Welcome to Prep

As children grow their needs change.  Still curious, they demand to know more and understand more about the world around them, which is why we believe that subject specialist teachers are such an important part of Prep School life.

Students are challenged academically, physically and in their personal development to ensure that they can reach their potential whilst they remain with us.  This is supported by strong Performance education and daily access to animals – both of which have been proved to enhance mental health.

Good relationships between children, staff and parents are central to our ethos and we strive to maintain open communication both face to face and by email to ensure that every parent can stay in touch.

Our aim is to ensure that every child can be the very best version of themselves.

Mrs H Mann, Head of Prep


Firm foundations from the Pre-prep mean that the Prep School children can move forward with confidence to explore their enhanced curriculum.

In Years 3 and 4 the children still spend time with their Form Teachers but have an increasing number of lessons with specialist teachers. A large, well-equipped Art Room, a Science Lab equipped to Secondary School standards and a large Performance Hall are all available for the children from Year 3.
Homework is balanced to the ability and needs of each child at their age and stage, ensuring that the task is achievable and relevant. We believe that children have a right to enjoy their evening with their family but also need the discipline of independent work to support their learning.

Alongside the expected academic subjects, children in the Prep School have weekly Drama lessons, Enquiry lessons (where learning happens in our wonderful grounds) and Latin in Years 5 and 6, which provides an interesting way to access grammar!
We want learning to be enjoyable and we know that content children learn well; that is our mission.


We encourage creative thinking and believe that it is important that our children can analyse and look at problems in different ways, applying their developing questioning and thinking skills across the curriculum.

What is creative thinking, and why is it important in the workplace? Most people associate creativity with artistic tasks such as writing a novel, painting a picture, or composing music. While these are all creative endeavours, not all creative thinkers are artists. Many jobs require creative thinking, including positions in the worlds of business and science.

Learning to express every side of a child’s personality is essential to give an all-round life experience. The creative arts are very important at Polwhele House. Children enjoy long lessons in the Art Room, where they explore all aspects of Art and Design Technology, working in both 2- and 3-dimensions. Artwork is entered for competitions and often qualifies for national competitions, giving an exciting experience for such young people. We take part in the Truro City of Lights, where the Upper Prep students explore sculpture and then take it to the city centre to be part of the parade. We embrace any opportunity to be involved in Art as part of life.

Drama is an important part of the curriculum and the children learn to work as individuals and as part of a group. We enjoy entering competitions – and do very well. Having a tradition of Performing Arts activities, means that we also enter debating and verse speaking competitions. We never miss an opportunity to perform in front of a willing audience.

Music and singing form part of the core of Polwhele House and the children all sing together. We have a Choir as well as a Singing Group led by passionate teachers who inspire the children. Playing instruments in Music lessons can lead to having individual lessons for those who want to take their skill further and we have a range of excellent music teachers who are delighted to work with the children.


We believe that sport is a hugely important element of both education and life. Habits learned early affect children’s lifelong attitudes to sport and fitness. At Polwhele House we aim to provide a sporting environment in which every pupil has the opportunity to reach their full potential and develop a love for sport and exercise. Our inclusive approach, means all children have the opportunity to represent the school and take part in competitive fixtures. We also give as many children as possible the opportunity to compete at regional or national level.

With our fantastic school grounds (large playing fields offering a rugby pitch and football pitches, netball courts, grass tennis courts, a woodland cross country course, an indoor sports gym/fencing salle/dance studio and a riding arena) all pupils are presented with endless sporting opportunities.

Prep School Sport

In the Prep School, children from Year 3 take part in weekly swimming lessons, games sessions and PE lessons. These are supplemented by surfing lessons in the Michaelmas Term when the weather allows. In addition to timetabled lessons, sports clubs, across all age groups, are offered every day after school, which enable children to pursue their interest in particular sporting activities or simply keep active. In club training sessions, emphasis is placed on tactics and strategies as well as fitness and game play. In the summer term, pupils from Year 3, are offered the opportunity to try a variety of water sports, which has recently included surfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding.


Netball is played in both the Michaelmas and Lent terms and is led by one of our games teachers, who is herself an ex-international netball player. Games sessions are supplemented by after school club training. Fixtures are regularly played against other schools, providing all children with an opportunity to compete in competitive matches. In the Lent term, older pupils prepare for the regional competitions and over the last two years we have had great success in these, with the U11 team being crowned South-West Champions for both 2022 and 2023. At the 2023 national finals the U11s achieved equal 5th place in the country.


Rugby is played in the Michaelmas term by both boys and girls. Tag rugby is the main sport played up until U10, where contact is introduced in line with RFU guidelines. From fun participation fixtures to competitive tournaments, the school prides itself on all pupils being involved. Games sessions are supplemented by after school clubs for all age groups, which prove hugely popular. In the 2022/2023 season, the U11 team were crowned South-West Champions.

Cross country

Cross-country takes place in the Michaelmas and Lent terms and all children take part in races against other schools. We are lucky to have our own cross-country course at Polwhele House, where our pupils regularly have the opportunity to run through our school woods. Our inter-house cross-country event is a favourite amongst our pupils and parents, and we host the annual Polwhele House cross-country race, where schools from across Cornwall come and race on our course. We enter as many children as possible into the ISA South West Regional race and in the 2023 season, 11 runners qualified through to the National Finals. Our U9 boys’ team were also crowned South West Champions.


Football is the focus sport for both girls and boys in the Lent term. Competitive fixtures are played from Year 3 and there are several after school football clubs offered in addition to the games sessions. Having signed the Girls’ Football in Schools Pledge, we also offer a Girls Only football club. In the 2022/23 season, the U11 team competed at St George’s Park in the National Finals. Recent sport trips have seen students watch Plymouth Argyle in action.


In the summer term, all pupils receive coaching in both track and field events, with an after school athletics club also offered. Every child has the opportunity to try every event. Pupils work towards the ISA regional competition, where we enter as many athletes as possible. In recent years, we have had exceptional success in this event. In the 2023 competition, 9 athletes were crowned South West Champions in their events and qualified through to the national finals, where we secured one gold, three silver and one bronze medal.


Cricket is played by both girls and boys in the summer term. Both mixed and same sex fixtures take place against other schools and after school clubs are also offered. Hard ball cricket is played from Year 6 upwards. Our U11 mixed cricket team finished South-West Runners-Up during the 2022/23 season.


Fencing is another sport at which Polwhele excels. KS1 pupils participate in a weekly Midi Fencing session. From Year 3, pupils who continue take 1:1 30 minute lessons each week during the term and throughout the holidays. Once this apprenticeship is complete, they join a squad of core fencers who meet weekly for electric sparring and group lessons. Opportunities for competitive fencing include national and regional events at least twice per term, and our own club fight night. This year the club has grown from 2 to 15.

Discover more

If you wish to find out more about attending Polwhele House or if you would like to book a school tour, please use the form below and we shall be in contact.

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