New science room officially opens at Downham Preparatory School looks to take on older pupils
A school in Downham has opened a new science block which will benefit both primary and secondary age pupils as they look to take on year 7 and 8 students.
Downham Preparatory School and Montessori Nursery, an independent day school which currently has pupils aged three months to 11 years, is in the process of applying to take on students up to the age of 13.
Principal Elizabeth Laffeaty-Sharpe said in order to facilitate this change, which it is hoped will come into effect in the 2019-20 academic year, they decided to build a new science room fit-for-purpose with equipment including Bunsen burners and microscopes.
She said: “We felt that to do the curriculum properly we required a bigger room.”
Mrs Laffeaty-Sharpe added: “The primary age pupils will have access to all the same things as the older children, improving their science lessons as well.”
The science room is not the only addition to the school in preparation for the prospective older pupils.
The school currently has a number of year 7 age students already, as the Department of Education requested Downham Preparatory School keep some of their pupils on to ensure they had a school to go to.
Mrs Laffeaty-Sharpe said plans are being drawn up at the moment for a log cabin-type building which will be used as a common room for the older pupils, along with other facilities such as showers, which are compulsory for schools with students of a secondary age.
She said keeping students on until the age of 13 makes sense in the independence sector as it is a “natural time of change” following this, as that is when they begin to choose their GCSE options.
“It also gives parents a couple of years grace for their children to mature a bit before they go to boarding schools,” she added.
The new science room was officially opened by South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss last Friday – the school’s last day of term.
Ms Truss watched on as the pupils conducted experiments using shredded beetroot to see if it would produce an acid or alkali solution.