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We're delighted to welcome you to South Lee Prep School & Nursery, a lively co-educational school that has been nurturing young minds since 1961. You'll find us nestled on Nowton Road, right on the outskirts of the wonderful Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

OUR HISTORY

South Lee Prep School, Bury St Edmunds was founded in 1961 by several parents forming a group to purchase a large, private house in Nowton Road on the edge of Bury St Edmunds. The school began with 30 children and 3 members of staff.

For many years, South Lee was quite unique, in that it was run by a Board of Governors, the majority of whom had to be parents of pupils currently at the school. Whilst the parent governors no longer need to be in the majority, they still make up a large percentage of the Board. Currently, the Board is made up of governors who are parents of current pupils, and also parents of pupils formerly educated at South Lee.

As a registered charity, we do not make a ‘profit’ but any surplus is put towards maintaining and developing the school. Since opening, a number of building programmes were implemented and additions included classroom blocks, a Nursery, a hall/gym, a kitchen, a science laboratory and a computer room. The original house is now the smallest part of the school.

A neighbouring house (South Lodge) was purchased in 1995 to provide more classrooms for the Prep School. The grounds were redesigned in 1996 to provide better hard courts and parking areas. In 2001, South Lodge was demolished and replaced with a new Prep School building, which retained the same name. Our most recent development is the new Sports and Performance Centre, which opened in 2013.

Outdoor games lessons take place at the Victory Sports Grounds (opposite the school) and on the all-weather surface at nearby Nowton Park. Swimming, which is an option for Pre-Prep pupils, takes place at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre. Recently, the school purchased around 10 acres of land in Nowton village, which includes a cricket facility and an environmental area (including a pond) that is used for Science and other activities.

ABOUT US

South Lee is an independent day school and nursery dedicated to the growth and development of young boys and girls aged 3 months to 13 years. Our vibrant and nurturing environment fosters a sense of curiosity and care, where every child is inspired to achieve their utmost academic potential in preparation for their journey to senior school.

At South Lee, our exceptional team of teachers are not only skilled but also deeply devoted, providing the structure, inspiration, and challenges necessary to nurture our pupils' growth. Above all, we hold a profound commitment to shaping the very essence of our pupils as they evolve into exceptional individuals.

At the heart of South Lee lies our commitment to nurturing and celebrating the unique talents of each and every child.

Discover the inviting and friendly atmosphere that defines our school, and explore the impressive achievements of our students showcased on our platform. We extend a sincere invitation for you to come and experience firsthand the exceptional environment we've thoughtfully cultivated, aimed at preparing your child for a promising and fulfilling journey ahead.

AIMS & VALUES

At South Lee Prep School, education is centred around instilling a life long love of learning in each child by developing their skills and nurturing their growth as individuals.

  • We believe that respect for children, belief in children and viewing the world through the eyes of children, should inform our teaching and care.

  • We believe in a rounded approach to education where emotional and social well-being, confidence and self-awareness are inseparably intertwined with academic progress.

  • We encourage children to develop into well rounded individuals who are ready to thrive in and contribute to the wider community and global society.

  • We encourage children to have high aspirations and in doing so to take ownership of their steps towards success.

  • We aim to channel the natural curiosity of children so that they become resilient, independent, critical and creative learners, through a rich, broad and challenging curriculum.

  • We aim to provide opportunities for development and interests outside the classroom, allowing children to develop a healthy and mindful lifestyle, a sense of adventure and a zest for life.

  • We aim for the children at South Lee to foster the values of teamwork, leadership, tolerance, kindness, trust and social responsibility.

  • We view education as a shared journey in which we work closely with parents, guardians and most importantly the children themselves.

OUR SCHOOL ETHOS

South Lee is an independent day school and nursery dedicated to the growth and development of young boys and girls aged 3 months to 13 years. Our vibrant and nurturing environment fosters a sense of curiosity and care, where every child is inspired to achieve their utmost academic potential in preparation for their journey to senior school.

At South Lee, our exceptional team of teachers are not only skilled but also deeply devoted, providing the structure, inspiration, and challenges necessary to nurture our pupils' growth. Above all, we hold a profound commitment to shaping the very essence of our pupils as they evolve into exceptional individuals.

At the heart of South Lee lies our commitment to nurturing and celebrating the unique talents of each and every child.

Discover the inviting and friendly atmosphere that defines our school, and explore the impressive achievements of our students showcased on our platform. We extend a sincere invitation for you to come and experience firsthand the exceptional environment we've thoughtfully cultivated, aimed at preparing your child for a promising and fulfilling journey ahead.

Pastoral Care

At South Lee, the pastoral care of our pupils is of huge importance. We are of the firm belief that happy children make happy learners. Childhood is short and should be filled with memories of excitement, joyfulness and fun. We recognise that the majority of that childhood is lived through school, so we strive to ensure that we pay a significant amount of attention to the social and emotional aspects of learning. In these formative years, it is essential that we educate children not just in the sense of academia, sports and the arts, but also in terms of their mental health and wellbeing. All too often we concentrate on the exam results and attainment of young people, but miss out on those things that will help our children to grow into resilient young adults, capable of dealing with stress and difficult situations. We work hard at giving our pupils opportunities which will help them to deal not only with success, but also with failures. This is so important in helping them to cope with moving on to bigger schools where they will be less known. We equip them with the tools they need to face any challenge with confidence and self assurance.

Our staff spend a great deal of time getting to know the children as individuals. We are not only interested in them as learners, but also as unique human beings with multi-faceted views on the world around them. Each child has a tutor and we put time aside for the children to have regular tutor sessions to discuss all aspects of their lives at school and beyond. Crucially, we take time to listen to our pupils and we work hard to help them to deal with any worries they may have. Each child has a safety circle, a group of adults to whom they will go if they have a worry. We revisit these regularly so the children know that we will pay heed to their worries. Of course, a big part of the tutor system is advocating on behalf of the tutees and celebrating individual, as well as group joys and successes.

We view the children’s time at South Lee as a journey and it is what happens throughout the journey, rather than at the endpoint, that is most important. Capturing curiosity, championing individuality, expecting great things from each and every child, delivered in an environment where the staff care deeply, is what South Lee is all about. We travel this journey in partnership with our parents, so the communication between home and school is intrinsic to everything we do. Parents are welcomed into school both formally and informally to talk about their child. We encourage parents to share as much as they can about home life, so we get an excellent understanding of the wider community in which our children spend time when not at school.

The Importance of Belonging

South Lee embodies a nurturing and compassionate educational institution that actively promotes values of kindness, camaraderie, resilience, and community involvement.

At the heart of our approach lies a steadfast focus on the well-being and development of our children. Every system, procedure, and policy is meticulously crafted to extract the utmost potential from our students. We recognize and honor each child's individuality, understanding that they possess distinct strengths and talents. It is our mission to guide them on a transformative journey towards realizing their fullest potential.

Central to our philosophy is the emphasis on kindness, continuous effort, and aiding others. These principles are instilled and championed, fostering a profound sense of belonging among our pupils.

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Growth Mindset

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Growth mindset is a theory centred around the belief that intelligence and learning can be developed and improved. If someone has a growth mindset, they have a positive attitude towards learning and their ability to progress and achieve. Pupils who possess a growth mindset are said to rise to challenges and learn from the mistakes they make, rather than feeling distressed and defeated if they are unable to do or understand something. 

South Lee is a non-selective school that nurtures the belief in every child's ability to thrive academically. Placing a strong emphasis on fostering a growth mindset, we motivate children to embrace challenges and venture into areas they might find challenging or unfamiliar. This philosophy is extended to our staff as well, setting an example that continuous learning is a lifelong pursuit, enriching life with diverse and captivating experiences. Encouraging a growth mindset inspires children to explore, question, and cultivate intellectual curiosity.

Growing Together

Our excellent system of pastoral care is designed to encourage the children to take responsibility for how to behave, whilst providing support and advice when needed. We encourage the children to talk about their worries and we openly talk about the need to look after our mental wellbeing, as well as our physical wellbeing. Each child has a tutor to whom they can talk and we have a very successful mentoring system in place, which is led by the Year 8 pupils. We champion our pupils having a voice and there are many ways in which they can do so. For example, we have a school council, house meetings, tutor time and regular surveys, all designed to garner ideas and give a forum for open discussions. Our staff are approachable and they encourage warm and friendly relationships, with mutual respect at the centre.

 

Our behaviour policy is not fixed on a punitive system, rather we have one basic rule- treat others with kindness and respect. When things go wrong, as they do in life, our approach is based on restorative justice, allowing the children to make up for misdemeanours by giving back to the community. This encourages the children to take responsibility for their behaviours, knowing that they are still good human beings.  

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Endless Possibilities and Limitless Imagination Awaits...

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Budding actors, economists, scientists, environmentalists, musicians, game makers, artists, prime ministers, sports players, pop stars... who knows!

 

We celebrate every person in our community and their uniqueness! We value every achievement, however small or large. Our pupils are encouraged to aim really high, to open their minds to all and any opportunities and experiences that come their way and to ask the question, ‘what if?’……  

 

It is by making mistakes that we learn, but we must be able to open ourselves up to failing, in order to be truly free to embrace new things. We pride ourselves on providing a safe, warm and supportive environment so every one of our pupils feels free to take risks, to make mistakes and to learn to be their best selves.  

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