Welcome to the Pre-Prep Department

The Pre-Prep is a vibrant, inclusive and very happy school, where small classes ensure a high level of care and attention to every boy, and where boys are encouraged to embrace the values of friendship and respect, alongside perseverance and a love of learning.


We are dedicated to individual learning and guide the boys in becoming confident, capable and polite individuals, willing to take a risk and discover more about themselves in the process.

The Pre-Prep Department is housed in its own attractive, purpose built accommodation, surrounded by a wonderful expanse of green space which the boys use throughout the day. Reception have their own covered, outdoor classrooms which include a very popular mud kitchen!

We enjoy continuity and shared human and physical resources with the rest of the school including use of the swimming pool, the playing fields and the school dining room at lunchtime. Boys remain at Thorpe House until they are 16, so interaction between the Pre-Prep boys and their older peers is important. There are several vehicles which facilitate this including a Year 10 mentoring scheme where the older boys help in the Pre-Prep classrooms and a ‘reading buddy’ initiative where Year 1 and Year 6 boys meet up at lunchtime in the school library for guided reading sessions.

Our classes are small with no more than 16 boys and teaching styles vary to create a positive and enabling learning environment. Standards are high and boys are encouraged to be independent in their learning and ask questions about the topics they cover, though support and guidance is always available should a boy need it. Music is part of daily life at Pre-Prep and is taught by a dedicated peripatetic teacher who knows how to encourage even the most reluctant musician: the boys love the opportunity to showcase their work in year group assemblies, school performances and end of term concerts.

The description above only begins to describe life at Pre-Prep; I encourage you to visit us, so that I may show you around myself and introduce you to the wonderful team of teachers and to the boys we are so proud of.

Mrs Natasha Doran, Head of the Pre-Prep Department


Pre-Prep Department results

Reception, Year 1 and 2 comprises our Pre-Prep Department (Early Years and KS1.)

We are proud to present the following data which highlights our outstanding academic standards in our Early Years and Key Stage 1 classes. At Pre-Prep, high academic standards are guaranteed for each boy; excellent teaching, carefully selected resources, our ‘Learning Without Walls’ enrichment programme and our vibrant Parent Partnership amalgamate to bring out the very best in every boy in our care. Both parent and teacher share the belief that every boy can excel from his starting point and work together to make this happen; these results are testament to this ethos. We are passionate that every boy will enjoy learning and thrive at Thorpe House School.

End of Reception Year 2016:
National level for children achieving ‘A Good Level of Development’ = 69.3%
Thorpe House Pre-Prep level for boys achieving ‘A Good Level of Development’ = 82%

End of Reception Year 2017:
National level for children achieving ‘A Good Level of Development’ = 71%
Thorpe House Pre-Prep level for boys achieving ‘A Good Level of Development’ = 100%

End of Reception Year 2018:
National level for children achieving ‘A Good Level of Development’ = 71.5%
Thorpe House Pre-Prep level for boys achieving ‘A Good Level of Development’ = 75%

At the end of the summer term, the boys participate in GL Assessments which are nationally standardised assessments that benchmark their results against the national average for the UK. These results provide a good indication of how our boys perform against other schools within the country. Our results for this summer are listed below:

Above average scores Very high scores
Year 1 English 78% 34%
Year 1 maths 83% 44%
Year 2 English 47% 21%
Year 2 maths 74% 16%
Average reading age at July 2018
Year 1 (class of 5 – 6 year olds) 8 years and 9 months
Year 2 (class of 6 – 7 year olds) 9 years and 2 months

Boys learn more easily through movement and visual experience - the more interactive and participative the better - so we have introduced Thorpe Explorers' Forest School sessions for every boy.

Rain or shine (there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing) each year group spends two hours per week on Austenwood Common, the woods behind the Pre-Prep Department where sessions are led by Mrs Doran, our Forest School practitioner and Pre-Prep parent helpers.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of Forest School education, its purpose is to nurture the child holistically; to give the child the opportunity to take risks in the natural environment; to learn about flora and fauna; to connect with the changing seasons; to explore learning in teams and as an individual; to learn skills in the great outdoors; to be creative and imaginative and most of all to reflect and grow from their learning experiences. You may be interested to read an article The Times recently wrote about the benefits of Forest Schools in an age where children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates – not at Thorpe House Pre-Prep!

The benefits of Forest School are seemingly endless: Quieter boys are more naturally talkative, brimming with ideas and opinions that must be shared. Physical development sees huge benefits, as boys climb trees, negotiate steep clay pits, walk along fallen branches and generally build up their fitness levels in the fresh air. Being outside in the forest environment also benefits the boys’ mental well-bring; it seems impossible to feel any pressure or stress amidst such beauty. The little altercations which are so normal in the playground aren’t evidenced here; instead language and communication thrive and the children learn to negotiate and to respect each other’s points of view.

You can see some of the exciting Forest School activities we get up to on our Facebook page or our Twitter using #ThorpeExplorers or in this post.


The Pre-Prep day

‘My favourite lessons are maths and art, but I also love it when we get to play football on the field with our friends at lunchtime!’
Year 1 pupil

08.20 – 08.40

Early bird arrivals

Boys are welcome at the school gates by Mrs Doran before joining their teachers in their classrooms for independent activities and reading.

08.40 – 08.50


08.50 – 10.10

Morning lessons - Period 1 and 2

Reception take part in child initiated, structured activities both inside and in the outside classroom. KS1 take part in English or mathematics lessons.

10.10 – 10.30

Breaktime - Period 3

Boys put on their Wellington boots and tracksuits and spend break time on the Pre-Prep field where they participate in creative play in our well- resourced playground. Boys are expected to bring a healthy snack from home to enjoy.

10.30 – 11.50

Morning lessons - Period 4 and 5

Reception take part in child initiated, structured activities both inside and in the outside classroom. KS1 take part in English or mathematics lessons.

11.50 – 12.50

Lunch and breaktime - Period 6

All boys enjoy a healthy meal cooked in house by our chef at no extra charge and this is the perfect time to practise good table manners and behaviour. When they return from lunch the boys put on their Wellington boots and tracksuits and going outside onto the field to play.

12.50 – 13.30

Afternoon lessons - Period 7

These take the form of topic work explored through science, history and art. Boys enjoy PE lessons twice a week and these include rugby, football, gym, dance and swimming.

13.30 – 14.00

Assembly - Period 8

Monday – House meeting
Tuesday – Assembly in the church with Prep
Wednesday – Hymn practice
Thursday – Achievement assembly with Prep
Friday – Form time

14.00 – 15.20

Afternoon lessons - Period 9 and 10

15.20 – 15.30

Form time - Period 11


End of day for all boys

Beyond the classroom

We recognise that boys learn practically and interactively, so providing opportunities to learn contextually, outside the confines of the classroom is essential.

To stimulate creativity and help the understanding of new concepts we enjoy taking our lessons outside: counting can be practised by calculating how many hops it takes to get from one side of the playground to another; right angles created with sticks; and minutes and seconds practised by timing each other running from one football goal to the other! In addition to this, Reception have access to their own outdoor classrooms as well as a mud kitchen, which creates an additional hands-on learning environment for the younger boys.

We encourage the boys to have an interest in their local community by inviting visitors in to talk about the work they do. Boys have enjoyed visits from charities such as the NSPCC, local ‘people who help us’ such as the fire brigade and police officers and local authors.

School trips linked to the curriculum bring to life concepts explored in the classroom. During the year visits are organised to the Tower of London, ZSL London Zoo, Brighton Sea Life Centre and closer to home, Chiltern Open Air Museum, the Elgiva Theatre, Woburn Safari Park and the Roald Dahl Museum. We also organise in-school workshops including Professor Brainstorm, drama experiences, Lego workshops, creature roadshows and most recently, the Royal College of Music for a percussion workshop.

Finally, we offer an extensive range of lunchtime and after school clubs ranging from judo, French, cooking and art to mini tennis, gardening club and Mouse Wizard Masters!

“We go on the coolest trips; my favourite was to Brighton Sea Life Centre when we got to see a jellyfish that glowed in the dark!”

Pre-Prep pupil – Year 2

Senior Leadership Team




Head of Pre-Prep


Head of Prep


Head of Seniors



Teaching staff

Mrs N Doran, Head of the Pre-Prep Department – ndoran@thorpehouse.co.uk
Mrs M Treves, Nursery Teacher – mtreves@thorpehouse.co.uk
Mrs S Thomson, Reception Teacher – sthomson@thorpehouse.co.uk
Miss K Mercer, Year 1 Teacher – kmercer@thorpehouse.co.uk
Mr D Correia, Year 2 Teacher – dcorreia@thorpehouse.co.uk
Mrs J Hazell, Pre-Prep Teaching Assistant – jhazell@thorpehouse.co.uk
Mrs M Wade, Pre-Prep SENCo – mwade@thorpehouse.co.uk
Mrs G Reisinger, Music Teacher – greisinger@thorpehouse.co.uk

Peripatetic teachers

Mr A Penman, Woodwind
Mr M Morris, Guitar and violin

Office staff

Miss L Butt, Pre-Prep Office Manager – preprep@thorpehouse.co.uk

Contact Thorpe House School

If you would like more information about the school, would like a prospectus or would like to arrange a visit, please contact Mrs Tyler, our registrar using the form below.

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