Nursery and Reception follow the EYFS curriculum and have the added advantage of the space afforded by Aysgarth’s location. Forest school is a big part of the pre-prep ethos here, as is learning through play. French is included in the curriculum from Year 1, with a focus on pronunciation and basic vocabulary, and the children are also taught maths, English, science, history, geography, ICT, PSHE, music, religious education, art and craft and PE. Girls disperse at 8+ but, unsurprisingly, most boys (nearly 100 per cent) stay on and progress to the prep school.
Once in the prep school, gentle streaming in English and maths kicks in and there’s great one-on-one provision for anyone who might need extra support. Every boy has both an academic and a pastoral plan (pupils sit a STEER assessment twice a year, which is designed to pick up on any areas of pastoral difficulty so they can be addressed swiftly), and it is this sort of attention to detail that sets Aysgarth apart.
Everyone learns Latin, and academic subjects taught for CE are English, maths, science, French, Latin, history and geography. Religious education and wellbeing, music, art, craft and design technology, ICT, PE, drama and PSHCE also feature on the timetable but aren’t examined.
With its remote location, Aysgarth doesn’t have an obvious exit route, so boys fly far and wide. This year’s leavers will head on to the likes of Eton, Harrow, Radley, Oundle, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Uppingham and Sherborne, and last year's cohort bagged an impressive 14 scholarships among them. Another leaver, who is visually impaired, left Aysgarth bound for Sedbergh and with a hot ticket to become a Paralympian swimmer. Links with senior schools are strong, and sending the right boys to the right schools remains of paramount importance – the variety of destinations is proof positive of this tailored approach.
Don’t panic! We have more than ten years’ experience of visiting schools and advising parents, and we are all parents ourselves – we can make this easier for you.