A preparatory school has extended its teaching through to Year 7 and 8 to support students in their 'tween' years.

While most primary and preparatory schools in London end their provision at Year 6, Devonshire House Prep School is providing an extra two years of study that it says helps better prepare students for transition to secondary education in Year 9.

The school in Hampstead has a newly refurbished building, Lyndhurst Gardens, exclusively for Years 6 to 8.

The building, which opened in April 2023, holds a science lab, tech suite, music and drama rooms, as well as an art studio.

The school saus this environment promotes both academic and personal growth, allowing the school to offer an education that extends beyond standard primary levels.

The Year 7 curriculum at Devonshire House has been designed to prevent any stagnation in academic progress that some pupils might face in the normal transition from primary to secondary school.

By creating a comprehensive and ambitious curriculum, the school says it ensures that its students can progress smoothly from 11+ onwards.

Henry Keighley-Elstub, Head of Devonshire House, said: "We pride ourselves on offering a vibrant Year 6-8 programme that allows for uninterrupted academic growth and better prepares students for the transition to secondary education in Year 9.

"That’s why we’ve invested in a facility exclusively designed to help them navigate the ‘tween’ years, as we recognise that this age group requires a distinct approach in terms of teaching and guidance."

The school used to cater solely for boys in Years 7 and 8.

Now, however, girls are also welcomed to either remain at the school after Year 6 or join from other schools.

Interest in these later entry years has sharply increased according to the head, mainly due to the success in securing 13+ places in senior schools.

Mr Keighley-Elstub said: "We are experiencing great success in pupils securing 13+ places at senior schools through exams and interview in Year 8."

The school also recognises the difference in emotional maturity between genders at age 11, which is why it has tailored its approach accordingly.

By offering two additional years after Year 6, the school helps to foster emotional maturity and leadership skills.

Mr Keighley-Elstub added: "We have found that the prep educational journey to Year 8 is particularly advantageous for boys not only supporting the development of their emotional maturity but also when considering the 13+ entry point.

"The opportunity to stand out in a less crowded field, can facilitate a smoother path to success in an intensely competitive all-boys school environment."

Devonshire House welcomes new students at the 11+ entry point as well.

For those whose initial secondary school applications are not successful, the school offers an extra two years to prepare them for 13+ entries to prestigious institutions.

Mr Keighley-Elstub said: "Our upper school students across the board develop stronger organisational and study skills, making the adjustment to a new academic setting in Year 9 smoother.

"The additional years also offer more chances for students to assume leadership roles within the school community and build a sense of responsibility."