This is the final stage of the children’s Pathway with us, although we hope that the knowledge, skills and experiences they have gained at Castle Court will continue to live with them long after they have left the school. Maintaining high academic standards and intellectual rigour continues to be of paramount importance in Years 7 and 8. Through excellent teaching, individualised support and increased specialisation, children are expertly prepared ahead of their transition to their senior school. However, we know that senior schools and employers are increasingly wanting more than just high academic grades. They want young people who are passionate about learning, who are inquisitive and creative thinkers and who are able to communicate and collaborate effectively with others.
To this aim, as a school we have been looking for a framework that encompasses the Castle Court academic approach as well as improving our support for each child’s personal development. We are delighted to be introducing the Prep School Baccalaureate (PSB) to Castle Court. The PSB provides an accredited assessment model recognised by all leading senior schools, and in doing so enables Castle Court to truly deliver a broad and rigorous curriculum for Years 7 and 8.
At the heart of the PSB model are the core skills of thinking and learning, reviewing and improving, and communicating. In addition to formal exams in their academic subjects, children are also assessed on the core skills and how they achieve these independently, collaboratively and in terms of leadership. For senior schools, the PSB offers a robust and rigorous assessment of children’s academic ability, whilst also enabling them to gain a greater understanding of the whole child and their strengths as a learner. The PSB framework means we have the freedom to use the best elements of Common Entrance (ISEB), the National Curriculum and academic Scholarship syllabi without being unnecessarily restricted by the constraints of any of them, to ensure that our children are inspired and challenged academically. Within this framework pupils are fully prepared for both scholarship and other entry pathways to their senior schools.
As well as confirming their places at their senior school, a key aspect of our senior curriculum is preparing our children to be the leaders and role models of tomorrow in whatever field or setting they may find themselves. To achieve this, children need to have the confidence to be their own person; the resilience to bounce back when they encounter challenges; the humility to learn from others and the compassion to be positive contributors to their community and the wider world. Through our Leadership Programme, children are given the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities, learn about themselves and be a positive role model to others. The Leadership Programme aims to grow an awareness of the skills and attributes that will enable the children to lead and be led. Children also take part in an extended project, The Scott Project. This will provide an opportunity for children to investigate and research a subject which they are passionate about. The aim is that the children will share their research, helping to hone their presentation skills, whilst also sharing their passions and inspiring others. The final presentations will be externally moderated and accredited in line with the PSB core skills.
Children who leave Castle Court at the end of Year 8 will now do so with so much more than just an impressive set of exam results and scholarships. We will support them to be the best version of themselves so that they can embrace the challenges that lie ahead of them with confidence and be happy, successful and positive contributors in tomorrow’s world.
“Older pupils are exceptionally well prepared for their next schools, displaying the confidence, maturity and character required for their next step in their education.” —Extract from ISI Inspection Report.