Upper School (Year 5 to 8)

Leading, Living, Learning

At Monkton Prep we aim to deliver the very best education for our pupils, ensuring they are fully supported in their journey into young adulthood and equipped for what lies ahead. 

There is an expectation that all students will develop leadership skills and step out in different contexts, with many opportunities both formal and social to guide and influence those around them for the good.  

Our key principles are:

  • At the heart of leadership is the desire to serve 
  • Leaders have influence 
  • Everyone can be a leader 
  • Leaders know when to lead and when to follow 
  • Leaders develop character
  • We want everyone to grow as a leader

We want to help our pupils to become leaders - not simply the more traditional, hierarchical leaders but wholly positive ‘influencers’ wherever they find themselves.

In Year 6 we dedicate one lesson a week to teach Leadership.

In Year 7 we promote leadership roles both in the library and also as mentors to younger years.

In Year 8 we appoint different teams based around various areas of the school - prefects, wild monkton, tech provision, mentoring in lower years, house captains and boarding in Hatton.

We want our pupils to live life to the full, finding purpose and fulfilment in their lives and relationships, and contributing to the welfare of others. Also for our pupils to be lifelong learners, loving learning and achieving highly in whatever they choose to turn their hands to.

We know as professional educators that if we get these three things right, Monkton pupils will be more successful, will live fulfilled lives and will be the history makers of the future.


At Monkton our curriculum is broad, dynamic and focused on the process of learning as well as the outcomes the children will achieve. Our curriculum model focuses on effective academic preparation for Year 9 and beyond while also equipping the children with the skills and characteristics they need to succeed not just in their learning but also their relationships and wider endeavours. We believe in the importance of exams, but we coach the children in exam skills within an engaging, dynamic and broad curriculum which is focused not on the end of Year 8 as the major milestone, but ultimately the end of Year 13. With our Faculty system - STEM, Humanities and Languages, Expressive Arts and Art and Design - Monkton pupils learn in a cross-curricular and thematic way, drawing connections between different subjects and understanding the relevance of each in their wider lives and futures.

Our curriculum in the Upper School comprises English, Maths, Science, History, RE, Geography, French, Spanish, Classics, Design Tech, Information Tech, Art, Music, Drama, PE and Games, the vast majority of which is specialist taught by degree-level teachers. Our Elective Strands - where the Year 7 - 8 pupils choose what to study - incorporate Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering, Health and Sustainability, Classics and our Pre-Senior Project Qualification. 

We offer a vast array of co-curricular clubs ranging from Mechanical Engineering to Shooting. Our Wild Monkton initiative provides all our pupils with extensive opportunities to learn outside of the classroom, engage with our beautiful environment and step out of their comfort zone.

Our Saturday School programme runs during term time between 09:15 and 12:15 and comprises everything we wish we could squeeze into the week’s learning. Pupils in Years 5 - 8 participate in a carousel of thematic activities and might be doing our Magpie Award one week (Monkton’s version of Junior DofE), battle reenactments another and then Inter House Debating the next!

Character Education

A crucial part of our educational offering is the incorporation of explicit character education. With the world developing at the pace it is and the future job market likely to be very different from its current state, ensuring our pupils are equipped with the characteristics, attitudes and skills to succeed is essential. We know that if we get the character education right then academic outcomes will follow.

We teach characteristics such as collaboration, resilience, positive failure, risk-taking, initiative, intrinsic motivation and independence explicitly, with teaching time in the Upper School dedicated to it during the week and teachers embedding it into their lessons. We also partner with the PSB (Pre-Senior Baccalaureate) to teach holistic learning skills across the whole of school life which the pupils understand and in which they play a pivotal role.

Stretch and Challenge

A central area of focus for us at Monkton is ensuring we stretch and challenge our pupils, from Early Years right the way through to Year 8. Off the back of the pandemic and the inevitable turbulence of multiple lockdowns felt across the country, it is all the more important to develop the way our pupils respond to challenge, improve study skills, strengthen investigative skills and engender deeper learning. From specific Study Skills sessions in the Upper School to our Academic Excellence Programme, Monkton is known for thinking differently, but we also think deeply. Explore our Faculty pages for more information.

Years 7 & 8

Year 7 and 8 are at the top of the school and are developing into young adults. To help them along this journey and to give them the sense of autonomy and independence that is so important as they grow older, they have a unique selection of opportunities, some of which are listed below:

Pre-Senior Baccalaureate

An innovative vision for the curriculum

The Pre-Senior Baccalaureate (PSB) is a framework for learning which we have been gradually embedding at Monkton Prep over the course of the past year. It was developed by leading educationalists who assessed the future and emerging job markets and the critical importance of developing not just academic hard skills but also broader skills like collaboration, communication and leadership. The PSB is based upon six ‘Core Skills’ which are designed to be coached and developed in a school context and interwoven into the academic and broader life of the school.


A target for our senior pupils to aim for

Having moved away from Common Entrance, we use the PSB to not only help smooth the journey between Year 8 and Year 9 but also to provide a target for our pupils – something to strive for and to be proud of when they move on.

Pupils will be working towards certain end-goals explained in more detail in this document.


Crucial skills and characteristics to develop

The PSB provides a vehicle to actively develop the skills and characteristics which our pupils will need as they grow up and eventually enter the world of work; it is a means of developing these ‘Core Skills’ explicitly.


A portfolio of their time in Year 7 and 8 

As Year 7 and 8 move through their senior years at the Prep School they will collate a portfolio of their learning across the whole of school life, working towards their final assessments at the end of Year 8 so they have a really meaningful end point before joining Year 9. These will then be shared with the Senior School so the transition to Year 9 is as seamless as possible.

Elective Strands

More possibilities in learning

Years 7 and 8 undertake the Monkton Prep Elective Strands which enable pupils to choose from a selection of subjects which broaden their horizons beyond the core curriculum - in the same way Senior School students make choices about their GCSEs and A Levels. This increases their engagement in learning, allowing them to direct their own academic journeys and further developing their self-motivation.


Choice in their academic journey

Pupils develop independence, show commitment and become more intrinsically motivated.


The curriculum is broadened to include a wider range of engaging subjects:

The inclusion of relevant and challenging subjects which have not been studied previously at the Prep School will enhance the pupils’ learning experience.


Pupil engagement in learning flourishes

Multiple studies indicate that pupil motivation and buy-in is directly related to seeing the relevance of their learning. The elective aspect, as well as the units themselves, are designed to be relevant and engaging.

The Strands for September 2023 are:

- Classics

- Philosophy

- Health and Sustainability

- Mechanical Engineering

- Italian

- Dance

- Pre-Senior Project Qualification


More information on the strands

Excellence Programme (Scholarships)

Intentionally developing high performance

This initiative is a whole-school development to grow the way Monkton develops excellence in different areas, right the way through to Year 13. At the Prep School, we want to provide those in Years 7 and 8 who have a passion, talent or are particularly high performing in a given area with enrichment and extension, with a view to potentially joining the Excellence Programmes in Year 9 and beyond at Monkton Senior.

Years 7 - 8 have the opportunity to extend and challenge themselves in a chosen area: the programmes are open to any pupil who wishes to join, with reviews taking place each term, and re-applications for other Programmes if required. Commitment is embedded as a foundation of high performance: while the Excellence Programmes focus on developing and celebrating high performance, commitment and intentional engagement are foundational and will be taken into account when considering who will become a Year 9 scholar.

The Excellence Programmes at Monkton Prep reflect those at Monkton Senior for Year 9 and beyond, and are in the following areas:

- Expressive Arts: for pupils who want to develop excellence in Music and Drama

- Art and Design: for pupils who want to develop excellence in Art and Design

- Sport: for pupils who want to develop excellence in Sport, whether that be team sports or individual

- Academic: for pupils who want to develop excellence in curriculum subjects

- Monktonian: for pupils who want to develop excellence in leadership


More information on the Excellence Programme

Year 8 Chromebooks

Bringing the world into the classroom

Every pupil in Year 8 at Monkton is supplied by the school with a Chromebook for a termly charge.

We want to focus on how technology can enhance the teaching and learning experience of our pupils, ensuring that everybody leaves the school digitally confident and equipped for senior school and beyond. As part of this programme, each of our Year 8 pupils are provided with a Chromebook which they bring to lessons. As the Google Suite expands, so do the learning opportunities and the ways we can enhance the children’s academic lives. 

The Chromebook is a slim laptop which runs the Google Chrome operating system, including Google Drive, Google Documents and much more. Further details can be found here.