THE CURRICULUM AT BEESTON
The curriculum at Beeston is designed to enable every pupil to reach his or her potential.
It is to suit the grounded all-rounder and is largely determined by the schools the children leave us for at the end of Year 8 – in our case senior schools locally and across the nation, such as Ampleforth, Eton, Gresham’s, Harrow, Norwich School, Oundle, Sheringham High, Stowe, Tudor Hall, Uppingham, Wymondham College and others. As the only stand alone 7+ boarding and day prep school in Norfolk we are uniquely positioned to find the right school to suit each child.
These schools require pupils who are purposefully engaged, resourceful, independent but able to work in teams. The range of teaching and learning strategies we use, both indoors and outdoors, mean pupils learn to think for themselves, to solve problems, to see that failure and getting it wrong are just as important as getting it right. Through the confidence the children develop from ‘having a go’ comes the achievements they celebrate as they leave us for their next schools.
Last year 65% of our leavers gained scholarships to 8 different schools, including Gresham’s, Oundle, Rugby and Tudor Hall.
This process starts in the Pre-Prep school and continues in Years 3 and 4 where the day begins with hour-long literacy and numeracy sessions, followed by reading time. English, mathematics and the humanities are delivered by the form teacher as discrete subjects, with specialist teachers taking the children for French, art, music, DT and computing.
All the subjects on the curriculum – English, French, Latin, maths, physics, chemistry, biology, history and geography, art and music, DT and computing, PE and sport – are taught by specialists in discrete classes from Year 5 upwards. The classes are small, set where appropriate, reflecting the requirements of the Common Entrance and scholarship exams at 13+, with children aided where necessary by a remarkably well-resourced Learning Support department.
What makes a school’s curriculum different is the diversity of its delivery. At Beeston we have staff with 40 years’ experience and staff with four; a close-knit Common Room where the oldest learns from the youngest and vice versa. From chalk and talk to Powerpoint, from abacus to Mathletics, from screen to sea shore, the variety of delivery ensures we cater for the many ways in which children learn, showing them the importance of individuality and personality – traits which we want them to inherit and nurture.
So yes, we are immensely proud of our record – last year 65% of our leavers gained scholarships to 8 different schools, but our greater hope is that all pupils have moved on proud of what Beeston achieved for them and they achieved for Beeston, ready to take on the challenges ahead. If the curriculum at Beeston is traditional, its delivery is distinctive and we can proudly proclaim the school motto – floreat fiducia (let confidence flourish).
All children sit baseline data tests in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, maths and English at the start of each year. The children have teacher-based assessments for effort and attainment twice a term which are sent out to parents. In Years 3 and 4 assessment is low key, based on end of unit tests in literacy and numeracy. Year 5 continue with subject teacher assessments in class and also sit academic exams in the summer term in the core subjects. In Year 6 the summer examinations are in all academic subjects. In preparation for the Common Entrance or scholarship/entrance exams, Year 7 have full exams in both the Lent and summer terms and Year 8 have full exams in the Michaelmas term and mock examinations in the Lent. There are reports each term for all children.
“He showed great resilience and felt completely prepared by both the targeted scholarship help and also the general wider Beeston experience – nothing seemed to daunt him.”
Year 8 Parent