Changes are afoot next September at Westbourne House, an independent school for children aged 2 ½ to 13 in Chichester, West Sussex.
Martin Barker, Headmaster of Westbourne House said, “Common Entrance exams have long been the entry path for pupils joining the country’s leading independent senior schools in Year 9, so that has been a focus of the curriculum at Westbourne House. However, with the recent announcements from schools such as Westminster and Wellington College that they will no longer be requiring Common Entrance exams, we are taking this opportunity to review our provision.”
Going beyond the confines of Common Entrance, the curriculum will evolve to adopt a more skills-based approach to teaching, while maintaining a strong core in Maths, English and Science, which will still be assessed using the Common Entrance exams. More flexibility and depth will be introduced into the schemes of work for other subjects, including History, Geography and French, and the school will be introducing Spanish as an additional foreign language.
The school, which has an impressive record of leavers achieving scholarships to some of the UK’s leading senior schools (46 in 2018) is introducing a new teaching and learning framework, based on the High Performance Learning philosophy. The High Performance Learning Framework creates a climate of success and is based on the belief, backed up by research, that we can build all children’s intelligence. Barbara Langford, Director of Studies said of adopting the new approach, “As a non-selective school, it is critical that we have the right framework to enable all our pupils to succeed. We will be teaching children to become better learners, not just to get better at passing exams.”
Another result of the recent strategic review is an overhaul of Saturday school to offer more flexibility and choice to families. Pupils will now participate in sports matches on Saturday mornings, rather than in the afternoon after lessons and chapel as in the current timetable. Enrichment activities such as kayaking and coding will now be on offer in the afternoon for day and boarding pupils.
Martin Barker continued: “Equipping pupils with the skills, understanding and attitudes, which will be needed not only for their educational journey but also the world beyond, is our noble and realistic ambition. Independent schools have the flexibility to move with the times, so we have decided to act swiftly to take full advantage of the reduced emphasis on Common Entrance, from September 2019.”