Curriculum Guide: The Lower School


The Lower School

The first three years in the Senior School, years 7 to 9, which cover the age range of 11-14 years, are known as the Lower School.  Pupils in these years come under the care of a Year Tutor who monitors their progress in all spheres of school life, and parents should not hesitate to contact the Year Tutor if they have any problems.

We aim to make the transition from life in the Junior School as smooth as possible, by inviting pupils from Year 6 into the Senior School for one day during the summer term, when they can receive a taste of the different style of work and expectations in this part of the school. Pupils’ records, and a progress report from their class teachers, are transferred by the start of the school year and are available to Year 7 teachers. Pupils coming from other schools must provide the school with a copy of their latest school report and will be required to sit an aptitude test; non-native speakers will also be required to sit an English test.

Throughout the whole of the Senior School special emphasis is placed on pastoral care. Every pupil is assigned to a form teacher who is responsible for supervising and counselling their form group throughout the academic year. Our aim for pupils in the Lower School is to give them as wide and enjoyable an educational experience as possible, both inside and outside the classroom, and prepare them for the greater rigours of the Middle School years.

All children are encouraged to take part in a variety of out-of-class activities in order to develop their particular talents and interests in full.  Lower School pupils make important contributions in Drama and Dance (plays or musicals, performances of Greek dancing), Forensics (debate and public speaking), Music (the orchestra and choir) as well as Sport.  These activities take place under staff supervision at lunchtime and after school from 3.45 – 5.00 pm.  A special late bus leaves at 5.00 pm to take participants home.


Campion takes in children of widely different backgrounds and abilities.  The curriculum in the core subjects – English, Mathematics and Science – is in line with the English National Curriculum, though much of what we teach also reflects our character as an international school. The final year of the Lower School also gives pupils their first taste of public examinations. Towards the end of the school year we use the Checkpoint tests of the Cambridge Assessments International Examining Board (CAIE) in English.  The Checkpoint tests serve as an objective indicator of pupils’ level of achievement in this subject, and are followed up by reports from CAIE on the attainment of individual pupils, of the entire teaching group, and of their performance in comparison with all other pupils (worldwide) who have taken the tests.

By the time pupils reach Year 10 they should have acquired sufficient knowledge of their own capacities and interests to make an informed and sensible choice of examination courses. At the end of Year 9, all pupils have explained to them the options available in the curriculum of the Middle School (years 10 and 11), and how to set about making their choices of GCSE optional subjects. Parents and children are then invited to attend a special Options Meeting, where they can seek advice before making their choices.

The teaching of all classes is in English (apart from some language lessons), though children who arrive at Campion from abroad with little or no will receive EAL support as necessary, usually in place of a second foreign language. Children with learning difficulties are given individual help by a specialised teacher, which may involve their being removed from some lessons.


Regular homework should be expected in all subjects, except P.E. It is very important that parents make sure their children settle down regularly every evening to do their work, and they are requested to check and sign every week the pupil planner (homework diary) kept by all Lower School pupils.

The Year Tutor will send out to parents a schedule of homework at the beginning of each year.  Parents should enquire immediately if they think their child is not being set homework or is not doing it.

In addition, pupils are expected to read widely and use the school Library extensively: all pupils are given guidance on how to do this. Parents can help their children’s progress a great deal by helping them to establish the habit of reading for pleasure.

Course schedule

The following table sets out the courses available and the number of periods per week a pupil will spend on each subject.

SubjectYear 7
Year 8
Year 9
Foreign Languages2 languages:
Modern Greek 4
Arabic 4
Extra English
Learning Support
2 languages:
Modern Greek 4
Arabic 4
Extra English
Learning Support
2 languages:
Modern Greek 4
Arabic 4
Extra English
Learning Support
Options 2+2=4

* In Year 9, pupils must choose two out of the four creative subjects on offer: Art, Design, Music, Drama or German. For those opting to take German, it will be taught as one of their creative options and instead of two (out of four) PE lessons.

Course Descriptions


There is an emphasis on reading for understanding and for pleasure in the Lower School, and a wide variety of materials and teaching methods is used to stimulate creative writing and fluent reading of different genres of non-fiction, contemporary fiction and children’s classics. Speaking and listening skills are developed through debates, role play and other activities. Grammar, punctuation, IT and summary writing skills are also targeted. Good oral and written communication skills are essential for a pupil’s full participation and achievement in all other curriculum areas.

Towards the end of the course, all pupils are externally assessed using the Cambridge Checkpoint. Cambridge Checkpoint is a diagnostic test that provides feedback on pupils’ strengths and weaknesses and is recognised internationally.


The aim of the department is to give all children within the school the opportunity to develop confidence in using mathematical techniques and concepts to the best of their ability.

In the Lower School, the department teaches a blend of topics including work on: number and algebra up to handling quadratic equations; data handling including the key ideas in probability and summary statistics; handling shape and space including trigonometry; traditional Euclidean ideas in geometry; and more modern transformational geometry. All of this work is in accord with the present UK curriculum framework for mathematics. Particular emphasis is placed on the practice of the required basic techniques which are tested in the two Cambridge Checkpoint Mathematics examinations sat towards the end of Year 9, which test pupils’ ability to do mathematics with and without the use of a calculator.  

Pupils are taught to use scientific calculators sensibly and carefully. Exploratory work using interactive geometry software, graphical software and spreadsheet software also forms an integral part of the Lower School course. In addition, work on a variety of project assignments which are set in years 7, 8 and 9 gives pupils the opportunity to work in groups and to use in meaningful contexts this software and the mathematics that they have learnt.

Finally, the department aims to encourage excellence in performance and promotes competition in the subject through participation in the House Mathematics Quiz, the World Maths Day Mathletics competition, Kangaroo Hellas Maths and the UK Junior and Intermediate Mathematical Challenge competitions.


In the Lower School all pupils follow the recently updated Cambridge Secondary I syllabus. This is both an exciting introduction to science and an ideal preparation for the Cambridge IGCSE courses.

The course is organized under the following themes:

Scientific EnquiryBiologyChemistryPhysics

Ideas and evidence

Plan investigative work

Obtain and present evidence

Consider evidence and approach


Cells and organisms

Humans as organisms

Living things in their environment

Variation and classification

States of matter

Material properties

Material changes

The earth

Forces and motion

Light and sound

Electricity and magnetism


Years 7 and 8

In years 7 and 8, the course aims to give pupils a lasting understanding of what it means to approach a problem scientifically, and they learn about what scientists are doing and can do. In this, practical laboratory work plays a central role. Pupils approach their study of science through experiments designed to awaken the spirit of investigation, and are given opportunities to observe and explore so that they develop disciplined, imaginative thinking, and are made fully conscious of the important part science plays in modern life.

Year 9

At this level, all pupils follow the three separate sciences: Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. Each course builds on the previous two years, and prepares pupils with the appropriate level of knowledge to follow any of the sciences at IGCSE level in the Middle School. The courses provide a wide-ranging introduction to the separate sciences and are interesting, relevant, and up to date. Wherever possible, principles are related to examples from everyday life and industrial and technological applications are considered. As well as being a useful introduction to more detailed studies, these courses will help pupils gain a better understanding of the world in which they live.


In Years 7 – 9 all pupils, apart from those attending Learning Support or those who have special English as an additional language (EAL) needs, have the choice between following a course in French or in Spanish. No prior knowledge of the foreign language studied is required in Year 7 but children beginning in Campion in an older year group are expected to have the relevant background. Arabic is also offered as a language option, which is normally an option of interest to children with roots in an Arabic-speaking country. Teaching groups are mixed ability.

In Year 9, students have the additional option of studying German. Students have 4 lessons a week, for two of these students will take German instead of PE and the other two instead of their Creative options. This leaves them with 4 German lessons, 2 PE lessons and 2 lessons of another creative choice. Pupils will start a 3 year course (Y9-11) that will take them to IGCSE exams.

As with German, the curriculum in the Lower School feeds into the IGCSE programme. Therefore, lessons practise the four skills of Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing, which are the blocks upon which language learning rests. Topics investigated include all aspects of life which are of interest to children in their early teens: friends and family, pets, the place we live in, hobbies, the media, travel, education, etc. Special attention is given to learning about the target cultures and countries. Both the French and the Spanish departments aim to perform an assembly each year celebrating the respective cultures. In addition, every effort is made to organise a residential trip each year to Spain (open to pupils from Year 9 and up) and to France (open to pupils from Year 10 and up).

Assessment of all four skills is carried out at regular periods throughout the year as each unit is completed. End-of-year assessment, however, concentrates on reading and writing only and as such deals with grammar and vocabulary acquisition and manipulation, plus the ability to understand language in new situations. In Year 9, oral assessment is added to the final examination in preparation for IGCSE.


Courses in the Lower School teach Greek to non-native speakers as a second language; Greek speakers are offered an advanced class to develop more sophisticated skills of understanding, speaking and writing the language.

For non-native speakers, emphasis is placed on oral work whereby pupils can practise what they learn in their life outside the school. Once they have acquired a certain amount of confidence in expressing themselves, they move on to written as well as oral work. Grammar, structure of sentences, easy essays, summaries, comprehension as well as reading of easy textbooks are some of the main tasks that the pupils are given.

The advanced group is designed for the fluent Greek speaker. Particular emphasis is given to the knowledge and study of Modern Greek grammatical structure and literature, to be in line with the standards of the Greek high school system.

Fluent Greek speakers in Year 9 have the opportunity to sit in May each year exams in Modern Greek to obtain a Certificate of Attainment. The examinations are run by the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki and are recognised by the Greek Ministry of Education. They are available in four levels of increasing difficulty, and they involve written, listening and spoken components. These examinations are offered to pupils in years 9 (level Β2) and 10 (level Γ1) on a separate basis to the IGCSE examination, which is offered in Year 11.


The History programme in the Lower School follows a broadly chronological approach and introduces pupils to key historical events such as conflict and change, the role of the individual in changing the course of history, and the impact of major world religions on history. Year 7 focuses on Mediaeval England, from the Norman conquest of England to the challenges faced by medieval kings as well as the importance of religion in the Middle Ages. Year 8 studies the reigns of the Tudor monarchs, the causes of the French Revolution and why Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France. In Year 9 pupils study 20th century topics focusing on the issues of rights and protest movements. Students look at the treatment of minority groups in Nazi Germany and the Shoah, the civil rights movement in the USA, and the issue of gender equality and women’s rights.

Throughout the programme the emphasis is on stimulating an interest in history, as well as the development of historical insight and an understanding of the key causes and consequences of historical events. Pupils are introduced to a wide range of historical sources which they are encouraged to examine in a critical manner. The programme is intended to foster an enjoyment of history, encourage the ability to debate issues of historical importance and present arguments in a coherent manner, in order to develop the skills necessary for a successful progression to the IGCSE.


Throughout years 7, 8 and 9 foundations are laid for the IGCSE.  Texts are appropriately selected from those used in National Curriculum courses in the UK, but other sources related to international studies and the Greek environment are regularly used. In each year, pupils are directed towards an appreciation of their environment as a learning resource, and undertake fieldwork, either locally or further afield, to encourage this.

Year 7 emphasises map work and landforms, together with simple meteorology. Cross-curricular skills are developed with science in these areas. The course concludes with local fieldwork.

Year 8 moves on to global physical regions. Pupils are encouraged to develop a sense of process following environmental themes such as deforestation and desertification. Project work encourages pupils to use computer databases and to organise and present reports. Case studies concentrate on developing countries. The course concludes with local fieldwork.

In Year 9, pupils are introduced to the balance between physical and socioeconomic geography as a preparation for IGCSE. Cross-curricular skills are developed with chemistry and economics in these areas. Fieldwork is based on physical themes and is incorporated into the Year 9 excursion to a region of Greece.


In years 7 and 8, pupils are introduced to the skills and discipline of the performing arts, both musical and theatrical. They will develop the ability to communicate meaning using voice and movement, and learn how best to work together with their fellow performers.

The Year 9 syllabus serves as a transition to the IGCSE course in years 10 and 11. It introduces work on dramatic texts and other stimulus material from different cultures, while retaining an emphasis on performance.


In the Lower School, the aim of art education is to introduce the elements of art and design and encourage pupils to use them to develop their ability to observe.  Drawing from observation helps pupils to record what they see with sensitivity and accuracy and to improve their colour sense.

They will make use of different media, colour and the application of various techniques to explore ideas and feelings which may have originated from direct observation or from other sources that inspire the imagination, such as themes, literary texts, or museum visits. This facilitates the creation and development of interpretative work, which, along with the ability to draw from observation, adequately prepares pupils for the IGCSE Art course.

Pupils learn to respond to contemporary and historical art and design, seeing their work in relation to that of others, and within a context of their own environment and culture.

Pupils in Year 9 can begin the study of Design as one of their creative options.  They will concentrate on ‘design and make’ projects, incorporating graphic skills, presentation, simple technical drawing and measuring, model making and the design process itself.  They will also be introduced to the impact design has on industry and the market.


Music lessons in the Lower School seek to develop the musical ability of each person. Emphasis is therefore placed on the pupil’s direct manipulation of musical material through both composing and performing (instrumental and vocal), and, throughout, active listening.  This leads naturally on to the IGCSE course.

In addition to normal classroom teaching we offer lessons to those interested in developing their instrumental playing, and extra-curricular activities such as choir, orchestra and instrumental groups.

PSHE – Personal, Social, Health Education

All pupils in the Lower School receive one PSHE lesson per week. It is a subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. A growing body of research shows that pupils who are emotionally healthy do better at school. PSHE education helps children and young people to achieve their potential by supporting their wellbeing and tackling issues that can affect their ability to learn, such as anxiety and unhealthy relationships. PSHE education also helps pupils to develop skills and aptitudes – like teamwork, communication, and resilience – that are crucial to navigating the challenges and opportunities of school and the modern world.

E-safety is an integral part of the PSHE curriculum and the impact of ICT on society is explored through issues of chat room safety, social networking, cyberbullying, copyright protection and plagiarism.


The aim of the physical education programme is to enable all pupils to have the opportunity to benefit from a broad-based and balanced programme of activities.  In the Lower School the emphasis of the PE curriculum is threefold:  pupils are encouraged to develop and apply skills individually and as team members; the programme promotes a positive attitude towards personal health, hygiene and fitness through increased knowledge and understanding; and finally, it encourages pupils to work cooperatively and develop interpersonal and communication skills.

Activities covered include football, basketball, volleyball, rugby, athletics (track and field), tennis, table tennis, handball, field hockey, cross-country, swimming, softball and health-related fitness.  The curriculum is also supplemented by an extensive lunchtime and after-school programme which is available to all pupils. It is essential that all pupils have full and correct kit.

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