The Cavendish School teaches a broad and balanced curriculum enriched with arts, languages and sports. We have excellent teachers including a great many specialists who teach with infectious enthusiasm and a deep knowledge of their subject.
"I recently encountered some of your year six pupils at Primrose Hill Library, they were lovely girls with so many positive things to say about The Cavendish. They were a real credit to the school."
At The Cavendish School we aim to develop mathematical skills and provide opportunities for their application in meaningful, real-life situations.
Mathematics is introduced from Nursery, with songs, stories, rhymes, puzzles and games and developed using a range of practical equipment and activities. Smaller, differentiated groups and additional support ensure that all the pupils have access to the curriculum and are challenged appropriately. Pupils are encouraged to develop an understanding of mathematical concepts and apply them to cross-curricular activities.
By Year 6, pupils are well prepared to sit the secondary school examinations held mainly in January.
In addition, we take part in the Primary Maths Challenge in November and the National Junior Mathematics competition in April and achieve great success.
"Maths is my favourite lesson, although of course I like other lessons too."
English teaching incorporates a blend of the four strands of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We teach synthetic phonics and grammar as the basis of many language skills. Lessons at The Cavendish School are differentiated to meet the needs of each individual and tailored to ensure they are reading and writing on topics that fire their imaginations.
We encourage pupils to read daily and widely both at home and at school. Classes visit our well-stocked library weekly and are free to visit at lunchtime for quiet reading or to change a book.
Comprehension lessons develop skills such as retrieval of information, inference and understanding the author’s use of language, which prepare pupils not only for their entrance exams in Year 6, but for secondary school and beyond. The ability to express one’s thoughts and opinions coherently, confidently and creatively to others is an important life skill. Our pupils are given many opportunities to develop their confidence and expertise in this area, with participation in class and assembly from Nursery, to externally examined English Speaking Board assessments from Year 3 onwards.
"What is most impressive is the positive and confident character of the girls. A truly special place."
Science is taught throughout the school and by a specialist teacher in our dedicated science room to Years 3 to 6.
Pupils are gradually introduced to the separate disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry with a variety of topics including space, evolution, living things and digestion, to name a few. The children regularly experience hands-on projects, such as analysis of owl pellets and learning how to administer first aid, and the syllabus is supported with educational visits.
"We had such fun squishing food down tubes when we did digestion!"
Geography, history and comparative religious education are taught as discrete subjects in Years 1 to 6. The humanities program taken as a whole fosters skills of individual research, reasoning and self-expression in all our pupils. In history, pupils explore the people and events of the past through a wide range of primary and secondary sources and by questioning and evaluating evidence in a highly personal way. In geography, pupils gain a wide experience of the diverse field of knowledge through research, practical activities and cross-curricular field trips. Our RE curriculum gives pupils rich opportunities to explore key cultural themes and to develop their own perceptions and opinions.
"We learn about how people live around the world. I like it when we have visitors to teach us about the different things they celebrate."
French is taught by native French speaking specialist teachers throughout the school, from Nursery through to Year 6. The approach is multi-sensory through games, songs, rhymes and role-play, with the aims of developing listening and speaking skills in an enjoyable way, and introducing pupils to French culture. Years 5 and 6 have penfriends in different regions of France and in Year 6 there is a residential trip to France.
"I was astonished on a recent trip to France how well our daughter was able to get on, reading signs and ordering in restaurants."
Mandarin is taught to Years 4, 5 and 6, and introduces pupils to a language that is very different from English and from European languages.
Latin is taught to Year 6 in the Summer Term. This enhances understanding of our own language and introduces pupils to a subject they may go on to study at secondary school.
Creative and expressive arts are woven holistically into the curriculum, where their value is firmly endorsed as part of an integrated educational approach.
Robert Pritchett, Assistant Head and Head of Expressive Arts at the school, says: ‘Arts education in music, drama, dance and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to unlock enormous potential in all children. It gives them a better understanding of their own world and prepares them to become confident young adults. The arts programme at The Cavendish involves every child and is not just the province of a gifted few.’
"It is so important to us that our daughter has opportunities for creativity in all forms and I have been really impressed with the provision for this at The Cavendish School."
The School is renowned for the high quality of its music provision, which includes singing, playing and musical appreciation. All pupils receive an hour per week of music taught by specialists from Nursery to Year 6. In Years 3, 4 and 5 pupils learn the recorder. Optional individual tuition is provided by peripatetic teachers for those who wish to have lessons in any of a very wide range of additional instruments. The School boasts two orchestras, a band and three choirs. The School also acts as centre for ABRSM exams.
Pupils have the opportunity to perform in assemblies, concerts, plays and musicals in School and beyond; they attend live performances in venues such as the Royal Opera House and Cadogan Hall, and also enjoy regular performances by visiting musicians.
"My daughter loves singing in the choir."
Drama is embedded in the curriculum. Drama productions, from assemblies for the youngest children to musical spectaculars such as the recent performance of ‘Annie’ for the oldest, are part of the rhythm of the School year. Theatre companies visit and regularly deliver workshops, whilst pupils also enjoy trips to the Little Angel, Globe and Unicorn Theatres.
Dance is taught throughout the School. Provision is made for ballet, music and movement, traditional folk dance and funky dance, all taught by specialist teachers.
"Seeing our daughter shine in her Y6 play was one of the highlights of our many happy years as Cavendish parents."
Art and DT
From Year 3, art lessons take place in our well-stocked art room, with a specialist teacher for Years 5 and 6. Pupils are introduced to a wide range of media, and work is selected to be shown at external exhibitions and competitions each year. Our pupils are introduced to a variety of media and styles, and many techniques are explored, including pottery using our kiln.
Computer studies play an integral part in much teaching and learning, with timetabled lessons as well as the use of IT to enhance other curriculum subjects. Children are introduced to keyboard skills and touch-typing from Nursery; we teach research skills and use a variety of apps and programs with iPads and laptops for individual learning, and have interactive whiteboards throughout the school. Our pupils also enjoy computer programming and after school computer club.
"The school is very aware of the need for e-safety training for pupils."
"I feel old (but happy!) when I see the ease with which our daughter is able to use IT competently and imaginatively."
All pupils have PE lessons from Nursery throughout the school with specialist teachers. From Year 3, pupils participate in dance, gymnastics, netball, football, rounders, athletics and swimming. The under 9, 10 and 11 teams (Years 4 to 6) compete successfully in inter-school matches as well as various tournaments. Before-school activities include netball squad, swim club, swim squad and high-performance gym.
For a central London school, the indoor sports facilities are unusually large and the new hall gives pupils an enviable performance environment in which to hone their skills.
Sports lessons are often held in Regent’s Park during the summer term and pupils in Years 3 to 5 swim, for a term each, at nearby Kentish Town pool. The annual whole School Sports Day is held at Parliament Hill running track.
The School provides a range of extra-curricular activities to complement and enrich the children’s school experience. The stimulating curriculum is supported by a variety of cultural and recreational activities, making the most of the School’s central London locality. Annual residential trips to Skreen’s Park, France and Snowdonia for Years 4 to 6 also broaden the pupils’ horizons.
"I thought I might feel scared being away from home without my parents, but I was having too much fun to even miss them!"
Excursions, theatre trips, workshops and performances, inter-school matches, tournaments and galas, music assemblies, concerts and outings, and English Speaking Board assessments are all integral parts of the pupils’ journey through the School. Popular and well-established After School Clubs have included yoga, Latin, gymnastics, netball, Spanish, Italian, pottery, art, sewing, funky dance, circus skills, crazy comics, creative writing, cooking, and chess.
Recent themed days or weeks include a Day of Dance, an African Drumming Day, Gamelan Day, French Day, Viking Day, Science Week, Mathematics Week, Book Week, Eco-Week, Faith Days and days at Camden Learning Centre for Computer Programming.