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Curriculum

Year 6 – A Time to Expand Horizons

At Old Palace, we admit students into our Senior School from age 10/Year 6. 

Although the majority of girls join us in Year 7, our Year 6 consists of both current students from Old Palace Preparatory School and a number of new students who are looking to experience a more challenging and stimulating curriculum.

Our Year 6 students are fortunate enough to enjoy their own, dedicated area of the Senior School with separate Year 6 classrooms and their own leafy courtyard in which to play at break time.  Yet they share all the facilities of the Senior School, including the specialised teachers and teaching spaces, the on-site sports and music facilities and the very popular swimming pool, where all pupils have weekly swimming lessons.

Whilst we maintain a close-knit community within Year 6 by teaching students in their own classrooms, we challenge and stimulate them by using specialised areas such as the Dance Studio, Science, Art, DT, Sport and Music facilities. For girls who are eager to learn, this provides an exceptional opportunity to take lessons from subject specialists at an early age. In fact, we often find that this inspires a passion for different subjects which continues throughout their Senior School years. Other new subjects, such as Latin, Physics and languages are also studied.

Throughout Year 6, students are prepared for the 11+ examinations and, of course, our own, Old Palace entrance examination. They also enjoy a wide variety of lunchtime and after-school clubs as well as the opportunity to take part in Senior School productions, concerts and choirs (including concerts at Croydon Minster). Girls are introduced to water polo, tennis, dance, hockey and netball and are given the opportunity to try out for teams and play competitively.

Taking part in the Arts Award is a very popular activity with our Year 6 students, who relish the challenge of creating their own plays and presenting them to their parents at the end of the year. Another highlight, and one which is very much looked forward to, is the annual residential trip to the Isle of Wight.

Expanding the horizons of our students in this way ensures that Year 6 at Old Palace becomes a valuable and rewarding experience. Most importantly, it helps build confidence which plays a significant part in reducing any anxiety a girl may experience when transferring from Year 6 to Year 7.  Indeed feedback on our year 6 provision from both students and parents is overwhelmingly positive and we are immensely proud of all that our Year 6 girls achieve.

Year 7 – A time of opportunity and confidence building

Students new to Year 7 will find the Old Palace community welcoming, supportive and full of exciting opportunities. Moving to a new school can sometimes be an unsettling experience, so we have established  trusted strategies to ensure a smooth transition. Students soon relish the numerous academic and extra curricular opportunities available and their confidence grows, aided by a strong framework of pastoral support.

We are committed to ensuring that all our students are stretched and challenged in their learning. Girls are encouraged to participate in many of the exciting clubs and activities on offer and they take part in competitions which challenge their thinking and creativity. Students with academic or music scholarships and those who demonstrate exceptional academic ability are invited to join the prestigious Palace Group, where they will continue to be stretched and challenged.

In Year 7 students follow courses in Art, Design  & Technology (including Food & Nutrition), Drama, English, French or Spanish, Geography, History, Computing, Latin, Mathematics, Dance, Music, PE & Swimming, Religious Studies, and  Science. Setting in Mathematics occurs following assessments during the autumn term.  Students are grouped in French and Spanish according to experience and ability. Movement across sets occurs throughout the school as appropriate. Alongside, the Learning for Life programme, which is part of the Year 7 curriculum, underpins the human, social, spiritual, cultural, careers and academic aspects of the students’ work.

 

Years 8–9 – A time of personal and academic growth

In Year 8 & 9, the curriculum introduced in Year 7 is enriched by the introduction of a second modern foreign language: German, Italian or Spanish.

Years 10-11 – A continuation of the personal and academic growth embedded in the lower years

As students begin their GCSE studies, the pace and depth of learning increases.

The curriculum allows for students to follow up to 10 GCSEs. The core subjects are English Language, English Literature. Maths and Science (either three separate sciences or double science).

GCSE courses are offered in Art, Business Studies, Classical Civilisation, Computing, DT, Dance, Drama, French, Geography, German, History, Italian, Latin, PE, Spanish and Religious Studies.  Classical Greek runs as a twilight course for our most able scientists and classicists.

Students are encouraged to maintain a breadth of study and are advised to study at least one subject from each of humanities, the creative and performing arts, modern foreign languages and technology subjects.

Dance Leadership and Sports Leadership are also options for students in Year 10 and 11.  In addition, Year 10 students may embark upon the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme with the option to progress to the Silver award in Year 11 students and Gold in the Sixth Form.

NEW At home Preparing for Sixth Form Programme

Music

Music is integral to life at Old Palace, and we aim to encourage as many girls as possible to join in with the many musical opportunities available to them.

Our aim is to cultivate and develop young musicians of all standards, and encourage participation in a wide variety of ensembles. We provide a diverse curriculum that allows pupils to engage in a multitude of genres and styles, which, in turn, is supported by the excellent and extensive co-curricular framework.

Old Palace Senior School has two orchestras, four choirs, a brass ensemble, a jazz band, several steel pans groups, a recorder consort, a guitar ensemble, a ukulele ensemble and a number of wind and string chamber groups to choose from.

A team of 20 peripatetic music staff undertake instrumental tuition for approximately 200 students. Girls may elect to learn the piano, flute, saxophone, percussion, trumpet, trombone, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass, viola, French horn, bassoon, harp or guitar. Associated Board Examinations are also conducted regularly at school.

As a member of The Choir Schools Association, our chapel choir sings monthly evensong services in Croydon Minster, and also sings regularly at cathedrals around the country. Our Chamber Choir has won a number of competitions and singers from the school have recently performed with the internationally renowned London Mozart Players on several occasions, including performances of Holst’s ‘Planets’, and Mendelssohn’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. We also regularly put on school musicals and collaborate with the other foundation schools in doing so. Recent productions have included ‘Seussical’, ‘Hairspray’, and ‘Guys and Dolls’. There have also been several Opera productions involving Old Palace pupils, including recent performances at ENO and Garsington’s production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw.

In addition to our regular concerts and productions, the school’s musicians regularly perform abroad; recent tours have included performances in Vienna, Barcelona, Venice and Tuscany amongst others.