The curriculum is structured to ensure breadth, balance and coherence of studies. Of particular interest and importance is the aspect of boys’ motivation and we feel strongly that one of the most significant factors in motivating boys is to ensure that their learning is relevant to the outside world and has a broad context that will assist them in consolidating their learning.
The School aims to provide a stimulating and carefully structured environment for learning in which all boys are given solid grounding in the important skills of literacy and numeracy and a stimulating and thought provoking Humanities curriculum (Geography and History), Sciences, the expressive Arts (Music, Art and Drama), Foreign Language, Physical Education and Games. Religious Education integrates all of these studies, giving a sense of purpose of value in the Jesuit tradition which seeks “to find God in all things”.
We seek to inspire the boys to love reading, to think about what they have read and to become sophisticated writers for many purposes. We also endeavour to develop the boys’ abilities in discussion and to be able to analyse many different types of text – poetry, drama, prose, non-fiction and imaginative writing to name but a few.
All in all we seek to light the fire of a lifelong love of the English language and its literature. We aim for the boys to excel academically and become insightful readers with an appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of literature in all its forms, both classical and contemporary. Another major aim is to equip the boys with essential communication skills which they will need throughout their lives in order to be fulfilled and happy men for others.
We aim to fully engage the boys in their study of English and so we use stimulating and inspiring literature as the basis for much of our work. Children’s writers such as Philip Pullman, Gene Kemp and Roald Dahl are followed in later years by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens. From the fun poetry of the middle years we move into considering the sublime poetry of giants of the canon such as Seamus Heaney, John Keats, John Milton and many others.
We expect the boys to be fully engaged and enthusiastic readers. All communications skills stem from independent reading – eloquence, vocabulary, structured written and verbal expression, the ability to posit a point of view and myriad more. As they progress we expect boys to master spelling, cursive handwriting and the abilities to think, speak, write and read reflectively.
We have an active visiting authors programme which has included global best-selling writers such as Eoin Colfer and Charlie Higson. We also welcome visiting drama companies to put on work which supports our study of Dickens and Shakespeare. In this regard we will welcomed back Red Heart Theatre Company before Christmas, both to enjoy the dramatization of some Victorian thrillers and also to experience a dramatic treatment of the life and work of Wilfrid Owen. Young Actors of Windsor regularly deliver workshops on the Shakespeare texts we study and we run trips to places such as Stratford Upon Avon and London theatres.
Boys are rigorously prepared for CE and Scholarship examinations. We hold the highest expectations in terms of commitment and the desire to improve. As the boys prepare for these demanding assessments and seek to gain a place at very competitive schools we take them through all areas of the subject that they will be confronted with in the final tests. Accordingly we develop powers of comprehension and written expression across a range of contexts and skills. Results are generally excellent.
At St John’s, we understand that the ability to speak both French and English represents a real career asset, with the many multicultural companies using French as their working language.
But more importantly, we firmly believe that the opportunity to learn and speak a different language and discovering another culture, is essential in preparing our children to live in a multicultural and globalised world.
At St John’s the boys start learning French from Berchmans (Year 2) and the aims of the French department through the school are:
To create a positive attitude towards the subject, and allow students to feel confident and nurtured when speaking a second language.
To create opportunities to be immersed in the language during lessons but also via cultural trips.
To give students confidence that will allow success in the many different examinations the children may undertake during their time at St John’s and subsequently.
Boys receive weekly French lessons and study many topics linked to their direct environment including:
Importantly, the younger students (Years 2 to 5) are taught French via storytelling and songs, and are encouraged to express themselves in French from the very beginning. For instance, students have been able to discover “The Gruffalo” or “Peter and the Wolf” in the French language. We feel that from a very young age, French should be seen as a valuable and enjoyable subject where children are able to be completely immersed in the culture creating a real base for future learning.
For the older students the topics include those which are part of the Common Entrance 13+ examination for French and all four skills are being developed weekly: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking during the lessons. In Year 7 the boys enjoy a 5 day trip to Normandy to consolidate their oral and aural French skills whilst enjoying some traditional French activities.
The French department is proud to see that many of our scholars are achieving high results in their second language.
The goal of geography is nothing less than to create an understanding of the vast interacting system comprising all humanity and its natural environment on the surface of the Earth.
Geography should aim to encourage and underpin a lifelong conversation about Earth as the home of humankind. We seek out for boys to understand how physical and human phenomena are arranged and related. This makes geography distinctive, as a curriculum subject that bridges the sciences and the humanities.
In describing and seeking explanations for the interaction of people with their varied environments, geography has a particular interest in spatial distributions, movements, patterns and in the way places are made.
Our boys are encouraged to explore the subject outside the classroom and therefore an annual Geography Week is organised where the boys participate in many trips, recent examples include:
Workshops are also organised at school to enhance learning on many current topics
In Year 8 the boys undertake a 3 day fieldwork trip on the south coast as part of their Common Entrance requirements. This residential trip in which pupils are required to complete fieldwork appropriate for submission as part of their coursework for the Common Entrance Examination.
In addition voluntary Geography fieldwork trips have been organized, for example the bi-annual trip to Iceland for boys in Years 7 and 8.
To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.
History is a popular and vibrant subject at St John’s - the very nature of the subject makes it incredibly appealing to boys. After all, what other subject allows them to study battles, weapons, tactics as well as ancient civilisations, ranging from the Aztecs to the Romans?
The boys study a period of History that stretches from the Ancient Egyptians right up to World War I with all the key events in between covered at some point.
A traditional prep school education has always focussed on the narrative side of History, and this is the basis from which we start. The boys are excited by the strange tales of the past before moving onto learning the key skills of analysis and conclusion building.
Several methods are used to imbue the boys with a love for History, ranging from teacher led discussion, role-play, battle re-enactments but with a particular emphasis on evidence and source analysis from an early stage. The boys also engage in debates, pitting one side of history against another to allow them to empathise with the men and women who made decisions in the past.
Recently, much has been made of the need to provide children with a chronological framework within which they can place their historical knowledge. At St John’s, the boys approach their Common Entrance exams with a clear chronological framework in mind, having begun their course of study in Year 7 with the Battle of Hastings in 1066, before moving through British history and ending up on the eve of the Stuart Period at the end of Year 8. Preparation for both Common Entrance and Scholarship examinations begins in Year 7 through development of both factual essay writing and source work investigation, building analytical skills with emphasis on the provenance of evidence.
Much of the History curriculum is backed up by trips. These allow the boys to visualise and often lay their hands on the history that they have been studying in class. Recent examples include an overnight trip to a Viking Village where boys sleep in an authentic hut, work with Viking tools and eat Viking food as well as a 4 day trip to the battlefields of World War I in Belgium and France.
Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.
The thoughts and passions of the ancient world resonate with us still. Cicero’s wry observation makes us smile now as surely it did in the 1st Century BC.
Latin is a mirror in which we see ourselves and two thousand years of cultural tradition reflected. It is the chance to converse, as Professor Mary Beard has observed, with the thoughts and passions of the dead. Far from being dead, Latin itself lives and breathes, embedded in Romance languages, English, and impacting Western art and culture. Its influence on literature, philosophy, law and religion is substantial.
Our aim at St John’s is to fire the imagination and prepare students for a lifetime of engagement and curiosity. Our hope is that the boys to whom we introduce Latin will progress with the subject to senior school and beyond. The ability to read the thoughts of others, so different and yet so strangely familiar, despite the passage of millennia, is a wonderful gift to bestow upon a young mind.
Latin and Classics are taught at St John’s from Year 5. Boys are first introduced to basic grammatical concepts in English and Latin, as well as a healthy dose of Greek mythology. Students begin the Common Entrance syllabus in Year 6, for which the department has created its own in-house Latin Workbooks. It also makes use of the new ISEB Latin textbooks. Later, Greek is offered as an option to those who would like to sample another Classical language. Scholars are given additional support as required. Boys have gained high grades to the leading senior independent schools, including Eton, Winchester and St Paul’s.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Boys learn about aspects of Roman life and history. They are introduced to key stories in Greek mythology. Connections are made between these and subsequent European history and culture. Whilst the primary aim is to build speed and accuracy in translation, what drives us is the desire to help students come to love knowledge for its own sake, to appreciate difference, and to understand better the evolution of Western thought.
Vitanda est improba siren desidia
One must avoid that wicked temptress, Laziness.
We use digital tools for learning, including OneNote and Surface 3 tablets for collaborative working, Plickers for instant testing and feedback, and Minecraft for recreating ancient towns. Our approach combines cutting edge technology with established scholarship. We run a popular Classics club, The Dry Symposium, and engage in cross-curricular projects. Trips have included St Albans, Fishbourne Palace, and Rome.
Dum inter homines sumus, colamus humanitatem
As long as we are among humans, let us be humane.
At St John's we believe that everyone has a latent talent for mathematics. Our task is to awaken and develop that potential in each child, so that they can learn to appreciate the use, the joy, and the challenge of mathematics. By facing up to that challenge and working steadily, pupils develop life skills such as logical deduction, persistence and thinking outside the box. They also discover that as well as being a Science, Mathematics can be a creative art. We want boys at St John’s to say mathematics is their favourite subject, and hope many will achieve excellent GCSE results and go on to study mathematics at A level and university.
We make use of the extensive school grounds and the vast world of the Internet along with the ever increasing world of technology to link mathematics to the real world. Although at St John’s mathematics is done mainly with pencil and paper, technology allows us to speed up and streamline many of the repetitive mechanical processes and allow pupils to see the functional applications of the topics they are learning. ICT in mathematics is used by pupils to see the efficiency it can bring to calculations and also to investigate and discover the world of problem solving for themselves. Students will use spreadsheets, interactive geometry, graph drawing packages and many websites to develop the skills and understanding needed to apply their mathematics in the real world.
To keep the more able students fully stretched, there are many challenges offered both within and outside school. There are also activities after school to engage and push further the understanding of these boys.
A great many of our boys achieve excellent results including bronze, silver and gold certificates in both the national Primary and Intermediate Maths challenges.
At St John’s, we believe that Religious Education is about ‘learning for the greater glory of God and the common good’. The teaching and learning of Religious Education is at the very heart of our curriculum. While Religious Education exists as a discrete subject area in its own right, the skills, concepts attitudes and beliefs learned in the subject permeate every area of life at St John’s Beaumont.
Religious Education at St John’s aims to promote:
The Religious Course followed from reception to year 6 is the 'Come and See' Scheme recommended by the Diocese. ‘Come and See’ is developed through three themes based on the documents Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope), Lumen Gentium (Christ’s Light to the Nations) and Sacrosanctum Concilium (Celebration) of the Second Vatican Council. Through this scheme the children are taught the basis of the Catholic faith and morality, which is constantly related to their own life experience. Delivering engaging Religious Education at St. John’s Beaumont lessons involves:
Religious Education is a core subject that is also examined at 13+. In Year 7 and Year 8 the boys follow the syllabus for Common Entrance set by the ISEB Religious Education Syllabus B. Content covered throughout the 2 years is as follows: Creation, the Fall, Abraham, living the covenant, the person of Jesus, discipleship, Kingdom of God, the passion and resurrection, the sacraments, the birth and life of the Church, community life in the Church and the liturgical year.
The study of religion is invaluable as most people in the world choose to live their life by a religious code. Understanding the spiritual, moral and ethical perspectives and traditions of others encourages tolerance and peace and ultimately makes the world a better place.
The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing
We love Science at St John’s! Our aim is to inspire boys to think independently about the world around them. Stimulating boys’ intellectual curiosity, coupled with a growing knowledge of scientific principles and technical language, informs all that we do.
We encourage our boys to develop informed opinions and to be able to support those opinions by logical argument. We recognize the important ways in which Science affects the lives of people everywhere in the world and how it can be used to help make decisions, solve problems and carry out jobs every day.
Our new state of the art Science lab has been designed to empower students in a range of sophisticated and engaging tasks. As well as the classroom, the school pond and other areas of the school grounds are utilized to make learning truly meaningful, relevant and enjoyable.
Each year we run a ‘whole-school’ Science week, involving trips to Bletchley Park, the home of Computing, Bird World, Winchester Science Centre, Kew Gardens, London Zoo and Marwell Zoo, every year group from Nursery to Year 8 gets involved.
We combine theoretical concepts with real-world applications. Using the National Curriculum as a base, Science at St Johns accepts and teaches the widely held perspective of Evolution as a fundamental part of our lessons, this includes a firmly held acceptance and belief in Evolution. Alongside the National Curriculum we have the freedom to explore wider areas of discovery.
Science Club is offered as an extra-curricular activity to boys in Middle and Senior School and we ensure boys at all levels are prepared for the challenges of Common Entrance, as well as scholarship papers. Additional clubs and differentiated support are available for all.
Science is a subject with something for everybody. We are passionate about our subject’s role both within school and wider society. We see Science as an enabler for critical thinking and the broader development of our students’ intellectual development across the board.
The aim of the Science department at St John’s Beaumont is to stimulate the intellect, curiosity, interest and enjoyment of pupils, so enabling them to become familiar with a body of scientific knowledge, principles and vocabulary. We encourage the boy’s to develop informed opinions and to be able to support those opinions by logical argument. We recognise the important ways in which science affects the lives of people everywhere in the world and how it can be used to help make decisions, solve problems and carry out jobs which are done by ordinary people every day.
Our main aim is to stress that science is enjoyable and relevant to pupils’ everyday lives and so we aim to provide suitable science courses for all pupils in the school, regardless of age or ability.
The National Curriculum is used as the basic core with the IAPS Common Entrance Syllabus interwoven into the schemes of work. However, our primary aim is to ensure that pupils view the ‘process’ of science as a means to understand themselves, their environment and their place in the universe, rather than purely a means to pass exams. We aim to help to develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding to the limit of their capabilities by personal involvement in experimentation and investigation and by the use of ICT facilities in the department and the school.
In Year 7 boys begin to study Biology, Chemistry and Physics as discrete modules within their science lessons.
Lessons for the classes in the Junior and Middle school are taught by class teachers. Boys in the Upper School are taught by dedicated science teachers. We have a newly built laboratory which is used by all classes from Years 3-8.
The school pond and other areas of the school grounds are utilised to make learning in this curriculum area truly meaningful, relevant and enjoyable.