The Academic Curriculum
The curriculum in the Lower School becomes more academic than previously experienced in the Early Years. The learning becomes less play based and more focused on the continuing development of the core skills of reading, writing and number. However, the children do not grow up over night and the transition is smooth from the Early Years. Play is still a key aspect of the curriculum alongside continued exploration through topic based activities surrounding Science, RE and the Humanities.
Information about the academic curriculum for each term is sent out at the beginning of each term to enable parents to organise relevant visits, go to libraries or prepare their children as they wish for the topics ahead.
Teaching and Learning
Staff work consistently hard in ensuring that the needs of the individual child are catered for within the classroom. This is done in a number of ways:
Understanding what and how they are learning.
All staff inform the children of the ‘Learning Objective’ at the beginning of the lesson. This ensures that both children and the teacher are clear what they are trying to achieve by the end of the lesson. These are written on the board and for the older children, written in the exercise books. Children and staff assess if the learning objective has been achieved at the end of the lesson, which then successfully informs planning for subsequent learning.
All teachers are expected to show differentiation within their lesson planning. This means that lessons should enable all children, including gifted children, to work at the appropriate level suited to their individual ability. This may mean that staff plan a differentiated task to challenge or endorse, provide support within a task or simply consider differing outcomes.
Quality and informative feedback
The staff work hard to provide quality feedback in terms of their attainment but also, their effort. Comments go beyond ‘good’ or well done’, to whether children have achieved the learning objective and target setting, to suggest how they might progress further.
Individual target setting
Children are set targets in the core subjects with regular minor targets set after each piece of work. Longer term, children have ongoing targets for an academic period. Together, these targets ensure children are motivated and are monitoring their own progress in addition to striving for greater things.
The standard of work is high in the Lower School and the expectation of the children increases as they progress through the school. Pupils are eased in gently to Form I but they are expected to work hard and develop a good work ethic. As a result the standard of their work is excellent and far outweighs national averages.
The children spend the majority of their time in their Form room with the Form Teacher. However, they benefit from the use of our specialist faciltiies and specialist teaching in French, Music, Drama, ICT and PE and Games.