Academic life

At Kingsmead, developing reading and writing skills starts at age two and every child is heard to read regularly well into Juniors. Foundation 1 and 2 children learn to swim in the pool, have music lessons with a specialist teacher and computer lessons in their own ICT suite. Written reports are sent home twice a year, followed by a meeting to discuss the child’s progress. Developmental records are available on written request and the child’s activities can be seen via ‘Tapestry’ (our online Learning Journal system) at any time.

academic lifeAt Key Stage 1, literacy and numeracy are taught daily, with weekly lessons in Science, ICT, Humanities, PE, Games, Swimming, Music, French, Art, DT, PSHE and RE. Children can join extra-curricular clubs (ballet, recorders and violin are particularly popular). From Year 1, specialist teaching includes weekly Games and French sessions. By the end of Year 1, children are bringing home spelling lists for weekly tests; in Year 2, short homework tasks begin. Year 2 children also take English Speaking Board exams at the end of the year; ESB continues in Juniors and Seniors.

The Junior Department has four year groups (Years 3 to 6). Teaching is based on (but not limited to) the Key Stage 2 curriculum. The teaching day is 8.30am to 4.15pm with English and Maths central to learning; Science becomes increasingly important. History, Geography, PSHE and RE add to the core subjects, largely taught by Form Teachers. Formal weekly French lessons begin in Year 3 and specialist teaching is also delivered in Music, Computing, Art, PE and Games. Towards the end of Juniors, children are taught by specialists in Science and Design Technology too.

All KS1, KS2 and KS3 pupils are tested using the GL Progress in Maths and Progress in English tests at the end of each academic year. This gives us a standardised score, helping to inform us about a child’s progress and also help us target set. Our results show excellent ‘value added’ progress across all ability levels, with pupils often achieving well beyond early predictions.

Gifted children are identified and stretched, and support is given to any who have a difficulty with an area of learning. Small teaching groups allow us to identify pupils who may have additional needs. One-to-one teaching can be arranged through the school’s Learning Development Unit if needed.

Art teacher with junior pupilThere are many creative and sporting activities involving music, drama, performance and artistic opportunities, and we have very extensive PE provision. Junior children have three double lessons of PE or Games each week, plus an additional session in Year 5 and 6. Every child has the chance to play for a school team; matches are weekly against other independent schools around the northwest. We compete in football, hockey, rugby, netball, cricket, rounders, athletics, cross-country and golf. Visiting coaches lead sessions in more unusual sports.

In Years 7 to 9 (Key Stage 3), we set the foundations in place for GCSE level study, already teaching separate Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) from Year 7, teaching in ability sets in Maths, French and the Sciences, as well as offering a curriculum with a core set of academic and creative subjects: English, Maths, separate Sciences, French, History, Geography, Design Technology, Music, Art, Computing, RE, PSHE and Games/PE.

For Years 10-11 Kingsmead’s GCSE options provide a sound preparation for post-16 education. English Language, Maths and Biology are core subjects; students then also select five or six additional GCSE subjects to follow from the following options: English Literature, Computing, Chemistry, Physics, PE, Food Preparation and Nutrition, Music, History, Geography, Design and Technology, Art, French and Religious Studies’. For pupils who wish to go on to A levels, Kingsmead currently has excellent links with the local state schools with good Sixth Forms, as well as with independent schools in the region. A new Sixth Form is now open.