Year 7 and 8

A new proposal from Windlesham School

Why you should consider year 7 and 8 at Windlesham School 

There are a number of reasons why parents might consider a change to the original education plan they had mapped out for their children. These might vary between changing work circumstances, relocation or a new interest in independent education. Whatever the reason, please take a few minutes to consider the Year 7 and 8 programme Windlesham School is proposing to offer from September 2021.

A Culture of Support 

Windlesham School has always offered education to children from diverse socio-economic, cultural and religious backgrounds. We are a non-selective school. This combined diversity results in a very rich daily experience for the children, and one that is reflective of society at large.

For this diverse community of learners to thrive and be happy, we take a nurturing approach. We keep class sizes small. We have a high adult to pupil ratio. We ensure every child is either supported or extended as appropriate, that no child can fly ‘under the radar’. Children at Windlesham School are consistently described as happy, polite and kind and our School as a small, safe and friendly school. These are signs of a successful education, one in which children feel secure, challenged, valued and rewarded for their efforts. Our staff take time to learn about and celebrate your child’s strengths and to identify and work towards their identified goals.

Facilities

With the recent addition of a new building, the possibility of offering additional year groups is very apt. The School historically numbered many more pupils, at one point in excess of 400. However, this was during a time when larger class sizes were in keeping with the practice at that time. Since then, our culture has developed differently. We now pride ourselves on small classes and a nurturing environment with close guidance from talented staff who offer highly individualised teaching. The aim to increase class sizes is no longer in keeping with what Windlesham is about. Improved facilities allow us to expand ‘vertically’ while keeping true to our culture of individualised education and small class sizes.

Connections 

An additional reason for exploring this proposal is our location; in close vicinity to numerous other colleges offering the same provision. This means that we can enjoy many opportunities to work in partnership in sport and on specialist projects, whether it be an elite netball development squad, a forensic science elective, a pure maths stream, a literature appreciation group or a large strings ensemble. Whatever the nature of the relationship, we can use our links to greatly benefit our children. Connections will also be encouraged with the local community so that children regularly engage with local artists, charities and professional bodies such as health care providers and our new catering company, IFG.

Excellence 

The final reason to choose Windlesham School for year 7 and 8 is because we feel it is something we can do extremely well. We have very talented staff, many of whom already have experience of teaching at this level. We have excellent planning and assessment systems. We have a comprehensive pastoral system and an established culture of hard work and dedication to do the best we can by your children.

Our Priorities 

In designing a programme for year 7 and 8 we are led by three key priorities;

  1. The syllabus and its delivery must be inspiring to learners and the targets set for pupils should be aspirational.
  2. There must be a focus on preparing children for the wider world, by encouraging good citizenship, community engagement, leadership and independence.
  3. The focus of teaching will be on individualised learning – ensuring that pupil’s specific individual needs are met and that pupils become increasingly aware of their profile as learners.

All the details included in this proposal, such as timetables, staffing, electives etc, are in draft form and may be subject to change.

What will year 7 and 8 be called?  

Other parts of the school have their own names such as The Nursery, The Lower School and The Upper School. Year 7 and 8 will be known as The Senior School and the pupils as School Leaders.

The Year 7 and 8 Curriculum 

The syllabus offered at year 7 and 8 will be loosely based on the National Curriculum; taking those topics from the NC which are guaranteed to inspire our pupils and adding others which we know will excite them further. The subjects listed below will be mandatory to all pupils and will form the greater part of the timetable. In addition, listed below these are electives which children will also choose from.

 Mandatory Subjects

English
Maths
Science
Geography/History
Religious Studies and PSHE
MFL (modern foreign languages) in carousel  inc. French, Mandarin, German, Spanish
Art and design technology
Music/drama
Physical education/dance
Games
Swimming
Computing (inc. coding and touch typing)
Current Affairs
Independence, Community and charity

Electives 

To further excite children with studies which will capture their interest, the timetable will include elective subjects. These electives are modules designed to encourage pupils to explore different areas of interest and ultimately to help them define a clearer sense of who they are.

Electives will be offered as modules lasting half a term and will have a different curricular focus. Below, is a sample list of some possible modules which have been proposed by teachers. Links with other independent schools will be made to collaborate on the electives by sharing facilities and expertise.

Environmentalism and sustainability in our local community
Philosophy and debating
Presentation and speaking skills
Animal husbandry and zoology
Forensic science - Who Dunnit?
DNA Extraction
An introduction to chemistry eg. Making perfume and aftershave
Musical theatre
Food technology
Beach School

Personalised Learning

With a smaller cohort comes greater opportunity for personalised education. Each child will begin their year 7 journey by contributing towards their unique PLP (Personal Learning Profile), which identifies their strengths, areas for development, personal interest areas, social preferences and key pastoral information. This PLP will be created in partnership with pupils, parents and school and will help to set appropriate learning targets for the two years ahead. This will help to inform pupils and parents on the difficult choice for year 9 schools, assist pupils to understand their strengths and begin to guide pupils on their future direction. Understanding one’s self is fundamental to making wise decisions in subsequent years about GCSE options and ultimately career choices.

Assessment 

Assessment information will be distilled from two sources. The first set of data is gathered using the assessment systems already in place, proven to regularly provide reliable data concerning both the value added to your child’s education and their achievement relative to their potential.

In addition, practice in ISEB (Independent School Examinations Board) assessments will be introduced. These tests, used for common entrance at both 11+ and 13+, will serve to track your child’s learning trajectory and set realistic goals for future schools.

Sport 

At year 7 and 8, there will be one class in each year group.  To ensure our pupils experience playing competitive sport at a high level, we are exploring a special link to other local independent schools, including Bede’s and Brighton Girls to begin with. This will not only provide the team sport opportunities you would expect at this level, but additional friendship opportunities and a way for children to explore new settings to join at year 9.

Individual sports are likely to include tennis, badminton, trampolining and swimming.

Life Skills 

The year 7 and 8 programme will offer greater scope to gain recognition for progressing in life skills including; understanding types of bank accounts and how credit works, basic outdoor survival, housekeeping skills, negotiating public transport, elementary DIY, life-saving and basic First Aid.

These skills will be offered as units within the curriculum in the subject titled Independence, Community and Charity, and will be mandatory.

In this same subject, pupils will be required to practise good citizenship. One example of this might be participating in the Voices of Youth Initiative, which offers young people an opportunity to contribute thoughts and ideas to the UN’s perspective on current global challenges.

Leadership 

Leadership in our Senior School will be offered in the following ways:

Preparing Children for Life 

Our commitment throughout the School is to prepare children for the next stage of their lives. For year 7 and 8 children this includes a greater focus on helping children to understand more about themselves, it means helping children to develop independence and confidence.

It also means ensuring that children are prepared for the challenge of common entrance exams at 13+. Windlesham School’s track record of preparation for common entrance at 11+ speaks for itself. Our children consistently secure their first choice. It is a programme which begins in Year 4 and slowly builds without stress. This same approach will be continued throughout the Senior School to ensure that children have the best chance of admission to their first choice of school at year 9.

Part of their development will also include moving a significant part of the Senior School syllabus to an online platform so children can manage their learning more independently. The online platform will certainly include all homework provision but potentially will also be used to support other areas of the curriculum such as project work, timetable design, managing deadlines etc. Parents will also have access to this platform.

Fees 

The fees at year 7 and 8 will be set at £4650 per term, these remain the most competitive rates in Brighton at this age level.

However, in the initial year, as a special new start promotion, we will set the fees for the first cohort going through both year 7 and Year 8 at £3950 per term. This will not include fees for school lunches and sundries.

Distinguishing the Seniors from other Pupils

Year 7 and 8 should be distinguished from the rest of the pupil body as the most senior years but at the same time should clearly still be seen as a part of it. We have therefore decided on a subtle sign of their seniority by virtue of a more mature design for their ties.

Next Steps

It is important that the proposal for September ‘21 is given the final go-ahead soon to allow parents to find other options if necessary. We, therefore, ask interested parents to get in touch over the next 4 weeks and arrange a visit or Zoom call with me. This will be an excellent opportunity to answer any questions and to find out more about your child.

Following this period of consultation, we will require parents to make their commitment. This means that parents will need to complete a registration form and pay a £1,000 deposit.

If enough pupils are registered, then by the end of the final week of term, Friday 11th December, we will announce our final intention to either proceed with the year 7 and 8 programme in September 2021 or to postpone for a younger cohort.  If we do not secure enough numbers, all deposits will be refunded. However, should the proposal proceed, due to the immediate financial commitments the School will need to make for staffing and resources, deposits will not be refunded under any other circumstance ie change of mind, offer from another school etc.

To arrange your visit or a Zoom meeting, please contact us using  info@windleshamschool.co.uk 

I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Mr John Ingrassia, Headmaster