S. Anselm's

A full boarding and day school for boys and girls from Nursery to 16

Headmaster's Letter to Parents

Headmaster's Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,

 With the new school year well underway and pupils getting back into the swing of things, we thought it would be beneficial to give further detail of the changes that have been made to the timetable and the school day.  The changes aim to provide the pupils with a more balanced and ultimately better curriculum.  A considerable amount of thought and collaboration has gone into the changes.

The main changes are as follows:

·         In Year 1, Year 2 and Junior Forms we move to a project-based curriculum with lessons blocked on the timetable as ‘Form’ lessons – this is time spent with class teachers working on creative projects which may run for a week or weeks, a half term or a full term.  During this time English, History, Geography, RS, and PSHE will be taught and will all be linked to a specific project outcome. Science, Art, Maths and Music will continue to be taught as discrete subjects, however these will link to projects where appropriate.  Junior Form pupils will benefit from a double science lesson in a science laboratory each week.

·         Children in Years 3-5 will have a single Latin lesson each week so that they can be introduced to a new area of the curriculum, this will initially focus more on learning and reading about classical civilisations. 

·         The Innovation Centre, comprising the Lego Education Innovation Studio, has now opened.  This is a wonderful facility which the children have already all started to enjoy.  The focus of the Centre will be to build the basics of coding, programming and robotics understanding from an early age.  The Centre has a full bank of computers and Ipads together with Lego We-Do, Lego EV3 and 3D printing.  K’Nex kits have also arrived e.g. Bridge Building and Renewable Energy kits, which will support the project based curriculum from Year 1 to Year 5, as well as supporting other subjects throughout the school such as science. Every class in the school will have at least 1 Coding lesson each week in the Innovation Centre. 

·         In years 6-8 we have increased the amount of maths and science taught so that we can move towards greater emphasis on the STEM subjects, whilst maintaining the balance of teaching in other key areas e.g. English and languages.  These year groups will have a specific lesson of PSHE (Personal, Social, and Health Education) taught each week and lessons are timetabled at the same time during the week within year groups so that if necessary, depending on the subject matter, classes can be split into different groups. 

·         In order to accommodate the changes we felt were necessary and beneficial, the number of periods each day have been increased from 7 periods to 9.  The first period of the day starts slightly earlier and morning break has been shortened by 5 minutes to accommodate the extra lesson.  Lunch remains the same and a short break has been included in the afternoon for a snack and some fresh air.

·         Extras will no longer run on Thursday afternoons.  However, children will still have many opportunities to take part in various activities.  Swim squad will run twice a week, there are various musical ensembles during the school day also LAMDA, pottery, gymnastics, Karate, cricket nets and obviously the usual sports matches and theatre trips etc.  Children in Pre-Prep continue to benefit from a variety of Extras running from 3.20-4pm from Monday to Thursday.  Children who attend Saturday school also have the opportunity to become involved in a wide range of creative activities e.g. art, programming, Lego activities, and those who board benefit from a whole host Sunday activities such as fishing, archery, quad-biking, sailing and much more.  The project-based curriculum from Year 1 to Year 5 will also be supported by a number of trips or outside speakers and agencies coming into school each term.  Other year groups will also continue to go on trips to support other subject areas.

We feel these changes will mean the pupils have access to a wider curriculum with a good balance between different subject areas.  The introduction of a project based curriculum from Year 1 to Year 5 will also make learning more purposeful and engaging, as projects will have a specific outcome be it for example a performance, a product, or a celebration.  

This is an exciting time for pupils and teachers at S. Anselm’s.  We hope you too will enjoy watching and joining in with your children’s learning.

With kind regards,

Peter Phillips

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