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Academic

'Pupils participate enthusiastically in lessons, listening to each other and contributing thoughtfully' - Independent Schools Inspectorate February 2022

 

At the heart of Park School’s philosophy is the child-centred approach. We respect that every child is unique and has their own strengths, attributes and areas to develop. We welcome pupils from a wide range of different cultures, faiths and backgrounds, which creates a unique and dynamic learning experience. We are genuinely committed to understanding the individual and providing the environment and support which will enable every child to flourish and succeed. We do this by respecting their needs and adapting the education to meet those needs. This philosophy underpins our approach to learning inside and outside of the classroom.

The small class sizes at Park School enable us to offer a personal approach to education. Whilst the fulfilment of academic potential is given due priority, we also see the building of self-esteem and emotional well-being as key to achieving success. Through a broad and balanced curriculum, each child is given challenges and opportunities to develop in an atmosphere that is supportive and nurturing.

Aims

In the Preparatory School at Park our aim is:

  • To ensure that all pupils receive their full entitlement to the whole curriculum. Staff devise tasks and provide materials that have the potential to attract the attention of all pupils. Equal demands are made on all students regarding the distributing of teachers’ questions and equal value is placed on the contribution of all pupils’ responses to teachers’ questions.
  • To offer a relevant curriculum in which pupils will be encouraged to reach their maximum potential, and remain resilient when faced with a challenge.
  • To provide a curriculum that will not only motivate children, but also encourage them to understand the purpose and enjoyment of learning in order to produce strong, independent and enthusiastic life-long learners.
  • To provide an environment where children apply their knowledge, skills and understanding with confidence whilst developing their ability to investigate and problem solve through discussion, prediction and evaluation.
  • To provide a stimulating and vibrant environment in order to support positive attitudes to learning.
  • To encourage children to respect and value other cultures and beliefs, to uphold British values and ultimately to become caring, confident, independent and educated members of a multi-faith, multi-cultural society.
  • To develop positive attitudes and an awareness of the needs, strengths and qualities of others in order to work, share and grow socially and emotionally, spiritually and morally, physically and intellectually
  • To guide students to become well-rounded individuals, who are happy in themselves and are able to make a genuine contribution to society.
  • To encourage students to have high personal standards and expectations.
  • To ensure students are constantly developing themselves and understand the importance of working within the Park School Way.

English

At Park we aim to develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.

English contributes to the school curriculum by developing pupils’ abilities to attain as precise a use of words as possible, to enable them to be fluent and confident speakers, attentive listeners, skillful writers and committed readers.

We seek to enable pupils to value their own opinions as well as that of others. The collective nature of the class provides them with this opportunity. Our enthusiasm for language and literature is something we hope the pupils share.

We hope to encourage all pupils to strive to achieve their best in all that they do. Through our planning, marking and relationships with the pupils, we scaffold their learning so that they do the best they can. We are committed to setting high standards and nurturing positive attitudes to the subject and themselves. We are dedicated to a variety of teaching and learning styles, making pupils independent and committed learners.

Spoken language

The spoken language aspect of English is imperative in pupil’s development across the whole curriculum. It also allows pupils to develop their reading and writing skills. The quality of the language that pupils are exposed to is vital in order from them to develop their vocabulary and grammar, as well as their understanding of reading and writing.

Reading

At Park, we believe that when home and school work in partnership together, pupils can

benefit from this support to make more progress reading fluently and with confidence and understanding.

There is a strong emphasis on independent reading, providing the pupils with the opportunity to develop socially and emotionally, as well as, intellectually and spiritually.

Pupils are encouraged to listen attentively and ask relevant questions. It aims to develop the habit of reading a range of texts, for both pleasure and information.

The pupils are exposed to a range of fiction and non-fiction extracts, and answer questions to display their understanding of the main ideas, the implied meanings and the writer’s choice of language and presentation. They are also able to analyse the writer’s point of view and understand how the writer’s use of particular words, phrase and languages affects the reader.

Writing

We encourage pupils to write clearly, accurately and coherently, making sure that they adapt their language and style according to the genre, and audience.

Pupils are taught to plan, revise and evaluate their writing in a detailed, logical and clear way. Pupils constantly use discussion in order to learn, elaborate and explain their ideas and understanding clearly. The pupils are also taught to write narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations: such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.

The main learning skills that we promote through writing are: evaluation and creative thinking. Evaluation enables pupils to appraise their work as well as that of their peers. Writing in a variety of genres allows pupils to judge the value of what they read, hear and do. It also allows them to focus and concentrate on learning new vocabulary and use this within their writing.

Pupils develop resilience for writing and learn how to embed grammar and Standard English into their written work. They continue to develop spelling, punctuation and grammar skills as well as developing their use of varied and sophisticated vocabulary, imaginative ideas, detailed and extensive descriptions, and well-thought-out paragraphs. Creative thinking when writing, enables pupils to generate and extend their ideas. After reading a selection of texts, pupils look for different ways to apply imagination and to look for innovative outcomes within their writing. They are given opportunities to develop their writing skills by practising to write for a range of purposes and in different forms, including short stories, poems, persuasive texts, articles and diary entries.

Mathematics

Mathematics is essential to everyday life, vital to science, technology and engineering, public decision-making, financial literacy and most forms of employment.

Confidence in numeracy and mathematical reasoning is developed in all subjects and is a precondition of success across the curriculum.

We aim to develop the pupils’ confidence with numeracy and mathematical reasoning so that they are able to understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics. The curriculum aims to develop pupils’ abilities to calculate, reason logically and geometrically, to solve problems and to handle data. Pupils are encouraged to think and communicate mathematically and logically. They learn to apply concepts to practical situations that they may encounter outside the classroom.

Mathematics is taught as a separate subject; however, every effort is made to link it with other areas of the curriculum. We highlight links between maths and other work, so pupils can see the connection rather than see it as an isolated subject.

Every year, our upper Key Stage pupils take part in the national Primary Maths Challenge (PMC). The PMC is designed to boost confidence in mathematics and shows pupils different ways in which questions can be asked. It also helps pupils to develop their mathematical reasoning skills. The questions are not necessarily topics that have been covered in the curriculum, but allow the pupils to think outside the box.

Science

A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity. All pupils are taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes. The pupils are encouraged to make cross-curricular links and should apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science including collecting, presenting and analysing data.

Pupils in the Prep school are taught by their class teachers according to the National Curriculum. Active practical work is a key component of learning. Teachers from the Prep department have access to a wide range of resources and often liaise with Senior school science teachers for ideas and advice. Pupils in Years 5 and 6 are also fortunate to have a science lesson each week in a senior school lab with a senior school teacher in order to aid their transition to the study of Science in Year 7 and beyond.

Geography

Geography should inspire curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Through our teaching we aim to equip pupils with knowledge and understanding about places, people, resources, natural and human environments. They build upon this knowledge by gaining a deeper understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.

Geography is taught mainly as a separate subject but every effort is made to link it with other areas of the curriculum. Links are particularly made with computing, MFL, science and mathematics. In geography we promote independence and aim for children to lead the learning.

History

History helps pupils to understand people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of society and relationship between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

History should support pupils to gain knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Through our teaching, we aim to equip pupils to ask perspective questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, develop perspective and make judgments.

History is taught mainly as a separate subject but every effort is made to link it with other areas of their learning. Links are made particularly with reading and writing. We aim to promote independence and aim for pupils to lead their learning. Pupils are encouraged to cooperate and listen to others opinions. They also get the opportunity for collaborative work when researching and evaluating sources. Pupils link what they have learnt to modern day society. They also get time to reflect and discuss respect for different groups in history and how a lack of respect for different groups impacted on society today.

Religious Studies

Religious Studies is taught to every child in Key Stage 1 and 2. Religious Studies helps to develop pupil’s knowledge and understanding of world religions and beliefs which form part of today’s society.

This subject encourages children to be inquisitive and ask questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God and issues of right and wrong. We aim to develop children’s knowledge of the six main religions, their traditions and world views.

Computing

Computing is important in order to equip pupils with computational thinking and creativity to understand the ever-changing digital world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insight into both natural and artificial systems. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

Computing comprises of three focus areas:

Computer Science

This is the ability to create or modify code with purpose. It is central to lessons where pupils use programming languages such as Scratch. Computer science provides pupils with many opportunities to elaborate on their core skills by evaluating, estimating and coding programs. The pupils are taught to design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals.

Information Technology

Pupils learn to use programs such as Microsoft office, file explorers and internet browsers - this is absolutely key to a pupil's ability to access the curriculum at secondary school and is therefore central to our teaching.

Digital Literacy

Learning about computing is not just limited to our lessons - we strive to involve technology in other lessons where they can add value and develop pupil's skills.

The pupils in Key Stage Two, are given the opportunity to take part in Code Club. All the pupils learn to code and progressively build their knowledge. The projects allow the pupils to be creative and share their creations with others. The pupils use coding languages such as Scratch, HTML/CSS and Python.

Art

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education engages, inspires and challenges pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they are able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

Design and Technology

Design and technology (DT) is an inspiring and practical subject. Through creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on their subject knowledge from mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.

PSHEC

Through PSHEC lessons we bring together emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development. All of these elements of learning are brought together to form a cohesive picture, helping pupils to know and value who they are and understand how they relate to other people in the world.

Spanish

Pupils will learn Spanish from Year 3 to Year 6. They will be taught for 50 minutes per week. Each lesson will involve a mixture of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and work is recorded in Spanish books every week. Pupils will have an opportunity to have their first immersion in the Spanish language and culture. They will play games, create pictures among other activities which link to the lesson’s objective.

  • Cultural work on Christmas in Spanish-speaking countries. 
  • Cultural work on Easter celebrations in Spanish-speaking countries. 
  • We also offer pupils flamenco workshops and other cultural events.

French

In the Prep department, pupils study one lesson of French each week, from Reception to Year 6. Each 50-minute class is taught by a Primary Languages Specialist teacher. Lessons are fun, interactive and engaging and aim to ignite pupils' enthusiasm for the French language and culture. From Reception to Year 2, lessons mostly involve listening and speaking activities including songs, puppets, props, games and stories. From Year 3 to Year 6, pupils continue to enjoy a variety of speaking and listening activities, as well as being encouraged to develop increasing levels of confidence with reading and writing in French, including using their growing knowledge of French phonics. Lessons are designed to be progressive and build upon prior learning, providing pupils with a solid foundation of French upon which to progress into Key Stage 3. We also enjoy learning about the culture of countries where French is spoken.

Promotion of British Values

The Department for Education states that there is a need:

“To create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.

  • The Department for Education defines British Values as follows:
  • Respect for democracy and support or participation in the democratic process.
  • Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies in England.
  • Support for equality of opportunity for all.
  • Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law.
  • Respect for and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs.

At Park School we value the diversity of backgrounds of all pupils; families and the wider school community. We encourage our pupils to be creative, unique, open-minded and independent individuals, respectful of themselves and of others in our school, our local community and the wider world.

Through our curriculum, we ensure that all pupils are well-prepared for life in modern British society. We aim to nurture our pupils on their journey through life, so they can grow into safe, caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who make a positive difference to British society and to the world. They develop an understanding of the key beliefs of the different faiths and cultures that make up our society. We help to combat extremism by ensuring our pupils learn to be tolerant and respectful of the beliefs of others and understand how democracy works in our society.