Middle School

Years 7 through 11

Frensham's Middle School covers perhaps the most formative years of a young person's education from the age of 11 through to the end of the GCSE years.

We believe in providing a holistic secondary education – one where young people gain the skills they will need to tackle every challenge and grab every opportunity through the rest of their lives. We aim to instil in our students their own ambition to experience, to flourish, to succeed and ultimately to give back. We are always ambitious for our students to achieve their potential in whichever area they choose to pursue.

Students at Frensham are exposed to a wealth of opportunities. Through the Scholarship and Enrichment programme we ensure that our identified scholars have access to events in and beyond the school so they are suitably inspired and challenged. In addition, we ensure that all students at Frensham have access to Enrichment activities so that learning is not something that just happens in the classroom. We offer a range of such activities including weekly Morning Talks, a Sixth Form Speaker Programme, Science Week and Literary Week to name a few. We want our students to aim high but would never want to be just an exam factory.

Sport and outdoor education

Our belief in and commitment to activities outside the classroom will, inevitably, lead to further success within it – which is why Frensham has always respected the importance of sport and insisted on equal status for Outdoor Education.

Our PE and games programme is broad and exciting. PE is compulsory and is taught across the school by dedicated teachers. The syllabus includes traditional games such as cricket, tennis, rounders, football, hockey, swimming, athletics and netball as well as the more alternative sports including karate, fencing and parkour. We aim to provide sport for all regardless of ability and to motivate students to be active and healthy long into adulthood.

Sporting fixtures are arranged with other schools and we take part in local and national league competitions. The aim is to make sport fun so the emphasis is on having a go and building skills through games play, structured practices and, for those who enjoy them, highly competitive matches.

Our Outdoor Education programme involves a degree of calculated risk, not just for the sake of it but to develop confidence, teamwork and responsibility. The adventures on offer are carefully chosen, meticulously prepared and age appropriate. What makes Outdoor Education so special is that with real adventure the unexpected will always happen and it is in dealing with it that students discover their true strengths and exceed their personal limits.

Year 7 or 8 students might find themselves on a night walk where they hold their nerve as they hear unfamiliar animal noises in the dark. Those in Years 9 to 11 might go rock climbing, fell walking or take on the challenges of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Whatever the adventure, our aim is to ensure students enjoy the freedom to explore, to investigate, to experience and to take small but significant risks that help them grow into curious and self-aware adults.

Higher and careers education

The school is a member of the Independent Schools Careers Organisation (ISCO) and their specialist support is available to students and parents in conjunction with day-to-day support from the school careers coordinator. 

Year 9 students attend a seven-session careers course focusing on how to use resources and make effective decisions, work-related learning, examining what paid employment can legally be completed and interview techniques. A careers afternoon is also held just before students make their GCSE choices. The sessions include a short psychometric internet-based questionnaire, GCSE options and career options. Tutors then follow up with two sessions researching the careers suggestions.

Year 10 have a study skills conference to launch their GCSE/IGCSE courses, including time management, types and ways of learning and self-motivation strategies. Building on this is a careers rotation within the extension curriculum that focuses on developing practical skills for the workplace. In June, students join the Futurewise careers and higher education guidance scheme. This starts with an individual psychometric profile and is followed up with a one-to-one interview with a trained careers advisor from ISCO at the beginning of the autumn term (in Year 11).

Students will then have their own Futurewise web space containing their profile, links to careers and higher education websites, information about career and skills development courses and one-to-one professional help via email or telephone. Parents receive a hard copy of the profile report and their own log in code and web space on Futurewise. Membership benefits apply until the student’s 23rd birthday.

Appointments can be made to meet with an ISCO representative at the Year 11 parents’ evening to discuss both course choices and future careers options. There is also an AS information evening in the autumn term where students and parents can consult staff about AS/A2 choices.

Admissions

All candidates registered for entry into Years 7 and 9 by the end of November 2018 will be called for interview with the Headmaster and Head of Middle School. We are selective only in the sense that we aim to choose the students we believe will get the most out of everything the school has to offer and who in turn we can best help to achieve their potential. 

Entrance interviews
Our main entrance interviews take place in January for entry to the school in the following September. In 2019, the interviews will be between Monday 14 January and Thursday 17 January 2019 (tbc).

Scholarship candidates will also be called for audition and interview with the relevant head of department.

Admissions procedures for late candidates (after January 2018)
If places remain available after the January exams, individual candidates will be invited in for interview and to sit the entrance exams on a mutually convenient date.

Register Your Child

Entrance exams
All candidates will be invited to sit our entrance exams on Saturday 20 January 2019 (tbc) (with a second date arranged for the following week if necessary). We aim to have all the papers marked and offers made within a week.

Year 7 candidates are set skills-based standardised tests in reading, writing, spelling and maths.
Year 9 candidates are also set skills-based standardised tests in reading, writing, spelling and maths. In addition, they will sit a science paper.

Other years
In the event of any vacancies being available in Years 8 and 10, candidates will sit the entrance exams at the same time as Years 7 and 9.

Afternoon activities for entrance candidates (all year groups)
All candidates will be taken into the main dining hall for lunch. In the afternoon, Year 7 and 8 candidates will go immediately for an Outdoor Education session in our grounds/sports hall, while Year 9 and 10 candidates will complete the science paper before their Outdoor Education session. Tea will be provided for all candidates and their parents at the end of the day.

Next Steps

Frensham’s Middle School covers perhaps the most formative years of a young person’s education from the age of 11 through to the end of the GCSE years. After GCSEs, we encourage and support as many students as possible to remain at Frensham, move to Roberts House and take the next steps to adulthood. 

Of course we know that, inevitably and for many different reasons, some of our students will leave after GCSEs. In most cases, we will have had long discussions with the student and the parents and agree that such a move is actually in the student’s best interests.

For the main part, however, we would expect and encourage our students to remain into the Sixth Form, where Frensham’s unique and empowering ethos will provide the best possible starting point for moving to higher education, planning a really worthwhile gap year or starting out on the career ladder.

All Year 11 students are invited to an AS information evening in October, where specialist teachers are on hand to discuss subject options and give honest and open advice to guide the students in their choices.

In November, they are all invited to consider applying for one of our Sixth Form Scholarships or Exhibitions and those who do will be asked to join our external Sixth Form candidates in the Scholarship entry process.

Whether applying for a Scholarship or Exhibition or not, any Year 11 wanting to remain at Frensham into the Sixth Form is automatically offered a place subject to achieving at least six GCSE passes (A* – C grade), ideally with B grades in the subjects they wish to study at AS level.

“My daughter is incredibly happy in the school. She has flourished in the last two years. She is confident, enjoys her learning, is inquisitive about life and can never wait to return to school after the holidays. I couldn't have wished for anymore.”

Year 8 Parent

“I went away with two of my old year group a couple of weeks ago. We all spoke of how incredibly lucky we were to go to such an amazing school. It shaped who we are today and made us into who we are. I just wanted you to know how grateful I am for that. The opportunity to act, dance and draw is something every child should have. So many schools are dark places but Frensham was always a place filled with light.”

Former Student