Academic Departments

Consistent and outstanding scholarship success over recent years is a testament to the quality of teaching and learning at Bilton Grange.

From the very start, we encourage good learning habits, an attention to detail and the ability to work independently and collaboratively.  Engaged children who have a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge are important elements to a successful and happy education, with scholarship success across the curriculum a tangible result of the determination and commitment of our pupils, and the support of their parents.

Classics

Through the study of Classics, pupils at Bilton Grange are equipped with an excellent grounding in Latin, as well as a broad understanding of Roman and Greek civilisations.

Pupils begin to learn Latin in the 3rd Form, acquiring a thorough understanding of Latin grammar, and study a range of topics relating to Classical Civilisation, including not just the Greek myths, but also Roman life, the Roman army, and gods and goddesses.  In their final year, pupils are entered for Common Entrance or Scholarship exams.

Themed days are organised for pupils, providing an opportunity to engage in independent learning, such as our 3rd Form Roman morning where pupils dress in Roman costume and try their hand at making mosaics and Roman coins.

English

The purpose of English as an academic subject is two-fold: to equip pupils with the literacy skills so fundamental in life, and to foster a relationship with language and literature that empowers pupils to understand both themselves and the world around them.

Enjoyment is paramount. Our work in the classroom is complemented by a wide variety of enrichment activities such as workshops with visiting authors and trips to the theatre. Cross-curricular trips include days at the Globe Theatre, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Design Museum. Every year, the 6th Form visits Oxford, where they take in the Ashmolean Museum, punt on the Cherwell, and attend a performance at the Playhouse in the evening.

The Owl Trophy Poetry Declamation Prize and the de Morpurgo Prize for poetic composition are contested annually by all pupils. Book Week takes place in October, and World Book Day in March affords the entire school a welcome opportunity to dress up! Our libraries (in both the Prep and Pre-Prep departments) are extensively stocked, and provide a cosy yet scholarly environment where many pupils enjoy spending their free time with their nose in a book!

French

At Bilton Grange children begin enjoying French lessons from their first weeks in Reception. Once the foundations are established and the children move through the Prep School they embark on their Common Entrance syllabus which enables them to study at greater depth a wide range of topics in preparation for their CE or Scholarship exams in their final year (Year 8).

To further enhance their learning the French Department organises an annual trip to France, when an extensive programme of visits of an educational nature are arranged to enable the children to savour French culture at first hand and practise language learned in school.

Geography

At Bilton Grange, the pupils study both Physical and Human Geography through a wide range of topics in order for them to get the broadest sense of understanding of the world in which we live.

In the Pre-Prep, some of the topics the children study include the local area, a seaside locality and the Nile delta. As they rise through the Prep department, the Juniors (Year 4) follow a Humanities based topic, ‘Exploration’, which combines Geography, History and RE, whilst the 3rd Form (Year 5) study Global Locations, Kenya and Energy with an option for independent study.

In the 4th Form, pupils begin to study topics that are part of the recently modified Common Entrance syllabus including map skills, weathering, during which they produce a piece of fieldwork on weathering around the school, and the Amazon Rainforest. The syllabus is completed in the final two years as the pupils learn about: Tectonics, Weather and Climate, Rivers and Coasts, Population and Settlement, and Transport and Industry. Many of these topics include learning a case study which pupils are encouraged to do independently or in small groups using a range of media available to them.

History

In the Pre-Prep, children initially approach the subject through examination of famous people, such as Florence Nightingale, or significant events, such as the Great Fire of London. As the children progress through the school, they study history in topic blocks covering a specific era – from Ancient Egypt to the Victorians.

From the 4th Form (Year 6), they are introduced to the Common Entrance syllabus in preparation for their 6th Form exam. Children who are preparing for scholarships to senior schools receive extra tuition and are taken on trips tailored to developing the higher-level thinking and exploratory skills expected of them.

Throughout the school, History is taught in a multi-faceted way. Teachers use role-play to introduce children to the characters of the past and discussions and debates are encouraged. The use of ICT is embedded in the syllabus – for research, presentations and for pupils’ collaborative projects and essays. The children visit historical sites which will enhance their understanding of the subject – recent trips have included Sulgrave Manor, the RAF Museum in Hendon and the National Portrait Gallery. Specialist groups are also invited into the school so that the children can experience a whole day immersed in the topic; recent Viking days and Ancient Greek days have proved very popular.

ICT and Computing

ICT is a key part of BG life for staff and pupils alike. We have a site-wide network with over 130 PCs,  including three ICT rooms used by pupils across the age-range.

Our youngest pupils gain confidence in using computers from the Reception classes upwards, and each pupil has at least one ICT lesson a week. Computers are widely used in all subject areas to support and enhance pupil learning, and each child in our Junior year is introduced to the important skill of touch-typing.

Computing is an increasingly significant skill; our pupils learn to program starting in early years with programmable toys, developing skills with block coding tools and progressing to text-based programming languages as they get older. Solving and making their own games and apps are particularly popular!

As well as core skills taught in lessons, keen pupils have the opportunity to further their interest and skills in activities, with an emphasis on creative use of ICT, such as digital music or digital photography.

eSafety is a most important part of modern life, and educating children and their parents to be eSafe in an ever-changing modern world is vitally important. Our PSHE programme includes regular sessions addressing eSafety and these lessons are underlined and reinforced practically when pupils are using technology in class and in free time for themselves.

Mathematics

Mathematics at Bilton Grange is a vibrant subject, taught by a highly specialised team of teachers. We combine traditional methods of learning maths with new approaches, striking the right balance in order to find what works best for our individual children.

As important as it is to learn methodology we also want our pupils to explore, discover, be inquisitive and creative in their learning. This is encouraged from the moment they join us in Pre-Prep, where learning through play and discovery help to build confidence and ability with numbers.

As pupils move through the school we continue to deliver interactive, problem solving, practical, investigative and team work lessons enriching and bringing the subject to life. We promote the important link between home and school, working with parents to help their children develop their mathematical ability. Although we are independent to make our own choices of what the pupils need, we incorporate the National Curriculum and Attainment Targets for Mathematics, preparing children for Common Entrance 13+ or possibly Scholarship Examinations at the end of Year 8.

Religious Education

The ethos of Bilton Grange is based on Christian values and we celebrate Easter, Harvest and Christmas in the school’s beautiful chapel.  Nonetheless, the school is quite cosmopolitan and Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism are all touched upon as children progress through the school.

Pupils’ studies are supplemented by trips for most year groups to local temples, synagogues, mosques, gurdwaras and churches on our doorstep – an advantage of living in the multi-cultural Midlands. We also examine some of the festivals of most of the world’s major religions.

Up until the end of Year 5, pupils study R.S. thematically but, in the senior part of the school, the focus is on preparation for the Common Entrance and Scholarship exams.

Science

Children gain scientific understanding from the moment they begin to interact with their surroundings. We aim to allow the pupils to grow their investigative and analytical skills as they move through the school using our wonderful labs and our beautiful grounds.

In the early stages of development, hearing, watching, and playing, children begin to establish rules about how things in their environment react and behave. From this they improve their judgements about safety and risk, about their ability to explore, to create, to invent and to enjoy. They discover and use their senses of hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting, which can be sources of pleasure or otherwise, as their powers of observation develop.

Scientific learning in the early years extends and enhances this natural curiosity by providing children with the opportunity to apply and further develop the skills that they have already mastered. When pupils learn Science they are obtaining a set of skills and a body of knowledge that will be required for the essential routines of life; for work, for pleasure and for creativity in the future. Science really is an integral and essential component of the whole curriculum.