The Main School is for children aged 8 - 13, taking them from Year 4 to Year 8. We have children of all abilities and talents. Our task is to prepare them for their senior schools and we take a very broad approach to this.
The vast majority of our children go on to leading schools in the UK’s independent sector. So in their final (Leavers’) year, they are ready to take either the Common Entrance, a common set of examinations prepared by and for the independent senior schools in the UK, or the specific Scholarship exams set by the school to which they aspire to go. Scholarships can be academic, or in the fields of music, drama, art, design and technology, sports and riding. Our children regularly achieve scholarships in all these areas.
Children who have come to us from other countries transition successfully to senior schools in their own country with greater confidence in English, new friends and the achievement of having undertaken the curriculum at The Elms in a second language. Our life at the school is enriched by a small number of children most frequently from Spain or France, but also from time to time from the Far East.
We tackle all the main academic subjects and others which are rather less common, to broaden experience and skills.
Our curriculum is not simply directed at passing the Common Entrance exams or achieving academic Scholarships. For us, those are the start, not the end.
With our focus on Latin and (for those who wish) Greek, we support a study of the building blocks of our own and other European languages and also an insight into the classical civilisations which have informed our own cultures.
Our rich drama programme develops confidence in public speaking, in public performance, the experience of inhabiting other characters and points of view, the opportunity to find unexplored reserves of talent and courage, and provides an insight into theatrecraft, lighting and sound.
Children discover and pursue their musical talents through performance in musicals, music lessons and practice with particular instruments (be it violin, electric guitar or bagpipes) and singing in the choir.
The focus on sport is, more than anything, about health, healthy activity, team endeavour, mutual support, tolerance and winning and losing with good grace.
And then we have our rural studies programme built around the farm. Whether by tending their gardens or looking after the animals all the children, working in the most fantastic outdoor classroom, gain a hands-on understanding of the cycle of life for plants and animals and the experience of taking responsibility for others. Some of the proudest moments come for children who show our animals or enter a garden for a design competition at local shows.
There is something for everyone and we do our best to help different children achieve a balance which responds to their particular abilities and interests.