What Does a Wellington Education Look Like in Key Stage 2?

Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) follows the English National Curriculum as well as the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). As always, Key Stage 2 is deeply centered around the Wellington Values and Identities and the philosophy of providing an individualised learning journey that encourages all Wellingtonians to fulfil their potential. Our main goal is to generate a love of learning that will set up our young boys and girls for success both in this formative stage of their development and beyond. This is achieved through the highly effective combination of traditional, formal teaching being delivered through imaginative and creative approaches, using the most modern classroom practices. The curriculum we use also reflects on the fact that the College will be an international school with a multi-national pupil body and will be stretching, having been designed to meet the needs of each individual by giving a breadth of educational experience and an academic depth that prepares them for their move upwards.

In this article, our Year 3 to 6 teachers provide a brief overview of the learning journey in Key Stage 2.

Encouraging and Supporting Independent Learning in Year 3 & 4

The Wellington curriculum was designed with our learners in mind. We understand that each child comes to the school with a wealth of experience and knowledge – from different parts of the world and with differing interests. Across the school, we work from the English National Curriculum for English and maths. This provides us with appropriate benchmarks with which we can teach, track and assess the children in our class in these subjects. Alongside this, we use the International Primary Curriculum which provides us with ‘themes’ in which we learn about history, geography, international and science. Linking these curriculums means that teachers can design stimulating and interesting lessons that will provide a breadth of experience and appropriate academic depth.

The curriculum is split into key stages. Children move from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 when they transition to Year 3. Each child will have differing experiences of this transition. In Key Stage 2, independent learning is encouraged and this can take some getting used to. Each member of staff has a clear understanding of the standards to be met within our own Wellington education system, and children are encouraged to take ownership of their learning in order for them to excel at these goals, which is designed for individual learning needs.

A major aim during Year 3 is to deepen the pupil’s understanding of the Wellington values. As they transition up from Year 2, we really begin to encourage the pupils to be more responsible and try to behave more independently in all areas of life. Often at the beginning of the year, pupils need significant support from teachers and parents to remember routines and materials, and to come to class prepared. Moving through the Year levels, we expect pupils to be increasingly responsible and independent, rather than relying on teachers and parents.

English in Year 3 & 4

Broadly, we cover writing, reading and speaking and listening. Under these umbrella terms falls specific facets of English.

In writing, we incorporate spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and composition. We cover many different types of writing such as diary writing, newspaper reports, creative writing, poetry, non-fiction texts, persuasive writing and more. Through the use of novels, books and videos, children are able to learn about the features of the text we are focusing on and plan, edit and rewrite their own piece of writing. We use this time to look at specific learning requirements such as spelling patterns, fronted adverbials and literary devices, building on what they have learned in previous years.

In reading, we focus on reading with fluency and expression. Also important is the focus we have on comprehension – everyone needs to be able to do more than just read a text, we need to understand it. Through the use of retrieving, predicting, inferring and summarising questions, emergent readers can show a deep awareness of ideas and themes in a book.

Linked with these is speaking and listening, where we encourage children to participate appropriately in conversations, to evaluate different viewpoints, to ask relevant questions and to justify their answers.

Maths in Year 3 & 4

By Year 4, most children should have a good grasp of basic numbers and their mental maths recall should be quick. In Years 3 & 4, children continue to develop their independence in maths. They are introduced to a range of ways to solve problems and are given opportunities to use the ones they prefer and check if their calculations are correct. We move to four-digit numbers and solidify an understanding of place value, as well as adding, subtracting and multiplying these numbers. We cover all times tables up to the 12 times table, build on fractions learned from Year 3 and introduce decimal numbers. We also cover geometry, statistics and measuring. In all areas of maths, children are encouraged to discuss their answers and convince each other and the teacher that they are correct by explaining their answer in other ways. Children are encouraged to learn from their mistakes by understanding what they did wrong and use this for next time.

About Mr. Long

Mr. Long is a primary teacher from the United States of America. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. After graduating, he enthusiastically moved to South Korea after accepting a job teaching with their public-school program, EPIK. During that experience teaching English to second language learners, he found his passion for teaching. Mr. Long decided to get his teaching license and did so through the Teach-Now School of Educatore, based in Washington DC. Through this program, he was introduced to a variety of 21st-century teaching tools which he is excited to share with the Wellington Community.

While getting his teaching license with Teach-Now, Mr. Long had the opportunity to complete his teaching clinicals at Branksome Hall Asia in Jeju-do, South Korea. There he learned how to incorporate inquiry-based learning into his classroom and guide pupils in understanding the world around them. Since then he has become a firm believer in the effectiveness of guiding pupils to develop the skills they need to not only understand but thrive in the world around them. Both his experiences with Teach-Now and Branksome taught him how to incorporate his passion for playing games into the classroom. While playing games has always been a hobby of his, now he enjoys using games in his classroom to both connect with pupils and encourage them to learn valuable skills such as collaboration and sportsmanship. Playing games is also a way that he helps to foster a growth mindset in his pupils because it helps them understand how to learn from their mistakes or losses, and quickly problem-solve.

Being two meters tall, one of his favourite games has always been Basketball. He has been playing since he was a child and has even coached several teams including the secondary school girls’ basketball team during his last primary teaching position at Ayeyarwaddy International School in Mandalay, Myanmar. Now he is extremely excited to have joined the Wellington community along with his wife Moni who is teaching in the Huili School Nursery. The Wellingtonian traits and focus on holistic education is something that Mr. Long is incredibly passionate about as a teacher.

About Ms. Macleod

Ms. Macleod is from Glasgow, Scotland. As an undergraduate, she studied for her BA (hons) degree in Psychology at the University of St Andrews. During this time, she was particularly interested in the field of educational psychology, which further developed her knowledge in child welfare and the relationship between wellbeing and the ability to learn in a positive productive environment. Further experiences in different recreational settings have significantly guided Ms. Macleod’s approach to academia, as she believes that making learning fun is the most effective way to engage children and help them reach their full potential. More experience both as a graduate mental health intern and then as an English teacher in Sri Lanka showed her how differing cultures affect the way we learn.

Ms. Macleod subsequently received her Diploma in primary education from the University of Edinburgh, where she gained a full understanding of primary education through both her university studies and many school placements, while gaining credits for a Master’s Degree in Primary Education. Before coming to China, she taught at a small school in a rural town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where she gained first-hand experience in working with children from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This experience has enhanced her passion for creating excitement around learning.

Ms. Macleod is enjoying the challenges and opportunities she faces living and working here in China.

Growing both Academically and Individually in Year 5 & 6

Throughout Year 6 the pupils are exposed to a rigorous yet holistic curriculum that allows them to grow both academically and individually. In the first few weeks, each child goes through a comprehensive yet stress-free assessment period that allows their teacher to determine their individual starting point (also known as the pupil’s baseline). From this point onwards, the curriculum is then tailored to each child for them to make maximum progress throughout the year. An example of this can be shown in the English curriculum. Being an international school, Year 6 is comprised of pupils from different nationalities with different abilities in a variety of languages. This means that each child has a very different starting point on their English journey. While some pupils will be working on the ‘Fresh Start’ phonics scheme to enhance their ability to decode words and understand the meaning of English words in context, other pupils will be working on complex sentence structuring and the use of formal or informal language. Regardless of where each pupil begins, their work will always be tailored to the overall topic being taught in class, so no child feels left out.

A key element of all the year groups, is the way the curriculum for each child interlinks. Throughout the year, each pupil will be exposed to a range of learning themes. These themes dive into the worlds of science, history, geography and information technology. However, instead of being taught as separate courses, the vocabulary and content is interwoven with subjects such as English and maths. A fine example of this in Year 6 is the theme ‘AD 900’ which takes an in-depth look into the life of the Mayans, their culture and how they influenced the modern world. Each child explores this topic throughout independent theme lessons and to further strengthen their understanding of the Mayans, they also explore this in English where they create graphic novels using the famous Mayan myth, ‘The Hero Twins’. In maths, we explore the Mayan number system and look at how this has directly affected how we use number today.

While English and maths development are important aspects of the Year 6 curriculum, these subjects certainly do not overbear all the other subjects the pupils are exposed to. At Wellington College International Hangzhou, we strive to develop our pupils into well-rounded individuals who thrive in all circumstances and this can only happen through a holistic program. Therefore, lessons in art, music, drama, Chinese, P.E. and wellbeing are just as important for each pupil.

About Mr. Keogh

Mr. Keogh graduated from the Kent Institute of Art & Design with a degree in fine art before beginning his teaching career in the field of English as a foreign language, spending five years in Japan where he discovered his passion for education. Upon returning to the UK he spent 8 years at The Japanese School in London then retrained to enter mainstream UK schools in 2015. Mr. Keogh understands the trials and tribulations of expatriate life and completed his PGCE with a view to working internationally. The forward thinking and holistic environment of Wellington is a perfect match.

During his career, Mr. Keogh has taught children of all ages from 18 months to 18 years and experienced different curricula and pedagogical styles. He believes that education should be fun, engaging and meaningful and is passionate about the development and implementation of innovative and modern teaching and learning methods. Continuing from his art background, he is an advocate of the use of the arts in education as a tool for self-expression, independence and critical thinking and has led and developed the art curriculum at his previous school.

One of Mr. Keogh’s interests is the great outdoors, especially camping and bushcraft. He has taken this interest into his previous school, developing outdoor areas into educational spaces. The outdoors is full of opportunities for learning. Children can lead, play, experiment and develop their innate characteristics. Mr. Keogh believes every aspect of our environment is an opportunity for learning and is excited by the possibilities offered by the expansive grounds at Wellington College International Hangzhou.

Outside the classroom Mr. Keogh enjoys playing the guitar, cycling and devouring as many books as he can. Mr. Keogh comes to Hangzhou with his wife and two children, both of whom have dual British and Japanese nationality and are looking forward to starting their own life as Wellingtonians.

About Mr. Bane

Mr. Bane previously taught in the UK for five years after receiving his Primary PGCE from Kington University, London. His most previous role involved teaching a Year 6 class at Fielding Primary School in Ealing, London, which is a 4-form entry school enveloped in the Visible Learning approach created by John Hattie. As a practitioner in the field of education, it has always been important to him to be up-to-date with current educational research and over the course of his teaching career he has been involved in a number of projects under the guidance of specialists such as Professor Dylan Wiliam. Mr. Bane is now taking his education further and studying his MA in Educational Leadership and Management.

Prior to teaching, Mr. Bane worked as a field runner in the film industry and was responsible for sourcing specialist equipment for a number of music videos and films. It was a big change from his initial degree in Forensic Science and Law which he received from Keele University, Staffordshire.

Aside from teaching, Mr. Bane is also passionate about Ballroom and Latin American dance. He first began dancing in his teens and quickly improved. This led him to compete nationally in the UK and he achieved great successes alongside his dance partner. In previous teaching roles he has taught a number of dance styles in P.E. and has even set up a mock dance competition for children to experience. While he may no longer compete, he still takes social classes and teaches casual lessons in salsa and ceroc swing.

Holistic Education in Key Stage 2

While academic progress and results remain a core focus throughout a Wellingtonian’s time at the College, this is just one element of life at Wellington. In addition to subjects such as maths, English, science and literacy, pupils also engage in P.E. lessons, dedicated swimming classes, drama and performing arts, design technology, ICT, art and more. In addition, pupils can choose from the more than 150 school activities on offer, once core classes have finished each afternoon. Here they can experience an even wider range of exciting co-curricular opportunities that broaden their skill-set. For those seeking even deeper specialism, the Wellington Academy Programme provides additional classes with world-class coaches in a wide range of areas. Life at Wellington College International Hangzhou is truly holistic, as we prepare children to not only have the skills and knowledge to succeed academically, but also the values and identities needed to thrive in life beyond school, in this ever-changing world.


If you would like to learn more about Wellington College International Hangzhou and what makes a Wellington education special, contact the admissions department to arrange a campus tour.

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