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Joining Pre-Prep

We look forward to meeting you and to welcoming your son to our Pre-Prep for a 'Stay and Play' session.

What is a 'Stay and Play' session?

This short visit forms the basis of our admissions process for Reception places, usually no more than one year before your son starts school. We are currently holding 'Stay and Play' sessions on Tuesdays throughout November for those looking at a 2024 start date. 

It is very similar to going to playgroup, except we ask you to leave your son with us if he is happy for you to go.  If not, you are welcome to wait so that he knows you are nearby. 

Fosters a secure place for boys to start their formal education.

What does 'Stay and Play' involve?

Your son will soon make new friends as he joins in and explores the activities on offer in the classroom or outside. He might like to play with the train set, or Lego (of course!) and other construction games, try on costumes in the role-play corner, enjoy an art activity, put together some puzzles, and play outside. There might be just enough time to enjoy a story and perhaps some music with the boys before it is time for you to collect him.

The little boys who visit us are at many varied stages of their social and educational development. We do not look for any particular level of academic ability in order to offer a place. We look instead for boys who are sociable, happy to follow instructions, and ready and eager to learn. During their visit, we encourage them to investigate and create independently whilst following their interests or learning new skills. 

The Pre-Prep is an integral part of The Pilgrims' School, and there is no further entry assessment for Pilgrims’ boys to continue to Year 3 of the Prep. The Pre-Prep curriculum is firmly aligned with that of Year 3. Each boy's progress is closely monitored by the Head of the Pre-Prep and the Head of the Junior Years, ensuring the best preparation for transition to Year 3.  

A magical school with excellent teachers.

What if I want my son to join in Year 1 or 2?

If places are available, boys who are already in full-time school and wish to join the Pre-Prep are invited to spend a taster day with us. Your son will become a Pilgrim for a day, joining in with lessons, breaks, lunch and whatever sport and activities are scheduled that day. The class teacher will hear him read and the Head of the Pre-Prep will help him work through simple exercises to assess his basic numeracy and literacy skills. The atmosphere is informal, relaxed, and fun!

Our Location

We are blessed with a truly idyllic location. Just an hour south of London by direct train, with easy access to all the major travel hubs, and yet we are surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Downs National Park. The school is tucked away between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close. Moments from our front door is the heart of the historic city of Winchester, or step through our back gate to find water meadows, countryside, and the South Downs Way.