Our blended curriculum investigates topics through different subject areas.

Core subjects are connected across the curriculum, enabling girls to gain a broader understanding of how, and why, their learning is relevant.


It is important to ensure understanding is being nurtured and all needs are being met. We assess progress regularly, using informal questioning and discussion, self-evaluation, peer feedback, and teacher review of each girl's work.

Our approach is broader than the SATs system allows. Our teachers use assessment to consider: How does this child learn most effectively? Have I enabled each child to achieve the learning objective? In small classes, we build a detailed picture of each child’s progress, to inform further progress. We regularly communicate progress with parents.

We use Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR), Verbal Reasoning (VR), Progress in English (long version) and Progress in Maths tests to provide baseline assessments against which individual pupil progress can be tracked. The York Reading Test is used to generate reading ages and comprehension.

Early years (Reception, age 4-5)

Reception develops key skills through practice, discussion and reflection. Girls grow in independence, self-discipline and responsibility, as they build foundations for future learning.

As girls settle into key aspects of school life they become familiar with routines such as lunch in the dining room, assembly and House meetings. These experiences create positive social traits such as sharing and treating others well.

Pre-prep (Years 1 and 2, age 5-7)

Girls build creativity and independent thinking, as they develop and practice HPL skills and attitudes. We place a strong focus on English and Mathematics, Science and Computer Science balanced with Art, Geography, History, World Religions and Religious Education (RE) and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE).

Girls are actively involved in all aspects of school life, including a performance choir, class assemblies for parents, House meetings and School Council.

Prep (Years 3-6, age 7-11)

After a smooth transition into Prep, girls continue to build their HPL attributes. English, Mathematics, Science and Computer Science remain core subjects, which are carefully linked with other areas of study, as girls begin to establish their individual approaches to learning.

Contribution to our school community continues apace, with increased opportunities to take the lead and broaden horizons.

Creative Curriculum

Our Creative Curriculum merges traditional elements of learning with creativity, challenge, independence and discovery.

A practical and cross-curricular approach integrates different study disciplines – such as Science, Art, Geography, and Music – under one unifying topic, to ensure girls see the relevance of each discipline in context.

For instance, a topic such as The Titanic will lead to reflections on the lives of the individuals at the time (History and English), designing and building boats (Engineering), and investigating floating – and sinking (Science).

This ‘joined up’ approach encourages pupils to become more inquisitive about related areas of investigation as they begin to understand how different parts combine to form a whole. Our pupils develop creative, critical and reflective thinking, and become excited and enthusiastic learners.

Our Creative Curriculum incorporates:

  • Essentials for learning and life – literacy and communication, numeracy, Computer Science, learning and thinking skills, and personal, social and emotional skills
  • Areas of learning – aspects of historical, geographical, artistic or social investigation, which form the basis for the half term topic
  • Religious Education – spiritual , ethical or moral understanding
  • Languages – exposure to all aspects of a language including vocabulary and grammatical structures as well as the culture, traditions and history of countries speaking those languages
  • Physical Education, Health and Well-being – games which build tactical skill, an understanding of fair play, team work and healthy competition, decision making, rules and the link to healthy life-styles
  • Music – aspects of creative music making, theory and composition

Academic enrichment

Individual learning is nurtured through our structured enrichment programme, which further enables our most able girls to investigate a broader series of challenges – from topics such as active citizenship, rights and responsibilities, community engagement and health and lifestyle.

Extended learning

Our enrichment programme takes place during a 30 minute session once a week. We explore social justice issues, offering pupils the chance to develop critical and philosophical thinking, independent research skills, and a habit of reflection.

Girls develop political, media, environmental and cultural awareness – important attributes on which to build beyond Junior School.

  • Pre-prep (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) pupils are introduced to the values of Mary Ward, our school’s foundress, at a basic level while also encouraging independence and creativity.
  • In Year 3 and Year 4 pupils complete a number of challenges relating specifically to Mary Ward values, which are at the core of our school’s ethos.
  • In Year 5 and Year 6, pupils use their knowledge and experience to choose their own challenges, from a choice of over 40, to create enrichment portfolios.

Challenges can be approached in various ways; there is a ‘thinking point’, an ‘argument point’, and ‘creative’ or ‘investigative’ tasks. A mentor meets with girls once per term to discuss their progress and future work, guiding their creation of an enrichment portfolio.

Girls complete a number of activities in their own time at school or at home. Each girls builds an enrichment portfolio, creating a record of their development of self-learning skills. This is passed to Senior School as part of the seamless transition from Year 6 to Year 7.