The Learning Environment
Hawkesdown House teaches a broad, balanced and exciting curriculum. While priority is given to a proper grounding in reading, writing and mathematics, as it is on this foundation that all later education is built, a wide range of interests is encouraged as the School finds and fosters talents in each boy. All the boys are encouraged both to learn cooperatively and to become independent learners and for the youngest boys learning through play is also still very important.
The School prides itself on the thoughtful and thorough teaching and care which ensure high academic standards and promotes initiative and persistence. There are clear expectations of the boys, who are encouraged by positive motivation, recognition and praise for their achievements, efforts and progress.
There is a high teacher to pupil ratio and each class has a dedicated Classroom Assistant. Staff are trained to identify any particular needs including for additional Learning Support. There is a full programme to ensure a boy is fully supported, both in the classroom or on an individual basis, as appropriate. This is also relevant for any boy who may be specially Gifted and Talented.
The Early Years Foundation Stage at Hawkesdown House is a loving, happy, nurturing time for all the boys in our care. In the Nursery and Reception classes we provide an environment that understands and supports each individual boy’s talents and interests and stimulates their curiosity and the desire to learn and explore their world. We understand what a key time this in a child’s development and how important it is to provide a curriculum that excites a joy of learning. The Early Years Stage at Hawkesdown House uses a combination of play, child and teacher led activities, games, and music, to teach. Learning is focused on Mathematics and Literacy in the mornings, and Creative Pursuits in the afternoons. We encourage each child to be independent and confident. Whilst we believe learning should be fun, we understand too how important structure is at these ages and as a foundation for life.
Learning to read is a key focus at Hawkesdown House.
The pre-reading stage is taught from sounds, blends and words, to give a thorough grasp of phonics and word recognition.
As the boys move throught the School they are given a wide range of texts, including stories, poetry and plays and are taught a variety of reading strategies. The boys progress from books designed to help teach reading, to a love of books which give pleasure, entertain and inform. There are class libraries for each year group and teachers discuss suitable books and read with each boy to encourage and monitor his reading.
The boys also take part in guided reading sessions; these give the boys the opportunity to apply the reading strategies they already know to new texts and to read aloud to others. With guidance from the teacher, boys develop skills in discussing meaning and can consider their own views about a text with their peers.
The boys are taught handwriting, spelling, grammar, comprehension and composition in a variety of ways. The skills of good presentation and neatness are instilled, and boys learn the importance of observation and imagination. Outstanding examples of the boys’ work are displayed and celebrated throughout the School.
Early Mathematics is taught through sorting, matching and sequencing. Numerical skills are developed through familiarity with the number bonds, then addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and the practical application of these concepts is developed through problem solving. Space, shape, time and money are all included in the curriculum. Maths games and regular mental arithmetic ensure challenge, confidence and consolidation.
History is taught to give an understanding of various elements of British and World history. The teaching of History brings to life the past, its heritage and culture and the concept of time. Great historic figures are studied, so that the boys can learn the importance of character.
The boys are introduced to the World with all its variety of physical and human conditions. They learn to appreciate their surroundings and to develop their natural sense of wonder. Fieldwork is an important element of the Geography curriculum and gives the boys an informed appreciation and concern for their environment.
In Science the boys are taught about the world around them: “animal, vegetable and mineral” and how each interacts. The teaching of Science encourages curious and enquiring minds. The boys enjoy every question answered promotes a new one! The hands-on approach to teaching Science makes it a very popular subject with the boys.
From the Reception Year the boys get an informal, verbal, introduction to French. Initially this is through songs and simple greetings and as the boys progress different teaching styles are used. The emphasis continues to be on oral French. The boys participate with rhymes and poems, playing games and taking turns at simple role play.
In providing knowledge of world religions, we include the study of Christian teaching and of the Old Testament, as well as an understanding of the other major religions. We believe it is important to develop understanding and respect for the beliefs and customs that the boys will encounter in life, together with confidence in their own faiths.
Hawkesdown House is a non-denominational school with a Christian ethos. The daily assembly nurtures the School’s spiritual life.
Personal, Social, Health, Economic and Citizenship Education
PSHECE fosters the values and skills that will guide the boys through the challenges they will face in life. The curriculum incorporates elements of philosophy, self-reflection, charity and healthy living and the ability to empathise with, relate to and understand others.
Music and Drama
An appreciation of Music is nurtured from an early age. Boys are encouraged to develop their skills and experiment with sound. From Form 1, pupils are offered the option of individual music tuition. Drama is embedded in the boys’ timetables with freqent occasions for public performance during the School year. Self-confidence, humour and a respect for others and the value of co-operation are enhanced in a creative context.
Games and P.E.
Teamwork, healthy competition and fun are encouraged through games and physical exercise. The boys have an all round education in health and fitness and learn specific skills to approach sport confidently. All the boys are encouraged to be physically active.
The boys have P.E. lessons in the School Hall, Holland Park and Kensington Gardens and are coached in football, cricket and tag rugby. In Forms 1, 2 and 3 the boys are taught Judo and in Form 3, fencing. The boys have plenty of opportunities to represent the School in competitive matches and tournaments.
In addition to timetabled sport, the boys are taken to the Park to dedicated playing areas with a variety of games equipment.
Art and Craft
The joy of making things is central to life and is encouraged from a boy’s first day at the School. Art and Craft are vital areas of individual self-expression and help develop practical skills.
As the boys move through the School, they are also given a brief introduction to the work of a selection of great artists and the opportunity is taken to visit the fabulous London art galleries.
Information and Communication Technology
ICT is constantly evolving and brings countless opportunities for learning, creating and exploring. A broad, play-based experience of ICT helps confidence, control and language skills. Every classroom is equipped with an interactive white board.
Boys from Form 1 have lessons dedicated to learning key ICT skills on laptops. Learn Pads are used throughout the School to promote cross-curricular study in all subjects. The early introduction to ICT teaches the boys basic skills and computer literacy. The boys are taught the value of the internet, and within the security of the School’s network, the importance of being as safe on-line as in the real world. Access to the internet is restricted, monitored and protected.
Boys leave the School possessing a good level of computer literacy, the ability to work with major software packages including coding, word processing and desktop publishing skills.