Primary stages

Great importance is placed on developing each child’s self-confidence, respect for others, cooperation and communication skills.

Learning and teaching in the Junior School grow in breadth and depth as our youngest pupils move through three distinct primary stages. 

Class sizes in the Junior School range from 22 pupils in the Early Years to 26 pupils in the Upper Primary. Nursery comprises four groups of 8 children.

Early Years – Nursery, Primary 1 and 2

Our Nursery takes children for their pre-school year during which we lay the building blocks for literacy and numeracy. Creativity and physical skills development are key, while specialist teaching is given in Music and Physical Education. Activities and experiences support each child’s emotional, personal and social development, while natural curiosity is stimulated and encouraged at all times.

Most of our Nursery children progress to the Junior School, where they enjoy their first taste of school in a relaxed yet disciplined environment. Rich and varied, the Primary 1 and 2 curriculum spans academic and cultural pursuits and physical, social and emotional experiences. Focused Early Learning Skills delivered by our Support for Learning Department is available in the Early Years.

Middle Primary – Primary 3, 4 and 5

A cross-curricular approach enables Middle Primary pupils to learn about a topic from several angles, with History and Geography studied in this way. Science is taught as a discrete subject, with our Science Coordinator’s input. English Language lessons balance language and literacy with comprehension and communication. Investigative skills and pupil responsibility begin to come to the fore.

In Primary 3, specialist teaching expands to include Art, Drama and, in Primary 5, Cultural Awareness (a precursor to Modern Languages, offering children a term’s taster in each of French, German and Spanish). From Primary 4, Mathematics is taught in sets, with a focus on its application in everyday life. Primary 5 pupils take part in Games at Goldenacre on Mondays and Saturdays. Residential trips are also introduced in Primary 4, starting with a one-night stay in York, as part of the Viking topic trip.

Upper Primary – Primary 6 and 7

Learning across the Mathematics sets picks up pace in the Upper Primary years. Pupils take part in novel studies, writing for different purposes, debates, presentations and more as part of our English Language programme. Specialist teaching now includes Modern Languages (French, German or Spanish) and Computing. History, Geography and Science are taught as discrete subjects.

Primary 6 and 7 pupils continue to take part in Games at Goldenacre and regular sporting fixtures against other schools are held on Saturdays. Upper Primary residential experiences in Scotland and Holland are challenging and fun. As pupils approach the transition to Senior School, we encourage greater independence. Pupils take more responsibility for organising their homework and complete some independent project work.