The opportunities, facilities and staffing in the Junior School have been vastly expanded in the last couple of years. At times this has got lost in the noise surrounding the Seniors even though many of the changes in the Senior School have been made to protect and enhance the Juniors’ experience and so I thought I would to try to make this a little clearer.
Breadth of Learning
An embedded Enrichment Programme has been developed to enhance the normal extra curricular programme. This includes: Forest School (now up to Year 6), DT (in the workshop), Cookery (in the new facility), and Class Performance, how to present, stop motion animation, Yoga, Pottery, British Sign Language, Community Project and CREST award (project-based science/technology challenge) – all of which either did not exist before or are more regular.
Two years ago, swimming for the Years 5 & 6 children was part of the PE programme on a rotation. It is now a double lesson every week in addition to double PE.
As a result of staff changes, we now have specialists in every subject in the Junior School. We have re-introduced and enhanced Latin. In Drama we now have a production per class (3, 4, 5 and 6) instead of one production per year group and then we also have the Junior School production. This is a 16 fold increase in opportunities.
Also, last year we entered more competitions than ever before.
The previous library was shared with Year 7 & 8. We now have a Junior School specific library. It is located near where the boys and girls pass not far removed from where the Junior School is. The library will see further development, but even as it is, the library is a less remote space designed to increase access.
The new Food Technology Centre is far bigger than the previous one and, again, closer to where the children in the Junior School are.
The fourth Science lab may seem like it is for more Senior School Science. In fact, it is to ensure that the Junior School have their own dedicated lab. A new member of staff, Mrs Pooja Patel, is an additional Science Specialist for the Juniors – previously teaching to A level.
The dining room no longer has Years 7 & 8 in it and so lunch is a calmer affair.
Likewise, the Junior School Art and DT labs no longer share with Years 7 & 8 as they have been for the previous few decades.
I know there has been comment around the children not changing on one day and coming to school in their games kit. This is not to do with changing rooms – we built new changing rooms for everyone two years ago! It is so that the children do not have so much time lost to changing and they quite clearly enjoy the less complicated arrangement. We do anticipate that this is better for the children and means they can benefit from the increased range of opportunities. Time lost in changing is time lost.
With the introduction of a new House System which is more closely allied to Pastoral Care, we now have an additional layer of four House Staff who specifically deal with Pastoral issues in 4, 5 & 6. Mr Rhodes, returned today from paternity leave, is not only a new form teacher, but the liaison between Years 2 & 3 to ensure that the transition from Pre-Prep to Prep is as smooth as possible.
It has been difficult to communicate all of these things as there are so many! In short, however, the Junior School has a wider range of experience than at any other previous time and considerable care has been put into enhancing the facilities, as well as the experience.
Junior School includes Nursery to Year 6 and Senior School includes Years 7 to 10.