Academic Excellence - Curriculum Overview
The aim at the Prep School is to provide a broad education in sympathy with the National Curriculum, which is flexible enough to allow for individual interests and talents to be developed.
Foundation & Reception
In our Foundation and Reception Unit we provide an Early Years setting where pupils are encouraged to develop their individual strengths. They are introduced to letters and phonics, numbers and counting, through a multi-sensory approach.
The curriculum follows the Early Years Foundation Stage guidelines. It is based on on-going observation and assessment in the three prime and four specific areas of learning, and the three learning characteristics:
The prime areas of learning:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
The specific areas of learning:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
The learning characteristics:
- playing and exploring
- active learning
- creating and thinking critically
As an independent school, we recognise the many benefits that the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum has to offer, however, many children in our setting are working beyond national levels and a good balance is created between learning through play and subject focused work.
Our Foundation and Reception setting is a hive of activity throughout the year - from taking part in Sports Day and the Easter Bonnet Parade, visiting local parks and the School Playing Fields, to rehearsing the nativity play and presenting class assemblies - the first years at school are a uniquely special time that the children never forget.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, firm foundations are laid in literacy and numeracy and these form an important part of the timetable. In Year 1 and Year 2, the main focus is on reading as means to access all other curriculum areas. Reading tasks are undertaken daily, through one-to-one individual reading, guided reading and shared reading in class. A love of reading is fostered through a range of carefully selected reading schemes and high quality children's literature, in addition to a number of interactive learning sessions with well-known children’s authors and storytellers.
Basic number concepts are reinforced and extended, with the core Mathematics scheme allowing all pupils to work to their full potential.
Much of the work in Humanities, Science and Modern Foreign Languages is based within a variety of topics and includes educational visits, as appropriate, to extend the children’s learning experiences, including The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, St John’s House Museum in Warwick and Thinktank in Birmingham.
Art and craft activities involve painting, collage, clay work, sewing and model making. Music is taught by a specialist senior teacher and the children are given opportunities to perform, for parents in a number of concerts, productions and assemblies, all of which help to develop self-esteem and confidence.
During the week, there are timetabled lessons in drama, gym, games and swimming sessions all taught by senior school specialists.
Key Stage 2
From Years 1 to 6 pupils continue to study in the framework of the National Curriculum. They thoroughly enjoy being encouraged to be more independent in their learning and to develop their creative thinking skills.
Lessons in English and Mathematics offer extension through the Minerva Programme. Pupils are also encouraged to develop their skills by taking part in challenging national competitions such as the SATIPs General Knowledge Challenge, Poetry and Creative Writing competitions and the Primary Mathematics Challenge.
Pupils have lessons each week in Science, Information and Communication Technology, Geography, History, Religious Education, PSHE and Citizenship, Drama and French. These may be taught by their form teachers or by a subject specialist from the senior school and many opportunities are given to extend the pupils' learning with visits and workshops.
Classrooms contain Interactive whiteboards and the pupils are encouraged to use their developing ICT skills across many areas of the curriculum. There are several fully equipped ICT suites available in both the Prep and the Senior School.
At the top end of the school, the pupils have their Science lessons in the Senior School Science Laboratories. Apart from the thrill of working in this grown-up setting, the experience provides an excellent bridge to life in the Senior School, enabling the smooth transition for the move into Year 7.
In the Prep School, pupils study from a very early age, a wide variety of art and design skills. This ranges from papier-mâché to puppet making, pastels to painting, printing and to work in textiles. Pupils are also introduced to the work of visiting artists who hold regular workshops; they visit national and local art galleries, and benefit from entering national art competitions and a whole school art challenge for The Kingsley Art Prize.
Music and Physical Education also have an important part to play in the life of Prep pupils and lessons in both subjects are taught by specialist senior teachers. In addition to weekly class music lessons, there are many opportunities to take part in music activities, as the Prep School has a thriving choir and numerous ensembles, including wind, string, recorder and guitar. Pupils enjoy participating in music festivals and concerts and are given a wealth of performing opportunities including assemblies and, at the end of term, evening concerts involving girls from both the Prep and the Senior School.
The superb Kingsley Playing Fields, spacious indoor sports facilities and specialist teaching in PE, offer pupils the opportunity to develop skills in gymnastics, swimming and games, including netball, hockey, cross country, tennis, rounders, and athletics. There are many extra-curricular clubs for pupils to enjoy and there are opportunities to represent the school in competitive fixtures and in Inter-House competitions.