I was privileged to be able to show prospective parents around the school this morning and couldn’t fail to notice the wonderful activities going on across the year groups: Year 1 learning about pitch using the Kodaly method in Music, Year 2 discussing different flavours of ice cream in French, Years 4 and 5 using tools such as hacksaws and bench hooks in Design and Technology and Year 6 designing statues inspired by those of Alberto Giocometti in Art.
Research shows that strong subject knowledge impacts on the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Here at Gateway, our school day is designed to provide maximum opportunity for pupils to explore, discover and be challenged and we are extremely fortunate to have teachers who specialise in areas such as Art, Design and Technology, Music, Physical Education, Computing, and Modern Foreign Languages who teach throughout the school. All our students, from Preschool upwards, benefit from this team of specialist staff, who bring deeper and broader subject knowledge, deliver their instruction passionately and have greater insight into the subject that they teach. Some of the staff here teach pupils throughout their Gateway journey, so they really get to know them well, enjoy watching their growth and development, and monitor the progress they make over the years.
As we approach the end of this academic year, which has undoubtedly been an unusual one, Year 5 children have settled comfortably into the routines of the senior school, the structure of which aims to prepare them socially and academically for their next school. Having been based with a class teacher until Year 4, it must be quite daunting to follow a personalised timetable and find your way around the school site for specific lessons. However, our children have managed the transition really well and are definitely developing a sense of independence and responsibility - there haven’t been quite so many messages about ‘lost’ blazers or kit bags this week! The Year 5 curriculum is delivered entirely by specialist teachers, which certainly paves the way for the demands of secondary school. Each year we receive comments from headteachers of the local secondary schools about how Gateway pupils stand out because they are so well prepared for the transition from primary to secondary education. The pupils here are used to moving around the school from lesson to lesson, interact confidently with their teachers and develop the skills required to be organised with their personal belongings.
Finally, when asked what would sum up their experience of Gateway, and how it prepared them for the next stage of their education, two former pupils wrote:
‘The social aspect of walking from class to class really put me a level above everyone else when I went into secondary school.’
‘Building of confidence, development of organisation and responsibility. It formed the foundation for secondary school’.
Here at Gateway, we couldn’t wish for anything more.