Academic Curriculum

A high-quality educational experience to enable pupils to achieve their best

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An exceptionally high-quality environment where your daughter will flourish

The first few years of your daughter’s school experience will make a considerable impact on her future. They are crucial for opening her mind to learning, setting the standard for the years to come.

At this stage in their education, children are very impressionable and so their individual needs must be met in order to prevent any mental barriers from forming.

At Heatherton we make sure that your daughter is given the individual attention she needs and deserves. In this exceptionally high-quality educational environment your daughter will be able to flourish.

This child-centred approach to education at Heatherton ensures that your daughter will develop a natural curiosity, sense of adventure and a motivation for learning.

At Heatherton we are focused on nurturing our pupils to become remarkable people in the future.

Academic Results

Heatherton has an enviable record of academic success and most girls move on to their preferred choice of senior school each year.

We accurately predict a girl’s suitability for a wide range of senior schools, including local independent schools and grammar schools, where our average Transfer Test (11+) pass rate over the past 10 years has been approximately double that of the county average – at over 60%, with the pass rate for 2021 being even higher, at 77%.

At Heatherton, we believe in tracking our pupils from an early age and we use Cognitive Ability Tests, amongst others, to test our students. These tests are effective in providing additional insights in your daughter’s learning, enabling us to understand how we can better help them to learn. With this information we can provide your daughter with the teaching environment and methods that most meet her individual needs.

As we track the girls’ progress from a young age, we are able to predict with a high degree of accuracy if we feel a pupil will pass the Transfer Test (11+).

In Year 5, our parents meet with the Deputy Head, who is on hand to give advice regarding future schools and will advise you regarding the senior schools that we feel that your daughter is suited to.

A Learning-Powered school

At Heatherton we offer our students the opportunity to study “Building Learning Power” BLP.

BLP helps to create a classroom environment that will enable your daughter to become a independent, lifelong learner, facing any future difficulty with ease.

At Heatherton we can see the tangible benefits of BLP on a daily basis. Our students:

  • Use active listening and respond with empathy and compassion
  • Understand the different roles within a team and learn how to resolve conflict
  • Understand the importance of planning ahead and reviewing progress regularly
  • Are able to see things with a different perspective, spotting patterns and identifying the bigger picture as well as the fine detail
  • Can explain how different topics and subjects can link to each other
  • Develop resilience by learning how to implement strategies so that they can view any failure as a valuable learning opportunity
  • Learn how to ask probing and insightful questions to mature their understanding and encourage innovative thinking

BLP also provides the ability for your daughter to take control of her own learning.

If you would like to know more about BLP, talk to our students when you visit our School. We believe they are our best example of the benefits of Building Learning Power.


Why do we offer Building Learning Power?

Estimates now suggest that two-thirds of current school pupils will end up working in roles that don’t yet exist. Teenagers today are expected to have had between 10-15 different jobs by the time they are 40.

Where focus exists concurrently, progress will be made. In addition, establishing the concept of ‘learnable intelligence’ will stimulate independent learning, which in turn will allow pupils to develop their resilience and flexibility when confronted with difficulty.

We believe these core skills will benefit our students as they move through the school and beyond, onto university or an apprenticeship then into the workplace.

Our chosen BLP dispositions

We have chosen dispositions which, between them, represent four areas of development:


Our chosen dispositions are:

Persevere Explore
Notice Plan
Question Review
Link Collaborate
Reason Listen

Each disposition is then further subdivided to provide our teachers with opportunities to provide targeted interventions to help each pupil develop their ability to become reflective, independent and interdependent learners.


Academic Enrichment

At Heatherton, our pupils’ education is not just about achieving academic excellence. We celebrate childhood and inspire our pupils to foster a real love for learning that will last throughout their lives.

Our additional Enrichment Curriculum for pupils from Reception to Year 6 takes place every Friday afternoon.

The girls are offered the opportunity to complement and expand their traditional curriculum knowledge with diverse and engaging topics in mixed year groups, including:

  • Forest School
  • Mindfulness
  • Team-building
  • Photography
  • Historical cooking

Early Years Department – Nursery and Reception

The Independent Schools Inspectorate cite Heatherton’s EYFS as an example of the very best practice. Heatherton was recognised by the Inspectors for its “outstanding quality of provision” in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Heatherton’s “calm, purposeful environment” and “host of stimulating learning opportunities” were just some of the features highlighted by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

At Heatherton, we understand that early school experiences will shape your child’s attitude to learning for the rest of their life.

Children at our Heatherton Nursery learn through purposeful play, exploration and investigation. This is facilitated by our carefully planned indoor and outdoor learning environments overseen by caring, supportive and highly experienced staff.

We believe it is important to us to work closely with you, so that we can learn about your child’s interests and previous experiences. This enables us to create new learning opportunities to ensure that she will have fun and enjoy challenges and successes whilst making real progress.

In line with best practice, we plan experiences that support learning and development across seven areas of the curriculum.

Of these, three prime areas form the essential foundation:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

The remaining four areas of learning provide children with a context in which to take their learning forward, namely:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

At Heatherton we also teach the children how to become learners through:

  • Playing and exploring – teaching our students to become more adventurous
  • Active learning – so that our students become motivated to learn
  • Creative and critical thinking – encouraging our students to be innovative

By the time girls enter our Reception Class, teaching takes account of their growing independence, knowledge and skills while also recognising that they still need to investigate, explore and have fun, both indoors and outside.

Specialist teaching is continued for Music and Modern Foreign Languages and also introduced for PE. As the year progresses, the girls take a more active role in whole school activities.

Learning Support

Maintaining a positive learning environment for every pupil 

As a parent, it is only natural that you want the very best for your child. At Heatherton, we are committed to ensuring that every one of our pupils reaches their full potential.

At times, some children need additional support to enable them to experience the full curriculum. Students may be bright and hard-working, but they may need certain support and provision to succeed. At Heatherton, our students are at a young and impressionable age and this is a crucial time to prevent any lack of self-confidence in their own ability.

When a child is identified as needing additional support, a member of staff will discuss this with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). Support may be given individually or in a small group by the teacher or teaching assistant. This encourages student engagement, motivation and retention, whatever challenges they face.

Learning support lessons are arranged on a one-to-one basis and may be subject to additional charges.

At Heatherton we also work tirelessly to stimulate, stretch and challenge every pupil at our School. Stretch and challenge activities are included in all subject schemes of work and provision is made for all students with particular abilities or talents. In addition, girls from Year 3 to Year 6 are invited to join a weekly challenge club.

For those Heatherton pupils with special talents in Sport, Drama, Art or Music, the provision is varied and extensive. Peripatetic Music and LAMDA lessons are arranged throughout the School day, and Sports groups are formed by ability.

For those with particularly strong academic ability, the girls are also offered chances to compete in events such as Maths Challenges, French Verse Speaking Competitions and Thinking Skills Days.

Heatherton pupils are successful because of their highly positive and motivated attitude to learning. Our exemplary pastoral care means your child will feel happy, secure and well cared for.

We understand that early experiences provide the base for the brain’s organisational development and functioning throughout a pupil’s life and this has an impact on their learning skills as well as their future emotional and social skills.

The education the girls receive at Heatherton encourages them to be ambitious yet compassionate, nurturing them to develop into remarkable people.