|Art & English||Mrs D Houseman|
|Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)||Mrs L Boulton|
|Humanities||Miss L Basger|
|Science||Mr C Sullivan|
|Sports||Mrs L Jones|
At Branwood Preparatory School, we offer a broad and balanced 11+ curriculum. Our curriculum is rigorous but wide-ranging and everything we do is underpinned by our ‘S.C.O.R.E’ ethos.
The following information details how we prepare the children for the 11+ – How we prepare for the 11+
Our curriculum offers not only the full range of academic subjects but also a wide variety of physical and creative experiences through art, design technology, drama, music, physical education, swimming and sports. These interests are further catered for in terms of our high-demand lunch time and after school clubs, which change on a half-termly basis.
Our fundamental approach is to ensure that every child, regardless of their starting point is able to fulfil their potential through dedicated and enthusiastic teaching, setting a high standard for all.
Across School, the curriculum is enriched through the activities and opportunities offered and it is delivered using a variety of teaching styles. The acquisition of skills and knowledge is planned carefully to excite and stimulate young minds.
All children follow a broad and balanced curriculum and staff are continually looking for new and exciting opportunities to widen their learning experiences, capturing their interests and making each day challenging and engaging. We want our children to be excited about lessons and fully engaged in all of school life. We strive to offer personalisation to our learning programmes; our children are involved in their own learning. In Upper School (Form 3 – Form 6), self and peer evaluation of work are both well embedded in our curriculum and our children are always aware of what they need to do to achieve next steps.
From Form 3 onward, the children are encouraged to take on additional responsibilities in school, such as becoming a member of the Eco School Council, whilst regular sports fixtures and competitions ensure that the children develop a healthy sense of competition as they progress through the school.
The curriculum followed at Branwood Preparatory School covers National Curriculum subjects and more. The subjects covered between Kindergarten 1 and Form 6 (some in specific year groups) are:
Fundamental to all areas of learning, English unlocks access to the wider curriculum. Our English curriculum promotes the development of critical and creative thinking, as well as competence in listening and talking, reading, writing and the personal, interpersonal and team-working skills, which are essential to success in life. Early reading skills are taught in a structured way using phonics and graded reading schemes. As children progress, this is further developed through the use of library books which are chosen to match the interests and ability of each child. Emphasis is placed on reading individually to a teacher, where new vocabulary, plots and characters can be discussed. Children are encouraged to read at home each evening with their parents. As well as sharing our favourite books in assembly, we enrich the subject by celebrating World Book Day, having author visits and visiting local theatre performances.
Writing is the primary basis of communication. The pupils at Branwood are taught to write from the age of 3. By the time they leave us their writing is of a high calibre and their English skills are at a level that prepares them for the next phase of their education.
Mathematical methods are taught with real-world application in mind. Our children study it with intrigue and a sense of achievement and fun. We promote confidence in each learner. All children are challenged to work at the maximum level appropriate for their ability so that they can continue to push themselves. We develop the core skills of numeracy, mental and applied mathematics to stand them in good stead for future studies. We encourage our children to question, develop investigative thinking and apply their knowledge to real life problems. As increasingly creative and confident learners, they are inspired to make rich connections across distinct mathematical domains in order to develop a deep understanding of a range of mathematical ideas. Our children are well prepared for the entrance examinations for the local grammar schools and independent schools.
Science is held in high regard at Branwood. Overhauled as part of our recent award of the Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM), our curriculum is dynamic, practical and taught with passion. We make seemingly complicated things simple to understand and encourage questioning and investigation that drives and inspires the pursuit of knowledge. Science stimulates and excites children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. We feel that the study of science should provide enjoyment and pleasure in discovery, and give the children confidence to approach and interrogate information critically. We are fortunate to have a specialist teacher who regularly takes the curriculum beyond age-related expectations. By the time our children leave Branwood, we have imparted them with knowledge of star life cycles, General Relativity, the progress made in our search for extra-terrestrial life and the mechanics behind time travel. Science with us is truly unrivalled.
Reasoning skills are developed throughout the school. Our children are exposed to a wide range of non-verbal and verbal reasoning materials from an early age. They are taught strategies to tackle tasks and develop their capacity to think logically. The non-verbal curriculum focuses on the ability to identify patterns and sequences, and to understand and analyse visual information. In verbal reasoning, we aim to develop the children’s capacity to understand and assimilate verbal information, and to think constructively about language (going beyond simple fluency or vocabulary recognition). Practical resources are used alongside more formal materials. Children are assessed in reasoning (via standardised GL testing methods in line with the Trafford Grammar School Examinations) from the end of Year 1 onwards. This, alongside performance in class work, enables us to closely monitor each child’s progress and to support them appropriately.
Spanish is taught from our Kindergarten 1 class upward by a specialist language teacher. The children begin to understand and reproduce vocabulary and expressions in an authentic accent; having fun in the process. The children become used to the idea of a multicultural and multilingual world through the use of song, movement, finger rhymes and craft activities. As they progress, children learn to read and write in Spanish, and continue to expand their oral skills. While our specialist teacher maintains the fun aspects, children begin to establish a sound framework of elementary grammar. Outside of the classroom, there are also several opportunities throughout the academic year for children to celebrate their learning through whole-school Spanish assemblies and extra-curricular clubs.
Central to school life, music enriches the cultural life of all our children. It plays a central role in preparing them for future life by instilling confidence gained from the many performance opportunities they are given. We have a full-time music teacher, as well as peripatetic teachers who offer tuition in a range of instruments. Our children achieve great success studying towards ABRSM music exams, gaining outstanding results. All the children from KG1 to Form 6 enjoy weekly music lessons studying a variety of exciting topics. They listen to, appraise, sing, play and perform using class instruments. The children also study the traditional methods of musical theory and learn how to compose using ICT music software. There are many extra-curricular music clubs within school including recorder group, string group, guitar group, brass group and choir. Children gain confidence through performing in our many concerts and performances throughout the year; music assemblies, Speech Night Concert and the Christmas Carol Concert held annually at St Andrews Church. The Lower School Nativity and Upper School Summer Show are highly anticipated events each academic year and are thoroughly enjoyed by children, staff and parents alike.
Art offers an opportunity for personal and creative expression. It promotes confidence and problem solving skills. We aim to develop each child’s individual artistic talent, giving our children a wide range of opportunities to work with a variety of materials and media. Children are taught a broad spectrum of skills and processes which are developed through drawing, painting and modelling. We also hope to foster an appreciation and awareness of art history and art from other cultures. Above all, we hope that every child will develop lifelong skills for self-expression through engaging in creative leisure activities. The childrens’ artwork is displayed throughout the school; it is often high-calibre, and commented on regularly by parents, staff and visitors. We have a long and proud tradition of successful outcomes in ISA Art competitions, with awards from the ISA and the Lowry’s Copley Prize. We also host biennial Art exhibitions to celebrate pupils’ work.
At Branwood, we hold Geography in high regard because it enables children to make sense of the world. We support the children in developing a sense of responsibility for the world. Our children learn about their immediate environment and place this in context of the wider world. Children are exposed to a range of human, physical and environmental geography throughout their time at Branwood and they are given the opportunity to revise and secure their geography skills year on year. We help the children to understand the big issues affecting our lives and our world – issues such as the management of risk, diversity, environmental issues, sustainability, and human rights. Additionally, field studies, in the school grounds and the local area form an integral part of the curriculum in all year groups.
We aim to promote an interest and awareness of the past, and to enable the children to appreciate the thoughts, beliefs, motives and actions of people that lived long ago, as well as their resultant legacies. We learn about how Britain has evolved in history, through the studies of different ages; invaders and settlers and the developing monarchy. As well as learning about how other countries and cultures have impacted the growing world that we live in. we hope to give children an insight into how different people, around the world, used to live. The children are not only provided with facts and dates, they are taught to investigate, analyse and consider their own findings and those of others, and respond to them. All these skills are needed to be a successful historian. Learning takes place both in and out of the classroom and we organise many workshops and trips designed to enhance the children’s studies.
At Branwood, we have a commitment to physical health and fitness for all. We employ specialist sports coaches who also run some of our extra-curricular clubs. PE and sports are taught throughout the school, and there are opportunities to try a wide variety of activities. We have excellent facilities, including an indoor sports hall, two large astro turf pitches and a spacious playground marked out for various team sports. To complement the curriculum, sports clubs are regularly run at lunchtime and after school. We also host sports clubs during school holidays. All the clubs are non-selective and open to children of all abilities.
Sports teams compete in a variety of local leagues and ISA tournaments throughout the year. Children are selected to represent the school in netball, cross country, lacrosse, football, athletics and swimming. Our school reputation for success in matches and tournaments is renowned throughout the local area.
The aim of the religious education syllabus is to help the children gain an understanding of the beliefs and traditions of individuals and communities. During RE lessons, children learn about the principal religions represented in the world today. Children’s learning is largely based on the six main world religions; Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism & Judaism. Children are given the opportunity to look at and compare practices, prayers and traditions in these religions. In this way, the children are encouraged to understand and respect the religious, spiritual and moral values of others, while developing their own. We are very interested in, and supportive of, other world faiths, and we encourage questions, discussions and shared opinions in an open and honest environment of which we are very proud. We regard our school values and the context in which the children learn as vitally important, and in doing so we ensure that religious studies are accessible to all children.
PSHE and RSE
We prepare our children to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society, and encourage them to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community. Our personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship curriculum enables children to develop key social and emotional skills. It also allows them to experience the process of democracy and the empowerment of the ‘pupil voice’ in school through membership and contribution to the School Eco Council. We encourage children to take part in a range of practical activities that promote active citizenship. These activities include multiple charity fund-raisers, ‘Living Streets Walk to School’ initiative, peer mentoring (friendship buddies), school assemblies and anti-bullying week. Our children benefit from numerous visits from a range of officials, including the NSPCC and the Coram Education Life Caravan, who meet the children and lead assemblies.
At Branwood, we understand the importance that technology plays in the lives of our children and we aim to build essential life skills in this important curriculum area. Our IT curriculum is taught throughout the school by a specialist IT teacher. Our e-Safety programme encourages the children to use the digital world safely, responsibly and respectfully. IPads and laptops are also used to enhance learning in other areas of the curriculum.
SEND (Special Educational Needs and Physical Disabilities)
The Branwood family is an international one. Our cultural diversity both enriches and makes us proud in equal measures, with roughly a third of our children speaking English as a second language at home. English language support is accounted for within the planning of all lessons and our ethnic diversity is celebrated through whole-school forums, such as PSHEE and language assemblies.