Students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, across multiple media including drawing, painting and pottery. Lessons are themed around topics such as Sculpture, Nature, and Light & Dark. Key concepts and techniques are discussed, along with significant artists and their cultures. Children are offered individual support, to best inspire and challenge them, and develop their creative skills.
An understanding of the classical world is first built up through lessons on classical civilisation, focussing on mythology and way of life in Ancient Greece and Rome. Latin language skills are then developed through following the Cambridge Latin Course, with older students translating increasingly complex passages. There is also an option to study Ancient Greek in addition to Latin, in the eldest years. Students are encouraged to explore how Latin, and classical civilisation relate to modern languages and culture, and to extend their English language skills through knowledge of Latin vocabulary and grammar.
Our pupils learn to express themselves through a variety of techniques and styles. They are taught a range of ever more sophisticated moves and to integrate these moves with the whole class to produce performances. They choreograph their own dance routines, encouraging team work and improving memory. These practical lessons are placed in the context of the theory of dance, ballet, jazz and many other genres.
Students build confidence in self-expression and performance through a variety of acting exercises, and through learning and practicing rhetoric and dramatic techniques. There are cross-curricular ties to English, Music and Sport, as children study excerpts from a variety of plays, and some lessons focus on musical theatre and dance. Group work and individual attention encourage all students to discover the joy in performing, and a highlight of the year is the annual whole-school musical.
Across all ages, we aim to inspire a love of reading that goes hand in hand with developing oral and written communication skills. Through class discussions and written assignments, our students develop skills in understanding and appreciating prose, poetry, and non-fiction, with classes studying texts originating across different time periods and countries. Spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons complement extended written projects, such as writing a novel for the year 6 book launch. In preparation for 11+ exams, children sit past papers in exam conditions to build up experience of the different exam formats and the ability to communicate ideas effectively under timed conditions. Small classes allow students the opportunity for plenty of class discussion at a high level. This develops their self-confidence in expressing themselves orally which alongside mock interviews helps enable our pupils to excel at interview for senior schools. We teach students not only to formulate and communicate ideas, but to discover their imagination, and a genuine joy in reading and writing.
Younger students begin their study of French through building their spoken French; learning and practicing key conversational phrases. More formal grammar and vocabulary is then introduced, enabling students to confidently translate and compose written passages, in addition to improving their listening and speaking skills. French skills are used to gain insight into modern French culture, including music, cuisine and literature.
Geography lessons develop students’ knowledge and understanding of people, places, and environment, inspiring an interest in the world around us. Younger students build a foundation of key skills and learn how to use geographical terms, through thematic case studies such as India (year 2), or the Water Cycle (year 4). Students then build on this foundation, further developing skills in areas such as fieldwork, data presentation and source analysis. Lessons include cross-curricular links to other subjects such as History and Art, through a focus on understanding other cultures and traditions around the globe.
We teach history chronologically, from years 2-6, building up a knowledge of historical events, and an understanding of how this relates to current social and political issues. Younger years focus on understanding what life was like in the past, for example in Ancient Egypt. Students are then taught to select and organise historical information, and to deduce and understand causes and implications of historical events. In the older years, we read primary sources and write analytical essays, covering topics such as the Tudors and Stuarts, in line with the common entrance syllabus.
We prepare our pupils to use computers and other electronic devices so that they are prepared for secondary school and life in general. In the early years they learn the basics of how to work a computer, its functions and programs. This includes creating word documents, basic excel, file managements and ways of accessing accurate information from the internet safely. In later years our pupils use computers to undertake project work, create animations and films, and develop more sophisticated techniques such as a data management.
Individualised learning support is provided to any child who has specific learning requirements such as mild dyslexia or dyspraxia. Our subject teachers and dedicated learning support teacher identify any difficulties and create a programme to address them. This includes one to one lessons or small group sessions in differentiated spelling, reading, handwriting or reasoning. This helps children learn in ways that play to their strengths and helps to develop self-confidence and independent learning. There is regular and frequent communication with parents so that appropriate support is provided both at school and home.
Maths lessons for younger students focus on building up a strong foundation of arithmetic, equipping them with a confidence with numbers and pattern spotting that enables them to progress to more advanced problem solving. Faster learners in the class are given extension questions to engage and challenge them, whilst those less confident are given individual support and encouragement, to ensure that every student can flourish and enjoy maths. Students take part and have had much success in national Maths competitions such as the Primary Maths Challenge and the Junior Maths Challenge. In the run-up to 11+, children do timed practice papers in exam conditions; individual feedback helps them to improve their exam technique and ensure that they are familiar with all the different types and formats of maths exam that they may encounter. By this time, children are not only confident in their knowledge of the syllabus, but also have an enjoyment for problem solving and excitement to continue studying maths.
Music lessons cover a range of theoretical and historical topics, equipping children with the skills to identify and appraise musical styles from across different cultures and time periods, whilst encouraging them to create and perform their own pieces. Topics range from Jazz music to Gamelan to ectropop. Lessons may involve listening to and discussing a music piece, learning about an influential musician, or writing an original piece inspired by a particular style. Students gain confidence in performing through singing lessons, and classes often give performances at end of term concerts or assemblies.
The range and quality of our curriculum and teaching helps all of our children to develop their cognitive ability to the greatest extent possible. Given the nature of the assessments for senior school which involve reasoning, often online, we provide an in-depth programme of Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning from year 5 onwards. This programme has been devised by our highly qualified teachers to cover all of the potential assessment tests your child may face. This programme, combined with the other aspects of our curriculum and teaching, ensures that your child is extremely well prepared for any assessment test for secondary school as is demonstrated by the results we achieve.
Students not only learn about key scientific principles, but also about the process behind scientific discoveries and thinking. They are encouraged to explore areas of particular interest, and relate the academic discipline to what they witness around them in everyday life. The course is divided up into individual units from across Biology, Chemistry and Physics, such as Life processes, Elements and Electricity. Classes include practical experiments, individual research, and extended projects, to reinforce understanding of scientific principles and process.
Sports lessons enable children to develop and value a healthy lifestyle, as well as to learn to play competitive team games, and build key skills such as teamwork and resilience. Younger students play games to enhance skills such as running, jumping, throwing and catching, and are then introduced to the rules of classic English games such as Cricket, Hockey and Netball as well as games from other cultures. Lessons for older years establish skills in competitive games, as classes participate in matches against other schools. Students are also taught valuable techniques for warm-ups, stretching and fitness training, to provide them with a solid basis for further physical education.