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Upper School: Years 7 and 8

Upper School: Years 7 and 8

The Upper School at Hazlegrove is all about igniting the inner spark, helping children to discover and pursue their talents and providing an environment that allows them to flourish and reach their potential.  Providing opportunities and responsibilities to all at the same time as reinforcing the key Hazlegrove values of Kindness, Grace, Courage, , Integrity, Respect and Generosity.

The Upper School also 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. We support those who decide to pursue a scholarship – it could be an Academic Scholarship or an Art, DT, Drama, Music, Sport or All Rounder – we have vast experience of helping and guiding those children through the process.

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 where possible, 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.An example of this is our Year 8’s helping in the Pre-Prep and Lower School – giving something back to the HZG community and fostering that sense of kindness and supporting younger HZG children.  Opportunities like the Exmoor Challenge also showcase leadership potential and allow those pupils to shine.
  • 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;  the River Dart Trip 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 Trip 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, cycling the Camel Trail,  coasteering and much more.
  • There is an increasing range of sporting opportunities on offer.  Through internal events, a comprehensive fixtures calendar and attending a variety of tournaments (including Regional IAPS events) the children have many opportunities to extend their skills at an appropriate level.  All children represent the school and enjoy the thrill of representing HZG.  We have a dedicated and passionate team of sports staff that support all levels of ability.  For some County nominations are submitted and we aim to extend all – with many children often progressing to a county standard or even representing their countries in later life.  We are very proud of our international honours board.
  • 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.
  • Music and The Arts continues to be at the heart of the Upper School – we love hearing our Rock Bands play at school events such as Bonfire Night or in Friday Concerts – some will pursue the route of a Music Scholarships and others will simply enjoy singing in our  weekly Congers Assembly. All Year 8’s have the opportunity to demonstrate their growing musical confidence, skills and talents via the wonderful Year 8 Showcase – an annual event in May when we host an Art and DT Exhibition and a Concert involving the whole year group.
  • 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.

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. 

At Hazlegrove, learning and enjoyment go together!  There’s nothing better than getting our wellies on, planning where a new solar farm could go on the School site with all the calculations about energy, costs, area, size to make a brilliant maths lesson appeal to a whole range of different learning profiles in different ways.  We know how to stretch children and support children, through the curriculum and our excellent Learning Support Unit, and most of all, we know our children well, being big enough to have specialists in all important areas of school life but small enough to be a close-knit team of staff who chat about the children and their needs every day. 

Nothing gives us more pleasure than to receive emails from parents telling us that their child has progressed more during their time with us than they dared hope was possible and to see our children leave us on Speech Day ready, in every sense, for senior school and beyond.