THE BOYS’ SCHOOL
Garden House provides a thorough and balanced education in a lively and purposeful environment. Our boys are taught separately from the girls for almost all academic lessons but opportunities are taken to bring the boys and girls together at various points during the week. Our boys attain high academic results, achieved in a calm and constructive manner, being encouraged to have inquiring, independent minds. Emphasis is placed equally on academic, sporting and artistic ability and on manners and consideration for others.
Garden House has two libraries, a computing suite, an art room, ballet/performance room and a wonderfully-equipped music room.
Most boys join Garden House in Preparatory (4 years old). However, it is possible for boys to join in Kindergarten (3 years old) and in Middle School II (8 years old). Our boys achieve a great deal during the years they are with us. Boys leave Garden House at either 8 or 11 years old securing places at leading day and boarding schools.
THE BOYS’ CURRICULUM
Garden House boys explore a broad and exciting curriculum. They study English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and Religious Education. Art, Computing, Dance, Drama, French, and Music. As they progress through the School Latin, Spanish, Design Technology, and Current Affairs are added to the curriculum. We offer study skills classes and other modern languages in morning or after school clubs. Sports and Physical Education play an important role in the curriculum providing outlets for the boys’ energy as well as building their confidence and developing their team spirit. After school clubs are offered to the boys from the age of 6, providing added variety to their school day.
At Garden House, English is the medium through which almost all learning takes place, both inside and outside the classroom. During English lessons, as well as in many other parts of the curriculum, we lead our pupils to develop confidence in speaking and listening, spelling, grammar, reading and writing.
We teach children in a stimulating environment and our creative lessons provide opportunities for individuals to communicate independent views and opinions, listen and respond imaginatively and express feelings through spoken and written language. This helps develop their confidence to have a voice. The children develop their handwriting, being encouraged to use cursive script during Years 1 and 2 and working towards achieving their pen licences, typically in Years 3 and 4. In Years 4 and 5, the children undertake the English Speaking Board examinations, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills before external examiners.
In lessons, children will be reading, discussing, and producing a wealth of different texts. These include:
- persuasive texts
- letters; and
- play scripts.
We nurture a love of reading at Garden House, realising its potential to transport children to different places, whilst positively impacting on their ability to access all other areas of the curriculum.
Particular highlights in the English calendar include Poetry Day and Book Week. These transform the school into a hive of creativity and immerse children into the world of literature.
The ability to communicate ideas and feelings clearly, effectively and with confidence. A love of reading with the ability both to comprehend and to question the text. These are qualities that our English teaching is designed to foster.
“I love writing stories and using WOW words and I like using expression in my reading like when I shout “Oh no!” - Prep Pupil
“I like English because it gives me the freedom to write my inner most thoughts; to create a roller-coaster of emotions and senses, to build a mystical maze to unravel and to distract from any crisis that is around us.” - USII Pupil
We use Mathematics in almost every aspect of our lives. At Garden House our curriculum is aimed at allowing the children to apply mathematical concepts with confidence; not only in their Maths lessons but also across the curriculum and in their daily lives.
Lessons are approached in a variety of ways to ensure the children progress to the best of their ability. All pupils have opportunities to learn in a way which caters for their learning styles using a range of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic resources. In each year group the following strands are taught and reinforced: place value; number (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division); calculating; shape, space & measures; and, data handling.
Problem Solving is at the heart of our teaching and children are encouraged to relate their learning to practical situations, this includes creating magic potions, designing a Theme Park or using their measuring skills to work out the area of the chicken coops found in Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’!
Mental arithmetic is a key skill which is taught from an early age. We encourage this through in a number of ways including Times Tables awards and “Mad Minute”. Every year the most able mathematicians in the school compete in the Maths Olympiad which involves solving challenges and puzzles in house teams across the year groups. This causes much excitement for each pupil in Junior School upwards as they wait in anticipation of who will win the much coveted Olympiad award!
Whilst we try to avoid blowing up the school, we do have a huge amount of fun in Science! Children love learning Science at Garden House School and for many children it ranks amongst their favourite subjects. Our aim is for our children to leave a Science class feeling inspired and to see the world with a renewed sense of wonder and inquiry.
Lessons are approached in a hands on, practical manner. The children are encouraged to relate their scientific discoveries to everyday situations. There are so many adventures for the children such as exploring live habitats, caring for recently hatched chicks, discovering patterns and animal behaviours at London Zoo, handling dinosaur fossils or using their circuit knowledge to create wonderful inventions.
Through Science children learn to think differently, investigate ideas, ask questions and discover answers themselves. They do this by observing, pattern seeking, identifying, classifying, researching and carrying out comparative and fair testing. Most importantly, in Science the children learn that mistakes are not to be feared but instead form a vital part of their learning journey.
Science Day is a particular highlight of the Garden House calendar with teachers and visiting scientists collaborating to bring the magic of Science to life via a wild variety of experiments, demonstrations and workshops.
“Our imagination expands every single time we have a lesson.”
“I love experiments. It is so much fun to see what happens; maybe it explodes, maybe it doesn’t!”
Geography and History are taught under the umbrella of Humanities here at Garden House, with a topic generally devoted to each subject per half term. Teachers encourage the children to develop a curiosity for the world around them as well as a developed understanding of the past.
Aims of History Teaching
History at Garden House is so much more than dates and facts; it is a meaningful exploration through time, encouraging a natural curiosity to question and developing the skills to find answers. We cover a range of topics in keeping with the National Curriculum including British History as well as the wider world.
The children’s learning is further enriched through workshops and trips to bring the past to life. We are extremely lucky as a school to have a number of connections through the community with establishments such as the Royal Hospital. The children gain a valued insight into the past through the visits and talks given to them by the Chelsea Pensioners.
Above all, we believe that the ability to formulate enquiry skills and develop the children’s own opinions is paramount to becoming successful historians. It is this sense of wonder and excitement that we harness within the children, equipping them for life.
Aims of Geography Teaching
Geography is taught in a dynamic and engaging way at Garden House with every effort applied to the children asking questions about the world they live in and on which they depend. It is important that the children develop a sense of responsibility for the Earth as well as an awareness of cultural diversity.
Global Location forms an important part of the Geography curriculum; with the children learning about continents, countries, capitals, key rivers and mountain ranges.
Hands-on activities such as map and field work make their learning more tangible allowing the children to develop their confidence to cherish and explore the world around them.
At Garden House, we consider the learning of languages to be a central and critical part of every child’s education. Learning further languages allows children to broaden their horizons, open their minds and, in due course, embrace a greater variety of opportunities. The learning of languages also offers children a new and challenging academic discipline and improves their understanding of their own language. As Goethe said, “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”
All children learn French from the age of 3 when they start in Kindergarten. From a strong oral start, based largely on song and conversation, the children develop their written skills in preparation for Senior Schools. We use a wide variety of resources from Linguascope to Languages-on-Line and follow the Rigolo and Allez schemes. In Year 6, the children go on a week-long trip to northern France which immerses them in French life and culture.
All the children in Year 4 have a ‘taster’ year of Spanish which enables them to appreciate the different language structures and gives them a chance to enjoy savouring the basics of another modern foreign language.
In addition, there are language clubs in the morning and after school, which are tailored to the appropriate levels. The languages offered depend on the demands of each year. French, Spanish and Mandarin are offered every year and others when there is sufficient demand.
The children start learning Latin in Year 3 (boys) and Year 4 (girls). They begin with an introduction to Roman Civilisation and, in particular, to life in England during Roman times. As the children mature, we introduce a more rigorous approach to the study of the language, ensuring the children grasp the mechanics of the grammar thoroughly. We teach them to apply these not only to the study of Latin but to appreciate how they are also relevant to their own and other modern languages. Thus, we aim to promote a passion for the Classics which they will carry with them onto the next stage of their education.
The Computing department at Garden House aims to provide our boys with a number of invaluable transferable skills, which will help them to prosper and work confidently in the increasingly technologically based world of the 21st century.
Alongside providing a firm foundation in the operation of the most widely-used software packages, our objective is to inspire the children to become the forward-thinking programmers, web-designers, games-makers and app-developers of the future. A focus on programming, coding and control technology promotes the importance of approaching tasks in a logical and systematic way. The boys are encouraged to organise their thoughts in a formal, unambiguous and structured manner. Programming at Garden House is not, however, in any way robotic in its output; the coding skills which the children learn allow them to be creative and imaginative in their work, whilst also developing important problem-solving instincts. Ultimately, we aim not just to teach our pupils how to use software and consume information but to give them the tools to become independent enquirers and producers of products and solutions.
To support this, the boys at Garden House are provided with access to a state-of-the-art provision of networked computers, laptops and tablets. Weekly Computing lessons take place in our dedicated computer suite, whilst a wide range of departments use our class sets of laptops and LearnPad tablets to support the delivery of their curricula. In addition, music technology sessions benefit from the use of Apple Mac computers.
Fibre-optic internet is available throughout the school, underpinned by advanced filtering systems. Regular e-safety sessions are delivered in both Computing and Life & Culture lessons, which give our boys and girls the confidence to use technology in a safe, considerate and responsible manner.
+ Learning Support
As a non-selective School, Garden House is committed to enabling every child to achieve their full potential and our strong and committed Learning Support Department plays an active role in this.
It is staffed by a team of four full-time highly-qualified special needs teachers, augmented by two part-time similarly-qualified teachers. The School is thus able to provide specialist help for a wide range of learning difficulties. In addition, two speech therapists and an occupational therapist visit from local clinics. This enables children’s needs to be met within School and all specialists can keep in close contact with teaching staff and parents.
Support is tailored to a child’s specific requirements, whether it be in the classroom, as part of a small group or one-to-one lessons. Three of our specialist staff are also qualified to conduct thorough assessments to gain greater insights into a child’s strengths and difficulties.
The Department runs a variety of groups ranging from handwriting, spelling, phonics, language skills (including EAL children) as well as After School Clubs including Sensory Circuits and Puzzle Club.
At Garden House School, we believe teaching and learning should be challenging and enjoyable for children of all abilities. We recognise the need to identify our Able Learners as early as possible in their School career and thereafter to make enhanced provision for them.
We use a variety of criteria by which to assess a child as an Able Learner, including analysis of class work, various assessment techniques are utilised as is observation. The School’s Able Learner Register keeps a record of such provision for each relevant child. The provision includes teaching in small groups, extension for the child within class teaching and Challenge Boards.
After School invitation-only Clubs exist to further challenge these children.
+ Trips and Excursions
Scattered throughout the School year are a number of day and residential field trips which enhance understanding of theoretical concepts as well as encouraging our boys to be confident in new environments.
The boys make full use of the outstanding cultural opportunities available around the School. Over the years, they will visit a host of the museums, galleries and sites of historical or cultural interest in and around the Capital. These trips are embedded within the Curriculum and will often involve teaching and lectures from specialists.
From Middle School I the boys make residential trips. They have an adventure training week in Cornwall and an optional ski trip to Switzerland. From Middle School II, the boys go on several residential trips a year; Science and Geography field trips; Survival Skills training; Adventure training and, in Upper School II (10 years old), a French trip.
Trips and Excursions past and present include:
- French Trip (USII)
- Outward Bound Trip (USI)
- Science Field Trip - Juniper Hall (MSII)
- Bushcraft (MSII-USI)
- Cornwall (MSI)
- Ski Trip (MSI-USII - optional)
- Holland Park – Ecology Centre
- Project related outings
- Theatre outings
- Royal Observatory Greenwich
- St Paul's Cathedral
- Science Museum
- Royal British Society
- London Aquarium
- London Wetlands
- Saatchi Gallery
- Chelsea Fire station
- Goethe Institute
- The V&A
- Richmond Park – The Holly Lodge Centre
The Art department is run by three outstanding specialist staff who have the ability to energise and inspire children with the same passion for art as has inspired them. Each child does at least one hour of art a week and they cover a range of disciplines from drawing, painting and printing to sculpture. There are two invitational drawing clubs for both the Lower and Upper School aimed at extending children who show potential, as well as an Arts and Crafts club which is open to all. In addition to this, the school invites visiting artists to come and talk to the children about their practice and to run workshops. In recent years we have had a brilliant success rate with talented children achieving Art Scholarships for their future schools.
Children’s artwork is entered into competitions, providing the opportunity to see selected artworks exhibited in some wonderful spaces, such as the Royal College of Art and Saatchi Gallery. We have close links with galleries and arrange regular trips for the children to be exposed to traditional and contemporary exhibitions. World Arts Day is held in school biannually and is a wonderful celebration of all things artistic.
Every week we commend artistic achievements of children by awarding an Art of the Week certificate in assembly. There is also an Art Box in the school newsletter with any exciting announcements about children’s artwork, upcoming exhibitions and our half termly photography competitions. Overall it is a thriving department and the children are encouraged to explore, experiment and expand their knowledge and ability through a practical experience.
Drama plays a major role in the life of Garden House School. Not only is Drama part of the weekly curriculum but the academic year is also filled with theatrical events and diverse workshops. The Drama Department celebrates the individuality of each child and encourages their unique personalities to thrive and their personal confidence to grow.
There is a strong emphasis on public speaking skills and an ability to communicate individual ideas and viewpoints to a wide audience. The non-denominational weekly Assembly is a major event, with each class being given the opportunity to choose a topic and to expand upon it. There are after school Drama Clubs open to any child who has an interest in performance. Children take English Speaking Board examinations in Middle School Two and Upper School One and are given the opportunity to take an Entry Level Acting examination through LAMDA in their final year at Garden House.
The dramatic year begins with either a Poetry Festival or World Arts Day in the autumn and a variety of exciting poets and performers are invited to visit the School and share their work through lively and interactive sessions. The children have the opportunity to write their own poems and to explore a diverse number of performance techniques whilst exploring cultures from across the globe.
Christmas brings a wealth of wonderful Church services and Carol Concerts which bring the whole School together in celebration. The Lower School present a Nativity and the Upper School boys and girls both provide a wonderful sense of festivity with their own services where there is great opportunity for public speaking and storytelling. A magical candlelit Service at The Royal Hospital Chapel concludes our Autumn Term.
The great dramatic highlight of the spring is the Shakespeare project. Each year MSII boys and girls come together to perform one of Shakespeare’s great works in a professional theatre. This project is always met with great enthusiasm by the children who relish the challenge of interpreting the language and of bringing some of the most famous characters in English literature to life.
The Summer Shows are the pinnacle of the dramatic year at Garden House. With five musical shows spanning the whole School, everyone has the opportunity to take to the stage and demonstrate all the dramatic skills they have learnt throughout the year.
The Summer Shows are performed at The Royal Court Theatre. This is a wonderful and unique experience for the children to perform on a truly world famous stage.
At Garden House School, we believe that children are musical. Children flourish in a varied and dynamic environment and therefore the wide range of musical activities available at the School helps to enrich their education. Annual performances at venues such as Cadogan Hall, Royal Hospital Chelsea Chapel, The Royal Court Theatre and Holy Trinity Church allow for high standards to be expected and achieved.
In these performances one might see one of many of our ensembles such as the string, woodwind or guitar ensemble, or one of five choirs. Our auditioned choir takes an annual overnight trip to destinations which include France, Canterbury, Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon.
This past year the Upper Girls Chamber Choir was nominated for the Music For Youth National Festival. There are many school events throughout the year which train the children in the art of rehearsing and performing to a wider audience.
A broad curriculum is offered to children in Kindergarten upwards. This combines and encompasses the musical tools required to develop their theoretical and practical understanding. Through weekly or bi-weekly music lessons each child grows in their understanding of music through singing, playing instruments, listening, movement, reading and composing music and performance. In addition, in the older years their participation increases to include weekly hymn practise and/or involvement in one or more of our five choirs.
On offer at the school is an opportunity for children to receive one to one music lessons on a variety of instruments. Currently 80% of the eligible student body receive a lesson during the week; receiving piano, string, woodwind, brass, guitar, harp, singing or drumming lessons. Each year the girls and boys perform in an Afternoon Concert and compete to perform a solo at the annual Gala Night held at Cadogan Hall in the Spring.
The boys use some football orientated fun games as part of their games lessons from Reception to improve spatial awareness and co-ordination. From Years 2-6 all boys will play in fixtures against other schools with an emphasis on skill development, understanding and working as part of a team. These fixtures are set at an appropriate level for the ability of the child, ensuring enjoyment and a sense of achievement for all. Those boys requiring further challenges take part in tournaments and festivals. All boys are encouraged to remember that the focus of our activities is having fun while taking part in sport.
Football takes place in Burton Court, the South Grounds of Royal Hospital and at Battersea Park. There are After School football clubs held in the Autumn and Spring terms.
Tag and touch rugby is introduced to the boys from Year 2 as an optional club and from year 3 as part of the Curriculum in the Spring Term. Year 3 boys play Tag rugby and Years 4-6 play a full term of Tag and contact rugby with an emphasis on teamwork, skill development and fun. Rugby is played in the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital.
The boys in Years 4-6 also go on an UK based rugby tour. The last three years they have been to Leicester, Cardiff and Bath. Receiving expert tuition from their clubs coaches and visiting their iconic grounds.
We cover a variety of athletics events in which the children compete at their summer Sports Day. These include a range of field events such as: Javelin, Cricket ball throw, Quoit throw, Rounders ball hit, Hurdles, Long Jump, Standing jump, High jump, Boccia and Target throw.
We cover all tracks events from the 80m, 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m and 800m. We give all the children the opportunity to become well practiced in the skills and techniques of all of the track and field events available to them.
Athletics Club takes place in the Summer term in Battersea Park in the Millennium Arena. Children from Junior School to Upper School II are welcome to join.
We use catching and striking games as part of the games sessions from Reception but conventional cricket is not taught until Year 2. From Year 2 the boys take part in pairs cricket matches and work on technique and understanding of cricket through a variety of fun games. From Year 4 the boys attend nets sessions at both Lord’s and move on to Incrediball and hard ball cricket.
All boys start Gymnastics in Preparatory aiming to develop their core strength, flexibility, balance and body control with the use of mats and apparatus. Gymnastics takes place in all three Terms and there are early morning Gymnastic Clubs for all abilities and ages to practise their skills and perform in group displays.
During the Autumn and Spring terms, there are a variety of events from team competitions with selected children to the annual Inter House event in which all children participate from Year 2 upwards. This takes place in Royal Hospital South Ground and Burton Court. The GHS Cross Country team competes in many races and competitions including an Interschool event hosted by Garden House in Battersea Park. We offer a Running Club which trains before School in Battersea Park once a week as well as two morning fitness sessions all of which are open to all children who wish to join. All children are encouraged to set personal goals and targets throughout the year.
At Garden House, swimming is part of the Curriculum from Preparatory all the way through to Year 6. We believe that swimming is an essential life skill and therefore our Curriculum includes water confidence, stroke development and personal survival skills.
To encourage and recognise progression, pupils can achieve both ASA and GHS Swimming Awards during school lessons. Every pupil has the opportunity to represent their House in an annual Interhouse Swimming Gala and for those children in Year 2-6 that would like to have an extra swimming lesson, a School Swimming Club is available.
A School Swimming Squad is run for pupils in Year 2-6. The squad allows children to swim in a competitive environment and prepare for regional or School swimming galas. Pupils are selected for this squad through a time trial. In recent years, Garden House have finished third in the London League grand final and now have a team that represents the boys school at the IAPS swimming championships.
Upper Boys take part in weekly tennis lessons in the summer term taken by specialist coaches. The aim is to develop their basic techniques, game knowledge and have match practice. There is also a weekly After School Tennis Club for year 3 upwards which is held in Battersea Park.
THE BOYS’ SCHOOL UNIFORM
The new GHS uniform provider is Billings & Edmonds School Wear Tailors & Outfitters. Orders can be made via the website Billings & Edmonds, via e-mail or by telephone 020 8742 0201. The shop is located at 112 Chiswick High Road, London W4 1PU. They are now stocking our uniform as Harrods have already stopped doing so.
There is also a Second Hand Uniform Shop run by Mrs Moore based at 11 Chelsea Park Gardens, SW3 6AF. To make an appointment to purchase second hand uniform, please call 020 7352 7594.
Every item including games wear and shoes must be clearly marked with NAME TAPES. Shoes can be obtained from Harrods, Peter Jones or Papouelli Shoes on Elizabeth Street. Regulation School Bags are available from the School Shop for all boys in Junior School upwards.
+ Autumn/Spring Term
Boys may wear Summer uniform for the first half of the Autumn Term (suggested quantities)
- 1 x Blue tweed jacket with velvet collar
- 1 x Blue tweed cap
- 3 x Blue and white checked (long-sleeved) viyella shirt (Prep - MSI)
- 2 x Grey (long-sleeved) round-necked pullover (Prep - MSI)
- 3 x Grey cord bermuda shorts with turn ups (Prep - MSI)
- 3 x Grey 3/4 length socks
- 1 x Navy blue shoes with buckle fastening (Start Rite/Clarks)
- 1 x Grey 'snake buckle' belt
- 1 x Grey GHS scarf (available at School Office) (optional)
Boys in MSII upwards wear the above uniform with the following variations:
- 2 x Blue and white checked viyella (long-sleeved) shirt with pointed collar
- 1 x Grey school tie
- 3 x Grey cord long trousers
+ Summer Term Uniform
- 1 x Blue tweed jacket with velvet collar (as winter term) (No cap for this term)
- 1 x Grey cord Bermuda shorts (as winter term)
- 3 x Blue and white checked Viyella short-sleeved shirt (Prep - MSI)
- 3 x Grey ankle socks
- 1 x Navy blue shoes - no laces unless he is able to tie them
- 2 x Grey 'tank-top' v-neck sleeveless pullover
- 1 x Grey 'snake buckle' belt
Boys in MSII upwards wear the above uniform with the following variations:
- 2 x Blue and white checked viyella (long-sleeved) shirt with pointed collar
- 1 x Grey school tie
- 3 x Grey cord long trousers
+ Art & Dance Uniform
DANCE UNIFORM (Preparatory, Transition & Junior School only)
- Black ballet shoes - Supplied by Chelsea Bellet; purchases can be made directly via www.chelseaballet.com. Once into the site please select Garden House School
- Red Smock - Preparatory & Kindergarden Only
+ Games & Swimming Uniform
Games clothes are required for all children from preparatory onwards. They should be kept in a clearly named gym bag.
- Navy shorts
- White Polo Shirt with GHS badge
- Light blue rugby shirt with GHS badge - Junior School upwards
- Navy Garden House hooded sweatshirt
- Navy tracksuit trousers
- Baselayer (only available from PlayerLayer)
- Regulation navy blue waterproof jacket with logo
- Navy sports socks with pale blue tops (JS upwards)
- Trainers (predominantly white; no laces unless he is able to tie them)
- Shin pads - required for Junior School upwards
- Football boots with rubber studs - required for Junior School upwards (no laces unless he is able to tie them)
- Black slip-on shoes
- Regulation navy blue baseball hat with logo - Prep only (optional)
- Regulation navy blue fleece hat with badge (optional)
- Navy baseball cap with GHS logo
- Cricket whites and Garden House Cricket jumper (Summer Term - Middle School II upwards only) - supplied by the school
- 1 x Regulation speedo swimming trunks
- 1 x Towel (own)
- Goggles (optional but recommended)
- Transition upwards should wear a house colour swimming cap: Poppy: Red, Holly: Green, Daffodil: Yellow, Bluebell: Blue