Marking a decade of learning at Heritage School, Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 13:22 26 November 2017

Heritage School

Heritage School

Supplied by Cecilia Amies

The independent coeducational day school in Brookside was founded by Jason Fletcher and his wife Fiona Macaulay-Fletcher.

Heritage SchoolHeritage School

A school that prides itself on providing its students with a “rich and stimulating curriculum” is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Heritage School opened its doors in Cambridge on September 5, 2007 to 16 pupils aged four to seven.

Headmaster Jason Fletcher said: “Since then Heritage has grown steadily.”

The independent coeducational day school in Brookside was founded by Mr Fletcher and his wife Fiona Macaulay-Fletcher, who is now the head of juniors and director of studies at Heritage.

Heritage SchoolHeritage School

Both completed PGCEs at Cambridge University and were inspired by the Parents National Education Union (PNEU), which was co-founded by turn-of-the-century educator Charlotte Mason (1842-1923), whose methods were used widely throughout the British Empire until the Second World War.

Mason believed that children were born persons and should be respected as such. Her motto for students was: “I am, I can, I ought, I will.”

“Heritage is a special place where the focus of everything we do is to enrich our pupils,” explained Mr Fletcher.

“The curriculum aims to inspire and even evoke, at points, a sense of wonder. Too often today, we doubt the power of substantial content to satisfy a child’s mind.”

He continued: “Far too often the stated goal of education is good exam results, as if that were a sufficient end.

“Good exam results are important in our system, but we keep our eye on a more distant horizon – what kind of people are our pupils becoming?”

The school’s curriculum is rich in content and knowledge, with extra-curricular activities, outdoors learning and trips, to provide its students with the “mind food” needed to support and inspire their learning.

Infant and junior students take part in nature walks each week, and there is a unique emphasis on what the school calls ‘narration’.

For example, a teacher reads aloud from an engaging text such as a narrative history, a bible story, a biography, or from their literature text.

Pupils are then invited to retell orally, point by point, what was just read aloud, having heard it only once. As pupils get older, they will often write their own narrations.

Picture study uses similar skills. It involves looking with concentrated attention at a reproduction of a great painting. The painting is then turned over and its details are described from memory.

“We place a high priority upon each child assuming increasing ownership for his or her own learning,” said Mr Fletcher.

Heritage is a low-tech school and although there are computers for studying programming, the school does not rely on these for teaching.

The school also holds compulsory choir lessons for students to support their creativity and wellbeing.

Mr Fletcher continued: “Children are naturally hungry for knowledge. Our curriculum, therefore, aspires to be intellectually stimulating, delivering substantial content across every subject area.

“The purpose of such a curriculum is to help a pupil establish relationships with as many enriching activities and fields of knowledge as possible: with nature, with history, with great literature, art, music.”

By 2015, the school had a class in each year group from reception to Year 11 for the first time, taking the number of pupils to 199.

The school will remain one-form entry, with a maximum capacity of 200 pupils.

“We intend to stay as we are and continue to refine and improve,” said Mr Fletcher.

On Saturday, Heritage School celebrated its anniversary with a special event for pupils, parents, staff, and former students, who enjoyed a celebration cake following the service.

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