A Year 6 curriculum delivering skills for future success also fosters curiosity for the journey into Key Stage 3 and beyond, says the Head of Middle School at
Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate (QE)

At Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate (QE), our mission is for all members of our community to aspire to the Hill Standard: ‘To be the best that I can with the gifts that I have’. As Head of King’s Magna, the middle school of QE’s unique four-school model, we harness this individuality through an innovative curriculum. This has been designed to support the transition between primary education at Chapter House, our Preparatory school, and the demands of GCSEs and beyond in our two senior schools.

In a difference from the traditional school model, where children stay in primary education until the end of Year 6, here at QE students join King’s Magna in Year 6 and stay with us until Year 9. Many students are ready for a new challenge at the end of Year 5, so we have developed a unique curriculum for this transitional year, with content designed in partnership between secondary school subject specialists and highly experienced primary age teachers.

Q E Pic Kings Magna
Students at QE can personalise their curriculum – all helping to foster curiosity and develop skills such as critical thinking

The core curriculum consists of English, maths, science, personal development, history and geography, all taught by experienced Year 6 class teachers. In addition, students have specialist teaching in art, music, drama, computing, design technology, languages and PE. Students can personalise their curriculum with two optional enrichment options within the timetabled day, covering areas of the creative arts and sport beyond the traditional curriculum. The whole approach is designed with the ultimate aim of fostering curiosity, also placing an emphasis on those skills that are important for future success, such as critical thinking, collaboration, digital skills, communication, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Importantly, we have decided not to assess our Year 6 students using SAT testing. Students are instead assessed formally at three points during the year using standardised and moderated ‘common evaluation tasks’. These are used to track progress and identify what each student can do and what they could do to improve further. This allows us to focus on delivering those skills that the students need to be successful in Key Stage 3 and beyond.

“Students are ready for a new challenge at the end of Year 5, so our curriculum is designed in partnership between subject specialists and primary age teachers”

The breadth of opportunities in King’s Magna, from Year 6, is wide and varied, standing alongside the school curriculum. Students have access to over 100 clubs after school or at weekends, as well as a varied trip programme. Our co-curricular activities span five key categories: Creativity, Culture, Community, Leadership and Health and Exercise. Students are challenged to take advantage of these opportunities which lead towards the King’s Magna Enrichment Award. Participation in 10 different activities from across the different categories leads to the coveted Gold Enrichment Award at the end of each year.

This all-encompassing, holistic approach to developing the whole student, which is at the heart of everything we do here at QE, is designed to ensure a creative, vibrant and caring school environment throughout King’s Magna. We see it as vitally important to equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to move seamlessly on to our College or Faculty at the end of Year 9 also ensuring they can grow into their teenage years with confidence.

Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate qe.org

Further reading: New thinking at Maida Vale School