Covid and lockdown catapulted us into the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. At speed we 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 Year 7 pupil is twinned with a Big Sister in Priory Sixth – 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.