Toddlers and Nursery

The Toddler class at Conifers School offers the ideal setting for your child during their first days away from home. We provide a safe and caring environment for the children during their initial steps towards independence, and a high ratio of staff to children enables us to spend quality time with each child and to cater for their individual needs.

We know how important it is for children to feel at home – and to keep busy. At Conifers, toddlers enjoy a multitude of activities, including Forest School, music, PE and dance, all led by specialist teachers.

We go on a variety of outings, which we schedule on different days to ensure as many toddlers as possible get the chance to come along.

We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and believe each child should have an active role in his or her learning and development. Many activities are available throughout the school day to help your child progress with their development.

You can book toddler sessions to suit both your children and the other commitments in your week. Sessions can be mornings, afternoons or full days (8:45am to 3:30pm), and we’ll provide a home-cooked lunch if required.

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Kindergarten

Music, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Information Technology and Computing

In the year before entering the Reception class, children at Conifers join our Kindergarten group. They continue to learn and develop through play but now also take part in structured activities, including, for example, learning phonics and letter sounds through song, sand and air writing.

The children play outside as much as possible and go on various outings associated with our termly topics. These take place on different days of the week to accommodate as many children as possible.

In school, children take part in a variety of additional activities led by specialist teachers, including Forest School, Music, ICT, PE and Cookery classes.

The staff encourages independence in all areas of your child’s development. The environment we strive to provide is happy and stimulating both inside and outside the school buildings.

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Reception

English, Mathematics, Music, French, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Moving into Reception introduces the children to full-time education, wearing a uniform and being part of the main school. The children are assigned to one of the four houses and participate in most house activities, competitions and meetings. A full and varied timetable is offered, covering the seven areas of the Early Years curriculum (Literacy, Communication and Language, Mathematics, Physical Education, Understanding the World, Personal, Social and Emotional and Expressive Arts and Design).

To enrich these areas, the children have regular Forest School, Physical Education, Gym, Dance, Music, French, ICT and Ballet (optional) classes – all with specialist teachers.

Each term a different project is introduced involving educational visits.

During the first term, pupils are given “letter & word” and “reading” folders to take home to practise with their parents. Cursive handwriting is introduced, and parents are invited to an informal presentation on “Synthetic Phonics” and reading strategies.

Each term the class will perform an assembly either on their own or with the younger Early Years classes, and every Christmas the Reception class leads the Nativity. Parents are warmly welcomed to both the Nativity and the assemblies.

In Reception, the children will receive a formal report in the Autumn and Summer terms; in the Spring term, Learning Journals (an ongoing record of your child’s progress) are sent home for review and comment.

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Form I

Art, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious and Cultural Studies, French, Music, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

In Form I, literacy, numeracy, science and humanities are taught by the form teacher, ensuring pupils feel fully supported by a pivotal adult to guide their studies. French, PE, Art, DT, ICT, Music and Forest School, meanwhile, are taught by specialist teachers. The cross-curricular approach is used where appropriate, and three topics/projects are covered throughout the academic year.

Reading and spelling are key elements of the Form I timetable, forming part of each child’s daily homework assignment, which may include individual reinforcement activities if required.

Weekly phonic targets are set and tested. These will include the relevant phonic blends and high frequency words, which will constantly be revisited throughout the year. The aim is to give each child a firm foundation from which to move forward.

Lessons in Form I take on a more structured feel, and children are expected to complete tasks set to their ability level and in a given time.

All the requirements laid out in the National Curriculum are covered, and Conifers children generally reach a standard that exceeds the national average.

In Form I, pupils continue to enjoy regular PE and games lessons, with three hours of timetabled sport a week – plus the occasional external sporting event. Pupils can now also become fully engaged in the extracurricular activity programme, taking part in a raft of activities, from fencing and football to drama or jewellery making and cookery. Children can also begin individual instruction on a range of musical instruments as well as join the junior choir.

Pupils are challenged with achievable targets and individual programmes of learning, encouraging them to reach their full potential both inside and outside the classroom.

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Form II

Art, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious and Cultural Studies, French, Music, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Form II is the final year of Key Stage 1, where the children continue to have their own class teacher for the majority of their academic lessons. Lesson content is often presented in a cross-curricular style using topics such as “School”, “Food” and “The Jungle”. These themes involve a wide variety of discussion, practical and written activities, and the children use Chromebooks and an interactive whiteboard, where relevant, for practising core skills and carrying out research.

Pupils enjoy the benefits of specialist teachers for Art, Music, ICT, French, DT, Forest School and a wide variety of sports. They also continue to take part in external sporting events and myriad extracurricular activities and peripatetic music teaching.

Strong emphasis is placed on manners and interpersonal skills, and the children continue to become more efficient at organising themselves and more independent in their approach towards their work. As well as giving children plenty of individually tailored learning, the small class size gives children ample opportunities to increase their self-confidence by being involved in every aspect of school life.

Form II is the perfect springboard for pupils to hone their skills to be ready for the step up to Key Stage 2.

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Form III

Art, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious and Cultural Studies, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Latin and Classical Civilisation, Music, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

In Form III, our children begin Key Stage 2 of their education and are immersed in an imaginative, diverse and engaging curriculum. Differentiated lessons pinpoint each child’s learning, and targets are identified throughout the year. Children are encouraged to be actively involved in their learning and to ask questions that determine the direction of their learning journey.

To encourage a healthy appetite for knowledge, we strike a nurturing, interactive balance: every student is listened to, respected, involved and celebrated. Every week the children present through a poem, play or song to the whole school in one of our morning assemblies.

In Form III, students get their first opportunity to learn Mandarin, and this year our children begin to take part in regular home and away fixtures against neighbouring preparatory schools in sports, such as rugby, cricket and netball.

Form III children can also look forward to their first summer residential trip, which includes a curriculum-based activity and a range of physical sessions that might include low ropes, archery and zip wire. It is a chance for the children to stay away from home for two nights in a safe but exciting environment.

The year also involves regular curriculum-linked day trips to help develop the children’s awareness of the wider world and embrace learning outside of the classroom.

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Form IV

Art, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious and Cultural Studies, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Latin and Classical Civilisation, Music, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

In Form IV, pupils are expected to become role models for younger children, often working with them and guiding them through house-led activities and whole-school events.

Form IV pupils are taught by qualified and experienced specialist staff and enjoy a range of educational day trips. They are all active members of their houses and work hard on a daily basis to gain house points and take part in house competitions, including sport, music and even mathmatics challenges.

Form IV children have four timetabled hours of sport per week and have a busier schedule of fixtures and extracurricular activities. At the end of the academic year, pupils have the chance to experience a two-night residential stay at Lodge Hill.

Conifers prides itself on its small classes, strong pastoral framework and truly individualised teaching. Form IV epitomises all these themes – and is an exciting year for the children as they prepare to step up to Middle Prep.

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Form V

Art, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious and Cultural Studies, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Latin and Classical Civilisation, Music, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

The focus in Form V is not only on academic progress but also on the development of the children into young men and women who are valuable members of society. Leading Forest School, umpiring sports matches and working in the community all combine to help mould a well-rounded individual.

Form V is also the year that pupils can embark on the unique Conifers Award, which involves three areas of commitment – service, skills and environment – and is linked directly with the John Muir Award and associated with the South Downs National Park.

Many Form V pupils are involved in clubs across the school, with some attaining positions of responsibility to add to their blossoming skill sets.

Children take part in regular fixtures and are expected to play a senior role in all aspects of sport, working with and coaching younger children whilst advancing their own leadership capabilities.

Form V children visit Cobnor Outdoor Centre for a three-night residential trip, which includes sailing (RYA Level 1-2) and rock climbing, and have the opportunity to take lead roles in school plays and performances. They can also join Form VI pupils in the Chamber Choir.

Inspired and incentivised by the house system, Form V children are expected to set an example for younger Conifers pupils in both behaviour and appearance.

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Form VI

Art, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious and Cultural Studies, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Latin and Classical Civilisation, Music, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Until September 2015 the most senior class of Conifers, Form VI pupils hold many positions of responsibility, including heads of house and head prefect.

Form VI pupils continue to have all their lessons taught by specialist teachers. They have an extensive and active curriculum that includes outdoor-led learning, arts, drama and high-level sports coaching competition.

As the year progresses the opportunities do too. The school play takes place in the Summer Term, and Form VI pupils take up the main roles both onstage and behind the scenes. For their residential trip the children take a tour of the UK, visiting Bletchely Park, Ironbridge and the ever popular Cadbury World. This trip focuses on historical events and weaves both human and physical geography aspects into each visit. The children also undertake a Bikeability course in Form VI.

Form VI also means moving up to Silver level of the Conifers Award.

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Forms VII and VIII

Art, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Religious and Cultural Studies, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Latin and Classical Civilisation, Music, Design and Technology, Information Technology and Computing, Physical Education, Forest School and Outdoor Curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

In September 2015, Conifers launched its new senior section of the school with Forms VII and VIII.

These pupils are taught by specialist teachers and continue to receive excellent tutoring in the classroom and sports coaching outside it. They represent the school in sporting fixtures at the highest level and have the opportunity to take part in our extensive extracurricular programme.

Children develop greatly between the ages of 11 and 13. We believe that giving them the opportunity to spend two further formative years in a safe and nurturing environment will better prepare them for life in a bigger school, which can be a daunting step for an 11-year-old.

Forms VII and VIII fully prepare Conifers pupils for entry to their senior school in Year 9, including schools that require success in Common Entrance examinations at 13+.

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