Our Aims and Ethos
At St Christopher's we aim to provide all our pupils with a first-class academic education within a happy, family-style learning environment. The focus at St Christopher's is on encouraging the children in our care to explore the world for themselves; we are well known across the prep school world for our high academic standards with children of all ability levels.
Our ethos is characterised by the early age at which pupils are introduced to experimenting in the science laboratory and languages such as French, Mandarin and Latin. Our curriculum is geared towards the demands of the 13+ Common Entrance and Scholarship syllabuses. It is broad and carefully balanced to ensure that all our pupils receive a rich academic and creative learning experience, together with the major prep school sports and opportunities for extra-curricular activities.
Progression through the School
Pupils move into the Middle School (Years 4 to 6) at the age of 8 and begin to experience a wider variety of subject teachers, whilst retaining the watchful eye of a form tutor. Latin is introduced in Year 4.
In Year 5 and 6, pupils are taught predominantly by specialist teachers and are set according to ability in subjects such as Mathematics, Latin and French if deemed appropriate. In the Upper School (Years 7 and 8) pupils are set in a wide range of subjects in Year 7 and streamed in their final year into Common Entrance and academic scholarship classes.
Computing is taught as a curriculum subject and teachers deliver a variety of subjects using the ICT suite. Communication skills are developed in drama lessons and PSHCE is taught to all forms. Music, art and sport are taught to all pupils by specialists and are particular strengths of the School.
Learning and Progress
Pupils' academic progress is carefully monitored and assessed throughout the academic year. Standardised diagnostic tests are taken to help establish areas of strength and weakness. Standardised scores are used to highlight discrepencies between potential and actual performance to highlight children who are both under-performing or over-achieveing as well. From time to time, some pupils may require learning support and individual and group support programmes can be tailored to specific needs by our Learning Support Co-ordinator.
Middle and Upper School pupils receive grades for attainment and effort in each academic subject every three weeks; these are recorded alongside House Points on a Mark Card which is published in the Parents' Portal of the website. Effort grades are tracked to try and ensure that any child who is not working hard or whose effort is diminshing is picked up and set an appropriate target for improvement. Gold, silver, bronze, yellow and red colouring on the mark cards visually highlights how good a child's effort is. We endeavour to make sure that we do not set everyone one hurdle but that they all run their own course, according to their strengths.
In the Middle and Upper Schools, school examinations take place in the Michaelmas and Summer terms and, for pupils in Year 8, mock examinations in the Lent term.
Parents are sent detailed written reports at the end of the Michaelmas and Summer terms, and Parents’ Consultation Evenings are held in the latter half of the Lent term for all pupils and in October for Pre-Prep pupils. There is also an additional evening for Year 8 at the end of the Michaelmas term.
Headmaster's Commendations are awarded each week to pupils for achievement or endeavour in specific subjects, together with Form Commendations for House Points.