Primary School

Primary School

Hunting for bugs in the school wildlife gardenFor the last 30 years, we at Dame Catherine’s have developed a unique learning environment combining Steiner, Montessori and Forest School principles into a holistic, child-led approach.

We teach across all years from reception to year 6, working collectively, individually and in smaller groups depending on the subject area and tasks. Children attending our part-time sessions would work within the existing school format or our popular nursery of 3 & 4 year olds.

Our small size ensures that all pupils are supported and encouraged to progress at their own pace; we don’t test our children and instead focus on them developing as rounded individuals who are confident and engaged, with a life-long love of learning.

Here is a flavour of what we offer.


Topics would be targeted to individual children’s needs based on the 21 steps assessment and progress criteria. Taught in Key Stage 01 and 02 settings, pupils work collectively, in small groups and individually to allow topics to be taught, understood and developed at their own level. We engage with numeracy in a creative and active manner, ensuring topics are explored with depth and breadth, through play, role-play and ‘real-life’ scenarios.

PE, Music & Drama

Learning guitar and singing alongTaking place either in the neighbouring village hall or, weather permitting, on The Grange playing fields, as well as within the school. A sports session develops ball skills and coordination, as well as various opportunities for physical education, including yoga, dance, football, badminton and group games. A swimming option is included which takes place at Repton pool and offers the chance to learn how to swim during the school day (pool charge is separate to fees).

As part of our group music session, we study rhythm and pitch as well as work with tuned and un-tuned instruments. The components of music and dance and then often brought together in our drama sessions which also include games, improvisation and creative story-telling.

Please note: we also run a dance group on Monday evenings from 4-5pm and a multi-sport session (football, rugby, cricket, ball skills) on Wednesdays 4-5pm Рall welcome. Sessions need to be booked per half term and cost £6.


Pupils constrction models made from K'nexA more ‘technical’ session covering topics such as friction/forces, properties of materials, solids/liquids, rocks/soils/earth, the planets and habitats. Again, our approach is broad and varied, engaging pupils through a range of projects and activities including practical experiments and, where possible, making use of the wider learning environment – including the school garden and grounds, the neighbouring Calke Estate and optional trips. This session also applies and develops numeracy and literacy skills within the relevant topic areas.

History & Creative skills: art and crafts

Over the course of a year, our history sessions will cover the Vikings, Tudors, Egyptians, Anglo Saxons, British History stories and Famous People. Topic areas are explored creatively through a range of in depth project work which combines group and individual working with a variety of ‘making and doing’ tasks. For this reason, history is combined with a creative skills session which allows the curriculum areas to over-lap and develop a wider level of engagement. Creative skills may include traditional crafts such as knitting, weaving and crochet as well as art techniques, exploring topics in both two- and three-dimensions.


Learning about different cultures in geographyCombining ‘environments’, world geography, rivers, transport and European geography with relevant aspects of work and industry, this session follows a similar path to that of History, with topic areas explored creatively through a range of in depth project work which combines group and individual working and a variety of ‘making and doing’ tasks.


Book club

You’re invited to join us to expand grammar, spelling and writing skills in the context of the shared reading of a chosen novel (different book each term). This ‘read and respond’ approach best suits those aged 8+ and challenges pupils to creatively explore and engage with the themes and topics raised by the book.

‘Golden time’

A fantastic way to finish off the week! The children choose how they’d like to spend their time, with a varying range of activities to choose from – these could include junk modelling, baking, crafts, computer gaming, k-nex construction, etc. The afternoon is rounded off with ‘circle-time’ which includes social games and elements of citizenship as we talk about our week.

Exploring the area with pupilsNext Steps

Please contact us to arrange a visit or find out more.