Is teaching time being reduced?
Currently pupils in Fourth Form to Upper Fifth receive 2290 hours of lessons over the three year cycle. Under the new proposals they will receive 2375.
Currently pupils in Sixth Form receive 1041 hours of lessons over the two-year cycle. Under the new proposals they will receive 1044.
Currently pupils in Shell receive 1320 hours of lessons, plus games and activities, over a two-year cycle. Under the new proposals they will receive 1408, plus games and activities.
Currently pupils in Form One to Upper Third receive 2833 hours of lessons, plus game and activities, over the four-year cycle. Under the new proposals they will receive 2918, plus games and activities.
Will school holidays be shorter?
As the teaching time will be maintained or increased, holidays will remain the same.
What new subjects will be taught as part of the curriculum?
In the Prep School Touch Typing is being introduced as part of the ICT curriculum.
In the Senior School Computer Science will replace ICT at Fourth Form and be offered for GCSE from 2024 and A Level from 2026.
The Life Skills programme, for pupils from Fourth Form to Upper Fifth, will be aimed at equipping pupils for futures in an increasingly complex world. Topics will include current affairs, ethics, critical thinking skills, public speaking, collaboration etc.
How will the changes significantly enhance learning across the two schools?
Longer lessons will allow for deeper learning and improved thinking. The structure of the day, with fewer lesson changes, alongside a five-day teaching week, will lead to a fresher and calmer school experience.
When will games be taught?
Games will be fully timetabled in the school day, in both Prep and Senior Schools.
Is there a reduction in games time within the new timetable?
The games allocation in the Senior School remains as it is currently. In the Prep School there is a small reduction in timetable allocation, however by fully timetabling games so that different year groups have games at different times, specialist games staff can be more efficiently deployed and the overall teaching experience will improve.
Why are school start and end times changing?
These times have been adjusted slightly for two reasons. Firstly to ensure that curriculum breadth is maintained and secondly so that the ends of both school days dovetail more conveniently.
Is the length of break and lunch time changing within the new timetable?
Neither change significantly in the Prep School.
In the Senior School, lunch break has been extended to allow for improved provision of academic clinics.
Will the new Shape of the Week impact on late stay provision?
Late stay in both schools will remain available until 7pm.
Which Saturdays will pupils be expected to be in school for whole school events?
All Saturdays at which pupils are needed will be published in the College calendar well in advance e.g. Senior School Speech Day and the Whole College Open Morning.
How will pupils know each week, if they have been selected to play in weekend sports matches?
The College will continue to use SOCS to notify pupils about selection for matches.
If a pupil is selected to play in a weekend sports match, do they need to play?
Yes. Permission to miss a fixture must be sought from the relevant Head.
What is the outreach programme?
As part of our commitment to offer public benefit, and to enhance our impact in the local community, we will establish an outreach programme aimed at widening access to the College.
If a pupil is a flexi boarder and stays on a Friday night, what time do they need to be collected on a Saturday?
Flexi boarders need to be collected after breakfast on Saturday.
What will full boarders be doing on a Saturday morning now that there is no Saturday school?
Matches will take priority on a Saturday; additionally, there will be a full programme of activities. Please see the website pages for more details.
Which staff were involved in reviewing the timetable and offer?
All staff are fully involved and engaged in the delivery of College strategy.
Is there a fee reduction as there is no school on a Saturday?
Teaching hours are being maintained or increased and the already extensive games and extra-curricular provision is being further enhanced; therefore school fees will not be reduced.
Is this a done deal, or still a proposal?
The views of parents and pupils are important to us and will be considered over the next few weeks, before a final decision is arrived at.
Why wait until September to bring in the changes?
Curriculum changes are complex and require long term planning which includes staffing, timetabling and provision of facilities.
Will school buses be rescheduled to accommodate the new timetables?
FAQs Updated 12th January
A number of questions have been raised about different aspects of games provision. Whilst several have been answered below, parents will be reassured to know that the new Director of Sport, Health and Fitness is currently undertaking a strategic revision of College provision. Parents have already submitted views via Parent Forums and are likely to have the opportunity to be involved again.
What advance notice will be given via SOCS that a child has been selected to play in a weekend sports fixture?
As much notice as possible will be given and usually this will be by Thursday 6pm at the latest.
Are mid-week sports fixtures in the Senior School impacted by the proposed changes?
They are not affected. Mid-week fixtures will continue as is currently the case. It is expected that the number of fixtures at the weekend will increase for Prep School pupils.
What weekend sporting opportunities will there be for children not selected to play in Saturday fixtures?
Children not selected for fixtures or squad training will not attend school on Saturdays.
How is the reduction of sport in the proposed new Prep School timetable justified?
The delivery of games teaching will be improved by the timetabling of games, as fewer students will be taking part at any one time. This will allow better deployment of specialist games staff and improve access to facilities.
Will Saturday sports fixtures be planned for U9s (Shell)?
Most of their fixtures will be during the week.
Will the amount of sport timetabled in the Senior School improve?
Senior sport will be timetabled to ensure maximum use of facilities and deployment of staff.
Will parents be able to stay and watch matches on Saturdays?
Yes; it is hoped that parents and siblings will stay to watch fixtures. Hospitality will be provided by the school, during match periods.
Why is the school day shorter in the Senior School than in the Prep School?
Both school days end at times which facilitate the proposed curriculum.
Will Computer Science opportunities be offered to Sixth Form pupils from September 2023?
The current Python Coding course will continue to run for Sixth Formers in September 2023.
Will it be harder to maintain children’s attention in the proposed longer lessons?
Longer lessons will allow teachers to create more engaging tasks, and more meaningful and authentic learning opportunities for the pupils.
Will PDPs be continuing or are they being replaced with clubs/clinics?
It is intended that the current programme of academic clinics will be extended; formalising their place in the new timetable structure will enable more pupils to attend. Clubs (PDPs) will be offered at lunchtimes and after school.
Will pre and after school music ensembles be re-timed to accommodate the proposed new timetables?
All the ensembles will happen after school or at lunchtime as is currently the case. The lengthened lunchtime offers significantly greater flexibility for these activities.
Will there be a change in approach to individual music lessons?
Lessons will still be 30 mins and rotated (or fixed for senior pupils) as is currently the case.
What is planned instead of tutor time?
Tutor time will remain in both schools.
Will children still be able to flexi board on Friday nights?
Both weekly boarders and flexi boarders (provided there is flexi space) will be able to stay in school on Friday night. They will be picked up after breakfast on Saturday or stay in school if they are required for a fixture.
Can I drop my day children earlier in the school day and pick them up later than late-stay?
Day children can currently be supervised from 8am-7pm in the Senior School and 7.30am-6pm in the Prep School. The school is currently looking at the viability of a day-boarding provision and may be able to offer this in the fullness of time.
How will school consult with parents about the Shape of the Week proposals?
The consultation with parents is taking the form of information on the proposal being provided by the school through these webpages, and feedback being given by parents digitally or in person. Parents are invited to submit thoughts and questions via this link or by ringing 01279 838603 to make an appointment to meet with Kathy Crewe-Read and Bill Toleman. All feedback is being considered and common themes are being added regularly to this FAQ page.
FAQS Updated 20th January
Is Rugby going to continue at the College?
Yes - Rugby is a core sport and will continue.
Which teams are in on a Saturday?
Most weekend fixtures will involve A and B teams in year groups from Lower Third to Seniors. Fixtures for other teams will continue during the week, as is currently the case. In strong sporting year groups more fixtures could be secured.
If my child’s squad doesn’t have a fixture, will there still be training on a Saturday?
Yes, for squads who usually play fixtures on a Saturday, where facilities allow. We will communicate this using SOCS in the usual way. Training sessions will appear on the fixture list to allow parents to plan.
Will sports clubs still be held at lunchtimes and after school and at what time?
There will continue to be sport after school, and before school 80 Club, gym, cricket nets (selected pupils only), netball will continue. Some team practices will happen over lunchtime too, but staff availability will be determined by the whole College timetable.
When will the 2023-4 fixture list be made available?
The fixture list will be available at the end of the school term before, with a finalised fixtures list added to SOCS as soon as dates are confirmed with other schools. This may not include cup fixtures as these tend to be mid-week and ad hoc.
Are the Saturday sport fixtures for Senior School moving to the mornings?
We will continue to play some schools in the afternoon, but will also be able to play morning fixtures. Until the proposal is confirmed a new fixture list cannot be finalised.
How frequently will children have a non-sport weekend per term?
Non-sport weekends will be on a par with current leave weekends. They will be published with Term Dates, allowing maximum planning time.
An update on the new school bus routes would be warmly welcomed! Thank you in advance.
We are reviewing the need for additional bus routes and you will soon receive a survey which will enable us to ascertain whether a new route or additional buses on the existing routes are required.
Can GCSE Computer science be made available from September 2023?
Whilst this was not part of our original proposal, we are currently reviewing feasibility.
How will my child concentrate for longer lessons?
Our teachers are experts in classroom craft and will plan activities that will enable pupils to remain engaged and on task. Longer lessons will allow teachers to plan a greater variety of activities, therefore helping to increase concentration and progress.
Now the teaching time is less, will there be more homework at weekends?
Teaching time has actually increased in terms of academic contact. The amount of homework pupils do at the weekend will be consistent with our current approach and the new structure will allow greater pupil choice as to when they study over the weekends.
Will outreach/Saturday outreach involve our children?
The Outreach Programme has yet to be developed. It may involve current pupils, for whom participation will be enriching, but voluntary.
FAQs Updated 27th January
What about the other non-core sports, such as swimming? Will there be training on Saturdays for this?
We intend that there will be Saturday training for swimming.
How are we going to support lower ability sports pupils with improving their skills so they can be selected for A and B teams, when they have less opportunity for training and to play fixtures?
The organisation of the Sports Department is changing to ensure more specialist coaches are available during lessons and training sessions. We are also timetabling games so that there is better access to facilities for all teaching groups. Every pupil will still receive games teaching and coaching during the week with, in both Schools, as many fixtures as possible for as many pupils as possible across the age groups. Overall, this will give every pupil the opportunity to develop and the chance to play in matches.
Will the number of matches my child plays for the College reduce?
No. The provision of fixtures in both schools will be either identical to now, or better. Matches currently played during the week will continue to be scheduled as now. The Prep School will have more fixtures on a Saturday, and it is hoped that the same will be true for the Seniors though their current Saturday fixture schedule is already comprehensive.
Will sports scholars still receive the same level of additional training within the new timetable?
Yes and we are planning to review the Scholarship offering and how it can be improved going forward.
Will the 80’s club and gym still take place before school despite earlier start time?
Yes, the intention is for both to continue. Timings may alter slightly.
How will teachers using longer lessons engage neurodiverse pupils?
Teachers can use longer lessons to support neurodiverse pupils by incorporating a variety of teaching methods, such as assistive technology through the use of devices, visual aids, hands-on activities, and collaborative work with peers. Longer lessons provide additional time for independent practice and self-regulation, this is particularly important in developing 21st Century skills for transition to university and the workplace. The longer lessons can be beneficial for students who may need more time to process information, especially aiding the transition between learning activities. The longer lessons also create extra time for meeting needs, such as extra time for examination style assessments and allowing teachers to spend more time with individuals.
Were prospective parents made aware of the Shape of the Week proposal prior to current parents?
No. The communications about the proposal, and the link to the web pages, were sent to current parents via School Post prior to any communications being sent to prospective parents.
Can GCSE Computer Science be made available from September 2023?
Whilst this was not part of our original proposal, we are now able to confirm it will be offered to students demonstrating suitable knowledge/aptitude, from September 2023.
Why was French chosen as a compulsory language in the Prep School, with Spanish and German available as options?
French is the language most children join the College with some experience of from their primary school or feeder Prep School, which is part of the reason. The other, very significant, element is that we are confident of being able to recruit outstanding teachers of French, yet our experience (and that of other schools similar to ours) of recruiting teachers for the other languages has not always been as successful.