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Summer Fields Oxford

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Core subjects

Core subjects

Add intro to core subjects here - importance of English and Maths



The study of English is at the heart of our educational journey. It develops core skills which, in turn, promote effective and imaginative communication and discerning, incisive reading. Beyond this, it nurtures creativity, enhances cultural understanding and expands our world view. It is the foundation for academic success.


The English department teach core literacy skills listening, speaking, reading and writing equipping our pupils with the foundation skills and knowledge to support them to be successful throughout their life.

Between 6 and 8 lessons a week are devoted to English. Our pupils are taught in streamed forms; in this way, work is matched to their ability. Further differentiation is made during lesson time, through careful questioning and extension activities. Encouragement to read more complex material on a personal level also provides challenge for the more able. Similarly, writing and performing debate speeches for the year group debates, performing poems for the Poetry Reading Competitions and writing speeches for the Public Speaking Competitions gives scope for high achieving boys to reach their potential. Some boys in the senior years will take the route of Scholarship.

We teach that reading is for pleasure and allows us to gain access to knowledge and understanding. Our aim is to encourage our pupils to develop a passion for reading, through exploring texts of all genres with confidence, enthusiasm and a clear understanding. Because of this, reading ages on average at Summer Fields are two years above the national norm. Boys are supported to develop a personal sense of taste and judgement regarding the worth of texts. Reading for pleasure and class reading are actively encouraged.  The school library is situated in the heart of the school and open all week.

We teach handwriting skills to ensure a neat and legible style, and writing as a craft, where planning, drafting and revising are used to present a strong case. Understanding the elements that create an engaging piece of writing is key, along with a knowledge of how a powerful message can be conveyed. The pupils receive a firm grounding in grammar and spelling systems, aiming for adept punctuation that can control and change meaning. We teach boys to use original vocabulary, descriptive detail and imagery, including metaphor and simile. In Years 4 to 6, DoodleEnglish and DoodleSpell are used to support their learning.

We foster confidence when speaking in a range of contexts, including formal ones, explaining their ideas cohesively, assuredly and in detail. ‘Thinking aloud’ and speculating are seen as an important part of the process of literary criticism and our responses to texts. Poetry reading, debating and public speaking competitions are central activities.

We teach the boys about some of the greatest English writers, and writers in English, appropriate to their age, for example: Shakespeare, Dickens, C.S. Lewis and Dahl. Through studying their work - whether poetry and prose - the boys learn how writing can be effectively used to express emotions and viewpoints. We also develop the boys’ understanding with regard to what literature teaches us about our lives, about social difficulties and social change; that other people hold differing perspectives and that it is right to listen sensitively to these.

Key events which we celebrate each year include: World Book DayWorld Poetry DayShakespeare’s Birthday. We also have the Summer Fields mini Literary Festival with visiting authors, debates for Years 5, 6, 7 and 8, poetry reading competitions, public speaking competitions, a creative writing showcase and visiting theatre companies.


Welcome to the dynamic world of Mathematics at Summer Fields, where our pursuit is not just about numbers and equations but fostering a love for problem-solving, critical thinking and communication. We believe in unlocking the unique potential within each mind, guiding them on a journey of discovery, and cultivating a lifelong appreciation for the beauty of mathematics.


At Summer Fields, we recognise the essential nature of mastering mathematic methods and techniques. Beyond the acquisition of skills, we believe that the true value of the subject is revealed when these tools are applied within problematic contexts. Our curriculum is designed not only to teach boys how to solve problems and argue with logic and accuracy but also to instil in them the art of laying out their thoughts with precision and order. Through this approach, boys not only become adept problem-solvers but also develop crucial life skills, learning to approach challenges with methodical thinking, clarity, and a disciplined approach.  Our commitment to shaping well-rounded individuals ensures that the benefits of mathematical knowledge extend into critical thinking and effective communication.

Our Mathematics department boasts an exceptional team of dedicated specialists who are passionate about nurturing mathematical talent. With a bespoke - 'setted' - approach from Year 4 onwards, we create an environment where every boy can progress at their optimal pace and depth. Our extended syllabus and tailored extension work cater to the brightest mathematicians, ensuring a challenging and stimulating learning experience for all.

In the Junior School, we use 'Doodle Maths' online to support individualised progress to great effect. Our participation in the Primary Maths Challenge (Years 4 - 6) and the UKMT Junior and Intermediate Challenges (Years 6 - 8) consistently sees our boys winning numerous gold awards - often half of those entered - with many progressing to the Kangaroo and Olympiad bonus rounds. Each year, our eagerly anticipated 'Inter-league Maths' competition unites boys from Reception to Year 8, fostering teamwork and camaraderie in solving challenging mathematical problems. This unique event exemplifies our commitment to holistic mathematical development and the collaborative spirit that defines the Summer Fields experience.

We are dedicated to ensuring that every boy reaches his mathematical potential. From developing foundational numeracy skills in the Pre-prep to excelling in Common Entrance or advanced scholarship examinations in Year 8, our comprehensive approach empowers each student to thrive academically. We are committed to instilling a deep-seated confidence in mathematic proficiency that extends far beyond the classroom.


Pupils numeracy skills are outstanding. Across the curriculum, imaginative lessons which give mathematics practical relevance consolidate pupils’ learning.




Science is going to affect our pupils and future generations far more than we can accurately predict at present. Problems of energy supply, over-population and its relation to food production, GM foods, climate change and pollution, stem cell research, health issues are all topics that need a basic knowledge of science if one is to form a reasonable opinion, so this is where our teaching starts.


We aim to give the boys a solid base of understanding in science and to develop an enthusiasm for the subject that will last them a lifetime. This ties in nicely with the ISEB science syllabus’s most recent mission statement which includes a desire to encourage students to be “open to new ideas and experiences, curious, questioning and keen to experiment".

We teach five courses spread over five years.  Topics covered include states of matter, physical properties of materials, forces, conductors and insulators, study of plants, animals and human biology and evolution, key scientists and their contributions to our understanding of the world today. 

In Years 4 and 5 lessons are devised to develop an enthusiasm for science and learning to enquire. Years 6, 7 and 8 cover materials based upon the Common Entrance syllabus.

The boys are taught general skills, including

  • Handling apparatus correctly and selecting the right apparatus when designing experiments;
  • Posing questions which can be scientifically tested
  • Making, recording and communicating observations and measurements accurately through sketches, reports, and graphs
  • How to interpret the results of experiments and recognise elementary patterns whilst appreciating the limitations of the data in terms of a level of confidence or the limits of numerical accuracy.

The two custom-built science labs at Summer Fields enables a wide range of practical work to take place during lessons. Pupils use the department’s iPads for research, independent study, presentations, photographing and filming science experiments, informal assessments via quizzes and as a way to enhance in-class learning.

There are also regular trips to a variety of different places so that the pupils can put their learning into context and get hands on with science.