Hemdean House Min

Upper Prep Welcome

Dear Parents,

Upper Prep is made up of Years 7 and 8. Children are encouraged to take increased responsibility for their learning and to have diverse interests along with traditional manners. We want to see children having fun and being able to embrace the unexpected. During their time in Upper Prep, children will continue to grow into successful young people who are honest, confident and caring towards others, whilst developing a profound sense of integrity and responsibility. More than anything, it is an opportunity to continue to build on the school motto and prepare them for the greater things we are certain they will achieve.

Throughout Years 7 and 8, the children enjoy the varied 13+ ISEB curriculum. We do, however, ensure that they continue to have the opportunity to enjoy those subjects which are not examined, such as art, DT, music, drama and sport, and to continue their passion for any subject.

It is always fantastic to hear how parents and children enjoy the rigour and breadth of Common Entrance and the focus of teachers in these crucial developmental years. We like to see happy, motivated children learning the skills for life beyond Barrow Hills.

In the final two years, the children take on more responsibility, with captaincy roles in Year 8, and are proud to wear their blue blazers as the senior pupils in the school.

Kind regards,

Mrs Luisa Mason
Head of Upper Prep

Form Teachers and Key Staff

Mrs Luisa Mason, Head of Upper Prep and Form Teacher Year 8G, ljm@barrowhills.org

Mr Thomas Behan, Form Teacher 8R, tjb@barrowhills.org

Mr Benjamin Smith, Form Teacher 7G, bas@barrowhills.org

Mr Jon Hinds, Director of Teaching and Learning, jeh@barrowhills.org

Mrs Pippa Goedkoop, Head of Learning Support and Extension, pmg@barrowhills.org

What makes Upper Prep so special?


Year 8 children have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by applying for a Captaincy role. Roles include Head Boy and Head Girl and Heads of Houses as well as Captains of drama, sport, D.T, art, gardening, Pre-Prep, music, STEM – the list is endless and covers all aspects of school life. The children may also create their own roles if they would like to do so and can demonstrate how they would add value in this area of school life. They meet regularly with their teachers to discuss their goals and targets and to record their achievements

Peer Mentors

Year 7 and 8 children are able to undergo training to become Peer Mentors to support the younger children in the school by offering ‘ a listening ear’ and help and advice. They can be clearly identified by their pink lanyards.


After school and lunchtime enrichment clubs are available to support children applying for scholarships in drama, sport, art and drama and academic subjects, or for those children who show a love and passion for a particular area of the curriculum.

Business Enterprise

Children develop vital life skills by participating in a Business Enterprise Project where they work in groups to develop and create a product, culminating in a market day where they sell their goods to the school community. The children manage all aspects of the project from the finances to advertising as well as creating the products themselves and learn how to cooperate and work together as a team.

Stationery List

  • A pencil case
  • Several HB lead pencils and H pencil for maths / science
  • Blue fountain pen and eraser
  • Blue handwriting pens
  • Coloured pencils including non-blendable ones in blue, red, yellow, green, purple and brown
  • Highlighter pen and green biro (Years 4 – 8)
  • An eraser, a ruler (30 cm), scissors and a pencil sharpener
  • Glue stick (Pritt Stick or similar)
  • A geometry set including protractor (from Year 5) and a pair of compasses (from Year 6)
  • A scientific calculator – Casio FX – 85GTX
  • A homework folder
  • A named water bottle
  • Equipment and books are carried to school in their own rucksack
  • A reading book to be carried ready for afternoon registration


Pupils are taught as a class for subjects, except for English, maths and science, which are set by ability. In Years 7 and 8, subjects are set where the need arises. We monitor the children’s progress closely, looking to support and extend each individual child. The children are involved in their own target setting, regularly reviewing their progress and looking to challenge themselves. Sets are not static and are constantly reviewed with children moving between groups throughout the year.

Presentation of Work

All Barrow Hills children are expected to take pride in their work and present it to their best of their ability. In Years 7 and 8 children are expected to write in a blue handwriting pen, as instructed by their teacher. Maths is completed in pencil. Diagrams should be drawn in pencil, as should label lines, and dates and headings should be underlined with a ruler. Children are expected to keep their books, folders and Chromebook cases free from graffiti and stickers.

Use of Chromebooks

Each child in Years 7 and 8 is provided with a chromebook to support their learning and to help them with their organisation. They are able to access their timetables, calendars and team sheets. Teachers may share learning resources electronically with children via Google Classroom.

Children should remember that the chromebooks are registered on our Google admin console and that the School regularly monitors the user history of each device and chromebooks will be withdrawn if it is felt they are being used inappropriately. Parents need to control wifi access at home.

All children will be required to sign a pupil chromebook agreement form which will clearly state acceptable use of the chromebooks. Emails to and from children are restricted and can only be sent and received from the Barrow Hills domain.


Children are expected to complete their homework as a priority each evening. Each subject is set according to the Prep Timetable and children are encouraged to spend 30 minutes on each subject. Homework may take different forms: children may be asked to finish classwork or to complete an activity that tests their understanding of a particular topic; they may be asked to prepare for a future lesson by conducting research or watching a short film clip; they may be asked to edit and improve an existing piece of work. Homework instructions and resources will be shared with children in Google Classroom.

We also encourage children to read aloud to a parent or adult at home wherever possible.

Testing and Assessment

Teachers will use a variety of informal assessment methods to ensure that their teaching is focused on children’s learning needs. These may include observation, questioning and the marking of written work. There are also various formal assessments throughout the year. These tests not only give us information on children’s learning but also provide them with the opportunities to develop important revision and examination skills.

In Year 7, children are assessed in English and Maths in November. They also take Cognitive Ability Tests (CAT4) at this point. In the summer term, the children sit assessments in all academic subjects.

At the start of Year 7, children begin their Common Entrance syllabus in English, maths, science, R.E, geography, history, French and Latin. When in Year 8, they sit a full set of examinations in November, mock Common Entrance papers in February, and the actual examinations in June.

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