Our independence allows us to be imaginative in what the pupils learn, and also in how and where they learn it.
It is a primary aim of Hunter Hall School to instil in our pupils fundamental values that will provide a strong foundation for the rest of their lives. These include developing respect for others, the ability to make good choices, willingness to listen and an appreciation that all have a contribution to make. Inclusiveness and cultural sensitivity underpin classroom activity and we encourage children to have a sense of social justice and fair play.
The curriculum at Hunter Hall School is tailored to the needs of the pupils and their future aspirations. While the National Curriculum is a useful starting point, teachers adapt and enhance their programmes of study to ensure that every pupil is motivated, inspired and challenged. In addition to the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, the syllabus includes French, History, Geography, Music, Religious Studies, Art, Drama, Games, P.E. and Outdoor Education.
We recognise that taking risks, in a considered manner, is important in modern life, and the children are urged simply to “have a go”, and to be untroubled and innovative in their responses both in the “formal” classroom, as well as in art, drama and games. Whilst we promote spontaneity, reflection and review are also encouraged. The children are taught to use a range of skills and techniques in order to support and develop their thinking.
Teachers, too, are imaginative in their methods and overall approach to the learning process, using a wide variety of tools and methods, capitalising upon the unique features of the school’s location and natural environment.
The atmosphere that we attempt to generate is that of high challenge and low stress. We ensure that the children learn and develop in a safe and stimulating environment, working towards targets that will extend them in all areas and stretch their minds and expectations. Pupils have many opportunities for friendly competition. Ultimately we want the children to see education as their own responsibility – and as a lifelong adventure, on which they are taking their first steps.
Small class sizes allow for individualised learning and as each child develops they are encouraged to work to their own pace allowing for all levels and abilities to strive and learn. Above all, children are happy, engaged and always wanting to learn more.
Recent results have shown how the children at the end of the foundation stage curriculum are well ahead of the national averages in core subjects, due to continued outstanding teaching; for example at the end of reception 2016 100% of children achieved a good level of development and exceeded in some areas in comparison to only 66% nationally.
We call the final four years at Hunter Hall School (ages 7 to 11) Upper School. In these years (Year 3 to Year 6), teaching is largely from specialist teachers (entirely in the final two years), and the pupils are extremely well prepared for the next stage of their education.
Whilst we do not believe in “hot-housing” pupils, they are prepared very thoroughly for entrance examinations to secondary schools. The education that takes place on a daily basis fulfils much of this objective, but Exam Prep is an extra lesson that takes place after school each week. It is primarily there to help children with entrance exams into senior schools. Practice papers are taken and verbal and non-verbal reasoning as well as mathematics are part of the syllabus.
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