FAQs 4+

Everything you need to know for 4+

Why choose this school?

Everyone matters. Everyone, both staff and pupils, know each other by name. Caring for others is a priority and our friendly, nurturing environment ensures that girls work and play here, confident in the knowledge that they are an important part of a special community.

What is your intake?

Approximately 200 children apply for 48 places. We are a two-form entry school with 2 classes of 24 in each year group.

Are Senior and Junior girls on the same site?

Although the Junior and Senior Schools occupy separate sites on either side of Highgate Hill, we are joined by so much that it always feels like one community. The whole school often celebrates success together – we all sing, clap and, most importantly, ‘skip out’ (a much-loved Channing tradition) of the Hall at the end of each term, led out by the Junior School pupils! Additionally, students from our Sixth Form as part of their Duke of Edinburgh come over the Junior School to help in lessons. The younger girls love seeing them!

We also use the Arundel Centre, Performing Arts Building at the Senior School to perform our Reception – Year 2 Nativity, Year 3 and Year 4 Dance and Drama Showcase and our Year 5 and Year 6 Production.

What are your views on class sizes?

Our classes consist of 24 girls and we believe this to be the right size. Research suggests that this is the ideal class size enabling collaboration with others, as well as support from the teacher. Moreover, if children are taught well as they are at Channing by our excellent teachers supported by our fantastic Teaching Assistants, their success is not down to class size. Often, we also divide the girls up into smaller groups depending on the lesson; they work together on an activity for example phonics either with the support of the teacher or teaching assistant or independently (overseen by the teacher). Furthermore, our classrooms are large, bright and airy and accommodate this number of girls perfectly.

How are the classes determined?

A number of factors are taken into consideration, including how the girls performed and interacted with others during their assessment, where families live and diversity.

Classes are mixed at the end of Year 2 and then again at the end of Year 4 so all the girls across each year group get to know each other very well and there is a real sense of community. This is also promoted through our House system. Girls in Reception have a House Buddy in the older year groups who they often play with in the playground, take part in activities with such as quizzes, writing letters, reading stories, etc.

How much homework is set?

We like to encourage good habits from an early age; the homework routine is one. From the start girls are used to taking reading activities, including spellings, home to complete. The work increases gradually each year until in Year 5 and 6 girls are expected to complete various homework tasks each night and over the weekend. Importantly for us, this gives the girls plenty of time to follow their own interests out of school.

How do parents contact a teacher?

Every member of the Junior Staff has a weekly period of availability when parents know that they can make contact. Collection time provides another opportunity for parents and staff to have an informal chat. Reading record books and homework planners are another method of communication. Parents are invited to make appointments to see the Head whenever necessary.

What happens when a girl is not making the progress she should?

There are ongoing assessments throughout the school year that monitor pupils’ progress. Any concerns that arise from these are discussed with the parents, the Form Teacher, the SENCO and/or Head as appropriate and a course of action is planned.

How are we informed of our daughter’s progress?

There are two Parents’ Evenings a year and a full report on each girl goes home before the end of the school year. In addition, parents are invited to a Curriculum Evening at the beginning of the academic year. This is an opportunity to meet the new Form Teacher and find out what the girls will be learning about. In the Autumn and Spring term, the teachers complete Grade Sheets for girls in Years 3 to 6; these outline progress made and targets for the following term.

Do the girls go out on visits?

Every form goes out at least once each term to a venue that supports the curriculum. Year 4, 5 and 6 also enjoy residential visits.

What are the benefits of an girls only education?

A girls only education is fantastic for girls especially when they are young. because there are no gender weighted stereotypes.  Girls can do whatever they want because no subject or activity is perceived as only for boys or girls. In addition all the roles of responsibility are held by girls which inspires them to take on leadership positions inside and outside of school.

What is the status of the construction work and what does that mean for recreational and sports space over the next period?

Our building works have just been completed after an innovative two and a half year programme. The project involved the construction of a multi-purpose hall to accommodate the whole of the Junior School for assemblies, after-school events, Physical Education (PE) and lunch, with the benefit of a new kitchen. In addition, we have built new classrooms and purpose-built changing rooms which lead directly onto the sporting facilities. This has improved access to outdoor spaces for PE, Forest School and other outdoor learning. We have also refurbished the Art/DT Room and will have a new Drama Studio in September.

The temporary classrooms we were using are coming down during the Easter holidays. As a result, all outdoor space, 4 sports courts will be back for the pupils to use. In addition to our fantastic Forest School and new Early Years outdoor classrooms, we are also in the process of finalising a new adventure playground incorporating some of the children’s ideas.

Forest School started from Reception sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. It helps the girls to build resilience, self-esteem and confidence, allowing them to assess risks, be creative and connect with nature.  Above all, the girls love their time there!

How well do you cater for vegetarians?

There are vegetarian options everyday plus a nutritious salad bar. Mondays are always meat free, for all pupils. To view our lunch menus click here. The girls also receive a snack at breaktime. All of the Catering staff know the girls especially those with dietary needs and allergies; they meet with them once a term.

What are your exam results?

Our exam results in the Senior School are fantastic!  The girls at the Junior School get an excellent academic education and testament to this is that they outperform other joiners in the Senior School.

But don’t just take our word for it. Some statistics…in the 2019 summer public examinations, of the pupils who sat A levels at Channing School, 16 had been in our Junior School, achieving 28% ‘A*’ and 52% ‘A’ grades, compared with 27.2 ‘A*’ grades and 42.4% ‘A’ grades achieved by the overall cohort. And this happens every year!

In 2020, for A Levels: 32.2% of all entries were awarded the top grade of A* with 78.4% of all entries achieving A*/A. For GCSEs: over 25% of our Year 11 students achieved a clean sweep of Grades 8-9, including 8 students who are celebrating all Grade 9s. Two of these achieved a stunning 11 Grade 9 results. For a full breakdown our exam results please visit our website here.

What are the ongoing assessments from 4 – 11?

From Reception, we track the girls’ progress by carrying out formative and summative assessments. This enables their teachers to ensure that they correct misconceptions and continue to plan for progression. We track the girls across the school so we can support and extend them as required and to ensure they reach their full potential.

There is no 11+ entrance examination in Y6 and this allows the girls to learn free from the pressure of being prepared for the 11+ exam. In fact, we do not ‘teach to tests’. It is not part of our ethos and we know that this benefits our pupils immensely, both academically and emotionally as they move up through the Junior School, Senior School and all the way to Sixth Form.

Where are you in the league tables?

Channing Senior School is nationally in the top 50 independent schools. We do not sit the SATS in the Junior School so we do not appear in these league tables. However, as we track the girls through the school from Reception, we know they perform well above national averages and expectations.

Do all the girls transfer to the Senior School?

Each year the majority of girls in the Junior School transfer successfully to the Senior School. Girls in Year 6 may be awarded an Academic Scholarship based on their record in the Junior School and they can also audition for a Music Scholarship on entry to the Senior School.

Is there a coach service?

Currently there is no coach service. There are plans for a minibus service in the next couple of years and we have planning permission for a minibus bay.

The majority of our parents walk, park and stride (park a short walk away), take public transport, or do car shares. Once you join you become a member of Channing Association (our Parent Association), you can share your details to arrange a car share with those that live near you.

Are there many families from N4/W9?

We have families from different areas in London including N4 and W9. The Channing Association put on lots of lovely events to help you make friends with local families. This includes coffee mornings, Quiz Nights and events for the girls including ice-skating, Christmas Bazaar, Easter Egg Hunts and the Summer Fayre.

Can contact with the Channing Association (CA, Parent Association) be organised before September?

Yes, once you give your permission, the CA put a list together. There are social events before the start of term, such as a picnic for the new Reception girls and their families.

What kind of sports are played?

The PE curriculum includes a range of field games, ball skills, movement lessons, swimming, watersports and dance. From Year 3, girls learn to play a variety of sports including netball, cricket, football, athletics, tag rugby, rounders, badminton and basketball which are all played onsite. In Year 3 and Year 4, the girls go off site to have swimming lessons and Year 6 have a term of Watersports. There are also lots of sports clubs including cross country running, karate, fitness and fencing.

We have House Days every term where the girls participate in lots of different sporting activities. We also have the much anticipated Sports Day at our nearby sports ground where the girls take part in athletics and running.

What schools do you play sports against?

We play local schools in a variety of sports (netball, football, cricket, athletics, cross country), e.g. Highgate, South Hampstead, and local prep schools. We’re also part of Girls’ School Association so participate in their sporting events too.

What is the provision for school clubs for Reception girls?

The depth and range of our extra-curricular activities is one of the keys to our success. Our girls take part in an astonishing array of artistic, dramatic, musical and sporting pursuits, as well as attending before-school, lunchtime and after-school clubs. Our clubs include: Athletics, Ballet, Basketball, Book Club, Brass Ensemble, Chess, coding, Cricket, Cross-Country Running, Digital Photography, Musical Drama, Drawing, Fitness, Fencing, Football, Gardening, Gymnastics, Jewellery Making, Karate, Magazine Club, Maths Challenge, Mindfulness, Netball, Orienteering, Outdoor Adventures, Spanish, Strings Group, Tennis, Windband Orchestra, Yoga. There are some popular ones that remain the same each term, as well as seasonal sporting ones and new additions are regularly introduced; many of these are suggested by the girls.

What is your wrap around care like?

Mornings – Early Birds

The girls can be dropped off at the main gate/’old’ dining hall between 7.30am and 7.55am. They are  given a healthy breakfast and have a choice of activities. The girls stay until their class entry time. There is no charge for this.

Afternoons – Mini Owls

This runs from 3.05pm-3.50pm. The girls will be taken by their Form teacher ten minutes after their pick up time. There will be no charge for girls who are waiting for their sister to finish school.

Afternoons – Late Owls

This runs from 3.50pm – 5.50pm (4.50pm on Fridays). From 4.30 – 5.15pm (3.30 – 4.15pm Fridays) there is a structured activity for the girls. At 5.15pm (4.15pm Fridays) the girls are offered a snack of soup or a sandwich. The girls can be picked up anytime from 5.30pm (4.30pm on Fridays). There is a reasonable charge for this and it is added to your bill.

Are there many Reception girls in Early Birds?

There are a number of Reception girls in our Early Birds, Mini Owls and Late Owls provision. The girls also like to play with the girls in the other year groups.

Do you have specialist teachers?

From Reception, the girls receive specialist teaching in Spanish, Music, PE, Forest School and Drama. In Key Stage 2, Geography, French, Art and Design Technology are also taught by subject specialists.

What year do pupils start Spanish and French?

From age 4, all girls are immersed in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. As well as having Spanish lessons, their everyday interactions and our school environment fosters and promotes the use of Spanish and appreciation of the country’s culture, eg. Spanish vocabulary used in our assemblies and PE lessons. From Year 3, pupils start learning French. There is also a Mandarin Club.

What musical instruments are on offer?

  • Violin/Viola/Cello/Mini Bass
  • Piano
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophone
  • Oboe
  • Trumpet/Cornet
  • Bassoon
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Harp
  • Classical Guitar

We have a comprehensive and systematic curriculum in place which includes ukulele and recorder playing. All girls in Key Stage 2, sing in the school choir and Key Stage 1 girls have the opportunity to take part in a string group experience. We also provide extensive extra-curricular activities with our dedicated and specialist team of Visiting Music Staff. Ensembles include brass, woodwind, strings, and the challenging vocal ensemble. Almost half of all Junior School girls enjoy weekly one-to-one music tuition and celebrate examination success with the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music. Year 6 pupils often secure places in the National Children’s Orchestra and at specialist Saturday morning music schools.

Full details of our music offer can be found in our Junior School Music Booklet

How old do you have to be to learn a musical instrument?

From age 5, girls have the opportunity to learn the violin or cello in a small group. In Year 3, they may have piano lessons and the opportunity to learn a variety of orchestral instruments. We place great importance on playing together and every girl is given the opportunity to perform informally at assemblies and in concerts where parents can also attend.

Is there a sibling policy?

We have a large number of applicants for every available place at Channing.  If we have to choose between two or more candidates who are equally suited to life at Channing and equally likely to flourish then we will give preference to a girl who already has a sister in the school.