- Our School
- Pre-Prep School
- Prep School
- School Life
Great importance is placed on the teaching of English within day-to-day learning at Pembridge Hall. We aim to inspire the girls by exposing them to a range of diverse texts which celebrate differences in gender, race, age, religion, nationality and cultural origins. This encourages open-minded individuals and instils moral and social traits which will continue to support growth and curiosity.
The development of English skills is seen as a key part of the curriculum, as these concepts permeate every subject. The aspects focused on can be largely grouped into distinct but interrelated areas: phonics (in Reception and, Years 1 and 2); reading for meaning and pleasure; writing for different purposes and audiences; handwriting and spelling; and speaking and listening. Girls progress and build upon each of these aspects as they move through the school, embedding their knowledge and continuing to develop their understanding of English as a subject. In Reception and Lower School, daily English lessons are provided by the class teacher. When girls reach the Middle School, English is taught in four groups to allow for further personalised learning and tailored support. In the Upper School, as well as the continued structure of four groups, English is taught by specialist teachers who teach across the key stage. This ensures continuity and cohesion in the lead up to the 11+ examination process.
We aim to foster a life-long passion for reading and an appreciation of literature in every girl who walks through the doors of our school. From author and illustrator visits during Book Week, to focused studies of an author’s works, to performances of Shakespeare’s plays by our Year 6 girls, our school is enlivened by the magical world opened up through a love of the written and spoken word.
We aim for all our girls to become fluent in the fundamentals of Maths, with a developed conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge confidently and accurately. Encouraging them to reason mathematically and think critically by applying their knowledge to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication and use of resources.
Maths is a vital part of life at Pembridge Hall. It is integrated into the daily programme of every year group, with an hour of the teaching day dedicated to Maths lessons. In the Lower School, Maths is taught by the class teacher. In the Middle and Upper School, the year group is split into four classes, with vertical teaching introduced throughout Years 5 and 6.
Our Maths curriculum is based on the National Curriculum with enhancements of mastery to ensure every girl is appropriately challenged. The Reception year starts the journey with a firm grounding in basic concepts of number, taught through practical and interactive activities. Our girls progress throughout the Lower School to recording calculations and developing numeracy skills. This then leads into more complex and challenging mathematical concepts in the Middle and Upper School in preparation for the success of the 11+ examinations.
The primary aim of the Science curriculum is to spark curiosity and capture the imagination of girls so that they are inspired and equipped to independently question and explore the scientific world around them.
Our innovative and aspirational curriculum is delivered thematically, with each topic set within a real-world context and lessons framed by big questions. From exciting chemical reactions, dissections and crime scene analysis to virtual reality journeys into Space and through each body system; at Pembridge Hall girls find themselves fully immersed in their learning!
Specialist teaching in our modern and spacious, fully resourced laboratory takes place from Year 2, however girls in Year 1 also get to experience the awe of Science, with hands on experiments and exploratory topics taught by their class teacher. Traditional Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics provide a robust foundation for the 11+ Common Entrance examinations, however these are enriched by lessons exploring scientific breakthroughs and current affairs.
From Kitchen Sink Science club, Science Week and numerous competitions, to guest speakers and trips across London, at Pembridge Hall there are always plentiful extra-curricular opportunities for girls to harness their wonder as the scientists of the future.
Physical Education and Sport play an important part of life at any preparatory school. At Pembridge Hall our focus is on fostering a love of Physical Education and Sport, that will help our girls to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. We recognise its importance in adding a new dimension to the lives of our pupils, increasing motivation and performance in all aspects of school life. Above all we strive to challenge the elite, pushing the girls to be hungry for success, but at the same time we want to see smiles on red faces and wider engagement for all. Girls are encouraged to have a growth mind set to challenge themselves without fear of failure.
PE is taught by specialist teachers and all Lower School lessons have an additional PE teaching assistant. Lessons are divided into two different strands ensuring that the girls are exposed to an array of different sports and can acquire a variety of core skills. All year groups have two core PE lessons, and one Games lesson per week. Swimming is taught in Year 2. PE lessons take place on site in our well-equipped gyms. All games lessons and sporting clubs take place at Paddington Recreation Ground, which is a short coach ride away and provides us with an array of excellent facilities.
Extra-Curricular opportunities exist in Netball, Lacrosse, Football, Rounders, Cricket, Athletics, Swimming, Athletics, Fencing, Cross-Country Running and Dance.
At Pembridge Hall every child has the opportunity to participate in team and individual sports at an appropriately challenging level. This ranges from IAPS National competitions to local fixtures and interhouse competitions. Our top teams in each age group exhibit a strong competitive spirit and have experienced competition through an annual netball residential trip to Somerset. Many other opportunities exist for sailing, equestrian, skiing, triathlon, and golf, to name but a few.
Dance at is a popular and vibrant subject that promotes a love of performance and choreography while encouraging dance appreciation. Lessons inspire the girls to develop collaboration skills, critical thinking, creativity and imagination. We also recognise the importance of Dance for health and well-being. Dance offers our girls the opportunity to express themselves, building confidence and self-esteem.
Within our Dance curriculum, girls are taught creative, stimulating and challenging world genres through a dynamic scheme of work. Topics change every half term, giving the girls a broad dance knowledge in a variety of styles. Every year group has timetabled dance lessons, some of which are incorporated into the PE curriculum and others are more specialised.
We are fortunate to have a mirrored Dance studio at Pembridge Hall, complete with Ballet Barres for use during lessons. Pembridge girls also have an opportunity to perform in venues such at the Tabernacle Theatre and St. Matthew’s Church.
Extra-curricular Dance clubs are available in the form of Tap and Modern and Contemporary in the Lower School and Street Dance and Strictly Ballroom in the Middle and Upper School. Girls have numerous performance opportunities which include assemblies, mini-musicals, and the highly anticipated Year 6 play involving the whole Performing Arts department. Our Gym and Dance display takes place in the Summer Term where exceptional performances from each year group are showcased.
At Pembridge Hall we aim to stimulate and develop in our girls a passion and love for Music. We do this by offering a curriculum designed to inspire and enrich their creativity and nurture individual musical talent.
We provide a supportive, encouraging and challenging environment that enhances girls’ confidence and fosters an atmosphere of trust, mutual respect, and cooperation. Each year group receives two music lessons per week during which our pupils are exposed to a variety of musical opportunities through singing, listening, composing and performing.
The Director of Music at Pembridge Hall is supported by a team of twelve instrumental teachers all of whom are professional musicians. As well as their weekly individual instrumental lessons, our girls are encouraged to join our extensive list of ensembles and choirs.
We celebrate our girls’ achievements throughout the year through a wide range of performance opportunities. These include regular and informal recitals and end of term concerts.
We take Art and Design very seriously at Pembridge Hall while having a lot of fun. Art is taught once a week to all year groups, by specialist teachers.
In Reception and Year 1 pupils experience a host of different artistic media and begin to express their creative thoughts and ideas in both 2D and 3D. They learn about colour theory and are introduced to a variety of artists. From Year 2 onwards pupils extend their techniques while utilising an ever-widening range of creative media. Projects are often linked to a particular Art movement, often one that fits appropriately into the year group curriculum.
Our custom-designed Art studio is flooded with natural light, providing a superb space in which the girls can allow their creativity free rein. Throughout the year girls visit exhibitions and take part in workshops run by visiting artists. STEAM projects are a core element of our curriculum and promote links with other subjects such as Science, Maths and Computing. These projects encourage the girls to develop the ability to take thoughtful risks, engage in learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process.
Drama lessons take place once a week and promote confidence and positive self-image whilst nurturing the intrinsic need children have to express themselves, learn about emotions, and relate to other people through academic, social and emotional growth. Girls develop a sensitive awareness of the world around them while exploring their own unique form of communication and style in performance.
Drama fosters imperative skills in communication and empathy, encouraging girls to explore the art of language and storytelling through performance. All girls explore real and fictional worlds using body language, vocal expression and gesture to make meaning in performance – and as an audience. They cover a range of conventions through their course of study, from script work and Pantomime to Physical Theatre and Process Drama. From Reception to Year 6, students are challenged to devise, perform and respond to Drama, developing key skills in performance and collaboration.
We are fortunate to have a fully equipped Drama Studio and a large catalogue of scripts, monologues and play texts that students regularly interact with as well as a vibrant array of props and costumes to encourage believable role play and immersive learning opportunities.
Drama offers several enriching opportunities for students to enhance their subject knowledge. For example, we aim to regularly watch live theatre and incursions as well as participate in workshops with industry specialists. We like to foster a sense of professionalism through our Year 6 Play which is held in Notting Hill’s Tabernacle Theatre. We offer Drama clubs from Year 1 -6 and ensure students have regular opportunities to perform to live audiences through talent shows and musicals. Trips, workshops, and extra-curricular activities are a vital addition to the learning experience in Drama.
Upper School girls are invited to undertake individual LAMDA tuition at school. The London Academy of Music, Drama and Art (LAMDA) is a long-established organisation with an international reputation in training for the performing arts. In school, we focus on the Communication aspect of the LAMDA programme and work towards attaining qualifications awarded by LAMDA at the end of the unit.
Within their individual sessions, the girls are introduced to a variety of poetic styles and structures and practise the key skills of intonation, expression and voice moderation when reading poetry aloud. They work towards the eventual aim of reciting a prepared piece of poetry in performance during a recital for their teachers and parents. Girls also receive an introduction to the art of good conversation, discussing a variety of contemporary affairs and events in a manner that engages the listener and demonstrates their understanding of the topics under discussion.
The value of these sessions in empowering girls in the skills of performance and public speaking are immeasurable. Not only is poetry recital a key tool in reinforcing memory skills and an understanding of poetic structure, it also allows creative free rein in taking on a new role or understanding an unfamiliar experience. The girls’ enjoyment of these sessions and their pride in their enhanced confidence in public speaking and their newly honed conversational skills is testament to the success of the programme.
PSHEE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) is delivered across every area of the curriculum, alongside being a discreet subject of its own – central to all we do at Pembridge.
PSHEE enables girls to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. This subject helps girls to stay healthy, safe and prepared for life – and work: encouraging them to become independent and responsible members of society.
Working with the PSHE Association, we have developed our own spiral, thematic curriculum covering areas such as Relationships, Living in the Wider World and Health and Wellbeing. The curriculum brings together compulsory Relationships and Health Education, emotional literacy, mindfulness, social skills and spiritual development.
PSHEE develops the whole child, promoting their social, mental and physical development.
Across centuries and continents, history at Pembridge Hall is both captivating and thought-provoking, as girls circle the globe and delve into the past.
Provided with the opportunity to explore history from many different angles, a variety of carefully constructed activities, support a balanced skills and knowledge rich curriculum. Invaluable enquiry skills: detective work, analysis of sources, questioning, investigating, discussing possibilities, oral history, using eye-witness accounts, memories and the observation of artefacts and pictures, are all fully explored alongside inspiring content.
As they progress up the school, these valuable skills and knowledge learnt, are further embedded as the girls make links through the interaction of other disciplines such as, Geography, Art and Religious Education. The enrichment of cross curricula learning further develops an awareness of the political, cultural and social structures within past societies and how they interrelate and strengthen the understanding of how historical events have contributed to shaping today’s complex world.
From the Stone Age to Iron Age Britain, Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Victorians, world wars and the Kingdom of Benin, our rich and diverse history teaching provides an outstanding and distinctive education.
“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” Martin Luther King. Jr.
Inspiring, engaging, and dynamic lessons introduce girls to a world beyond the streets of Notting Hill and lead them to a burgeoning awareness of the beautiful yet fragile planet we live on.
Geography encompasses four main areas upon which our curriculum is based – Locational Knowledge, Place Knowledge, Human and Physical Geography and Geographical Skills and Fieldwork. Learning is varied and exciting ranging from Reception to Year 6. We study Scottish islands and explore life in countries as diverse as Brazil and Kenya. We delve deep into the physical and human features of our world including mountains, rivers, climate, and coastal studies, to name but a few. To enable the girls to reflect upon and expand their locational knowledge beyond the classroom, fieldwork is carried out within our local area.
By the end of Year 6, girls leave Pembridge Hall with a curiosity about the world and its people, which will remain with them for their next stage at senior school and beyond.
Religion, Philosophy and Ethics allows girls to develop knowledge and understanding within the multi-cultural and diverse world in which we live. Girls enjoy sharing their own beliefs and values as well as becoming more informed about others. Religion and Ethics makes a valuable contribution to girls’ key skills for learning and for life beyond the classroom. We aim to deliver our lessons with vibrancy and enthusiasm while allowing girls to gain a deeper understanding of the world religions as well as providing opportunities to explore philosophy and ethics in our 21st century society.
Our girls will learn about the traditions, cultures, main beliefs, celebrations, and festivals in each religion within our weekly lessons. They will compare, contrast, and immerse themselves in the topic allowing for a greater depth of tolerance and understanding of all faiths, whilst appreciating the importance of family traditions, community spirit and worldwide diversity.
We encourage the girls to discuss big questions through philosophical and ethical thinking by incorporating debates, group work, role play and independent research with our lessons.
Philosophy, with its rich and varied opportunities to explore new concepts and ideas through discussion and debate has dedicated lesson time at Pembridge Hall in both years of the Upper School. This is recognition of the importance of enabling our girls to formulate their thoughts, marshal their arguments and express themselves with confidence and where appropriate, passion.
The Philosophy Foundation provides a wealth of expert input, and the girls benefit greatly across the board from being introduced to sophisticated ways of thinking ‘on their feet’ at a relatively early age. Heraclitus’ river issue (is it true you can’t step into the same river twice?) and the question of whether you can ever change your national identity are just two examples of our Year 6 discussions.
The girls themselves realise the huge value of being able to explore such ideas which reach outside the confines of the strict curriculum but truly expand their minds.
Computing at Pembridge Hall provides our girls with the core digital and coding skills they will need at senior school and beyond. Creativity and collaboration is heavily embedded into the curriculum with a focus on problem solving, computational thinking and cross curricular learning.
As an academic subject, pupils start Computing in Reception by learning the basics of navigation and selection through a range of applications on tablets. In Years 1 and 2 ICT is taught by specialist teachers, covering the use of basic Microsoft Office 365 applications such as Word and PowerPoint. Girls start to learn about their digital identity and the importance of keeping their personal information safe. They are also introduced to basic programming and debugging skills using Beebots, code.org and Scratch.
From Year 3 onwards the girls are taught to use the full Microsoft Office 365 package including Teams, OneNote and OneDrive. Computing class work is project based to enable the girls to collaborate and transfer their skills to other subjects. Girls have two lessons a week, one dedicated to key digital skills such as touch typing and use of key applications, the other learning a range of programming techniques used in Python, Scratch and Minecraft education. All year groups have one project allocated to STEAM, using Micro:bits, Makey Makey and Kano technologies.
Internet safety is taught on a termly basis throughout all year groups. The girls learn how to keep their digital identity safe and how to reduce online risks.
We are fortunate to have two ICT suites that include Windows 10 machines, onto which the girls login using Office 365. From Reception to Year 3 all students have access to their own iPads in each classroom to support their use of ICT across the curriculum. When the girls reach Year 4, they receive their own Surface Go device, which they take to every lesson. As a school we have a full set of Virtual Reality headsets that the girls can use to enhance a number of subjects. To support creativity, we have the full Adobe package for image and movie editing with the use of green screens. Special events are planned throughout the year to enhance the girls’ coding knowledge, such as coding days, in-school events and trips to Bletchley Park.
French opens the world of language learning to all our students. Girls are taught to express themselves with confidence and approach all tasks with resilience. Our pupils leave Year 6 with a solid foundation in French and a love for language learning.
French is taught once a week in Years 1-3, and twice a week from Year 4. All lessons are taught by a specialist teacher.
In the first two years of French, the focus is solely on speaking and listening. Vocabulary is reinforced through songs, games, and interactive activities. In Year 3, French phonics is introduced for the first time, allowing girls to begin reading and writing accurately. In Years 4 – 6 a strong grammatical foundation is built, focusing on gender and verb conjugation. We continue to focus on communication and answering questions in all year groups. Native French speakers are provided with work appropriate to their level, ensuring that all girls are challenged.
French is taught in our dedicated French classroom from Year 3. This is well-resourced with a range of learning aids, French books, and displays to reinforce what is taught in lessons. ICT is used regularly in French lessons; we subscribe to Linguascope, which pupils can access at school and use at home to consolidate the vocabulary learnt at school.
Special events are planned throughout the year to enhance the French curriculum. Highlights include the trip to the French Institute in Year 3 and a week’s immersion in France for the Year 6 pupils at the wonderful Château de la Baudonnière in Normandy.
Enrichment provision at Pembridge Hall promotes the key critical thinking skills of reasoning, speaking up, open-mindedness and scepticism. Such skills feed into both core and specialist subjects, enhancing ability in the eventual transition exams. Further, they are crucial tools with which our girls will face the challenges and choices that lie ahead in the increasingly complex world they will embrace as adults.
In Current Affairs, topics range from general considerations, such as the use and manipulation of numbers in the news, to specific current events, such as the last election in the USA.
Passion for unusual and captivating vocabulary across Years 3 to 5 is generated by the girls being encouraged to own and bring to life such words as loquacious, taciturn and ubiquitous with a graded system of fun tasks. The participants have commented: “I now have a lot more vocabulary in my brain…”; “I find it very useful when doing reasoning, Atom tasks and English at school.”
Particular enriching events include mock elections involving political parties campaigning on realistic policies and mock Victorian criminal trials. This girl speaks for many: “I have become more confident at public speaking because I now know how to speak confidently and stand up for what I believe in. When I was being cross-examined the prosecution caught me out a lot – it was fun because it was a challenge and I’m getting better at it.”
Pan-school projects are organised, such as the digital bank of readily accessible book reviews by pupils and staff alike, to motivate and inspire our girls to widen their literary horizons with enjoyment centre-stage.
“It is interesting how news stories use numbers to be more persuasive.”
“It is exciting to know what is happening around the world, I really enjoy it.”
Additional Support is embedded into life at Pembridge Hall, as we aim to support girls who may need a little extra help to reach their full potential at any stage of their academic journey. We are lucky to have so many languages spoken within the Pembridge Hall community and we are keen to offer support to girls learning English as an additional language. Support sessions can take place in the classroom, as well as within smaller booster groups, both before and during the school day.
We are proud to offer very carefully chosen, highly effective programmes of support for our girls. These support programmes range widely. As well as teacher-led interventions, we also make use of technology wherever possible, and girls have access to a number of interventions on their iPads that they can use independently both at school and at home. Areas of the curriculum we aim to support include, but are not limited to, the following:
For girls who may benefit from additional specialist support, we have a Speech and Language Therapist and an Occupational Therapist in school for weekly sessions.
The support provided in our school is implemented in a sensitive, positive and engaging way, to foster a love of learning and ensure excellent progress.
Wherever possible we aim to link what happens inside the classroom with external experiences that bring the girls’ learning to life. Each year group has a rich programme of day trips and themed events connected to a variety of subject areas that provide invaluable cultural and historical experiences. Visits to Bletchley Park and the Imperial War Museum enrich the Upper School History curriculum as part of their study of World War Two for example.
Pembridge Hall believes passionately in the importance of educating children to feel confident in the outdoor environment, come rain or shine. Reception girls participate in weekly outdoor activities in the Bluebell Woods at Paddington Recreation Centre, while Year 1 and 2 girls complete a series of STEAM focussed outdoor activity sessions linked to the seasons and the senses at the Lookout Centre in Hyde Park.
From Years 3 to 6, girls take part in a two, three or four night Summer Term residential trip. They complete a range of team-building and outdoor activities, which encourage the girls to move beyond their comfort zone, taking on new and exciting challenges. The Year 6 trip to the wonderful Château de la Baudonnière in Normandy, is of course, an annual highlight.
Link to The Exploration Society: https://explorationsociety.co.uk/