French is taught throughout the school. It is introduced in the Pre-Prep largely through speech and song. The emphasis here is placed on familiarity with the sounds of the French language alongside the recognition of some key words.
In Years 3 & 4, written French is introduced alongside a continued emphasis on the aural & oral approach. French festivals are learnt about to introduce an appreciation of another culture, with a visit from a French International School in the summer term.
In Year 5 pupils start in mixed ability groups and are gradually put into sets in Year 6, so that each may work to the best of his/her ability. Vocabulary tests are introduced in order to extend the range of vocabulary and French grammar is formally introduced. At the end of Year 6 the Common Entrance Level 1 exam is taken.
In Year 7 & 8, preparation for the Common Entrance Level 2 Paper/ Scholarship exams continue. In Year 7 there is a 5 day trip to Burgundy in France so that the children may ‘live the language’. Emphasis is given to the extension of the pupils’ range of the use of verbs in both the present and past tense, including the imperfect. In Year 7 also, 3 of the 5 presentation oral topics are covered and both Common Entrance and Common Academic Scholarship exam work is introduced as appropriate. Further grammar tenses are also introduced: future and conditional.
In Year 8, the 2 final presentation oral topics are covered and further exam practice takes place. An extension of vocabulary is continued and more complex grammatical structures are studied in order to refine knowledge of the French language.
Geography is integrated into the curriculum from Pre-Nursery. Geography is taught from Year 5 as a stand-alone subject, where it is divided into Human and Physical Geography. The overall aim of The Geography Department is to enthuse pupils in the subject of Geography, by giving them a greater understanding of the world around them.
The extensive grounds at Westbourne House School provide an excellent location for outdoor learning. The Geography Department conducts a number of lessons using the grounds, including mapping exercises, microclimate projects and researching weathering.
Whilst the schools location close to The South Downs enables the children to go on a number of fascinating local trips, for example: The River Arun, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, The Trundle at Goodwood, West Wittering and The Seven Sisters Country Park at Cuckmere Haven.
Slightly further afield we take the children to study Physical Geography on The Isle of Wight and Human Geography at The Olympic Park in London. In addition, a four-day optional field-trip is also offered to Iceland.
Children have had great success with Common Entrance and Scholarship Geography, but more importantly a high proportion of Old Westbournians choose to continue studying Geography for GCSE and beyond.
The Information Communication Technology Department at Westbourne House believes that the ability to use ICT effectively is an essential life skill in modern society. Our aim is to produce learners who are confident and effective users of ICT.
We interpret the term ‘Information Communication Technology’ to include the use of any equipment which allows users to communicate, manipulate or create information (in the broadest sense of the word) electronically.
We recognise that ICT has the ability to motivate and enthuse pupils, to enable them to work individually, co-operatively and collaboratively and to develop perseverance and flexibility and we plan opportunities for pupils to develop these skills.
A lot of emphasis is placed on the computing side of the curriculum with children gaining the opportunity to build and program a number of devices as well as create scenarios through code on the school iMacs.
We believe passionately that all pupils can succeed in maths. While some pupils may take longer to grasp the concepts, with hard work all pupils can succeed.
We are lucky to have an extremely strong team of dedicated and enthusiastic maths specialists. The maths department is a fun and vibrant part of the school, and we are proud of our excellent common entrance and scholarship results in maths, not to mention the success we have in local maths competitions! Pupils leave Westbourne House with a positive attitude to maths learning and a strong foundation on which to build.
The four aims of the maths department are:
- All pupils to fulfill their potential in maths
- Pupils to be confident, independent learners ready to tackle any challenge
- All pupils to have a strong foundation in numeracy and understanding of algebra from which to build in the future
- Pupils to be enthusiastic learners and enjoy their maths lessons and have a positive attitude to maths.
We believe that maths should be taught with problem-solving at its heart. After basic numeracy, problem solving is the key transferable life skill that we strive to equip our pupils with.
From September 2016, we introduced the Inspire Maths Program, which is based on the Singapore Maths method of teaching with the concrete-pictorial-abstract approach. The Program has problem-solving at its heart and is designed to develop fluency and mastery, giving pupils the strategies to think logically and solve problems as well as a deep understanding of number.
The most important objective for Religious Studies at Westbourne is that children should enter the classroom eagerly anticipating another step on a journey of discovery. It is an expansive subject area which focuses on three strands: religion, philosophy and ethics.
We feel that a wide and imaginative curriculum is advantageous to the children in an ever changing world. Within the lessons the children have freedom to explore philosophy and ethics as well as religious texts. We find that this approach helps to form a more rounded and better-prepared child for studies and life ahead.
Our curriculum has Biblical stories as the spine of the content and uses texts from many other religions. It is hoped that children will have a detailed knowledge of religious and philosophical texts, be able to express informed opinions on contemporary issues and understand moral implications of thoughts and actions. They should also have an understanding of the significance of the actions of famous religious leaders.
A typical unit of work will have a general theme such as "Peace and Conflict". The approach of various religions to the theme is explored through historical events, texts and stories. A philosophical debate will be included and a significant question such as "Can there ever be justified conflict?" will be debated.
The curriculum is enriched with assemblies celebrating religious festivals, visits to places of worship and visits from inspirational speakers. This approach is adopted throughout the school as a stand-alone subject or integrated into topic work.
Science at Westbourne is made accessible to pupils of all ages and abilities through a very strong emphasis on practical teaching to inspire and enthuse.
Science is initially taught by class teachers who focus on introducing the important concepts in child-friendly, hands-on experiments. Older pupils are taught by specialist Science teachers in three fully equipped, purpose-built laboratories. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught as discrete disciplines. Lessons are based on an interactive approach in which pupils solve problems through scientific investigations. With the support of an experienced lab technician, we are able to incorporate a wide range of practical experiments, carefully designed to illustrate concepts included in 11+ and 13+ examinations.
The aims of the Science department are:
- All pupils to fulfill their potential in Science
- For pupils to be enthusiastic, independent learners with an enquiring mind
- Pupils to discover scientific facts to then relate to a wider cultural context.
The laboratories have their own laptops to support pupils’ interest and understanding through research-based tasks. We have a garden and wildlife area and extensive grounds are used for fieldwork.
Our pupils produce impressive results every year in Common Entrance and scholarship examinations, and when they move on to their senior schools they not only have an excellent knowledge of the subject but they also have high-level practical skills. The lab-based teaching is supplemented by STEM days and local prep school challenges in addition to outings to places such as the Planetarium, Marwell Zoo and Winchester Science Centre. We also have a visiting speaker at the end of each term to give presentations - recent topics include Mars 100, the Titanic and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.