for the individual
EAL classes are taught in small groups by qualified and experienced English Language teachers, who have a wealth of experience. Each pupil's individual language needs are quickly identified and met. Some pupils will need more EAL lessons every week than others, but regardless of whether the pupil is having six or 16 EAL classes per week, they will still have over half of their lessons with their study group, the vast majority of whom have English as their mother tongue.
Through discussions, grammar practice, vocabulary expansion sessions and other fun classroom activities, pupils are encouraged to find out how to express their opinions and ideas in English. The activities used in class will not only enable them to listen, speak, read and write comfortably in an English environment, but will also prepare them for entering their curriculum subjects, when their language level is of a suitable standard. Our aim is for children to develop self-confidence in a new environment and to ensure that all of our pupils’ English levels get to a stage from which they are able to go into their curriculum subjects with their classmates. Once in mainstream subjects, our overseas pupils can improve their English alongside their knowledge of the content of the subject, be it volcanoes in Geography, the 100 year war in History or circuits in Science.
Outside the classroom, all pupils can enjoy the wide range of activities and clubs including horse-riding, fencing, sailing, orchestra, archery and chess (to name but a few!).
Throughout the year, we celebrate festivals from the UK and the rest of the world, including Chinese New Year and Christmas. As a group we take five educational trips to places where the pupils can learn more about life in Britain, and use their English in real-life situations.
In addition to the busy social life at Millfield Prep, the EAL department also hosts an International Evening each year, when pupils are encouraged to bring food from their country for their friends to taste, while they enjoy the evening’s entertainment and music.
Developing key life skills
Pupils have dedicated Food and Nutrition lessons starting in Year 5, along with taster sessions and one-off lessons as part of the International Primary Curriculum in Years 3 and 4; this allows us to lay an early foundation of basic practical skills and ensure that pupils have a love of cooking and an interest in nutrition from an early age.
Learning about cooking and nutrition
Pupils are taught the principles of nutrition and healthy eating through a very practical course. All the ingredients are provided and the ethos of 'learning by doing' is very much to the fore. Pupils leave us at the end of Year 8 with a good grounding in a range of cooking techniques that they can use to prepare meals for themselves from scratch. Pupils are taught the importance of understanding seasonality, buying local produce where possible and why the provenance of food are all key factors in today’s world.
The learning extends into the extra-curricular activities offered when pupils take part in the Cook Local club; picking fruit, making apple juice, elderflower cordial, plum crumble and conserves, all with produce harvest from the school grounds. Pupils are also offered cookery clubs, one with a healthier eating focus and one that uses the iPad as the recipe source. Boarders can further extend their skills by participating in Cookery as a multi-activity.
Building design and marketing skills
During the course, pupils will undertake a design and make task – this is an open-ended brief that allows pupils to demonstrate their creative skills and how well they are able to translate their knowledge of the flavours, textures, properties and look of ingredients, in order to make a delicious new product. During the task, they will learn about how food is marketed and have some appreciation of the business aspects of making and selling a food product.
Geography makes a world of a difference.
Through teaching a broad range of geographical topics, the Geography Department aims to:
- Stimulate pupils' interest and curiosity about the world
- Foster their sense of wonder at the beauty of the world around them
- Enhance their sense of identity and responsibility for the care of the Earth
- Develop an understanding of physical and human landscapes, and introduce them to different societies and cultures
- Provide opportunities for geographical enquiry and fieldwork
In the Junior Department and Year 6, Geography is delivered in a topic-based approach, alongside other subjects, through the International Primary Curriculum. Units of work are selected each year. Single-subject Geography lessons are taught in Years 7 and 8. Topics include: What is Geography?, Living with Volcanoes and Earthquakes, Settlement, Coasts, Tourism, Environmental Issues, Transport and Industry. Atlas skills, Ordnance Survey map reading and locational knowledge are taught and reinforced throughout the year.
Work in the classroom is supported by field trips, enabling the children to witness and experience, first-hand, the significance of Geography in the real world. Examples of field trips include the Jurassic Coast, a walk across the Mendips, the Somerset Earth Science Centre, local Somerset industries and Carymoor Environmental Trust.
"History: gossip well told."
- Elbert Hubbard
People make history through their actions and decisions and, in so doing, shape the future. By studying some of the exciting and significant events and personalities from the past the History Department aims to:
- Help pupils make sense of the world around them
- Develop their own sense of identity and understand other cultures
- Understand concepts of time, change and continuity
- Think about right and wrong, and what it means to be good citizens
- Prepare for the future
Topics studied include The Norman Conquest, The Medieval Church, the Black Death and Peasants' Revolt, the Hundred Years' War, Henry VIII and the Reformation, and other worldwide historical events and phenomena.
Pupils in the Junior Department are taught History by class teachers, whilst pupils in Years 6-8 receive specialist teaching. History up until the end of Year 6 is combined with Geography and RS, and taught as Humanities, as part of the newly implemented International Primary Curriculum (IPC). Pupils are encouraged to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the topics studied and develop their thinking, analytical and literacy skills through discussion, independent research and project work, extended writing and source analysis.
Their work in the classroom is supported by a varied programme of visits and speakers. Pupils in Year 6 enjoy a Humanities Day linked to the IPC, while Year 7 pupils visit Chepstow Castle. History is also central to residential trips, in the past this has included visiting the Bayeux Tapestry, WW2 beaches in France, Roman ruins and more.
Pupils begin to learn Latin in Year 5. At this stage they use the Minimus Course book, which provides a lively introduction to the Latin language and the culture of Roman Britain. They begin to read simple Latin and use games and challenges to consolidate their manipulation of the language, and link this with familiar English, French and Spanish vocabulary.
All pupils study Latin in Year 6, other than pupils who access the Learning Development Centre. They will study the Cambridge Latin course, where the vividly portrayed lives of Romans living in Pompeii in AD 79 at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius bring the language to life. A carefully structured programme of study allows pupils to learn the key skills of translating passages of Latin text and answering comprehension questions on them. Pupils also explore the topics of Roman daily life, the Roman villa and the Roman forum, as well as using interactive games and multi-media to reinforce their learning.
Pupils can also begin to learn Latin in Year 7, following an accelerated programme of study for the first term in order to catch up with those who have already completed a year of the language. Those who are in their second year of learning the subject, as well as newcomers, follow the Cambridge Latin course which leads on into Year 8.
Gaining cultural and historical knowledge
Pupils study various aspects of daily life in ancient Rome through examining original texts, researching topics using books, photos and the internet, and discussing contemporary views of subjects such as democracy, slavery, civilisation and gladiatorial combat. Trips to Bath, Chedworth and the Corinium Museum in Cirencester are made in Year 7 and Year 8, and a residential visit to Rome and Pompeii is made every other year during the Easter holidays. This provides a really valuable opportunity for pupils to gain first-hand experience of life in ancient Roman times, and allows the Latin language to come to life by putting it into its original context.
'Mathematics is a beautiful, open, creative, and multi-dimensional subject. But school mathematics is often uninspiring, procedural and one-dimensional – it is all about memorizing methods and procedures. The narrowness of the mathematics taught in schools is one of the reasons so many students disengage from mathematics. One-dimensional mathematics is not the mathematics of the world and it is not the mathematics of our 21st century workplace.'
- Jo Boaler
Maths at Millfield Prep aims to establish confidence and engagement with the subject at every ability level and gives access to multi-dimensional mathematics. Precise thinking is produced by using creativity, openness, visualisation and flexibility to bring the subject alive for pupils. Inspiring teachers, small class sizes, one-to-one support, small group work, the Maths Academy for top academics, and many competition opportunities helps to achieve this.
We believe that everyone can do well in Maths and we apply a growth mindset approach to promote learning and improvement for all in this fascinating subject.
“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher
Evidence suggests that learning new languages can improve listening and writing skills, boost creativity and sharpen the mind. It can broaden horizons and open doors to all sorts of opportunities. To motivate our pupils, our Language Department aims to:
Give each pupil the chance to learn at least one foreign language
Trial different languages from an early age
Encourage advanced language learning
Introduce a wide range of languages through extra-curricular clubs
Support native language speakers who are keen to share their cultural knowledge
Our language options are:
Juniors (Years 3 to 5)
The ‘Introduction to Languages’ programme allows all pupils to have a ‘taster year’ of each of the three languages offered to introduce them to the basics of French in Year 3, Spanish in Year 4 and Latin in Year 5.
Latin and either French or Spanish is offered to all pupils in Year 6 who do not access the Learning Development Centre.
Years 7 & 8
A choice of two out of Latin, French and Spanish for upper band pupils, with French or Spanish offered to lower band.
Learning Development Centre
A part-time Spanish Conversation Course is offered to Years 6-8 pupils who attend the Learning Development Centre full-time; this course focuses on conversational skills and topics.
Extra-curricular Mandarin, French, Spanish and Russian are available to all years by private arrangement.
We are keen for our pupils to become familiar with the culture of the language they are learning, both inside and outside the classroom. For example, there are educational trips to France, Italy and Spain, and pupils enjoy activities on the European Day of Languages, as well as theatre and film trips, a Spanish pen-pal scheme and other co-curricular activities.
Latin is also offered as a taster in Year 5 and to sets in Years 6, 7 and 8. See the Latin section above for more details.
An essential element in the education of the whole child
At Millfield Prep, the Music Department tries to inspire pupils to enjoy their music making at all levels, whether that be within the classroom or leading the school orchestra. We offer excellent facilities, tuition on a wide range of instruments, a lively and positive atmosphere and endless opportunities for performance.
Music is regarded as an essential element in the education of the whole child and plays a very important part within the life of the school. All pupils from Year 3 to Year 8 have Music timetabled on a weekly basis and every pupil is encouraged to either learn an instrument or sing in a choir.
Gifted and talented pupils are taught in a parallel programme to further their development as advanced musicians. The Edgarley Ensemble is a ‘scholarship’ chamber music and general musicianship group for selected Year 8 pupils to meet and enjoy learning beautiful advanced level chamber repertoire for performance. This offers exceptional opportunities as an extension to the existing programme.
Throughout pupils’ time here, the key focus is on the understanding of music, which is supported by development of aural skills, using instruments and voice. Pupils are introduced to the concepts of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, duration, timbre, texture and beat. They also learn good singing technique, developing composition and performance skills. Music from different periods of history and different cultures are also explored.
Outstanding facilities and opportunities
There is a purpose-built Music Department where all class Music lessons and individual tuition takes place. The department has 22 teaching/practice rooms across two floors, which are used for individual music lessons and small group rehearsals. There are also two large classrooms, which are used for group teaching, and are well-equipped with instruments, including a large number of tuned and untuned percussion, keyboards and music software. The department has a large Recital Hall within the block, which seats around 200 people, and this is used regularly for smaller concerts and recitals. The Music Department stage their larger ensemble concerts and productions in the newly refurbished Assembly Hall/Theatre.
Individual music tuition is offered on the following instruments: violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp and guitar (classical and electric), flute, recorder, oboe, bassoon, clarinet and saxophone, trumpet, cornet, euphonium, French horn, tenor horn, trombone and tuba, drum kit, orchestral percussion, piano, organ and singing.
Twenty visiting music teachers work in the department alongside the Director of Music and Assistant Director of Music.
A huge number of extracurricular activities are available to pupils on a weekly basis, including junior and senior choirs, guitar group, keyboard club, ukulele club, orchestra, wind band, jazz and blues band, string group, junior and senior rock bands, harp, flute, brass and percussion ensemble, music theory groups, aural training sessions and boarders' practice sessions.
Weekly support is also offered to relevant pupils with aural training, music theory and music scholarship preparation. Pupils are currently entered for exams with The Associated Board of Music, Trinity/Guildhall School of Music, London College of Music Musical Theatre and Pop/Rock Exams.
Many Millfield Prep pupils go on to achieve Music Scholarship awards each year. In the last five years, pupils have gained 54 Music Scholarship Awards to independent senior schools and last year, eight of our pupils were awarded full music scholarships at senior level, with two being awarded exhibitions.
An exciting array of opportunities to perform
All pupils are given numerous opportunities to perform both within the school and at external venues throughout the year. There are several concerts each term and these vary enormously in style from classical recitals, through to rock & pop concerts. House music competitions, school assemblies and school productions provide further performance opportunities for pupils and these are put on regularly, either in the Recital Hall or in the Assembly Hall/Theatre. The department also hosts Tea & Music Concerts, which are more informal occasions in which pupils can perform. The larger formal concerts take place once a term and feature the numerous musical groups that rehearse on a weekly basis. Pupils also perform externally in festivals and competitions on a regular basis and the highlight of each Autumn Term is the school Carol Service which takes place at Wells Cathedral.
The Religious Studies Department aims to create an understanding of religious concepts at an age-appropriate level, looking at the key areas of beliefs and values, worship and symbols, festivals and celebrations, world religion, origins and founders, sacred texts, mystery and meaning, and people of faith.
Some of the key aims of the subject are to:
• Help pupils in their search for a meaning and purpose to life
• Create an awareness and respect for the religious side of life
• Discuss some of the basic moral issues in life
• Encourage pupils to be tolerant and respect others
• Introduce pupils to other religions and cultures
A diverse and stimulating programme
Throughout the Junior Department, Religious Studies is taught within the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), with a focus on religion around the world in a topic based approach.
In Year 7 pupils study Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Look at places of worship, key festivals and most importantly what unites the three major world religions. In Year 8 we study Philosophy and ask big questions such as ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘Why is there suffering in the world?’. We develop our debating skills and study important religious leaders.
‘Religious Studies is important because we need to understand everyone, so that we can help in our world’
‘There is often no right or wrong, so we can think for ourselves’
‘It is about you and others, and it makes us think!’
"Science makes sense of the world"
The Science Department’s aims are to:
- Stimulate curiosity, interest in and enjoyment of science
- Help pupils to acquire a systematic body of scientific knowledge and to develop an understanding of science, recognising connections between different areas of science
- Enable pupils to use scientific ideas and models to explain phenomena and events and to understand applications of science
- Develop an awareness of the impact of developments in technology on the environment and in other contexts
- Develop experimental and investigative abilities, paying due regard to safe practice
- Develop an ability to evaluate and communicate scientific evidence, and understand the importance of experimental evidence in supporting scientific ideas
- Develop an awareness of science as a social and cultural activity which has strengths and limitations
- Enable pupils to acquire a sound foundation of knowledge and understanding for future studies, and to facilitate the smooth transfer between schools
In the Pre-Prep and Junior Department, Science is taught by class teachers, whilst pupils in Years 7 and 8 are taught by subject specialists.
A diverse and wide range of fascinating subjects
Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics cover these key areas:
- Energy, electricity and forces
- Chemical and material behaviour
- Organisms, behaviour and health
- The environment, Earth and universe
Outstanding facilities and opportunities in a beautiful environment
The Science Department is located in five large, purpose-built laboratories, surrounding a grassed courtyard. We have regular visits from our local ducks and the area includes a large well-stocked preparation room, a greenhouse and is home to a number of chickens.
The department has seven teachers and a laboratory technician, to ensure that each pupil has the opportunity to experience the positive and dynamic approach that Science offers.
Each year, our pupils take part in many national science competitions. In 2018, some of our Year 8 pupils gained first place in the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry held at Bath University. Pupils also enjoy trips to locations including Paignton Zoo and the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre.