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Marlborough House School

Pre-Senior Baccalaureate

What is the PSB?

The Pre-Senior Baccalaureate at Marlborough House School is a framework designed to highlight and develop the importance of skills in a modern 21st century education.  A wide variety of skills are developed and applied during the learning process; skills that will increase capabilities, competence and success in future personal and professional life.

The PSB skills framework interacts with and underpins our approach to teaching and learning at MHS.Skills and virtues will be profiled in a “Certificate of Achievement.”

The new PSB @ MHS fuses our established character education programme with a refreshed, vibrant and modern take on a rigorous, engaging, enriching curriculum; developing the skills children will need to thrive as adults in the 21st century.  This provides children with the foundational knowledge, the future skills, the self-belief and the sheer, unbridled joy of learning they deserve.  This is ‘Enjoying Today. Educating For Tomorrow.’

We do not believe that the ‘Prep’ in ‘Prep School’ means Preparation for exams; we believe that ‘Prep’ stands for:

  • Preparing children for life-long learning in an uncertain and fast changing world
  • Preparing children with learning virtues and sense of purpose for success in their future schools, work and life
  • Providing strong and robust academic foundations which develop and empower the mind
  • Providing a varied range of intellectual, sporting, creative and collaborative opportunities which help to identify and develop individual talents, attributes and interests
  • Highlighting the skills, habits, emotional intelligence and cultural literacy needed to thrive in the 21st century
  • Leaving MHS with a toolbox full of skills rather than just a briefcase of grades
“At Tonbridge we have moved away from the requirement to pass CE to confirm entry and have done so, in large part, to allow schools such as Marlborough House, to offer a programme of study which will better suit the needs of their pupils as they grow up in the 21st century.” 
Andrew Leale, Director of Admissions at Tonbridge School

Why create a new Year 7 & 8 curriculum?  

The way senior schools select pupils has changed significantly over the last five years with the introduction of ISEB Pre-Testing. CE no longer serves as the entrance test to Independent Senior Schools.We consistently hear from Senior School Head teachers that children leaving Prep Schools lack independence, a thirst for learning and the skills to thrive in Senior School and beyond.This has provided an opportunity to evaluate and modernise our academic curriculum, allowing our children the opportunity to rediscover their love of learning.

Aims of the new curriculum

We are developing an inspiring, challenging and flexible curriculum to stimulate and engage pupils of all abilities.  We believe that children should be engaged in their learning and they should have frequent opportunities to explore topics and concepts that interest them.  We know that it is the skills and virtues children develop and acquire, through their learning, which propel them through life. Our aim is that the 13 year olds who leave us will have acquired foundational knowledge in all the GCSE subjects but more importantly, that they are equipped with independent learning skills, the ability to think critically and solve problems, to communicate effectively and to collaborate with others.  We aspire to nurturing self-aware, confident and considerate young people ready to thrive within their senior schools and life beyond.  Enjoying Today. Educating For Tomorrow.

How has our Year 7 & 8 curriculum changed?

Curriculum Faculties & Themes

Subjects have been grouped into five faculties:

  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths)
  • Languages & Communication (French, Spanish, Latin and English)
  • Humanities (History, Geography and Religious Studies)
  • Performing Arts (Music and Drama)
  • Games and Outdoor Activities

Each faculty has timetabled blocks allowing greater flexibility in curriculum design, sequencing, theming and creative delivery.

“We are delighted that you are considering introducing a curriculum which is more relevant in preparing students for their move to secondary school and we fully support this initiative.”
Dr Katy Ricks, Former Headmistress of Sevenoaks


As a member school of the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate (PSB), we have introduced the PSB @ MHS LEARNING ZONES to emphasize the learning virtues which underpin the many different subjects and situations children experience, alongside the skills that will be necessary for thriving in all aspects of 21st century life. In addition, we have introduced a vertical academic mentoring programme in Year 7 & 8.

Independent (solo) learning, practice and reviewing

Blue Zone:                  traditional, instructive teaching; independent learning; new topics

Green Zone:                practice questions; quizzes; mini-tests; independent practice

Purple Zone:              reflection; redrafting; independent research projects

Collaborative (paired, class or group) learning, practice and reviewing

Yellow Zone:              classroom discussion with teacher or in pairs

Red Zone:                   group work and inquiry based learning

Pink Zone:                  peer marking and team reviews; open discussion and mentoring

Communication and Leadership

Communication spreads across all zones and applies to both written communication and oral communication. To be an effective communicator you have to be a good listener.

Leadership is often confused for being a team captain, or head boy, or head girl, or in charge of something but leadership skills are an important part of all our lives. Good listening and communication skills are important in leadership, so is organisation and time allocation to different activities. Initiative (or getting started) is an essential trait of personal leadership. The way we build relationships, influence others, make decisions and share tasks, alongside self-control and discipline; are essential leadership skills.


  • Assessment is modular (over two years) rather than one end of Year 8 exam
  • Attainment and skills are highlighted and reported in all aspects of school: academics, sport, creative subjects, learning virtues and seven key skills which make up the framework for our Learning Zones. These key skills are as follows:
    • Communication
    • Leadership
    • Collaboration
    • Independence
    • Thinking and Learning
    • Applying
    • Reviewing and Improving
  • Children will be graded in all areas on a numerical scale
  • Children will receive a PSB@MHS “Certificate of Achievement” when they leave the school. This will be made available to Senior Schools
We certainly appreciate – indeed applaud – the desire to develop pupils’ broader learning and critical thinking skills, and appreciate that a move away from CE would provide the space for you to enable and cultivate that in a more meaningful way.
Alison Withers, Registrar Brighton College.


The main purpose of mentoring is to join all the learning, thinking, doing, practising, reviewing and improving we do at school together in one place.  To really think about WHO each child is, what they find quite easy and what they find more challenging; and to think more deeply about WHY learning matters, WHAT they are learning and – perhaps most importantly - HOW they are learning. In mentor groups there will be four main activities (varying from session to session):

  1. Defining and discussing learning virtues and core skills
  2. Mentoring in those virtues and skills across the whole school curriculum and reflecting upon them in mentoring journals.
  3. Engaging in paired or group activities which enable and highlight the development and practice of virtues and skills.
  4. Termly 1:1 meetings between teacher mentors and pupils, to discuss progress and targets in the development of virtues and skills.

What has stayed the same?

  • Regular, robust assessment to inform teaching and track pupil progress
  • A broad range of extra-curricular clubs, enrichment activities and school trips
  • Adherence to the National Curriculum in all academic subjects
  • Coverage of scholarship syllabi, within curriculum timetabling (for those who may require it)
  • Common Entrance Exams in English and Maths

Why PSB @ MSH?

The PSB @ MHS is a wonderful opportunity to inspire, enrich and deepen learning in every aspect of school life.The buzz amongst teachers and children in our current Year 7, who’ve started their PSB @ MHS journey, is testament to this fresh and engaging approach to learning and skill development.The PSB will enable children to leave Marlborough House with a toolbox full of skills rather than just a briefcase of grades; fully preparing them for happiness, purpose and success in senior school, work and life.

For more information on the PSB organisation, please click here.