There are eight year groups; each divided into two forms:
The Junior School – Years 1 to 4
Year 1: 5 to 6 year-olds
Year 2: 6 to 7 year-olds
Year 3: 7 to 8 year-olds
Year 4: 8 to 9 year-olds
The Senior School – Years 5 to 8
Year 5: 9 to 10 year-olds
Year 6: 10 to 11 year-olds
Year 7: 11 to 12 year-olds
Year 8: 12 to 13 year-olds
In all year groups, the school endeavours to ensure that there is parity between each pair of classes. The composition of each class is changed every two years to ensure social refreshment and academic balance. Setting is used in some subjects in some year groups in order to secure some structured differentiation.
The school aims at an ideal class size of between 18 and16. Small classes allow a good degree of personal attention for each pupil. Classes in Years 1 to 4 are taught by form teachers for most subjects with specialist teaching in PE, IT, French, Music and Art. From Year 5 onwards, all subjects are increasingly taught by specialists.
In the early years, emphasis is placed on the acquisition of the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, but balance and breadth in the curriculum are not neglected. As a boy’s education progresses, the curriculum is steadily enriched in preparation for his senior school. Arnold House takes a long-term view of a boy’s education; each year marks a progressive step up the school towards the final goal of Common Entrance or Scholarship. A carefully structured, long-term approach avoids the risk of a pupil being put under inappropriate pressure at any stage in his career at Arnold House.
Boys are taught mathematics, science, English, physical education, team games, art, music and religious studies throughout the school. French, as a spoken language, is taught from Year 1, with an emphasis on writing and reading emerging in Years 3 and 4. Pupils start Latin in Year 5, at age nine, and some learn Ancient Greek from Year 7. In Years 1 to 3, the humanities are covered in topic lessons; history and geography emerge as separate subjects in Year 4. Information Technology (IT) is taught as a separate discipline, up to Year 4 and in Years 7 and 8. Years 5 and 6 study the Compass Course, which aims to encourage independent learning through collaborative group work on research projects. Pupils develop problem-solving cognitive skills and produce PowerPoint presentations. The main academic subjects are taught in such a way as to reach the standards set by the Common Entrance syllabus, which relates to the demands of the National Curriculum, but with extra time devoted to French, classics and games. The school employs a teacher to coordinate the special educational needs of some pupils.