In these times of technology which rush ahead almost daily, allowing the modern child much greater knowledge of life and worldly matters, there are a great many virtues from the past which we need to retain.
Holme Grange prides itself on being, first and foremost, a friendly family School. My three children were educated here, whilst my wife, Jane, runs the School Office. It is also a School which, perhaps unusually, provides education from 3 up to the age of 13. Our aim is to ensure that all children are given the opportunity of the best possible start to their lives. There is no substitute for a first-class education.
Whilst I hope that every child will do their best in the classroom, I also encourage them to achieve in other aspects of School life. My definition of education includes sport, music and the arts, as well as academic excellence.To be an all-rounder is, to my mind, a vital asset for children to take into adulthood, not least because it is an essential preparation for finding a job. To this add good manners, a sense of discipline and the ability to converse with adults in an easy way, for these are also part of a child’s learning at Holme Grange.
Only a glimpse of school life can be afforded here to our visitors. If you are a prospective parent I hope that you will contact us to arrange a visit, preferably during term-time, so that you can see the School at work and play. I look forward to meeting you.
Nick Brodrick B.Ed. - Headmaster
Aims and Beliefs
Every child is encouraged to achieve a high level of excellence in as many areas of the curriculum as possible, both in and out of the classroom.
The School's policy is to set high standards, to establish good all-round personalities and to give inspiration for each pupil's future life.
There is a positive atmosphere about the School. Good manners are encouraged at all times. The environment is such that all children have a regard for healthy competition and receive as much praise as possible, receiving rewards: stickers in Pre-Prep and merits or credits in the Preparatory School. As they grow up through the School each child learns to be self-sufficient, to think independently and learn how to live with others within the School.
All pupils can participate in varied activities using facilities such as a separate block containing a 20 station Information Communication Technology Suite and a Science Laboratory; a separate Music School and a Sports Hall.
In the extensive grounds there is an adventure playground as well as a Millennium conservation woodland and a lake so that the children can take full advantage of our beautiful country setting. Our aim is to serve the local community.
Little Grange Nursery
Children are admitted into Little Grange Nursery the September after their third birthday. Entry in January and April is possible, providing there are vacancies. Little Grange is housed in a separate building within the school grounds, specially adapted and refurbished for the purpose of allowing boys and girls to socialise, to develop good relationships, self-confidence and to learn important early skills which will help to make their transition into the Pre-Prep an easier one.
Although the Nursery is an independent unit, with its own secure play area with outdoor play equipment, it is very much part of the whole School. The children participate in play-centred activities: the use of sand, water, colours; drawing, painting and craftwork, the sharing of toys and games and, if ready, the beginnings of more formal work, prior to transfer into Reception in Pre-Prep.
Formal, academic teaching is only started when the Head of Little Grange, a qualified teacher, feels a child is ready, for example writing with a pencil, use of Letterland or number/alphabet recognition. The Head of Nursery is supported by assistants, usually with NNEB or similar qualifications.
There are three options from which to choose. Children attend Little Grange for either morning or afternoon sessions, for three hours or for full days, five days a week, term time only. Lunch and tea are also available.
In their weekly sessions, the children make use of the School’s Information Communication Technology Suite for computer work, the Sports Hall for gym time and have a story period with a Reception class and teacher.
At Christmas time, there is a special Nativity Play or participation in the Prep-Prep's Christmas Play, whilst in the Summer, the Little Grangers join with Pre-Prep for a Sports Afternoon.
For children who are to enter Reception in Pre-Prep, it is almost essential that they have come through Little Grange.
An extension to the Nursery was built during summer 2005 and Little Grange was officially re-opened by The Rt. Hon. Andrew MacKay MP on 14th October 2005.
The Pre-Prep is in a self-contained, safe area in the main School building comprising classrooms and a well-stocked library. There is a separate changing-room. With two parallel forms to each age group, the children learn to develop their academic, social and moral skills in a stimulating, happy and caring environment. Every Form Teacher has the availability of a classroom assistant, as an extra adult, whilst there is also a full-time Matron for the whole School, dealing with any injuries or illness. Matron has a First Aid Room and is an additional ancillary when not required for medical duties. Following a child’s fourth birthday, he or she joins Reception in September for their first year of full-time School, usually after spending the previous year in Little Grange.
Here children begin to learn their phonics, commence one of the School’s Reading and Mathematics schemes, allied to the National Curriculum, plus start Science and continue with Information Communication Technology, learning basic keyboard skills. Time is found for History, Geography and Religious Studies to add breadth to the curriculum. With Music, PE, Ballet for girls, plus Art and Design, they all have a busy and rewarding time.
The Schemes of Work are based on the six areas of learning: Personal and Social development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Knowledge and Understanding of the World, Physical Development and Creative Development.
Children progress through Pre-Prep, into Year 1 of the National Curriculum and then Year 2, learning and developing at their own pace. In Year 1, children are given weekly spelling lists to learn, while in Year 2 times tables work begins. In the three years a child will be in Pre-Prep, the Form Teacher is responsible for the teaching of all subjects with the following exceptions, as some specialists are introduced: Music from the Director of Music, PE from the Games Staff (both from Reception) and Art and Design (from Year 2) by the Head of Art and Design.
The Pre-Prep philosophy is very traditional in that all children must have a strong grasp of the 3Rs, as each Form Teacher encourages every child in her form to their own highest level of ability, so as to achieve their full potential. Year 2 children move automatically into the Preparatory School, joining Year 3.
Play is also an important part of their development and children have two playtimes a day – one in the Adventure Playground, comprising climbing frames and bailey bridges, and the other either in the Playground or on the Playing Field. All play areas and children are well supervised.
Children are prepared for Scholarships (academic, music and art), and Common Entrance for entry to Senior Independent Schools, while some children transfer into local state schools. The two forms in each age group continue up to the age of 11 but from September 2005, due to increasing numbers, there will be two forms in Year 7.
For the first two years in the Prep School (Years 3 & 4) Form Teachers take the children for all their subjects with the exception of Science, French, ICT, Music, Design Technology and PE/Games, which are taught by specialists.
From the age of 9 in Year 5, continuing up to Year 8 children are in mixed ability forms taught by subject specialists.
However, from Year 5 children are set according to ability in Mathematics, continuing into Years 6, 7 and 8. French setting starts in Year 6 and extends into Years 7 and 8.
From Year 5, the curriculum covers all the subjects required by girls at 11 and boys and girls at 13 for Common Entrance. The syllabus, which is allied very closely with the National Curriculum, is deliberately designed to stretch all children to higher levels of achievement than those set out in the attainment targets of the National Curriculum. By the time children leave at 13, they have started to cover the first two years of the GCSE coursework.
Every child’s progress is continuously reviewed: in the Prep School assessments and effort grades at every half-term; from Pre-Prep age at the end of the Autumn and Summer Terms when parents receive a full written report; in the Spring Term with an interim report, while formal meetings are arranged twice a year for parents to meet staff. However, informal opportunities are always possible – and sensible.
English, Mathematics, Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects from the age of 11), French (from age 7), History, Geography, Religious Studies, Information Communication Technology, Music, Art (including pottery, but not in Pre-Prep), Design Technology, German (from Year 7), Drama (from Year 3), PE and Games can be found on form timetables.
The School has well qualified staff in a Learning Support Department, led by the SENCO, helping children with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia), while others can have English, Mathematics and EFL support, all on an individual basis, but as an extra to the termly fees.
All children are encouraged to read, and from Year 3 are taught how to use the computerised library system by the School Librarian. As well as containing tapes and magazines, there are around four thousand books which are constantly being added to, plus three standalone computers for CD ROM reference access. After lunch break, four days a week, there is a special reading period before afternoon School commences. There is also the availability of a Reading Workshop for reluctant readers over the age of seven.
The School is inspected on a four yearly cycle, the most recent inspection being in 2003.
Sport plays an important part in the life of the School. The School has three large playing fields, a Sports Hall (including cricket nets), a heated swimming pool and an All-Weather Pitch (opened in October 2004) which can be used for a variety of sports including netball, tennis (three courts), soccer, hockey and cricket.
In May 2005 four outdoor cricket nets were opened, completing an impressive sports complex.
After school activities give children further opportunities to participate in sports, including sailing and canoeing (using the Bearwood lake).
Every child has the opportunity to take part in the major sports together with athletics, swimming, tennis, badminton and cross country. School teams compete from under-7 (Year 2) through to under-13 level. Boys have represented Berkshire at cricket, tennis and hockey.
At the younger ages, (for Years 2, 3 and 4) the under-7, under-8 and under-9 teams, all children are able to represent the School. In many sports, such as soccer, rugby, netball and rounders the team sizes are small, allowing the School to run sufficient teams for all the children in each year group. From under-11 age the number of teams usually reverts to two being full-size,
Music flourishes at Holme Grange School.
All children are encouraged to learn a musical instrument and there are frequent concerts throughout the year involving the Orchestra, Swing Band, the Choir, Sounds Ideas and Cantabile.
The Director of Music is assisted by many visiting instrumental and singing teachers and children are prepared for Associated Board examinations. Every week over 100 pupils have individual music lessons for instruments such as piano, guitar, drums, trumpet, flute, 'cello, and violin.
To commemorate the School's Diamond Anniversary a CD of all the best music was recorded in April 2005.
Written and directed by Heather Jenvey, a Year 4 Form Teacher, 'Clipsie's Way' gave all the Prep School the opportunity to appear on stage. There were Fireflies and Glow-worms in Year 3, the dragon Clipsie in Year 5 and Year 8's villainous Ombre, in his sinister lair. The musical production provided audiences with a spectacular show on three nights at the end of the Spring Term.
Once upon a time, long ago, before books were even printed, boys and girls gazed at the beautiful star patterns in a brilliant night sky and imagined that these related to marvellous and exciting tales. The Story Teller in such a time was a much loved and revered wise man who could read the heavens and entertain his listeners with wonderful narratives that were passed down, by word of mouth, from generation to generation. Many of these stories reflect the eternal struggle between good and evil with which we all have to contend.
Clipsie's Way is such a tale. It is set somewhere between Sunny Ville and Shadow Land in a place where bugs and beetles talk (and this is not considered to be at all surprising); where human beings communicate with Solaria the God of the Sun and his beautiful consort Laluna, Princess of the Moon; where Ombre the Shadow Caster and his henchmen plot to abduct Laluna and enmesh the world in a web of darkness…. and where the world can be righted by a gentle dragon whose heart is filled with love and compassion.