In Year 4, the children join the Prep part of the school with a move to the senior classroom block. The transition is made easier as they continue to have their own classroom teacher and they follow a similar timetable to Year 3. The curriculum is broadly based on Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum. The pupils have many "hands on" experiences as well as building the core skills in Maths and English. The children continue to benefit from the expertise of specialist teachers for Science, French, Music, Games and PE and there is an opportunity for some extension Maths sessions. By the end of the year, they are ready for the challenges of the senior classes.
In the Autumn term the pupils step back in time to World War Two in a cross-curricula project. The children gain a sense of how it might have felt to have been a child in the war, complete with a train journey as they are evacuated to the Manor at Dorset House. They create a wartime scrapbook recording their thoughts and feelings about key events of the war and even do some wartime cooking, knitting and sewing.
In the Spring term the pupils have an opportunity to use iPads to create their own stories. They use Publisher to create brochures.
The Summer term focuses on stories with issues and the children are encouraged to think about bullying, stereotyping and discrimination. A topic on India provides plenty of opportunity for art work with batik and a packaging design project, involving the use of Photoshop. Our Tudor project is brought to life with trips to the Mary Rose museum and a Tudor Forest School day.
Some of the topics which are covered in Year 4 include:
Art and Design encourages free and independent thinking and teaches pupils to be imaginative, inventive and resourceful. Our aim is that pupils enjoy the process of working creatively and develop an enthusiasm for Art and Design whilst gaining the skills to be able to communicate their ideas and observations.
The National Curriculum programmes of study for Art and Design at Key Stage 2 and 3 forms the basis for the Art and Design schemes of work taught at Dorset House to Years 5 - 8 and reinforces the importance of Art and Design in the curriculum.
Pupils explore a diverse range of starting points for their artwork, creating work on their own as well as collaborating with others, on projects in two and three dimensions and on different scales. Drawing underpins and forms the starting point for nearly all project work, whether it is from first hand observation, experience or imagination. We encourage children to explore and experiment with different materials and processes including the use of ICT to aid their work. During their studies children use the department's digital cameras and the school iPads.
We encourage children to share and express their ideas about their own and others' work and through the curriculum children develop an understanding of different kinds of art, craft and design. It is important that children's experiences of Art and Design go beyond the classroom and we take the opportunity to work in the school grounds and go on trips to art galleries; recent trips include: The National Gallery, Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery, Design Museum and Cass Sculpture Foundation. As a department we also take the opportunity to enter competitions and enter work for exhibitions both locally and nationally. In addition to their lessons the art room is open twice a week at lunch times for Art Club, which is an opportunity for children to explore their own ideas, whilst using the extensive materials and equipment in the department.
To introduce pupils to the language of Ancient Greece
Selected pupils in Year 8 receive one Classical Greek lesson per week. This intensive course, which follows the requirements of the ISEB syllabus for Classical Greek, will benefit those who are already gifted linguists and enjoy an academic challenge.
The language, philosophy and culture of Ancient Greece have all had an enormous impact on Western civilisation. Learning Classical Greek enables pupils to obtain the basic linguistic skills necessary to study this fascinating and influential period in history in greater depth. It also opens the door to being able to read some of the world's finest literature, including Homer, Plato and the New Testament, in its original language.
Fostering a love and appreciation of literature lies at the heart of everything the English Department at Dorset Houses sets out to do. We aim to provide an exciting curriculum, which is largely based on the National Curriculum but which also extends well beyond its boundaries.
The broad aims of the English Department are:
The Dorset House English Department is responsible for the teaching of English Language and English Literature. In Years 1 to 4 English is delivered by the class teacher, but from Year 5 onwards it is taught by subject specialists. Children are taught in mixed ability classes throughout the school and are prepared for either Common Entrance or scholarships to senior schools.
Our approach is text-based and we incorporate both classic and modern writers into our units of work. By the time they leave in Year 8, all children will have encountered examples of some of the best prose and poetry written in the English language. Children are taught to write accurately in a range of styles for different purposes. They are taught to express themselves clearly when speaking and to listen both carefully and critically when others are talking. LAMDA is offered as an extra-curricula activity and Recite, our annual verse speaking competition, is always greeted with huge enthusiasm. Dorset House stages a number of drama productions throughout the year and our aim is that every child should have the opportunity to appear on stage in some capacity at least once a year. Children's written work is celebrated through frequently changed displays — both in classrooms and throughout the school generally. One particularly popular feature of the department is 'Newsboard' where carefully selected cuttings featuring major news stories, together with slightly quirkier offerings, are displayed. The board is changed every two weeks and students often queue up to claim old cuttings that have caught their imagination.
We make full use of the opportunities provided by our beautiful surroundings. Children are taught to write creatively from their own experience and it is not unusual to find a class out and about, making notes in their drafting books for their next story ('Discovered in a Graveyard', for instance). The amphitheatre is used during the summer and autumn months for lessons on Shakespeare, whilst Year 6 enjoy using the grounds in imaginative ways when filming advertisements for their 'Water Project' presentation.
The library and library lessons are integral to the English Department at Dorset House. The school's policy is to review its library stock on a termly basis. New books — often recommended by the children themselves — are added regularly and we work closely in consultation with a leading expert in children's books (IAPS recommended) to make sure that we keep up-to-date with new writers in the field. The result is a compact selection of several thousand books where old favourites such as Biggles and Jennings sit side by side with the latest David Walliams or Patrick Ness. A small number of children find it easier to read on e-readers but the majority are still firmly wedded to the joys of an exciting cover illustration and real pages to turn! A record is kept of every book a child tries and peer recommendations are encouraged. Reading lists are issued at Christmas and at the beginning of the summer holidays but these are suggestions only and by no means prescriptive. Our ultimate aim is that every child should leave Dorset House a reader — we may not always succeed but we come very close to reaching this goal.
Preparation for Common Entrance begins and students will study:
Preparation for Common Entrance continues and students will study:
In addition to this, students in Year 8 also take part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival. SSF involves preparing, and then performing, an edited version of one of Shakespeare's plays. Performances takes place in a regional theatre — either The Capitol Theatre, Horsham or the Chichester Festival Theatre.
At Dorset House School, French is taught throughout the school from Reception to Year 8
The French department aims to foster a love of language and an enthusiasm for other cultures, whilst laying a firm foundation for future study. Throughout the school, our aim is that the pupils enjoy and appreciate the value of learning a foreign language in a fun and stimulating environment.
As pupils progress through the school, our aims are that they:
The department believe that communication in a foreign language is an active process, and we encourage every child to participate in class.
In the early years, the children are encouraged to have fun with the language through a range of activities including singing, role play and games. The aim of the lessons is to develop an awareness of the sounds of the language whilst learning basic vocabulary.
The curriculum gradually progresses to place equal emphasis on listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks. However, there are always a wide variety of communicative activities, planned in way that allows pupils to enjoy using language as much as possible, so that they grow in confidence. We conduct the lessons as far as possible in the target language with pupils being encouraged to speak French when asking or responding to questions in the classroom. We incorporate and extend the National Curriculum, and follow the ISEB Common Entrance Syllabus.
Opportunities are taken to learn about French culture, as well as current and historical events in France. The interactive whiteboard, iPads and the computer suite are used regularly. Pupils have access to various websites, both at school and at home, including, Linguascope and Vocab Express. Pupils also take part in language competitions, have visits from a French theatre company, and there is a trip to France for Years 7 and 8 so that the pupils can participate in real events involving genuine interaction.
The Geography Department aims to stimulate an interest in the World. We aim to foster a sense of enquiry, studying human, physical and environmental issues. Geography asks four questions: who, what, when and how?
We aim to develop a knowledge of places, an understanding of natural processes, and trends within population, urbanisation and development. The department helps to develop our pupils' understanding of maps and graphs. Pupils develop describing and explaining skills, and we encourage and develop higher order skills such as analysis and evaluation.
We follow the National Curriculum which studies the traditional Geography topics such as rivers and population, but also more modern topics that are driven by globalisation, technological change, sustainability and climate change. These are the key drivers of Geography in the 21st century. In Year 7 and 8, we follow the Common Entrance curriculum developed by the Independent Schools Examinations Board (ISEB).
The pupils have access to desktop computers and iPads during their lessons for research, creating iMovies, PowerPoints and for data evaluation and graphical displays. The interactive whiteboard helps pupils to engage with the subject and allows access to the world-wide web for its wealth of information.
Our younger pupils all carry out local fieldwork studies on our beautiful site by the River Arun. Investigations have included woods, nature trails, river studies and settlement studies. In Year 8 all pupils attend a three day residential fieldtrip to Swanage where fieldwork is carried out to support learning in class, and to collect primary data for their coursework project. This project is a requirement of the Common Entrance exam to their senior schools, and is worth 20% of the final exam.
The aim of History teaching here at Dorset House School is to stimulate the children's interest and understanding about the lives of people who lived in the past. We teach children a sense of chronology, and through this they develop a sense of identity, and a cultural understanding based on their historical heritage. Thus they learn to value their own and other people's cultures in modern multicultural Britain and, by considering how people lived in the past, they are better able to make their own life choices today.
In our school History makes a significant contribution to citizenship education by teaching about how Britain developed as a democratic society. We teach children to understand how events in the past have influenced our lives today; we also teach them to investigate these past events and, by so doing, to develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving.
Our key aims are:
History teaching focuses on enabling children to think as historians. We place an emphasis on examining historical artefacts and primary sources. In each key stage we give children the opportunity to visit sites of historical significance. We encourage visitors to come into the school and talk about their experiences of events in the past. We recognise and value the importance of stories in History teaching, and we regard this as an important way of stimulating interest in the past. We focus on helping children understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways, and that they should always ask searching questions, such as 'How do we know?', about information they are given.
The school has a dedicated IT suite with individual PC workstations for all children.
In the Years 5-8 children experience a variety of different aspects of IT and Computing. To reflect recent changes in the curriculum, elements of programming are covered using Scratch and Logo. The essential skills of using the Microsoft Office suite and touch-typing are also covered using the excellent English-Type software. Children gain knowledge of digital media in their time at Dorset House to give them a diverse range of skills and a broad base of experience to build upon at their senior schools.
Being safe online and the considered use of social networking is also covered. The school has a robust filtering system in place.
A study of Latin and Classical Civilisation is of benefit to every child. The former helps the pupil to enhance their own command of language, to understand the structure of other Romance languages, and to be aware of the nuances of words, a skill essential for smooth and successful communication in all aspects of life. The latter helps the pupil to identify the major achievements of the Greeks and Romans and also to develop a tolerant approach to aspects of culture that are unfamiliar. Finally, a love of learning for its own sake is inculcated which can develop into a lifelong interest in this most broad-ranging of subjects.
Children in Year 5 and 6 receive two Latin lessons each week, and in Years 7 and 8 three lessons each week. The Latin curriculum offers a range of linguistic experiences, focusing on the skill of accurate translation and the learning of vocabulary which aids children's memory skills. Academic rigour is essential in preparing pupils for their Common Entrance examinations and for successful understanding of the complexities of both Latin and of English. Integrated with this language work is the study of Classical Civilisation appropriate to the age group to stimulate the imagination and to provide children with facts about topics such as gladiators or the adventures of Odysseus. Pupils tend to absorb Classical knowledge quickly and are able to make cross-curricula links with subjects such as English Literature or History. They enjoy artwork such as illustration or mosaics.
In Years 5 and 6 the E-learning version of the Cambridge Latin Project is used. The pupils work with the teacher at on-screen exercises to strengthen understanding of grammar and to assist with fluency in translation. This excellent course also provides specially produced film clips on ancient Pompeii covering topics such as food, dress, slavery, entertainment and many other areas. In Years 7 and 8 Google Maps on screen are used to identify Roman sites (spot the amphitheatre), and the Cambridge Latin Project website is used by all pupils to access information about topics to be studied for the Common Entrance examination.
At Dorset House School, we are committed to providing a learning environment that enables all our pupils to experience success in learning and attain their full academic potential, whatever their needs or abilities.
For some pupils their capability to learn is influenced by the presence of a learning difficulty. Many of these students are bright, enquiring, academic individuals who can learn successfully if a variety of strategies are put in place. We aim to meet the individual needs of all children and where possible, provide support for them.
Our small class sizes enable teachers to differentiate the work planned for our pupils to reflect their individual needs. Extra in-class help also comes from a teaching assistant, the Head of Learning Support and Junior SENCo. Where further support is needed, help is given out of the classroom on a one-to-one or small group basis in the Learning Support Unit.
There are many opportunities to work with pupils who have high potential in a range of areas and children are given additional support in the classroom (through extension work and differentiated learning) as well as other exciting opportunities as appropriate, to enable their talents to be developed to the full.
It is our aim that, through Design and Technology, pupils learn the practicalities of how to use a variety of tools and machinery and understand the properties of a range of woods and plastics. Through understanding and interpreting design briefs pupils will also develop their creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills; all valuable steps towards becoming tomorrow's innovators.
Pupils in Years 5, 6, 7 and 8 use the DT workshop.
While the making process is a large part of the DT curriculum, there is an emphasis on learning the whole design process. At the beginning of each project pupils are given a Design Brief, they are then encouraged to do some research, to show a variety of their own ideas, choose a final idea, do some working drawings, make a model in cardboard and then start the practical piece. Throughout this process the pupils are encouraged to solve design problems and to evaluate their work.
Pupils look at movement through projects using hand and wind power, levers, pivots, linkages and cams. They also look at the properties of different materials. The pupils use plywood, softwood and acrylic sheet. They will learn to use a variety of basic hand tools and machinery and learn safe working practices.
The aim of the Mathematics department at Dorset House School is to inspire our students by showing them that there is very little in our daily lives that does not have Mathematics at its core.
In short, we aim to:
The different styles of teaching employed by the Mathematics department include practical experimentation using equipment, didactic teaching, rote learning and investigation.
A range of different teaching techniques are employed to this end - individual, paired and group working, often with an opportunity to choose working partners. The outputs include written work, displays, projects, data handling techniques such as Pie Charts, Bar Charts and Venn Diagrams.
The philosophy of the department is that children should, first and foremost, enjoy the subject and feel their confidence grow as they become more familiar with the concepts involved.
We believe that a range of different approaches is key to the subject.
Some children will learn by practising mathematics with apparatus, such as cubes and beads, whilst others are more adept at using mental strategies. We aim to find the right approach for each child.
The department employs technology in delivering the curriculum, with an interactive whiteboard used to enliven lessons and support learning whenever appropriate. Each teaching group has one lesson per week in the ICT suite.
Music plays a major part in the life of Dorset House. The music block is housed in a separate building at the heart of the school.
Pupils are encouraged to try an instrument and trial lessons are available in Year 2 for a variety of orchestral instruments. Currently over 85% of students have individual lessons with one of a team of dedicated peripatetic teachers.
Many students take grade examinations, achieving excellent results, and the school is often used as an Associated Board and LCM examination centre.
The school's musicians regularly gain music scholarships to the senior schools of their choice.
The hope is to foster a passion and curiosity for the subject and to encourage an open mind to all music. Throughout their class lessons children are exposed to a rich and diverse range of music and musical experiences. All areas of performance, composition and appraisal are continuously revisited and built upon.
The Music School is lucky to be equipped with a JamClass HD suite which incorporates iPads, Alesis docks, midi keyboards and Jam Hubs — equipment which won 'Best Tech in Music Education'.
The orchestra rehearses each week and plays for Friday assemblies, and the choir sings for school services as well as concerts, weddings and the RSCM Festivals. The choir enter various competitions such as 'Arun Young Choir of Year'. There are also other string, woodwind and brass ensemble groups. In addition to this we have an extra curricular option called the Band Project where bands are formed to learn a set to perform a gigs at in an external venue at the end of each term. In addition to this, individuals are encouraged to pursue their own musical interests.
The children are given regular and diverse opportunities to perform during the course of the year. There is a Christmas concert in December, an Inter-House music competition in Spring and a Summer concert in which every child from Years 1 - 8 takes part. Each Year group puts together a repertoire for their parents at informal concerts throughout the course of the year and pupils also perform regularly in assemblies. More senior pupils can participate in Choral and Orchestral days at senior schools. Every other year the music school is turned into a recording studio with all pupils taking part in making a CD.
In PE lessons children are taught primary co-ordination skills in gymnastics, swimming and athletics. Some lessons are also dedicated to developing fitness and the effects of exercise on the body. Games lessons are where the major team sports are coached.
This is a unit for Years 1-8, which is primarily aimed at promoting fitness. It also includes games activities which develop leadership, cooperation, self esteem, creativity and a sense of fair play. The emphasis is on fun and teamwork and not winning and losing. There will be some opportunities for children to plan their own work and to assess their own fitness levels. An important objective of the unit will be to increase the child's awareness of what is happening to their body before, during and following exercise.
Gymnastics is taught for a block of 5-6 lessons. In this unit children will focus on creating sequences to perform in front of the group. They will work with partners and in small groups displaying a wide range of body shapes and actions. The class will be working towards creating sequences across the floor and apparatus.
The Swimming syllabus is primarily directed towards developing stroke technique. The children are also introduced to personal survival and life-saving skills.
Athletics is taught in the Summer Term. All boys and girls receive 6-8 weeks of athletics training in their PE programme. A weekly games lesson is also dedicated to athletics for pupils in Years 3-8. The aim of all the athletics training is to help the children focus on developing their technical understanding of running, jumping and throwing actions. They work towards targets to improve their skills and think about how to achieve the greatest possible speed, height or distance.
The purpose of the PSHE course is to help children make decisions about their personal development, to learn about their role in society (including the concept of 'Britishness', knowledge of public institutions and services in England), citizenship, multiculturalism and careers advice/secondary school guidance for senior children (Year 6-8).
We also develop independence, confidence and self-worth and all members of staff try to equip children with the skills needed to deal with life's challenges. We promote positive relationships with peers, having respect for children who may be different from themselves and showing willingness to work and collaborate with all children regardless of race, ability, gender or social background.
We develop the pupils' understanding of a healthy, safer lifestyle and use this knowledge to make informed decisions and choices in the present and in the future. Finally, we want all the Dorset House pupils to become responsible citizens who know they can make a difference to others around them.
The overall aims of PSHE are taught in lessons which inform, invite discussion and use role play. Lessons will employ the three learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, and are planned to be fun and relevant as well as challenging.
In Years 1-4 Form teachers integrate PSHE into their classroom teaching as part of the everyday life of the community. Years 5-8 have a specialist teacher and follow the guidelines of the PSHE syllabus. The teacher adapts some parts of the syllabus as deemed necessary.
Religious Studies is an academic subject that aims to give pupils an understanding of how beliefs and values affect our lives.
Pupils in Year 5 and 6 receive one Religious Studies lesson a week. Pupils in Year 7 and 8 have two lessons a week with a Religious Studies specialist.
Religious Studies develops knowledge and understanding of the Bible and Judeo-Christian theological thought. It develops important interpretive skills and encourages pupils to ask challenging questions about the meaning of life and death, faith in God, the nature of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It also introduces pupils to the traditions and beliefs of other major world religions and enables them to reflect on links between religious thought and a wide variety of issues facing contemporary society.
There are close links between Dorset House School and the Parish Church of St John's in Bury. There are regular church services and the children use the church building to enrich their study.
As one of the core subjects of the National Curriculum, Science has been clearly identified as a subject that can help pupils to enhance and accelerate their learning in other areas of the curriculum.
Science provides an opportunity for experimentation and problem-solving, giving children the chance to reason independently and to make decisions for themselves. Knowledge and an understanding of scientific method can be applied to new situations, thus enabling children to tackle new problems and acquire more information by themselves.
Practical enquiry by children in groups or as a class involves debate and discussion as well as reading and writing and so Science also provides an opportunity for the development of communication skills, as well as developing co-operation and empathy.
At Dorset House School we place considerable emphasis on the children becoming self-reliant, responsible and resourceful individuals and Science has a vital part to play in encouraging and developing these goals
Pupils learn to develop practical skills as soon as they enter the school and have a specialist Science teacher from Year 3 right through to Year 8. Pupils learn best by "doing" and are then in a better position to apply knowledge to unknown situations and solve real life problems. At Dorset House pupils are able to explain their chemical findings in terms of word and chemical symbols.
Examination results are excellent, with the majority of pupils going into top sets in their senior schools and many pursuing science subjects at university.
The Science department has an exciting new laboratory. This is fully equipped with advanced apparatus such as the latest Dig flex with in-built camera and e.Log sensors connected to an interactive whiteboard. There is a fume-cupboard for fascinating demonstrations and programmes of study are practical based, with experiments taking place in all classes. The emphasis is on problem-solving and discovery and the department is well aware of the need to encourage and prepare new scientists and engineers for the real world. This can only be achieved by nurturing and fostering the love of Science at prep school. As specialist teaching takes place from Year 3, it is possible to begin the Common Entrance syllabus in Year 6 rather than Year 7 to allow more time to develop further practical skills and carry out research and project work. Pupils achieve excellent examination results at Common Entrance and scholarship level.
The department has won a number of awards for environmental awareness and public school science challenges. Habitats for study include a beautiful walled garden, a pond and wooded area. We have visits from a mobile planetarium and Science drama companies as well as visiting speakers from industry. Scientific visits include the Science Museum in London, Chichester Planetarium and Marwell Zoo.
All pupils realise their potential and for many Science is a favourite subject.
In the course of their experimenting and investigating, pupils will utilise and develop the following skills: