From the moment the girls arrive at Eaton House The Manor Girls' School to the day they conclude Year 6, we want a love of learning to be stimulated by all we do.
We provide a broad and varied curriculum from the very outset, with equal emphasis given to the arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. Thus, even at age 4, the girls will experience computing, TPR (theology, philosophy and religion), science, topic, PE, swimming, art, music, drama, dance and French in addition to their literacy and numeracy lessons.
Subject specialists work with all our girls in PE, Music, French and Dance. Once in Form 3 (age 7-8), the girls also then receive specialist teaching in Science, Art and Reasoning.
With the 11+ exams being a constantly evolving assessment process – in terms of both the structure and the content of the tests – we are continually reviewing our curriculum in order to provide the best possible preparation. As a result, we are hugely proud not only of the range of outstanding London day and boarding senior schools that our girls join after leaving Eaton House but also of the wealth of scholarships and awards they win in the process.
Core literacy and numeracy skills
Developing the core literacy and numeracy skills forms the backbone of our academic curriculum. All our form teachers deliver English and maths to their classes with a natural emphasis being placed on these subjects in terms of the amount of time given over to them. In the early years, we want the girls' learning to be as multisensory as possible, so we ensure a broad variety of different resources are employed both in and out of the classroom. Engaging each girl's imagination through language and literature enables us to achieve rapid progress in the reading and writing process, and by making our maths syllabus both practical and formal we demonstrate how such areas as time, measurement, shape and money are connected to the real world.
Technology is a powerful educational, social and creative tool and we want the girls to understand how to use it safely and effectively. Every classroom has an interactive whiteboard that is frequently used in the teaching and learning process, we have an ICT suite providing access to 20 PCs, and a bank of tablets which can be used as required. And as we teach the girls how to develop their IT skills so we also take them through a comprehensive e-safety programme to raise their awareness of potentially harmful online behaviours and how to avoid them.
Presentational and interpersonal skills also permeate the curriculum. For the girls to be leaders, collaborators and confident public speakers by the time they leave us, it is tremendously important we nurture and encourage a number of skills needed when connecting with an audience. Thus, whether it be through 'show and tell', class assemblies, productions, speech and drama, lessons or a multitude of in-class activities, all the girls are offered a host of opportunities to practise the art of effective communication.
Throughout the year, we conduct a series of formative and summative assessments to measure each girl's attainment and ability. The results of these assessments are shared and discussed with parents through our termly reporting system, our twice-yearly parents' evenings, and, most crucially, through the ongoing, more informal discourse which takes place through face-to-face contact or via email.
We are currently enhancing our exam preparation with some exciting educational techniques to promote independent thinking. Adventure books have been introduced to all the girls from KG (Kindergarten) to Year 6 because we want to challenge the girls with open-ended questions that do not have a right or wrong answer. Instead, they are designed to develop the creative, evaluative and analytical thinking skills that are being increasingly assessed at 11+. For these tasks we use exercise books with pages that are part blank and part lined so that the girls can express their ideas both visually and verbally. Questions can be fun and challenging such as:
- "What’s more important, time or money?"
- "What would happen if the world were ruled by elephants?"
- "Do you see yourself as more of a square or a circle?"
These books help all our girls to handle open-ended examination questions with confidence and flair.
The Music department offers individual tuition in musical instruments, an orchestra that the girls can join, and singing lessons and a choir.
- Tutors are available to the girls in a range of instruments: piano, violin, wind instruments, drums, guitar and many more.
- We have an orchestra, and all girls who are interested in music are welcome to join.
- Singing is also taught and there is a chamber choir. We hold house singing competitions and here is plenty of opportunity for spontaneous musical expression in class.
One-to-one instrumental and vocal lessons are available from Year 1 upwards. We have 13 specialist tutors, who give individual tuition in piano, voice, brass, woodwind, percussion, violin, viola, cello and music theory. The School's structured, integrated approach, liaising closely with the tutors on a child-by-child basis, prepares the girls for concerts, formal examinations and, where appropriate, musical scholarships.
We ensure that a pupil's individual lessons are rotated each week so that she does not repeatedly miss out on another subject.
In the autumn term each year, the KG girls put on a Nativity play for their parents and the rest of the school, so that immediately, performing on stage becomes second nature to them. Meanwhile, the Year 1 and Year 2 girls take part in a Junior Christmas play which never fails to get everyone in the festive spirit. Needless to say, singing plays a significant part in the production and the rows of beaming faces whilst singing from our youngest girls is such a sight to behold!
Extracurricular activities for juniors
Extracurricular musical activities for our junior girls include visits to the Royal Festival Hall where they take in a performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, watching our head of music’s professional string quartet perform in assemblies, and hearing the magnificent sound of Oompah Brass as they take to the stage and introduce the brass family of instruments. The girls from Year 2 are welcome to join the joint choir with the pre-prep boys as part of the The Manor Voices after school choir club as well as joining the Music and Song club which is open to girls of all ages.
The violin scheme
As part of the curriculum, all the Year 2 girls learn to play the violin in class and can take a school violin home to practise the skills they are learning. The violin scheme takes place over the course of the whole academic year and is an exciting opportunity for the girls to be exposed to learning an orchestral instrument. It is also an excellent way to put into practice what they have already learned about rhythm, pitch and tone as well as giving them the joy of playing together in an ensemble.
Several Junior concerts take place over the course of the year, where the girls are encouraged to present the pieces they are learning on their instruments or in their vocal lessons. The uptake for the concerts is always extremely popular and a real sense of achievement is apparent from all those who take part. The Junior Choir also perform in these recitals which includes every girl in Year 2 so every child has their moment to shine on stage.
By the time the girls reach the Senior part of the school, music and singing is deeply rooted within them and there are opportunities a plenty for performance and tuition.
From Year 3, any child in the Girls' School is invited to join the Senior Choir, which currently boasts over 70 members and performs throughout the school year at important events such as the carol service and Senior music concerts.
In the spring term, Year 3 and Year 4 show off their musical and theatrical skills in their play, closely followed by Year 5 and Year 6 in the summer term. Past performances have included The Wiz, Bugsy Malone, Olivia, Dragon Days and Mystery at Magpie Manor, all of which have demonstrated the girls' maturity and immensely accomplished musical efforts. There are many senior music assemblies in the calendar where all who learn instruments or sing are encouraged to give performing a go whilst being in a nurturing and supportive setting.
Orchestra and music ensemble
Our ensembles include the Senior music ensemble, Form 2 violin ensemble, string quartet, and recorder ensemble.
Playing successfully within an ensemble is a skill which enables a musical child to progress to true musicianship. The benefits of participating and performing in an ensemble, group or orchestra are huge – not least for the sense of exuberance, joy and fun.
We teach general instrumental technique through individual lessons, but ensemble playing gives students the opportunity to reinforce and develop their technique in a different setting. Students are taught how to interpret, to respond to the conductor's gestures and expressions and the importance of strict adherence to beat patterns and tempi.
- We have a Junior and a Senior choir open to every pupil.
- The Bel Canto Choir, drawn from Years 4 to 6 with entry by audition, provides higher challenges for the more gifted vocalists.
- A joint choir with the Eaton House Pre-Prep Boys' School has also been established, further extending the horizons.
- In addition, we can offer specialist individual voice tuition in certain circumstances.
By the time our girls leave Eaton House, they feel inspired and motivated to continue singing, performing and practising their instruments, having had a fully rounded, plentiful and happy musical experience.