Our curriculum is intentionally broad to offer each student both a thorough grounding in a diverse timetable of creative, scientific, physical and theoretical subjects, but also to give them each the chance to find their own passions and interests. Subjects are interwoven, giving a depth of understanding and experience that is often lacking in a more traditional curriculum.
Learning doesn't happen in discrete sections or in isolation and our faculty structure encourages teachers and students to make meaningful connections between subjects. This cross-curricular approach stimulates curiosity and ensures that subjects are not just understood in silos, but within a much wider context. For example, instead of studying the First World War in Literature one year and in History another year, we develop the curriculum around topics as a whole, across subjects, allowing for a much more holistic understanding.
Our faculty structure brings together a range of expertise, insight and knowledge to create a dynamic curriculum within and across each subject.
ART, DESIGN & INNOVATION
Design & Technology
PERFORMANCE, MATHS & ENTERPRISE
THE PHYSICAL WORLD
COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE
Modern Foreign Languages
A BROAD CURRICULUM
At Frensham, we treat academic and creative subjects equally and our aim is to offer a very broad curriculum allowing each child to find their own strengths and passions.
Creativity at Frensham is not limited to the creative subjects. We look for creativity of thought in all our subjects – to look at things a bit differently, to consider a different approach to the norm.
In this way, we hope each student can find their own way to be engaged, that teachers can find a way to get everyone excited.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
At Frensham, our team of responsive, experienced English teachers help inspire the students with a love of literature. Although we need to take account of exam requirements, we aim to create a culture that produces well-rounded and thoughtful learners who engage with each other, with the texts and with the issues they raise in the wider world.
We encourage students to be passionate about English and enjoy reading - to ask questions, look for answers and make critical judgements. Active learning is at the heart of what the students do - looking not just at the how but the why, and so gaining a better understanding of the process of learning and their own abilities. Expectations and aspirations are high, but relevant to each individual, and we value all manner of talents. Regular formative assessments and assignments allow us to monitor progress and make adjustments so that every student has the opportunity to reach their full and unique potential.
English is a core component of our curriculum from Nursery up through the GCSE years. As the children grow and develop in their own time, our aim is that students develop a love and appreciation for our subject. English is the foundation of everything we do. Our goal is for all our students to not only read and write effectively but to genuinely enjoy themselves and develop a sense of self-confidence.
Our Maths teachers are really passionate about their subject and they genuinely want all their students to engage with and enjoy their classes. Confidence can often be an issue in Maths, but our small class sizes and friendly, informal class settings are the first steps in clearing this hurdle. The students, as with everything at Frensham, are at the centre of a safe, non-competitive teaching environment. All are encouraged to speak up and get involved, supporting one another and working together.
Those who are naturally stronger will be challenged to expand and explore, those who need a slower pace will be supported and encouraged. The teachers structure their coursework around those students coming into their classes each year. The aim is for the students to really understand what they're learning and not just go through the motions for the sake of an exam or a grade. They are encouraged to work collaboratively through tasks and investigations - to present problems and share and discuss ideas and solutions - to really understand how what they're learning applies to life outside the classroom.
The main aim of our Science department is to take the students on a journey from the youngest children through Sixth Form gaining the skills, knowledge and confidence to leave Frensham thinking like a scientist. With this wider understanding, they are ready for what might show up on an exam, but also much more than that. They will have the confidence to tackle what's put in front of them but also the courage to take risks and the willingness to learn.
Our Science facilities are modern and facilitate group work and active participation of all students. Our teachers all have their own teaching style, but they all encourage students to take risks and explore -to feel that it's okay to get things wrong and make mistakes because that's how they learn. Try it - if it doesn't work, then learn from it - discuss, observe and try again.
If you have stepped foot inside the Art & Design Centre at Frensham, you’ll know it’s simply breathtaking. Initially because of the outstanding facilities and equipment, but more powerfully for the breadth and quality of work on display. All students' work is displayed, not just that deemed better by a teacher, and the variety is immense and often challenging. This is not artwork created by following a prescriptive formula, but art created by students who are developing the courage to explore in their own way. That in itself is a gift which will benefit them no matter what they go on to do.
Students have dedicated art classes from Nursery upwards. For the younger children, it’s all about getting excited about their art education and raising expectations of what they believe they can do. Our full art curriculum kicks off in Years 7 to 9 where students spend six hours a week, every week, exploring 2D, 3D and Design & Technology.
Underpinning all is an experience of drawing, recording, investigating and exploring. The main goal is to develop willingness and enthusiasm and the courage to engage in the creative process. This builds confidence and ultimately self-esteem.
Our primary aspiration is for our students to have the willingness and the courage to find their own creative voice – and once they have, to see the value in that. An important part of our classes throughout is discussion. Coming together to talk about their experiences, to learn to value their own work and the work of others.
From Nursery through Year 9, music, dance and drama are all part of our curriculum. Everyone has a chance to get on stage and for those who crave the limelight, those opportunities can be many. The courage to get on stage is developed from an early age as is the ability to watch, listen and appreciate others.
Aside from the bigger productions and concerts, students have dedicated time each week in the three performing arts and this is really where that confidence softly grows. Together, in a small group with a teacher they know well, they become comfortably uncomfortable. Tentatively stepping or leaping excitedly out of their comfort zones to the place where learning really happens.
Each child is different and our teachers will get to know each so well that they will recognise where and how encouragement is needed, allowing even the most reluctant wallflower to have their time to shine. Along the way, reminding the most gregarious to step aside and let the others have their moment. So it’s not all about creating amazing dancers, singers and performers. Although we do that too!
The performing arts serve another purpose at Frensham. They bring us together. Friends and families come together throughout the year to celebrate the spirit of our school. Whether it’s one of the amazing music and dance concerts, a musical, a big dramatic production, an informal recital or our Founders’ Day celebrations – our talented singers, dancers, actors, musicians, directors, designers, writers and teachers astound us constantly.
PE & SPORT
Our commitment to extracurricular opportunities and outdoor education shows our deep belief that activities outside the classroom, inevitably, lead to further success within it as well. We recognise and embrace that every child is different. A limited view of sport can’t and won’t challenge and engage every child. It is only natural that Frensham has always respected the importance of sport in many forms.
Our PE and games programme is broad and exciting. PE is compulsory and taught across the school by dedicated teachers. The curriculum includes traditional games such as cricket, tennis, rounders, football, hockey, swimming, athletics and netball as well as more alternative sports including basketball, handball, gymnastics and parkour. If a group of students are interested in a sport we don’t currently offer, we will do our best to get the equipment and knowledge and make it happen. 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 enjoyable with the emphasis on having a go and building skills through games, structured practices and, for those who enjoy them, highly competitive matches.
Sports is part of our broad curriculum, as equal as all the other parts. We hope our students will love sport, love going to matches, win some, lose some and, most importantly, know how to win or lose well. We want our students to be fit and healthy, to get involved and include and value others. As with all areas of our curriculum, we challenge them to step outside their comfort zone and raise expectations of what they believe they can do.
At Frensham, we truly believe that as much, if not more, learning happens outside the classroom as within. Outdoor education has always been an intrinsic part of our curriculum from Forest Class for the Junior School through to very challenging expeditions for the older students.
The programme for all activities begins with learning the skill set to prepare them for the experiential learning – the real adventures. As their practical skills develop and the experiences widen, the students develop massively in confidence, empathy, resilience, collaboration and communication. This is a real chance for those children whose courage may not come through in the classroom to really shine.
Our onsite facilities are impressive – high-ropes, zipwire, climbing wall, bike trails and Jacob’s ladder to name a few. All activities and expeditions are run by staff who are constantly training and gaining further qualifications. It’s a real passion for students and staff alike with Frensham being the only school in the UK to hold the Gold Standard accreditation from The Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres. Students can also choose to complete the Duke of Edinburgh Award through to the Gold Award.
Frensham truly aims to embed a spirit of adventure into all students from an early age. To let them develop the courage to take on risks and step out of their comfort zone as well as the skills, maturity and confidence to do it capably, wisely and kindly.