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10 January 2014

More About School...

The girls' experiences in a British private school will, no doubt, be very different from those in American public schools. 
I can tell already that I have a lot to learn.  So, I have just finished reading the Lower School's Annual Information Guide (appears to be what we would call the School Handbook).

(Bear in mind that Sophia is in year 2 (equivalent to 1st grade in the US), and Olivia is in year 3 (equivalent to 2nd grade in the US).
For those of you who are curious, here are my favorite parts...

(it is set up alphabetically)

* Art & Design/Technology - In classes 1, 2, and 3, the children have art and design technology lessons each week, often linked to their topic work. 

*Assembly is held each morning in school except Wednesday when there is a church service.

*Attendance at school is compulsory for all children, every day. If a child is unwell and unable to come to school parents should telephone the teacher on her direct line and if necessary leave a message on her voicemail. A letter must accompany the child on his or her return to school. Requests for leave of absence during the course of the term will almost always be refused - we much prefer you not to ask! Parents are particularly requested not to arrange holidays or routine appointments during term time.

*Behaviour - Children are expected to (and generally do!) behave impeccably at all times...
The school has a set of standards called the Broomwood Way which the children agree to follow. These are as follows:
- to treat others as you would be treated
- to forgive
- go share
- to be kind and helpful
- to be honest 
- to listen to each other
- to do your best to be your best.

*Curriculum Meetings - These meetings are held at the beginning of each academic year in September by each form teacher.  The purpose is to give parents an overview of what is taught, how it is taught and what is sent home.  They take place in the early evening and parents are invited to join us for a glass of wine before, followed by meetings in the classrooms. it is essential that at least one, but preferable both, parents attend these meetings.

*Extra Lessons - We can arrange for children to have extra lessons to remedy particular weaknesses where appropriate. Such lessons are given by members of the teaching staff on a one-to-one basis, outside the school day, and are chargeable.

*Facebook - The school has a facebook page. Do have a look at it.

*Form Teachers - The form teachers are all highly qualified and experienced and are completely responsible for the academic, social, emotional and physical development of the children in their care.  They are the primary contact between the school and parents.

*French - The children have a great deal of fun learning French. Our aim is to ensure that all children leave the Lower School with a good basic grounding in French, and some appreciation of the reasons why it is important to learn another language.

*Flowers - The teachers love receiving these from their children!

*Garrad's Road - (the Lower School has several locations - this is the one Olivia and Sophia go to) Our Lower School Department at 3 Garrad's Road was built around 1920 using an interesting mix of Arts & Crafts and Art Deco styles. Originally called "Normancroft", it was built as a private residence for Alfred Gosheron who occupied it until the Second World War.  After the war, it passed into the ownership of Lambeth Council who used it as an old people's home.  It closed in 1990 and remained empty until it was bought by the school in 1997. The department opened in September 1998.

*Golden Time - This is twenty minutes of free choice or an unusual, interesting activity that is given to the Class 1, 2, and 3 children each week. Golden Time is a reward for good behaviour for children who have followed the code of conduct.  Children can lose minutes when they have not obeyed an instruction or warning. The children are always given a warning before minutes are taken away. A child never loses all their minutes.

*Lunch - Lunch is provided every day. It consists of two courses with vegetables or salad. We do not provide a choice nor do we allow children to opt out - they are expected to try everything.  Form teachers eat with the children at lunch, keeping an eye on their manners and encouraging them to make conversation.

*Music - Music plays an important part in life at Broomwood Hall. All classes have music lessons twice a week. They sing, play musical games, do simple theory and listen to different types of music and instruments.

*Prep - Our term for homework.  Prep in the lower school is limited; we do not believe in sending children home with large amounts of work. Every child in the Lower School has a reading assignment to be done at home every day.  From Class 1, the children have spelling words to learn, and from Class 2, they have recorder practice and tables.  Assignments of work to be done at home are written in each child's prep diary which should be checked and signed by parents every day.

*Rules - We keep these to the absolute minimum. Apart from the rules concerning birthday parties (I didn't include that part above but basically it says no birthday parties should be held during the week!) and attendance at school, the rules are as follows:
- school uniform is compulsory, including shoes
- toys, sweets or money should never be brought to school
- jewellery and earrings may not be worn
- girls' hair touching their shoulders should be tied back with ribbons (red, blue or tartan only)
- watches must be analogue - no digitals please
- girls must wear blue knickers if not wearing tights

*Setting and Streaming - Two quite different techniques.  Setting means the division of a mixed ability class into ability groups (sets) for different subjects.  They are used alongside whole class teaching and get the best out of everyone - they are small, and children will change sets frequently without being aware of it when the teachers feel it appropriate.  From class 1 we use sets for maths across the year. Children are also placed in sets for phonics, spelling, and reading.
Streaming - basically the division of a year group into faster and slower groups across the subjects - is for more mature pupils working toward public examinations. It has a valuable part to play at a later stage, but we do not use it in the Lower School.

* Snow - The school will not be closed on account of snow or other adverse weather conditions.

*Sport & PE - All children in the Lower School take part in some form of physical activity for at least five periods a week, with games taking place on most days.

*Subjects - All Lower School children are taught reading, writing, English, maths, general subjects (science, history, geography), RE, French, music, PE/games, art, design technology, and ICT. In classes 2 & 3, reasoning, science, history, and geography are taught as separate subjects.

*Tea - a small tea is provided at 3:30 (Monday through Thursday) for Class 2 and 3 children staying on for after-school clubs. It consists of a sandwich, a biscuit or cake, and a drink. It is intended to keep the children going and is not a substitute for a proper tea or supper when the children get home.

8:20 - 8:35  Arrival
8:45            Assembly
9:00-10:30  Lessons
10:30-10:40 Milk, water, biscuits & fruit
10:40-11:00 Breaktime
11:00-12:30 Lessons
12:30-1:00   Lunch
1:00-1:30     Breaktime
1:30-3:00     Lessons
3:00-3:30     Lessons
3:30             Hometime
3:30             Tea for children staying for a club
3:45             Clubs
4:45             Hometime

*Watches - All children from Class 2 up are required to have a watch. This must be an ordinary, plain, inexpensive analogue watch, preferable with numerals - no digitals, no Mickey Mouse please.

*Wine - As a parent at Broomwood Hall you will find yourself being offered a glass of wine at all sorts of different occasions. It's the way we like to do things; we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy choosing it.  Wine merchant parents please note: we're always on the lookout for something good - send us a sample!


  1. Wine at school events??!! Heck yeah!!
    What's wrong with Mickey Mouse? And, on the school menu, WTH is a "fruit sponge"???
    Oh, and where I am from, at some stores have the coin operated's to encourage people to put the carts back when they are done using it :)
    I am LOVING these posts!

  2. They had me at wine...LOL. Aldi here in SC and I believe in GA also had coin operated carts. It was a quarter, and you got it back when you returned the cart to its proper place. I love the school info, makes me feel as if I should watch my grammar, spelling and manners even more. ;) And I'm with Kelly - what the heck is a fruit sponge? Is that like shortcake?