Junior School at St John’s includes pupils from Reception through to Year 6. During this time, pupils are taught in small to medium sized groups, according to the principles of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.
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 within a cottage environment within the school grounds although planning permission has been applied for a new Junior School to be built within the existing grounds.
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
In line with our school Mission Statement, the Junior School at St John’s aims to develop internationally minded students who are ‘collaborative, communicative, inquiring, respectful and creative individuals with a passion for lifelong learning’.
In order to achieve this, the children study the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Year’s Programme (PYP). The curriculum that supports this learning places great emphasis on teaching our children how to learn and inquire, giving them the skills to acquire knowledge themselves; an absolute necessity in this fast paced and ever changing world.
Every child is supported on an individual basis to reach their personal potential; academically, emotionally, socially and physically. The PYP encourages the development of the child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside and encourages them to take action on their learning and new found understanding.
The most significant and distinctive feature of the PYP is the six transdisciplinary themes of global significance.
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organise ourselves
- Sharing the planet
The children investigate these themes through a series of Units of Inquiry, which change every half term. Within the Units of Inquiry, children are taught all age appropriate literacy and numeracy skills as well as a science programme based on discussion, prediction, investigation and practical experimentation.
Drama, ICT, History, Geography and Religious Studies are all integrated into the Unit of Inquiry ensuring local, national and global awareness and encouraging a high level of cultural understanding.
All classes from Reception to Year 6 at St John’s are taught by the class teacher for the majority of the day. This provides the children with continuity and confidence in school time. St John’s also believes that the teaching of certain subjects can benefit from the use of specialist teachers, in order to develop the children to their maximum potential. In the Junior School, these subjects are PE, Music and Languages.
Excellent facilities including our brand new indoor/outdoor swimming pool support a healthy programme that includes field games as well as gymnastics, swimming, 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, the boys play cricket and the girls play rounders.
Gymnastics, swimming, tennis and health related fitness as well as associated skills involved in motor coordination, mobility and endurance are on the programme for all students.
Regular fixtures are arranged with schools across the region and our sports teachers and coaches have strong working relationships with local clubs, district and county coaches.
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.
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.
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.