The Primary Department is staffed with qualified and experienced teachers. We offer a balanced and broadly-based curriculum, comparable with any found in top British primary schools. Creating a motivating and safe learning environment is the priority for all primary staff, where everyone is able to experience success, feel valued and have high self esteem. There is a consistently positive approach to maintaining appropriate behaviour. Each class is composed of a group of children of approximately the same age but with mixed backgrounds and abilities. Teachers provide a programme of work appropriate to the needs of each child and small classes allow for close individual attention.
In the Early Years (age 3 to 4), the programme, in accordance with the Foundation Stage outlined in the English National Curriculum, is designed to offer a wide range of learning activities as part of pre-school education but also includes Spanish and Computing. Throughout the Primary Department, Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Computing skills are studied and assessed in accordance with the English National Curriculum and beyond. Spanish is taught to children from Early Years. There is support for children for whom English is an additional language. History, Geography, Music, Drama, Art and Design and Physical Education all play an important role for the children in providing the variety and stimulus essential if they are to enjoy and benefit from their learning. From Year 4 French is added to the curriculum.
All children have access to computers with a dedicated Primary computer laboratory, incorporating the latest technology and with all classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards and multimedia software. Close liaison with staff in the relevant Secondary departments ensures continuity and a smooth transition from the Primary to the Secondary School.
The progress of the children is assessed using National Curriculum tests. At the end of Key Stage One and Two, our SATs (Standard Attainment Test) results are consistently well above the UK national average, and we are currently looking to extend this to include Cambridge Checkpoint exams at the conclusion of Key Stage 2.
As an English school overseas we follow the National Curriculum for England and Wales, although we are in the enviable position of being able to adapt it to our particular needs. For example, we choose not to teach Religious Education, thus making space for more languages and specialist lessons in the Primary school: PE, Computing, Music, Spanish French and Mandarin. A vital component to support the learning journey that takes place across the Key Stages is student attendance. Students must attend at least a minimum of 95% of school days.
There are seven areas of learning, perhaps the most important being in the sphere of social development. While it is vital that children learn how to interact and behave appropriately, we do not delay the formal teaching of communication and number skills. Phonics is central to the development of children’s reading at this early age.
Phonics continues to be a vital focus at this stage. There are dedicated English and Maths lessons each day as well as Science, History and Geography lessons. Teachers will look for opportunities to use Drama and Art to support and enliven learning.
The transition from Key Stage One to Key Stage Two is significant – children “graduate” at the end of Year 2. In addition to the “normal” curriculum children continue to go to specialist teachers – French is introduced in Year 4 and Mandarin in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 – and they will also begin to venture into Secondary departments, notably Science, where they can not only experience equipped laboratories, but also benefit from the knowledge of the specialist staff. At the end of Year 6 children take the UK SATs (Statutory Attainment Tests) to conclude their Primary education.