Learning in the Prep School

"Committed and innovative teaching allows pupils to build their skills.” ISI Inspection 2017

 “The school successfully meets its aim to be a place of learning with a broad and balanced curriculum that enables all pupils to fulfil their potential in everything they undertake.” ISI Inspection 2017

An appetite for learning ... for life

Confidence lies at the heart of successful learning. Small classes, an emphasis on individual needs and teachers who will go that extra mile ensure that every pupil at Bishop’s Stortford College receives the time and attention needed to develop the confidence and desire to learn for life.

Your child will be surrounded by adults who love to learn, love to share their learning and strive for the very best in all they do. The enthusiasm and example of our teachers, in class and beyond, is inspiring and underpins the College’s vibrant atmosphere.

Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School offers an outstanding all-round education for 7 to 13 year olds, with a blend of day pupils, full boarders, weekly boarders and pupils who board a few nights a week (flexi-boarders).

Our aim is to develop happy, confident and well motivated children – children who enjoy coming to school and children who enjoy learning.  We want all our pupils to have a good, positive attitude to work, to life and to other people and we encourage them to have an awareness of the needs of all whom they meet. We aim for strong academic results, yet plenty of time is devoted to sport, music, drama, art and many other activities, with high standards achieved in all these areas.

The Prep School has its own distinctive atmosphere and learning environment, but as part of the wider College we offer a greater range of first-rate facilities, teaching resources and opportunities than is typical of most Prep schools.

Shell is a wonderful stepping stone into the Prep School for our 7 and 8 year olds. Shell children have their own learning environment and daily routine tailored to the needs of their age group, whilst enjoying regular shared activities with the older pupils. Moving on from Shell, our 9 year olds have specialist teachers for each subject. All our academic programmes are closely linked, ensuring that our pupils are well prepared for the step up to Senior School at 13 years of age.

"The ethos of the school underpins their attitudes to work by instilling self-discipline and a positive attitude." ISI Inspection 2017

Year Groups

  Age Year Group National Curriculum Equivalent Year
Prep School 7-13yrs 7-8 Lower Shell Year 3
  8-9 Upper Shell Year 4
  9-10 Form 1 Year 5
  10-11 Form 2 Year 6
  11-12 Lower Third Year 7
  12-13 Upper Third Year 8

Classroom Support

"Pupils with SEND or EAL are very well supported to achieve highly in relation to their starting points... Specialist staff provide effective support, both during lessons and in one-to-one group sessions." ISI Inspection 2017

Bishop’s Stortford College has a well-resourced Learning Support Department with three members of staff providing specialist teaching and support to pupils with specific learning needs. The ethos of the department is to promote a sense of self-worth combined with high but realistic expectations, thus encouraging pupils to be proactive in their learning, to give their best and achieve their potential.

Located in spacious self-contained accommodation, the department has three well-equipped teaching rooms and comfortable reception area providing a welcoming and relaxed working environment. The highly experienced members of staff have additional professional qualifications to assess and teach pupils who have been identified as needing learning support. The support programme for each pupil is tailored to his or her needs and may involve help with reading, comprehension, spelling, maths, study skills, organisation and class work. There is an additional charge for learning support lessons.

The Learning Support department work across the Prep School and Senior School providing excellent continuity of support, whilst Pre-Prep provide their own in-house learning support. Working in close partnership with teaching staff, we ensure that pupils are supported appropriately in mainstream lessons and that examination candidates receive relevant concessions or arrangements, where necessary. We also work closely with the Educational Psychologists and external specialists who may be involved in helping individual pupils.

Home/school liaison is, of course, very important and we encourage regular contact with parents of pupils receiving learning support. It is essential that we are aware of any history of Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) or any other identified Special Educational Need supported at previous schools and parents are encouraged to assist us in this, by providing copies of all the relevant reports.

Parents who feel their child may require learning support are encouraged to contact us.

The Learning Support Department

Contact number: 01279 838656

Elizabeth Bridle, MEd, PGCE, BSc, DipSpLD, NASENCo.
Elizabeth is Head of Learning Support, joining the school this academic year.  She has a broad range of experience in a variety of educational contexts.

Rita Gearing, CertEd, DipSpLD.
Rita has many years of experience. She joined the department in 1995, gaining her diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties the following year, and was Head of the department until this academic year.

Gerda Miller, CertED, DipSpLD.
Gerda qualified with the diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties in 2005 and has worked as a specialist teacher in the College Learning Support Department since 2007. Prior to joining the College, she taught as a specialist teacher in an enhanced provision dyslexia unit.

Language Support

English as a Second Language (ESL) Department

The ESL Department exists as a language support for those pupils whose first language is a language other than English. Our aim is to help pupils achieve their full potential in using English for everyday, social, academic and professional purposes in the four key skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening). Pupils are usually provided with two lessons a week at no extra charge until they have passed their IGCSE ESL examination. This support is provided on an individual or group basis by a dedicated, professionally trained teacher and forms an integral part of Bishop’s Stortford College’s curriculum. The ESL classroom is a bright and cheerful place to work and learn and it provides a calm and peaceful base for the overseas pupils to gather for their lessons.

The Department also recognises that traditions and cultural awareness are very important in language acquisition and aims to incorporate these aspects into the teaching programme. We aim to make the experience of improving a student's level of English as enjoyable as possible. We are aware that English is the international language and it is therefore essential that every overseas student is able to use it effectively. The English language underpins every mainstream subject, thus giving the Department a unique role in supporting pupils’ academic goals.

The ESL Department runs courses which are as closely tailored to the individual needs of each student as possible. Depending on his or her age and level, a student will be prepared for the following examinations:

Cambridge IGCSE in English  as a Second Language or English as a First Language

Overseas students make up around 10% of our Senior School roll and we welcome students from a wide variety of nationalities. As well as teaching ESL, the Department is very active pastorally and organises the annual International Welcome Party as well as accompanying pupils to Parents’ Meetings and providing them with  help with their university applications.