Welcome to the Lower Senior School at Downsend – Years 7 and 8
As pupils transition from the Junior School, or join us from other schools at Year 7, there is a sense of excited enthusiasm for the next stage of the journey.
We have had much to be proud of in recent years, reflected in our successes in exam results and across a breadth of scholarship awards to some of the best senior schools in the country.
As we become an all-through to GCSE school, we aim to continue to foster this sense of achievement and the pursuit of excellence across all areas of school life.
Taking the Next Step
Year 7 is the start of the Key Stage 3 academic journey for the pupils. Not only is the focus on academic studies but we combine it with a new emphasis on the Downsend Diploma which allows the pupils to develop other skills including creativity, leadership, and citizenship.
During their time in the Lower Senior School, pupils will benefit from expert teaching from subject specialists in our brand new facilities. During this time, they will become more independent learners – becoming more effective, more engaged with the subject, and able to build on strengths and gain support for areas of weakness.
A Broad Curriculum and the Downsend Diploma
Based on our extensive knowledge of how to get the best from young people in years 7 and 8 we deliver a balanced, broad and vibrant curriculum that is based on the very best principles of the ISEB (Independent Schools Examinations Board) and supported by our Downsend Diploma.
The introduction of the Downsend Diploma captures talent and commitment to the key life skills we value so much; Leadership, Citizenship, Sport, the Creative Arts and Technology, and the pupils can now achieve the highest standard of award, Gold level, through a route that reflects their own strengths and personal learning profiles. The Downsend Diploma is designed by the School and in conjunction with a variety of local Senior Schools, as an exciting and innovative award. It comprises a rigorous academic core – combining the best of the ISEB syllabus with the Middle Years International Baccalaureate (IB) and development programmes including the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The award recognises and rewards a broad range of areas: academic; citizenship; creativity; leadership and physical and enables pupils to develop a fully rounded self-awareness before progressing on to the further rigours of their GCSE programme.
Developing Independent Learners
Tutors and teachers also encourage the pupils to become more independent in their learning with opportunities for self-directed study either in the Learning Resource Centre and an open-door policy at break and lunchtimes for pupils to ‘drop in’ if they have any queries. They are also encouraged to set themselves SMART targets during their termly tutorials and are given opportunities to review and reflect on their progress, encouraging greater ownership of their learning and development.