Communication is an invaluable tool, therefore at Claremont the English curriculum is designed to encourage students to express themselves coherently in both the written and spoken mode. One of our objectives is to develop a love and appreciation for Literature amongst our pupils; hence from Pre-Prep they are introduced to a variety of reading resources and are encouraged to develop independence in reading and writing.
In the Prep school, pupils cover a range of topics and texts in line with the national curriculum. Pupils are given an opportunity to enter the Elizabethan and Victorian worlds through the study of Shakespeare and a range of texts written by Victorian authors. They become familiar with the language of both era and develop insights into writers’ craft and use of linguistic devices. They also explore the potency of poetry and begin to analyse the effective use of language.
Pupils are taught the conventions of different styles of writing and are expected to produce their own extended written responses. The importance of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar is also emphasised within the delivery of the curriculum and is embedded in practice.
To further enrich their learning, we arrange trips to places such as the Globe theatre; develop cross curricular projects and participate whole-heartedly in various literary events both locally and nationally. Pupils support our annual book fair by purchasing a significant number of books; they participate in the 1066 Book award where they are required to read up to four books and nominate their favourite. Dhalicious Day, Shakespeare Week and World Book Day are also celebrated each year.
Studying history is important because through studying the past, we can begin to understand our present. While each situation in history is unique, by learning about the past we can delve deeper into what happened and why. It is important to investigate and find out things for yourself: it helps children form their own opinions on WHY something happened and what effect it may have on our lives. It also allows one to exercise critical thinking skills. These are important in all areas of life and studying history allows you to practise writing for different audiences.
At Claremont, we study many different periods of history, but always with the same aims: to inspire a love of history by stimulating children’s curiosity about the way people lived in the past, and to conduct historical enquiry by studying from a wide range of sources. From the site of the Battle of Hastings to the historic Cinque Port of Rye; and from the glorious extravagance of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton to Anne of Cleves House in Lewes, that formed part of Henry VIII’s divorce settlement (Anne was one of the lucky ones!), at Claremont you don’t have to venture far to step into our fascinating past. Rye is one of the best preserved medieval towns in England, home to the famous cobbled Mermaid Street and just twenty minutes down the road. We can experience history first hand by visiting Canterbury Cathedral and standing on the spot where Thomas Becket was brutally murdered. Suffice it to say, our glorious and often bloody past is never far away at Claremont, so in this respect, history really does begin at home.
Learning a foreign language is an investment that lasts a lifetime. It not only improves critical thinking skills and creativity, but it’s a passport to other cultures and a much wider world filled with new experiences, opportunities and friendships.
At Claremont, children begin to learn French in the Nursery through stories, songs and nursery rhymes. This early exposure to the language pays dividends in the Prep School where lessons become more structured and are taught by specialist teachers. The vibrant language of Spanish is introduced in Year 6. The benefits of learning another language also go beyond just knowing how the language works and remembering vocabulary. Opportunities to learn about different cultures where pupils can test out their knowledge in real world situations can make what children learn in the classrooms, so much more valuable. We run Spanish dance, music and drama workshops and have links with many Spanish schools in our ISP family. At Claremont, we are also fortunate to own a house in Saint Omer, Northern France where pupils have an opportunity to put into practice their language skills and knowledge in a fun, authentic and lively manner.
“Geography is about the living, breathing essence of the world we live in. It explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?” Michael Palin
Geography is an essential component in preparing young people for life in the twenty-first century; it has its basis on the interaction between people and places. As our world changes ever more rapidly, and challenges to the environment multiply, a knowledge and understanding of our world and geography is becoming more important in our daily lives. Children are encouraged to consider how people interact with their environment at a range of levels; from local to global. There is an equal balance between the three main areas of geography – human, physical and environmental.
In Years 3 to 5 develop their location knowledge of continents, countries and cultures. From Year 6 children are taught a range of geographical skills in preparation for their senior school entrance exams, such as map skills, photograph interpretation, field sketching, data collection and ICT skills. The syllabus covers topics such as rivers and coasts, volcanoes and earthquakes, weather and climate, sustainable transport, globalisation, population and settlements. The geography department has a cross-curricular approach providing lessons which integrate the knowledge and skills learnt in Science, English, Mathematics and ICT. The School grounds and trips to nearby towns and villages as well as the coast, provide the opportunity for fieldwork activities whenever possible.
Assessment includes topic tests, end of term exams. Pupil progress is also observed within the classroom setting and pupils are taught to self-evaluate and to assess their peers. The feedback from all forms of assessment is provided regularly in a positive and constructive manner.
Religious Education promotes a forum for discussion within the teaching in a way that welcomes the opinions of pupils from all backgrounds, both religious and non-religious.
The department’s objectives are to give pupils: