Individuality is encouraged at The Abbey Junior School, and every student is different. Through their time with us they’re growing, changing, developing their unique strengths and voicing their opinions. But all share in a journey through our Junior School which is carefully shaped to allow them to flourish.

Explore the three stages of The Abbey Junior School journey…

Reception and Lower Preparatory (Year 1)

No longer a small child, the 4 to 6 year old is energetic and increasingly competent – it is a delight to see their unfolding wonder at the world and to share their satisfaction as they discover their potential. These years see the students exploring the joys of reading, choosing their own playmates and, importantly, learning how to ‘use’ school and all that it has to offer. Each child’s journey is very different though, and we need to support and guide without the burden of expectations; a time to trust our children and let them take their time and make their own discoveries.

Our Reception students join us in Abbey Gardens where attributes of independence and resilience are heightened, with students being encouraged to develop skills of learning as well as developing their knowledge of the world around them. Curiosity and inquiry-based learning are at the core of our teaching and principles. Throughout this year, our pupils progress from a predominantly play based curriculum to more formal learning experiences in preparation for their transition to Lower Preparatory (Year 1). Reception also marks the start of our formal reading programme for our students; this is closely supported by a Parents’ Evening introducing Literacy teaching and learning to our families.

Lower Prep is an exciting next step in our students’ learning journey. The students enjoy a cross-curricular approach in their learning as they continue to explore core skills explored in Reception, developing these further in a wide range of tasks and contexts. Students are also introduced to specialist teaching in Music and PE, and in the summer term begin swimming lessons at the Senior School. Lower Prep is also the first opportunity that students get to enjoy lunchtime clubs, from Key Stage 1 Choir to Nature Detectives.

Upper Preparatory and Lower Juniors (Year 2 – Year 4)

During these years, the students really relish their growing capabilities and self-awareness, throwing themselves into all that school has to offer them, both inside and outside the classroom. Their play and friendships become more complex, as they explore relationships and individual differences, and they become ‘expert’ at using school and teachers to full advantage. These are often the halcyon days of childhood and a joy to share.

The move across to Kensington (the main Junior School site) at the beginning of Upper Preparatory (Year 2) is an exciting time for the students. During a busy year the students become increasingly independent in their learning and develop greater resilience when facing challenges. Much of the curriculum is integrated, enabling the students to make connections between different areas of their learning. There is also a much wider range of lunchtime clubs to get involved in – from arts and crafts to making mud pies!

Lower I (Year 3) allows the students to experience many things they’ve been looking forward to. They get to have a pencil case, which is no small issue, for the first time and have Science in the Lab whilst wearing their lab coat! Another highlight is their first residential, an opportunity for one night away from home. Students are introduced to even more specialist teachers this year, with a wide and varied curriculum. There are numerous opportunities for the students to develop and showcase their many talents including form assemblies and year group production, which parents are invited to watch, as well as sporting fixtures for the first time.

Upper I (Year 4) sees even more opportunities for the students as their learning develops and the pace of work picks up. The students are challenged to apply their knowledge and understanding in diverse contexts and are encouraged to be open-minded and persevere with tasks and to be reflective and independent in their learning. The curriculum is also enhanced by a wide range of visits, workshops and their three day residential stay. As well as supporting work done in class, this trip benefits students in many other ways – learning to live alongside each other, team building and encouraging healthy friendships. After a busy year they look forward to the next steps of their journey at The Abbey – at the top of the Junior School in Somerleaze.

Upper Juniors (Year 5 - Year 6)

During their final two years of primary education, the students enter an exciting stage which sees them beginning to reach towards the opportunities of adolescence whilst still enjoying the enthusiasms and freedom of childhood. Cartwheeling, singing and skipping are still frequent sights in the garden! At the same time, intellectual and physical developments enable the students to take on greater challenges and explore the wider world.

The move to Somerleaze House at the beginning of Upper II (Year 5) is an important milestone for the students, gradually preparing them for the next stage of their education with the move to the senior school at the end of Lower III (Year 6).

Upper II (Year 5) begins with the excitement of the students having their own locker to store all of their belongings in, a small step in them becoming more organised, responsible and independent. The students are all trained early to be Playground Buddies who then help to organise games and support the younger students with their friendships. In the classroom, they are taught and exposed to a variety of different study skills and techniques. Developing resilience is very important as they face challenges both academically through a more in-depth curriculum, and socially, as friendships develop. Highlights of Upper II include a week long residential to Dartmoor to develop co-operation and responsibility and a year group production with two evening performances.

As well as preparing the students academically, Lower III (Year 6), brings many more opportunities for increased responsibilities. The students can put themselves forward to be elected as PE, Music, Eco and Charity Captains for their house; every student is given the opportunity to be a prefect for a term and students are also given the chance to play with the youngest students in the Nursery in Knell House – both age groups find this a really rewarding experience. Lessons are delivered with more emphasis on the students’ development as self-aware learners – preparing them for life at secondary school. The year culminates in a variety of celebratory experiences – a year group production using their musical, dance and narration talents; a residential trip to Bude, where students learn to surf and abseil down an 80ft cliff; and a Leavers’ Ceremony.

Then the next stage of the journey beckons…