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Foundation Stage (Pre-Nursery – Reception)


Before children begin their education at St. Michael’s, the Nursery or Reception teachers will conduct a home setting visit and/or a nursery setting visit.  This provides an opportunity for the teachers to say hello to your child and not be an unfamiliar face when they join us and parents to gain an understanding of our ethos and practice.  Children will be invited to at least three settling-in sessions and possibly more, depending on their needs.  Parents are welcome to stay for the first visit and then leave their children in our care.

Children are accepted into Pre-Nursery as soon as they are three years old and are expected to do a minimum of two sessions per week.  Nursery children are accepted the September following their third birthday and are required to complete a minimum of five sessions per week. Sessions can be a combination of full days or individual morning and afternoon sessions. Full days are 8.30am – 3.30pm, morning sessions are from 8:30 am – 1.00 pm (including lunch) and afternoon sessions are 1.00pm – 3.30pm

Building on all that they have learnt during their time in Nursery, children make excellent progress in Reception across all aspects of their learning and development and achieve well above the national average by the end of the year. Children who have not been through Nursery at St. Michael’s may start in Reception in the September after their fourth birthday. They soon settle and very quickly make new friends. 

All Reception children attend for the whole day from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm



Before starting Nursery in the September, children have the opportunity to investigate our calm, happy learning environment in our Pre-Nursery setting.      

Through play and our enrichment timetable, we aim to encourage and promote all 7 areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage; with particular focus on Personal and Social, Communication and Language and Physical Development. 

The children will be in the main Nursery group, however, the activities will be especially focused on each child’s individual stage of development. 

All children have access to the activities and outside opportunities provided by our well-resourced Nursery. 


Our Nursery children quickly adapt to the start of their school life. Our experienced staff will build a close relationship with you and your young child to ensure that he or she feels special, secure and confident as they begin their educational journey in school.

Play underpins all development and learning for young children. Children learn happily through a carefully blended mixture of child-initiated and teacher-directed activities, both inside and outside the classroom, developing their knowledge and skills, building the foundations for their future learning.  From a thorough knowledge of each child’s understanding and progress, your child is supported to learn with enjoyment and challenge and guided to the next stage of their learning as and when they are ready to move on.

The Nursery enrichment timetable brings specialist teaching in French, Music, Drama and Physical Education into the children’s learning environment, providing an extra stimulus for the children’s language, creative and physical development

The Nursery is very much part of the whole School, taking part in events as appropriate.

By the time children leave Nursery, they are fully prepared to embark on the next phase of their learning journey with confidence and enthusiasm.


The Reception base is a busy place at St. Michael’s and is a hive of constant activity where the children are actively engaged in enthusiastic learning. 

Building on the success of having two senior members of the team in Nursery, the Reception format remains similar with the Head of Foundation Stage, Head of Pre-Prep and two experienced Early Years Educators (EYEs) to assist. As in Nursery, a close working relationship between the children and the teachers / EYEs ensures that the children are able to discover and learn with confidence in a happy and attractive environment.

The children are together in one cohort in our bright and spacious Reception base but work in small groups for phonics and maths each day and for some specialist lessons (ie: French, Drama, Music, PE and Library time). A large emphasis is placed on the development of phonic and number understanding. Daily activities reinforce letter and sound recognition which thoroughly prepare the children as they begin to read and write. Practical activities rooted in everyday life help to establish and reinforce language and mathematical understanding and encourage the development of problem-solving skills at this young age.

In addition to classroom-based activities, there will be opportunities during the rest of the time to free-flow in the outdoor and indoor spaces. This gives the children the chance to immerse themselves in their own play and learning, complete adult-let activities and tasks, read individually to an adult and take part in structured physical play. 




Come and see for yourself

Book a personal visit or register for one of our open days

Visit our school so you can see for yourselves the class sizes, the dedication and commitment of our staff, the range of facilities and resources available to enhance your child’s learning, meet our pupils and confidently make the right decision for your child.

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“Just a note to say thank you to St Michael's for our son's 8 years at the school. He's enjoyed every second of it and has fully embraced all the opportunities the school has to offer. I'm sure his time at the school will stand him in excellent stead for secondary school. As an additional mention, I wanted to let you know how wonderful Mrs Matthews has been for our daughter in Year 4. We've always felt that the teaching has been very good at the school but Mrs Matthews seems to be on a whole other level! Her communication, feedback and encouragement has been excellent. She has clearly spent time really getting to understand the children and our adughter's confidence and ability has come on in leaps and bounds. We cannot thank her enough! ”

- Mrs Levell, Parent

“After a lengthy search in West Oxfordshire at numerous other private schools, I found none of them were a patch on St Michael's. They had huge grounds, impressive sporting and drama facilities, however the special family/nurturing feel we've always loved about St Michael's just wasn't there at all. I decided that if we couldn't find a school which measured up to St Michael's, then there was little point in moving, so we stopped the house move and are remaining where we are.”

- Mrs Falconer, Parent

“During my time at St Michaels, not only did I really enjoy it, I found that I wasn’t scared to move on and I felt prepared and ready for senior school. I now realise just how much the school gave me and at Senior School, I have found topics that I had already covered or had been hinted to in the lessons at St Michael’s. So I really thank the school and feel grateful for the preparation that I had and now use. ”

- Francesca Halling, Former Pupil

“As a former pupil, St. Michael's was the obvious choice. Their values and school ethos have remained the same and Sophia has become a confident, caring and hardworking individual. ”

- Mrs Lloyd, Former Parent

“Just wanted to say a big Thank You to all staff and teachers over the last few months. As a full time working Mum I don't know what I would have done without the structure provided each day.”

- Mrs Homer, Parent

“..thriving, secure, ‘family feel’ environment where children are positively nurtured as individuals and able to reach their own potential.”

- Mrs Foy, Parent

“St. Michael's is a wonderful school. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a safe haven for their child to grow, learn to be well rounded individuals with the love of God in their hearts and love for all human beings as well as develop academically putting them in a good position ready for the next level of education.”

- Mrs Balogun, Former Parent

“St. Michael's is a well organised school with a long track record of academic excellence. The small classes combined with the warmth and positivity of the staff make it a fantastic place to learn, grow and thrive. I loved my time at the school so for me the choice was simple. ”

- Mrs Grant, Parent and Former Pupil

“St. Michael's has been on our radar for the last few years following on from various positive conversations with different people about the school, your results and the general atmosphere and approach. With our daughter now turning two, we felt it was a good time to start enquiring and visiting the school. We're so glad we did!”

- Prospective Parent