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Curriculum Subjects

The Heights is extremely proud of its high standards and excellent academic record. Our pupils have won an impressive number of scholarships to senior independent schools over the years, often from the Common Entrance and not just the Scholarship stream. Senior schools to which our pupils go include the Royal Grammar School in Guildford, Charterhouse, King Edward's School Witley, Cranleigh, Lord Wandsworth College, Churcher's College, Bedales, Lancing College, Sherborne, Frensham Heights, Seaford College.


To find out more about the departments within the school please click on the links below.

Art & Craft (incl Design Technology) - English - French -
Geography - History - ICT - Latin - Maths - Music -
P.E. and Games -Religious Education -
Science - Spanish

 

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Art & Craft
        Design and Technology

 

Artwork provides a backdrop to many areas of school life. In cross-curricular work using illustration and graphics, posters and programmes for plays and concerts, project books and presentations, Art and Design is acknowledged as the foundation of how we communicate in words and pictures and is highly valued at The Heights.

In Art the boys cover all areas required by the National Curriculum including painting and drawing, collage, printmaking, 3D work and textiles. However, our syllabus is written using this only as a starting point and our focus is on experiment, enjoyment and discovery for everyone. Projects allow for flexibility and extension for the very talented or the less creative, offering every individual the opportunity to discover himself as an artist in a relaxed and sociable atmosphere.

The children all enjoy one time-tabled double lesson every week. An Arts Festival is held annually in the spring term and the boys are taken on at least one visit to an art gallery or museum every year, with sketching trips to gather project reference taking place where appropriate. End of year Art awards are presented in each year group and potential scholars are identified early, encouraged and supported in applications to their senior schools.

Design and Technology is a valuable problem-solving activity that establishes a knowledge of engineering principles and an understanding of good design while effectively linking with other areas of the curriculum.

The syllabus is structured so that each activity builds on or draws from learned skills and knowledge. It is taught by a specialist teacher from Reception through to Year 8. Each class has a double period each week.

The DT room is divided into a general instruction area, a design area and a workshop area and is equipped with tools to suit all age groups, small hand tools for the younger pupils and power and machine tools for the older boys.

 

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English

 

Lively, energetic and dynamic, the English Department seeks to inspire within the boys a love of the language. All kinds of writing goes on from formal class pieces to individual projects, from grammatical exercises to the writing and analysing of poetry. Most importantly though, we want the boys to discover the fantastic worlds that lie within the pages of good books. It is this skill particularly that we see as not just being at the core of the subject but at the heart of learning itself. Teach a boy to read and he will be able to cope with the demands of each individual subject, teach him to read and he will achieve results in the examination room but teach him to love books and he will embark on a journey of adventure and discovery that will last him his whole life.

 

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French

 

At The Heights the French Department seeks to foster a lasting interest and enthusiasm for France, French culture and the French language.

Pronounced 'excellent' and 'of tremendous vitality' in a recent inspection report, we are proud of our outstanding academic results at both Common Entrance and senior school scholarship examinations. The standards of teaching are very high. The very best is expected and nurtured in each pupil, according to his ability.

An increasing number of Heights boys take their French GCSE either one year or sometimes two years early at their senior schools, successfully gaining A or even A*, such is the thoroughness of the preparation they receive whilst at The Heights.

It is never too early to be immersed in a foreign language. The promotion of listening skills, tuning the ear to the recognition of sound patterns, the training of vocal chords to reproduce new sounds accurately and the development of memory skills all play a vital part in foreign language studies. They are also essential to a child's overall development and here at The Heights we are also very aware of our care and concern for the whole child. Plays, songs, role-play, games, videos, cassettes and the comic touch all form a regular part of the French diet at the school, as does assessment and examination in all four skills. ICT and CD-ROM further broaden our approach to language learning. The scope is both endless and truly exciting.

A weekly French Club is well attended, and this provides specialist and individually tailored tuition for those boys preparing for external exams.

A five-day stay in France, combining language and activities and including a day out in Paris and a trip to Disneyland, is an example of the many successful outings undertaken by the department.

French is introduced in the Pre-Prep Department using a gently structured but thorough learning scheme. Action songs play an important role in confidence building. Years 3 and 4 continue with the same course. At this stage written French is introduced and differentiation of learning techniques is sensitively applied by a language graduate who is also a specialist teacher.

Years 5 through to 8 are taught by the Head of French who has been an 'A' level French examiner and moderator for many years and is passionately interested in the linguistic development and capabilities of young children.

 

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Geography

 

Geography is concerned with the study of places, the human and physical processes that shape them and the people who live in them. It helps pupils to make sense of their surroundings and the wider world.

At the Heights we aim to:
• stimulate curiosity about the natural and human world;
• introduce boys to people, places and environments;
• contribute to environmental education and education for sustainable development;
• develop an understanding of physical and human landscapes and introduce boys to different societies and cultures, thereby enhancing awareness of global interdependence.

The syllabus requires the boys to demonstrate their ability to:
• use geographical enquiry and skills when developing their knowledge and understanding;
• ask geographical questions and to undertake enquiries inside and outside the classroom;
• analyse evidence, make decisions and evaluate information, ideas and opinions;
• perform skills specific to geography, including those of mapwork and fieldwork;
• be able to know how to draw on many different sources and resources including maps and atlases, photographs, written and visual materials and ICT;
• be able to show and apply their knowledge and understanding in a variety of physical and human contexts.

In the early years the Geography syllabus follows the National Curriculum closely, however by Year 6 the focus shifts to the Common Entrance Syllabus with its demand for greater detail. This syllabus also serves as an excellent foundation for those boys going on to Scholarship work.

The syllabus is delivered through a variety of teaching methods. The department is well resourced with modern textbooks. Slides, videos and computer programs are also used to help bring topics to life. Cross-curricular activities, especially with the IT Department, are very much encouraged.

Fieldwork is essential to Geography. In the early years frequent trips are made. To local places of interest such as the police station and fire station. By Year 6 fieldwork which requires a more scientific approach is carried out e.g. investigation of a local river. Year 7 spend five days at Juniper Hall Field Study Centre near Dorking where a wide variety of investigations are made Year 8 complete a major fieldwork investigation which is submitted to their secondary school as part of the Common Entrance Examination.

 

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History

 

History at The Heights is a vibrant discipline that can offer myriad insights into the world we live in and the people who have lived in it. We try to give each pupil a sense of History and hope that the subject can also be fun.

In keeping with the majority of independent schools, The Heights has embraced much of the National Curriculum though the Common Entrance remains the 'Gold Standard' and therefore its own particular demands take precedence in years 7 and 8. The course in the middle and upper part of the school focuses mainly upon English History, for which we make no apology, though we do appreciate that it is important to include some study of the other British nations.

The literary nature of the subject means that it will prove particularly challenging for some pupils. At all times staff will make allowances for those who have difficulty expressing themselves with fluidity and clarity. Content is always deemed more important than style.

The department has built up an impressive bank of resources, which is necessary as young historians must learn to use a wide range of source material. There is a well-stocked library of both written and video material and the department has cross-curricular links with ICT

 

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ICT

 

At Haslemere Preparatory School we recognise that information technology has an important role within our everyday lives. It is therefore essential that we play our part in introducing boys to the most up to date technology. We ensure that they are provided with the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to benefit from all forms of technology, and enable each and every boy o assume a productive role within our technological society.

It is our belief that pupils shoild learn to use their ICT skills across all subjects and that this should offer a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum. Pupils are introduced to a wide range of software and hardware allowing them to make informed choices about the appropriateness of use of IT when set a task. The ICT curriculum on offer is motivational and fun and encourages the boys to take pride in both their work and their achievements.

Our networked ICT Suite has 16 flat screened multimedia PCs. This allows each boy to work independently; accessing a wide range of subject specific software in addition to the latest Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher and Access). Our Broadband internet connection is filtered by an educational specialist company and is updated daily with restriced site details. E-mail is also available

An interactive whiteboard, scanner, laser printer, digital camera and modern projectors enable the most up to date teaching methods to be employed.

ICT is taught weekly in the Nursery, and from Reception to Year 8 boys enjoy at least 70 minutes a week of specialist training. They may also use the ICT suite for academic lessons where the use of technology offers a benefit

Touch typing skills are taught in all classes from Year 3 and a very popular club is run once a week after school, encouraging the boys to perfect this much-needed skill.
 

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Latin

 

Latin is taught at The Heights from Year 5 to Year 8. Boys in Year 4 follow a preliminary course in classical myth and general background so that, when they come to study the language, they are able to relate it to its cultural, literary and historical context. These ‘Classical Background’ lessons always prove very popular with young boys.

Initially the boys use Barbara Bell’s much lauded ‘Minimus’ course book for beginners. This provides a preparation for further study which is colourful, amusing and beguiling and lays a foundation for grammatical analysis and word study. It also relates the stories and characters to actual archaeological evidence from Northumberland.

In their third term of study, boys will move on to a more traditional grammatically-based course which is designed to meet the requirements of Common Entrance and Scholarship exams.

Boys who will be sitting Scholarships to their next schools are taught more advanced grammar and a much more extensive vocabulary than Common Entrance pupils, putting them more or less on a par with GCSE candidates.

In their final terms at school, boys are introduced to Roman poetry, in particular the works of Vergil and Ovid; this includes coming to grips with the principles of metrical analysis besides a broad appreciation of the cultural milieu in which these poets flourished.

 

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Mathematics

 

From his study The Heights a boy will be prepared to take his place in the world of science or finance, should that become his chosen field; however the Maths Department seeks to ensure that, above all, a boy should enjoy his time spent in the classroom. He should gain the ability to think logically and to feel at ease in the application and meaning of numbers and spatial relationships while gaining genuine pleasure in his studies.

We attempt to keep the broad outline of the subject on traditional and useful lines while adopting recent innovations, techniques and modern methods as and when these add to and enrich the subject. Problem-solving and practical work is mixed in with demanding Common Entrance and Scholarship work.

The department has a fine reputation and continues to achieve excellent results.both at Scholarship level and Common Entrance.

In addition, pupils are given the opportunity to enter national competitions such as the UK Maths Challenge to encourage lateral thinking and challenging application of maths skills.

 

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Music

 

Music at The Heights offers a carefully structured curriculum. Pre-Prep lessons are informally based on the Kodaly method and aim to develop musical (especially vocal) skills. This provides a platform for more formal training in Junior years, meeting National Curriculum requirements to teach skills in listening, performing and composing. Years 7 and 8 offer the challenge of a structured approach that lays the foundation for GCSE.

Singing is a great strength of the school, with an annual carol service and a major musical/drama production at the end of each school year. Boys are encouraged to join the choir, which gives an opportunity to learn songs and develop skills beyond those offered in class lessons.

Pupils are able to study a range of instruments, with lessons provided by a team of visiting music teachers. Pupils are regularly entered for ABRSM grade exams. An orchestral group meets weekly during the spring term giving an opportunity to develop ensemble skills in a relaxed environment.

Recognising that music is essentially a performance art, boys contribute informally at every opportunity, including through assemblies and annual Arts week. Contributions to the musical life of the school are encouraged from all pupils, acknowledging that music is for everyone to enjoy, whether they feel musically gifted or not!
 

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P.E. & Games

 

 As Head of Physical Education and Games my priorities are centred on the pupils' development. I wish first and foremost to give the boys every possible chance to enjoy and participate in a wide variety of sports and related activities while at The Heights and to improve their skills, knowledge, understanding and sense of self-worth in order to prepare them for their next school and for their future in general.
 

These goals will be maintained through progressive and well structured lessons within a cohesive and balanced curriculum, competitive matches against other schools, after-school clubs and an enthusiastic and enjoyable approach towards PE and Games.

 

In Years 2 to 8 in Games periods we offer rugby, soccer, tennis and cricket. In PE lessons basketball, hockey, gymnastics, health-related fitness, athletics and outdoor education are enjoyed.

In addition, Reception to Year 4 pupils take part in swimming lessons. After-school activities include judo, karate, swimming, golf, squash, badminton and sailing

 

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Religious Education

 

At Haslemere Preparatory School this subject, although referred to Religious Studies, is almost entirely Bible-based and might therefore be more accurately called Scripture. The reason for this is two-fold. First, although there is an optional World Religions Section, the Common Entrance Syllabus concentrates heavily on the Bible. The syllabus is extensive and, given the limited time available, there is little opportunity to study in detail any of the other main religions. Second, and perhaps more important, is the fact that today’s children are growing up with little or no Bible teaching at home. The Heights children are no exception and it is considered important that a sound knowledge and understanding of the faith that has shaped our country and Western Society should be acquired before they move on to their next school.

In the early years Religious Education is taught through topic work e.g. Harvest Festivals, Friends of Jesus and Christian Stories. In Years 4-6 the boys cover a variety of Old Testament and New Testament stories as set out in the Common Entrance Syllabus. Although the emphasis at this stage is on acquiring knowledge, the relevance and application of the text is discussed at a simple level. In Years 7 and 8 a smaller number of texts are studied. Time is taken to underline the relevance of these texts to modern day life. This will lead to further discussion that will enable the boys to cope with the Common Entrance questions which demand both a detailed knowledge and an accurate interpretation of the text. The Scholarship Class is not only required to study the Bible but also to gain some understanding in basic theology. Topics such as ‘Who is Jesus?’ Evidence for God and Historicity of the Bible are therefore explored at this level.

Every attempt is made to ensure that lessons are varied and interesting. In the early years the Children’s Bible is used. In the Middle and Upper School the Good News Bible is used and each boy has a copy. The Department is well resourced with modern textbooks. Videos and computer programs are also used to reinforce learning. Bible stories are often acted out and are sometimes presented to the school in assemblies. The local church is visited and in Year 7 a detailed project on its role in the community is completed and submitted as part of the Common Entrance Exam. Cross-curricular work, especially with the ICT Department, is often carried out.

 

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Science

 

Science is taught throughout the school, by class teachers in the Pre-Prep department and by specialist teachers for Years 3 to 8.

Within the Department our main aim is to stimulate curiosity, interest and enjoyment in Science. At the same time the boys need to acquire a body of scientific knowledge and to develop an understanding of the subject. Wherever possible this is done by involving the boys in a high level of practical work, developing their experimental and investigative abilities within a safe working environment. Our recently enlarged and refurbished laboratory has given us much more scope to achieve these aims. We have now established a Science library in the laboratory and are making greater use of computers for both information and testing of knowledge.

The course is designed to fit in with the requirements of the Common Entrance syllabus, and the greater demands of Public School Scholarship examinations. Boys in year 7 spend a week at a Field Centre studying both Geography and Ecology as part of their course, and the Surrey countryside around the school provides opportunities for the younger pupils to make several outings of scientific exploration during their time at The Heights.

 

Spanish

 

Spanish is taught as a second foreign language. It is introduced in Year 5 and is offered as a "taster", with one period per week throughout Years 5, 6 and 7. In Year 8 Spanish is offered more extensvely post public examinations.

 

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The Heights, Hill Road, Haslemere, Surrey GU27 2JP
Tel: + 44 (0)1428 642350   Fax: + (0)1428 645314
Email:
office@haslemereprep.co.uk
Registered Charity No. 294944

 

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