At The Howard we aim to deliver a quality curriculum that provides a stimulating and demanding education for all students. The curriculum is time-tabled in a ten day cycle of 50, one hour lessons. An outline of the curricular arrangements is given in the following sections.
Teaching Group Arrangements
We feel that it is important for children to have time to settle downs in their new school before setting decisions are made.
For this reason, ability setting in some subjects will be introduced gradually as it is our belief that linear subjects should have the facility to set children according to their own subject criteria. As the students progress through the school more curriculum areas use setting so that the teaching level and pace of work is appropriate to the students’ needs. Within each subject, detailed schemes of work have been developed and a wide variety of teaching styles are employed to deliver the curriculum effectively and to generate interest and enthusiasm amongst the students. Additional support is given to students by the Head of Inclusion, classroom assistants and support teachers.
Movement between groups is possible and determined by attitude to work and general progress. These are constantly monitored through continuous assessments, regular testing, end-of-year examinations and a diagnostic review of the progress of all students.
The Curriculum and Student Groups for Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)
On entry into the school at the age of 11+, students are divided into two mixed ability populations, known as Arks and Royals, of equal size and each representing the full ability range.
For registration and pastoral purposes a population is divided into four mixed-ability groups, each under the care of a form tutor. The members of a tutor group will be in the same House. In Years 7 to 9 (Key Stage 3), all students follow a broad and balanced curriculum consisting of the National Curriculum with the additional subjects of two Modern Languages, drama and a tutorial (Learning 4 Life) programme, Citizenship is also compulsory.
In Year 7, students are taught in tutor groups for all subjects except Mathematics and Modern Languages, where students are set during the first term. As students move into Year 8, they are grouped according to their ability in each of the following curriculum areas: English; Humanities; Languages; Mathematics and Science. This encourages able students to be extended, and those needing more help and support will receive it, usually in smaller classes. This means that a student who may be very good at Mathematics, average in English and weaker in Languages can be placed in sets which meet his or her needs. Therefore, students’ needs are met individually and not ‘averaged’ out by placing them in the same class for all subjects.
Languages and Latin
Each student will study two Languages to the end of KS3. All students will take at least one language to GCSE level. On entry in Year 7 students will be placed in half year populations which determine the combination of languages studied. In exceptional circumstances, if parents have an educational reason for requesting either combination, they may do so. Parents should be aware that requests are treated individually, acceptance is not automatic and might jeopardise the friendship groups in which the students have been placed.
On entry to Year 9, more able linguists add Latin to their course as an additional subject. In Key Stage 4 they have the opportunity to follow an accelerated GCSE languages course in the two languages studied during Key Stage 3. Some students, for whom it is deemed appropriate to study a more vocational curriculum in Key Stage 4, may take the GCSE early at the end of Year 9.
The Curriculum for Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11)
In Key Stage 4 of the National Curriculum, students will follow courses leading to GCSE or equivalent qualifications. From Year 10 (ages 14-15), students select from a wide range of programmes. The full range of National Curriculum core and foundation subjects is available. However, we attempt to tailor students’ options to suit their particular needs. In pursuit of an individualised learning programme for all students, we try to provide a flexible curriculum which allows them to vary the number and type of qualifications they follow. Many students still follow more traditional courses leading to GCSE qualifications while many also mix vocational courses with their GCSEs. There are opportunities for students to study BTEC style 14-16 skills courses in school or at college, through courses offered by the Guildford 11-19 Partnership.
It is possible for all students to follow a combination of courses which, if completed successfully, will lead to the award of the English Baccalaureate, by virtue of their option choices. Currently, in order to gain this award students must attain GCSE grade A*- C in Mathematics, English, Double or Triple Science, History or Geography and a Modern Foreign Language.
The Sixth Form (Years 12 & 13)
The vitality of its Sixth form is a key pointer to the strength of a school. The Sixth Form at Howard of Effingham is popular (approximately 375 students on roll) and students’ achievements are considerable and varied. Students follow AS courses in Year 12 and A2 in Year 13. The school also offers 3 BTEC Level 3 courses. Some students are prepared for Oxford and Cambridge Entrance and this year 8 were successful in achieving a place. Most students go on to degree courses at University and other to courses in areas of Further Education, such as an Art Foundation. We provide a wide range of opportunities for Sixth Formers to exercise responsibility. They have their own students’ association, the Howard Association of Students, which organises social events such as the Christmas Ball and Leavers’ Dinner and they publish their own year book. Sixth Formers are also given the opportunity to become Prefects. The Senior Prefects and the Head Boy and Head Girl meet regularly with senior staff and make a valuable contribution to the general running of the school.
Sixth Form courses are broadened through school community service, charity fund raising and work placements. All Students have regular tutorials, where they are provided with expert advice on applications to Higher Education. Careers advice is available from our own staff and the Careers Service. Sixth Form academic progress is closely monitored and a detailed review of each student’s work is made twice a term.
Full details of Sixth Form courses are published in our Sixth Form Prospectus, and we welcome applications from students wishing to join us from other schools.
Behaviour for Learning
At The Howard, we want students to get the very best out of the learning opportunities that we can offer. We have therefore agreed upon the following points that each student can expect in every lesson they attend in school. These are what we expect from students and are the basis of the good behaviour that is essential for us to be able to teach students and for students to learn properly:
- As you arrive for lessons on time, the teacher will greet you at the door and check your uniform as you enter. You are expected to wear your uniform smartly at all times. An orderly and punctual start to the lesson is essential for you to learn effectively.
- The teacher will decide on a seating plan, which will normally be boy/girl. This seating plan will be the same for that subject every lesson. It is important that you sit in this seating plan as you often learn best when you are sitting away from your friends and able to concentrate on your own work.
- On entering the classroom, stand behind your chair and sit down when invited to do so by the teacher. Showing good manners throughout the lesson creates an orderly environment in which you will be able to learn effectively.
- If you need to leave the lesson for an important reason, you will need to ask the teacher’s permission. If the teacher allows you to leave the classroom, you will be given a card with the teacher’s name on. It is important that leaving the classroom during a lesson is kept to a minimum as it can be very disruptive to your learning.
- Teachers will do everything possible to be fair to everyone in the way that they give out rewards and apply sanctions. If you show fairness and respect to teachers, they will show the same to you.
- When you enter the classroom, place your planner on your desk so that it is available to make notes in during the lesson. The planner is a very useful tool to help your learning, organise your work and to make sure you keep to deadlines.
- At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher will share the lesson objectives with the class. This will help you to understand why you are completing certain tasks during the lesson.
- At various points during the lesson, the teacher will put aside some time to look back over what you have learnt and ensure that you understand it (the plenary). This is helpful in making you understand what you have learned, how it fits in with the rest of your work and to correct any misunderstandings.
- At the end of the lesson, you need to pack away when the teacher asks you to and stand behind your chair until dismissed. At this point, your uniform will be checked again. A well-ordered end to the lesson ensures that you are ready to move onto the rest of your learning.