New independent school to launch in Shrewsbury later this year

An award-winning nursery which was recently rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, has announced plans to launch an independent school this September.

Shrewsbury Prepatoria, which was launched in 2013 by Jane Smalley who had previously taught at Shrewsbury High School, plans to launch a provision for Reception and Year One pupils.  The application, which has already been accepted by the Department for Education, comes off the back of strong parent demand from those seeking an alternative to what is already available in the area.

To ensure that the new school delivers something truly different and unique, Jane, an experienced Early Years Education Consultant, has drafted a brand-new curriculum which will be scrutinised by Ofsted.  She comments:

“Since establishing The Prepatoria four years ago, I have met many parents committed to providing their children with the best educational start in life, but for whom the current system doesn’t meet their needs once they leave us here.

“It became increasingly apparent that there was sufficient demand for an alternative to both the local state provision and the independent schools in and around Shrewsbury, but to achieve this it would be necessary to thoroughly consider the curriculum being delivered.

“When I closely analysed the National Curriculum, it became clear that its focus on academic study and outcomes simply doesn’t suit most young children.  I, therefore, researched alternatives including the Scandinavian model, Reggio Emilia (on which the values of our nursery and pre-school are based) and the Welsh Foundation Phase and set about creating a bespoke and unique approach that drew on the best aspects of each of these.”

The curriculum that Shrewsbury Prepatoria hopes to deliver at its new school later this year focuses on the whole child with the emphasis being on helping each pupil to develop emotionally, socially and with moral, spiritual and cultural awareness.  To be recognised as a legitimate alternative to the National Curriculum, it will cover linguistic development, mathematical development, physical development, human & social development, technological development and aesthetic & creative development.

Jane Smalley emphasises, however, that this does not mean any dumbing down on the education that Reception and Year One pupils will receive:

“Extending to 10,000 words in length, this new curriculum includes a robust assessment process and is, I believe, the perfect approach for children to develop holistically so that they thrive in a more formal education setting later.

“With a background delivering Early Years Education in school settings, I am totally committed to ensuring that the children who pass through both our nursery and pre-school and, in the future, our Reception and Year One classes, do so in a way that supports them to develop resilience and self-regulation whilst promoting their well-being. 

“Our attainment levels for those who have progressed on to the mainstream system at five speak volumes for the success our approach has had to date, and I feel confident that we’ll continue to deliver great things in the future.”

Aside from delivering a new and unique curriculum, the new Prepatoria School will also operate on a model not seen elsewhere in Shropshire.  Open for 48 weeks of the year, the school will deliver the curriculum in a way that repeats key topics in different ways throughout the year to ensure that any children taken out for holidays will not miss out.

One parent, whose son has attended Shrewsbury Prepatoria full-time since the age of one, is excited by the prospect of an alternative education option when he begins his Reception year in September:

“The experience that our son has received throughout his time at Shrewsbury Prepatoria is something that we are keen to see extended. The progressive approach that Mrs Smalley and her team take to educating and nurturing every child means that they develop emotionally, academically and socially in a way that is hard to replicate in other settings.  

“I was very excited to hear about their plans to become an independent school with a Reception and Year One provision and immediately registered interest in a place for our son.”

The Prepatoria’s application has been accepted by the Department for Education and it is anticipated that Ofsted will grant the school its full licence in the coming weeks, ready for the first intake in September 2018. 

Anyone wishing to find out more should visit or call Jane Smalley on 01743 460 199.