Pre-Prep & Prep Curriculum

Comprehensive Curriculum

School life centres on a comprehensive curriculum designed and delivered by highly qualified teaching staff. An extensive range of after school activities and clubs extend and enrich their learning.

Playing Sport

Our Pre-Prep and Prep School fields strong teams across the board of competition while offering a programme that includes and encourages every level of ability.

Musical Opportunities

The extensive music programme reflects the same breadth and diversity with orchestras, choirs, bands, ensembles and performances of every kind.


The majority of our girls move on to our Senior School – a great many with scholarships and awards across the range of academic, creative and sporting achievement.



We believe art and design is important to young children’s education because:

  • It stimulates creativity and imagination and gives the opportunity for pupils to use art to record their inner feelings.
  • It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a special way of understanding and responding to the world.
  • It enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of its unique ‘visual language’ of line, tone, colour, pattern, texture, shape, form and space, and through the use of different materials and processes.
  • It helps children to learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions.
  • It increases critical awareness of the roles and purposes of art and design in different times and cultures.
  • It fosters an appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts, which enriches all our lives.


We strive to capture the spirit, energy and unique power and value of Art and Design. All pupils have weekly art lessons, covering throughout the year drawing and painting, printmaking and textiles, design and designing, clay modelling and three dimensional construction as well as learning the language of Art and Design and enjoying technology and new media. Older girls enjoy the facilities of the Senior School Textile Department.

“A testimony to their creativity is the high standard of artwork displayed around the school.” (The Independent School’s Inspectorate, December 2014).


Girls learn from local artists and designers whenever possible and for many years we have had a close working partnership with a local artist from Brighton’s ‘Same Sky’. Our recent Creative Week, ‘Around the World in a Week, based upon ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ by Phileas Fogg was a resounding success with artist led workshops for all girls as well as for children from visiting schools. Parents and carers were invited to take a fantastic ‘journey’ round the world to admire the art on display which included Indian block prints, papier mache eagle heads, fan and lantern making and clay plaques.

We also enjoy a strong connection with a local textile artist, who runs rag rugging and felting workshops with the girls.


Each year we participate in the exciting Brighton Festival Children’s Parade, creating weird and wonderful interactive 3D big makes and other props with the help of our resident artist. Past themes have included The Jabberwocky and The Hungry Caterpillar, and this year girls constructed amazing characters from ‘The Worst Witch’, by Jill Murphy.


We offer popular, interactive art clubs for girls in both the Pre-Prep and Prep School.



Drama is a wonderful way of building a child’s confidence and improving communication and presentation skills, and it is a highly valued part of the curriculum.

Drama is taught throughout the Pre-Prep and Prep School and is part of the weekly timetable. Even the youngest in our community enjoy the excitement of appearing in productions, whether they are class assemblies or end of term performances.


Speech and drama lessons are available and our girls consistently perform well in these examinations and at local music and drama festivals.


“Pupils quickly develop fluency and an enjoyment of reading.” – Independent Schools Inspectorate


English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English teach our pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.


By the end of their Prep School education we aim for all our pupils to:

  • enjoy reading a wide range of materials fluently and with understanding and confidence
  • write effectively for a range of audiences and purposes, using spelling and grammatical knowledge accurately and confidently
  • use planning, drafting and editing to improve their work
  • listen to the spoken word attentively with understanding, pleasure and empathy
  • speak clearly and fluently adapting their speech to a range of circumstances and demands.


The Reception class follows the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum. English work is related to the objectives set out in the practice guidance working towards Early Learning Goals (ELG) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. All pupils are given the opportunity to talk and communicate in a widening range of situations, to respond to adults and to each other, to listen carefully, and to practise and extend their range of vocabulary and communication skills. They have the opportunity to explore, enjoy, learn about, and use words and text in a range of situations.

In Key Stage 1 (Years 1-2) and Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) units of work have been adapted to meet the needs of the pupils. These units are structured to form a scheme of work for each year group with an appropriate balance of fiction and non-fiction work units.

The Development of Speaking and Listening is achieved by:

  • providing a range of opportunities for children to talk and listen in formal and informal settings
  • the use of drama and role play to explore imagined and real situations e.g. Class Assemblies, KS1 and KS2 annual productions and other informal productions when appropriate
  • regular lessons and story times when quality texts are shared by the teacher, an adult or the children
  • class discussion and debate on topical or contentious issues, both local and worldwide

The Development of Reading is achieved by:

  • providing a wide range of reading materials to encourage enthusiasm for reading
  • use of structured phonic and whole word reading schemes for all pupils until they are capable and confident when reading independently.
  • regular one to one support for all children who have not yet reached the stage of being able to read fluently and independently
  • a programme of phonics, word recognition and graphic, contextual and grammatical knowledge
  • independent, guided and shared reading
  • the use of the Infant Library and Learning Hub to support and widen children’s fictional reading and to encourage individual research of factual information
  • close liaison between school and parents, who are so important in supporting reading and sharing and discussing books with their children

The Development of Writing is achieved by:

  • providing work at word, sentence and text levels
  • providing a wide range of contexts for writing from a variety of cultures and genres
  • a progressive emphasis on the skills of planning, drafting, revising, proof-reading and presentation of work with the use of word-processing
  • paying increasing attention to grammar, spelling and legibility as children grow in confidence and ability
  • the provision for collaborative writing and evaluating each other’s work, as well as independent writing

The Development of Spelling is achieved by:

  • phonics, letter patterns and the rules of spelling being taught and learnt in a structured, progressive way with regular assessment of phonic patterns
  • regular learning and testing of spelling lists allocated according to ability encouraging the use of word banks, wordbooks, dictionaries and Spellmasters

The Development of Handwriting is achieved by:

  • pupils learning the joined cursive script
  • pupils having the opportunity to practise handwriting skills regularly



Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems.

It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment.

A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.


Through our high quality teaching we aim that our pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including b breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.


Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programmes of study are, by necessity, organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should make rich connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Reception class follows the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum. Numeracy work is related to the objectives set out in the practice guidance working towards Early Learning Goals (ELG) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five.

Key Stage 1 (Years 1 & 2)

The principal focus of mathematics teaching in key stage 1 is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This will involve working with numerals, words and the 4 operations, including the use of practical resources (for example, concrete objects and measuring tools.) At this stage, pupils should develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes and use the related vocabulary. Teaching will also involve using a range of measures to describe and compare different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money. An emphasis on practice at this early stage will aid fluency.

Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4)

The principal focus of mathematics teaching in lower key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the 4 operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. This will ensure that pupils develop efficient written and mental methods and perform calculations accurately with increasingly large whole numbers. At this stage, pupils will develop their ability to solve a range of problems, including some with simple fractions and decimal place value. Teaching will also ensure that pupils draw with increasing accuracy and develop mathematical reasoning so they can analyse shapes and their properties, and confidently describe the relationships between them. It will ensure that they can use measuring instruments with accuracy and make connections between measure and number.

Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 & 6)

The principal focus of mathematics teaching in upper key stage 2 is to ensure that pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. This will develop the connections that pupils make between multiplication and division with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio. At this stage, pupils will develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation. With this foundation in arithmetic, pupils are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems. Teaching in geometry and measures will consolidate and extend knowledge developed in number. Teaching will also ensure that pupils classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties and that they learn the vocabulary they need to describe them.


“Standards in music across the school are excellent.” – Independent Schools Inspectorate

We are proud of our excellent musical reputation in Sussex.


All pupils have two music lessons each week with music specialists. Singing, music-making, musical appreciation, theory, composition and performing are all part of the curriculum.


Individual tuition is available in a wide range of instruments and girls are encouraged to join the choir, orchestra and other instrumental groups as their confidence grows.

Many pupils achieve an exceptionally high standard in their music.


We have a wide range of extra-curricular musical groups on offer to our Pre-Prep and Prep, including an excellent orchestra; string, brass and wind ensembles; recorder, violin and clarinet groups, a nationally-recognised choir and our ‘Girls Rock!’ guitar group.

Our Pre-Prep and Prep choir reached the final of the Festival of Music for Youth, held in Birmingham, in 2012 and 2013.




A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena.

Our pupils are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.


Our high quality teaching of Science aims to ensure that all our pupils:


The programmes of study for Science are set out year-by-year for Key Stages 1 and 2. As a school we have the flexibility to introduce content earlier or later when this is appropriate. Teachers base their planning on the programmes of study for their relevant year groups.

Early Years Foundation Stage

In Reception, Science is taught following the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Through a balance of adult directed and child initiated activities children are supported in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that helps them to make sense of the world. Provision is made for opportunities such as using tools safely, encountering creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real life situation; undertake practical ‘experiments’; and work with a range of materials.

Key Stage 1 (Years 1 & 2)

The main focus of science teaching in Key Stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They are helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information.

Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4)

The main focus of Science teaching in Lower Key Stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. They are encouraged to ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out.

Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 & 6)

The main focus of Science teaching in Upper Key Stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They should achieve this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. At Upper Key Stage 2, they will encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They are encouraged to select the most appropriate ways to answer Science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Pupils will also draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings.

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics;
  • Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of Science through different types of enquiry that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them;
  • Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future.


Our experienced and dynamic Prep PE Department provides an extensive sporting programme that encourages the girls to participate fully in sport and develop a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Girls in years 3-6 have the opportunity to represent the Prep School in mid-week competitive fixtures. During the autumn term, hockey features as the main competitive sport, the spring term moves to netball and in the summer term cricket and athletics are the focus.

Alongside these major sports, selected girls swim competitively and compete in cross-country events. The wider curriculum encompasses swimming (years 1-4), gymnastics, football, tag rugby, and tennis. The spring term includes a dance showcase in which girls create and perform choreographed routines with inspiration taken from musicals such as Cats, Hairspray and The Greatest Showman.

The school enters local, county, regional and national competitions, and has a strong record of sporting achievements and excellence throughout the IAPS calendar of events.

This academic year the group of U11 girls travelled to the Isle of Wight for a mini netball and hockey sports tour. They relished the long weekend of hockey and netball fixtures and challenged themselves during team building activities provided by PGL.

As part of the co-curricular provision at Burgess Hill Girls, we offer a wide variety of sports clubs including ballet, tag rugby, athletics, tennis, karate and trampolining.


"Pupils demonstrate excellent learning across the curriculum and have a well-developed understanding of the skills they need to learn successfully."
Independent Schools Inspectorate