The Upper School
Year 10 to 11 (age 14 to 16)
Secondary education, or ‘Upper School’, begins at the end of Class Eight (year nine) when the children leave their Lower School Class Teacher. This new phase is one in which academic challenges and the need to think and work independently stand central.
Questions, discussion, criticism
At the Steiner Academy Exeter we opened in 2013 with Reception and Years 1, 2, 3 and 7 (Class 1, 2 and 6). Our 2013 Year 7 (Class 6) intake is therefore the pioneer cohort: the first students in Exeter to experience the amazing Steiner Upper School curriculum. Questions, discussion, criticism – all the activities of the enquiring mind – grow in strength. At this stage the curriculum aims to foster clear independent thinking. Pupils are encouraged to explore ideas that can lead them to find their own ideals, passions and interests. Wherever possible the pupils are taught by experts and specialist teachers. The task of all the teachers in this phase is to enable the unfolding of the inner being and individuality of the young person into an independent, capable and responsible adult.
The Steiner Academy Exeter will offer the full Steiner curriculum alongside and integrated with our GCSE programme. Students will build up an extensive Upper School Portfolio showing evidence of their learning and achievement.
8 GCSE subjects will be offered, including the 5 EBacc subjects, comprising English Language and Literature, Maths, Science, French and History or Geography. Of the above, English and (Additional) science are double weighted. Alongside Art and Design, this gives a total of 8.
For students for whom History/Geography and Additional Science are not accessible the WJEC Level 3 Extended Project (equivalent to an AS level 50 UCAS points) will be offered.
The priority is to ensure that all possible progression routes remain open to our pupils at 16+, whilst integrating course work and curriculum content with our own Steiner Waldorf curriculum.
Experience shows that Steiner pupils consistently produce examination results well above the national average and pupils progress to a wide range of universities and other tertiary education programmes. Pupils leave school as well-rounded and sociable individuals and with a broad range of skills and qualities that are valued by employers and admissions tutors at universities and colleges.
The Upper School curriculum
The breadth of the curriculum is a consistent feature: there is no premature specialisation, although opportunities will certainly be provided for students to build on their strengths and interests. All pupils continue with general subject lessons, including languages, arts and crafts, religious studies, sports, drama and music.
The Main Lessons can best be understood in the wider context that distinguishes each year:
In Class 9, (Year 10) - the experience of polarities
The opposition of heat and cold in physics; in chemistry, the expansion and contraction of gases; in history, the conflicts and revolutions of recent history and the ways in which they have impacted on the modern age; in geography, the collision of plate tectonics and the upheavals of geomorphology; in literature, the extremes of comedy and tragedy.
In Class 10, (Year 11) - reconciling the polarities
Acids and bases in chemistry, the principles of mechanics in physics, the self-regulating processes of weather patterns in earth science, the play of masculine and feminine influences in embryology, and the intimate relationship of good and evil, hero and villain in world literature. Class 10 students are called upon to exercise powers of comparison, weighing in the balance contrary phenomena to determine their value and significance.
Throughout these years, class trips - frequently overseas - continue to play an important part in enriching the curriculum and the students’ experience. Drama and musical productions contribute in the same way and are all-inclusive: every student has a role in the class play, just as every student can have a role to play in a future of their generation’s making.