In the Senior School, all pupils have a Form Tutor who looks after their wellbeing and academic progress.

Rather than having a Form Teacher, they move about the school to be taught by subject specialist staff in subject areas.


Art Policy

Within a happy and caring environment and based on the recognition of the dignity and worth of each child, high standards are expected. Intellectual development is emphasised and fostered along with the pursuit of academic excellence.

Craigclowan aims to encourage an active partnership between home, school, and the wider community.

Aims & Objectives

  • To develop children’s visual literacy and aesthetic awareness in order to facilitate enjoyment and an appreciation of Art.
  • To promote confidence and skill in the creation of artwork and encourage the children to respond to the world about them.
  • To promote cognitive development by including questioning, problem solving, decision making, and imagination.
  • To enable children to use different materials, tools and media and to develop a variety of skills and techniques.
  • To encourage children to make their own interpretations and self evaluations and to foster a sense of enjoyment and achievement.
  • To provide children with a vocabulary to talk about Art.
  • To begin to develop an understanding of the work of other artists and use that to enhance their own work.
  • To identify and solve problems in visual and tactile form.
  • To develop the children’s fine and gross motor skills and handling of simple equipment.
  • To develop an understanding of the Visual Elements: line, tone, texture, pattern, colour, shape, space and form.
  • To develop the children’s ability to work in pairs and groups, discussing their work and solving problems.
  • To develop links with other curriculum areas.
  • To use tools safely.
  • To use materials economically and leave them in a fit state to be used by others.

Use of Materials, Techniques, Skills & Colour

Through progression at each stage children are given the opportunity to experiment with the following:

  • Drawing: Pencil, Crayon, Colouring Pencils, Chalk, Oil Pastels, Charcoal, Paint (Acrylic and Watercolour)
  • Painting Techniques: Use of Brushes, Printing, Stencils and Sprays
  • Modelling: Masks, Paper Mache, Mod Roc Figures and Clay
  • Collage: Paper, Variety of materials and Fabric.

Planning, Structure, Progression and Continuity

The art curriculum will develop the children’s skill base in Art, however, cross curricular links are made as much as possible to make the work more meaningful. The children should be given opportunities to experience different approaches to Art including, group, pair and whole class work. In order to develop visual literacy, the following elements should be taught starting in Year 6:
Colour, Line, Pattern, Texture, Tone, Shape, Space and Form.

Teaching Time and Space

Years 6 > 8 have 70 minutes of structured Art each week. This is based in an extremely colourful Art Room.


Within the course of the academic year, each child should have at least one piece of artwork on display. Work selected for display should range across abilities but should reflect each child’s good work. Where appropriate, displays should have an explanation of the techniques used to produce the artwork. Displays should be repaired and maintained as necessary and updated regularly.

Art Scholarship

We have had very successful Art Scholars to Strathallan, Glenalmond and Kilgraston.

Each candidate must produce a large portfolio of work they have completed over 2 years. Within that portfolio they must produce 6 > 8 sheets which contain themes that they are interested in. Each sheet could contain up to 5 pictures.

Examples of themes: Plants, Landscape, Fruit, Portrait, Africa, and Shells.

For each theme candidates must:

  • Show different angles, close ups and sections
  • Show they can use different medias.
  • Contain postcards and images of artists which have influenced them.


Candidates must be able to show they can use the following media: Pencil, Pen and Ink, Coloured Pencil, Chalk, Oil Pastel,
Watercolour and Acrylic Paint.

What Else?

Each candidate must have a full sketch book, with many images and pictures they have drawn over time
Modelling: Masks, Jewellery, Clay Bowls, and Figures.

  • Have proof they have visited Art Galleries.
  • A study about an artist that may influence them.

The English Department seeks to fire the imaginations of pupils through our exciting exploration of a wide range of texts, from classics such as A Christmas CarolThe Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Tuck Everlasting to more contemporary works of fiction, journalism and cinematography.

Learning is as kinaesthetic as possible: pupils often take to their feet in a bid to truly understand new concepts, demonstrate their learning in different ways, teach each other, develop teamwork skills, examine issues from a different perspective and build confidence.

Our regular drama improvisations, debates on contemporary issues, persuasive presentations and class discussions all combine to strengthen powers of articulation and critical thinking. Form 6 students further benefit from the experience of preparing for a Public Speaking exam under the wing of a skilled LAMDA teacher, and the whole school gathers to enjoy our Annual Forms 6 & 7 Poetry Competition in the spring term.

Turning to the area of written work, we are firm proponents of the Big Writing philosophy, whereby children experiment with more sophisticated language and sentencing through fun, interactive tasks; there is a key focus on ‘up-levelling’ writing through such introductory challenges, detailed planning and concentrated proof-reading. Indeed, all students from Form 5 upwards are entrusted with an “emerald sword” (also known more prosaically as a green pen!) with which they must “vanquish verbal demons” on the page as they revisit what they have written. Chromebooks are also used, where we feel it is appropriate to do so, to strengthen research skills, increase typing speed and accuracy, and to give children experience of both creating and editing collaborative documents.

Communication between staff at all levels of the schools is strong, ensuring continuity and progression for each individual in the areas of comprehension, handwriting, spelling, grammar, punctuation and reading.  Reading is promoted not only through English lessons and regular visits to our newly renovated library, but also through World Book Day, reading passports, book fairs, theatre trips, authors’ talks, in-house workshops and visits, pupil librarians who recommend titles to the younger children (as well as each other) and various competitions throughout the year.

Moreover, our focus on critical analysis not only deepens pupils’ reading skills and prepares them for senior school entrance / scholarship assessments, but also sharpens the mind and allows our young people to view the culture in which we live through a different lens (for example, our critical study of advertising techniques in Form 8 allows children to look at the means by which consumer culture may persuade us not only to ‘buy into’ certain brands, but also certain ideologies /stereotypes).

Our aim, ultimately, is to teach children to actively think and to get involved - to examine and explore, to question and challenge, to experiment and evaluate, to voice their own opinions and empathise with others – with a great deal of laughter along the way!

Our 2018 Must Reads List for Children from Pre-school to Form 8 | PDF | 283KB

ISEB English Syllabus | PDF | 47KB

Our List of Recently Published Children's Titles | PDF | 322KB


Email From a Former Pupil (Received August 2022)

Good morning Madame Thompson

I hope you are well and have enjoyed a restful Summer. The GCSE results are in and I was awarded the 9 I was seeking in French, I am utterly delighted! I also got an 8 in Latin. I will be taking both subjects at Higher next year and hope to study Economics and Modern Languages at Edinburgh University thereafter.

My sincere thanks to you and to Patrick Borderie (former Head of French), and to Mrs Dibnah for raising my confidence as a language student and giving me such a strong academic foundation in languages. I am certain that I will continue to benefit for years to come.

Warmest regards


  • To make pupils aware of the importance of communication in a foreign language, from grass roots level
  • To allow pupils to reach as high a standard of oral and written communication in French as possible
  • To equip pupils with the conceptual and analytical tools (the metalanguage) necessary for the study of French and other modern or classical languages
  • To prepare pupils for the Common Entrance Examination to Independent Schools if applicable
  • To prepare the more able pupils for Scholarship Examinations to Independent Schools

A Brief Summary Of The Curriculum

Pre-school to Form 4 - 1 period per week

French is introduced at the later stages of Pre-school life and continues in its informal format until the end of Form 4, via the mans of games, role plays, songs and storytelling, using common, basic vocabulary (e.g. colours, numbers, farm animals). The emphasis is on tuning in, speaking and having fun.

Forms 5 - 8

From Form 5 onwards, French becomes more formal (preps, in class check-ups), although the fun element is far from removed. The variety of resources and teaching methods used ensure that we can differentiate and teach according to the needs and abilities of all pupils.  Thus there is an element of fluidity in the content of the syllabus. The following can be used as a guideline.

Form 5 - 4 periods per week (2 lesson & 2 project)

In the Winter Term, we begin by re-visiting basic vocabulary and phrases, often answering the question: “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” (what is it?). Definite and indefinite article are soon introduced, as well as some personal pronouns. We become familiar with the formation of the plural of nouns and the formation of questions.

In the Spring Term, the focus is on formal verb conjugations. We learn the present tense and the imperative of some regular and irregular verbs. As well as consolidating existing knowledge, new vocabulary is added.

In the Summer Term, we endeavour to build longer sentences and answering more complex questions. With the introduction of possessive adjectives, the task of putting singular sentences into plural becomes more challenging. The vocabulary increases significantly.

Form 6 - 4 periods per week

In the Winter Term, we increase the vocabulary, we learn to express our age and how we feel. We use colours and nationalities as a means of introducing the agreement and place of adjectives. We also learn emphatic pronouns and how to construct a negative sentence.

In the Spring Term, we learn to tell the time. We design our own “Arbre Généalogique” (family tree) and learn to name many drinks using partitive articles. This exercise culminates in us running our own fictitious Café. More regular and irregular verbs are added and used in gradually more complex sentences.

In the Summer Term, we consolidate our structured oral work. The vocabulary keeps increasing and we acquire new idiomatic expressions. Topics covered include zoo animals, the calendar and dates celebrated in France, free time, going out and giving directions. On the grammatical front, rules about irregular adjectives, the use of dative pronouns and contractions are learnt. End of term Examination follows.

Form 7 - 4 periods per week

In the Winter Term, we learn to find our way around a French town whilst learning the rules about the “Bon Piéton” (good pedestrian). Grammatically, the emphasis is on conjugation of the immediate future and on the use of colloquial impersonal phrases with “on”.

In the Spring Term, we learn to count our euros which we spend in a variety of fictitious French shops. The main focus of our work is on “real life” situations which we explore through role plays and listening activities.

In the Summer Term, we become more creative and we talk and write about our house, home and daily routine. On the grammatical front, we study the preposition “chez” and its combination with the emphatic pronouns. End of term Examination follows.

Form 8 - 6 periods per week

In the Winter Term, we complete the general level of the Common Entrance grammar syllabus with our introduction of the perfect tense, whilst our oral might be focused on two of the Common Entrance topics: e.g. “My house, home and daily routine” and “Free time and holiday activities”. End of term mock C.E. Examinations follow.

In the Spring Term, we complete the extended level of the Common Entrance curriculum with our study of the imperfect tense in its most frequent context: the weather. We then embark on a systematic preparation a third topic for the Speaking Test and go on to tackle a selection of more demanding rôle-plays. Scholarship Exams for those involved are followed by mock C.E. Exams for all.

In the Summer Term, we finish the oral preparation and we practise our listening skills.
End of term C.E. Examinations follows. (Those not sitting C.E. take either the same exam as an end-of-term assessment, or a ‘diluted’ assessment paper).


French is a very cumulative subject and it is fair to say that memorising the required vocabulay is a necessary but, sometimes, arduous task. Parents can help their children by making sure that all lessons are learnt thoroughly and in writing and by helping them to test themselves in their French Practice jotters. We really do appreciate your help in this matter.

Merci beaucoup!

Fabienne Thompson and Carol Dibnah


History is not how you remember it! That’s not a clever play on words – History is taught very differently from how you may remember it from school. Although dates, places and personalities are still important, what is even more important are the two questions; “why did a historical event take place?” and “what other things happened because of that event taking place?”. Or, in the language of historians, ‘causes and consequences’. And, as far as possible, we encourage pupils to try and work out the answers to these questions themselves by using the original sources – the words, writing and records of the people who were actually there.

That’s why, when pupils encounter History as a discrete subject in Form 6 at Craigclowan, their first task is to learn the basic terminology and skills of History in our ‘What Is History?’ unit.  To give them some context, pupils then embark on a whirlwind course ‘Big History: Big Bang to the Present Day’ that sets out the major epochs and turning points in our planet’s history. Then, it is ‘Wee History: The History of Scotland’. Three short courses that set them up for the Common Entrance syllabus.

Unlike other disciplines at Craigclowan, each year group in the school will study different topics from those year groups around them. That is because Common Entrance History operates on a three-year repeating cycle of topics.

Therefore, over the course of three years in the senior part of the school, those entering Form 6 in September 2019 and sitting the CE examination in 2021/22 will study:

Medieval Realms: Britain 1066-1485First Crusade
Archbishop Becket
Making of the United Kingdom: 1485-1750Henry VIII and the English Reformation
Plague and the Fire of London
Britain and Empire: 1750-1914Suffragettes
Crimean War

More Information About The Common Entrance History Syllabus

Sean Adams
Head of Department


Geography in the senior school follows the syllabus set by the Independent Schools Examinations Board in preparation for the Common Entrance Examination at 13+.


  • Stimulate curiosity about the world.
  • Introduce children to people, places and environments.
  • Contribute to environmental awareness and education for sustainable development.
  • Develop understanding of physical and human landscapes and introduce children to different societies and cultures, enhancing awareness of global interdependence.

The main areas of study are:

  • Map skills.
  • Geomorphological processes.
  • Weather and climate.
  • Settlement.
  • Economic activity.
  • Environmental issues.

At the beginning of Form 6 each child will be given a set of maps and they will need to have an A4 folder with integral plastic pockets to keep the maps safe for the duration of their time at the school. Included with the maps is a blank map of each continent that should be copied to allow the children maps to work on as they prepare for tests.

ISEB Geography Syllabus | PDF | 195KB (Revised 2013 for first examination in Autumn 2015)


At Craigclowan, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is used as an integral part of many lessons across the curriculum. In addition, pupils have regular sessions in the ICT room from Pre-school age until they leave at the end of Form 8.

Forms 1 - 5 also have access to a class set of Google Chromebooks which are used for a variety of tasks in the classroom. 

In Form 6 pupils receive their own Chromebook which they keep until they leave Craigclowan School. The Chromebook comes with the Google Education Suite. Teachers and pupils use this software in all classes for a variety of purposes. There are online Google Classrooms for each subject where homework can be set, handouts and revision notes can be uploaded and class notices can be posted.

By Form 3 pupils are familiar with both the Chromebook and the school system. They can log in, open and save work with ease. In Form 4 they begin using MS Excel to create simple charts and graphs, they learn specific word processing and desk top publishing skills, and learn how to create simple graphics. In Form 5 pupils use the internet to undertake specific research and develop their desk top publishing skills further to produce fact sheets. They develop their spreadsheet skills by learning simple formulae and setting up spreadsheet models. In Form 6 pupils develop their DTP and presentation skills further. They also become accustomed to using the Google Classroom and to working collaboratively on documents. In Form 7 pupils develop their spreadsheet skills further by creating more sophisticated models and using the model to make predictions. In Form 8 pupils use their ICT skills to produce their CE Geography project which combines spreadsheets, desktop publishing and word processing skills. They also work on an entrepreneurial project, designing websites, marketing materials and packaging designs.


All pupils begin to learn Latin in Form Five when we start the acclaimed Minimus Course.  Pupils are introduced to some basic vocabulary and grammar as well as learning about Roman life in Vindolanda.  During the summer term we visit Hadian’s Wall and Vindolanda and have an overnight stay at The Sill youth hostel.

In Form Six we change to the Oxford Latin course and begin the Common Entrance syllabus. Over the course of three years your child will learn how to translate unseen passages from Latin into English. This requires pupils to memorise 350 words by the end of Form 7. There is one prep per week for Latin and this usually consists of memorising grammar and vocabulary, which is tested in class.

In addition to learning the Latin Language, pupils study Greek Myths and Legends and Roman Domestic Life which includes topics such as food, clothes, homes and furniture and ceremonies associated with birth, marriage and death.

Latin Revision Guides

Form 6 Latin Revision Guide | PDF | 95KB

Form 7 Latin Revision Guide | PDF | 84KB

ISEB Classics Syllabus 2014 | PDF | 174KB


Children at Craigclowan learn mathematics by doing mathematics. This may take the form of written or mental exercises, work in the ICT room, using their Chromebook, at home, class discussion, use of interactive apps or practical work.

The Craigclowan mathematics syllabus covers the key objectives of the Curriculum for Excellence and National Curriculum and more and is specifically designed for the needs of all of our pupils. They are given an excellent grounding in the mathematical skills they will need for entrance examinations to all Senior Schools who demand different entrance exams. Our examination syllabus is based on the Independent Schools Examination Board which sets Common Entrance and through that the children are encouraged to tackle new ideas using practical experience and investigation.

There is no setting in the early part of the school. However, within each year group there is the opportunity for children to be divided into groups for some of or each of the lessons of the week, giving those who find the subject easier the chance to do some more advanced investigation whilst those who struggle in certain areas have the opportunity for consolidation. Setting then continues for the pupils in the final years, as they sit foundation, standard or higher tier examination papers in their Common Entrance Examinations. Those taking scholarships sit papers set by the school to which they are going or the ISEB.

We have gained considerable success in recent years in competitions including the prestigious UK Junior Mathematical Challenge – pupils from Forms 7 and 8 sit the challenge in April and our best performers have an opportunity to go forward to the UK Junior Mathematical Olympiad. We also take part in the Primary Mathematics Challenge in November, and take teams to compete in the Merchiston Castle Primary 5 Maths Fun Day and also the UK Maths Challenge team competition. We also run our own Form2 4 and 5 STEM morning, where we have an interhouse competitive mathematical team challenge.

The Finer Details

In Forms 6, 7 & 8 Maths is always done in pencil.

Every child should have a pencil, rubber, sharpener and ruler (preferably 30 cm.).

Later on they will need a protractor to measure and draw angles but their teacher will tell them when they should get one.

They will not need a calculator until the middle of Form 7. Again their teacher will explain when and what sort they need. There are some occasions on which they may need to use a calculator in class before then but there are school calculators available.

They will have their own Maths textbook and there is one for each year. They will also have a neat jotter or notebook in which they will write methods and examples for each topic. These will help them with exam revision. There are exams at the end of the winter term and again at the end of the summer term and each exam will cover all the work that they have done up to that point. They will also have their own virtual Maths Classroom in their own Google Cloud where some work will be completed and there will be links into various useful sites and classwork.

They will have one Maths prep a week. This should not take more than 30 minutes and if they are struggling to complete it in that time they should tell their teacher so that they can help with their difficulties.

The children should always remember that they can ask their teacher when they need help or if they do not understand what they are supposed to do. If any parent is concerned about their child’s progress or understanding they also are welcome to contact the teacher.

Some Mathematical Websites

ISEB Mathematics Syllabus | PDF | 405KB
(Revised 2014 for first examination in Autumn 2016)

Religious Studies


  • To make the pupils aware of the importance of beliefs and practices of Christianity and other World Religions.
  • To develop informed opinions of their own value, both to themselves and others.
  • To be aware of their responsibility and place in the world at large.
  • To read and learn Bible stories and try and relate them to everyday life.
  • To prepare able pupils for Scholarship exams to Senior Schools.
  • To prepare pupils for Common Entrance to Senior Schools.

Junior School

Religious Studies in the junior part of the school is designed to give each child an introduction to the main stories in the Old and New Testament. It is also structured to help the children interpret the meanings from the stories and find their relevance in today’s world.

These stories will form the basis for Section One and Two of the Common Entrance Syllabus.

Included in the syllabus is a section on Other World Religions. It is hoped that the children will gain an insight into the beliefs of several main religions. There are other themes included which widen the scope of the subject i.e. Saints, Stories, People of Faith.

Senior School

Religious studies at Craigclowan is designed to reflect the latest changes in the Common Entrance Curriculum.The present syllabus has been in place since November 2011.

The first two sections in the Common Entrance exam test the student’s knowledge and understanding of both Old and New Testament stories as well as the contemporary issues linked to these stories.

The World Religion section focuses on the student’s knowledge of the workings and belief systems in Islam and Christianity.

ISEB Religious Studies Syllabus A | PDF | 283KB


Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)

There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science.
Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895)

Science is a dynamic, interactive subject that has a bearing on all aspects of our lives.

At Craigclowan Science is taught by class teachers up to Form 3 and by a specialist in the fully equipped Maxwell Lab from Form 4 to Form 8.

Practical work is not only a 'fun' way of learning, but also enhances children's understanding of Science concepts, develops reasoning skills through questioning, predicting, formulating and testing hypotheses.

Children learn skills such as devising a fair test, using controls, analysing, interpreting, recording and communicating their results. Science also develops the child's ability to work as an individual or in a group, either as part of a team or in a leadership role. We also try to use the environment of the school grounds wherever possible.


  • Stimulate curiosity, interest in and enjoyment of Science.
  • Help pupils develop an understanding of Science.
  • Enable pupils to use scientific ideas and models to explain scientific concepts and phenomena.
  • Develop experimental and investigative skills, paying close attention to lab safety.
  • Enable the pupils to recognise the importance of experimental evidence in supporting scientific ideas.
  • Develop evaluative skills when communicating scientific findings.
  • Develop an awareness of the impact of scientific developments on the environment.

The revised Common Entrance science syllabus for examination at 11+ and 13+ is based upon the programmes of study for key stage 2 and key stage 3 respectively of the National Curriculum for Science (2021 revision).

Each pupil will be encouraged to view Science as an opportunity to learn about themselves, their environment and fan their enthusiasm.

The aim throughout is that the pupils love learning about Science and develop a lifelong desire to understand the changing world in which they live.


Assessment of pupils will be carried through the following:

  1. Teacher observation in lessons - Questioning, Listening Skills, Individual & Group work, Question/Answer Sessions
  2. End of topic tests
  3. Prep - Encouraging Parental input
  4. Examinations (termly in Form 8, Winter and Summer terms in Forms 6 and 7)


Forms 6 - 8 have six 30 minute lessons with one Prep every week.
Forms 4 & 5 have two lessons every week.

A useful website is

ISEB Science Syllabus 2017/18 | PDF | 623KB

Should you have any questions about Science, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

Jonathan Doak
Head of Science

Where next?