The English Department at St. John’s Senior School aims to empower pupils to become “brave“ and confident learners, with a passion for literary and linguistic exploration. Our philosophy is to engender a love of reading that extends to an appreciation of how writers craft their ideas to convey powerful meanings. This exploration lies at the heart of critical understanding and creative endeavour at St. John’s Senior, allowing our students to access the highest grades for both Literature and Language at GCSE. It is a privilege to facilitate this process, unlocking potential and watching students flourish, as they learn new skills. Further, this insight into the critical process promotes independent thinking, inspiring the confidence to make informed judgements based on precise textual evidence, and a depth of understanding that underpins our success at GCSE.
The curriculum is planned carefully to ensure that key skills are built upon and revisited on a regular basis.
A passion for reading, encourages further exploration at A’ Level, where students are challenged to extend their literary horizons to explore a range of literature from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ to McEwan’s ‘Atonement’.
Central to our teaching is the incredible opportunity offered at St. John’s Senior for healthy debate and discussion of ideas generated by literary expedition. In the classroom, students develop the confidence to make contributions in a positive and respectful environment, facilitating rapid progression, as new levels of understanding emerge in a positive and productive working environment. Teaching is supported by state of the art technology, where collaborative learning can thrive to build sophisticated layers of understanding and promote exploration in relation to both reading and writing.
At St. John’s Senior School, students benefit from regular visits to the theatre, to experience first hand the drama of the stage as it was intended, providing an exciting and thought-provoking dimension to related studies. Our annual Eisteddford celebrates the culmination of our inter-school poetry competition, when one pupil is crowned bard, in keeping with the tradition and festivities. Exciting activities commemorate World Book Day, encouraging further exploration into literature. Our success as a department reflects our determination to ensure that every student is effectively supported to flourish and, in doing so, realise their full potential in both Language and Literature at every level in this subject.
To enable all our students, reach their maximum potential in this key subject.
The Maths Department at St. John’s follows the Pearson Edexcel five year schemes of learning that is purposely designed to create a strong foundation of knowledge and allow a seamless transition from KS3 and KS4.
The following areas of Mathematics are covered:
Years 7 and 8 students are taught in mixed ability groups and in year 9 they are taught in sets.
GCSE (9-1) 1MA1 Pearson Edexcel
All our students are entered for the higher tier GCSE examination. The total assessment consists of three written papers. Each paper is 1 hour 30 minutes in length.
Paper 1 is a non-calculator assessment and a calculator is allowed for Paper 2 and Paper 3.
The assessments cover the following content headings.
‘A’ Level Mathematics
The department offers two separate ‘A’ Levels.
Mathematics (9MAO) Pearson Edexcel
Three papers 2 hours each in length.
Further Mathematics (9MFO) Pearson Edexcel
Four papers, 1 hour 30 minutes each in length.
Two papers from the following options:
UKMT Maths Challenge
Our students participate at all three levels junior, Intermediate and Senior with a number of the candidates progressing to the next rounds, Kangaroo and Mathematical Olympiad.
If required by the particular University a student has applied, assessments such that BMAT and STEP are sat by a number of our ‘A’ Level candidates.
All pupils follow the Activate KS3 Science course.
1st Form: Being a scientist is great fun! Pupils learn how to work like a scientist and get answers to questions that only science can answer, for example, how to speed up the process of herd immunity in the population or how planes fly. The curriculum is packed full of exciting facts as as well as plenty of activities to help build pupils’ confidence and skills in science. The topics covered range from ‘Cellular Biology’ to ‘Exothermic vs Endothermic Reactions’ and ‘Forces’.
2nd Form: In the second year of their science education at the Senior School, the pupils learn how to make connections by combining concepts from all three science disciplines. For example, ‘How Life Evolved on Earth’ (biology) linked to ‘The Origins of Earth’ (chemistry), which is in turn linked to ‘How a Supernova Explosion Creates a New Solar System’.
3rd Form: The students use their prior knowledge and inquiry skills to answers big questions such as, what is a healthy diet? Why do organisms need food to survive? Why do we not all look the same? How does the Periodic Table help us predict patterns in properties? How do we obtain the materials we use? What happens in a power station? Why are aircraft cabins pressurised? How forensic scientists help to solve crimes? What gives nanoparticles their properties and how do these properties make them useful? How would we know if they were aliens out there?
GCSE: All three main sciences are taught as separate sciences. The science teaching is a continuation of ideas and skills developed in earlier key stages in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. The curriculum is designed to provide a platform for outstanding exam results and comprises approximately equal proportions of biology, chemistry and physics. ‘Working scientifically’ is taught through and clearly related to substantive science content in the programme of study. Teachers choose examples that serve a variety of purposes, from showing how scientific ideas have developed historically to reflecting modern developments in science and informing students of the role of science in understanding the causes of and solutions to some of the challenges facing society. The scope and nature of our KS4 curriculum is broad, coherent, practical and rigorous, so that students are inspired and challenged by the subject and its achievements.
‘A’ Level: All ‘A’ Level students of the sciences are taught all topics for their chosen ‘A’ Level(s) and develop the following skills when completing the practical endorsements:
Computer Science is a subject in high demand and with clear relevance to modern-day life. In today’s world, where we consistently depend on computers to store, organise, cross-reference and provide access points to data and where technology is constantly changing, technological and information literacy skills are as essential as literacy and numeracy, with a reflection on the ethical, cultural and social issues that modern computing raises. Networking, encryption, cybersecurity, systems design, application development are all examples of key employment areas with a great shortage of professionals.
At St. John’s the taught curriculum consists of three strands;
The Digital Literacy strand teaches students how to be effective users of digital technology and efficient in its use in the real world. It also teaches them how to use a combination of software to create a product. Additionally, they learn how to use information and communication technology to express themselves and develop their ideas at a level that will prepare them for the future workplace as active participants in a digital world. Digital Literacy is also about the safe and responsible use of technology, including recognising its advantages for collaboration or communication.
The Information Technology strand teaches students how devices work and how they relate to other technology. It is also about the use of computers for functional purposes, such as collecting and presenting information, or using search technology. This strand of the curriculum equates to what was most of the areas from the old ICT scheme of work including issues such as the identification of business needs, the specification and installation of hardware and software, and the evaluation of usability. It is the productive, creative and explorative use of technology.
At St. John’s we run a weekly, lunchtime club for all students, where they can explore the subject further or gain help with any aspect of their Computer Science work. These sessions are run on a drop-in basis, taking place in the ICT suites with an ICT specialist or computer science teacher supervising students to provide help and support where necessary.
To inspire and challenge students, we take part in a range of competitions and challenge events over the course of the year, such as the Cyber Discovery programme, along with the Bebras and Oxford Computing challenges.
To study history successfully involves considerable amounts of reading and writing. Although fluency and technical skill come with practice, it is hoped that those who embark upon the course possess sound literary skills and enthusiasm for reading. Those who derive most benefit from history are those who enjoy discussion and debate, both orally and on paper. Throughout the curriculum, students are encouraged to articulate their own ideas about the past confidently and persuasively. They are guided in their learning so that they can write fluent, structured and analytical responses.
In Years 7 to 9, the History Department provides a foundation in British and World History and an introduction to the skills of the historian. Years 7 and 8 learn about Medieval History, the Tudors and the Stuarts, as well as the growth of the British Empire including the Slave Trade and the Indian Uprising of 1857. Year 9 study the First World War, the Russian Revolution, The Second World War and the aftermath.
Years 10 and 11 study the GCSE History course, studying Weimar Germany, the Cold War, Early Elizabethan England and the Crime and Punishment depth study. The course encourages learners to raise questions and to develop and deploy historical skills, knowledge and understanding in order to provide historical explanations. Pupils will explore history from a diversity of perspectives, including social, economic, cultural and political.
The Sixth Form explores the history of the Tudors, the French Revolution, and a thematic topic. Reading and lively discussion form the core of learning of ‘A’ Level History at St John’s. Students have access to scholarly online resources to support their studies.
History is useful preparation for almost any non-science subject at university. It complements subjects such as Politics, Geography, Languages, English, Religious Studies, Economics and Classics at ‘A’ level, as it offers a range of skills that help to raise students’ analytical abilities. Leading to a wide range of careers opportunities such as Law, Teaching, Journalism and the Media, Academic Research, Administration and Management; essentially, any career where analytical thinking is highly valued.
The department is committed to extending the students’ interest in history and developing a passion for the subject beyond the curriculum. London provides a particularly stimulating and well-resourced environment for the study of history. Visits to sites, museums, galleries, archives and libraries play an important part at some stages of the course and some have travelled abroad for background study on their respective periods.
At St. John’s Senior School, the geography syllabus is designed to encourage enquiry based critical thinking. Teaching methods and tasks have been designed to facilitate this aim. Current events and issues are incorporated into our teaching as they occur. This brings geography alive and gives the subject true meaning to the students. Students are encouraged to bring their own experiences to lessons and their contribution is always valued. Regular assessment allows students to review their learning. They can then reflect on the best methods they can apply to maximise their grades.
In Lower school (KS3) geography helps to develop geographical skills, processes and knowledge as a foundation for GCSE. There is also a locational thematic approach with students studying Africa, Asia, China, Russia and the Middle East. This provides student with a global context, interconnections and the role of the UK.
At GCSE we cover the AQA syllabus (8035). This includes a range of topics on physical and human geography and how they interrelate. Students also study the application of geography through units on issue evaluation and fieldwork. GCSE students participate in fieldwork studies on urban regeneration in the London Docklands and coastal studies in Slapton Ley, Devon.
The Edexcel A-Level syllabus introduces Dynamic Landscapes and Places continuing with Physical Systems and Sustainability, then Human Systems and Geopolitics. These are taught through synoptic teams with specifications on actions and attitudes, players, future and uncertainties. Students undertake an independent investigation as part of coursework. This approach to learning is a solid foundation for study at university level.
Business is a major part of everyone’s lives and anybody who has a good idea about how businesses work is at an advantage. Taking ‘A’ level business is of great benefit to doing if you have aspirations of one day becoming self-employed or being in a managerial position. Many people study it at ‘A’ level without taking it at GCSE so this should not discourage you. Anyone with a general interest in the economy, finance, marketing, human resources, management, business structures, ethics etc. will enjoy the subject.
|Theme 1 – Marketing and people||Theme 2 – Managing business activities|
|Meeting customer needs||Raising finance|
|The market||Financial planning|
|Marketing mix and strategy||Managing finance|
|Managing people||Resource management|
|Entrepreneurs and leaders||External influences|
|Theme 3 – Business decisions and strategy||Theme 4 – Global business|
|Business objectives and strategy||Globalisation|
|Business growth||Global markets and business expansion|
|Decision-making techniques||Global marketing|
|Influences on business decisions||Global industries and companies|
|Assessing competitiveness||(Multinational corporations)|
Enterprise lies at the heart of this subject and pupils who take this subject have the opportunity to run our school tuck shop. Clinics are held for pupils to see their teacher outside of normal lessons for additional support. Guest speakers and past pupils are invited in to give educational talks to our pupils. Trips abroad to New York and Cadbury’s World to mention just a few, are also offered to pupils taking this subject.
Politics is about people and how they interact and organise their society. It is also concerned with people: how they interact, make decisions and settle disputes. The study of Politics, provides a developed understanding of British politics and the global political environment, as well as the political ideas, which have shaped western government and society.
Topics studied in detail include:
Component 1 – UK Politics
This component covers the core concepts of Politics and how they are relevant to the UK;
Component 2 – UK Government
This component covers the features of the UK system of government, as well as extending the study of ideologies.
Component 3 – Global Politics
Component 3 also includes studying current global events, trends and challenges
Students undertake original research, give presentations, and use ICT extensively as part of the course. Students have the chance to augment their wider learning through a range of essay competitions, conferences and excursions. The subject is increasingly popular with students and provides an excellent grounding for degree courses such as Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Human, Social and Political Sciences, International Relations, Sociology and Journalism.
Economics is a social science which studies the behaviour of individuals, firms and governments, who all face resource constraints and need to make choices about how best to use the resources they have. It is about what drives people, firms, and governments – whether it is business wanting to make profits, the need to survive and to make a living for individuals and households, or the government’s need to collect taxes to pay for and provide services to people and firms.
Economists make assumptions or describe simple rules to understand what motivates economic agents, how they act and behave, and to explain the consequences of these actions. They do so by building models of different markets and of the economy as a whole to try to understand and describe these markets and economies.
The study of economics can help students to better understand and analyse current affairs, business, finance, politics, international relations and the costs of environmental pollution. It can also help to understand aspects of everyday life, such as the cost of travelling to school or the relative merits of different smart-phones!
The subject requires a variety of quantitative, critical thinking and data interpretation skills. Universities place a very high value on the transferable quantitative and qualitative analytical skills acquired by students through the Economics ‘A’ level course. Single honours and joint honour graduates in Economics are amongst the best paid university graduates, with a variety of rewarding careers in finance, consulting and industry.
Economics is studied at Sixth Form. St John’s uses the AQA specification, with the subject content broadly split into micro-economics and macro-economics components. Micro-economics is the study of individual economic agents and markets, and covers topics including the laws of supply and demand, consumer behaviour, market structures, resource allocation, market failure and government intervention in markets. Macro-economics covers topics including government policy objectives and conflicts, economic growth, inflation, unemployment and international development and trade. Other topics, such as inequality and international competitiveness have both a macro-economic and macro-economic component.
Sport at St. John’s forms a key part of our pupils’ physical, social and mental wellbeing, as well as supporting their physical development. As a department, we aim to provide a range of experiences, in an array of sports, to allow pupils access to a positive environment where they can learn, develop and enjoy playing sport at school. These positive experiences provide pupils with the knowledge and understanding of how to live a healthy, active lifestyle, and leads to continued enjoyment throughout their lives, as they embark on their individual journeys once they leave.
Physical Education is delivered by a number of highly qualified teachers who have a passion for sport and an enthusiasm to deliver the highest quality lessons that would inspire young people.
Everyone is encouraged to participate, and pupils have access to a huge variety of sports in their P.E and Games lessons including football, hockey, netball, cricket, tennis, table tennis, badminton, rounders, fitness, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, athletics, ultimate frisbee, yoga, aerobics, basketball, fencing, horse-riding, climbing, boxing, cross-country, fitness suite and golf.
In forms 1-3 pupils benefit from practical P.E lessons as well as their double games in the afternoon. Lessons are delivered using an extensive range of equipment and resources to ensure that the content is accessible to all pupils. Practical lessons are also assisted by the use of photo and video analysis of performance, which offers pupils in-depth, instant feedback on their progress.
St. John’s offers a competitive fixture list in our main team sports including football, hockey, netball and tennis. There are opportunities to compete at many levels from Inter-school, Borough, Regional and National competitions. Pupils from St. John’s School represent with pride, enthusiasm and great respect for their opponents.
Over the years, we have had many successes with our football, establishing strong links with Arsenal and Watford Football Clubs, where we have a number of academy players here at St. John’s. Whole school sports events include Senior School Sports Day and a Swimming Gala held at the local leisure centre.
We offer pupils trips abroad to Europe to participate in Football, Hockey and Netball. Pupils are also offered the opportunity to enjoy educational visits to watch National and International sports fixtures.
We currently offer Physical Education as a G.C.S.E subject.
Here at St. John’s, we boast a state-of-the-art football pitch, as well as a large second sports field for pupils. In addition, we have an excellent outdoor multi use sports area. It has been designed using a Tiger Turf Pro surface, providing an outstanding facility for our pupils to play Hockey, Tennis, Netball and 5-a-side football.
We also have an outdoor basketball court and an outstanding Sports Hall with luxurious changing rooms incorporating showers and disability facilities.
The aim of the art and design curriculum is to help pupils develop their visual literacy and communication skills in both imaginative and personal ways. At the heart of art and design is an understanding that critical, creative and analytical thinking including problem solving and risk taking are highly regarded skills which are transferable between many other subjects on the curriculum. For this reason, art and design has been shown to raise attainment in standards across all areas of learning including mathematics, science, engineering and technology, by building confidence and self-esteem and promoting enjoyment and engagement at school. The art and design curriculum at St. John’s gives pupils an opportunity to explore and celebrate similarities and differences between peoples, places and cultures, nurturing and providing support for the health and wellbeing of all who participate. Ultimately, our aim is to support pupils who wish to access pathways into further education and employability in the creative, cultural, digital media and heritage industries.
At St. John’s Senior School, art and design is a curriculum subject taught to all pupils from 1st to 3rd forms during a double lesson each week. Throughout the first year, an emphasis is placed on the teaching of ‘key skills’ including developing pencil skills, tonal shading, creating the three-dimensional form of an object, and mark-making. All units taught during 1st form set a solid foundation from which other units are developed for the whole of KS3.
During this key stage, the curriculum has been planned so that each year group completes three units.
This broad and exciting curriculum has been designed to encourage pupils to explore materials, processes and tools that help to embed skills and engage with various design contexts, as they develop into confident artists and new creative challenges are overcome.
At KS4, teaching is planned to cover the assessment objectives as specified in the Edexcel art, craft and design specification. Pupils are encouraged to develop their skills being given the freedom to explore and solve problems independently. This ‘open’ approach allows pupils to explore genres and movements in art that they have identified through their own research and are excited by. We believe that allowing pupils this autonomy helps towards the development of personal, original and complex outcomes that connect to a wide range of contexts. Pupils are encouraged to explore and discover the different qualities and properties of materials including pen, pencil, ink, paint, collage, print, clay, photography and digital design, mixed-media and 3D design.
Portfolio work that is completed in school and at home accounts for 60% of the G.C.S.E. and the exam theme (ESA) is provided by Edexcel and carries a 40% weighting.
During Lower 6th pupils are introduced to the assessment process at ‘A’ level and guided through two units to fully embed this. Portfolios are developed through primary observations which are independently developed into further explorations using a variety of mediums and processes including photography and digital media, mono printing, acrylic painting, pen and ink, 3-d sculpture, colouring pencil, biro, charcoal, graphite and water colour. During the last term of Lower 6th, pupils choose a topic that they wish to develop into a personal project. This includes a 3000 word essay, which accompanies their portfolio work.
Upper 6th is spent consolidating the personal project through the development of final pieces. The exam component (ESA) is introduced at the beginning of the Spring Term and continues until the Summer Term.
Portfolio work that is completed in school and at home accounts for 60% of the ‘A’ level and the exam theme (ESA) is provided by Edexcel and carries a 40% weighting.
At the end of each school year the art department showcases the work completed by all pupils from KS3 to KS5 through the
The aim of the IELTS Department at St. John’s Senior School is to build upon the English knowledge of our second language students to provide them with the skills to achieve the IELTS exam band requirement for their chosen university. In addition, our students develop strong English language skills, enabling them to study confidently in English in all their chosen ‘A’ level subjects.
The students work on the four areas of the IELTS exam, regularly practising past papers –
Our students are fortunate to have the chance to practise speaking with their peer group in the Sixth Form. A number of the first language students work together with our second language students to help them develop fluency in the speaking exam. This gives the IELTS students the chance to learn English from their friends, helping them to build a good working knowledge of colloquial English, which is assessed in the IELTS speaking exam.
The IELTS students at St. John’s enjoy participating in a number of school trips, such as our recent tour of Cambridge. Through these trips, our international students can learn about British culture and have the opportunity to visit university towns where they may choose to study in the future.
Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic (PSHCE) education is a subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. It helps children and young people to stay healthy and safe, while preparing them to make the most of life and work.
In the Senior School, PSHCE curriculum takes a thematic approach, covering three core themes of ‘Health and Wellbeing’; ‘Relationships’; and ‘Living in the Wider World’ over six half terms (five in Year 11). PSHCE is taught to 1st-5th forms in weekly 50 minute lessons.
To help pupils build on the knowledge and understanding, skills, attributes and values they have acquired and developed during their primary phase.
To acknowledge and address the changes that young people experience, beginning with transition to secondary school, the challenges of adolescence and their increasing independence.
At Key Stage 3 PSHCE teaches the knowledge and skills which will equip them for the opportunities and challenges of life. Pupils learn to manage diverse relationships, their online lives, and the increasing influence of peers and the media.
|Curriculum in the First Form||Curriculum in the Second Form||Curriculum in the Third Form|
|Health and Wellbeing|
|Living in the wider world|
At Key Stage 4, pupils build upon and develop themes they have looked at in earlier years. These will often involve considering topical content and a wider world context and the content covered continually evolves to include current debates, themes and legislation.
|Curriculum in the Fourth Form||Curriculum in the Fifth Form|
|Health and Wellbeing|
|Living in the wider world|
PSHCE is led by an experienced subject specialist in the Senior School who works in partnership with the Preparatory School PSHE Lead, the School Counsellor, the Designated Safeguarding Leads, tutors and teaching staff to support all pupils.
At St. John’s, we believe that parents and carers are the prime educators for children on many personal, social, health and economic matters. The aim of the PSHCE curriculum at St John’s complements and reinforces this role, building on what pupils learn at home as an important part of delivering an outstanding education.
Pupils are given the opportunity to voice their opinions on and ideas about the subject via a termly questionnaire.
Independent advisors and speakers contribute to enriching the curriculum further and bringing the subject to life.
Our international ethos has been established throughout the school over a number of years. After submitting an evaluation form in July 2021, St. John’s Preparatory and Senior School has received the accreditation of the International School Award by the British Council on 1st September 2021 to recognise our international work, which is firmly embedded in our curriculum.
At KS3, pupils learn French in First Form and start German in Second Form then Latin in Third Form. The language department has a communicative approach and a strong emphasis on grammar and translations, where all pupils are challenged, according to their own abilities. Language skills are developed and consolidated through topic learning and knowledge is enhanced across themes of studies, following detailed yearly schemes of work, showing continuity and progression in the grammatical concepts and vocabulary complexity. The curriculum is planned to facilitate sequential, progressive learning and to build upon pupils’ prior knowledge in preparation for KS3 listening, reading, writing, speaking and translation skills. Language clubs take place at lunch time in the Lower School (KS3)
At KS4, inspirational teaching make languages a very popular option amongst our cohort of students at G.C.S.E. Every year, we have bilingual pupils in French and German at G.C.S.E level, who also choose to continue to study Latin. Our native speaker teachers offer extra intensive practice in the four language skills, thanks to our exam revision sessions in the Upper School (KS4) at Prep time. The whole language team of specialist teachers contribute to the achievement of excellent language exam results, including in speaking ability.
At KS5, our French and Geman ‘A’ level pupils are taught literature, poetry, film study, society and cultural trends, current affairs, through an extensive range of authentic materials. They are encouraged to go the extra mile to develop their analytical and debating skills.
In addition, Mandarin is taught at ‘A’ level for overseas students. Our students go on to study French Literature at Oxford or a combined degree in Law or Art at French universities (Paris) and German at Russell group universities in London.
St. John’s Senior School offers a rich international curriculum across all the year groups up to Sixth Form. Beyond the language learning, our native speaker teachers in French, German and Mandarin share their own cultural experiences. Language teachers offer various activities throughout the year and make cross-curricular links with other subjects to enrich students’ knowledge and provide them different opportunities to practise their language skills in a different context.
All French language students have their own pen-friend with our Parisian partner school. They can acquire a different understanding of the respective culture, compare their ways of life, express their opinions and ask questions.
The whole Lower school takes part in the French and German poetry competition to experiment with the foreign language in a fun way. Pupils can become more creative with their writing and use their language knowledge in a non conventional way to think out of the box so to speak.
Pupils learn about religious traditions and festivals; the Lower School (KS3) sings Christmas carols. During the summer language cultural week, pupils research famous people, regional gastronomy in Germany and French-speaking countries around the world. Then, they prepare presentations in the target language, answer cultural quizzes and complete the language challenges from the British Council. Cinema sessions in school or the ‘Cinéma Lumière at the French Institute in London are also planned.
Annual history and cultural trips are organised in France, Belgium, Berlin (Christmas Markets), Madrid and finally New York for Sixth Formers to broaden students’ understanding of global affairs, world history, cultural and religious differences but also to practise their language skills, if applicable.
French 4th Formers have a fantastic opportunity to stay with their pen-friend’s family and have a cultural insight and life experience in our partner school for a week at a time. A wide range of cultural activities and lessons in our partner school are planned to enjoy a full immersion in the Parisian life. During the year, their French pen-friends come to visit them in their families, attend a range of lessons with them at St. John’s Senior School and also explore London with their teachers.