English and Literacy
As a department we aim to create an atmosphere of learning and enjoyment which challenges the able whilst supporting, with the help of our learning support staff, those who need it. We want all the students to feel included and motivated.
Students are encouraged to take an active role in the learning process through a lively mixture of discussion, reading and writing. We aim to enable the students to become independent and critical readers of stories, poetry, drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. All students will have the opportunity to enter poetry and writing competitions. Students will also have the opportunity to watch drama through theatre trips or films. Students are taught in ability sets.
At Key Stage 3, the development of good language and literacy skills is a priority for us. At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA and Edexcel syllabi which offer courses including: Entry Level English Functional Skills, GCSE English and GCSE English Language and Literature. Students are taught in ability sets.
There is a homework club which is held in the Study Room every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday after school and is open to all students.
Mathematics and Numeracy
Mathematics at Riverston School is dynamic, ensuring an excitement and enthusiasm for the subject so that students share their teachers’ passion. The introduction and teaching of mathematics is a powerful tool for communication, decision-making, problem-solving, thinking, computation, analysing, research and creative skills. It is important that students learn that mathematics is not necessarily a subject on its own but has applications in other subjects and the world at large.
The development of basic numeracy skills is crucial for all students. Hands-on, practical experiences underpin the mathematics curriculum for students with special educational needs. Developing a good understanding of money and time is critical as part of the developing skills for life programme; learning takes place in small groups with additional support where appropriate.
For all students, a GCSE grade A* to G is our goal as we strive towards individual success in this subject.
Science is taught in 2 science laboratories with access to a wide range of interactive and engaging software to enhance and support learning. We follow the National Curriculum relative to the pupils’ ages but tailor made to match pupils’ individual abilities and needs.
At Key Stage 4 there is a variety of courses available for children to choose from, ranging from BTEC courses at Levels 1 & 2, to the more traditional GCSE Science courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, aimed at more academic students. Textbook resources have been carefully selected to enable full access by all students, according to their needs.
There is also a thriving Science Club which meets after school; available to pupils from years 5 to 11. This is a more fun way to learn about science and its use in technological advances. Examples of projects include making electronic games, a light up Christmas tree and slime!
In History we follow the story of Britain from early time, in particular the Romans and the Middle Ages in Year 7, the sixteenth century and the Native North Americans in Year 8, Trade and industry and the era of the Second World War in Year 9. The GCSE course in Years 10 and 11 follow a detailed study of Britain in the Twentieth Century. As well as using a range of textbooks, a number of visits to local and national historical sites help to make History an enjoyable curriculum subject. The proximity of Greenwich and the River Thames provides a valuable source and opportunity to investigate local History.
In Geography we follow the National Curriculum to gain an understanding of the local area, South East England and a variety of other regions throughout the world. Students learn about weather and climate, features of the landscape, maps and fieldwork. Students will also have to find out about the regions people inhabit and their life style and the associated environmental issues.
Many of the topics are closely linked with Science and include GCSE field trips to different areas such as Kent and Wales.
Apart from acquiring the subject knowledge based on the national curriculum, the students are encouraged to improve their ability to understand ideas and to form and articulate their personal opinions and views. Both, oral and written communication skills are taught through discussions and written tasks. Frequent debates also offer an excellent opportunity to improve their team work skills. The subjects are taught with strong emphasis on current affairs which brings relevance to the topics studied in class. The subjects are delivered with strong cross curricula links, drawing from a number of other subjects such as History, Geography, Science, Art and Literature.
Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology involves the use of computers to communicate information, process data, produce media or to control machines. Students learn how to use word processors, DTP software, spread sheets, databases, web design, sound, and video and graphics applications. Students work at their own workstation in our well-equipped ICT suites and have on-line access to network files and the Internet. Students are encouraged to use pen drives or email accounts to store, transfer and backup their work. Students have their own school email address and can use file attachments to transfer work between home and school. The facilities include a variety of software for cross curricular activities and for GCSE coursework in years 10 and 11.
Computers are an important tool used widely in the world outside school. It is inevitable that students will use a computer and other ICT equipment after leaving school so the skills and confidence gained in using this equipment in these lessons are vital to student’s success in the future.
Although it is useful for students to have access to a computer at home, it is not absolutely essential. What is important, however, is that students have as much hands on experience as possible, i.e. using computers with different types of software. Students can also access the ICT suite at lunchtimes and after school in an effort to maintain a high standard of work throughout the curriculum.
Modern Foreign Languages
At Riverston School French is taught from Pre-School to Year 11.
The aim of the Department is to create an environment in which all pupils can achieve their potential academically. The use of interactive activities in lessons helps to further enhance learning and teaching in a fun way.
In our teaching we set out to develop the pupils’ ability to communicate effectively in French and we give them an insight into the French culture and history.