The Gryphon’s curriculum is a broad and balanced one which offers increasing choice as students progress through the school. Year 7 offers all the subjects you would expect and includes two languages in French and Spanish and a wide variety of inventive experiences in Art and Creative Design.
From reading powerful gothic stories in Year 7, learning to empathise with a host of different characters in Year 8, to investigating World War One poetry in Year 9; our Key Stage 3 students will study a wide range of full length texts at The Gryphon. Reading is widely acknowledged to be a key to future success and we are continuing to use the Accelerated Reader system in the library to develop independent reading skills.
Students already study a diverse set of voices from Years 7-9, but this year we are maximising this by adding a few texts that deal with issues which need more explicit teaching, for example the history of the slave trade in 19th Century USA, and living as a modern teenager in multi-cultural London. These new texts will allow us to talk about the ideas in a safe environment, addressing any misconceptions and discussing how we use language to talk about race and ‘otherness’.
Every year we celebrate World Book Day by dressing up as our favourite characters from literature – during the last five years we have been to Narnia, Hogwarts and even the 19th Century!
In Year 7 students study the following:
Maths in Year 7 and Year 8 is all about the mastery of big ideas. Starting with a project to see how some elements of maths are used in business, we move onto investigate the very nature of numbers before developing a deep understanding of algebra, ratio, proportion and much more. We take time to delve deep into concepts and push students to really think about why things work. We love maths and we want our students to love it too!
In Year 9 we continue mastering new skills but bring the focus back to the real world with lessons on finance, map reading (one of our maths team is the DofE lead for the school), data science and climate change. We love linking the maths learned so far to what is happening in the world around us and to the other subjects in the school.
We work hard to encourage a curiosity in our pupils, insisting that they can not only solve problems but also ask why and how maths works. Learning happens through student discovery and exploration as much as possible.
In Year 7 students will explore:
In Year 7 the students get to gain an insight into the three strands of science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The year is packed full of investigations and practical activities, where the students get to understand the processes that real scientists go through.
The year is broken down into four blocks, with each block containing a Biology, Chemistry and Physics topic.
The students will start the year either by jetting off into space, delving into the cells of our bodies or being mesmerised by the fantastic colours of acids and alkalis.
Next up the students will get all electric learning about circuits, discover the wonders of reproduction and manipulating matter into solids, liquids and gases.
The third block gets the students to feel the force, classify different animals and cycle through the materials of the Earth.
The final block will see the students making lots of bubbles and bangs, understanding where all their energy comes from and making links between plants and animals in different ecosystems.
The Year 7 Art curriculum allows students to explore and develop their practical skills in a wide range of media, through a series of exciting projects. The core skills of drawing and painting form the foundation upon which students will develop their observation and recording ability, with all practical experiences being underpinned with critical study, developing knowledge and understanding, inquisitiveness and confidence. The two core skill areas for Yr7 are as follows:
In Year 7 we teach essential IT skills which can be used in all subjects while also preparing our students for the computing curriculum. Over the course of the year we work through five units of assessed work. These are outlined below:
Year 7 students can compete in the Lego mind storms competition, using Lego robots to solve various challenges
The Yr7 Creative Design curriculum introduces students to designing and making, through a comprehensive series of learning experiences which develop a range of theoretical and practical skills. Rigorous sketchbook investigation and critical analysis underpin the wide variety of practical skills covered, with students developing an appreciation for all aspects of 3D Design through the exciting projects covered, experiences which form the foundations of creative development throughout KS3 and beyond. The two core skill areas for Yr7 are comprised as follows:
All assessment follows our AQA examination board GCSE and A Level Assessment Objectives framework which effectively introduces students to this rigorous and effective process at the very start of their study at The Gryphon, allowing every opportunity for all to excel.
Creative design offers students the chance to explore their creativity in a variety of media such as food, clay, wood and modelling foam.
Students will learn about basic food hygiene and the principles of healthy eating.
Students do weekly practical sessions such as making fruit salad, roast couscous and vegetables, cheese and carrot muffins, flapjacks, soups from seasonal ingredients and toad in the hole.
Our food curriculum is strong and students can choose to pursue this area up to and including the Sixth Form.
In KS3, Textiles students have opportunities to explore printing techniques, decorative techniques and fabrics to engage in the creative process. Year 7 students learn how to set up and use the sewing machines and explore printing techniques to make a drawstring bag. In Year 8, students develop their creativity and learn new surface decoration techniques to design and create their own cushions. Year 9 students build on all of their printing and decorative Textiles techniques, recording ideas and observations as well as developing CAD skills to design and make a case.
In Year 10, Textiles is an optional subject, which has achieved excellent GCSE results; students work in sketchbooks, undertaking artist research and demonstrating how to develop their ideas through a wide range of focused sampling in printed, constructed, fashion and embellished Textiles.
The Year 7 scheme of work is as below:
Year 7 students can take part in the KS3 show each summer, Dance Live and the whole school production.
Drama is an optional subject from Year 10 upwards and achieves unbelievably good GCSE and A-level grades.
The first half term is spent on The Basics such as greetings, school equipment, numbers up to 31 and personality adjectives. The grammar covered includes indefinite articles (un, une etc.) avoir, être, je pense que and adjective agreement
The second half term revolves around the theme of My Town. Topics include positive and negative opinions and activities in town. Grammar includes negatives, on peut + infinitives, the near future tense with aller –and parce que/car.
The third half term covers Free Time, activities such as sports, weather, the numbers to 60 and family members are looked at. Grammar covered included jouer, possessives and quand/si.
The fourth half term looks at School covering the daily routine, subjects, timetables and after school activities. Grammar covered will be reflexive verbs, intensifiers and faire.
The fifth half term theme is Where I Live such as house types, rooms in the house and pets. The Grammar looked at includes Il y a, prepositions and the perfect tense.
The last half term studies the film “A Cat in Paris” and the theme of Visiting a Town. The grammatical content includes the perfect tense and imperatives.
The Year 7 scheme of work is as below:
The Year 7 scheme of work is as below:
The year starts with a quick focus on the key skills needed for History.
It then progresses to a chronological trip through the history of Britain starting with the Romans; Anglo-Saxons; Vikings; Normans, the Medieval period and then the Tudors.
The theme is the development of both Britain and England as a clear identifiable entity and the beginning of the process of moving from tyranny towards the rule of law – which will eventually lead to democracy.
The year will also investigate examples of ‘invisible history’ and explore the lives of women, ethnic minorities and economic groups who can be ignored or lost to history in the various tales of Monarchs and Lords.
During the second term there is also a module which examines the Islamic Empire around the turn of the millennium. The themes to be focused on are the multi-culturalism in Islamic Spain, and the preservation and development of knowledge through the libraries of the Islamic world, in particularly the Round City of Baghdad, and how this knowledge was passed back to Europe.
In the Summer term there is a visit to Sherborne Old Castle to investigate how a site can change its function over its lifetime. In this case from the Norman castle; to Tudor house; to Civil War battleground; to Georgian ruin and finally to a modern tourist attraction.
Students look at a wide range of styles in Year 7:
Autumn Term – ‘The Dimensions of Music’ & ‘Atmospheric Soundtracks’
Spring Term – Brazilian ‘Samba’ & ’Ostinato’
Summer Term – ‘Pop Riffs and Hooks’ & ‘Classical Music’
Students will learn about how music is put together and will then create different musical moods and atmospheres. Students use a combination of music software and acoustic instruments.
Instrumental lessons are available in school on the following instruments: Piano, Guitar, Drum Kit, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone, French Horn, Euphonium, Recorder and Singing (ALL vocal styles covered) .
Prior to lockdown, the Music Department enjoyed a thriving extra-curricular music scene. All year 7 students are welcome to join an appropriate ensemble (vocal or instrumental) for free and without audition. Examples of ensembles include:
Our ensembles have performance opportunities at our two annual School Concerts (Autumn & Summer) and at our Christmas Carol Service in the beautiful Sherborne Abbey. This November’s Autumn concert will have to be a ‘virtual’ one (…items already welcome!).
The Gryphon is spoilt for sport facilities with a sports hall, a well-equipped gym, several all-weather pitches and sports fields as far as the eye can see. PE is taught exclusively by specialist staff each of whom is highly qualified in their subject.
Year 7 Physical education concentrates on students developing skills and learning how to evaluate and improve their own performance.
Boys typically experience rugby, football, fitness, gym athletics, rounders and ball striking/fielding.
Girls typically experience hockey, dance, fitness, gym, rounders and athletics.
A competitive element is introduced though inter-house sport which happen each term.
Religious education aims to provide a space for students to ask important questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, what it means to be human and important issues that are happening in the world.
The department aims to promote an awareness of the usefulness of RE to everyday living, to encourage enthusiasm for interest in the study of other people’s beliefs and to promote mutual respect, tolerance and understanding across different cultures and communities.
Through studying RE students will develop their knowledge and understanding of how major world religions and world views offer answers to challenging questions and what influence this might have on a person’s life. They will also have many opportunities for personal reflection and their own spiritual development.
Throughout Key Stage 3 students will cover content from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Humanism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and a range of other world views. The curriculum is designed to take into account the needs of students from a variety of religious backgrounds or, no religious background at all.
Term 1 and 2: Philosophy – Students will consider a wide range of questions from the field of philosophy including:
– What is truth?
– Epistemology: How do we know anything?
– Thought experiment: Are we a brain in a vat?
– How was the world created?
Term 3 and 4: Christianity – Students will develop an understanding of the development and impact of Christianity, including:
– The historical context of the emergence of Christianity, including the concept of the Messiah
– The miracles of Jesus
– Holy week
– Symbolism in Christianity
– How Jesus has been portrayed in art
Term 5 and 6: Ethics – Students will consider what it means to be ethical, where our ethical codes might come from and will consider a wide range of ethical issues including:
– Business & environmental ethics
– Child labour
– Animal rights
The Year 7 scheme of work is as below.
The first half term is spent on The Basics such as the alphabet and phonics, greetings, family, numbers up to 31 and personality adjectives. The grammar covered includes indefinite articles (un, una etc.), ser, adjective agreement and intensifiers.
The second half term theme is Where I Live such as house types, types of towns, and opinions on these, The Grammar looked at includes negatives, the present tense and ir verbs and porque/ya que etc.
The third half term revolves around the theme of My Town. Topics include positive and negative opinions, activities in town and the weather. Grammar includes present tense verbs in full, se puede plus infinitive and cuando and si.
The fourth half term looks at School covering the daily routine, school uniform, subjects, timetables and after school activities. Grammar covered will be a recap on the present tense and phrases with the infinitive.
The fifth half term covers Future Education so different types of education and students’ future plans such as university are looked at. Grammar covered includes the near future tense, the conditional tense and modal verbs, si clauses and a recap of se puede.
The theme of the last half term is Making Plans. A Grammar covered includes the near future tense, the conditional tense and modal verbs.
The Year 7 scheme of work is as below: