Listed below are the subjects in our curriculum with a brief description of what we cover. Our children enjoy a broad curriculum through fun, interactive lessons.
Whether it be the story of Archimedes running down the street shouting “Eureka, Eureka” or the excitement for every one of our students to be competing against fellow pupils around the globe in a Maths Challenge, we try to bring this fundamental subject alive for the children here at The Elms School.
Our pupils are prepared for either the Common Entrance course in Year 8 or follow a robust Scholarship programme; it is our aim for each child to feel comfortable when dealing with numbers, shape, data and algebra, no matter his or her ability. Well-trained staff members teach to challenge and enrich those who are more capable, but also to grow and support those who may find the subject slightly more challenging. We want to instil an enjoyment and a thirst for the subject so that all may feel confident in tackling everyday life in a logical and independent manner.
At The Elms we aim to foster a love of the spoken and written word and ensure that all children enjoy and enthuse about English. Unlike other subjects, the English curriculum focuses on skills to be developed rather than topics to be learned. Our aims and objectives are based on the National Curriculum and Common Entrance syllabus, but allow flexibility to ensure pupils experience a broad range of activities to in order develop the essential skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Our small classes facilitate teaching to specific needs and requirements and allow us to focus on pupils as individuals.
Reading plays a vital part in many areas of the Prep School curriculum and we strongly believe reading should be an enjoyable and pleasurable activity. We aim to develop pupils’ love of literature through encouraging independent reading as well as enjoying class set texts. We have team of dedicated librarians who manage library sessions and promote new authors and novels. They are instrumental in guiding pupils towards appropriate books.
In English lessons we study a variety of contemporary and traditional prose, poetry, plays and non-fiction texts as well as our set texts, which allows pupils to explore a variety of genres and styles of writing and we encourage them to develop a knowledge and understanding of character, plot and themes as well as assimilating different literary styles.
We teach and constantly reinforce the basic skills of spelling, grammar and punctuation in our writing activities so pupils have the experience of using them in practical situations. Our phonics-based spelling approach is followed from Pre-Prep through the lower end of the Main School and all pupils are given spelling lists to learn in order to reinforce their skills.
Throughout the year we aim to provide pupils with a variety of literary experiences ranging from visits to Literature festivals to inviting authors in to school. We celebrate World Book Day and National Poetry day, have an annual visiting book fair and enjoy trips to the local Theatres to watch performances relevant to the work studied in class.
We aim to stimulate curiosity, interest and enjoyment of Science at The Elms. Our enthusiastic and experienced teaching staff provide a practical approach that encourages this curiosity to evolve into understanding. Not only do pupils acquire knowledge of living things, materials and physical processes, but the subject also engages children at many levels in developing scientific ideas, experimental skills and analytical thinking. Scientific enquiry and investigation encourage creative thought. Pupils learn to ask scientific questions and begin to appreciate the way Science will affect their future on a personal and global level.
Personal, Social and Health Education
P.S.H.E. is taught at The Elms from Foundation Stage to Year 8. We aim to prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life through to adulthood. Citizenship is included in P.S.H.E. lessons for those children in Years 7 and 8.
The need to understand our beautiful and complex planet and the effect of human activities on it is increasingly urgent. This is the context for the geography syllabus. From rivers to coasts, from mountains to ground-shattering earthquakes and the explosive world of natural disasters, there is something for every child to engage with and embrace.
For the children of The Elms, the sense of history is all around, not least in the story of the school itself and its foundation. Crucial battles in both the English Civil War and the Wars of The Roses were fought not far away. The British Camp, a pre-Roman settlement whose fortifications on the Malvern Hills can still clearly be seen, overlooks the school.
The children learn computing from Year 2 until they leave the school in Year 8 in our dedicated Computer Lab. Being able to use a computer is no longer sufficient for the modern workplace; a capability in programming and understanding of the logical structures that underpin programs is now of ever greater and wider relevance. So, whilst a third of the syllabus covers the skills needed to use computers (the old ICT syllabus) the majority of the lessons are devoted to the coding aspects of Computer Science.
In the remaining lessons each year we cover the more traditional ICT focus of Digital Literacy – the ability to use a computer safely, efficiently and effectively to achieve a variety of multimedia goals. This includes touch-typing, emailing, word processing, creating presentations, photography and videography. In addition each year group has specific Digital Literacy projects. In Year 2 and 3 the children learn how to control a computer and use the key computer programs which they will need during their time at The Elms. In Year 4 the focus is on internet skills and becoming safe digital citizens. In Year 5 they learn how to manipulate media in MS office programs. In Year 6 the children write, prepare, direct and produce their own spoof “advertisements” (effectively mini-plays on camera) which are then shown before the annual Leavers’ play. In Year 7 children take part in the BBC Young Reporter News day each March, where they research, write, film and edit their own news stories on a wide variety of issues which are then assembled into a single bulletin. The Year 8 classes focus on the internet, in particular: using the internet for revision; using a variety of different learning sites; learning how to evaluate the reliability of a website’s information; and learning to create their own website in html.
Latin and Greek
Latin and Greek, together with mathematics, were the main subjects taught in this country for 500 years, and are an important part of our Western cultural heritage. They remain relevant to this day as the languages fundamental to many of the terms and concepts used in the sciences, the arts, architecture, medicine, mathematics, literature, philosophy and politics.
Learning another language is scientifically proven to boost brain power, increase life expectancy but also improve pupils’ literacy skills, builds their self-confidence and broadens their cultural horizons as they develop the means to cross boundaries in the most fundamental way: by communicating with people from other parts of the world.
Every class from Year 2 to Year 8 have a Rural Studies Lesson every week. The lessons make the most of our idyllic grounds and rural countryside. The curriculum is split into three separate areas:
In our RHS School Allotment all the children learn how to grow from seed, care for and eventually harvest the full array of allotment fruit, herbs and vegetables. All of the produce is put to good use by the school kitchen and is used in our school meals. There are lessons which support their learning in other subjects, such as Science and Geography. They also grow their own flowers to brighten up the school.
During animal lessons, the children learn how to care for and work with the numerous animals that we have on the Farm. These include our award winning Gloucester Old Spot Pigs and Pedigree Hereford Cattle as well as our flock of chickens.
Nature & Conservation
This is the area in which we put our 100 acre school site into full use! Activities include foraging for wild fruits (such as blackberries and sloes), animal tracking and learning how to identify common British wildlife, trees and wild plants.
Unleash imagination, explore the visual world, be curious and creative.
By offering the opportunity to use a variety of materials, discover new techniques and engage individuality, whilst in a supportive environment, the Art department enables and encourages the children to learn, develop and be inspired about Art.
Our ultimate aim is that Art plays an intrinsic part of the lifelong learning undertaken. Art will instill qualities of inquisitiveness, independence and visual communication, enhancing and enriching all who embrace it.
Drama is a key component of both learning and enrichment at The Elms; our creative curriculums are designed to teach fundamental skills for life as well as instil a lifelong love of the performing arts. We aim to encourage and nurture confidence, self-expression and imagination. As a subject, Drama gives the opportunity to be adventurous and to learn from mistakes in a safe environment whilst enjoying the work of our peers.
Music is a thriving subject at The Elms. All children, from Years 2 – 8, have a music lesson once a week, (in Year 4 twice) and the majority of children learn at least one instrument, during classroom time, on a rotational timetable. We have peripatetic teachers offering every instrument imaginable from piano to bagpipes with everything in between. Every step is taken to ensure the children fit in as much practice as possible during break times and after breakfast.
Design and Technology
At the Elms, Design and Technology is an inspiring, creative and practical subject. We encourage the children to use their imagination to design and make products and systems that respond to real problems, based on their own and others’ needs and values. In our DT workshop, they learn to use traditional and modern tools and technologies ranging from use of hand tools to computer aided design, so giving them an insight into the challenges involved in designing aesthetically pleasing and functional objects. They learn to think creatively, solve problems and take risks as individuals and as members of a team to produce high quality practical results.
We use a broad range of materials including textiles, wood, metal, plastic to develop an understanding of material properties and function. Using these materials skills and techniques such as felting, stitching, sawing, drilling, heat manipulation, metal casting, construction and many more are learned, developed and built on as the children progress through school.
Our aim is to inspire our Elms children and hope that they leave the school with a life-long enthusiasm and interest in the subject having gained skills which encourage them to be inquisitive in both their academic life and the environment around them.