Curriculum

Specialist subject teaching prepares the children successfully for academic achievement – but a Downsend pupil aspires to more.

Our Upper School pupils are taught in subject specialist rooms, which are very well resourced including interactive white boards. They are taught by subject specialists, who inspire progress of each child towards their full potential.

Academic focus is towards preparation for Common Entrance or Scholarship exams in the final year at Downsend – and we increase the timetable allocation for the Common Entrance subjects with homework set in all academic subjects.

Year 7 is the foundation year for Common Entrance and pupils are split into groups to prepare them for Common Entrance and Scholarship awards. These are determined by a combination of summer exam results at the end of Year 6, ongoing assessments and by standardised tests. Pupils are continually monitored during Year 7 to determine whether they are in the most appropriate academic group.

Common Entrance groups are split further into subject based sets for English, Maths, Science, French, Latin and Spanish. For certain subjects at Common Entrance there are tiered papers, with the expectation that the stronger Common Entrance candidates will aim to sit Level 2 or 3 papers.

We do make sure our curriculum is balanced, broad and vibrant. The children have weekly lessons in the non-Common Entrance subjects of PSHE, Music, Technology, Computing and Art. In addition the pupils have many opportunities for sport with Games, PE and Swimming taking place throughout the week.