Early Years Foundation Stage — 4 to 5 years of age — Reception
Key Stage 1 — 5 to 7 years of age — Years 1&2
Key Stage 2 — 7 to 11 years of age — Year 3 upwards

Our aim is to ignite a passion for life-long learning within our children. We broadly follow the National Curriculum but go far beyond the restrictions placed on learning by this framework. We provide children with opportunities to extend their knowledge and understanding in every lesson. Each Year group follows a cross-curricular, topic-based approach to their learning, thus ensuring in-depth knowledge is gained and that children develop a real love of becoming an expert. Pupils are able to link out-of-school experiences with classroom activities, helping them to piece together learning and life in the outside world. All classes go on educational trips as these hands-on experiences enrich the topics being studied. Visits are made to both local areas such as the Pulborough Brooks and RSPB reserve and London. We endeavour to visit larger locations as a whole department. The children also benefit from Pre-Prep subject days, such as Science and Maths, where all the children in Years 1 — 3 work together to solve problems through practical activities. We believe this enriches children's experiences and develops understanding and patience with others. Please see our news area for recent trips.

Reception class is the very welcoming entrance class to the school, during which first year the children turn five years old, and they stay all day and wear the Pre-Prep uniform. In our Reception class we provide a warm, safe and caring atmosphere in which all children can thrive. We pride ourselves on knowing all our children as individuals and the staff are committed to encouraging children to become confident, independent and above all happy learners whilst following our Early Years topics and schemes of work. It is during this year that the children are taught to begin reading and writing, and the close links between Reception and Year 1 mean that the transition into the Pre-Prep and the start of the National Curriculum is made as smooth as possible.

The school enjoys a very special location on the banks of the River Arun in the South Downs National Park so we make every effort for the children to experience 'a real childhood' and to be in touch with nature. The outdoor environment is very important in our children's learning and we go for nature walks along the banks of the river and have weekly sessions of Forest School, either in the school woods or other local areas.

The Reception classrooms are situated on the ground floor of the Pre-Prep building, and they have direct access to outside learning areas, with a bark chip adventure area for playtimes.

Our Topics overview for this year:

Autumn Term
All About Me
Light and Dark
Harvest Festival and Christmas

Spring Term
Weather and Growing

Summer Term
Pirates and Mermaids
Under the Sea

When the children join Year 1 they build on their experiences and skills learnt in the Reception year, but the topics are extended in breadth and depth to meet the needs of all levels of ability. Pupils are taught English, Maths, Science, Geography, History, RE, Art, Cookery and Design Technology by the class teacher. We have specialist teachers for Music, French and Games as we find that this helps the children to become more independent. Learning outside the classroom in our beautiful grounds stimulates curious minds and expands the children's existing knowledge, whilst joint topics are done within the Pre-Prep.

In Year 1, the children have fun learning about other countries and places they have travelled to, through discussion and through the adventures of Barnaby Bear. They enjoy talking about what they would need to pack for a holiday for one of their chosen locations. Barnaby Bear enjoys going on holiday with the children in Year 1 and having his photograph taken.

Some topics in Year 1 are:

  • Homes
  • Light and Dark
  • Toys
  • Growing plants
  • Transport
  • Barnaby Bear

Year 2 takes children through to the end of Key Stage 1 and is the time when most children secure many of their early key skills as learners. We aim to enthuse and inspire everyone, whilst instilling a life-long love of literature. Pupils learn to compose more detailed stories and develop their understanding of language. Through the twelve strands below we build upon our early learning in Year 1 and progress through to the end of Key Stage 1 preparing for the step up to Key Stage 2.

  • Speaking
  • Listening and responding
  • Group discussion and interaction
  • Drama
  • Word recognition, coding and decoding
  • Word structure and spelling
  • Understanding and interpreting texts
  • Engaging and responding to text
  • and shaping texts
  • Text structure and organisation
  • Sentence structure and punctuation
  • Presentation

Children experience a wide range of high-quality, fiction, non-fiction and poetry, all linked to the topic covered in each half term. For example, our first topic in the Autumn term is "Fire!" where we link our Literacy to Indian folk tales such as the Tiger Child and How Rabbit Stole the Fire. This is then linked to our Science on Electricity which causes some household fires. We visit Pudding Lane in London and the Monument to see how London has changed since the Great Fire in 1666. Children also write diaries as we move through the events of the week commencing 3rd September 1666. As part of our Art we make Tudor houses and experiment with printing for flames over paintings of a London street. We also design a new headdress for rabbit in the folk tale How Rabbit Stole the Fire.

Other topics in Year 2 are:

  • Snow and Ice
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Africa
  • Mary Poppins
  • Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside

In Year 3 the children follow a broad curriculum, based on Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum. However, the Dorset House School programmes of study extend well beyond the boundaries set by the National Curriculum in order to provide enrichment and challenge for all pupils. Children make an easy transition to more demanding work. They still have plenty of opportunities for varied and direct experiences. The small classes enable teachers to plan a differentiated curriculum which enables all children to reach a high standard.

Year 3 children benefit from the expertise of specialist teachers for Science, French, Music, Games and PE whilst still having the security of a class base and their own class teacher. The children are taught English, Maths, Humanities, RE, Art and Design Technology by their class teacher who can assess and monitor their personal and academic progress on a daily basis. Pupils have regular access to the ICT suite where they are taught specific ICT skills and learn how to use computers as a tool for research.

Here are some of the topics which could be covered in Year 3:

  • Ancient Egyptians
  • Inventions
  • Vikings/Anglo-Saxons
  • Space
  • Rainforests
  • Spain

The Pre-Prep school has its own Learning Support classroom that provides a cheerful, encouraging, stimulating and positive environment for learning. Providing multisensory resources and teaching, it allows children who may have some difficulty accessing the curriculum due to specific learning difficulties (including dyslexia) an opportunity to discover a way of learning that suits them and is tailor-made for each child. Our motto is: A stitch in time saves nine.

Focusing on early identification and intervention, the Learning Support department introduced the SIDNEY program in 2011.This has proved to be very successful in discovering children in Reception and Year 1 who may be struggling with acquiring the learning skills needed to access the curriculum and thus it provides a platform from which to monitor and support children in Key Stage 1. Once identified, these children may be offered 1:1 or small group support sessions. The Pre-Prep SENCO monitors these children closely in class and constantly liaises with form teachers with regard to progress and concerns. She works very closely with the Prep SENCO to ensure a smooth transition for any child still needing support in the Prep school.

All of the Pre-Prep children now do cookery as part of the curriculum. It is an important life skill to learn. Whilst linking well to topics many other key skills are learnt. We use Numeracy to help with the measuring quantities of ingredients. We use Literacy to help us follow instructions in a recipe. Finally we use PSHE and Science to help us with healthy eating.

Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.

All pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 take part in Forest School sessions. They learn through their surroundings and enjoy finding out about our idyllic location. Children learn to tie knots, make shelters, light a fire and use saws and drills, to name a few of the exciting things done in Forest School.

At Forest School all participants are viewed as:

  • equal, unique and valuable
  • competent to explore and discover
  • entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
  • entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
  • entitled to experience regular success
  • entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
  • entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world

Dorset House School 2012 ©
Bury Manor School Trust Limited (Dorset House School) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No 803309
Website design by Stride Creative


Sports & Activities


Our website uses four cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your computer if you agree. These cookies allow us to distinguish you from other users of the website which helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site.

The cookies we use are 'analytical' cookies. They allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors and to see how visitors move around the site when they’re using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works, for example by making sure users are finding what they need easily.

By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.