Our curriculum is carefully designed to ensure all our children achieve their full potential and are well prepared for the next stages of their education and their adult life.
We prioritise success in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, science and mathematical understanding, together with confidence in the use of I.T. However, we pride ourselves on our ability to balance this with a broad and enriched curriculum that allows our children ample opportunities to explore art, D.T., music, history, geography, R.E. and French. Sport is a key element of our curriculum and all types of activities, from dance to rugby, are given a high priority in all year groups.
We have an enviable reputation amongst local schools as being an excellent sporting school and enjoy many successes at sporting competitions.
Our PSHE curriculum has been developed to ensure all our children have the skills they need to be a successful member of both our school community and our modern British society. Alongside this, and underpinning everything we do, is our commitment to supporting our pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as well as our own school values of Belong, Explore Succeed.
All teachers work together to plan the year’s curriculum, using the National Curriculum’s programmes of study.
Wherever possible, units of work are enhanced by hands-on experiences to allow our pupils to explore their learning. Research shows that hands on learning allows pupils to directly take on board and understand what is happening or how to do something. This is firmly embedded in our teaching – especially within our science curriculum. Also, the non-core subjects such as art, IT and D.T., give children opportunities in practical problem solving and gives them their first introduction to future highly skilled trades.
Exploring our learning further afield
Trips outside of school are a way we can enrich our children’s learning opportunities, giving even more depth and value to the experiences they receive in their classrooms. They maintain the motivation to learn and also support the children in retaining even more knowledge. Past trips have included Bristol Zoo, Pittville Park and Pump Rooms, Avebury Stones, Clevedon Pier and a journey on the Winchcombe steam train as evacuees!
In Year 4 and Year 6, children are offered the chance to go on a residential trip, invariably to a PGL outward bound activity centre, which always proves to be a real highlight of their time at Warden Hill. These types of trips also have a huge impact on the social and emotional development of our children and help them to build their skills of resilience, team building and, at the same time, make wonderful memories!
Creating additional opportunities to enrich our learning
Whole school theme days/weeks are a key and unique feature of our curriculum and give the children a real chance to delve deeply in a particular subject. All staff relish the challenge of planning exciting and original activities for these and the children enjoy being ‘off timetable’ for the day or week.
These typically include:
Sports week – a whole week of different sporting events, culminating in our traditional sports’ day.
Take one book – each class spends the whole week working on a range of activities linked to a chosen book. Reading continues to be a hugely high profile subject in our school and this is one of the ways we continue to promote it.
Healthy schools week – children are engaged in a range of activities that reinforce the 5 ways to well-being. Events have included yoga and even the chance to ride a smoothie bike to make your own healthy drink!
Cheltenham week – all our children learn about different aspects of their home town, from landmarks and festivals to famous ‘Cheltonians’. A trip is arranged to a local place of interest and key visitors are invited to school. In past years, pupils have visited Pittville Park and the Lido and visitors have included Eddie the Eagle, Alex Chalk, the Mayor of Cheltenham.
Our subject-specific days typically include:
Exploring our wider communities
Over the years we have built up a good relationship with one of our main secondary feeder schools, allowing us other opportunities to be part of our wider local community.
Cheltenham Bournside Secondary school have organised multi skills days and sporting events (implemented by their young leaders) for our Y2 and Y4 children.
Year 5 pupils have experienced days mixed with sport, music, science, English and maths.
Our musicians and singers have experienced music days (with other primary schools), culminating in concert performances. All of these additional opportunities allow our children to start to experience secondary school in fun and exciting ways, and helps support the eventual transition – whatever secondary school they go to.
Inter-house competitions are extremely popular events in the school calendar, both amongst pupils and our very competitive staff!
The children love to represent the house they belong to and compete fiercely to get their house-coloured ribbon on the coveted trophy.
The competitions are carefully organised so that ALL children take part in an activity that earns points towards the overall winner. In recent years, competitions have included cross country, rounders, cricket, frisbee, football, netball, orienteering, mental maths, times tables rock stars and a spelling bee.
Outdoor learning is an important part of our curriculum and our trained Forest School leader has regular sessions with all year groups. Activities are carefully planned to compliment the unit of work being covered and have included making clay animals, Anglo-Saxon shields, exploring habitats, climbing trees and, of course, toasting marshmallows!
These sessions are the perfect opportunity for children to develop their creativity, team work, decision making skills and their ability to assess risks.
All of the above contribute to our whole school curriculum and together, give our children an exciting and inspiring start to their education. Our overarching intent ensures that our pupils are well equipped with knowledge, are confident creators and can make informed articulate decisions, which will prepare them for their journey ahead.