Recognised as being of paramount importance throughout the curriculum English is taught both as a subject in its own right but also as a tool for instruction and learning in all other areas of the curriculum. Our pupils develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. In each of these areas we aim to provide a breadth and depth of experience with a high quality of content. The overriding objective of the English curriculum is to enable pupils to develop to the full their ability to use and understand language. Buxlow endeavours to capture the vivid imaginations and stimulate further the many raw skills our pupils possess in a variety of ways reaching far beyond normal classroom teaching. Our annual Book Week is approached enthusiastically by all the children, not to mention staff! The week includes such events as a visit from an author, writing competitions, spoken poetry competitions, a costume parade, story-telling, book sharing and many other delights. It is but one component of a robust and vibrant programme.
The study of Mathematics provides pupils with ways of viewing and making sense of the world, analysing and communicating ideas, and tackling a range of practical tasks and real-life problems. At Buxlow we encourage each pupil to develop the skills to use Mathematics confidently. Through a combination of developing skills in mental calculation, direct teaching, relevant activity and investigative work pupils are able to enjoy this area of study. Mathematics involves the study of quantity, structure, space and change. Its centrality to human advancement means that it is not only a core subject in its own right, but is incorporated into other areas of the curriculum, such as Geography, Music and Science. It is the means of communicating complex ideas as well as the tool for further investigation and development. The syllabus covers; number systems and place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion, algebra, measurement, geometry and statistics. Each year group studies these topics, revisiting and building on current knowledge each year. Each topic is covered in greater depth as a pupil progresses through the School. Teaching in Year 6 includes extension into the KS3 curriculum where this is approprate. As a core subject, Mathematics is examined at 11+. Additional tuition is timetabled prior to examinations, to ensure that all pupils are thoroughly prepared.
The principal focus of Science teaching at Buxlow is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the world around them. They are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice and to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. The study of Science at Buxlow involves learning about; working scientifically, plants, animals, materials, seasons, habitats, rocks, light, magnets, states of matter, sound, electricity, earth and space, forces, evolution and inheritance.
At Buxlow our Physical Education programme is taught by an experienced specialist PE teacher and it aims to ensure that all pupils develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities, are physically active for sustained periods of time, engage in competitive sports and activities and lead healthy and active lives. Skills are developed and employed to enjoy a range of sports including football, rounders, cricket, netball, athletics, gymnastics, orienteering, tag rugby, tennis, hockey cross-country and swimming. Pupils at Buxlow enjoy an extensive swim programme, swimming once a week for three years of their school career. Interschool competitions with sister ILG schools are organised and opportunities for individual excellence available through our membership of the ISA (Independent Schools Association). Engagement with special events such as Jumpathon keeps PE front of mind in our school community as does the healthy House Competition that takes place each Wednesday afternoon during games.
Art and Design
offers experiences, forms of communication and ways of learning that differ from other areas of the curriculum, there is never a wrong answer. The subject helps to stimulate each pupil’s natural creativity and imagination. Through experimentation and teaching, pupils learn how to handle a wide range of tools, media and techniques that they combine to communicate what they see, think and feel. Art helps to develop important qualities in learning, the ability to think, perceive, record, articulate thoughts and feelings and to work through problems. The projects planned encourage the children to be independent thinkers enabling them to express complex and original ideas and to make personal responses to the world around them. Through the making of art pieces the children’s personalities can blossom, their powers of observation increase and their aesthetic awareness develop. We aim to develop children’s understanding of the basic elements of art and design taught through an exciting mix of varied projects both 2D and 3D. We help to increase their confidence in the subject and foster an interest and enjoyment of art that will continue to grow throughout their lives. We encourage children to develop a knowledge and appreciation of a wide range of art and design both in its historical and cultural context and help them to apply this knowledge to inform and expand their own work.
At Buxlow, Computing is taught by an experienced specialist Computing teacher. Computing aims to prepare all children to participate in a rapidly changing society in which work and other forms of activity are technologically rich. There is greater focus on computational thinking and creativity as well as many opportunities to express knowledge using programming and digital media as tools. There are three main aspects of the Computing curriculum: Computer Science (CS), Information Technology (IT) and Digital Literacy (DL). The units introduced within ‘Computing’ lessons ensure that all three aspects of the Computing Curriculum are covered and developed in a project based task. These projects are often linked with the class topics, which make lessons relevant and enhance the learning within the classroom. Computing lessons at Buxlow provide pupils with the opportunity to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of Computer Science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. Pupils also learn to evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies and to solve problems analytically as well learn how to be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
In our Design and Technology week at Buxlow we give pupils the opportunityto participate in different types of technologies, giving them encouragement to think creatively. Pupils are required to become problem solvers, working both individually and in groups. We develop pupils’ designing and construction skills that they can then combine with specific knowledge and understanding in order to make quality products. We offer the children a range of different technologies as they progress through the school, including woodwork, textiles, mechanisms, electrical controls and food technology. These areas are delivered in a range of different ways. Younger pupils may make puppets, vehicles, model playgrounds and learn more about fruit and vegetables. Older pupils may make photo frames, moving storybooks, moving monsters and investigate different sandwich fillings as well as make musical instruments, moving toys and biscuits. All of these topics draw upon knowledge and skills from other curriculum areas, particularly Art, Mathematics, Science and ICT.We also offer a Design and Technology club – Cooking and crafts
Through the teaching of Geography we provide avenues for our pupils to explore, appreciate and understand the world in which they live and how it has evolved. The children study an exciting variety of topics, with the focus balanced between their own environment and an awareness of the wider world. The children develop their geographical vocabulary and skills by undertaking research and investigative tasks, map work, investigating human and physical features and carrying out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. As the children progress though the school, they encounter increasing opportunities to examine social, economic, political and environmental issues. Learning about geography increases their knowledge and understanding of our changing world and fosters a sense of responsibility towards the Earth and its resources. The children encounter different countries, societies and cultures. Fieldwork is an integral part of the curriculum and enables the children to engage in practical geographical research and enquiry which supports their learning in the classroom.
Through the study of historical topics and relevant cross-curricular learning we will develop in each pupil a sense of chronology, a range and depth of knowledge and understanding, the skill of interpretation, the skill of historical enquiry and the ability to organise and communicate his or her findings in a variety of ways. Pupils at Buxlow are exposed to many first-hand, hands-on experiences in the many exceptional venues afforded by our proximity to London, its historical places and museums.
At Buxlow, French is taught by an experienced specialist French teacher. Modern Foreign Languages encourage pupils to actively engage in their learning. Focusing on speaking and listening, pupils become involved in storytelling, games, action rhymes, role play, poetry and song and dance. Participating in these activities allows pupils to increase day by day in confidence. Language learning is made meaningful through the use of authentic video clips and traditional resources. Pupils are exposed as much as possible to texts, rhymes and images with which a child in France would grow up, allowing key words and sounds to come more naturally and enabling pupils to gain a greater feel for the language and to develop better pronunciation skills. Pupils are taught to remember key vocabulary and phrases through visual and verbal cues. Kinaesthetic learning also plays an essential part and performing physical responses, such as putting actions to a French song or taking part in a short piece of drama, enabling children to absorb the language more fully. In addition to the language component, the culture of the target country is also extremely valuable. Children learn about their own identity in their community and learn to appreciate the lifestyle and customs of other countries. Every year we celebrate our language achievements and the wonder of the many different cultures around the world through a ‘Day of Languages’. Pupils in the school who speak another language are also given the opportunity to share their own heritage and culture in our assemblies.
At Buxlow, Music is taught by an experienced specialist Music teacher. The key aim of the Music department is to expose all pupils to the enjoyment of a wide variety of musical experiences both inside and outside the classroom and to experience many different musical styles and cultures during their time at the school. In this way we hope to produce musically literate pupils in the sincere belief that introducing music of good taste and quality to young people at an early age is a vital ingredient in a civilised society. All Buxlow classes receive a music lesson each week. Almost 60% of our pupils also elect to learn a musical instrument. Pupils have the advantage of top level tuition from peripatetic teachers from the age of 6. The musical instruments on offer are piano, violin, viola, cello, flute, guitar, tenor horn, cornet, trumpet and trombone. These musicians collaborate and play in the school orchestra which holds an annual concert for parents. When the children enter Year 3 they may learn the recorder at no extra charge. The school has five choirs and they are involved in senior school Music Days, large Charity concerts, Carol singing at Wembley Park station in aid of charities, as well as singing at a local nursing home at Christmas. They perform for parents at the end of year Prize Giving ceremony. Pupils from youngest to the eldest attend musical concerts at the Barbican run by the London Symphony Orchestra. Here they are introduced to classical pieces of music in an engaging way, and have anopportunity to experience and enjoy a full orchestra in action. We enjoy our pupil’s music and, as a result, enjoy our reputation for excellence in the field. Over the past years, music scholarships have been awarded to our children by many senior independent schools and we have supported the audition and entrance of pupils to a number of national choirs. This year we are looking forward to our 90th Birthday Celebration Concert, which we are preparing with our sister school, St Nicholas.
Personal, Social Health and economic Education is central to the educational entitlement of all pupils at Buxlow School. Having a cross-curricular dimension, PSHEE permeates all aspects of life in the School. It is encompassed not only within the teaching of several subjects notably PE, Science and RE but it is also an integral part of the whole curriculum. By raising awareness of issues concerning PSHE we aim to promote a healthy lifestyle following sound principles of bodily care and help our pupils to feel secure physically and emotionally. The curriculum develops the pupil’s sense of self-esteem and builds their confidence, while a greater knowledge of human diversity encourages acceptance of others. Pupils gain a greater awareness of the main social and personal issues facing them and are encouraged to make informed choices. We hope our pupils will become responsible citizens who will value and respect other members of society and the environment. In Year 6 pupils take part in our Business Studies programme which provides experiences of the world of work including lessons on business communities, family finances, money skills and even setting up and running a business. Wherever there is an opportunity to enhance the curriculum using outside agencies we endeavour to fit these into the School calendar. We consider our partnership with parents of vital importance. We encourage parents to discuss issues covered in PSHE with their children at home.
Through our Religious Education curriculum we seek to help each pupil to mature as an individual, more fully aware of who they are, what they believe in and what they value. We encourage this process by expanding and deepening the children’s awareness of the Christian faith of our country and other major religions. As they learn about the beliefs of others, we also encourage children to value and celebrate their differences. During their time at the School, pupils learn about the fundamental aspects of different religions, such as key beliefs and values, founders and important leaders, celebrations and their origins, religious stories and their meanings, rites of passage, places of worship, expressions of worship and symbols and symbolic acts. Pupils broaden their experience further through visits to places of worship, such as trips to a local Church and Synagogue and benefit from visiting speakers. Pupils are taught to handle a range of religious artefacts and texts carefully and appropriately.