Reception through Year 6
Learning power, flexible minds and enquiring spirits: strong foundations for future learning throughout your child's school years and beyond.
While you will probably know Frensham Heights as a vibrant and successful senior school, what you may not know is that this wonderful learning experience is available to children from as young as three. The Frensham Heights Junior School provides a uniquely child-centred education that embodies the refreshingly progressive values of the wider school – values such as respect, tolerance, cooperation and equality.
Our youngest students from the nursery onwards are valued and valuable members of the school community. As well as an imaginative and engaging curriculum, including the wonder and excitement of our Forest School, children benefit from specialist teaching in sports, dance, drama, music and languages. By the time they are at the top of the Junior School, they will be using the Art Centre and they will be old hands at starring on the magnificent stage of the Aldridge Theatre.
We aim to give every student a broad academic, creative and cultural education while also preparing them for life after school in higher education and work.
The academic timetable runs from Monday to Friday. There are no lessons on Saturday. Sports matches take place after school and on some Saturdays while extracurricular activities take place at lunchtime, after school and at the weekend.
Nursery class and reception
Children in nursery class and reception study the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which comprises:
• Personal, social and emotional development
• Communication and language
• Physical development
• Understanding the world
• Expressive arts and design
This is complemented by specialist teaching in PE, modern languages, music, Forest Class and, in reception, drama and dance.
Years 1 – 6
Children in Years 1 – 6 study:
• French (with taster sessions of German and Spanish introduced in Year 6)
Art, CDT, dance, drama, music and PE/games are an essential part of the curriculum. Forest classes remain a key part of the curriculum between Years 1 and 3 and are a popular choice of extracurricular activity up to Year 6. ICT skills are taught in discrete lessons from Year 3 and practised across the curriculum.
In a world where life is not compartmentalised and edges are blurred, Topic is our educational response. We use Topic lessons to inspire our students and help them to understand how the different skills and subjects they learn all work together.
Topic lessons combine history and geography with PSME, citizenship, religious education and any other appropriate area where an educational link is valid. In fact, Topic is a small word for what actually amounts to a great deal of discovery, learning and fun.
The aim is to inspire a quest for knowledge and develop learning, questioning and thinking skills. Topics are chosen by the staff team. They can be reactive to world events, such as the Olympics, a natural disaster or a weather-related phenomenon. On the other hand, they can also cover more traditional areas.
When our Topic was ‘London’, for example, we used historical skills to find out about events such as the Great Fire of September 1666 and the Blitz from September 1940 to May 1941. We looked at how Londoners have suffered in different ways in two different eras and then, using PSME, discussed how they might have felt. From a geographical perspective, we also looked at transport routes into London and how or why these have developed. Our young students found out how parliament works and even created their own political parties.
Life isn’t in boxes, so why should education be?
Stretching, Challenging, Supporting
At Frensham, we aim to stimulate our youngest students because we believe that if we can capture their imaginations when they are young, they will be curious and eager to learn for the rest of their lives.
We know that young children grow and develop at often surprisingly different rates so it is vital that teachers can identify where every child is on the growing scale and can tailor the learning to that child’s needs. This simply is not possible in schools with very large classes, which is why we insist on keeping our class sizes to an easily manageable level.
Of course, all children need to learn English, maths and science but this is ‘learning’. What Frensham offers is more than that – we offer an ‘education’. Our children have the lessons you would expect but they will also benefit from specialist teaching in French, music, sport, dance and drama. They can use the same wonderful facilities as our senior students. These include our award-winning Performing Arts Centre but also a Tree House classroom on the edge of our woods and a stunning open air Terrace Theatre – both imaginative and creative learning spaces.
We identify those children who are particularly gifted and talented in different areas and ensure they have more advanced and challenging activities, such as joining our extension maths group or the creative thinking extracurricular activity. At the same time, we support the quietest to be more confident, the most timid to be more courageous, the loudest to be more gentle and the most gifted to help their peers.
Frensham’s Junior School covers a child’s first experience of education from the age of three in our Nursery through to the age of 10 or 11 in Year 6. With very few exceptions, all students who are at Frensham at the beginning of Year 6 move on to our Middle School.
All students from the Nursery to the Sixth Form share use of our facilities such as the Performing Arts Centre, the Ballroom and the sports field – and all eat in the dining room.
As they grow older, our youngest students are increasingly integrated with the older students and, from Year 4 onwards, have their lessons in a discrete part of Flottage, the main school teaching area. This means the wider school is not daunting to them, they know their way around the campus and they recognise familiar names and faces.
At the beginning of their second term in Year 6, our students are invited to join external candidates to sit our exams and be interviewed for entry into the Middle School. This is not designed for any of our own students to fail – we would have alerted parents long before if we did not believe their child would benefit from staying – but rather to underline to the students themselves the passage from one part of Frensham to another. It also ensures that our students meet the external candidates on an equal basis.