What’s it all about?
The Pre-Senior Baccalaureate at Marlborough House School presents an opportunity to emphasise the importance of skills, and their development, alongside the acquisition of knowledge in a new, forward thinking curriculum. It enhances opportunities to connect subjects, to develop greater self-awareness and to develop head, hand and heart in all that we do.
While learning habits underpin everything we do and skills are what we take with us into life; building foundational knowledge remains the major purpose of education from 8 – 13 years, to prepare children for their best possible outcomes at GCSE and beyond.
Everything we’re doing to restructure our timetable; to introduce skills-focused tutor groups and to develop a new curriculum is about optimising the efficiency, purpose and joy of deep learning across a broad range of subject areas.
This means that not only will your senior schools of choice receive the type of learners they want; but you and your child(ren) will leave MHS with a much clearer awareness of their strengths and areas of challenge; of their learning habits and skills profiles and of their attainment in all aspects of the curriculum.
So how are we going to do this?
Year 7 timetable
Neither the overall structure of the school day, nor the time allocation for individual subjects is changing, but we have grouped subjects together into faculties and into timetable blocks before or after break. This allows for greater flexibility within those faculties allowing fewer lesson transitions, greater opportunities for project work and co-planning and the establishment of enrichment and/or support groups within the normal daily timetable.
For 20 – 30 minutes per week, children will meet in small tutor groups (six children from Year 7 & 8 initially) with an academic tutor. This tutor won’t be their form tutor. The tutors will meet 1:1 every half term with each of their tutees, to discuss how they are developing their learning habits and skills across the curriculum. The academic tutors won’t be responsible for pastoral/friendship issues but will be for all matters pertaining to learning habits, skill development and academic progress.
It is envisaged that meaningful, individualised, learning and skill targets will be set – and discussed – in these groups and that parents will get a 5 minute slot with their child’s academic tutor at parents’ evenings (even if they are not one of their subject teachers).
Tutoring will focus on the discussion and development of the habits and skills (“Toolbox for Learning” and the “Toolbox for Life”), across the whole curriculum.
There will be end of year exams in both Year 7 and 8 that will cover both knowledge and skills. Beyond the end of year exams, individual subject teachers will assess pupils via teacher assessment. This could include end of topic tests, pupil observations, preps, classwork, project work and practical skills.
Rather than one big exam at the end of Year 8, children’s attainment will build up cumulatively, allowing a broader picture of the learner to be shared with pupils, parents and senior schools. This will reward children who work conscientiously, diligently and collaboratively throughout their time at MHS, rather than just cramming at the end.
We are passionate about the children building learning and knowledge foundations for life, rather than a memory test, which can dissipate quickly, at the end of Year 8.
At the end of Year 8, pupils (and their corresponding senior schools) will be issued with a certificate of achievement.
This will include a cumulative attainment grading (1-9, in line with the new GCSE scale) in all school subjects (not just CE subjects). Individual subjects may choose to break that grading down further in sub-domains of knowledge and/or subject specific skills or attributes.
PSB core skills across the curriculum will also be reported.
Senior schools which have offered unconditional places will differ in the amount of detail they want at the end of Year 8, with some requesting full portfolios of work and others happy to accept a single page certificate of achievement.
The PSB Certificate of Achievement will provide a far broader measurement of the children’s capabilities than some percentage scores in the Common Entrance subjects.
For further information, please see our PSB booklet, available to download below.