Key Stage 1 Experience (age 5-7)In Years 1 and 2 we prepare your child for future success at their next school and beyond, laying the foundational skills and values in all domains of their academic and personal development.
The transition from the conclusion of the Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1 is one of the most notoriously difficult in a child’s educational life as the children need to adapt to greater academic demands and increasingly more formal learning required by the National Curriculum.
At Herne Hill School, we thoroughly prepare the children for this big step and exploit the familiarity they gained in Reception with consistent teaching approaches and learning resources (e.g., maths meetings, reading schemes, etc.), trusted staff (e.g., all peripatetic instructors), predictable behaviour patterns (e.g., our golden rules) and established friendships.
When our children progress from Reception to Year 1 and from Year 1 to Year 2, they are re-grouped to give them invaluable experience of supported change. This helps prepare them for the bigger changes they will encounter at the end of Year 2, when they move on to their next schools, and subsequent academic, social and professional environmental changes. The children visit their new classes just before the end of the summer term.
Our approach in KS1 builds on the nurturing, predominantly play-based learning the children have experienced during their Reception Cycle. Fun- and play-based learning looks different for six- and seven-year-olds but remains vitally important for their continued engagement with learning, and especially the development of their executive functions.
In their last year with us at Herne Hill School, we make a virtue of the children becoming the oldest pupils at the school. We develop their sense of social responsibility and leadership skills by entrusting them with additional roles that allow them to act as mentors for the younger children and ambassadors for our school community. These include ‘playground buddies’, participation in the School Council, tour guides on open mornings, enhanced roles in assemblies and festivals, etc.
Teaching and learning in Years 1 and 2 broadly follows the KS1 National Curriculum, but with significant adaptations and enhancements, most notably our extensive use of cross-curricular whole-school topics. These not only unite the school under a new creative theme each term but also help to keep our teaching fresh and relevant. Most importantly, they provide a means to creating inter-related, exciting and enjoyable learning opportunities and to nurture the children’s creativity, curiosity and interests.
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Lunch and wrap-around care
The KS1 children continue having their lunch in the Oak hall by class, as experienced in Reception. In Year 1, they still receive a plated service to help incentivise them to try all that is on offer. By Year 2, we facilitate greater autonomy through buffet style serving, albeit with a still watchful eye by our catering team and teaching staff to ensure the children eat a balanced meal.
For a reasonable additional charge, they can attend our popular breakfast club from 7.45am as well as a wide range of Pre-Prep after-school activity clubs until 4.40pm and then care until 5.30pm or 6pm, as required.
Future schools and the 7+ process
Having benefited from our continuous provision through to Year 2, our children are fully prepared and ready to move onto the next stage of their education. This is a natural point in the English education system for them to transition to a bigger school suited to their unique abilities, which by the age of seven are largely established.
We are fortunate to be located close to a wide range of exceptional future schools, and benefit from strong relationships we have forged with each of them. These links, coupled with our excellent knowledge of our children as individuals, ensure that all of them secure places at an appropriate school.
The process starts with Mrs Telford holding a future schools information session for the Year 1 parents in the spring term. In this session, she shares details regarding timeline, preparation and how parents can assist, as well as information about events held by some of the future schools. Throughout Year 2, Mrs Telford and the team work closely with every family, supporting and advising as is appropriate for the child’s situation.