The school week is divided into 25 periods. There are 5 periods per day, with 4 periods before lunch and 1 period in the afternoon. The school operates a two week timetable. Period 5 on Friday is a private study and tutorial period for all pupils which also encompasses a variety of other activities which enhance the core curriculum.
Key Stage Three
For 2019-20 pupils will be taught in seven mixed ability forms for most subjects. There are smaller groups for Languages, Technology and PE. Pupils are set for Maths and Languages after the first half-term.
Pupils are divided into three equal cohort groups. Within these cohorts, pupils are set independently for Science, Languages, PE, English and their Humanities (ie History, Geography, RE). They are set across the year for Maths and are in mixed ability groups for Technology, Art, Drama, Music, PSHCEE and ICT.
Pupils are divided into three equal cohort groups and set independently within these for Science, Modern Foreign Languages PE and English/Humanities. Pupils are placed in mixed ability groups for the Creative Arts subjects (Art, Drama, Music), ICT and in Technology they are set according to the material the child has chosen to specialise in. Maths is set across the year.
PSHCEE is taught in mixed ability group
Key Stage Four
Years 10 and 11
Although there is an element of choice at this stage, all pupils follow a common core of subjects and are guided and restricted in those areas where an option exists. We have recently moved to reduce the size of the common core, so that students have a broader choice of options. We still expect that the great majority of students will choose one or more modern foreign languages, and that the majority will choose a technology subject PSHCEE (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education) is a modular course covering health, economic awareness, environmental education, moral and multi-cultural issues, careers and citizenship. The Science course is a balanced one with equal amounts of Biology, Chemistry and Physics leading to a double GCSE in combined science, some pupils opt to take the separate Sciences which results in three GCSEs. RS is an examination course leading to a full GCSE
Years 12 and 13
St George's has an academic Sixth Form with a minimum entry requirement of 5 GCSE's at grade 5 or better, of which 3 must be 6 or above. It attracts many students, (200 in Year 12 2018/19 and 200 in Year 13) and has thus maintained healthy group sizes in the following A Level subjects:
Art and Design (Fine Art, Graphics, Photography), Accounting, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design and Technology (Product Design), Drama and Theatre, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, German, Politics, History, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies (Philosophy & Ethics). Opportunities exist to study other subjects, eg Media Studies and Spanish, within the Harpenden Consortium. However, we cannot necessarily guarantee that all courses will run every year, as occasionally option choices can be too few to run an effective group.
In addition to the A Level choices, there is a lecture programme covering a variety of issues. We also offer the extended project qualification to the Year 12 students who show the ability and aptitude to expand their studies beyond their three or four A Levels. There is a weekly period of Physical Education which all students take part in.
At St George’s we aim to provide a first class education for all and we recognise that some of our pupils experience significantly greater difficulties with learning than the majority of their peers. We provide additional support for these pupils. In addition, a very small number of our pupils require support for a medical or sensory difficulty. The School can provide this.
When appropriate, we devise individualised learning programmes. We also organise a framework of learning support within our mainstream classes in a number of subjects and for different age groups. Pupils with a variety of learning difficulties can make progress at their own rate, while at the same time increasing confidence in their ability to tackle a variety of subjects within the school curriculum.
Separate teaching of literacy and numeracy skills is provided for a few of our pupils by specialist teachers. Pupils are taught in groups which are deliberately kept as small as possible, given the resources available. The School also runs clubs for pupils who need to improve the standard of their work. Some of these are by invitation only. In addition, where appropriate, there are paired reading arrangements. We also invite some pupils to take part in a series of literacy skills lessons, which are taught in a series of intensive termly units.
Whatever help a particular pupil needs, we understand the importance of close liaison with parents in monitoring the progress of these pupils.
By all these means, we offer the opportunity for pupils of differing abilities to develop their own capabilities to the full – and ultimately we help them to make the most of the opportunities the school has to offer.
St George's School works under the government's Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs called ‘Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25yrs’.
The school has a history of seeing education holistically where class teachers, house staff, parents and pupils work together to support a pupil's learning.
The key points of the new code are:
- Interventions need to be in place in a graduated manner.
- All teachers follow the principle of “quality first” teaching for all pupils.
- All interventions for a pupil's learning must follow the process of "assess, plan, do, review". For a pupil with special educational needs, this means that working with Learning Support, class teachers assess the pupil’s needs, plan the lesson, teach the lesson and then review the pupil's progress and learning outcomes.
- To support a pupil's education we run various clubs to improve elements of their learning.
- As a school we have access to a range of specialist advisory teachers. They support the school by delivering INSET to staff or suggesting strategies to support a particular pupil's learning needs.
- Our aim is for all pupils to achieve the best possible education and other outcomes.
The emotional wellbeing of staff and students at St George’s is considered to be very important.
Happy staff and students are usually more successful individuals, and that makes St George’s as a community a positive environment to be in.
The following pages offer information on how you can look after yourself and others emotionally, and where to access emotional support at the school.
Emotions are important in the classroom in two major ways:
- Firstly emotions have an impact on learning. They influence our ability to process information and to accurately understand what we encounter.
- Secondly learning how to manage feelings and relationships constitute a kind of ‘emotional intelligence’ that enables people to be successful. Some students may have difficulty learning because their minds are cluttered with distracting thoughts and feelings.
The Student's Services department, led by the Pastorial Support Manager and Mental Health lead, work to promote student wellbeing, support individual students with specific challenging circumstances and run emotional support groups. Staff work to support the expertise of key pastoral leads in relation to the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students.
Safeguarding and Child Protection
The Constabulary has been notified of The Blue Whale Challenge. While there have been no incidents relating to this in Hertfordshire it is an ideal opportunity to educate and prevent.
The Blue Whale Challenge is about targeting vulnerable young persons on line and befriending them. Once their trust is gained they are set 50 challenges. These are a variety of challenges that build upon the previous in terms of risk and severity. The 50thchallenge culminates in a dare to the vulnerable person to kill themselves.
There have been reports of this happening.
More Able Learners
In aiming to provide a first class education which encourages all to reach their potential in a caring and disciplined environment, we make provision for those pupils who are identified as exceptionally able in the community of St George’s to ensure that they are appropriately challenged.
We use a broad definition of the term more able learners aimed at roughly the top 5 to 10% of the School’s ability range and use a variety of methods to identify such pupils including standardised tests, pupil transfer information, consultation with staff, House events and links with external agencies. A register of able pupils is built up for each year group by the More Able Learners Co-ordinator and this is reviewed annually.
Provision is made for our able pupils through differentiation in lessons and the enrichment and challenge activities devised by each subject department. Extra curricular activities also provide an important role in meeting their needs as does giving them responsibilities through the House system and opportunities to develop citizenship in the wider community.
Generally, in order to maintain depth of study and allow time to be involved in a wide range of educational experiences, we do not favour acceleration for our able students which would result in early entry for GCSE and AS/A level examinations.