Tom Briggs, Year 1 teacher at Sherborne Prep School talks about what the school has to offer.

On your marks, get set, GO! We all want our children to have the best start in life and to fly out of the blocks. At Sherborne Prep School (SPS) we know how valuable a positive introduction to school life is. I was thrilled to join the team at the Pre-Prep in September 2022 as the Year 1 teacher. I already knew a lot about the school, as both my children are in the Pre-Prep (my younger in Reception and my older in Year 2); it’s become a bit of a family affair!

Sherborne School, Dorset
Sherborne Prep School, Dorset

So I speak from experience on both sides of the fence when I say that at SPS we really do provide the best educational start. We keep class sizes deliberately small, enabling teachers to really understand their pupils, where they excel and where they need support. This close relationship means that we recognise potential and nourish it early on. 1:1 work is standard across the Pre-Prep, and all children read every day to an adult.

We were all delighted to receive a recent visit from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (January 2023) as it gave us the opportunity to show the inspectors what a fantastic school we have. We were even more delighted to find that they agreed with us! The recently released report found that SPS is the only ‘excellent’ prep school in Sherborne.

Children can join us the term they turn three, in our self-contained Nursery. Outdoor learning happens daily, with a fantastic separate and secure play space just for our youngest learners. Overlooking our orchard (complete with climbable apple trees!) our three-year-olds quickly adapt to their first school setting (they eat lunch in the main Prep dining hall) and can see the progression they will make as they join Reception in the Pre-Prep building.

Our light and airy classrooms in the modern Pre-Prep afford a perfect start to a child’s formal education. Reception has a double sized classroom, with plenty of room for free play in several role play areas; budding veterinarians have loved recently playing in the ‘vets’ area. Grace Finney (our Reception teacher) spent part of her half-term building! They’ll have the chance to put their play into action soon as we begin to introduce animals to the Pre-Prep; guinea pigs are top of the wish list!

A Pre-Senior Baccalaureate school, we teach Pre-Prep children to be independent, work together, respect each other and to persevere to overcome adversity. Thus, ensuring that, from Nursery onwards, children grow to be life-long resilient, collaborative learners. We encourage children in Reception to climb the weekly ‘Challenge Mountain’ completing independent tasks. We provide those in Year 1 and 2 with an increasing amount of independence and leadership roles as they grow to be the biggest fish in the Pre-Prep pond.

We give all Pre-Prep children the best opportunities to explore who they are and what they enjoy. We have an extensive enrichment programme that (aside from one or two externally provided options) is included within our competitive termly fee. Violin, recorder, samba, choir? Why not try them all?! Tennis, golf, dance, gym? Sport is covered! Coding, art, DT? Creativity after hours is no issue. Our newly introduced Head’s Awards for Pre-Prep could make a private education more affordable.

Playing outside at Sherborne School
Playing outside at Sherborne Prep School

A unique offering at SPS is provided by our recent merger with Sherborne School (SS). We are a secure school, which will withstand the knocks and bumps that inevitably come with straightened times. Children benefit from the fantastic facilities of the Sherborne Group (SPS, SS and Sherborne International). PE lessons take place either on site on our own sports pitches, or in the Group’s recently refurbished multimillion-pound sports centre with heated indoor 25m swimming pool. Performances regularly take place at Greenfields, the SS music centre and Sherborne Abbey. Again, the smallest at the beginning of their educational journey benefit from seeing the road ahead, laid out smoothly in front of them.

Pre-Prep children love their specialised music, French, DT, IT, and art lessons (every child exhibits their artwork in our end-of-year gallery exhibition). The Pre-Prep in-class curriculum (English, Geography, Science and History) is topic-based, with many cross-curricular links ensuring that children really do make the best possible start to their education. Weekly Forest School visits mean that all children grow in understanding their role within nature and their responsibility for it. The School’s active Friends Committee recently refurbished our on-site pond, providing a superb dipping site in which to catch tadpoles! Termly external visits – highlights so far this year include Wookey Hole and Corfe Castle – broaden children’s education outside the classroom.

My daughters are now in their third year at SPS, and I can say, without a doubt, that choosing the Pre-Prep for them was the right decision. They love going to school and complain when it’s the weekend or holidays! Fast starts? At SPS we get children zooming down the runway and soaring before you know it! Why not come along and see for yourself?

Sherborne Prep’s next open event is Tuesday 6th June, 10am-12pm. To find out more visit

See Sherborne Prep’s online listing here.