At the start of Year 3 (aged 7+), children join the Upper School. The transition from Pre-Prep is carefully managed and Years 3 and 4 classrooms are in a separate, purpose built block with its own clearly defined playground and play equipment.
Classroom teachers teach core subjects in sets in this safe and familiar building, and children start to travel about the rest of the school for specialist lessons such as French, Music and Art. From Year 5 (aged 9+) the children are taught by specialists in all subjects and therefore learn to move around the Upper School for all their lessons.
Small tutor groups ensure that every child has sufficient daily contact with one teacher who knows them well and can oversee their pastoral and academic development. Play areas become bigger and more spread out, allowing for the greater size and maturity of the children. It’s amazing to watch how quickly the children adapt to the increase in independence and take full advantage of the stimulation of the specialist teaching.
Below is an overview of what to expect in each year:
Children in Year 3 are placed into a tutor group and based in The Seligman building, where most of their lessons will be taught by the Year 3 class teachers. In addition to English and Maths a broad range of subjects are included in our innovative Creative Curriculum, including Science, Environmental Studies, History, Geography, Art, Design Technology, Drama, and Music. Religious Studies and Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) are also taught in tutor groups by their tutor or specialist teacher. Swimming, Music, PE, Games, ICT and French are all taught by specialists. Children can begin to learn a musical instrument at this stage as well. Tables, spellings and reading work are still encouraged at home and or weekends to support work in school. There are designated reading slots in school time.
Still based in the Seligman Building, and taught by the Year 4 teachers and specialist staff, Year 4 children do experience the longer day, if parents choose this, with a 6.30pm finish. The ‘Learn to Lead’ programme begins as a popular activity in Year 4. Children begin to get a real flavour of Upper School life as they move to the specialist teaching areas and enjoy a wider activities programme.
At this level the children all have their own tutor, and much of the teaching is delivered by specialists. This development requires greater independence and organisation and, with plenty of assistance from tutors, the children quickly adapt to this more mature school experience. Children are now in sets for the core curriculum – Maths, English, Science and French plus History and Geography. Mixed ability groups operate in PE, ICT, Art, DT, Drama and Religious Studies. PSHE continues to be taught in tutor groups. The formal day ends at 6.30pm and all prep is completed at school for those who choose to stay until 6.30pm, although some children will still be keen to read at home and brush up on work for tests.
The programme at this level is similar in structure to Year 5. Latin is introduced to the curriculum and so too is Key Skills – an alternative and invaluable programme focussing on additional English, Maths, Science and French for those who would benefit from it.
Year 7 begins the final two year course to Common Entrance and scholarship at senior school. Some children, particularly those aiming at a scholarship, will begin Greek. In the final two years children follow a Religious, Moral and Ethical programme, delivered by senior staff and visiting speakers.
Scholarship exams take place between January and May of Year 8, depending on the particular school. Common Entrance Examinations for senior schools takes place in June. Where necessary, we build specific programmes for pupils, however, the majority of children have similar schedules aiming at Common Entrance. Year 8 can be a demanding year for the pupils and we ensure that the exam preparation, along with interview practice, pre-tests, and non-academic scholarship attempts (Music, Art and All-rounder awards, for example) are all built into their programmes.
At any stage in their development throughout the school some children can benefit from contact with our Learning Support staff or pursue a range of opportunities available within our enrichment and extra-curricular programmes.