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Prior Park College
Ralph Allen Drive, Combe Down, BA2 5AH, UK Bath
+44 (0)1225 835353

The Paragon School

The Paragon is an independent, co-educational day school based in a beautiful Georgian house a mile from the centre of Bath. We have eight acres of our own gardens and woodland and also, following our merger with nearby Prior Park College, access to their superb sport, dance and other facilities. Catering for more than 220 children aged three to 11, we offer a broad curriculum taught in small classes by teachers with a real passion for their subject.

The Paragon is part of Prior Park Educational Trust. Registered Charity Number 281242. Registered in England and Wales as a Company Limited by Guarantee No. 1521832. Registered Office at Prior Park College, Bath BA2 5AH. The Chair of Governors is Sister Jane Livesey CJ MA, c/o The Clerk to the Governors, Prior Park College.


The Paragon offers a rich and stimulating curriculum. It includes a foreign language (all children learn French from Reception onwards), drama, music, art, design and technology. Core subjects like Maths and English give your children the excellent literacy and numeracy skills they need, whatever path they choose in life. Our Science curriculum introduces them to the excitement of scientific investigation while our lively Humanities curriculum gives them a deeper understanding of the world in which they live. Every child can shine at The Paragon - whether they're wizard at Maths, have an eye for design, or are great on the samba drum!

English | Maths | Science | ICT | Humanities | The Arts | Sport | Modern Languages

The Paragon Nursery

Dress up as a policeman... make soup with plastic vegetables... paint your hands green - there's always something fun to do in The Paragon Nursery. It's bright, happy and extremely caring and offers a gentle introduction to school life. Led by a qualified teacher supported by experienced nursery assistants, it uses both free and structured play to teach basic numeracy and literacy skills, and develop the social and emotional skills that we all need to communicate and get on well with others.

At the same time, we start to develop the good manners and moral values that are such an important part of education at The Paragon. We start with the small things like not pushing in front of someone or grabbing all the chocolate biscuits, moving on to more important things like owning up when you have done something you know is wrong.

Nursery children take part in many aspects of school life at The Paragon and use school facilities like the library, ICT suite and music room but they have their own dedicated space with secure indoor and outdoor play areas.

Preparatory School

Racing fun

At Prior Park, we value every child and we aim to help each one to develop into a confident, well-rounded person with a strong work ethic and desire to succeed. The education of any child thrives best in an atmosphere of co-operation between pupils, teachers and parents and this is very evident at Prior Park.

The school forms part of a Catholic Foundation with Prior Park College, Bath and Christian belief underpins its whole ethos. Each child is recognised as an individual and is a part of a strong community where we celebrate each other’s successes and support each other in times of difficulty.

Please click here for daily bulletins.

Image table

Prior Park Preparatory school building

Happy faces


Human pyramid

Prior Park offers a broad and balanced curriculum, specifically designed to foster the interests and talents of each individual pupil.

All pupils are prepared for Common Entrance or Scholarship examinations in readiness for their entry to Senior Schools, usually at age 13. The syllabus is essentially determined by the requirements of these examinations which take careful consideration of the prerequisites of Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum.

Emphasis is placed on the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. Languages, History, Georgraphy and Religious Education complete the examination curriculum. French is taught from the age of 7, Latin from the age of 10.

Pupils have regular lessons in Art, Music, ICT, Physical Education and Personal, Social, Health Education and Citizenship. Drama and Design Technology are also taught within the curriculum framework. Many pupils take advantage of Public Speaking classes which are successful in promoting their self-confidence in other areas of school life.

Prior Park Preparatory School is a CreSTeD school. The Learning Support Department within the school aims to ensure that pupils with mild to moderate dyslexia, dyscalculia and other associated difficulties reach their full social and educational potential by setting individual learning programmes and frequently monitoring needs and changing situation.

The Learning Support Department supports pupils with Reading, Writing, Spelling, Hand-writing, Comprehension, Mathematics, Motor Movement and Study Skills.

We aim to find the preferred learning style of each pupil and incorporate a variety of multi-sensory methods, in an effort to fully reinforce the work undertaken. We have a well-equipped department with a comprehensive variety of resources. We believe it is important to keep abreast of new developments, both in the much researched field of dyslexia and the relatively new field of dyscalculia. We always consider if new innovations can be successfully used to the benefit of our pupils.

Boarding life at Prior Park....

Our aim at Prior Park is to ensure that all the children entrusted to us are cared for in a friendly home from home environment. It is important that every child can achieve a sense of independance and maturity through the boarding experience.

This growth comes within a safe and secure environment looked over by staff who care. The boarders live in the main school house within different age groups. Live-in staff are never far away if comfort and reassurance is required.

Boarding Images Boarding Images Boarding Images

Prior Park College

Prior Park College is an extraordinarily happy, friendly and successful Christian community. The College is one of the largest Independent, fully established, co-educational, Catholic boarding and day school in the UK. With 53% boys and 47% girls this is a truly co-educational place. The College’s Catholic life means that those of other denominations are warmly welcomed.

’An Education for Life’

Sensitive, individual pastoral care creates an environment which engenders self-respect and respect for peers and staff. The community consists of 550 pupils of whom approximately 125 are boarders. Many pupils also flexi-board.

Encouragement of the highest academic standards and all round success is underpinned by praise and positive teaching within a disciplined environment. Set in a magnificent site overlooking the World Heritage City of Bath, the boarding ethos of the school proves attractive to day families and is central to the life of the College.

overlooking the valley Orchestra Pupils in front of Mansion

Prior Park College, Bath - one of the largest fully established co-educational independent HMC Catholic boarding and day schools in the United Kingdom.


Lesson Structure

  • The subjects studied and the period allocation is shown in the table below. Each academic period is 35 minutes long.
  • In Year 9 pupils start a second modern language - either German or Spanish.
  • The majority of pupils will study 10 GCSE subjects, the core subjects being English Language and Literature, Mathematics, a Modern Foreign Language, Theology and Science.
  • In the Sixth Form virtually all pupils study four AS subjects in Year 12 dropping one subject to continue three to A2 standard.
  • The class sizes are generally small with a maximum of 23 in a set, but most sets are smaller than this. Very occasionally, and for good reasons, this maximum number is exceeded.


Year 7


Year 8


Year 9


Years 10 & 11

L5 & U5

Years 12/13 L6/U6
set in Mathematics only, following November internal exams set in French, Latin, Mathematics set in second Modern Language, Mathematics, Latin & Music. limited setting in History & Geography. Music and Latin setting dictates setting in other subjects with the exception of English and where there is only one set, pupils are set in all subjects varies from subject to subject

Testing & Reporting

Regular testing takes place informally as part of the normal teaching programme. All pupils below the Sixth Form sit internal school exams, which are currently held in November and June. Pupils are informed about progress via a system of regular written reports. In addition each year group has one parent / teacher consultation evening each year, except in the Lower Sixth when there are two such meetings. Parents are encouraged to speak to their child’s tutor or Housemaster or Housemistress or the Director of Studies at any time about academic matters.

Day to day communication between parents, teachers and housestaff is aided by the use of the Prior Park Diary which parents are actively encouraged to check weekly.


Boarding is at the heart of Prior Park. A family atmosphere is present in each of the three boarding Houses. Each has a corporate identity, fostered by sporting and cultural competition with other Houses.

..." Boarding is a life worth living and a life well-lived."

The House is the forum for daily assemblies, prayers and routine notices. It has a domestic quality and homely atmosphere led by the Housemaster / Housemistress, who is the first point of communication for parents and the leader of a team of tutors acting as academic and pastoral guides to pupils.

In September 2006 our 3 boarding Houses were inspected by the Commission for Social Care. The Commission decided "that overall your service provides excellent outcomes for the people who use it."

What the school does well:

  • The school provides an excellent level of health care and facilities of a high standard within the medical centre
  • The school is commended for its strong community ethos and the excellent systems in place to ensure successful integration of overseas students
  • There are excellent systems in place to enable boarders to contribute to the operation of boarding in the school
  • Boarders receive an excellent level of personal support from staff.


boarders’ relaxing Boarding Room Sixth formers

Boarding Houses

Boarding is central to the Prior Park community. The school is a 7 day a week school with many day families choosing Prior Park because they wish their children to experience the opportunities provided by a boarding school and its extended week. Approximately 120 boarders live in the family atmosphere provided by the 3 boarding Houses. Many other pupils flexi-board in all three Houses.

Allen and Roche houses situated in St Paul’s provide attractive dorm and study bedrooms for the 70 or so boy boarders, while St Mary’s House, situated in the attractive Priory with its own garden is home to approximately 50 girls. Some day boys and girls are members of the boarding Houses ensuring good integration between the day and boarding communities. A rolling programme of recent refurbishment has provided attractive accommodation.

The pastoral care has been described as outstanding by inspectors and parents like. Find out more in the ’Why PPC’ section.

view from mansion Rugby Food servery

International Students

Currently Prior Park is home to approximately 30 international students out of a pupil body of 540. We offer excellent communication with overseas parents, an outstanding daily and weekend activity programme, impressive academic standards and results. We restrict the number of places for international students so that students can benefit fully from integration into a British boarding school.

An induction programme acquaints new pupils to the layout of the school, key personnel and procedures. A ’buddy’ from the same tutor group is allocated to each pupil to support them particularly in the first few weeks. An international tea party is held at the start of term to welcome all the new international students. This gives them an opportunity to meet each other informally and to meet our ESL teacher and the Head of Sixth Form.

International tea party International tea party International tea party

ESL lessons are provided for individual tuition or in small groups. ESL pupils can be prepared for Cambridge FCE and CAE, IGCSE/ESL and IELTS. There is an ESL workshop activity for new pupils in the Michaelmas Term.This includes sessions on language, British culture, the City of Bath and life in the school. The school enters speakers into the ’International Student voice’ a local, annual public speaking competition for ESL pupils.

The strong boarding weekend community, which is large enough to provide companionship, also has the advantage that there are times at the weekend for overseas pupils to have the quiet time and space that they may need. We encourage all our international students to speak only English throughout the day to ensure that the English language is used and practised as much as possible. Our  international pupils quickly become integrated into the life in the boarding house and in the College.

Entry is via entrance tests in English as an Second Language and Mathematics and we also require a school report from the pupil’s current school. A £75 registration fee is also required at this time. Once a place has been offered and accepted a £1000 deposit is required to secure a place. £700 of which is offset against the first term’s fees. The remaining £300 will be returned when the pupil leaves the school.

We value our international boarders who have much to offer the community. Role models are much in evidence e.g. in 2005-2006 our Head Boy was a Korean student who gained a place at Christchurch, Oxford having gained 5 A grades at A2 level. He was also the winner of ’The Hobsons International Boarder of the Year competition. In 2006-07 2 international students are Head of House. The Head Boy in 2007-2008 is from Nigeria.

International Prospectus.pdf

International inserts.pdf

13+ Scholarship 08.pdf

16+ Scholarship 08.pdf

How to view the pdf files:
You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system. Click the link below to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Chinese New Year pupils in the servery leaver’s dinner

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Editorial office:
tel. + 48 (094)