Years 7 – 9

Covid and lockdown has catapulted us into the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. At speed we have adapted to online learning and a new approach to digital responsibility. We know that Key Stage 3 students are digital citizens and our work with them in these formative years integrates the academic and pastoral. We maintain the agility with online platforms alongside traditional teaching methods, harnessing best practice in helping students learn how to learn. This sets them up for greatness as they approach GCSEs and beyond. With public examinations in flux, the fact that our students know they can adapt and that their teachers are equally flexible means that they are equipped for whatever happens next.

We encourage strength of character exploring the connections our school values make with intellectual work. Veritas is our motto and the nature of truth, the ability to test facts is part of the metacognition work we enjoy. Every year we have a school theme which all departments adapt into their schemes of work or into competitions. In this way we seek to inspire our girls so that they see the rewards of intellectual curiosity and discovery. Each girl achieves her potential and more. Our curriculum is wide and deep and our Faculties often join together to formalise the joining up of disciplines. We share a common language of lofty ideals.

We treasure the Arts and Sport. There are plenty of opportunities for girls to participate in sport, drama productions and extra-curricular clubs.  In addition girls enjoy residential holidays and school outings. Each Form III pupil is twinned with a Big Sister in Priory 6 – someone who can offer support and advice on life in the Senior School. Simply put, they are a friendly face and someone the younger pupils can talk to; who has ‘been there before’ and is happy to help. They are available to their Little Sister to listen, care and to provide a positive female role model. Our Trusted Friend programme amongst other pastoral initiatives continues this safe space. St Augustine taught that a secure and happy environment enables the best learning and our community actively finds ways to create that.

These early teenage years are  times of questioning, experimenting with subjects and learning styles but most importantly of challenging themselves in all areas of school life. We know that a teenager’s job is to test – our broad curriculum and the quality of our relationships with pupils means that they flourish academically and learn to grow into themselves. Our proactive approach to pastoral care means that those emotions or changing friendships do not spill into academic performance.

We take transition points incredibly seriously and as students prepare to move from Key Stage 3 into Key Stage 4 we offer a carefully orchestrated series of events which is is  designed to help the girls with their GCSE options and begin to prepare them for entering the workplace.

Retreats and overnight visits

It is a tradition at St Augustine’s that Form III enjoy some time away together early in the Michaelmas Term.  This is one example of a visit designed with pastoral needs in mind. It also lays the foundation for our approach to learning – sowing the seeds of peer collaboration, empathy and social awareness – all skills which  are required in the workplace. Each year group has a retreat which girls of all faiths love because it is a time to step away from the humdrum and into a more profound understanding of the way in which we have all been formed for some purpose. Our girls know that they are not judged on grades alone. This school is not a factory, nor is it a hot house. Learning what it means to be a woman in the 21st century means understanding yourself, that you always have choices and that you deserve a place at the table. We are always looking for imaginative ways in which students can develop their interpersonal skills as well as honing complex problem-solving and analytical skills. Students need to be prepared for the future of work. We may not know what jobs will be out there but the world needs women of courage, integrity and truth who are hungry for justice and positive change.

Assessments

Our public examination results are consistently outstanding. Throughout Key Stage 3  girls are assessed throughout the year by end of topic test or unit assessments to ensure the best possible progress for each girl. Formal sets of assessments are completed under strict examination conditions to allow the girls to get a taste of what will be required of them further up the school. Study skills are embedded across the curriculum.

We invite parents to a wide variety of evenings of conversations at regular intervals to explore  pedagogic, pastoral or other updates. These provide an opportunity for parents to get to know staff and each other. We are famous for the strength of our community and our culture of participation.