The Buchan School curriculum is distinct and broad and in addition to the main core subjects, the school offers specialist teaching and facilities for Drama, Music, Languages, Art, Design and Technology, ICT and Sport.
The Pre-Prep Department, home to our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes, is a warm and friendly environment where each child is encouraged to achieve their potential.
With an average class size of 13 in pre-prep and a pupil-teacher ratio of 10:1, we deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, as well as fostering each child’s confidence and encouraging independence. We work hard to enhance self-esteem so that our children feel confident and are successful in their achievements.
The teachers are skilled at assessing each pupil’s individual level of development and then supporting their progress at their own pace so that they flourish. Subject specialist teachers deliver Swimming, Art, Drama, Music, French, IT, PE, Baking and Food Work and Bush Craft to all children.
Pre-Prep 1 (Reception) adopts the principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, which is based around four themes; A Unique Child, Positive Relationships, Enabling Environments and Learning and Development. The curriculum also consists of Prime and Specific Areas of learning and development. Whenever possible the children’s interests are used to inspire and engage them in deeper learning and thinking.
Children are encouraged to learn through play and meaningful real life ‘hands on’ experiences. All P1 children have a personalised online learning journey called Tapestry, which records photos, observations and comments in line with the EYFS curriculum.
In Pre-Prep 2 (Year 1) and Pre-Prep 3 (Year 2) pupils are taught by their class teacher in small groups with specialist teachers for Art, Bush Craft, Drama, Music, Physical Education and Languages. The curriculum is tailor-made to the pupils and extended further by the provision of after-school activities and private music tuition. Pre-Prep 3 can also take part in the Buchan Badge Programme and School Council.
Pupils learn in different ways and at different rates. Some children are more visual learners, other auditory and some are kinaesthetic. We understand children need to actually ‘do’ something, where possible, in order to learn. For this reason pupils are encouraged to develop through investigative and first-hand experiences. We also recognise that your child’s interests should be at the centre of our curriculum.
The school encourages good manners and expects good behaviour. Children are taught by example to become thoughtful and confident individuals. We believe that praise is essential and encourage pupils by positive verbal comments, stickers, ‘Pupil of the Week’ and ‘Star of the Month’ certificates.
The Department is committed to work in partnership with parents as we recognise the importance of a good relationship between home and school. We also hold ‘Stay and Learn’ sessions for parents, to see what your child is doing in school.
The success of the Department is reflected in its high academic standards and warm friendly atmosphere, with an emphasis on fun.
“The pastoral care at The Buchan is exemplary. The school creates an environment that builds confidence, maturity and accountability. My child is contented and in love with learning. Terrific.” – Form 1 (Y3) Parent
The Prep Department’s curriculum is balanced and broadly based. It promotes the moral, cultural, mental, spiritual and physical development of our pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. The curriculum is also exciting and unique. It offers pupils the opportunity to concentrate on academics, whilst also having access to our unique Buchan Badge and Buchan Baccalaureate programme.
The curriculum is supported by a team of specialist teachers, who have access to a range of dedicated facilities. At the Buchan, we place a particular emphasis and an increased amount of teaching time upon the core subjects Maths, English and Science. A specialised Drama lesson is held every week. French is taught twice a week and Spanish is currently offered to Form 3 (Year 5) and Form 4 (Year 6) pupils as a weekly lesson. Latin is also available as an after-school activity.
Pupils in our Prep Department follow a timetable, which allows them access to a range of specialist teachers across the whole curriculum. The children also have a form tutor who works hard to nurture and take care of their pastoral needs. There are protected form times in the week as well as daily registration. All pupils have access to a well-stocked library as well as internet access to support their studies. Pupils benefit from a dedicated IT lesson each week.
To enhance our curriculum provision, the Buchan organises a range of educational visits to areas of cultural, historical and geographical interest. Environmental education is provided for, through use of our own extensive grounds and visits to outdoor education centres. The teaching of citizenship and PSHE is led by the Form Tutors and supported by specialist guest speakers and resources.
The Buchan Badge programme gives the opportunity to study an enhanced curriculum, combined with the opportunity to learn new skills. It encompasses and reflects the ideals of the school’s well-established and respected extracurricular programme to provide a unique opportunity. Pupils take part in a number of six week modules that take place during one afternoon every week. The modules include outdoor activities (orienteering and outdoor skills), food technology (cooking and associated skills), environmental issues, gardening, nautical skills (kayaking and sailing), rookie lifeguard and performing arts, such as performances on stage, film or audio.The programme promotes the development of vital key skills. It provides learning opportunities which encourage pupils to investigate, create, develop, evaluate and communicate.
Pupils in Form 2 (Year 4) and Form 4 (Year 6) achieve their Buchan Baccalaureate. This is an overarching qualification, which considers achievement and effort in all areas of the curriculum, including the Buchan Badge. Pupils receive either merit, distinction or honours. Certificates are presented at the end of the academic year.
The Buchan School aims to give pupils every opportunity to reach their full potential and resources are targeted to those who have specific difficulties. The Head of Learning Support works in liaison with all of the teachers to identify children with specific difficulties, which may need short or longer term intervention.
The School places great importance on knowing the profile of individual learners in order to teach to the strengths of the individual child, whilst working to improve and support areas of weakness. Specialist assessment informs teaching and learning across the School and targets are set within an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) in consultation with subject teachers. The targets are either addressed within class lessons or through withdrawal in small groups. In addition, the ILPs disseminate appropriate information and strategies to subject teachers to enable effective teaching. Good communication is essential for a cohesive approach to special educational needs and this is promoted at the Buchan.
Involvement of pupils and parents is essential throughout and is at the heart of any decision-making process.
Class and subject teachers are experienced in differentiating content and style of delivery to make topics accessible to every pupil, while maintaining high expectations. Even when pupils have challenges with their learning, the focus is on higher order thinking skills. Within the learning support lessons, some pre-teaching and reinforcement of topics can take place, across the curriculum, as necessary. Pupils with specific learning difficulties benefit from structured and incremental knowledge and skills-based teaching.
‘Overlearning’ through games, puzzles and computer software provides an enjoyable experience. Reinforcing underlying auditory and visual skills is essential to improve attainment and is an important thread running through all learning support sessions.
Our aim is to take every opportunity to enhance the learning of our pupils of all abilities in the classroom and outside it.
This is at the core of our programmes for enrichment. The Buchan Badge, Baccalaureate and after-school clubs are central to this and there are many opportunities to try new challenges.