The Primary School currently comprises seven classes i.e. a Reception Class (pre-school) and Years 1-6. The structure of the English National Curriculum is followed and the schemes of work have been formulated with this in view. Modifications are made where it is thought the subject matter has little relevance to an International Class living in Portugal. In this way we endeavour to put into practice schemes of work that are broader for our non-British pupils and develop for all a sense of belonging in the Algarve and Portugal.
A significant proportion of teaching time is given to English, Mathematics and Science. English - We use several reading schemes thereby exposing the pupils to a wide variety of language and learning strategies. Considerable emphasis is placed on spelling, grammar and punctuation skills. A wide variety of creative activities develop the children's language skills.
We frequently have pupils entering the School throughout the school year and some of these speak little or no English. We integrate them into the class routine as much as possible, especially by allowing them to develop their oral skills through participation in practical activities. Our English Support Teacher has a vital role to play in this area.
Mathematics - A structured programme of work is followed from Years 1 to 6. Stress is placed upon a good knowledge of number skills; practical activities and investigations consolidate, reinforce and develop the concepts covered. Regular testing is used to assess progress and give extra support.
Science - Children are involved in investigative activities from Year 1 onwards. We are fortunate in being able to draw upon the resources of our secondary science department.
History, Geography, Information Technology, Art, Craft and Drama are taught by the class teacher. Often these subjects are cross-curricular.In addition the children are taught a number of subjects by specialist teachers:
Music (once a week. Every year children work towards the production of a School Musical Play);
Physical Education (gymnastics, games, athletics and outdoor and adventure tasks);
Portuguese (taught from Year 1 upwards.There is an after School Portuguese Club);
German (for German-speaking pupils to give them contact with their mother-tongue);
French (for French-speaking pupils to give them contact with their mother-tongue);
Special Educational Needs (for children who have learning difficulties. There is a nominal extra charge for this programme);
English Support (There is no extra charge for this programme).
Primary children are expected to read regularly. This is particularly important for the Year 1 and 2 pupils who take a reading book home every day to read aloud to a parent. In Years 3 and 4 homework is given at the teacher's discretion, for example to learn spellings and tables and to complete class assignments. Weekend homework is usually given. In Years 5 and 6 the children have homework every evening.
Despite the relatively large size of our School, the Primary Department is operated in a friendly and personal way. All primary pupils participate in House activities, regardless of age group. In many instances, older pupils encourage and organise the younger ones.