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An education at Westminster Cathedral Choir School

In Reception, boys are taught in line with the EYFS areas of learning and development. They also learn about ancient civilisations.
• Communication and language
• Physical development
• Personal, social and emotional development
• Literacy
• Mathematics
• Understanding the world
• Expressive arts and design

Years 1 to 8

Our modern ‘liberal arts’ education, from Years 1 to 8, is based upon the ‘three C’s’: curriculum, canon, and character.

The curriculum – the collection of subjects and their topics – at WCCS is structured to integrate knowledge so that it may be experienced as a harmony rather than discordant, competing specialisms. Since boys learn through making connections, topics are planned to complement other curriculum areas. A boy in Year 5 may be studying the age of exploration in History, sixteenth-century naval poems in English, navigation in Maths, map skills in Geography and making a medievalist map in Art.

Canon: Every boy at WCCS should achieve a high level of cultural literacy for his age. At a level accessible to each year group the boys encounter ‘the best that has been known and said’. In English, boys also learn to memorise great poems from Hilaire Belloc to Shakespeare, Tennyson, Hopkins and Keats, among many others; in Science, they learn about the great scientists and inventors. We take advantage of our location in central London to visit as many sites of interest as possible.

Character: What we learn becomes part of us and changes who we are. Boys at WCCS are encouraged to recognise what is beautiful, true and good, and to see the relations between these three qualities in what they study and the world around them. To do this boys are taught how to think, based on the trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric. As one medieval writer put it: ‘grammar is the knowledge of how to speak without error; logic is clear-sighted argument which separates the true from the false; rhetoric is the discipline of persuading to every suitable thing’. These are true today and guide the teaching at WCCS.

In Reception, boys are taught in line with the EYFS areas of learning and development, with literacy and mathematics at its heart. You can view the weekly timetable for Reception here. You can download the annual curriculum for Reception here.

Years 1 to 8
Each year takes a historical period as its centre and this guides subjects in their topics. Over the course of their time at the School boys go three times through the cycle of human civilisation, and so gain an appreciation of the achievements of the past as well as the present.

Curriculum topics
Reception: the Ancient Year, click here
Year 1: the Medieval Year, click here
Year 3: the Ancient Year, click here
Year 4: the Medieval Year, click here
Year 5: the Modern Year, click here
Year 6: the Ancient Year, click here
Year 7: the Medieval Year, click here
Year 8: the Modern Year, click here

Academic Structure

Boys are taught phonics, literacy, reading, maths, history, geography, science, PD, RS, computing, art, DT by a specialist teacher, supported by a teaching assistant. (Music and games are taught by specialist teachers.)

Years 1 – 3
All boys are taught the following subjects.  (Music, games and computing are taught by subject specialists.)
Computing / reasoning
Religious Studies

Years 3, 4 and 5
All boys are taught the following subjects, largely by specialist teachers:
ICT / verbal & non-verbal reasoning
Religious Studies
Boys in Reception are set reading for prep; boys in Year 1 reading, spelling and maths.  Prep should take about 20 minutes a night.

Preps for boys in Years 3-5 should take about 30 minutes a night, for boys in Years 6-8, about 40 minutes.  Preps are recorded in each boy's prep diary. Parents of a day boy must sign their son's prep diary each night after completion of his prep.

Marking and Assessment
Academic staff are required to mark all work within one week of its collection.

In Reception and Year 1 reports for maths and English are issued at the end of the Michaelmas and Lent terms, and full subject reports at the end of the Trinity term.

In Years 3-8 interim reports are issued each half-term containing effort and attainment grades in all subjects. Full subject reports are issued at the end of each term.

Parents’ meetings
Parents’ meetings for boys in all Year Groups are held after School on weekday evenings staggered throughout the year.

Advice on senior schools
You can speak to the Head Master about senior schools on the following slots:
Tuesday 4.15 pm – 6.00 pm
Thursday 5.00 pm – 6.15 pm
Need more information?
Please contact the Deputy Head (Academic),
Mr Nicholas Morrell.


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