A Junior School curriculum
for every girl, every day
“At the heart of our curriculum is an ethos of empowering and inspiring girls. We encourage educational risk taking and constantly reinforce the fact that mistakes are a crucial part of learning”
We combine a focus on mastery and problem solving with our bespoke Maths Passports scheme, introducing and reinforcing quick recall of crucial number facts. Every lesson is differentiated so that girls are appropriately supported, challenged and praised for their thinking and reasoning processes, not just for producing a correct answer. There is a lot of experimentation and discussion in our Mathematics lessons as girls discover patterns, explain their thinking and justify their answers. They quickly learn that real mathematicians do not always ‘know’ the outcome when they start working on a problem, and that an incorrect answer can be just as useful as one that is correct.
Our English curriculum has reading and real literature at its heart; stories with plot and characterisation as opposed to books that are produced for the sole purpose of helping children to learn to read. We encourage girls to move from structured schemes to real literature as soon as we feel they are ready. As with everything we do, this happens for each girl at their own pace. Our ‘free readers’ choose their reading books from our well stocked library which is a hub at the centre of our school, a place where girls talk about stories and share recommendations with friends. Writing is also taught within the context of real literature or a real purpose. Whatever genre is being taught, from newspaper articles to fantasy settings, from persuasive letters to adventure stories, each new genre begins with analysing real examples to demystify the writing process. Girls then use their new-found understanding of the features of a genre to become writers themselves.
This aspect of teaching and learning is one of several unique features of our junior school offering.
Specialist teaching begins for many subjects, such as Music, Drama, Computer Science and PE, in Nursery. Our specialist teachers are experts in their subjects and teach all girls across the Junior School, watching them develop in their subjects over many years. They inspire girls in their subjects as well as encourage participation in extra-curricular clubs in their area.
Computer Science is taught from Nursery and by Year 6 our girls are well beyond age expectations. What is unique about our Computer Science curriculum is our focus on girls becoming ‘designers of’ not ‘users of’ technology. Alongside programming, coding, robotics and presentation, girls develop collaboration, creativity and problem-solving skills that will all contribute to their future career aspirations.
Fluent speakers, most of whom work in the Senior Languages departments, teach languages in the Junior School. Girls are introduced to Spanish, German and French and also study Latin in Year 6. As well as establishing a solid linguistic foundation, the girls enjoy a range of activities including songs, games and role-play which bring the languages to life.
This is a central part of the Junior School curriculum and informs our planning and teaching at all stages. We carry out a range of formal and informal assessments throughout the year and our small classes mean that staff really know the girls and are able to cater for them as individuals.
Our partnership with parents is something that we value very highly. There are two formal opportunities a year for parents to meet with their daughter’s class teacher to discuss progress and we provide written reports at the end of every term.
However, staff are always happy to meet with parents on a more informal basis and this ‘open door’ policy ensures that communication between home and school is seamless.