In the Middle School the emphasis continues to be on the provision of a broad and interesting curriculum, giving students access to as wide a range of subjects as possible. Our aim is to provide a balanced and enriched curriculum ensuring that there is time to develop the depth of knowledge, discussion and debate that allows students to explore ideas and concepts.
As students move into Middle School the shape of the curriculum evolves to reflect students’ individual areas of interest with choices offered in foreign languages and creative arts subjects. All Year 9 courses are designed to provide an excellent foundation for (I)GCSE work. During Lent term of Year 9 students will be asked to select their preferred (I)GCSE subjects, the study of which begins in Year 10. Most students study ten I/GCSE subjects with six core subjects and four additional choices. The over-arching philosophy is quality rather than quantity and students are encouraged to maintain a full range of extracurricular activities alongside their academic studies.
During their time in Middle School, students are encouraged to develop good time management skills through a more flexible approach to homework so that they can accommodate extracurricular commitments alongside their work. Academic progress is monitored by subject teachers and pastoral staff at regular intervals and parents receive regular information about their daughter’s progress via parents’ meetings or reports.
There are forty lessons of 40 or 35 minutes each week. Many of these are taught as double lessons. Mathematics and MFL are taught in sets to allow students to work at a pace that suits them best. Movement between sets also takes place to ensure that the pace of learning is always appropriate to a particular individual’s needs.
Individual skills of questioning and evaluating research material are developed and communication skills are fostered, with many opportunities to work collaboratively, respond to discussion in class, to present material to a wider audience and to extend vocabulary be it English or in a foreign language. Work is regularly assessed by teachers, peers and students themselves with a focus on how to develop, extend or improve. The emphasis is on individual progress and independent learning.
Preparation for the transition to Sixth Form begins in Year 10 at the Sixth Form Taster Days and continues throughout Year 11, particularly at the A-level Options Open Evening in Michaelmas term. Heads of Departments, form tutors and the Higher Education and Careers Department give personal advice and guidance on A-level choices so that by the completion of their (I)GCSEs, students are confident and looking forward to the challenges of A-level study.