Senior Preparatory Curriculum
Our school community is built on traditional values but, as a place of learning, we embrace innovation in how best we deliver our curriculum to our pupils. Academic success is of vital importance but so to is the fostering of character traits and personal qualities that enable our pupils to become active learners, inspirational role models and self motivated young people.
The Terra Nova Baccaluarate
The curriculum delivered to our pupils is supported by “The Terra Nova Baccalaureate”, a framework that underpins our school’s curriculum and supports our aspirations for our pupils. Each pupil owns a portfolio which tracks the progress of their academic achievement in eight key areas of learning against core or “life” skills. To give a specific example: In the subject of science and computing, how well does a pupil demonstrate their ability to be:
In the Senior Preparatory School, pupils are increasingly expected to independently review their own portfolio and areas of learning and use this to set targets for their onward progression in each area of learning. Using the Terra Nova Baccalaureate, the importance of demanding not only academic achievement and excellent results is balanced with the importance of developing your child’s whole character simultaneously…… thus grows the Terra Novian all-rounder.
Academic success is at the core of all we do. Our small class sizes combined with our individual approach ensures that all children achieve their full academic potential. Children in Year 5 – 8 enjoy specialist teaching in all subjects. The children are exposed to a broad range of subjects which they learn about in depth.
Strategies for stretching and supporting our pupils are implemented. With increased focus on your child’s secondary school, Terra Nova supports its pupils in preparing for both day and boarding school entrance examinations which they sit at either 11 or 13 years of age. For more information on specific subjects see below:
The Literate Thinker
Pupils learn to write in a variety of styles which, along with regular comprehension, spelling and grammar activities and 11+/13+ preparation where appropriate, provide opportunities for pupils to become confident and skillful in their use of the English language. This forms an excellent foundation for:
- learning across the whole curriculum
- the ability to communicate effectively in their future school years and beyond
- a lifelong love of literature.
In Years 7&8 pupils build on the solid grounding they will have gained in previous years at Terra Nova. The 13+ syllabus presents a new set of challenges and gives the pupils lots of new targets to aim for. The academic theory is accompanied by lots of stimulating practical work to reinforce learning. By the end of Year 8, pupils have an excellent working knowledge and are capable of independently carrying out investigations. There is an extra session available each week for the scholarship candidates. As well as an accelerated passage through the syllabus, candidates are encouraged to read much more widely around the subject and discuss new developments and discoveries in the scientific world in general.
Years 7s & 8s focus firmly on preparing for exams to senior schools at 13+, common entrance and public school scholarship examinations. There are three levels to the common entrance exam giving all pupils scope to show what they can do. Preparing and sitting the higher level papers gives our pupils an excellent grounding for their GCSE exams. Pupils who are preparing to sit scholarships are encouraged to attend an extra “scholarship” class once a week. Again, the opportunity to compete against pupils across the land is provided in the form of the UK Junior Maths Challenge. The preparation for this is supported through the work done in other subjects, where the grounding in the disciplines of each will enable a pupil to make a strong impact when he or she moves on to the senior school of their choice.
This academic year, Years 5 & 6 children have had the opportunity to study a term of German, Spanish and Latin.
In year 7&8 pupils continue to develop skills to enable them to thrive in their lessons, their independent study and their forthcoming examinations. Children are prepared for entrance examinations at 11 & 13+ to day schools and the common entrance examination for boarding schools.
Year 7 pupils visit Château de la Baudonnière in Normandy during the summer term. Pupils are fully immersed in language and culture for a whole week and reap the linguistic and character building rewards in Year 8.
At the end of the summer term, Year 8 visit the Ardeche for their “activity week” in celebration of the end of their exams and as their ‘last hurrah’ whilst at Terra Nova school!
The Historian, The Geographer & The Religious Studies student
In the Senior Section of Terra Nova, the three Humanities subjects of History, Geography and Religious Studies work closely together and, through the TN Baccalaureate, plan dynamic, wide-ranging and enjoyable learning opportunities for pupils of all abilities. Although each subject is timetabled separately, the department actively seeks to provide cross-curricular links and focus; for example the Middle East and the socio-political consequences of the Crusades in a region that still reverberates with unrest today manifest through religious extremism and radicalisation.
The historian, W.G. Hoskins, once wrote that ‘history cannot be studied without getting mud on one’s boots’. Learning outside the classroom is a very important aspect of the Humanities’ curriculum. There exists a plethora of heritage and opportunity, to inspire and engage our pupils, right on our doorstep. Recent visits include: The Grosvenor Museum, Tatton Park, The National Emergency Services Museum, Norton Priory, Stockport Air Raid Shelters, Manchester Jewish Museum, Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Liverpool Maritime and World Museums, The Draper’s Field Study Centre and, of course, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.
In Year 7&8, pupils are encouraged to extend their knowledge of processes and techniques relating these to artists and designers in the workplace. Gallery visits support and enhance learning. Weekly Art and DT Clubs are available, potential scholars work in small groups to develop high quality portfolios of work over the two years. Our success rate in achieving scholarships to senior independent schools is extremely high. Sketchbooks and folders are used as visual and creative tools to inform project work. Our wide ranging curriculum encompasses techniques as varied as ceramics, precious metal jewellery, textiles, CAD/CAM as well as the more traditional painting, drawing and making skills.
The Performing Artist
In the classroom, all children have the opportunity to perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions. Every child from Year 3 upwards will take part in at least one full scale musical theatre production per year. Class lessons are also used to learn the various songs and choreography for each production. Past productions have included Oliver!, Bugsy Malone, Pirates of Penzance, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz.
At Terra Nova we have a team of 11 highly qualified peripatetic music teachers, who deliver lessons on a range of instruments. Each term we hold a music recital for both the Junior and Senior children in our Jodrell Room, to showcase pupils’ talents. We enter pupils for the ABRSM music exams and have a strong record of gaining Merits and Distinctions. We have three large choirs at the school, who all perform regularly at school concerts, special services, and competitions. The Chamber Choir (Years 6-8) have performed in Rome and Bruges and will be undertaking a tour of Paris next year.
From Year 5 onwards, children will compose and record their ideas using our music technology suite. The children are taught to use the software Cubase to explore how music is created and create their own exciting ideas. Children are encouraged to attend our Music technology club, M:Tech, to further enhance their skills.
We also encourage pupils to enter local music festivals, such as the Alderley Edge Festival and the Heaton Mersey Festival. Terra Nova pupils enjoyed terrific success at the recent Bowden Festival and regularly participate in festivals of this nature. Speech & Drama lessons are also available privately at school.