When students join Lower Juniors, their days are filled with exploration, challenge and application of concepts.

They begin to exercise their voice and agency and take more ownership of their learning. At this stage, students grow curious about the people and world around them. They show an increasing interest in reading and writing and become more focused when completing tasks, gaining confidence in physical skills and learning how to appropriately express themselves. Lower Juniors continue to develop problem solving and interpersonal skills, as friendships become more and more important.

Much of the curriculum is integrated, and form teachers and specialist teachers help Lower Juniors make connections between different areas of their learning. While the majority of this takes place in spacious and well-resourced classrooms, a dedicated Library, our ‘Fab Lab’, Science Lab, and other facilities are used in lessons throughout the week and during extra-curricular activities. Lower Juniors have a wide range of lunchtime clubs to join such as Tennis, German, Mindfulness and Yoga, Scrapbooking and Science Quiz Club.

Lower I

Expectations from teachers grow throughout this year as Lower I students begin to take more responsibility and ownership of themselves and their belongings, as well as their learning and relationships with others. Lower I students are still developing their reading skills, but are now reading to learn, and understanding is key.

This is the first year Google Classroom is used, and Lower I students become familiar with and develop transferable skills and understanding in Computing lessons. Within our Computing Curriculum, students from Lower I onwards develop their understanding of programming using a variety of coding languages – from drag-and-drop interfaces such as Scratch through to specific languages such as HTML – as well as engaging in projects spanning across other subject areas such as photo editing, green-screening, music composition and animation. At this stage, Computing also moves beyond the boundaries of the Computing Suite with lessons taking place in the Fab Lab where students apply their skills to projects involving robotics and practical problem-solving.

Specialists

Students benefit from the addition of specialist Science lessons in our designated Lab for the first time. Our teachers are passionate about Science in all its forms and we aim to teach enthusiastically with a hands-on approach. From Lower I, students are encouraged to undertake their own experiments in our fully equipped laboratory with experienced, specialist teachers, supported by our dedicated Science technical and teaching assistant. The department’s teaching is not limited to the laboratories or classrooms; all year groups make use of our grounds and various school habitats.

In the continued development of their international mindedness, the German language and culture is introduced to students in Lower I. The lessons have as their basis a model from the Goethe Institut (the leading German worldwide language institution). The teaching materials are rich and varied, including songs, games, short texts and online learning programmes.

Well-being lessons, as well as integrated PSHEC throughout the curriculum, provide space for students to talk about their lives and become equipped with tools with which to take care of their own mental health and overall wellbeing. Students continue to take part in regular PE and Music lessons with specialist staff.

Beyond the classroom our students from Lower I upwards can take part in Speech and Drama classes after school. Students work towards Acting, Speaking in Public and Poetry taught by RABBLE Theatre using the LAMDA syllabi. In the summer term Lower I students will work towards a combination of Introductory Stage III and Entry Verse & Prose examinations.

Lower I students are involved in sporting fixtures for the first time, providing an opportunity to refine and apply skills in game situations. They are able to take on positions of responsibility in various areas to capture student voice, such as Food Forum Reps and Digital Leaders.

Outside the classroom

Another first for Lower I students include their residential; one night is spent away from home at Ufton Court, just outside of Reading. This opportunity provides students with the experience of being away from familiar environments in their ongoing journey to independence. During this overnight stay, students try new things and participate in activities that have a problem solving or team-building element to them, allowing students to develop their social skills and work collaboratively. Various workshops and other school trips also take place throughout the year to enhance learning. These have included visiting The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, The Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden and a Virtual Reality (VR) workshop.

Upper I

For many children, Upper I marks a growth spurt – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Upper I students continue to develop even more responsibility, ownership and independence as they prepare for Upper Juniors and the responsibilities that come with this stage of learning. They become more confident in their mathematical and literacy skills, more articulate when speaking and continue to work on spelling and grammar in their written work.

Upper I students have a French lesson and Drama lesson weekly, as well as PE, Science, Music and Computing classes, on top of the core curriculum. Self-reflection is key, as is peer assessment, and this is used to plan ahead and set achievable goals. Upper I students begin to develop an understanding and preference for learning styles, some preferring to work independently and others in groups. They become more aware of local and world events and are eager to share opinions and discuss these.

Students start their learning journey in French at the beginning of Upper I and continue in Upper II and Lower III, for the remaining three years at the Junior School. The overriding aim is to instil a love and enthusiasm for French, through the study of key topics and the appreciation of French culture. Students are well prepared for the Senior School, with a thorough grounding in key vocabulary, grammatical terms and sentence structures, as well as enabling them to experience a broader view of the French-speaking world.

Upper I students count on and value friendships; students at this age have a growing desire to be liked and accepted by friends. They become more aware and sensitive to the feelings of others as they develop empathy and begin to see things from other perspectives.

School visits and workshops continue to enhance the curriculum, as does a two-day residential trip. Previous trips have included visiting Kew Gardens, Zoo Labs Workshops and a Viking Theme day at Bear Dog Outdoors.

Becoming increasingly skilled, Upper I students develop their identity and gain a sense of belonging from being involved, whether in positions of responsibility, such as School Council, Food Forum or Digital Leaders, or regular group activities, such as lunchtime and after school clubs, or sporting fixtures.