Our Lady of Sion: an authentic culture of care and academic ambition
Many parents will be looking ahead to the new school year in September with more enthusiasm than ever before – but with the added challenge of choosing a school during lockdown.
At Our Lady of Sion in Worthing, they’ve organised virtual tours for parents and grandparents, together with planning ahead for Covid-safe tours, one family at a time, as soon as permissions allow.
And that caring ethos is at the heart of everything Sion does, as it nurtures children from three years old right through to sixth form, making sure that each child reaches their own individual potential.
Situated just two streets back from the seafront at Worthing, the curriculum in the Junior School embraces the natural surroundings, using the Beach School curriculum and the Wild Curriculum outdoor learning, alongside traditional subjects. Teachers develop innovative and exciting methods to invigorate young learners, instilling in each child an excitement of discovery and knowledge that is central to Sion education across the year groups.
This year it is reframing its nursery and reception age groups under a new Early Years (EY) banner, ensuring each individual child gets age- and ability-specific learning, tailored uniquely to them. This is about unlocking each child’s potential within an academically-focused environment, achieving successful outcomes within an authentic culture of care, kindness and encouragement.
Small class sizes, coupled with wraparound morning clubs and after school care, and third party provider holiday club, make Sion a popular choice for parents wanting independent education for their children,
Steven Jeffery, Headteacher, said: “Right through to Year Six it is all about individual development, discovering interests, being excited about learning, responding to what we are learning through using our own voices, developing confidence and enjoying the intrinsic reward of personal achievement. Celebrating this daily journey with each child is our delight.”
And for Tamara Pearson, Assistant Head, Head of the Junior School at Sion, the early years’ provision is exciting and different.
She said: “We regularly review the curriculum, making it ambitious, relevant, exciting and engaging. We are still covering all the essentials children need to learn – reading, writing and arithmetic etc – but we are making it interesting, challenging and fostering a child’s own ideas.”
And that means making the most of what’s on their doorstep – Year Six learn atmospheric poetry on the beach, Year Four create their landscape water colours there, and all age groups use the big skies and open vista for wellbeing, making the beach a real extension of the classroom. The beach curriculum for the little ones can cover learning about tides, flora and fauna, and beach safety.
And with a train route to London on their doorstep too, history lessons come to life with trips to the Saatchi Gallery to learn about Tutankhamun and visits to the Houses of Parliament.
Tamara added: “We are being quite bold; that is the beauty of being an independent school. A Sion education is unique – a ‘green house’ where children’s potential is unlocked, enabling them to thrive. Happy children, happy parents and happy teachers – a school where good progress is made in all areas. Academic rigour is to be expected in independent education; we are able to offer so much more, thereby shaping confident and accomplished young people who are future-ready.”