The Pre-Prep is where boys build the foundation for their futures and is the stage in their school careers where most boys will learn to read. At St John’s we make their introduction to more formal learning enjoyable and stimulating. Good manners, independence and high standards of behaviour are reinforced.
“High quality teaching engages and motivates pupils, enabling them to progress rapidly in their learning”
ISI Inspection Report 2016
Years 3 and 4 are taught in the Junior Building where the core subjects are delivered by their class teacher, supported by a teaching assistant. Subject specialists deliver Religious Education, French, P.E., Art, Music, Design and Technology, Computing and Games. For many of these lessons pupils benefit from being taught in smaller classes including Mathematics. Boys continue with a swimming lesson each week taught by specialist staff at Merchant Taylors'.
Boys in Year 5 are in two parallel classes and are taught on a secondary school model with specialist teachers for all subjects. They continue with the subjects they have studied hitherto with the addition of Drama and study skills. In Year 6 pupils are divided into three smaller classes and begin the formal study of Latin. At this point they start the build up to transfer exams and their next school.
In Years 7 and 8 pupils continue to be taught in small class groups, with greater focus being placed on each boy’s destination school. The class organisation remains flexible and is based on the particular educational needs of the cohort. This flexibility and the individual subject teachers detailed knowledge of the various entrance requirements helps to maintain the school’s strong tradition of achieving excellent 13+ results. After the transfer examinations Year 8 pupils are provided with a diverse range of educational opportunities through the the Post Examination Curriculum.
Beyond the curriculum
School life is definitely not about academic lessons alone and St John’s provides the widest range of activities allowing each boy to develop his skills and pursue his interests.
As boys progress through the school they benefit from an increasingly challenging range of age-appropriate educational outings, activities and residential trips. Roman History and culture are studied in nearby St Albans and there are visits to a study centre in Northumbria, a chateau in Normandy and an outdoor education centre on the North Devon coast.
These activities culminate in the annual Year 7 ‘night under canvas’ and the testing Northwood 500 assault and zipwire course and teamwork challenge day for the Year 8 boys.
Boys enjoy increasing levels of responsibility as they progress through the school. All boys vote to elect representatives of their year group to serve on the School Council and the Year 8 boys take on various duties including Head Boy, Deputy Head Boy, House Prefects and Eco Council representatives.
Daily life in the Prep School
The Prep school day starts at 8.25 a.m. with registration at 8.30 a.m. and assembly at 8.40 a.m. Boys’ days are divided into six, with each lesson lasting 50 minutes. Morning lessons are divided by a 20-minute break at 10.50 a.m. and lunch is staggered with servings between 12.40 p.m. and 1.30 p.m.
Lessons restart with afternoon registration at 2.00 p.m. and the formal day ends at 3.50 p.m. for Juniors and 4.00 p.m. for Years 5-8. For many this marks the start of the extensive programme of after-school clubs and activities which end between 5.00 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.
There is also a Breakfast Club from 7.30 a.m. and Late Room facility until 6.00 p.m.