When the big black carriage doors open and the children flood in, all you can hear is the sound of laughter and animated chatter. It is heart-warming to see how happy the children all are to see their friends and start another enriching day at The Lyceum School.
Maybe they began their day taking part in one of our early morning activities such as judo or Big Band that start at 8am. Or they may just have finished having breakfast with their friends in our beautiful dining room, where they were able to enjoy their healthy food whilst gazing at the mural of the London skyline.
At 8.45am, when everyone gathers on the Astro Turf together to meet their teachers, there is a real buzz of anticipation and excitement for what the day will bring.
Before Covid, all children would have been greeted by a handshake from the Headmistress before heading into their classrooms, but for now they will just be met with a smile and a personalised ‘good morning’. The Headmistress makes sure that she knows every child’s name within the first few days of them starting as this makes every new child feel equally valued.
Morning lessons often start with listening to classical music, a mindfulness exercise, or a short yoga session. On Friday mornings, the whole school meets together (either in the Hall during normal times, or live streamed into the classrooms over Zoom) to celebrate the week’s achievements in a class or music assembly. After a calm start, lessons begin. English and Maths are taught each morning and from Years 1-6 we place a high emphasis on traditional academic skills, such as developing neat handwriting, gaining advanced spelling knowledge and learning times tables. Presentation is important and we spend time making sure that each exercise book looks neat and tidy; pupils show great pride in their work and love to show it to visitors. We try to keep our classrooms tidy too and there are regular ‘Smartest Class’ competitions for those who have done so consistently.
During the week, even our youngest will have had Music and Spanish lessons taught by our specialist teachers. From Years 1-6 our children enjoy more formal Art and Games lessons, and in Years 3-6 Latin and Swimming lessons begin. Our specialist teachers are all passionate about what they do and this in turn inspires the children to love their subjects.
Lunchtimes are a highlight of the day as Hosanna, our very own chef, cooks delicious healthy food that everyone enjoys. Food is sourced locally, wherever possible, and all meat is free-range. There is always a vegetarian option and fresh salad and fruit are served each day. A group of children recently asked Hosanna to write a cookery book for their parents as they said her food was even better than homemade!
The curriculum is carefully balanced to ensure that each day children get out into the fresh air. We are fortunate to be surrounded by plenty of open spaces and we use the Royal Artillery Ground, Power League and Golden Lane Sports Centre for our extensive sporting programme. Wednesday afternoons are Match Days when we play against other schools or hold inter-house tournaments. Our annual Sports Day takes place at the Mile End Stadium, with all children and parents invited to join in. The parent-teacher 400 metre race is very popular, and we recommend preparing for it in advance!
Our children are encouraged to walk, scoot or cycle to school and the majority of them do so. Dance and Yoga are part of the curriculum and both help to develop fitness and good mental health.
In usual times, each year group will go on at least two outings per term, as we see London as an extension to our classroom. Residential trips are enjoyed by our children from Years 3-6. Destinations have included Yorkshire and Edinburgh where they conduct Geographical studies. Suffolk and Essex are the destinations for our History Topics where children live in character as Tudors, Victorians or World War 2 evacuees. In the Summer Term, Year 6 visit a Spanish city (for example Barcelona or Malaga), where they draw on their language knowledge and further their cultural studies.
Music plays an integral part in school life and our children are encouraged to play an instrument from the age of 3. We have 10 Peripatetic music teachers who teach across the week so that we can offer a wide range of instrumental lessons. Formal music lessons are taught to each class and everyone gets the chance to sing in one of our choirs during their time in the school. Assemblies, concerts and dramatic performances take place through the year and give our children the chance to showcase their talents and skills. LAMDA is also on offer and the children who take lessons do exceptionally well in their examinations.
The school is supported by four pillars and they were created following a survey that we sent to parents and children when the school moved from its old building. When asked what words came to mind when they thought of the school, the four most common were: Kindness, Confidence, Creativity and Community. When visitors come to look around The Lyceum, they say that these qualities are clearly in evidence. When Maxi, our Head Boy, was asked by a visitor what he loved most about the school, he said, ‘It is the kindness. I have been here since Nursery and I have not met an unkind person yet. This school gives you confidence and you can be creative too’.
We invite you to come and see our wonderful school in action and if you send your child to us, your family will become part of our very special community.