A Place to Learn

Our curriculum is organised in a holistic way using a thematic approach to teaching and learning designed to support children’s natural curiosity and stimulate their creativity. Children work on projects in a cross-curricular way using foundations subjects such as history geography and science as the main focus.   They demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through a wide range of media eg art, drama, music and movement. Children’s contributions are highly valued and children have a say in the documentation of their learning promoting their sense of responsibility and independence. Enquiry, problem solving, discovery learning, reasoning and creative thinking are strong features of classroom activity.  Learning processes are made ‘visible’ to children with the process of learning being valued not just the end-product.   End of project ‘presentations’ are planned with the children.  Children are involved in self-evaluating and make connections in their learning.

Our creative curriculum has four stages:

Inspire – We inspire children through memorable visits and trips, with specialist visitors and WOW experiences to fuel excitement and motivation. Quality active learning challenges children’s thinking using real life and first-hand experiences.

Discover – Children follow new pathways of enquiry building on what they already know to discover new knowledge and develop new skills and understanding. Children are challenged with problems to solve and are inspired with imaginative and creative opportunities.  They are faced with rich learning requiring their deepest thinking.

Create – They compose, make, build, investigate, explore, write for different purposes, read across the curriculum and take part in practical activities. They take on roles and responsibilities developing skills of negotiation, leadership and co-operation.

Communicate – Children become the performers, the experts, the informers. They share their achievements with others; publishing their work to an audience in written form, art work, drama, dance ICT or a presentation or classroom exhibition. Children evaluate their work through talk and reflection.

“to have discovered a quarter of the answer to his own question is of more value to the child than to hear the whole answer, half-understood from another”                                                                                                                                                                                           Friedrich Froebel

Frequently asked questions

What sports do you do?

Physical development is an important part of personal growth and all children take part in a wide range of games and PE experiencing both co-operative and competitive games. We use a large adjoining sports field for developing skills for ball games such as football, hockey, netball and cricket.

In the summer children also take part in athletics and we hold a school Sports Day during National Sports Week.

Children also take part in other outdoor pursuits such as walking, gardening and Forest School. There are also opportunities for other indoor activities such as yoga, music and movement, dance and aerobics.

As members of the ISA children also have the opportunity to take part in sports tournaments with other independent schools.

How are children assessed?

We believe that assessment should be based on skilled and informed observation of children and children’s work to support effective development, learning and teaching.  Teachers provide constructive guidance and feedback to help children to identify how to take their next steps. Children are taught how to make constructive criticism of their own and others work.  Peer and self-assessment are used as tools in the assessment process. Teachers work with each individual child to set their targets.  Children are aware of the targets they are working on and are supported in this in an appropriate way.

Each child has an individual profile folder which contains a record of their progress in each area of the curriculum. It also contains any information about special needs and additional support needed or gifted and talented enrichment. Each child has a Learning Journey which is a pictorial and photographic record of children’s progress and attainment in all areas of the curriculum but especially in those areas with less visible workbooks etc.

Children are given a reading age test at the end of Years 1 and 2. All children are assessed against our own tracking scheme for core subjects. This shows the teacher if they are performing at the expected level or above or are emerging. A handwriting assessment is given at the beginning and end of each academic year. All tracking information is shared with parents throughout the year and in the end of year report.

What does active learning mean?

Children want to be active and ‘doing’ and we believe that the learning environment should provide active and practical learning opportunities and rich experiences for every child. Children are deeply engaged in their learning and have opportunities to follow their interests and achieve at the highest level. Learning is firmly embedded in “real-life” and meaningful experiences. Small classes mean that there is time for personal attention as well as the space and freedom for individual expression.

Do you follow the National Curriculum?

Although we are not required as an independent school, we do use the objectives and skills of the National Curriculum in Key Stages 1 and 2 and have drawn up our own “Programme of Study” for each of the Core Subjects and the Foundation Subjects. Parents are welcome to look at these on request.

Children under 5 follow the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Will my child be prepared for secondary education?

All children in Key Stage 2 are working towards acquiring the skills and attitude to learning that they need to succeed at secondary school. Our Elder Class teacher ensures that every child is fully prepared for whichever school they go on to.

We organise a range of transition events and links with all the local secondary schools.

Can my child learn an instrument?

As well as music education which takes place in class time, we have several peripatetic teachers who come in to teach piano, guitar and double bass.  These are optional extras which parents book directly with the music teachers.

Is there any homework?

Classes from Year One upwards have a Home School Book. This goes home every Friday. The teachers use it to tell parents about what children have been doing in school during the week and set homework for children to do over the weekend.  Parents can also use the book to send additional comments back to the teacher.

Homework is always relevant and interesting – not just a worksheet to fill in!