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 pursue our excellent Junior Leadership programme 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.
Grading and benchmarking
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 in Core (English, Mathematics, Sciences, Humanities and Languages) and Option (Music, DT, Art, Drama, HE and PE) subjects, 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. They are also heavily involved in our extensive co-curricular programme.
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. In recent years, our pupils have significantly outperformed these national expectations, achieving strong positive value added results which show that there is something special happening here relative to similar institutions. 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.
Mrs Becci Ball
Academic Deputy Head