Opportunities are provided for children to study a wide range of subjects, to develop the dispositions that will support their enjoyment in learning and to have high quality teaching experiences and excellent resources to support these aims.
To encourage a love of learning for its own sake; to inspire young child to be positively and actively engaged in their learning and promote the idea of becoming life-long learners there are many cultural pursuits that challenge and stimulate the children. These include sport, music, art and drama.
The prep shares in the inheritance of a rich Benedictine tradition, in which learning and scholarship are prized. It is natural that the study of Christian Theology is central to the curriculum aims of a Catholic Benedictine School. This includes respecting the beliefs of non-Catholic boys and girls. We encourage children to share their ideas and we promote classrooms where there is a lively, articulate and critical approach to all that is offered. The school offers a comprehensive programme of PSHCE which covers a wide variety of moral and social issues. Our approach has ensured that this support stays with students long after they have left the College.
We take a whole-school approach to teaching and learning which ensures that subject matter and teaching styles are adjusted appropriately. The school asks much from children who are able, and supports children’s weaknesses. Departmental schemes of work provide for this differentiation. Reporting to parents and children follows a cycle; teaching and learning are monitored and evaluated regularly. Pupil progress is recorded and through the school’s tracking and grading procedures systematic support is offered and children are supported in working towards achieving individual targets.
On entry all pupils are given a baseline assessment. The results of these tests form the basis for developing the appropriate early targets for learning. Accompanied by classroom differentiation and regular formative assessments the school ensures that children get the right amount of stretch and challenge to suit their individual needs.
The timetable operates on children receiving 40 minute lessons, for five and a half days per week. There are 44 lessons in a week and of these 12 are for games/sports, one is a form tutor meeting, leaving 31 lessons for the academic curriculum. Currently, the school has a set of iPads which are stored in a moveable trolley for use in lessons. There is also a fully equipped IT laboratory and each classroom also has at least one PC and interactive whiteboard. The use of technology is to complement and enhance pedagogy; not to replace it.
Our Pre Prep has its own EYFS and Key Stage 1 curriculum. Our Key Stage 2 curriculum starts in Year 3 but the provision extends beyond the National Curriculum. Children in Years 3 to 5 study: Christian Theology, English, Mathematics, Science, French, History/Geography, Music, Art/DT, Information Technology and Physical Education. The teaching is mainly via a form tutor, but specialist teaching is provided for French, Music and PE.
In Years 6 to 8 children still have a form tutor who is the primary point of contact for parents. Form tutors take responsibility for monitoring the academic and pastoral needs of their tutees. Subjects are taught by subject specialists and include: Christian Theology, English Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, French, History, Geography, Latin, Greek, Classical Civilisation, Music, Art, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Physical Education.
Class sizes at St Martin’s Ampleforth are small. Children are set for learning but this is assessed regularly and individual needs sometimes require movement from one set to another. Support for learning is provided in several ways, including opportunities for children to get extra help for topics they find difficult; opportunities for enrichment for those who want to ‘reach for the sky’. Clubs and activities provide opportunities for children to pursue academic interests out of set lessons and to develop their communication and thinking skills. Children undertake their prep (homework) at school for an hour each evening and these sessions provide opportunities for further support as well as the chance to learn how to become a better independent learner. Children’s needs are assessed for this important part of the day when work, based on the day’s lessons is set for them to practice and review.