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What says..

 This is a family-run prep school that makes the most of the outdoors – overalls and wellies for outside play, and lessons in the forest school. ‘Our children are happy there, and safe, and cared for, and challenged.’  Science is popular and practical. Other subjects like history also use this tack – each year group has a history day, Vikings or Normans, for example. Pupils dress up, make weapons, re-enact battles.  The school council is busy ‘making small changes that make a big difference'; pre-prep would like mangos and strawberries in fruit snacks...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmaster

Since September 2020, Debbie Isaachsen, formerly head of Heatherton School, part of the Berkhamsted Schools Group. She was previously head of the lower school and the deputy head of the pre-prep at Cheltenham College Prep School. Ms Isaachsen attended the college of St Mark and St John, then part of the University of Exeter and has recently completed a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Buckinghamshire. A keen sportswoman, she enjoys skiing, netball, walking and challenging outdoor pursuits.

Head of pre-prep is Heather Fulton. Originally from New Zealand, her previous post was head of kindergarten at DUCKS, Dulwich College.

Entrance

The only independent prep school in the area. Now has its own nursery and pre-school from 6 months.

Admission by application and informal assessment. Inclusive, but restricted...

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Special Education Needs

At The Downs we try to cater for the needs of all the children. In doing so we offer about 45 (50) lessons a week of learning support in numeracy and literacy. Some of the children supported have been assessed as dyslexic or dyscalculiac, others have been identified as needing some help from their teachers. We offer help to any reasonably bright children as long as we have the facility to do so; if after assessment, we feel they need some support, we will not offer a place unless we have the space in the allocated (5) lessons a week. The Learning Support we offer is of a very high quality; indeed it is excellent, however, we do not 'market' the department.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL)
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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