U.S. Markets close in 3 hrs 11 mins

New Kensington prep school will offer weekly museum trips, a philosophy club and an 'innovation lab'

Camilla Turner
Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School will be round the corner from the Victoria and Albert Museum

A new Kensington preparatory school will offer weekly museum trips, a philosophy club and an “innovation lab”. 

Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School, which will open in September 2020, will take children on short but frequent visits to cultural institutions, sometimes just to see a single artifact or object at a time.

With the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum just a short walk away, pupils will be taken on “highly focussed” trips.

This could involve the youngest pupils, aged three and four-years-old, coming to school dressed as explorers and reading the story We Are Going on a Bear Hunt. 

"They would then go to the Natural History Museum and hunt the bears on exhibit there,"  Jill Walker, the school’s headmistress, explained.  

"When back at school, they would make their own bears using split pins, use their iPads to record themselves telling the story and take photos of eachother in a bear pose using an art app."

To finish they could bake bear biscuits, and have treasure hunt in the school’s garden before enjoying a picnic on the lawn. 

Meanwhile, Year Six students studying forces  - which can be "quite a dry topic" - would be taken on a trip to the Science Museum to look at the Supermarine Seaplane  which could take off and land on water.

Jill Walker is headmistress at Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School, which will open in 2020

Back in the classroom, they would then design and build their own model planes, using the 3D printer to create their own propeller. After testing their planes in the garden, they will give a presentation to the class about about the scientific principles that informed their design.

In addition to weekly museum trips, Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School, will have a host of different clubs including creative writing, a robotics, philosophy and debating.

The school will also have an “innovation lab” where pupils can learn how to code. Mrs Walker said that most of the time, the glory of museums is lost on school pupils who “go round from floor to floor, grow weary and their eyes glazing over”.

She said: “What can often happen is a school can organise a trip and they go for the day -  but what you find is lots of children switching off after half an hour, mindlessly pressing buttons, wondering around, but not thinking about what they are viewing.

“They are not particularly focused. You spend a lot of time counting children making sure you haven’t lost anyone. It’s quite a stressful, fraught day.” Mrs Walker added that most schools find that health and safety requirements so onerous that they are “put off” from organising them in the first place.

“What many schools find is that in order to meet health and safety requirements of a trip, there are vast amounts of paperwork – risk assessments, permission slips from parents and so on,” she said. Prince’s Gardens Preparatory School, which will cater for children aged three to eleven, has not yet disclosed its fees, but it is likely to be between £16,000 and £20,000-a-year.