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Years 7&8 "The Twyford Charter"
At Twyford we always believe that Years 7&8 are the most wonderful and valuable time of the child’s Prep School journey. We are entirely confident that our children here would wholeheartedly agree. Just ask them! It is, of course, a time of growth, discovery and preparation. Here, we embrace and reflect back each child’s excitement and happiness, which is so vital to their burgeoning confidence in these years of rapid change. At every point of every day we are looking for ways to develop our children; building character, broadening horizons, stretching academically.
This philosophy has been the foundation of our school for years. The Twyford Charter captures and reinforces this philosophy, offering new possibilities, eager anticipation and a growing empowerment to all. The Charter is expressly designed to shape future leaders, flexible thinkers (so important in today’s world) and, yes, dreamers. It is a bespoke road map for Years 7&8, created to bridge the gap with sensitivity between the prep school wonders and the senior school horizons. It is the ultimate preparation for the journey ahead.
Parents who come to see us have often been to see other schools too – sometimes schools that go to Year 8 and sometimes schools that stop at Year 6. At Twyford, we believe that there is a significant difference in physical and emotional maturity between an 11 year old and a 13 year old, which obviously can have an influence on their readiness for the move up to senior school.
There are many good schools in this part of the country, but Twyford offers the top flight version in all the key areas that a young child needs for their development. Every aspect of a young girl’s or boy’s education and preparation for life is here, in one place. We have here the complete package. Crucially, with that complete package comes a feeling of safety and security, for a child and for the parents.
This feeling of safety is only possible because each child is known, recognised and valued individually by all of us. This is of great importance at the ages of 11, 12, 13 years – a time of rapid development, inside and outside the classroom – expanding emotional intelligence, growing independence, taking responsibility, not always needing to be told what to do and how to do it, the taking of initiative.
We see huge change between Years 6 and 8, and what might seem like a good idea at Year 6 may not be so at Year 8. You could well hear arguments in favour of moving your child to senior school after Year 6 for reasons such as guaranteeing a place which could become more difficult to gain at Year 9 or establishing a friendship group early.
We recognise that parents will have wrestled with these questions and for some families a move at Year 6 is the right thing to do, but we say to all parents that there is real and lasting merit, and joy, in allowing your child to stay with us, or join us, for Years 7 & 8. The children who join our School at Year 7 quickly fit in, make friends and are genuinely excited by all the opportunities for learning and for fun that these two years bring. These vital years should be spent in an environment of emotional and developmental security, in the purposeful preparation for the next phase of learning.
There is, of course, no universal right answer. However, that is why we suggest pausing and, if you wish, coming to have a totally open conversation with the Headmaster or one of the Leadership Team about the best steps to take for your child after Year 6.
This is important, because at Twyford, we too focus keenly on what happens in Years 7&8 and have come, over time, to see it as more than simply a continuation of the previous school years. Years 7 & 8 are transition, preparation and orientation years, where the path to readiness for senior school is charted. We call these two years our Charter. The Twyford Charter. It is a more overt statement of the promise we make in the preparation of our children for senior school.
The key areas of focus for us in our Charter are:
The pre-testing of Year 6 is mostly now complete. The academic outlook becomes on the one hand broader with increased subject choice and on the other hand places more emphasis on the exploration of the topic – in gentle preparation for the more intellectual teaching and learning that the child will encounter at senior school. This also boosts performance at interview and increases considerably the chances of a scholarship. Also to note, those Twyford children who did not leave after Year 6 but waited until Year 9 have been offered a place at their chosen school.
Being Good At More
By Year 6 all of our children are very talented at something, be it a subject, a sport, an instrument, a hobby. Whatever that something is, parents know that once a child excels at one thing, they quickly become skilful at something else and then something else again if they are in the right, the familiar, environment. An important part of our Charter is to create for each child a path that ensures that by the time they go to senior school they are multi-talented and multi-faceted. This helps enormously with finding their feet at senior school.
In the run up to pre-testing for senior school there is of course a strong focus on key academic subjects. Also at Twyford, sport has always played a big part. This will not change. However, in Years 7&8 we widen the child’s exposure to different stimuli, by increasing our focus on music, drama and performing arts as well as a large number of clubs and societies, designed to spark the imagination of a young mind. We want to send our children off to senior school with as broad as possible a range of interests so that they can, upon arrival, make the most of the wonderful opportunities that will be available to them. It is precisely this broad horizon of interests that prompts the all-important widening friendship base at senior school.
Boarding and Broadening
Years 7&8 are an opportunity for extended boarding for anything between one night to weekly. The value of this to the child (whether or not they are going on to a boarding school) is immense – the beginnings of independence, of taking responsibility for ordering one’s own life, for being at home in an environment that is not home. All this is a valuable lesson in gradual maturity, in becoming able to understand what is expected of you and of being comfortable in your own skin.
Ask any child here in Years 7&8 what they love about it – we guarantee that one of the first things they say will be ‘The Residentials’. Whatever these residentials are, from camping in the wild in Wales to a Chateau in Normandy and, as part of the Year 8 leavers programme, an outward bound activities week in Italy, the excitement of going to new places and doing new things together, as a group of friends is, quite simply, irreplaceable.
And here we come to possibly the most important factor of all in our Year 7&8 Charter – that it is magical. Your child will have experiences here almost impossible to be had elsewhere. Friendships are strengthened to the point that they could well last a lifetime. The children learn to step out of their comfort zone in a place of physical and emotional security.
Happiness and excitement is our hallmark, which is so crucial in these years of rapid change – just ask the children and see what they have to say!
After Year 8 your child will go out into the wider world with confidence, optimism, an ambition to do well and a belief in themselves. That is what these two years has given them.
Consider our Year 7&8 Charter. Come and talk to us about what you can expect, not generally, but specifically for your child.
Please join us for our Year 7&8 Discovery Event on Friday, March 15th from 4.30pm.
Families will be given a tour of the Prep School, the Year 7&8 areas – Saxon Court and School House – and Orchard Close, our boarding house. Following this there will be an opportunity to meet the Headmaster, Andrew Harvey, and members of our Senior Leadership Team over drinks and nibbles.
Children will then join our Year 6, 7&8 boarders for supper and spend the evening having a taste of life in the boarding house! There will be the option for a sleepover if your child would like to fully experience the excitement of a Twyford boarding night. The event rolls over into the next morning with an opportunity to participate in our Saturday Activities Programme, whether you have stayed over with the boarders or stayed locally.
Pick up time will be 12.30pm. Families are welcome to stay and watch afternoon matches and enjoy our delicious match teas.
This bespoke event will be tailored to you and your child’s individual needs. We look forward to hearing from you and are very happy to help with travel and accommodation arrangements or any other questions you may have.
To register your interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org
"Twyford has helped me try new things and I am so grateful for that. " Year 7 pupil
"I have enjoyed every step of my journey at Twyford, non more so than now in Year 8." Year 8 pupil