Art and Picture Study
Creative talent and artistic expression are nurtured and encouraged from an early age at Dormer. We pride ourselves on our imaginative wall displays and our challenging art projects.
The syllabus for picture study takes children from the palettes of the Impressionists to the canvases to the Dutch masters and the frescos of the Renaissance. Many of our pupils are successful in winning art scholarships at secondary schools.
Drawing upon their creativity and imagination, pupils are challenged to design, make and evaluate products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, using a range of materials. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw upon disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Through evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. In this subject pupils learn how to take risks and become resourceful, innovative and enterprising.
From the first nursery rhymes in Reception to the Shakespearian sonnets in Year 6, we strive to instil a love of the English language and its literature. In creative writing, we journey through the literary genres from classical myths and legends to futuristic science fiction. Through the spelling programme teachers communicate an enthusiasm for words, offer strategies for better spelling and investigate word roots and their origins. We look carefully at the way words work in sentences and practise the rules of punctuation. Weekly handwriting practice encourages improvement in cursive writing whilst developing fluency and speed.
Drama and the confidence it brings are an important part of life at Dormer. All children enjoy a drama session once a week and will be ‘on stage’ at least once a year. Pupils are encouraged to take an active part in assemblies where they have the opportunity to perform poems, speeches and plays. The older pupils read Shakespeare and thoroughly enjoy their visits to the theatre.
Private drama lessons are useful to bolster confidence, improve speech and can even help the children through the more difficult times in their lives when, by using role play, they can express anger or frustration in a safe environment. Drama lessons can be taken from Year 1 after consultation with the teachers concerned. Most of the children go on to sit the LAMDA Speech and Drama examinations, but the benefits gained by the lessons are, more often than not, those which cannot be tested.
In geography we learn how our surroundings have been altered by nature and by man. We follow the effects of pollution on land and at sea. We look at the development of settlements along the banks of some of the world’s rivers and compare city to country life in other countries as well as our own.
Pupils move along the timeline of British History, developing their sense of chronology and investigating major events. They compare and contrast ways of life at different levels of society and encounter the personalities who colour the pages of history.
Information Communication Technology
Our programme of study for ICT develops an awareness of the many uses of ICT inside and outside the classroom. We build upon skills with a variety of applications, providing ample opportunities for the use of ICT tools to support studies across the curriculum. We assess the value of ICT resources, encouraging pupils to become more discerning in their use of ICT. Helping pupils to take advantage of new technology but teaching them to keep safe on line is a key part of the learning process.
As an International School we actively promote the study of foreign languages by offering French from Reception and a residential trip to France for Years 4, 5 and 6. We also teach Latin from Year 3 to underpin our English syllabus. Through the Minimus course pupils are given the opportunity to appreciate the legacy of Roman rule
and to meet many of the mythical characters who colour our literature to this day. A Spanish taster is also offered in Years 5 and 6.
Our mathematics syllabus aims to teach our pupils how to make sense of our world through developing their ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. From Reception to Year 6 pupils are encouraged to explore relationships and pattern in number, shape, space and measure and relate it to everyday life. Access to new technology provides the opportunity to enhance their learning whilst our PNEU heritage underlines the importance of our pupils comprehending the mathematical concepts through practical experiences before using and applying their skills more formally.
All children have music lessons as part of their curriculum. These sessions are a pleasant introduction to the world of musical instruments and include rhythm, timing, tuned percussion and note value. They can also serve as an early indicator of musical talent. Our music students perform publicly in assemblies, school concerts and local competitive festivals to experience the pleasure of singing and playing to an audience.
The earliest peripatetic lessons start in Year 1. We currently offer tuition on the recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, piano, classical guitar, electric guitar, drums and vocals. Many pupils successfully take examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education
From Reception to Year 6 we encourage the children to grow into confident and responsible individuals. We prepare them to be active citizens, to develop good relationships and to respect others. We help them to understand the need to keep safe and stay healthy. Topics covered include relationships, coping strategies, confidence building, mindfulness, health, social and study skills.
We encourage pupils to explore their own beliefs, to consider the moral codes which form the basis of world religions and to recognise the need for a code of conduct to guide us safely and happily through life. Pupils watch or read and talk about events in religious life. Children study passages from sacred texts and listen to people talking about their beliefs and values.
We promote understanding and tolerance of all religions necessary for life in multi-cultural Britain.
Our pupils are naturally curious and excited about their world; it is therefore our aim to capitalise on this through a stimulating science syllabus. Using first-hand experiences our pupils come face to face with a range of phenomena and learn directly about the way things are and why they behave the way they do. Pupils are encouraged to develop an understanding of different concepts through hypothesising, testing, recording and evaluating what they have learnt in order to reinforce and broaden their scientific knowledge.
We use a full sports programme for children of every age to help develop teamwork and set new challenges, as well as to burn off excess energy. The school has access to the excellent dry and wet weather facilities at the Moreton-in-Marsh Fire College. Reception and Key Stage 1 swim on Wednesdays and Key Stage 2 swim on Friday afternoons. The school hall is also used for gym and dance. All pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 take part in the Dormer Indoor and Outdoor award scheme. The Dormer sporting calendar includes an inter-house swimming gala, sports day and football tournament. We have competition fixtures against local schools in floorball, rugby, netball, football, cricket and rounders.