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Curriculum - Juniors

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The Curriculum for Years 7, 8 and 9 2018-2019

 

In Years 7, 8 and 9, the academic programme is underpinned by the objectives of UK English Key Stage 3 programme, particularly in English, Mathematics and Science. As an international school, we aim to prepare our students for their academic futures in the world of international education and for life beyond school. With this in mind, since September 2017 these classes have been following the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC). This internationally recognised curriculum provides the perfect platform for further study when the students move on to senior school. The IMYC is a rigorous, concept-based programme, which has been specifically designed around the unique learning needs and brain functions of adolescents. The students are challenged and supported in their learning, in the development of their own personal dispositions and international mindedness.

 

 

Further details on the IMYC can be found at: www.greatlearning.com/imyc or by following the link

 

 

The students in Years 7, 8 and 9 are taught by specialist teachers in all subject areas. While their learning is structured and guided according to individual needs, the students are encouraged to take increasing responsibility of their own learning as they move up the school. The academic programme promotes the consolidation of English skills in all subject areas, so that when the students move on from La Garenne, they are well equipped to tackle challenging external examinations. English, Mathematics and Science are taught in two sets, providing for smaller classes at two levels of study in each year group. Due to La Garenne’s tradition as a strongly-francophone school, all the students also study French at levels ranging from beginners to first-language speakers.

The subjects and the number of 45-minute periods taught in the Junior Section are shown in the table below. The number of periods per week may change from term to term. Specialist teachers deliver all subjects. This may vary during the second term due to the fact that the sports programme is based on skiing and as a consequence the weekly structure changes a little.

While the subjects taught remain largely the same across the three years of Key Stage 3, the depth and challenge increases as the students move up through the school. Year 9 provides a firm grounding for students moving into the next stage of their academic career when they leave La Garenne. With increasingly demanding work and the possibility to take extension classes in key subject areas, the students are stretched academically.

 

English

In this vibrant and dynamic course, we aim to engender a love for the written and spoken word. From etymology to exegesis, the full range of linguistic and literary opportunities are on offer. The progressive nature of the course lays solid foundations for KS4 in a relaxed, friendly and trusting environment, based on good discipline, high expectations of performance and hard work.

English is vital for communicating with others in school and in the wider world, and is fundamental to learning in all curriculum subjects. Pupils are encouraged to develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing that they will need to participate in society and employment. Pupils learn to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and to communicate with others confidently and effectively.

Literature in English is rich and influential. It is an important part of the course, reflecting the experiences of people from many countries and times, and contributing to a sense of cultural identity. Pupils learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of novels, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts, gaining access to the pleasure and world of knowledge that reading offers. Looking at the patterns, structures, origins and conventions of English helps pupils understand how language works. Using this understanding, pupils choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations, and it equips them to appreciate and interpret the choices made by other writers and speakers.

Assessment is a continuous combination of formative and summative testing.

 

Science

The activity-based IMYC Science Programme taken by Years 7, 8 and 9 aims to enhance the students scientific knowledge, provide hands-on practical work, develop experimental skills and allow for the students to become effective critical thinkers by deducing and deducting scientific phenomena and concepts. The fully equipped laboratory provides an ideal environment for the students to learn and investigate. Furthermore, our programme also encourages a positive attitude towards the environment and in being a responsible citizen in today’s world.

The Science Programme has three major components: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. All students are required to study a balance of the three during their science lessons, thus facilitating subject choice and continuity for further study. The students are taught in small groups for most of the lessons, facilitating a ‘hands-on’ approach to Science.

 

Mathematics

The Mathematics Programme for Years 7, 8 and 9 is based on the English National Curriculum and follows Key Stage 3 objectives for these classes.  The mathematics programme contains a balance of Numeracy, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry, Statistics, Probability and Problem Solving. The programme is designed to develop the student’s mathematical knowledge and the understanding of the concepts and skills needed to apply mathematics: in life, in work and very importantly, to continue in further education.

Differentiation in the teaching, learning and assessment caters for the learning needs of each individual student and provides a positive but yet challenging learning environment. In Years 7, 8 and 9 this is further facilitated by the fact that for most of the lessons the class is streamed and teaching and learning takes place in smaller groups, by level. This allows for a much more individualized approach to learning n this key subject area.

 

History

In Years 7, 8 and 9, history topics broadly follow the English National Curriculum. The History Department is keen to build upon the international aspects, which have been set up in Year 6, and we adopt the topics most relevant to our students. History is taught as an independent subject and as well as providing an understanding of key points in local, European and world history, we endeavor to equip students with historical skills as well as knowledge. Students are regularly assessed using a variety of AFL (assessment for learning) techniques as well as termly exams and levelled pieces of work.

 

Geography

Year 7, 8 and 9 geography students follow modules based on the English National Curriculum. These modules are tailored to reflect our international student body as well as the geographic location of the school. In addition to learning about topics, students are given the opportunity to become ‘geographers’ themselves by conducting fieldwork in locations in the region.

The fieldwork allows geography to take place outside the classroom and encourages students to be able to theorise and check why certain human and physical geographical features occur. Regular assessment takes place in the form of levelled tasks as well as written exams. A variety of self, peer and teacher assessment ensures that students are sure of their current level as well of their targets for progression.

 

Philosophy and Beliefs

In this course, a range of social and religious topics such as festivals, morality and the different lifestyles of individuals are covered within the modules.

In Years 7, 8 and 9 Philosophy and Beliefs is taught as an independent Humanities subject. It is a subject which employs creativity and ‘thinking outside the box’ to explore our own beliefs and those of others. The course is a vital subject for the holistic development of all students, regardless of their religious belief or spirituality. The modules are generally based on thematic topics and enabling students to challenge, question and affirm different religious and moral concepts. The subject encourages debate, discussion and respect towards other members of the class as well as in society. Philosophy and Beliefs teaches many core skills such as respect, empathy, confidence, morality, communication and enquiry to name just a few. The lessons allow for kinesthetic, visual and auditory learning to take place in order for students to better understand their own ideas and the world around them.

 

French

The school aims to develop a high level of mastery of the French language, even though the main language of study is English. This allows us to make the most of our francophone environment, which provides our students with great opportunity to use their language skills in a real-world setting. Our French teachers are all mother-tongue French speakers and many other members of staff are highly proficient in French.

All Junior students take lessons in French as a Foreign Language. This is taught at two levels, corresponding to the children’s level of proficiency in the language. The students are prepared for the official French language examinations, the DELF programme and for those students who are native speakers and those who have a strong level of French; we offer an optional programme called ‘Supplementary French’. This takes place during club time one day per week and on Saturday mornings. Again, this is taught at two levels, allowing the students to benefit to an absolute maximum from their increased exposure to French language, literature and culture.

The results in the 2016 DELF examinations were excellent. Not only did all the students succeed with an average score of 81.8%, three of our students sat the very challenging B1 level and passed successfully. This was a first for La Garenne students as the B1 is a challenging examination normally only achieved by students of 15-16 years of age.

 

The Arts

Art and Music form an integral part of the school’s academic week, making good use of the school’s attributed art and music rooms. Drama is offered in the context of clubs, as are Art and Music. The three domains come together in the form of films, music and drama productions on regular occasions throughout the school year, for Parents’ Day and the end-of-year celebrations, for example. Students are consistently encouraged to develop and display their artistic talents.

 

Sport

Sport is regarded as a key activity in the daily life of students at La Garenne, as a means of personal development and discovery and also a pathway to a healthy lifestyle. All classes have sports activities built in to their weekly timetable. They also have the opportunity to participate in sports activities during extra-curricular activities and clubs and in the general life of the boarding school outside of class time. We offer a wide range of sports activities, making the most of our own facilities, those of the village and, of course, the mountains. The Alps provide the backdrop for a wide range of sporting opportunities in the summer and autumn terms, with snow-based activities coming to the fore in the winter term.

 

Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)

Year 7, 8 and 9 students have one lesson of PSHE during the school week. This allows them to examine age-specific issues important for their personal development as well as their physical and emotional well-being. The lessons are based upon debating and discussion and make many cross-curricular links with international affairs. As well as addressing topics such as Healthy Lifestyles, which includes a focus on diet, body image and mental and physical health, we also discuss global principles such as Fair Trade and charity. The course content is divided broadly into three areas-Health and Well-Being, Relationships and Living in the Wider World. Students are encouraged to form their own opinions and listen to, respect and politely challenge the ideas of others. Students are not formally assessed in this subject but take part in self and peer assessment throughout the school year.

 

International Affairs

In the academic programme, Junior students are able to examine what is going on in the world and discuss matters that are perhaps not covered elsewhere in the curriculum. We feel that is important that young people have some understanding of the world around them, in preparation for them becoming the global citizens of tomorrow. Key subjects for the coming year are likely to include the American elections and political systems in general; relations between the world’s great powers – Russia, USA, China and India for example; the Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2030; threats to world peace – and, of course, whatever happens in the news.

 

 


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