STEM & ICT
The aim of our Science Technology Engineering and Maths teaching at Hanford is to encourage a wide interest in the world around us and to understand the relevance of science in everyday life. The girls build their analytical skills, develop logical problem solving, engage in intellectual curiosity and learn to use data as evidence.
All pupils have Science lessons in the labs. The youngest, Years 3 and 4, have an introduction to the subject and begin to learn their way around the lab and how to use the equipment. They also have nature lessons, where the girls learn to look at the changing environment around them.
The ISEB syllabus commences in Year 5 at 11+, moving onto 13+ in the second half of Year 6. Scientific topics are taught at an age appropriate level and then revisited in more detail as pupils grow through the School. The learning is enhanced by a great deal of practical work where girls can develop their laboratory skills. Observations are recorded in a scientific format and then interpreted. They are also encouraged to make their own predictions to recognise that mistakes can be just as instructive as as the correct answer. Safety is paramount and precautions are always taken when carrying out experiments.
Additionally there are activity days at local schools such as ‘Cracking The Code’ at Sherborne Girls’. We also run in-house activities making the most of our extensive grounds and varied habitats for teaching biology and ecosystems. Local experts such as the Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Beeman also provide colour to our science teaching with demonstrations and talks.
We hope that pupils will leave us having developed a curiosity for the environment in which they live and the interest to find out more. We make sure they have built a sound scientific knowledge base during their time at Hanford ready to take on the challenge of single subject science at senior school.
The need for sound mathematical skills is considered to be an essential requirement for every girl at Hanford. Numeracy is an invaluable life skill underpinning everything from managing a bank account to running a company. We encourage girls to develop good basic skills which will enable them to move through the school with increasing confidence and a sense of achievement.
From Year 5 each year group is streamed and there is then some further setting for mathematics. This allows us to concentrate on raising the level of mathematical attainment of every pupil, but still challenge the mathematically more able and allowing them to move forward at a more rapid pace.
We do not follow any of the recognised teaching schemes preferring to choose the best from a selection of material and therefore be more flexible in our approach. Small classes allow for all the girls work on the same problems simultaneously, while also allowing for individual attention to be given when it is needed.
Extra Individual lessons are offered to the more able in preparation for scholarship examinations and for those who need some reinforcement for Common Entrance. There is also extra help for any pupil who is struggling to grasp the basic concepts both from the Learning Support Department and the extra mathematics teacher.
The purpose of ICT at Hanford School is to enable all girls to grasp the academic potential of Information Technology. This ranges from everyday applications such as using search engines for a geography project and Microsoft Office for a presentation to more involved graphic design software and coding to program a robot.
Through teaching ICT we equip children to participate in a rapidly-changing world where work and leisure activities are increasingly transformed by technology. We enable them to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information. We also focus on developing the skills necessary for children to be able to use information in a discriminating, effective and enjoyable way. ICT skills are a major factor in enabling children to be confident, creative and independent learners. Staff use both the ICT room and computers in their class rooms to teach lessons using interactive programmes and resources.
The girls each have their own email account and use this to communicate with pupils and staff internally as well as with friends and family outside school. Internet safety is taught to the girls and the network operates a secure filter. The girls are able to use the ICT room in their free time for emailing and leisure as well as school based work.