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Reception at AKS: Building Foundations for Life 

"We have to prepare children for a world that doesn't yet exist: that preparation needs to start at right at the beginning". 

AKS Nursery and Preparatory School goes beyond providing an impeccable education. It builds foundations for life. Foundations which sow the seeds for skills and competencies required in a rapidly changing world, where 65% of children who entered primary school in 2018 will do jobs that haven’t been invented yet (World Economic Forum, 2018).

AKS Headmaster, David Harrow, explains the challenge, "We have to prepare children for a world that doesn't yet exist: that preparation needs to start at right at the beginning. Very few challenges are 'just a maths problem', or 'just geography' - they are a fusion of many disciplines. Today’s education has to prepare children for change that is unprecedented in its scale and pace". 

Head of AKS Nursery and Preparatory School, Amanda Ilhan describes how this philosophy influences the teaching from the age of two, “We know that building these 21st century competencies begins from the early years. This includes enabling them to build confidence by doing things for themselves, such as their coat buttons in Reception, to solving creative problems in maths. We create a balance between stretch and support – to empower children to grow and develop at their own pace.” 

When we talk about 'Academic Ambition', we know that is different for everyone and that guides us to work with parents and children to ensure our pupils achieve all they are capable of. For example, children have daily one-to-one reading sessions at school, with books changed as soon as they are completed, so vociferous readers can move through books at a pace which suits them. 

This notion of setting an appropriate level of challenge cuts across our whole curriculum and is supplemented by c.45 different clubs - whether that's representing the school at sport (including hockey, netball, rugby, football, athletics, cricket, tennis, rounders, swimming and basketball to name but a few); attending specialist clubs (such as judo and fencing); participating in our 80 piece orchestra; or taking part in chess, science, writing, debating, or LAMDA. 

Martin Avis, our specialist Raising Attainment Teacher continues, “We take a flexible approach to encouraging children to work within and across ability groups. Classes are split for English and Maths but combined for wider subjects and project work. ‘Homework’ begins in the early years with games and reading and builds in complexity and length to match children’s concentration and ability. This is mirrored by an expectation for them to take ownership of and pride in their work.” 

We take the concept of character and competency-building as seriously as we take academic study. We have high expectations of our students - to be independent thinkers, creative problem-solvers; to question, debate, explore and to have their own voice. The result can be seen in both school success and beyond, for example with 60% of children exceeding age-related expectations for reading and maths by Year 6 - a trajectory which continues into senior school. 

Enriching experiences include participation in Round Square committees; residential trips from Year 3; project working and for a wide range of initiatives which encourage students to contribute to their immediate and wider community. 

Mrs Ilhan concludes, “I'm proud of our children. They are polite, kind and have a social conscience. They are determined, resilient and thrive as team members and leaders. Taken together, Academic Ambition, Individual Pathways and Success and Value help our children develop aspirations to give their very best; to feel understood and supported; to be challenged and to have integrity and consideration for others. These outcomes provide a strong foundation for further growth, enabling them to transition seamlessly into senior school, ready to rise to new challenges, to meet and often exceed their expectations.” 

Book your private tour with Mrs Ilhan, Head of AKS Nursery & Preparatory School here, or contact us directly on

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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