Each pupil will have taken a slightly different academic journey by the time they finish their School education, but our ultimate destinations for all are clear from the outset: that they will fulfil their true potential and add value to their lives.
Having developed a love of learning and the self-discipline required to achieve, our students will have mastered essential skills that ensure their continued success at university, in employment and in the wider community. They will have been guided throughout this journey by expert tutors and teachers, offering excellent bespoke support and advice, delivered in ways that allow all to achieve. We are not all created equal, but with hard work and tailored guidance, all can improve themselves.
Through an exciting and dynamic curriculum, our Nursery and Pre-prep children are encouraged to be independent thinkers and decision makers. Helping them along their journey is a team of dedicated and passionate teachers who strive to inspire and nurture all their talents. We believe that curiosity must never be suppressed. We embrace the National Curriculum in Key Stage 1, but are not bound by it and look to extend beyond, and for our younger pupils, the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile system forms the core. Literacy and Numeracy are paramount to a child’s education; however, it is the approach to these subjects that determines learning success and the enjoyment for our pupils. Throughout the Pre-Prep department this is through the use of creative, cross-curricular topics that will fire the imagination and give opportunity to use real life tools.
Moving up from Year 2 to Year 3 marks the transition from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 in each child’s learning journey. The curriculum offered is broad, balanced and engaging, offering depth and challenge. Subjects are timetabled within the week and homework is gradually integrated. Pupils are placed in ability sets for English and Maths from the Lent Term of Year 3 to help to tailor teaching to each child. To ensure that every child’s progress is tracked effectively, the children undertake regular assessments, including NFER, reading and spelling tests and targets are shared. Differentiation is crucial and, therefore, embedded into our curriculum. In Year 5 the children are taught by subject specialists and are prepared for any entrance examinations that they will be undertaking in Year 6, including the Kent Test (Eleven Plus) and entry to our own Senior School. Learning how to learn is paramount to a child’s education and pupils are given many opportunities throughout their Prep education to think independently, solve problems and foster their own natural curiosity.
Our First and Second Forms (Years 7 and 8) follow our innovative, challenging and stimulating Junior Curriculum, which has academic excellence at its heart and continues to promote our pupils’ love of learning by emphasising the SV Learning Habits of Being, Thinking, Doing and Relating. We also ensure that the fundamental study skills required for success are mastered so that our pupils can move on fully prepared to excel at GCSE and beyond. These pupils also undertake our Junior Leadership Course which promotes those essential skills required in addition to academic study for them to become truly successful and make the most of all that is on offer: leading others, team membership, organisation, time-management and perseverance, as examples. In addition they each produce a Junior Portfolio which records their achievements over the two years and ‘graduate’ in readiness to join the Senior School with the award of the SVS Junior Diploma.
Many pupils join us in the Third Form from other schools. In this Form we concentrate even more on developing a high level of competence in the essential numeracy, literacy and ICT skills, across all subjects, in targeted-ability groups, with the most able often undertaking extension programmes, in preparation for GCSEs, which are then studied in the Fourth and Fifth Forms. Every pupil is set ‘Target Agreed Grades’ (TAGs) in discussion with their teachers and their attainment and effort level in relation to their TAGs is reviewed half-termly. These grades are benchmarked against the performance of pupils of similar ability in other independent schools. Our aim is that SV pupils will aspire to and achieve highly-ambitious outcomes relative to their ability profile and thus amply fulfil their true potential.
Sixth Form Pupils, either progressing from our Fifth Form or joining us from elsewhere, pursue A level courses in three or four carefully-chosen subjects along with individual research in a specialist topic in preparation for submission of an extended project qualification (EPQ) or the BTEC Level 3 in Uniformed Public Service, which counts for university entry. As in the younger years, all pupils work towards ambitious TAGs based on Durham University’s independent school benchmarking system. They can also expect to receive plenty of individual support and expert, bespoke, advice on appropriate Higher Education applications, interview practice, CV writing and careers in general. In addition, there are numerous opportunities to be fully involved in wider School life and take on positions of leadership. The vast majority will continue their academic journey at university level, although employment-based training routes are becoming an increasingly popular option for some.
On Leavers’ Day we are always immensely proud of our pupils. They will have followed a bespoke academic programme, tailored to their individual needs and worked very hard to achieve exceptional things in a multitude of disciplines, whilst always playing a full part in our community and caring for others along the way.