Curriculum

We are a one form entry school with a maximum of 24 girls in each class. However, the pupils benefit from having a number of half class lessons across the curriculum which enable the staff to do detailed work and address specific learning needs, whether through extension or support.

English

From Nursery to Year 4, the girls are taught by their form tutors.  In Years 5 and 6, girls are taught by a subject specialist and, for part of this time, are taught in half classes.

A strong emphasis is placed on developing reading and writing skills, using a phonetic approach in the Early Years. Our girls are encouraged to read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, making use of our well-stocked class libraries and our whole school library. The girls’ reading is greatly enhanced by our Home/School Reading Partnership, whereby parents, carers and grandparents regularly come into school to listen to readers. Book Week and World Book Day activities, regular visits and authors’ workshops help to engender a love of literature and a passion for reading. From Year 1, girls have weekly comprehension lessons where they learn to look closely at what they are reading and as they get older, reflect on what they are reading.

Writing skills are developed in Nursery and Reception through topic work.  From Year 1, the girls have weekly composition lessons where they learn to write in the styles of different genres, both non-fiction and non-fiction. Grammar and punctuation are also taught lessons and the girls are expected to apply what they have learnt to their written work in all areas of the curriculum. From Year 1, pupils have separate spelling lessons and tests. Pupils are prepared for using cursive script in Nursery and Reception and fluency in handwriting is developed in Key Stages 1 and 2.

Our pupils are encouraged to voice their own ideas clearly and with confidence and to listen to and respect the opinions of others. All girls regularly participate in productions and class assemblies, growing their speaking, listening and drama skills.

Maths

We aim to produce competent and confident mathematicians. In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, the girls are encouraged to use the wide range of practical resources available to support their learning and promote understanding of the concepts involved. They are gradually introduced to more abstract concepts and learn to record their work clearly and logically.

Calculation skills, investigation, problem solving and application of maths to real-life situations form a key part of the work undertaken by our girls. Throughout their time at Sarum Hall, there is an emphasis on acquiring strong mental maths skills.

Girls in Years 5 and 6 have the opportunity to represent the school in maths competitions, such as the Maths Belmont Challenge. They also enjoy taking part in the Mathematical Association Primary Maths Challenge where girls regularly make it through to the finals and secure medals.

The school has a Maths Calculation Policy to ensure continuity and progression in maths skills throughout our school.

Science

In the Early Years, science is taught largely as part of the specific area of ‘Understanding the World’ but is also integrated into many of the other areas. From Year 3, girls are taught by a subject specialist. Our large, well-equipped laboratory allows the girls to carry out experiments and to test their scientific predictions.

The girls are helped to connect the science that they learn in the laboratory with the world around them. They make bread, butter, ice cream, fizzy drinks and film canister rockets, as well as making and designing parachutes and rafts to investigate forces. Our Year 6 girls design and make toys with electrical circuits using motors and LEDs to allow their creations to move and light up.

Our pond and garden areas are invaluable for pond dipping and mini-beast hunts, as well as for growing our own fruit and vegetables. Every Spring, we incubate a number of hens’ or ducks’ eggs and the whole school watches their progress from egg to chick or duckling.

We participate in National Science and Engineering Week activities and the British Science Association CREST award scheme, with girls from Reception to Year 6 working towards Star and Superstar awards.

Art & Design

The arts are integral to Sarum Hall life and we believe that art provision is hugely important for children’s education from Nursery to Year 6.

Our aim is to make art fun and exciting and to provide an environment in which pupils can express their ideas in a positive and constructive way.  Cross-curricular links are made with music, dance, humanities and modern foreign languages.

Art provides a good opportunity for girls to work independently, exploring different skills and trying out a variety of media with confidence. Pupils have the opportunity to draw, paint,  do collage, sculpture, mosaic pottery and work with textiles. Lessons are designed to enrich the girls’ knowledge and understanding of art and full advantage is taken of the school’s location, with frequent visits to galleries and museums. Practical workshops are regularly organised with visiting artists.

In Nursery and Reception, art is taught by form tutors in a cross-curricular and thematic way through the specific area ‘Expressive Art and Design’. In Year 1, art is taught by the form tutor and is primarily topic based. From Year 2, art is taught by a specialist teacher, in half classes in our light and spacious art room, enabling girls to work on a large scale and with ambition. The art room is well resourced and equipped, including a kiln and printing press.

Sarum Hall has been awarded Artsmark status across four art forms: art, music, drama and dance. The award process was rigorous and pointed out that “Provision well exceeds the criteria”.

Computing

We believe that the use of technology enriches children’s learning experiences, both as a tool and as a source for research and information.

Our innovative IT classroom is designed to encourage every girl to become a confident, autonomous user of a wide range of technological resources and to gain an understanding of the role that technology plays in 21st-century life. In the face of continually changing hardware and software today’s pupils require transferable, flexible skills that they can apply to numerous situations. Discussion, sharing of experiences and collaborative work are important elements of extended projects.

The pupils use G-Suite tools including Google Classroom as well as other online educational tools such as Purple Mash to enhance their learning experience.

From Reception onwards every pupil has a weekly lesson. From Year 2 onwards pupils have computing in the Computer Suite with the subject specialist. The girls use applications creatively, produce engaging presentations, videos, photography, audio recordings and animations along with acquiring skills to help support work in other curriculum subjects.

The pupils are also taught about the history of computing and to understand our digital heritage, i.e. key developments and influential inventors.

Simple programming is introduced in Reception where programmable toys are used to develop control skills. As the girls progress through the school these skills are extended, leading to the ability to program simple computer games, building their understanding of computational thinking and problem solving.

At the very core of our e-safety curriculum at Sarum Hall is knowing how to identify when things are unsafe and where to go if pupils find themselves in a situation they are uncomfortable with. The girls are given tools they need to develop their own sense of digital wellbeing. Sensible and monitored use of the internet in school encourages discussion about its benefits and drawbacks, and this in turn feeds into project work. An emphasis is placed on the understanding of responsible and safe use of online tools in order to help pupils become responsible digital citizens.

Design and Technology

Our design and technology curriculum gives the girls practical skills to use simple tools and equipment safely. They are encouraged to talk about how things work, to draw and model their ideas and to select appropriate tools and techniques for making a product. Our goal is to foster enjoyment, satisfaction and purpose in designing and making. We make cross curricular links with computing, art and design, science and other subjects.

Design and technology is taught by form tutors in Nursery and Reception, through the specific areas ‘Expressive Art and Design’ and ‘Understanding the World’. From Year 1, the curriculum largely involves design and construction with increasing emphasis on investigating materials and developing skills particularly in joining materials and handling tools. From Year 3, projects include paper and felt making, constructing wooden moving toys, making puppets, building electrical toys and money containers, designing and making kites, rockets, animal homes and painting silk cushions.

Design and technology lessons also incorporate food technology. The school has it very own Food Studio which classes use. We aim to give all of the girls three practical cooking experiences during each academic year. In these sessions, pupils discover a love of cooking, as well as learn the importance of health and safety whilst preparing food. They also learn about eating a healthy, balanced diet and about the different food groups. There are often cross-curricular links or girls prepare food based on topics. Some of the things the girls design and make are: bread, fruit and vegetable kebabs, pizzas, a Roman feast, space krispies, a cocoa or banana based Rainforest dish, crumble and a rationing based dish.

Diversity & Inclusion

‘In diversity there is beauty and there is strength’ – Maya Angelou

We recognise that every member of our community brings an exciting individuality to the life of the School and we actively promote the benefits of a collaborative approach at Sarum Hall. We want everyone to flourish through a sense of belonging and we create a diverse and inclusive environment which encourages children to be curious and embrace innovation, whilst striving for excellence and making a positive contribution to society. All pupils are encouraged to be open to change and develop the resilience and skills that are required to lead happy, healthy, active, creative and fulfilling lives. We want every member of our school community to feel valued and included.

However, we strongly believe that this approach needs to be embedded into our daily routines and overall curriculum in order for it to have the desired impact. Our Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator ensures that diversity is taught and implemented both in and out of school and helps to facilitate relevant projects in conjunction with the PSHEE Coordinator. Our aim is to promote a culture of curiosity and an understanding of the need for inclusion and acceptance of our individual place within society.

Geography

Our geography curriculum provides a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live and how it has evolved. Our study of geography explores the relationship between the Earth and its people. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, it is taught as part of cross-curricular topics; from Year 1, geography is taught as a discrete subject.

Geography lessons stimulate curiosity and imagination by developing geographical skills, understanding and knowledge through studying places and themes. We study local areas and current issues and extend these studies into the wider world. The children learn to use maps to locate cities, countries, mountain ranges, rivers, seas and oceans. They use atlases, photography and the internet to explore the environment and economics of those countries which they study. Cross-curricular links are made through music, art, history and dance and the girls benefit from regular field study trips to support and enhance their learning.

History

Our history curriculum aims to give girls a sense of the importance of past events and how these have influenced today’s society. Studying history refines the girls’ skills in independent research, evaluation and the ability to draw logical, fact-based conclusions.

History is topic based until Year 1, when it is taught as a discrete subject. The girls study a range of areas covering British history and the world beyond. Topics include: changes in Britain from Stone Age to the Iron Age, the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain, Britain’s settlement by the Anglo-Saxons and Scots, Aztecs, Tudors, Early Islamic Civilisation and Britain in the 1930s and beyond. The topics are reviewed and updated regularly and cross-curricular links are maintained with music, art, dance, geography, RE and literature.

Our pupils look at historical artefacts and are encouraged to use the internet as a resource, as well as questioning the validity of source materials. They learn the importance of planning, logical sequencing and supporting arguments through evidence. The subject is supported outside the classroom by activities including workshops, visits to museums and places of historical importance, history days and presentations from guest speakers.

Modern Foreign Languages

The girls learn French, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. They gain confidence, fluency and spontaneity, laying the foundations for further foreign language learning. We also celebrate the diversity of languages in our school community and often have a Day of Languages.

French

French is taught to all girls from Reception. The focus is on practical communication and the emphasis is on speaking and listening, so that pupils learn to ask and answer questions and develop accurate intonation and pronunciation. From Year 3, reading and writing in French are developed, building on listening and speaking skills and vocabulary learning.  Pupils learn through communicative games and activities and develop an appreciation of stories, songs, poems and rhymes. Independent work enables them to manipulate the language and engage in conversations.  Basic grammar is introduced where relevant, depending on the topic being studied.

There are strong cross-curricular links and from Y​ear 3 girls take part in an annual French assembly. In the summer term, Year 6 girls spend a week in Normandy where they experience French culture and have the opportunity to practise their language skills.

Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is taught in Years 4 and 5. The focus is on speaking and listening and the girls also learn to write characters.  At the end of Year 5, the girls sit the ISEB Common Entrance Exam Level 1.

Spanish

In the final term of Year 6, our pupils have the chance to learn some basic Spanish.

Music

The Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum form the basis of our music curriculum and we widely enhance it to enable our girls to experience a broad range of music. All music lessons take place in our dedicated music room and are taught by the Head of Music.

From the age of six, girls are able to opt for instrumental lessons; currently on offer are piano, violin, cello, saxophone, woodwind and singing. Peripatetic music teachers teach individual lessons, music ensembles and assist the orchestra.

We have two music assemblies each week, one for music appreciation and one for performance. Girls of any standard perform.

Associated Board exams are taken each term, and the consistently high standards achieved by the girls reflect the high quality of teaching. Our girls consistently gain music scholarships for their chosen senior schools.

Music groups

The Junior and Senior choir meet as an after school club. There are ensembles according to the instruments being learned, including string, cello and wind groups, as well as a chamber ensemble. There is also a Junior string group, for violin and cello beginners, a recorder group and a flute group. Musical theory classes occur during lunch breaks and before school for girls working towards Grades 1 to 5.

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE)

Education for Social Responsibility underpins our ethos of looking after ourselves, each other and the environment. Through our curriculum and culture, we develop values, promote social and emotional well-being and take responsibility for preparing our girls for their future.

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) is delivered by everyone who works at our school through explicit and implicit lessons and activities. Assemblies based on PSHEE themes allow for whole-school discussion. We strive to teach our girls the skills and processes which will enable them to be happy and fulfilled individuals in a healthy, supportive environment. The curriculum actively promotes the fundamental British Values and incorporates the issues of social, moral, spiritual, cultural, mental and physical development.​

When the Year 6 girls complete the 11+ examinations, increased emphasis is placed on PSHEE in helping girls prepare for life at their senior school and beyond.

When appropriate, specialist teachers and speakers are brought in from outside organisations.  Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is delivered by form tutors and the Headmistress at an age-appropriate level.

Physical Education

Physical Education (PE) is taught from Nursery to Year 6. We have a purpose built, fully equipped gymnasium, a netball court and four short tennis courts. Swimming lessons take place at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre nearby.

We aim to deliver a balanced PE programme that provides pupils with the opportunity to acquire and develop skills in a range of activities, such as gymnastics, dance, games, core/multi-skills, athletics, cricket, rounders, football and swimming. Our environment allows and encourages girls to be physically active so that they become skilful and intelligent performers, as well as raising their awareness of the benefits of sport and an active lifestyle. Our girls’ participation in PE also contributes hugely to personal qualities such as self-esteem, confidence, tolerance, cooperation and empathy. Pupils are given guidance to become independent learners, creative thinkers and problem solvers. Our pupils have the opportunity to represent the school in team sports matches from Year 4 to Year 6.

Religious Education

We promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through the teaching of religious education. All girls explore the beliefs and practices within Christianity and other world religions including Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism.

Assemblies, although Christian based, also reflect the diversity of religious festivals and practices that are celebrated in our school. The whole school community attends and participates in annual Christmas and Harvest Services at St Mary’s Church, a local church with which we have close links. We also support a range of charities and communities both locally and abroad.

Religious education is taught by form tutors from Nursery to Year 4, where cross-curricular themes are developed. From Year 5, the subject is taught by a specialist humanities teacher. The girls have the opportunity to handle religious artefacts and their knowledge and understanding is strengthened by numerous visits to religious buildings and sites.

“Why did we choose Sarum Hall? Its reputation and our observations on the school’s value system and pastoral care, and how they raise the girls in addition to educating them. Also their commitment to music, the arts and extra-curricular activities.”

Sarum Hall parent

“I think she is being extremely well taught in a very nurturing environment.”

 

Sarum Hall parent

“My daughter is happy and enjoys her school experience immensely. She often surprises us with the breadth of her knowledge.”

Sarum Hall parent

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