Senior Preparatory Curriculum

Our school community is built on traditional values but, as a place of learning, we embrace innovation in how best we deliver our curriculum to our pupils. Academic success is of vital importance but so to is the fostering of character traits and personal qualities that enable our pupils to become active learners, inspirational role models and self motivated young people.

Academic success is at the core of all we do. Our small class sizes combined with our individual approach ensures that all children achieve their full academic potential. Children in Year 5 – 8 enjoy specialist teaching in all subjects. The children are exposed to a broad range of subjects which they learn about in depth.

Strategies for stretching and supporting our pupils are implemented. With increased focus on your child’s secondary school, Terra Nova supports its pupils in preparing for both day and boarding school entrance examinations which they sit at either 11 or 13 years of age. For more information on specific subjects see below:

The Scientist

In Years 5&6 pupils enjoy science lessons in a dedicated laboratory with a specialist science teacher. Throughout the year pupils will study a range of topics from all three strands of the subject, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. As well as building a wealth of knowledge, the pupils will undergo regular practical work improving their dexterity skills and confidence when using and handling the large range of scientific resources available. In the Summer term we make full use of the extensive school grounds, woods and outdoor classrooms as this is the perfect environment for learning about and putting ecology skills into practice. 

In Years 7&8 pupils build on the solid grounding they will have gained in previous years at Terra Nova. The 13+ syllabus presents a new set of challenges and gives the pupils lots of new targets to aim for. The academic theory is accompanied by lots of stimulating practical work to reinforce learning. By the end of Year 8, pupils have an excellent working knowledge and are capable of independently carrying out investigations. There is an extra session available each week for the scholarship candidates. As well as an accelerated passage through the syllabus, candidates are encouraged to read much more widely around the subject and discuss new developments and discoveries in the scientific world in general. 

The Mathematician

Year 5&6 is an exciting time for pupils at Terra Nova. At this stage, the academic focus for all the children is on continuing the thorough preparation for the entrance examinations to independent senior schools, at either 11 or 13 years of age. All children are prepared for the former, with a strong emphasis on basic mathematics, particularly arithmetic. For our pupils that stay on until 13 this thorough grounding prepares them for the demands of entrance exams for day schools, common entrance and public school scholarship. Opportunities exist for Terra Nova’s pupils to pit their mathematical wits against pupils from across the country in the Primary Maths Challenge.

Years 7s & 8s focus firmly on preparing for exams to senior schools at 13+, common entrance and public school scholarship examinations. There are three levels to the common entrance exam giving all pupils scope to show what they can do. Preparing and sitting the higher level papers gives our pupils an excellent grounding for their GCSE exams. Pupils who are preparing to sit scholarships are encouraged to attend an extra “scholarship” class once a week. Again, the opportunity to compete against pupils across the land is provided in the form of the UK Junior Maths Challenge. The preparation for this is supported through the work done in other subjects, where the grounding in the disciplines of each will enable a pupil to make a strong impact when he or she moves on to the senior school of their choice.

The Historian, The Geographer & The Religious Studies student

Humanities allows children to develop the important skills of analysis, criticism and creativity that underpin independent learning and promote an open mind and inquisitive nature. Questioning, challenging and investigating are intrinsic to this process and provides a fresh insight into our world; its history, cultures and current dilemmas. Above all, studying the Humanities provides a child with the building blocks they need to imagine, define and realise their future dreams.

In the Senior Section of Terra Nova, the three Humanities subject teachers of History, Geography and Religious Studies work closely together to plan dynamic, wide-ranging and enjoyable learning opportunities for pupils of all abilities. Although each subject is timetabled separately, the department actively seeks to provide cross-curricular links and focus; for example the Middle East and the socio-political consequences of the Crusades in a region that still reverberates with unrest today manifest through religious extremism and radicalisation.

The historian, W.G. Hoskins, once wrote that ‘history cannot be studied without getting mud on one’s boots’. Learning outside the classroom is a very important aspect of the Humanities’ curriculum. There exists a plethora of heritage and opportunity, to inspire and engage our pupils, right on our doorstep. Recent visits include: The Grosvenor Museum, Tatton Park, The National Emergency Services Museum, Norton Priory, Stockport Air Raid Shelters, Manchester Jewish Museum, Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Liverpool Maritime and World Museums, The Draper’s Field Study Centre and, of course, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.

The Creative

In Year 5&6, pupils are introduced to specific processes and techniques to enable them to create more independent work. Gallery visits are used as starting points for some projects. Weekly Art and DT Clubs are available. Sketchbooks and folders are used for class and independent research in preparation for all projects. Pupils might look at artists and designers, record ideas and evaluate outcomes. ICT is used as a tool for research, designing and making. Our expectations are above national standards and we encourage independence and creativity.

In Year 7&8, pupils are encouraged to extend their knowledge of processes and techniques relating these to artists and designers in the workplace. Gallery visits support and enhance learning. Weekly Art and DT Clubs are available, potential scholars work in small groups to develop high quality portfolios of work over the two years. Our success rate in achieving scholarships to senior independent schools is extremely high. Sketchbooks and folders are used as visual and creative tools to inform project work. Our wide ranging curriculum encompasses techniques as varied as ceramics, precious metal jewellery, textiles, CAD/CAM as well as the more traditional painting, drawing and making skills.

The Literate Thinker

In years 5 to 8 pupils study a wide range of novels, poetry and plays to instill an appreciation of our wonderful literary heritage as well as to develop independent and resilient learners. Texts are carefully chosen to include both traditional and modern classics, immersing the children in a variety of literary genres and poetry and encouraging them to read widely for pleasure.

Pupils learn to write in a variety of styles which, along with regular comprehension, spelling and grammar activities and 11+/13+ preparation where appropriate, provide opportunities for pupils to become confident and skillful in their use of the English language.

This forms an excellent foundation for:

  • learning across the whole curriculum
  • the ability to communicate effectively in their future school years and beyond
  • a lifelong love of literature.
The Programmer

Technology at Terra Nova is designed to excite, inspire and equip our children with skills, resourcefulness and creativity for the future. Based on a cloud-centered infrastructure, we are able to let our pupils work seamlessly between home and school and join together for collaborative tasks. Our set-up utilises Google Apps for Education to deliver all areas of the Computing National Curriculum and beyond. Our enrichment program includes Technology Week with industry led workshops, speakers and demos, alongside ongoing classes on E-safety, Code Club and our Computing Scholarship program. The learners of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

The Linguist

French is the whole school’s second language and is taught from the Pre School upwards. During years 5&6 pupils build on what they have learned earlier in the school. The teachers strive to make children independent learners and encourage the ongoing refining and developing of the necessary language skills. A topic by topic approach is adopted and the transferral of knowledge from one topic to another is encouraged. We are particularly keen that pupils are familiar with both paper dictionaries as well as online dictionaries, in particular ICT plays an obvious supporting role.

This academic year, Years 5 & 6 children have had the opportunity to study a term of German, Spanish and Latin.

In year 7&8 pupils continue to develop skills to enable them to thrive in their lessons, their independent study and their forthcoming examinations. Children are prepared for entrance examinations at 11 & 13+ to day schools and the common entrance examination for boarding schools.

Year 7 pupils visit Château de la Baudonnière in Normandy during the summer term.  Pupils are fully immersed in language and culture for a whole week and reap the linguistic and character building rewards in Year 8.


The Performing Artist

At Terra Nova we have a team of 11 highly qualified peripatetic music teachers, who deliver lessons on a range of instruments. Each term we hold a music recital for both the Junior and Senior children in our Jodrell Room, to showcase pupils’ talents. We enter pupils for the ABRSM music exams and have a strong record of gaining Merits and Distinctions. We have three large choirs at the school, who all perform regularly at school concerts, special services, and competitions. The Chamber Choir (Years 6-8) have performed in Rome and Bruges and will be undertaking a tour of Paris next year.

From Year 5 onwards, children will compose and record their ideas using our music technology suite. The children are taught to use the software Cubase to explore how music is created and create their own exciting ideas. Children are encouraged to attend our Music technology club, M:Tech, to further enhance their skills.>

We also encourage pupils to enter local music festivals, such as the Alderley Edge Festival and the Heaton Mersey Festival. Terra Nova pupils enjoyed terrific success at the recent Bowden Festival and regularly participate in festivals of this nature. Speech & Drama lessons are also available privately at school.

Small Class

Individual attention and personalised learning tailored to each and every pupil, leading to inspirational outcomes.


A proud heritage steeped in traditional values with a thoroughly modern approach and delivery.

Age range
2½ to 13 years

Seamless transition, specialist teaching, leadership opportunities, all-round nurture and outstanding pastoral care.


Makerspace, The Hub, 32 Acres, Shooting Range, Swimming Pool. Stunning facilities in a beautiful environment.


French, Spanish, German and Latin, taught by experts in the knowledge and understanding of second language learning.

Latest News