Extension Programme

Is your child academically able or talented in Art, Drama, Music, Design Technology or Sport?

At Marlborough House, we firmly believe that all children should be encouraged to 'reach for the stars' and that talent and excellence should be recognised and celebrated whenever and wherever we see it. 


Our small class sizes and ongoing commitment to individual focus means that we are well placed to quickly identify pupils who require stretch and additional support. Detailed assessment for learning is a key focus for our academic team which helps those of a higher ability access the most challenging aspects of our curriculum.

In Year 7, teachers invite a select number of pupils to join our subject enrichment classes. These also run throughout Year 8 and help prepare pupils for scholarships to leading independent schools and for Cranbrook 13+ entry. Scholarship class sizes of 3 – 10 pupils, enable teachers to deliver a bespoke curriculum tailored to challenge each child to delve more deeply into subjects and are designed to further enrich pupils' learning with new and exciting levels of  skill and understanding. We also encourage them to attend scholarship workshops at independent senior schools across the South East.

Our School Leader programme aims to provide more opportunities for Year 8 pupils to become subject experts and ambassadors for their peer group as well as for those in lower year groups. For example, during break times, and with the help of staff members, School Leaders may organise cluster learning groups to support and challenge more able pupils.  


All pupils are encouraged to pursue their interest in art through attendance at extra-curricular clubs and additional sessions in the art room.

Scholarship preparation for Senior School entry starts in Year 6.  Although it is work from Year 7 and 8 that forms the basis of the portfolio for application to other schools, we have found it very beneficial to begin the ‘formality’ of working towards scholarship in Year 6. These additional sessions are primarily to encourage and prepare those planning on applying for Art scholarships to Senior Schools, but children who have exceptional interest are also encouraged for enrichment purposes.

In these sessions, we are able to work on a more ‘individual’ basis, and time can be given to working in areas, such as Ceramics, with a greater degree of oversight and technical assistance. We also make a point of drawing from observation each week as a warm up exercise and to focus on this skill, which is the lynchpin of any successful Scholarship application.

In addition, we use the time to enter competitions, apply to exhibitions and pupils are also given a personal programme of work which is linked to their interests. Pupils are also encouraged to go to workshops organised by independent Senior Schools.

Advice is given in selecting work and preparing portfolios, as well as mock-interviews and guidance with Senior School Scholarship assigned tasks and prepared exams.

Younger children are catered for in the provision of the clubs on offer. Pupils attending these achieve a broad range of results in different media, and is a great opportunity to try out some new skills and materials. Children who attend the clubs begin to feel confident in Art, and it is often these children who go on to join the more intensive Scholar’s sessions in Year 6.     

Sue Fields, Head of Art


Drama is a subject that is championed at MHS. Performing in front of audience is a unique experience and is unlike any other challenge that children face at school. The key skills that the subject demands are enthusiasm, focus, commitment and courage. It is wonderfully life-affirming to see so many MHS pupils, across the entire school, positively embrace the subject and then reap the benefits of opportunities it brings.

There are many outlets for Drama within MHS. Drama is taught as a discreet subject, in small class sizes, giving lots of opportunity for involvement, group co-operation and performance. There are numerous drama events throughout the year that require performance and public speaking from our Poetry Celebrations, topical debates and Public Speaking competitions against other schools. Our popular after school Drama clubs are a favourite for many students who have the opportunity to hone their performance skills. We also offer English Speaking Board classes and actively advise and support older students who undertake Drama scholarship interviews for independent Senior Schools. 

Drama features prominently within English lessons. Scripts are studied, characters and emotions are explored through role play exercises and improvisation and hot seating activities inspire creative writing. Throughout the year, touring theatre companies visit the school where they perform plays and lead interactive workshops. Trips to the theatre and the Kino cinema also take place throughout the year, allowing the children to enjoy and be inspired by high quality, professional drama.

Finally, throughout the school, we undertake whole year group productions. These are a fabulous opportunity for the children to build on the skills they have developed within lessons. The school productions are an opportunity for many departments within the school community to cooperate with one another. The Art and DT departments focus on set design and costume whilst the Music department assisting with all elements of singing and performing the musical numbers. These major school events are a joy for all to be involved in and, for many of the pupils it is a time where lifelong memories are made.

Steve Little, Head of Drama

Design Technology

Children interested in improving their Design Technology skills are encouraged to join extra-curricular clubs and further sessions in the DT workshop. There is also the opportunity to complete guided independent research and learning projects over and above the DT curriculum.

The Extension Programme is by invitation and sessions start in Year 6 and continue through to Year 8. These sessions are designed to stretch and challenge those pupils who have a special interest and skill in design, manufacturing and technology. Here, we work on individual projects with the focus of working through the design process in a similar way to professional designers. Children build up a portfolio of design work including prototype test pieces and written work which they can then use as part of the interview process for independent school scholarship applications if they so wish. Children are given support to select work for their portfolio and are given mock interviews and interview tasks.

Furthermore, we have in-house design competitions which are open to all children, as well as the opportunity to enter national design competitions such as CREST Awards. Children are also encouraged to attend exhibitions and workshops organised by museums such as the Design Museum and Ditchling Museum of Art and Design.

Julie Speers, Head of Design Technology


All children at Marlborough House have the opportunity to take part in as many sports as possible. We aim to develop confidence to take part in a variety of sports and enable children to leave here with the skills to equip them for not just their senior school life, but well beyond into their adult life. 

We have close links to all the local sports clubs, regional and county development programmes and we actively encourage all children to regularly take part in sport outside of the school environment.

Senior school sports scholars  are supported with preparation for the type of tests they may be asked to complete on their assessment days. Under the current department’s leadership, Marlborough House pupils have gone on to represent their sport on the national stage at various junior age groups and senior level. England, Holland, Denmark, and Great Britain have all had sportsmen and women or girls and boys on their teams who have benefited from our culture of inclusion and personal development. Swimming, Lacrosse, Rugby, Football, .22 Shooting, Rounders, Triathlon, and Hockey have all been represented at county and national level. 

Rob Mathers, Director of Sport


Children who show a particular interest and ability in music are encouraged to attend as many of our groups, ensembles and choirs as possible. Meetings with parents are set up to discuss which instrument, or additional instruments, might suit the child in question and to arrange taster sessions. In addition to the various clubs, a specialised group meets once a week to look at music theory, aural, performance skills, technique and the history of music in more detail. We also explore interview questions and techniques. 

At Marlborough House, we have the perfect setting and understanding to address the individual needs of each child. There are many opportunities to perform each term by way of our Informal Concerts, events held outside of school such as at the local hospice, village pub, school assemblies and in more formal competitions. This means that our musicians are equally well practised and prepared when they play or sing in front of any audience;  parents, friends and external examiners alike.

If your child has particular academic ability or talent in Art, Drama, Sport, Music or Design Technology, or would just like to find out more about how we support and develop our pupils through our extension programme, please contact the Registrar by email at registrar@marlboroughhouseschool.co.uk or call 01580 753555.

Click here to see how successful our pupils are in gaining scholarships to senior schools.