Quite probably, the main thing you and your child will want to know is what a typical week, or day, looks like at Epsom. The information on this page should help. The days here are busy, with something to occupy minds and indulge interests at all times. If your child is keen to try things out, and get stuck in, they are almost certain to emerge from each day happy and fulfilled… even if they are a little tired by the end of term.
Most pupils will worry that their first few days and weeks will be spent permanently disorientated. While our grounds are large, we rarely find stray Lower School pupils wandering aimlessly around the site! We help all pupils to settle in, and they quickly learn their way around.
Pupils start the day in Lower School, with registration and form time. Some lessons will also take place here, but we also ensure they aren’t isolated from the rest of the College, and they don’t miss out on our excellent facilities.
Art, Design & Technology, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and – of course – sport all take place in the main College buildings.
Pupils return to the Lower School for break time, to pick up snacks and catch up with friends. The benefit of this approach is that pupils are gently eased into ‘big school’ without feeling overwhelmed.
The School Day
The image above shows you what a typical week will look like for a Lower School pupil. Each day starts with registration followed by an assembly, tutor time or Chapel. Lessons begin at 9am, and each period lasts 50 minutes. Morning break is 10.45-11.10am, when your child will be provided with a snack and refreshments.
Your child will have one more lesson and then – between 12-1pm – it’s lunch. The whole school eats in the Dining Hall, and times are staggered by year group, so there is always room to sit with friends.
Afternoons vary, depending on the day, but each day ends with some form of co-curricular activity (more on that below).
The School day for Lower School officially ends at 5pm, and you are welcome to collect your child at this time. However, you will see that we offer an hour of supervised Prep (and there’s more about that below).
In Years 7 and 8, there are no formal lessons on Saturday. However, all pupils are expected to attend fixtures or training on a Saturday morning. Times will changes each week, depending on the opposition, sport, and whether fixtures are home or away. Parents are encouraged to attend and cheer their children from the touchlines.
As you are new to the school, and therefore potentially new to the conventions of boarding schools, you may be unaware of ‘Exeat’ weekends. These are compulsory breaks, when the school shuts down for two nights to give everyone – pupils and staff alike – the chance of a well-earned rest.
Dates are published on the Term Dates page of the website, but we generally have five Exeat weekends a year (two in Michaelmas Term, two in Lent Term and one in Summer Term).
What lessons are studied in Lower School?
Pupils are taught in co-ed classes, and will learn alongside pupils from other form groups. All classes are mixed ability with the exception of maths and languages. Your child will study the following subjects:
- Computer Science
- Design & Technology
- Modern Languages (two from French, German, Mandarin and Spanish)
- Physical Education
- Religious Studies
- Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and ‘How Science Works’, taught individually on rotation)
- Trivium – the art of reading, researching, public speaking and debating
What else is studied?
Afternoons vary from day to day. On Monday and Wednesday, your child’s lessons end at 1.55pm, giving way to games and/or fixtures. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, academic lessons continue until 3.45pm.
Each day ends with some form of Co-Curricular Activity. This programme has won numerous awards in recent years, including being voted among the ‘best of the best’ in UK independent education by The Week magazine.
‘Activities’ are chosen by the pupil, while ‘Carousel’ activities are taken by all pupils, on rotation. This combination means pupils are able to indulge their passions and interests, while also learning how to be more open-minded in their approach to new challenges and experiences.
How much homework is set?
Your child will be given three pieces of homework (or Prep, as we call it) each day. Teachers are asked to keep each task to around 20 minutes, so it should never take your child more than an hour to complete. This also means it should be possible to finish everything within the daily Supervised Prep sessions.
The Prep Timetable will be published at the start of each year, so you can see what your child will be set and when.
What is the supervised Prep you offer?
Supervised Prep takes place in the Lower School building, Monday-Friday from 5-6pm. Around 80% of pupils take advantage of Supervised Prep.
The benefits are two-fold:
- It gives all pupils ample time to complete their homework, meaning that they return home free to enjoy the evening with their family. The sessions are supervised by staff – and the majority of the Senior Leadership Team are involved in this supervision. This means that pupils have access to subject specialists, who are ready to guide them through any aspect of prep they might find challenging.
- A major benefit for families is that supervised prep continues to 6pm, meaning that your child will be able to take College transport home. This can be a life-saver for busy families where both parents are working, or have other commitments.