Middle School (G6–8)
Middle School Principal
On behalf of the Middle School Leadership Team it is my pleasure to welcome you and your family to Middle School at UWCSEA Dover Campus.
Middle School teaching and learning sits at an exciting yet precarious moment in the life of our students as they simultaneously seek independence from, as well as the support of, the adults in their lives. Our Middle School learning programme is purposefully designed for this significant period of transition. We aim to ensure that our students have a strong sense of belonging, together with increased opportunities for independence and responsibility. A core team of specialist teachers who understand the developmental needs of this age group work tirelessly to help each student to realise their potential.
Throughout their time in our Middle School, students are engaged in all of the five elements of the UWCSEA learning programme: academics, activities, outdoor education, personal and social education and service. While students do spend the majority of their time focussing on their academic learning, their involvement in all areas of the school provides a holistic, values-based education which strives to develop them as individuals and as members of a global society.
We are very proud of our Middle School and would be pleased to welcome you on campus to learn more about us.
Middle School Principal
Learning in Middle School
Our Middle School offers a robust and challenging programme for students in Grades 6 to 8 (aged 11–14 years), connecting academic subjects with a deliberate focus on social development and opportunities for leadership. Our goal is to develop students who have the ability to lead effectively when the need arises but who can also adapt to various roles within a team to promote the successful completion of a project, activity or service task. The learning programme provides structured opportunities for students to develop these skills in a wide variety of settings.
Students are encouraged to apply themselves fully in all that they do and we offer them guidance and support in a positive and caring environment. Our teachers also act as role models, providing instruction in the lunchtime and after-school activities programme, supporting service initiatives and traveling on the outdoor education trips with their students.
All students have a laptop equipped with College-supplied software, and access to on-campus helpdesk support. Our online learning platform is used by students and teachers to manage their work, collaborate and submit homework. Learn more
Students spend much of their day in the Middle School building, moving to specialist facilities and classrooms that are also used by the High School for subjects such as Visual Arts, Drama, Design and Technology, Music and PE.
Classes remain together for the majority of lessons, except Languages other than English in Grades 6–8. In Grades 7 and 8 students are further split into like-ability groups in both Mathematics and PE, with PE also moving to single-gender classes to encourage maximum participation.
School starts at 8am and finishes at 3pm, although many students will be involved in the Activities programme after school, and some may even be involved in sports training before school.
- English or English as an Additional Language
- Languages other than English
- Arts (Drama, Music, Visual Art)
- Physical Education
- Design and Technology
- Life Skills
- Study Skills (Learning Support)
The English curriculum is designed to be a challenging and inspiring course, aligned with UWCSEA’s core values. Students read a wide variety of literature, gaining an understanding of ways in which thoughts and ideas may be conveyed through writing. We foster vital critical-thinking skills and to encourage students to appreciate the aesthetic value of literature as an art form.
We place emphasis on helping students to develop volume, stamina and fluency in their independent reading lives. Our aim is that Middle School students leave Grade 8 as confident writers, lifelong readers and fully prepared for the transition to Grade 9.
English as an Additional Language and/or Additional English
EAL courses provide language support for students who will benefit from specialist English language instruction to use English more fluently and accurately for communication and study purposes.
Two courses provided offer flexible content according to the students’ needs and in either class, support is occasionally given for the specific language demands of other subjects. In these lessons, students engage with their content area topics with the guidance and support of their EAL teacher.
The Middle School Mathematics Programme aims to challenge our students and to prepare them with problem-solving, logical reasoning and coherent communication skills. Students should develop positive attitudes towards the subject and increasingly make connections between different aspects of mathematics and other curriculum areas. Mathematics plays a significant role in nurturing critical thinkers of the future.
Students entering Grades 6, 7 and 8 bring with them a variety of experience and ability in Mathematics. All grades are taught in a blended model, and opportunities for extension and support are made readily available to every student. Technology is woven throughout the curriculum, and we encourage its use to the extent that it furthers the learning.
Assessment is done through a variety of methods including common tests, tasks, classwork, homework and investigational problems. Students reflect on their own progress at the end of each unit.
Most students take a Language other than English (LOTE) as a part of their timetabled lessons. There are two types of LOTE courses:
- LOTE second languages are taught foreign language courses
- LOTE first language classes are for native speakers (mother tongue) with previous academic study
Taught second language courses (beginner and continuation)
Examples of topic areas covered in Middle School include:
Beginners courses: introductions, family life, school, daily routine, descriptions, hobbies and clothes
Foreign language courses: education, getting around, leisure, celebrations, health and communications using technology
To enrol in our foreign language continuation courses, students need to have basic knowledge of the language; this usually means at least one year’s previous study of the language is required. New students are generally tested to ensure they are placed in an appropriate class.
- Chinese: Grade 6
- French: Grade 6 and 8
- Spanish: Grade 7
Continuation Foreign language courses
- Chinese: Grade 6, 7 and 8
- French: Grade 6, 7 and 8
- Spanish: Grade 6, 7 and 8
Second language chinese
The Chinese as a Second Language course is a course in-between foreign language Chinese (Mandarin) and first language Chinese which suits students with a Chinese heritage but who might not necessarily speak it as the main language at home, or students who have extensive experience of Chinese but are not mother tongue speakers. This offers more challenge and depth in studying Chinese than foreign language. Students need to have a high level of language ability in all four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing), especially in speaking and listening, as the lesson will be conducted fully in Chinese.
First language courses
LOTE first languages courses are for those whose proficiency in the language is of native or near native speaker level. Students in these classes have previous academic study of the language.
The aim is to develop sensitivity and effectiveness of speaking and listening through various themes, tasks and activities using literary and non-literary texts. Students develop reading and writing skills, and awareness in analytical, critical and original thinking using a variety of texts. The appreciation of culture is an important part of the courses. Students study literature texts through various media.
Grade 7 and 8
- Dutch (see below)
- German (see below)
Dutch lessons are available from Grade 7–12 for native speakers of Dutch. This is a provision for Dutch-speaking students joining the Dover Campus in Grade 7 from the Hollandse School. Other Dutch native speakers may join this class, but will sit an assessment to ensure they can meet the specific curriculum requirements.
For students in Grade 7 and 8, these lessons take place after school, twice a week from 3–4.30pm. Middle School students in the Dutch programme therefore take an additional LOTE during the school day.
In Grade 7 and 8, German is taught as a first language for native speakers according to the Swiss curriculum within the school day. This is a provision for Swiss students joining the Dover Campus in Grade 7 from the Swiss School. Other German native speakers may join this class, but will sit an assessment to ensure they can meet the specific curriculum requirements.
Additional English is offered (as well as EAL) to selected students as an alternative to a language other than English (LOTE) in order to improve their English proficiency and language skills to meet the demands of studying all subjects in English. Lessons focus on the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing, including vocabulary and grammar.
Home languages (mother tongue)
These classes are taught after school by a qualified teacher who uses the UWCSEA literacy curriculum to inform the lessons. These classes are taught in small groups at additional cost; languages are available subject to demand.
Grade 6 —English and Humanities
In Grade 6, English and Humanities (Geography and History) are taught as an integrated course by one teacher for 10 periods per week. Reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are woven through Humanities units with English skills sometimes taught through independent Reading or Writing units but often taught through reading or writing about Humanities content.
Grade 7 and 8 — Humanities
Humanities (Geography and History) is taught by one teacher for five periods per week. Topics from the two disciplines are studied on a rotational basis. The Grade 8 units of learning incorporate concepts related to the study of Economics, which is a Humanities option available in Grade 9.
Grade 6 units of learning
- Explorers and Time Travellers – What shapes a place?
- Dynamic Earth: Natural Hazards – How do humans adapt to a dynamic earth?
- Our Developing World – Why do some have more while others have less?
- Ancient Societies
Grade 7 units of learning
- The Middle Ages - Does change always mean progress?
- Sustainable Development and Systems Thinking - How do we decide which resources we value?
- Singapore in World War II - Are wars worth remembering?
- Weather and Climate Change - Why does place matter?
Grade 8 units of learning
- Future Cities – How should cities prepare for the future?
- Industrialisation – Who are the winners and losers?
- Food on the Move – What happens when our food travels from field to fork?
- Governance – Who rules?
Middle School Science is an integrated course of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, united through a common theme of investigative design and explanation. The curriculum has been constructed to help students form an understanding of themes that run through the scientific world. Our aim is not only to teach knowledge, but for students to be able to apply their understanding within contexts that relate to the real world; be this an aspect of industry or the inner workings of a living organism.
An essential part of scientific learning is investigative skills. Science lessons are designed to have an experimental focus where possible; this may be a teacher demonstration, a class experiment or a full investigation. This is always used in conjunction with relevant content to facilitate the development of a deep understanding of scientific concepts. It is important to us that young scientists are able to record, process and interpret raw data, skills we continuously work on throughout the Middle School curriculum.
Our focus is to help students develop a curiosity that challenges them to think about Science creatively. Our assessments are varied and involve group projects, investigation reports, creative tasks as well as unit tests. These assessments aim to be challenging and rigorous while giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding. Students receive regular feedback from both peers and teachers and are helped to reflect on their learning throughout each unit.
The Middle School Arts programme is designed to expose students to a variety of experiences while developing fundamental skills in each subject.
The principle aim of Drama in Middle School is to help students develop into confident and sensitive communicators. It is not an ‘acting’ course; the various skills learnt can be applied across many other disciplines and contexts. During the three-year course, students work in a secure environment where they are guided to experiment, explore and respond creatively; using drama processes and practices. This means building group trust and cooperation; and thus a greater awareness of the value of meaningful, personal interaction.
Skills for the effective and confident communication of ideas are developed and nurtured; in particular, creative spontaneity, an expressive command of voice and movement, and an understanding of forms of communication beyond the spoken word. In addition, students investigate a range of performance forms both traditional and modern, involving a range of cultures.
The course is beneficial for students who intend to study Drama at GCSE level, Theatre at IB level and beyond. However, it is also designed to be a self-contained curriculum benefiting all participants by enhancing their communication skills, confidence and creative expression.
Middle School theatre productions, run after school as part of the Activities programme, providing further opportunities for students with particular talent to further develop and practice the skills, techniques and knowledge they are acquiring in the course, as well as developing their awareness of the power of Drama as a performance art in a wider community and global context. These involve students in a professional process model, and roles are cast through an audition process. They require a high degree of commitment for the rehearsal period.
The Music programme is divided into three key areas: the academic curriculum, the ensemble programme and the Instrumental Teaching Programme (ITP). Music provides a continuation of the skills developed in the Primary School and helps prepare students for GCSE Music.
The key concepts and skills in the following three areas provide the foundation of the Music School Curriculum.
- Exploring Music: Exploring music through time, place and culture leads individuals to understand the role of music in society
- Composing: Composing music provides the opportunities for the development of musical ideas and expression of identities
- Performing: Performing music develops skills and qualities to communicate musical intention.
The academic curriculum focuses on key aspects of making and understanding music in practical music-making lessons.
lessons and Music Ensembles
Our Instrumental Teaching Programme offers instrumental or voice lessons on a one-to-one basis for students who want to pursue music as an interest. There are also have a range of opportunities to be part of music ensembles, offered through the Activity programme. Six string groups are available for all abilities along with Woodwind, Brass and Percussion ensembles, Arioso (Middle School choir) and the Intermediate Jazz Band. Concerts take place each term on and off campus. There are also opportunities for solo performances in a chamber music concert setting.
Sign up and auditions where necessary are conducted through the Activity programme.
The curriculum provides a ‘foundation course’ covering ideas, concepts, process and practical skills in art and design. The three main components are:
- Context: The exploration of context sets the conditions for personal meaning and intent in artworks
- Creating: A creative process provides opportunities for the conception, nurturing and development of artistic ideas
- Interpreting and Analysing: Art conveys meaning and provokes a personal response which deepens an understanding of self and others.
Through the study of a variety of artists, movements and concepts, both traditional and contemporary, students have the opportunity to develop their skills in the following main areas: drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, digital media/photography, contextual and critical thinking.
Student work is showcased in the Art Department Gallery as well as in the Middle School Art Exhibition at the end of the academic year.
Open Studio and Activities
Students are encouraged to participate in a range of offerings in the Activity programme to enable them to enhance and build upon the skills acquired during lesson time. Open Studio is also available after school on some days of the week to complete or continue classwork and art based homework.
All students take two 75-minute periods of Physical Education per week, covering seven different activities during the year. After each unit student will be assessed. Our diverse curriculum provides opportunities to experience a range of activities. A typical programme includes the following activities:
- Court based - Basketball, Netball
- Field - Touch and Contact Rugby, Football
- Aquatic activities - Swimming, Water Polo, Kayaking, Water Survival Skills
- Gymnastics and movement/parkour
- Athletics and health-related fitness
- ‘Over the net’ - Tennis, Badminton, Volleyball
- Striking games - Softball
We emphasise that the attainment and maintenance of a good level of fitness is connected to healthy living and that this is the personal responsibility of the individual. We place significant value on the continued development of socially acceptable behaviour relevant to the sporting environment and seek to develop the student’s ability to work with a partner or as part of a team.
Middle School students also take part in three different ‘Days of Sport’: swimming, games and athletics. These fun-filled days are driven by the advisory group and houses systems. Students are allocated to one of the six houses for the swimming and athletics days and compete against other houses.
The skills gained in PE can be extended by those students who wish to pursue individual sport through the recreational, development or representative sports offered in the after school Activities programme. Heightened levels of confidence and self-esteem are seen through this additional participation, as is focusing on realistic targets.
Design and Technology is a very broad subject covering both technical and aesthetic disciplines. The separate strands of the subject covered over the three years of Middle School include:
- product design
- food technology
- textile technology
- electronics, communications and technology
The subject uses the design process as the model of thinking and this strategy helps students investigate problems and design, plan, manufacture and evaluate the products and systems that they generate. Combining practical skills with an understanding of function, aesthetics, social and sustainability issues, the course also develops creative and critical thinking strategies.
Our unique programme draws on the key components of Positive Education addressing the social and emotional development of students, combining best practice teaching with the science of Positive Psychology. Our programme focuses on specific skills that assist students to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, identify their strengths, evaluate their values, promote mindfulness and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Digital Citizenship is explicitly taught across all three year levels during Life Skills with Grade 7 completing their Digital Licences and Grade 8 undertaking the Project RockIT programme. Annually, students also complete a wellbeing survey, with feedback informing development our content for the following year.
The Learning Support programme in Middle School is designed to help students with mild learning differences develop an active approach to their learning. Specific help is provided with concepts related to core academic subjects such as English and Humanities.
The Study Skills (Learning Support) curriculum includes:
- reading comprehension strategies
- spelling exercises
- development of note-taking skills
- fiction and nonfiction writing techniques
- cross-curricular vocabulary development
- memory strategies
- active listening skills
- reasoning and critical thinking
- revision skills
Organisation and self-help skills are also included in the programme:
- effective completion of homework
- time management
- setting realistic targets
- organising materials and equipment
Learning Support staff liaise with parents and subject teachers to build a clear picture of a student’s learning needs. They are also qualified and trained to use a range of internationally standardised assessment materials, when additional information about a student’s learning profile is needed. Learning support staff and parents then plan how best to support the student: this may take the form of specialist teaching, guidance or in-class support. At each stage, parents are consulted and involved. There are regular reviews and meetings to discuss progress and agree on targets. In order to reach their academic potential, some students require short-term support whilst others may need longer-term support.
- Arts and Performance
- Create and Innovate
- Home Languages
- Learn and Lead
- Mind Matters
- Phoenix Sports
- Wellness for Life
There are several instrumental and vocal ensembles for Middle School musicians, including Camerata and Concert Strings (Strings), The Band (woodwind, brass and percussion), Middle School Percussion Ensemble, Arioso (Middle School Choir), Intermediate Jazz Ensemble and Middle School Gamelan Ensemble. There are five concerts per year, as well as the main College concert, OPUS, which is held annually in Term 2 at the Esplanade Theatre. The instrumental teaching programme offers access to music lessons outside of the academic curriculum on a number of instruments. Instrument hire is available.
Performance opportunities begin with the annual United Nations Evening in Term 1 and continue as students are invited to audition for drama and dance productions throughout the year.
There are two auditioned Middle School productions each year—a theatre performance led by the Middle School Drama teacher, and a dance production supported by our High School Dance Teacher.
Students also have many opportunities to develop interests in specialisations such as ceramics or photography in visual arts as part of the activities programme.
Read more in the Academics tab about how academic courses in the Arts are extended through the Activities programme for students wishing to pursue their passion, or gain exposure to and develop skills in these disciplines.
The offerings of clubs and special interests are varied and have included activities such as chess, engineering, robotics and woodwork. Many of these activities give the students access to the specialist teaching staff and facilities such as Art rooms, the IDEAS Hub and the Design and Technology classroom facilities that support the academic programme in the Middle and High School.
Home languages (mother tongue) classes are taught after school by a qualified teacher who uses UWCSEA literacy curriculum to inform the lessons. These classes are taught in small groups at additional cost; languages are available subject to demand.
Students have ample opportunity to develop leadership skills through participation in Student Council, the Middle School GC Executive, Model United Nations, debating and other leadership activities.
Other leadership activities are available including coaching younger sports teams or working with Primary School students in the Peer Play activity in the playground during Junior School breaks.
These options are intended to give students the opportunity to extend their interests in specialist areas and topics, such as sciences, languages, and beyond the classroom. Subject-based ‘clinics’ are also available for students who want to further focus on some curricular areas via the activities programme.
We enter teams in all competitions offered by the Athletic Conference of Singapore International Schools (ACSIS) as well as a number of other competitions in Singapore and the region.
Representative sports available in Middle School currently include: badminton, basketball, climbing, cricket (boys), cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, netball (girls), rugby (boys), sailing, softball, swimming, tennis, touch football (girls) and volleyball.
All our representative sports are offered to students who would like to participate with the goal of enjoyment and skill development rather than competition. A number of other recreational and development sports, such as golf, martial arts, rock climbing, aerial gymnastics, fitness and health and ultimate (frisbee), are also offered for students.
In addition to sport, students have a range of opportunities that will help them develop a balanced lifestyle to support holistic wellness in the future. These have included activities such as yoga, mindfulness, gardening and meditation to name a few.
The Middle School expedition programme offers varied experiences of personal and team challenge and skill development through adventurous activities. These are opportunities to be immersed in nature, and undertake human powered journeys whether on foot, in a kayak or on a raft.
These challenging and fun expeditions provide invaluable in context learning experiences, and elements from these trips are drawn into the classroom across the academic curriculum.
In the past the Middle School expeditions have been as follows:
- Grade 6 go on a five-day multi-activity expedition to Pulau Tioman in Malaysia
- Grade 7 complete a one-star kayak training certificate in Singapore before travelling to Pulau Sibu in Malaysia for a five-day kayaking trip
- Grade 8 students spend two weeks in Chiang Mai, Thailand; one week undertaking adventure activities such as white-water rafting and hiking, and the other completing curriculum-based field activities
The activities and venues are thoroughly checked and annually reviewed to ensure safety of all participants. These overseas trips will be reviewed for the 2021/2022 academic year based on the information available at the time the annual outdoor education plan is completed.
Because families join UWCSEA at different times in the school year, the class expeditions are an additional cost and are billed at the time the students travel.
In the 2020/2021 year optional trips will not run, and we will review the programme for the 2021/2022 academic year based on the information available.
Middle School students have previously had opportunities to participate in optional trips that are linked to a number of elements in the learning programme during school holidays. These have included:
- adventure trips to explore New Zealand or ski in Verbier, Switzerland
- Service trip to South Africa and Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa in Eswatini
- curriculum enrichment, such as trips to China, Taiwan, France or Spain for students of Chinese, French or Spanish language
- History and Service (house building) trip to Cambodia in Grade 8
- Humanities and Service trip to Vietnam in Grade 7
There are also opportunities through Round Square for Dover Campus students to attend conferences in the region and to participate in student exchanges.
All students gain experience of College or local Singapore service at some point during their Middle School years. These services vary widely but include:
- paired reading with children from local Singaporean Primary Schools
- overseeing lunchtime play in our own Primary School
- chat and games with elderly Singaporeans
- practical nursery work with the College’s Rainforest Restoration Project
- art activities with intellectually disabled adults
All Middle School students become involved in global service (which we call Global Concerns) through their curriculum, e.g. the Development unit in Grade 6 English/Humanities and the Systems Thinking and Sustainable Development unit in Grade 7 Humanities.
Global Concerns also run as lunchtime service groups, supporting partner NGOs working in the fields of animal protection and environmental conservation, as well as education and community development.
In the past a number of optional service trips have allowed students unparalleled opportunities to further their understanding of their classroom learning and the real-world challenges faced by our NGO partners, and to take action in support of creating a better future. These trips have included:
- Adventure and Service trip to South Africa and Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa in Eswatini
- History and Service (house building) trip to Cambodia in Grade 8
- Humanities and Service trip to Vietnam in Grade 7