Junior School at St John’s includes pupils from Reception through to Year 6 who may join the school on a rolling basis – there is no specific Admission time so as to help families relocating from the Southern Hemisphere. During this time, pupils are taught in small to medium sized groups, and enjoy outdoor education, excellent value-added as well as an internationally-focused Inquiry programme to gain a true insight into global mindedness and cultural empathy, soft skills much in demand in industry today.
Our pupils do not take SATS tests in Year 6, rather their learning culminates in a student-led Exhibition – devised, designed, written, created and often performed by the children themselves.
Our benchmark testing is carried out in class under low-stress conditions using a computer adaptive testing system. This gives us detailed, and almost instant insight into the progress of our children.
At present, Junior School is located partly within a cottage environment within the school grounds making one “self contained bubble”, while Years 5 and 6 have classrooms within the main school building in an additional bubble, with separate entrances, toilet blocks and play areas.
There are many opportunities for extended learning in museums, galleries, local historic buildings and through the geographical diversity of Devon including the cliffs and beaches. Visits and activities are arranged on a regular basis so that the children have an understanding of the impact of their learning in the real world.
Our Juniors also have significant opportunities to travel abroad to live and study at some of our sister schools in Europe. Wearing the same uniform, following a similar curriculum and speaking the same languages allows our children to broaden their horizons from a very young age. Year 5 and 6 pupils have taken part in study exchanges with our sister schools in Valencia and La Coruna and attended musical symposia and sporting events.
In Years 4-6, the children have the opportunity to experience residential visits lasting from 2 to 5 days with a varied programme of activities including team building.
PRIMARY YEARS DEVELOPMENT
Excellent facilities including our indoor/outdoor swimming pool with retractable roof, tennis courts , two sports fields and sports hall, support a healthy programme that includes field games as well as gymnastics, trampoline, cross country running, athletics and other outdoor activities.
The boys play rugby, football, futsal and hockey in the winter months, while the girls play netball, hockey and football. In the summer, both boys and girls play cricket as well as Rounders, while during lockdown (without fixtures), we have played a series of Invasion games and Lacrosse, which have proved very popular.
We are the home of Sidmouth Vikings Football teams, Sidmouth Tennis Academy, Sidmouth Netball Teams, Sidmouth Running Club, Honiton Swim Academy, Sidmouth Swim club, Sidmouth Cricket Academy as well as individual swim lessons. We also promote horse riding and golf as extra curricular events. Our students may participate with these clubs and basically have all sports on their doorsteps. Sidmouth also boasts an excellent Rugby club, so we have been keen to promote Tag Rugby while tackling and fixtures have been banned. Our next venture is to link with Sidmouth watersports and boat club to extend our sporting offer.
Gymnastics, swimming, tennis and health related fitness, as well as associated skills involved in motor coordination, mobility and endurance are all on the programme for all students.
Regular fixtures are arranged, when possible, with schools across the region and our sports teachers and coaches have strong working relationships with local clubs, district and county coaches. Summer camp 2020 was led by GB Trampolinist, Sunny Laverne-Sharp, and proved quite a sensation.
Music is a vital part of every day life at St John’s with the ‘top corridor’ regularly echoing to the sound of recital rehearsals or choir practice. Everybody has the opportunity to enjoy music from class sessions, choirs as well as a vibrant Peripatetic music culture which currently includes: Recorder, Saxophone, Trumpet, Violin, Piano, Church Organ (in our chapel), acoustic and electric Guitar, Drums and Voice.
Many of our students learn a musical instrument or sing, with plenty of opportunities to share their passion with the rest of the school and the wider community during the school year. An impromptu Valentine’s Day concert arranged by our Seniors or a formal Speech Day recital can provide a backdrop to performances ranging from a Year 1 recorder solo of Greensleeves to a Year 10 rock band rendition of Stairway to Heaven. The music is as varied as our pupils.
Our chapel provides a beautiful venue for events such as concerts and carols and the drama hall is used on a daily basis with rehearsals for theatre club or music performances.
The whole school took part in the December 2020 Carol Service and Readings with Nativity, which was relayed to Parents partly by Zoom as well as by professionally edited film. Sections were also released on Social Media as part of our own innovative Advent Calendar to brighten winter and raise spirits during challenging times.
Art and Design are embedded within the curriculum at all ages, right from our earliest experiences of art through play in Nursery to IGCSE or A Level Art and Design. Encouraging creative thinking, self-expression and problem solving are just part of the picture. Art and Design also develops a greater awareness of the role played by the visual arts in society and in history, broadening our students’ cultural horizons and challenging their perceptions.
Drama is never just about the performance. It’s about the journey to that performance. Staging, lighting, make-up, back-stage, front of house. Our pupils can try their hand at all of these or they can choose to take their place in the spotlight.
Drama is a core component of the curriculum and weekly lessons are taken by all students. The primary goal is not always ‘theatrical’ performance, but rather developing confidence in articulate public speaking; teamwork skills; empathetic listening and understanding; general knowledge of theatre and film history and trends on a global scale; and, finally, having fun while learning.
Welly Boot Club ranks pretty high amongst our smallest pupils on the list of extra-curricular activities available! Located in the grounds of the school, Welly Boot allows pupils to learn how to discover things for themselves, get muddy, dirty and have fun in a structured environment.
Other popular clubs and activities include Dance and Drama, Yoga, Mindfulness and Swimming. Clubs and activities available change on a term by term basis.