Upper School: Years 7 and 8
The Upper School at Hazlegrove is all about getting children ready for their move to Senior School at the age of 13. Hazlegrove Upper School prepares children for the often challenging landscape of Senior School within an environment which recognises the very different needs of 11 and 12 year old children.
Here are just some of the things that we do differently in Upper School:
- Children retain the same tutor for the duration of their time in the Upper School, resulting in a very supportive and informed tutor/tutee relationship. Excellent relationships are also formed with parents, which ensures a smooth transfer on to senior school.
- All children hold positions of responsibility in Year 8; this is something that is always most effective once they reach 'the top of the tree' and is a wonderful opportunity for our young people to develop their leadership skills.
- Every pupil is in a drama production each year at Hazlegrove, which culminates in Year 8 when the children spend two weeks off timetable to immerse themselves in a whole year group production. From helping with props, sets, tickets and make up, to having lead roles, everyone gets a part, and there are whole cast numbers when the entire year group is on stage. Each year, our pupils find that this a great conclusion to all of the drama they have enjoyed over the years.
- We run two amazing trips, to the River Dart in Year 7, and the Leavers’ Trip in Year 8. These are both fantastic experiences giving the children shared and treasured memories. All Upper School children cite these two trips as highlights of their time at prep school. The River Dart is a residential week based at the CRS Adventure Centre on Dartmoor where children experience many outdoor activities including climbing, caving, kayaking and high ropes. They discover a huge amount about themselves and cultivate valuable skills such as leadership and teamwork, along with many core values, including empathy, kindness and compassion. The Year 8 trip takes place towards the end of the Summer Term in Year 8. We head to a campsite in Cornwall and enjoy a fabulous week together creating memories that will last a lifetime and enjoying surfing, bodyboarding, coasteering and much more.
- There are a wide range of sporting opportunities, both internal and external, and through competitions such as County, Regional or IAPS. The staff at Hazlegrove nominate those displaying sporting talent to go through to the different player pathways within Somerset – Hockey, Netball, Cricket – with children often progressing beyond these and many going on to get County Caps or even representing their countries in later life.
- Those Year 8s who sit music scholarships have the opportunity to demonstrate their confidence, skills and talents via showcase events such as our wonderful Year 8 Showcase.
- Our pupils invariably find when they get to senior school that preparing for Common Entrance (CE) and academic scholarship exams has helped them enormously in knowing how to revise, and what study skills work for them. Their experience, time and time again, is that preparing for such a robust set of external exams sets them up for life and makes preparing for GCSEs much easier.
- CE/Scholarships are a great way to finish and give pupils a goal for their time in the classroom at a point in their lives when it is so vital to have a really meaningful focus. The different levels allow for everyone to be pushed at an appropriate level to them.
- Upper School pupils move around the School for their different subjects, which prepares them well for navigating their way through larger school sites at senior school. We delight in giving children the chance to simply enjoy being children and they benefit from the best of both worlds: being taught by specialists in their subjects, and remaining in a safe and secure environment they know and love.
- Many children sample boarding throughout the Upper School in preparation for boarding at their Senior School.
- Being at the top of a Prep School is very rewarding – our Year 8 children have a real sense of belonging. They value the opportunity to show younger pupils or visiting parents around the school on Open Days and are very open to creating videos or presentations about their experience at Hazlegrove because they are proud of their School.
Just as in Senior School, children move around the School for their different subjects, which prepares them well for when they are navigating their way through larger school sites. Their teachers are specialist in their subjects, children benefits from being taught by senior trained educationalists but remaining in an environment where they are achieving at the top of their first stage of their School career.
Our wellbeing programme and pastoral care actively address the issues which pre-teens face, with a full and broad reaching PHSE programme. Children at Hazlegrove's Upper School are well prepared for their next step which they can take with confidence and maturity at the age of 13.