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Pupils in the Junior School follow a well-structured, wide and varied programme encompassing all areas of the Scottish curriculum.
Our aim is to develop children to be Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens. We are constantly reviewing our curriculum to ensure that we are preparing our pupils for life in a fast-changing and challenging society.
At the heart of our curriculum is Literacy and Numeracy. We firmly believe that these are the skills which are the foundation of all learning. Structured schemes are in place for reading, spelling and mathematics, ensuring good progression and continuity. We also spend a considerable part of each week studying History, Science and Geography, or Environmental Studies as it is known in our younger year groups.
French is taught by a Senior School teacher from L4. This prepares them for the excitement of their modern languages courses in Senior School where all pupils study five languages in Form 1, selecting one of German, Latin, Mandarin or Spanish in addition to French for studying in Form 2.
We believe that children should be equipped for the technological society. Children in the Junior Years also harness the power of tablet technology after, in 2013, the High School became one of the first schools in Scotland to introduce iPads into the classroom. You can find out more about E-learning at the School here.
In addition, from L1 onwards all children are taught computing skills by a specialist teacher in the ICT suite one period a week. Their skills are so well developed that by L7, pupils produce their own video news bulletin and all children can put together a Powerpoint presentation. Teaching computing skills specifically means that a class teacher can take his or her pupils to the ICT suite to research any topic, in the knowledge that the children already competent in research skills and the use of the computer.
Developing the whole child
However, these subjects alone do not develop the whole child. We have a well developed programme of Religious and Moral Education, Health Education and Personal and Social Education where topics like Friendship, Bullying and Peer Pressure are explored. In our older year groups there is a comprehensive programme covering topics such as sex education and drug and alcohol education.
Sport, Music and Art
There is an extensive sports programme in the School. Pupils in L1, 2 and 3, visit the large gym within the main building, twice a week for PE lessons with a specialist teacher. From L4 upwards, pupils visit the main sports facility at Mayfield twice a week for indoor and outdoor sports. The Junior School has teams playing rugby, hockey and netball and we regularly take part in competitive fixtures with other schools.
Music is a pride of the school. From L1, children receive a music lesson once a week from a specialist teacher. Many children go on to learn a musical instrument and Junior pupils participate in the School’s training orchestra, wind band, jazz band and pipe band.
Art and Drama are taught by the class teacher up to L5, but from L6 these subjects are taught by Senior School specialist teachers. Our wall displays are testimony to the creative life in the school.
Pupils in our Junior School take part in a programme of continuous assessment, enabling teachers to track progress, identify difficulties as soon as they start to arise, and take appropriate action to support the individual. All Junior School pupils must sit and pass the standard assessment for entry to Form 1 before they can progress to the Senior School. The High School does not follow the National Assessments 5-14 framework.