“Students enjoy most lessons because of the good relationships they enjoy with their teachers. They particularly enjoy opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning and thinking, and they respond well when teachers ask them to work in groups”. (Ofsted September 2009)
Every girl is expected to work to the best of her ability, and is offered a broad and balanced school curriculum which will form the basis for later choices. Visitors to Swakeleys comment on our good discipline and pleasant working atmosphere. We operate a 2 year Key Stage 3, which provides girls with 3 years working towards their GCSE qualifications. The range of courses offered can be viewed below:
In Key Stage 3, all girls study the National Curriculum Core and Foundation subjects English, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Information Technology, Geography, History, Art, Music, Modern Languages, Physical Education and Religious Education. We run this Key Stage for 2 years with girls selecting their option choices in year 8.
In addition to the National Curriculum Core and Foundation subjects, all girls study Dance and Drama. They also study Design Technology, Graphics, Food and Textiles as part of their Technology course. Pupils also follow a Personal, Social and Health Education programme which incorporates Citizenship.
Discussion and guidance help girls to select GCSE courses appropriate to their abilities, interests and possible career plans. The Key Stage 4 curriculum runs for 3 years and includes a “common core” of subjects studied by every student, this consists of the National Curriculum subjects English, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Physical Education, Religious Education and Information Technology. Additionally, most pupils study a Modern Foreign Language. A vocational curriculum is also offered, including BTEC Business, Art, PE and CoPE/CLAIT in addition to Science. Girls study three other subjects (two for vocational pupils) based on their preferences and teacher recommendations. Subjects currently on offer are two History courses, Humanities, Geography, Sociology, a second Modern Foreign Language, a third Science, Art, Business Studies, Dance, Drama, Music, Media and Physical Education. They all continue with their tutorial programme of cross-curricular themes such as Personal, Social and Health Education, Citizenship, Environmental Education, Economic Awareness, Preparation for Adult Life and the World of Work, Media Education and Information Technology.
In Years 12 and 13 a very wide range of courses are available in the joint Abbotsfield & Swakeleys Post 16 Centre and more information is available here.
The aim of the department is to teach a variety of skills throughout all year groups to enable pupils to express their ideas fully. Pupils are taught to draw using a wide variety of media and practise painting, colourwork, soft sculpture, textiles and 3D work. A stimulating environment is created in which to work, both in the classroom and around the school. Pupils’ work is displayed as much as possible and work is chosen from all year groups. As a department we want the pupils to enjoy their Art lessons and help them gain confidence and expertise within the artistic and creative fields to express their own ideas.
Art is a very popular subject at GCSE and at the end of the course work is exhibited in the school’s annual Art Show. Pupils are encouraged to spend extra time in the art rooms at lunchtimes. There are also weekly lunchtime Art Clubs, and visits to galleries and exhibitions as well as sketching trips which are an integral part of the course.
The Business Studies GCSE looks to familiarise pupils with the business aspects of organisations within their economic, political and social contexts. The course is split into units that cover a wide variety of business topics. Results at GCSE are consistently very good. We also offer a highly successful BTEC Business Studies course at Key Stage 4 leading to the award of 4 GCSE grades at C grade or above.
Dance is a core part of Swakeleys’ School Curriculum and is taught as a creative/performing art which gives pupils every opportunity to develop their own ideas into dance forms of many different kinds.
Dance is also taught as a GCSE course. The programme includes dance performance, choreography and evaluation in contemporary dance and other genres. Alongside this they have the opportunity to watch professional dance companies.
Al Key Stage 3 pupils have one lesson of Drama a week. Lessons focus on giving the pupils the knowledge, skills and practical experience necessary to create their own drama and explore issues through drama. In the course of all of this work they will also develop their speaking and listening skills, and their personal and social skills; that is concentration, co-operation and creativity. All pupils have the opportunity to participate in a variety of Drama clubs and audition for the annual school production.
Girls are given the option of studying GCSE Drama and it is a very popular subject. Life in the Drama department is never dull. There is always something to thrill and challenge all members of the school, whether it is as a performer, director or member of an audience.
Please refer to the Post 16 course booklet for more on the AS and A2 course.
To speak clearly and confidently; to listen attentively; to read with understanding and discrimination; to write fluently and effectively – these are the central skills of the National Curriculum in English, and they are at the heart of our work at Swakeleys, as a lead Humanities status subject. We expect our pupils to read widely and deeply and hope to encourage in them a lifelong appreciation of literature. We aim to further develop the skills of reading by encouraging responses to texts from a variety of media, thereby giving our pupils the power to become fluent and confident members of a literate society.
Our written work includes stories, essays, letters, newspapers, reviews, poetry, diaries, reports, and brochures. We correct our pupils’ work; we encourage them to draft, check, self correct and re-draft their written pieces; we help them to become confident in using dictionaries and thesauruses. We expect pupils to care for the presentation of their work by making use of legible cursive handwriting and developing their expertise in word-processing. Our oral work is very important. Pupils are expected to listen actively as well as to express themselves clearly, to join in discussion positively and to disagree without aggression.
At GCSE level all pupils are entered for English Language and the vast majority for English Literature. In recent years we have consistently attained A-C and A-G pass rates in English and English Literature which are well above national averages.
Geography is about how people and places affect each other. It can help us to understand our world and hopefully make it a better place in which to live. As part of Geography pupils learn and develop the skills of map reading and use. They focus on the local area and how we interact with our environment. They then move on to other exciting topics including weather, settlements and shopping, and rivers. Issues such as Heathrow’s third runway and water shortage are interesting parts of our Year 7 studies. Other topics in Key Stage 3 include a variety of globally important topics and locations around the world including people, resources and energy, the USA, earthquakes and volcanoes, Japan, world ecosystems and global warming.
We also run new and exciting courses for GCSE and A level Geography. A wide variety of class activities, homework and fieldwork experiences help develop pupils, not just as young geographers, but as new citizens of a rapidly changing world, after all “Where would you be without Geography?”
History is a popular subject at Swakeleys. We teach National Curriculum History at Key Stage 3 which includes the Roman Empire, Islam and Medieval Realms, learning about Britain at the time of the Tudors and Stuarts and the Industrial Revolution, Slavery and Civil Rights in USA and 20th Century.
Our aim is that pupils will find History enjoyable and stimulating and we hope that they will develop a lifelong interest in the subject. Lessons are very varied as we try to provide a wide range of learning experiences and to give pupils the opportunity to record and express their ideas in a variety of different ways.
At GCSE pupils have a choice of two different History courses. One studies the First World War with an opportunity to visit the trenches in France and Belgium, in addition to Hitler’s Germany. The other course looks at the development of medicine through time, in addition to Hitler’s Germany.
At GCSE level we are now offering a qualification in Humanities. Pupils study four units including People and the Environment (Geography), America (History), Christianity (RE) and Travel and Tourism. This enables pupils to continue to study a range of Humanities subjects whilst continuing to make progress with a range of skills including research, report writing, source material and detecting bias and reliability along with empathy.
At Swakeleys we recognise the importance of preparing pupils to participate in a rapidly changing world in which technology plays an increasingly important part. The school has six networked computer suites on the Swakeleys site and two computer rooms in the Post 16 Centre. In addition the Centre has two media resource rooms with Apple computers for video editing and both Learning Resource Centres have open access facilities and we also have three laptop trolleys available for use throughout the school and many interactive whiteboards (IWBs). Electronic sources of information such as the internet and e-mail are available to pupils within a controlled and monitored environment.
Throughout Key Stages 3 and 4, Information and Communication Technology is timetabled as a discrete lesson. The topics covered include computer awareness and use of the networks; practice with various application programs, such as word processing, data handling, computer graphics, spreadsheets, desk-top publishing; control software with input sensors and output controls.
The Year 7 and 8 programme of study is based on the Key Stage 3 strategy for ICT. In Years 9-11 we offer OCR Level 2 National Award in ICT which is equivalent to one GCSE, in addition to a variety of online Vision-2-Learn qualifications.
Maths at Swakeleys is FUN! We aim to get the best from our pupils. We believe that a happy working atmosphere and confidence are necessary for our girls to achieve their very best. In line with the National Strategy we focus upon four important principles:
- Establishing high expectations for all pupils and setting challenging targets for them to achieve.
- Strengthening the transition from Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 3 and ensuring progression in teaching and learning.
- Promoting approaches to teaching and learning which engage and motivate pupils and demand their active participation.
- Strengthening teaching and learning through a programme of professional development and practical support.
All years are taught in ability groups. There is room for set changes based upon internal assessment results. We are a well resourced department. Our main resources are Collins textbooks which respond to the demands of the Key Stage 3 strategy and National Curriculum. All pupils are assessed during the year to ensure progress is carefully monitored. They are helped to set realistic GCSE target grades and shown how they can attain them. Some pupils are also given the opportunity to study GCSE Statistics.
With so much activity and practical work going on it is essential that pupils arrive with the necessary equipment. Each pupil should have pens, pencils, a ruler, a glue stick, an angle measurer, a pair of scissors, a pair of compasses and a scientific calculator. We enjoy teaching Maths and find that pupils enjoy doing Maths at Swakeleys.
Media is a GCSE option offered at Key Stage 4. What is the media? How important is it to our lives? Should we just accept the messages it gives us without question? Who makes the news and where does it come from? How do filmmakers draw in their audience? How is ICT used to create media texts? Is Media art? If these are questions that interest you and you have a strong interest in the world of media then this course is for you.
This course is designed to offer you the opportunity to explore the rich world of media through an exploration of the products of media and production processes. You will gain practical production experience through coursework and will create your own media products. You will need a mixture of creative flair and the ability to engage with theory and analysis skills. Throughout the course, you study a variety of media texts including advertising, film and new media technologies. This course asks you to respond and analyse media texts, using a range of theoretical perspectives.
Pupils have the opportunity to study one or two Modern Language in Key Stage 3. Pupils study either French or German and the majority continue with this language to GCSE. We possess excellent resources, new, modern programmes of study, a wealth of supplementary materials and considerable audio visual equipment. Trips to France and Germany are offered each year to all pupils.
Our music curriculum is mainly built upon participation in musical activity. Singing plays a very important part in Key Stage 3 work and girls are led through a wide variety of materials, in both standard and popular repertoire. Instrumental creativity is encouraged through performance and composition, using both classroom and electronic instruments. National Curriculum testing at the end of Key Stage 3 ensures that our girls meet the requirements in Appraising, Composing and Performing from Levels 4 up to Levels 7/8. Following the completion of Key Stage 3, girls are able to opt for GCSE Music.
We offer every girl the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities through Vocal Ensembles, Percussion Groups, Orchestra, Band and Solo Singing experiences. Music is strongly linked with other arts subjects and a number of joint ventures are held throughout the year, including an Arts Festival (also involving Dance and Drama), a Musical and other interform events. Girls are encouraged to take part in such events which are widely supported, allowing girls to gain in self-confidence as well as contributing to the life of the school and wider community.
Recently acquired ICT resources in the department now allows girls to use computers throughout the music area. Each networked computer station uses both Cubasis and Sibelius Music Programmes to allow composition and written music through from Key Stage 3 to A Level Music specifications.
Music is FUN at Swakeleys and we have a strong and lively department!
Please refer to the Post 16 course booklet for more on the AS and A2 course.
Physical Education at Swakeleys is aimed at all pupils. We appreciate that all pupils need the opportunity to develop a variety of physical skills and that each pupil is an individual who has something to offer the subject. During Key Stage 3, pupils have the opportunity to develop game skills in Hockey, Netball, Tennis, Badminton and Rounders. Individual skills will be experienced through Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Athletics, Fitness Training and Multi Skills. During Key Stage 4, pupils can develop game skills through Netball, Basketball, Badminton, Tennis and Rounders and improve various individual techniques through Athletics, Aerobics and Strength/Flexibility Exercises. BTEC Level 2 is offered as an option in Key Stage 4 to girls who have reached a good practical standard throughout Key Stage 3.
All forms in Years 7, 8 and 9 will compete in our annual school Sports Day at Uxbridge Stadium. This is an opportunity for pupils to take part, support and encourage their own team members in a competitive situation. There are also opportunities for girls to take part in Interhouse tournaments. We have the use of 2 sports halls, a gymnasium, a large field and a hard court area. There is a Sports Committee as part of School Council and girls use this to put forward their suggestions as to what they want out of school sport. A Sports Personality of the Year competition is also run with help from the Sports Committee. Our sports teams have continued success over the years. These include pupil selection for national teams and our teams winning at Borough, County and National level . More details can be found in one the extra curricular page.
All girls from Years 7-13 follow a programme of Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE).
At Swakeleys PSHCE is delivered by a dedicated team of teaching staff, as well as the use of outside specialists. A wide range of topics are covered within PSHCE. These include study and revision skills to help the girls with their academic work and personal and social skills to improve self-confidence and self-esteem as well as dealing with emotive issues such as bullying and racism.
Sex Education at Swakeleys aims to present facts in an objective and balanced manner, so as to enable pupils to comprehend and respect the range of sexual attitudes and behaviour in present day society; to know what is legal; to consider their own attitudes, and to make informed decisions about the attitudes they will adopt both while they are at school and as they become adults. Within our teaching about the physical aspects of sexual behaviour, we aim to foster self-respect and respect for others. Pupils are encouraged to consider for themselves the moral arguments and the importance of self-restraint, dignity and the physical and emotional consequences of sexual behaviour. Pupils are helped to consider the responsibility of parenthood, together with the child’s need to be parented from birth, through adolescence to young adulthood. Sex education is introduced from Year 9 in PSHCE and in Year 7 through pupils Science lessons. The school nurse contributes to the PSHCE programme.
At Swakeleys School Religious Education is part of the core curriculum through Years 7 to 11. All pupils in Key Stage 3 study six major world religions as well as units of work with focus such as; spirituality, fulfilment, commitment, morality, friendship and loyalty. Each scheme of work allows ample time for personal reflection, group work, sharing ideas, discussion and evaluating what had been learnt. The department is committed to the learning objectives of ‘learning about and learning from’.
In Key Stage 4, all pupils take the full course GCSE RE edexcel. All classes are mixed ability. There is an emphasis placed on evaluative skills and the willingness to explore the complexities of moral issues.
The department is deeply committed to a multi-faith approach to RE, which recognises that pupils have a right to be both challenged and challenging within a safe environment. This would be impossible without a strong whole school ethos of tolerance, acceptance and personal development, which are all very evident at Swakeleys.
View the RE strand inspection report December 2009.
At Swakeleys in Key Stage 3 pupils are continuously assessed throughout this in relation to nationally agreed criteria: thinking scientifically, understanding the applications of science, communicating science, using investigative approaches and working critically with evidence. At the end of the Key Stage, pupils are awarded a level based on the work they have completed during this time.
Pupils in Year 10 either study for the OCR 21st Century double award course or the BTEC National Diploma in Science. In addition to this, pupils who achieve a level 6 in Maths, English and Science at the end of Key Stage 3 will have the opportunity to study for triple award science.
In total we have 9 well equipped laboratories to enable pupils to carry out the maximum amount of practical work. We recommend that pupils in Year 7 buy a Key Stage 3 revision guide (Co-ordination Group Publications) and a work book, which will last them throughout Key Stage 3. In Key Stage 4 we encourage pupils to buy the Lonsdale Revision Guide for 21st Century Science which will help with homework tasks and revision.
Sociology can be taken as both a short and full GCSE course and although an academic subject, pupils of all abilities can succeed. We aim to give all pupils who take the course a good understanding of the modern world they live in and how society works. We study most of the major features of society and teach pupils how to investigate society through core themes of gender, ethnicity, age and socialisation. The major areas of the specification look at Family, Marriage and Divorce in Britain; Education; Social Inequality; Crime and Deviance, and Mass Media.
Please refer to the Post 16 course booklet for more on the AS and A2 course.
Since the introduction of Technology in the National Curriculum, the Technology department has continued to develop its facilities which include a purpose built Technology block. This means that Swakeleys can boast some of the best facilities in the area for the delivery of Technology.
The staff are extremely hard working, well qualified and forward thinking team from a variety of specialist backgrounds. We are committed to maintain the standards of excellence established within the various specialist areas of Technology. Pupils in Key Stage 3 will follow a modular course with knowledge and skills being taught alongside context based design processes in the areas of Graphic skills/processes, Practical Craft skills/processes, Materials and Textile skills/processes, Food and Nutrition skills and processes. By emphasising knowledge and skill acquisition alongside, and as part of, the design process we believe that we are allowing the pupils to develop within the demands of the National Curriculum, whilst at the same time providing an excellent foundation for the GCSE examinations.
We offer a range of Level 2 vocational courses in Key Stage 4 which include:
Certificate of Personal Effectiveness: (CoPE) Equivalent to a B at GCSE.
BTEC First Diploma in Business: Equivalent to 4 GCSE grades A* – C.
BTEC First Diploma in Sport: Equivalent to 2 GCSE grades A* – C.
BTEC Diploma in Art and Design: Equivalent to 4 GCSE grades A* – C.
Specialised Diploma in Society, Health and Development: Equivalent to 7 GCSE grades A* – C.