FSM Curriculum - Forres Sandle Manor

FSM Curriculum

Academic support

We aim to create an atmosphere where to excel is not just acceptable, it’s cool! Our Able Child programme identifies the ablest children in each subject area, every year, using class performance and test scores, and ensures that they are given extension activities that will challenge and stimulate them. In addition, we offer targeted acceleration through our scholarship and 11 plus workshops.

We also recognise that not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way. Experienced staff in our Learning Centre provide individual support to help children who are struggling with literacy or numeracy as well as helping them in the classroom so that they can take part in a full and rich curriculum. We see learning differences as temporary stumbling blocks rather than barriers, and we encourage all our children to aim high.

We see education as a partnership between school and home, and keep parents regularly informed about their child’s progress through termly and half-termly reports, year group reviews and twice-yearly parent-teacher meetings, as well as informal feedback.


At FSM our games programme aims to provide every child with the chance to develop and improve their sports skills, challenge themselves and – above all – build a life-long enthusiasm for physical activity as a normal part of their routine.

Children participate in a wide range of sports including football, hockey, rugby (and rugby 7s), netball, cross country, cricket, athletics, swimming, rounders, tennis, biathlon, gymnastics and dance. We field teams in each of these sports and try to give every child the opportunity to represent the school in their chosen sport. We believe that the experience of competing…hosting an opposition team, conducting themselves appropriately at other venues, being responsible for kit, and thanking the referee at the end of their match… is an important opportunity to learn and grow into a well-rounded person.

Despite being a relatively small school, many FSM children have gone on to achieve regional and national honours after triumphing against schools much larger than ours, and our talented year 8s have won sports scholarships to highly renowned senior schools.

Our impressive sports facilities include seven football pitches, four rugby pitches, an astro-turf, three netball courts, three tennis courts, an outdoor heated swimming pool and a multi-purpose sports hall.


From dawn til dusk, FSM comes alive to the sound of music, which provides a delightful accompaniment to everyday school life. All children are encouraged to learn a musical instrument or sing, and there are a wealth of instruments for them to explore within the school.

Encouraged by the dedicated professional musicians who form our team of music staff, children experience the thrill of playing in front of an audience and taking their applause at school concerts and music competitions. We have a thriving Senior Choir and Orchestra as well as a vast number of music ensembles for children to join, including Stradivarius Strings, Jazz Band and Junior and Senior Rock. 

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We see drama as a great way of building confidence and encouraging children to take risks. We stage three major performances a year – a recent example being our production of ‘Matilda’ – and encourage as many children as possible to get involved, with many of our older children becoming Tech Crew.


Art is an important part of the curriculum for all children, not just for our many gifted artists. We teach children to use a huge variety of materials and mediums including ceramics, textiles, photography, computer graphics and print as well as paint. We encourage them to develop their own ideas, to make artistic judgements and to be constructively critical of their own and others’ work.

Above all, we make art lessons fun: there is no such thing as wrong or too messy when it comes to art!

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Clubs and activities

After the end of lessons, there are a huge variety of different clubs and activities on offer. As well as sports clubs, including dry-slope skiing, horse riding, cycling and synchronised swimming, there’s an activity to suit every child – whether that be coding club, photography, Lego engineering, young vets or ‘meal in a mug’ cookery. We also have thriving Brownies, Cubs, Guides and Scouts groups.

Forest School

FSM is an accredited Forest School, which adds a unique flavour to children’s experience here. Think back to your own childhood and, the chances are, your happiest memories are of being outside, perhaps not ‘doing’ anything – just playing. But it’s through outdoor play experiences that children learn many of their fundamental life skills.

Through timetabled lessons (up to year 4) and activity sessions in our outdoor Forest Classroom, children learn to use tools and equipment they’re not familiar with and rise to challenges such as building shelters, learning to tie knots, tracking beasts, planting trees, and making everything from benches to necklaces.

Project Week

Described as the ‘best week of the school year’ by many of our children, Project Week is a chance for every child to explore something new, indulge a passion, and often discover something about themselves.
For our year 8s, Project Week is the final ‘hurrah’ before they say goodbye to FSM. Recently our leavers have spent the week surfing in Cornwall, exploring haunted castles in Wales, enjoying some culture on a trip to Venice or Rome, or even going white water rafting in Canada.