The pre-school teaches children aged 3 and 4 years of age using full Montessori principles. As a result of this many children are reading and writing basic words and have knowledge of numbers and simple sums by the time they move into the reception class of the primary school in the year they become 5 years of age.
Children in the early years of the primary school continue to use Montessori teaching materials and methods and, as they progress through the school, more mainstream practices, such as group learning, structured lessons and tests, are gradually introduced.
The concept of tests and examinations is introduced to the children gradually as they progress through the school. Formal assessments are carried out once a year in the summer and take place as part of the normal school day at times which are not previously announced. Consequently "revision" is a term not used within the school until towards the end of year 5, when children are shown how the methods they have learned can be brought together and used as successful exam technique. At this stage they undertake assessment tests under formal conditions to provide preparation for secondary school entrance exams.
In keeping with the school's philosophy of teaching each child as an individual, class sizes are small, with an average of sixteen to eighteen pupils per class. Each class teacher has a teaching assistant.
The school has a, currently small, secondary department for students aged 12 to 16. At present admission to this department is reserved to students who have attended the primary school although the intention is that this will be expanded in the future.
The pre-school caters for children of ages 3 and 4 years.
There are up to five classrooms each with mixed age groups and genders. Each class has a teacher and class assistant and a maximum of sixteen children.
The children follow a Montessori teaching curriculum, starting with the practical life exercises designed to develop physical control, coordination and concentration skills; moving through the Montessori materials which teach shape, colour, and relative sizes, and then onto the materials which prepare the children for reading, writing and number work.
Reading is taught phonetically and many of the children are reading simple books and doing addition and simple subtraction by the time they move into the reception year.
Children can attend the pre-school either for a whole day each week or for mornings or afternoons only. All attendance options are on a five day week basis.
Every child in the pre-school is guaranteed a place in the reception year of the primary school. All children move into reception in the September starting the academic year in which they become five years old.
The primary school has an average class size of sixteen to eighteen. Small classes, together with our unique teaching system, which fuses the Montessori method with the English National Curriculum, mean that we offer children of all abilities the individual attention and education they need to reach their full potential in all areas of school life. Classes usually follow one year age groups although life in the school encourages interaction and involvement between all classes and ages.
Teaching follows a weekly timetable and the curriculum covers the traditional core subjects: Literacy, Mathematics and Science, together with the Humanities (History and Geography) taught by means of topic lessons, I.T., Music, Art, Speech and Drama, Modern Languages and Citizenship. Personal and social development is taught during PHSE lessons and all children take part in swimming, gym and games.
Children leave us at the end of the primary years as confident and well rounded individuals who have reached their academic potential and are enthusiastic about entering their next stage of learning. River House leavers have gained places at a wide variety of selective schools.
The school's Secondary Department opened in September 2011 with an initial 3 students. It remains small today, with currently 6 to 8 students.
Students in Key stage 3 (Ages 12 to 14) study a broad curriculum encompassing English Language, Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, Latin and Classics, Information Technology, Art, Music and Citizenship. History and Geography are studied via a series of guided self study projects. Through these projects the students not only learn the elements of the Humanities curriculum but also develop ability in the self study skills such as independent research, note taking and source referencing, often only acquired much later in life.
Seven students have so far completed their Key stage 4 years, during which they studied for, and sat, the external IGCSE examinations. As part of an international school, the River House secondary department is registered with the Cambridge International Examination Board whose examinations are recognised in many countries of the world. Some of the IGCSEs are taken a year early, in year 10.
Our students have so far taken, collectively, a total of 20 subjects; Additional Mathematics, Art & Design, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English Language, English Literature, Enterprise, Global Perspectives, History, I.C.T., Latin, Mandarin, Mathematics, Physical Education, Physics, Science (combined) and Spanish and all have been passed.
Clearly with so few students it is not possible to produce meaningful statistics but for the 51 examinations taken by the students so far the overall results are:
Taken in Year 10
Taken in Year 11
% of Total
A and A*
7 to 9
B and C
4 to 6
59% of the examinations resulted in a grade of A* or A and 96% of the examinations taken resulted in a grade of A* to C.