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Academic

General subjects include Mathematics, English, Environmental Science, Education for Life, Home Economics, Religious and Moral Education, and Social Studies. In addition to class teachers we also have a full-time remedial teacher and specialist teachers for Shona, Music, Art, Physical Education and ICT. To enhance the teaching of Maths, English and Science in particular, we plan to introduce the Cambridge Primary Syllabus from 2017, the same year our new Grade 0 and Grade 1 classes commence at Hartmann House.

With the introduction of a revised reading scheme, many new reading books have been sourced thus benefiting the boys. Workshops organised by Remta, other schools and the “Connecting Classrooms” programme, have been enthusiastically attended by many Hartmann House members of staff. A full ‘feedback’ after each workshop is given to the other Hartmann House staff members.  In-house curriculum development sessions and workshops are organised at the beginning of term and at half term, often using guest speakers.

I meet with the staff to discuss Schemes of Work at the beginning of each term. Weekly Forecasts and Evaluations are commented on, and the teachers’ detailed evaluations enable me to discuss with the boys any concerns, or positive remarks, raised by their teachers.

To make learning more enjoyable and “hands on”, a large amount of practical work in all subjects is encouraged and there is an impressive stock of Maths and Science equipment.

All classrooms are equipped with ‘Smart Boards’, which have proved to be invaluable teaching tools. Our teachers are expected to be proficient in the use of these and, as a result, they are used in most lessons.

Content Subjects

Teaching of the content subjects (listed in the first paragraph) includes experimentation, practical work, values and school ethos, outings, camps, general knowledge, etc.  Although covering the key areas of the Ministry of Education’s syllabi, the content schemes have been updated so that they are more relevant and interesting for the boys. This trend will be ongoing, especially when we integrate the Cambridge Primary syllabus.

English

Being a core subject, each Grade teacher teaches English to the full. Emphasis is on functions of Language, Reading, Spelling (Word Recognition and Order), Comprehension, Poetry/Creative Writing, Phonic work, Dictation, Oral English and on handwriting (Nelson Strand). Mrs Virginia Darrell is responsible for the National Institute of Allied Arts entries for both the Choral Speaking and Literacy sections. Already, due to the revamped reading scheme, all aspects of English are improving, especially reading skills, vocabulary/spelling and comprehension. A recent internal workshop focused on a range of comprehension strategies applicable to all subjects, but notably to formal comprehension and reading lessons.

Mathematics

The teaching of the other core subject, Mathematics, revolves around concept development through the emphasis of Bonds, Tables and the four basic operations. Mental, mechanical and Problem skills are taught at length.  Again, we follow the Ministry’s curriculum but expand on it.  Online packages are used in collaboration with the ICT Department. “Thinking out the box” and logical reasoning are valuable skills that all teachers are imparting to the boys. We have recently invested in “Brainsnack” maths activities to enhance the learning of Maths in all grades.