Gifted and Talented
In addition to the whole school events such as Book Week or Science Week, Gifted and Talented pupils at Bede's Prep are presented with a diverse range of exclusive learning opportunities.
These include some treats, such as curriculum trips, the Year 8 lecture programme and visits from specialist speakers and theatre groups, but the programme is primarily geared around rigour in and outside of the classroom.
The foundations of the programme lay in specialist Subject Projects which, in combination with extension tasks and effective questioning, provide Gifted and Talented pupils with a higher level of challenge than their peers.
Elsewhere, in English, for example, our youngest pupils take part in the Year 3 and 4 English Masterclass.
Pupils learn in mixed ability groups from Reception to Year 6, with lessons differentiated to support pupils who need it and extend and challenge pupils who are exceeding expectations. English is set in Years 7 and 8, with the top set working at an accelerated pace and greater depth. As part of this accelerated curriculum the children take part in a number of national writing competitions and, in Years 7 and 8, also join the Drama Masterclass which sees them performing a play and at a monologue evening.
The Gifted and Talented pupils participate in the Eastbourne Schools' Shakespeare Festival, which includes a performance at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, and also plan, produce and present local radio programmes.
In Maths meanwhile, pupils from Year 5 take part in the Junior Maths Challenge and in Years 7 and 8 join the UK Maths Trust Junior Challenge to gain a range of certifications. The most able four Year 8 pupils then represent the school in the UK Maths Trust Team Challenge in the Spring Term.
Our scientists are encouraged to participate in the UK Space Design competition which sees pupils competing against pupils from other prep schools to design the perfect space community. The competition, run by Bede’s Senior School, involves pupils working together in teams before presenting to a panel of experts, including NASA scientists.
Other such programmes also run for Modern Foreign Languages, Classics, History, Geography, Art and Design and Music, all of which ensure that the most able pupils at Bede's Prep are stretched far beyond their contemporaries elsewhere.
Indeed, we regularly hear from parents of pupils who have long moved on that it was the exposure to GCSE concepts, materials and topics which their children received at Bede's Prep School that made the difference for them at senior school.
Whenever I hear this I am made immeasurably proud, for I can imagine few more worthwhile enterprises than building a passion for learning in young people and providing them with the tools they need to excel.