Academic

English

The development of good English skills is the foundation for all learning that takes place in our school; its mastery is essential for independent learning and intellectual development.

Our pupils develop a love for the English language through the spoken and written word and our dedicated team of staff ensure that every pupil learns to read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding.

Exciting English lessons provide children with varied stimuli (electronic and traditional) for writing, encouraging pupils to express themselves clearly and creatively in a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. There is a high level of individual attention, ensuring that all children enjoy their work and make good progress.

We take pride in creating a rich environment for the development of reading and writing skills, from early letter and sound recognition in the EYFS, through to the study of a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts in Form 6. A range of methods are used to help children learn to read and develop their comprehension skills; every pupil has a reading scheme book which they share with their teacher and take home each evening.

Our curriculum meets and exceeds the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and the National Curriculum and all pupils are fully prepared for the 11+ Entrance Examinations for local independent senior schools.

Mathematics

Because mathematics is such an important subject we aim to stretch each child beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum, every year. We believe that the earlier we promote confidence with numbers and calculations, the earlier our children develop independent thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills.

So, we start in the Nursery, teaching about numbers and counting. By the time our children are learning algebraic expressions in Form 6 they have more than covered everything they need to know for 11+, and in many cases, most of what they cover in their first year at senior school.

Of course, we promote mathematical creativity through applied problem solving skills and mathematical games, but we also insist on learning by rote when necessary such as in the learning of number bonds and times tables.

It’s not just the topic coverage. Our mathematics curriculum is designed to challenge and stimulate every child. We have high expectations of all our pupils, encouraging each child to aim high.We draw upon an extensive range of learning best practice, textbooks and practical resources to support our teaching including online and interactive resources. Each pupil benefits from an online ‘Mathletics’ account, allowing them to develop their mathematical learning beyond the classroom.

Our pupils enjoy their mathematics lessons and we ensure that they achieve at least to their potential. In fact, over half of our pupils make “exceptional” progress; progress way beyond their innate mathematical ability. It is our ambition that every one of our pupils has a positive attitude towards this important subject and that they are able to use and apply their mathematical knowledge and skills across the curriculum and in everyday life.

Science

Our aim at Pownall Hall School is to ensure that all children retain and develop their natural sense of curiosity about the world around them. We use the National Curriculum as the basis of our teaching. This is complemented by the availability of excellent facilities, extensive resources and the use of specialist teaching staff. Our children learn beyond the National Curriculum and we seek to develop real enthusiasm for Science.

We are fortunate to have a large laboratory that has been purpose designed for the use of children from Forms 3-6. Here the children learn to challenge their thinking through a variety of practical science experiments and investigations.

Class sizes are small so that all children are engaged in challenging and thought provoking activities. They are encouraged to observe, make and test hypotheses, design fair and controlled experiments and to draw conclusions and evaluate evidence. Technology plays a vital role in science teaching at Pownall Hall School. Children use digital microscopes, data loggers and IPads to help them to collect and analyse evidence during their investigations.

Environmental issues are important to the pupils at Pownall Hall and children are encouraged to think responsibly about their school environment and the world beyond.

We have wonderful grounds that enable the children to develop their interests in the outside world. They can search for mini beasts, collect and identify pond creatures and carry out environmental surveys in the wooded area that is part of our grounds. We have a beautiful wildlife garden that includes a pond and a sensory garden that has been planted to encourage wildlife.

Pupils have an opportunity to develop their interest in gardening and children can regularly be found planting and harvesting produce which they proudly deliver to the school kitchen.

Geography

Geography at Pownall Hall School is designed to stimulate the senses and encourage a desire for travel and encounters that enrich the lives of our children.  Exciting field-trips are at the heart of the subject and we use the latest technology and teaching practices to discover about people, places & cultures.  All of our work is based on investigations that stretch, challenge and bring geography to life.  Whether we are assessing the impact of, and working towards solutions to the problems associated with a changing climate, globalisation or fair-trade (to name just 3 topics), at Pownall Hall we unlock the wonders of the world as well as potential of our pupils.

We have a unique approach to our Geography teaching. Project based work allows children to be inspired and build a greater appreciation of what skills they need to cultivate. This gives our pupils a sense of ownership over their learning. It is wonderful to see pupils realising what skills they need to master to help them move forward. Cross-Curricular links develop and reinforce teaching delivered by other specialists.

We have recently carried out a ‘Waste Audit’ around school. To improve their enquiry skills we started the topic with a simple question. Is Pownall Hall School good for the Environment? We use this approach at the school to develop critical thinking skills and plant a seed in the pupils’ minds. It has been fascinating allowing the children to advance ideas, be enquiring, present ideas, question the way they interact with their school and produce a project that answers this question; and creates many more.

The children develop so many real life skills during these lessons that are based around enquiry. Engaging topics such as a Survival Project, Maps, and the Global Effects of football both inspire and challenge the children’s perception of the world and their local environment.

IT

“All of my friends who have younger siblings who are going to college or high school – my number one piece of advice is: You should learn how to program.” Mark Zuckerberg. Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of Facebook

ICT and Computing are changing every aspect of the way that we live our lives – it has changed the way we work, play and communicate. It is also rapidly changing the way in which we learn and the skills that our children will need to learn in the knowledge-based economies of the 21st Century.

In addition to the digital literacy skills that we routinely teach at Pownall Hall School from Year 1, we have also introduced computer programming (in particular apps) from Year 3 onwards.

The computing industry has proved to be one of the few recession proof industries and we are inspired by the fact that over 350 people are employed in the Wilmslow area alone producing world-class computer games. We aim to give our pupils every opportunity to be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg!

From Year 1 onwards, Pownall Hall pupils receive high-quality specialist IT teaching to help them learn key-skills by completing stimulating and curriculum related tasks: from stop-motion animation to film-making, from creating radio podcasts to using different software and hardware platforms to share their work, from acquiring higher-order research skills to collaborating with children from around the globe.

History

At Pownall, History is taught in an engaging manner that captures the interest of the children, challenging them as we go. As well as using cutting edge IT and adopting a discursive and investigative approach in class, we Skype museums across the world such as the Anne Frank museum or the Museum of WWII in New Orleans, enjoy regular field trips to local museums in and around Manchester and engage with visiting speakers-so that pupils learn about the significance of past events and personalities, and can relate them to their own lives.

It’s the knowledge of a subject like history that gives you the wisdom you need to put your own life in a broader context, and know what you might be capable of in the future, by knowing what people have done in the past. Without the knowledge of history, your world is very small. The study of the Ancients, alongside the in-depth investigation of Medieval and Modern British and World History events such as the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, World Wars and the major Revolutions in France, the US and Russia are examples of how we provide the breadth and depth within our curriculum.

It is our belief that History, perhaps more than any other school subject, teaches people how to become responsible, contributing citizens in a society. McDougall goes so far as to call history “the religion in the modern curriculum.” When pupils learn about the values that built the country they live in, the wars that were fought to protect certain ideals, the triumphs and failures of different leaders and societies – they can better understand how their own society was shaped, and what their role in it is. With the knowledge of history young people have the opportunity to learn from the tragic mistakes of past individuals and societies, and to prevent the same mistakes being made over again; an appropriate appreciation of the Holocaust and the Advent and Expansion of Slavery are examples of this at Pownall.

Our pupils can also be inspired by great figures of the past, Dr Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill or Mary Seacole, to dream bigger dreams and do greater things in their own lives. It’s the knowledge of History that gives them knowledge necessary to go out in the world and make wiser choices.

PSHE

At Pownall, we believe that PSHE is about much more than just a weekly lesson – it is about encouraging our pupils to become caring members of our school community, whether as members of the school council, playground buddies, anti-bullying ambassadors or as junior health and safety officers.

We recognise how important it is that our pupils develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible members of society.

Pownall Hall is a friendly school where each pupil is valued for their own unique talents and character. We teach children the importance of respect for others and for self, responsibility for our own actions and for friends, family, school and the wider community.

Our pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing to the life of their school and the wider community. In doing so they learn to recognise their own worth, work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own learning.

Modern Foreign Languages

At Pownall Hall School, we strongly believe in the benefit of learning a Foreign Language and we aim to lay the foundations for a positive attitude to learning languages as well as building up cultural awareness and tolerance. French is fully included in the curriculum from Nursery all the way up to Year 6.

From Year 4, German is taught alongside French to ensure a secure preparation for further study at senior school. Both languages are taught by a fully qualified MFL teacher and native French speaker who is ideally placed to offer an insight into French culture.

Teaching is planned according to an enhanced curriculum of study for languages using a scheme of work that maps out linguistic progress for all children.

In the early stages, the focus is on listening and speaking skills, with reading and writing being introduced from Year 2. An early introduction to grammar helps them to understand the structure not only of foreign languages, but of their own too.

Children are actively involved in their language learning through games, story-telling, role plays and the use of real life props. We use interactive software to embed learning but the acid test comes from Skype calls with pupils in French and German schools. These are always a highlight, and this practical experience fosters confidence in speaking.