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Sunninghill Preparatory School
South Court, South Walks, DT1 1EB, UK Dorchester
+44 (0)1305 262306


Sunninghill Prep School has a unique, caring and respectful atmosphere, apparent to all who come here. Very much a family school, it is also the largest Independent Preparatory School in the picturesque county town of Dorchester. Our pupils are stretched and enriched by a curriculum that is broad, challenging and varied from our recognised Foundation Stage Unit onwards.

Each child's individual learning style is catered for through the careful planning undertaken by all our staff. We are particularly proud of the area of the country in which we are situated and extend every child through our Sunninghill Outdoor Education Programme (SOEP). Our pupils leave us extremely well prepared at 13, when they transfer to the Senior School of their choice.


  • To put children’s pastoral and educational welfare first
  • To expect high standards in academia, pastoral care, behaviour, staffing, conditions of service, inspection and accreditation
  • To offer diversity and breadth
  • To support colleagues through seeking and offering professional advice, advocacy, training, meeting and sharing
  • To promote Independent Education with parents, the general public, the media, government, the national education services, and within ISCis
  • To remain Independent


The Sunninghill Curriculum has been thoroughly reviewed and improved over the last year. It is unusually broad in scope, offering freshness and excitement for children and staff. There is something for everyone to excel in!

We aim to teach children skills, rather than merely impart knowledge; our staff are graduates in their relevant subjects and are genuinely passionate about their subjects. Anyone who meets them realises this.

We make use of Assessment for Learning, and also make efforts to identify individual children's preferred Learning Styles. We then tailor and personalise the learning experiences offered to the child, thus enabling children to reach their full potential.

The school employs a full-time Director of Curriculum, who monitors planning and delivery, a Gifted and Talented Coordinator and a SENCo. Children's work is monitored weekly to ensure progression, breadth, coherence and continuity and to ensure that work is being appropriately differentiated for individuals' needs. A variety of recording strategies is the norm, with children making good use of Mind Mapping techniques amongst others.

The school also employs a full-time Outdoor Education specialist who oversees all Risk Assessments for our many trips and residentials and who runs SOEP - Sunninhgill's Outdoor Education Programme.


Foundation Stage Unit, which has been awarded a 'Good' by Ofsted in all areas; very low teacher:pupil ratios; specialist teaching by graduates from this point onwards in French, PE, Art and Music; structured and unstructured outdoor play; headed up by a Guardian Teacher of the Year; entry to Pre Prep is guaranteed for those who attend The Sunninghill FSU

Pre Prep - teacher:pupil ratio less than or equal to 1:9; largely form-based, with specialist teachers as previously in French, PE, Art and Music but with additional specialist teaching in ICT now added; Outdoor Education Programme begins; we do not enter children at this age for KS1 SATs examinations but conduct low-key internal diagnostic tests for teachers' use when appropriate; transition to Middle School (guaranteed entry for those who attend Pre Prep)

Middle School - increasing number of subjects taught by graduates in their subjects; increasing breadth and depth of subjects; UK and overseas residential trips (including ski-trip) begin; Middle School embraces KS2; transition to Upper School (guaranteed entry for those who have attended Middle School)

Upper School - where children take KS3 tests a year early and may sit five examinations equivalent to GCSE standard. Preparations made for Scholarships/Awards to senior schools of choice. Overseas expeditions begin Summer 08 (possibly Morocco or Norway)


We offer a variety of different clubs including Basket Ball, Sailing, Art, Orchestra and Choir for years 3 to 8. There are also clubs available for the Pre-Prep to enjoy including Lacrosse and Dance.

primary schools in Dorchester, secondary schools in Dorchester, schools in Dorchester

Editorial office:
tel. + 48 (094)