Warden Hill Primary School Cheltenham

Author Visit: M.G. Leonard

We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be having our first in person author visit on 9th March with the amazing MG Leonard.

As you know, we love reading in our school and one of the many ways that we can encourage our children’s enjoyment of reading is by holding author events in school. When children learn the “inside stories” and ideas behind books, they can’t help but be drawn to them, the authors become real to pupils, opening up relationships with the books they read.


Award-winning writer M.G. Leonard will visits us on Wednesday 9 March. Families are invited to purchase copies of M.G. Leonard’s books from independent children’s bookstore, Bookwagon Limited.

Order forms, including the discount code, will be distributed to KS2 parents.

Books will be signed on the day of Maya’s visit.

Orders close on midnight at Monday 1 March.

Bird Watching

This week our Junior Eco Warriors took part in the RSPB’s Big School Birdwatch. The children spent their lunchtime identifying and counting the number of common bird species they saw, using an identification sheet to help them.  It was wonderful to see that our school site provides a habitat for such a range of birds from Goldfinches to Black-headed Gulls. The data our Eco Warriors collected has been uploaded to the RSPB, who will use it along with data from other schools in the country to see how birds are faring in school grounds right around the UK.

Fruit Waste Recycle Bin

At our eco meetings last term, we discussed recycling and how it is important to recycle our food waste otherwise it can contribute to green-house gases, which is not good for our environment. Therefore, a new fruit waste recycle bin, which you may have seen, has been purchased and is being kept under the shelter by the Infant hall. The bin is just for fruit waste only so that children can put their banana skins, apple cores and orange peels and other fruit waste in the bin at break-time so it can then be collected and recycled!

How (and why) to get your child to read more

Reading is an essential skill that contributes to the development of literacy comprehension skills, communication skills, and overall academic performance.

However, young people today are reading fewer books for pleasure compared to previous generations. Some teachers suggest this is because of an increased pressure to read books students often don’t choose themselves at school.

A large scale study followed the lives of more than 17,000 people from birth to adulthood, documenting their reading habits and academic performance. Their habits were then compared to other children and took into account socioeconomic status and cognitive test scores.

They found that children who read frequently for pleasure by the age of 10 and more than once a week by the time they were 16 years old performed significantly better academically than those who didn’t read as much.

Better reading comprehension in children also results in:

  • Better empathy skills
  • Improved cognitive development
  • Higher levels of imagination and creativity
  • A better understanding of the world around them
  • An ability to make links between truth and fiction
  • Greater concentration
  • Improved academic success


Encouraging our children to read can be a challenge, especially if they don’t have a natural love of reading. So, here are 8 tips to make reading more enjoyable and develop better reading habits in your child:

1. Dedicate time towards reading

Make reading the norm in your house by dedicating 30 minutes to 1h to just reading a book every day. That way, it won’t seem so alien a task to your kids. You can even make a dedicated reading area with the help of your children such as a bean bag chair, lots of books, and quirky little accessories so it’s a place they want to stay in.

2. Be a role model

Your kids should be reading, but so should you. It’s not new information that children learn by observing other people’s behaviours and copying it. If your child sees that you’re also reading a book or magazine, or even a newspaper, it’ll show them that it is both important and a lifelong skill.
Perhaps even use the time as a way to bond with your kid by asking if they want you to read their book to them or if they want you to read together in silence. Research shows that reading to a child between 4 and 5 years old 6 to 7 days a week has the same effect on their cognitive development as being a year older.

3. Read and then watch or vice versa

One way to encourage even the most reluctant of readers is to get the movie version involved. Choose a classic such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, or Harry Potter and either read the book together for younger kids or encourage older kids to read it on their own.
When they’ve finished reading a book, put together a family movie night where you can all watch the film version. That way, it brings the characters to life and allows them to compare both versions, encouraging a more reflective style of learning.

4. Have a reward system

Research shows that, to encourage further reading, parents should put a reward system in place. For example, for every 10 books that are read and summarised, your child can get a small reward such as choosing what they want for dinner or getting a treat from the store.

5. The ‘Book Fairy’

This is more for the younger kids, but an effective way of getting children to sit down and read is by adding an element of magic to the task. Being visited by the book fairy every time they write a review or behave well will encourage kids to read more and provides a fun outlook on what some would consider a boring task.
How kids get a visit from the Book Fairy is up to you. One example of implementing this at home is when your kid writes a review of a book they just finished, they can write a letter to the Book Fairy about what book they would like to read next.

6. Encourage reading to their siblings

Older siblings reading to younger siblings and vice versa can have a huge impact on reading comprehension skills. It can also lead to a stronger bond between siblings.
Not only does this encourage a sense of responsibility in older siblings and allows them to practice reading out loud in a non-judgemental setting, but it can be beneficial for the younger siblings too. It can help boost their confidence, knowledge of vocabulary, pronunciation and language fluency.

7. Let them choose the book

Research shows that reading for pleasure is extremely important for educational success and personal development. The number of children reading these days is decreasing due being forced to read a text they don’t enjoy; however, 73% of student report that if they were able to find a book they liked, they would read more.
So, although it is okay to make suggestions, you shouldn’t force your kids to read books that they don’t want to – especially if they are reluctant readers. Once your child has finished the book of their choice, ask them questions about what they liked or didn’t like about the book and ask them to write a short review. Not only will this develop your child’s comprehensive skills, but it’ll help them (and you) figure out what types of books they like.

8. Use Technology

Technology is becoming a staple part of our children’s lives and is changing the way they are exposed to information. So why not use it for reading? This way, children can be exposed to books in a way they are familiar with and provide quick access to millions of stories – one of which is sure to inspire even the most reluctant of readers.

E-readers such as Kindles also provides kids with learning difficulties or visual impairments an opportunity to feel the benefits of reading. For example. the font can be made larger or even changed to suit those who struggle with dyslexia. It also allows children to be in charge of their own learning, strengthening their reading skills by reading at their own pace, having a better sense of autonomy, and overall enjoyment.

The importance of reading should not be ignored. Not only can it benefit young people’s social and cognitive development, but their education as well. Parents play an essential part in developing their child’s reading skills so it is important to foster a home environment where reading is encouraged.
If your child doesn’t like to read, it is important to find out why so you can address the issue. When children don’t like reading when they’re younger, it is unlikely they will be motivated to read when they’re older.
However, don’t force your kid to read things they don’t want to. Books should transport your kids into imaginary worlds, making them smile or laugh or even cry as they get invested in the story. It shouldn’t be a chore – don’t make it one.

Author Visit: Abi Elphinstone

We are delighted that Abi Elphinstone will be ‘zooming’ in to join us on Thursday 20th January all the way from Scotland! Our children will have the opportunity to listen to Abi talk about her writing, where she gets her inspiration from as well as asking her questions about her work.

Welcome to my world



Warden Hill Way Ambassadors

Awards for the Ambassadors of the Warden Hill Way

Governors at Warden Hill hold regular meetings and we hear all about what is going on in school. We also visit the school on a regular basis and see excellent practice.
The behaviour and attitudes of pupils are regularly discussed. The children all subscribe to the school’s values of belong, explore, succeed. Governors frequently hear about the Warden Hill Way, which makes our pupils stand out as children who are determined to behave well and be successful. At a recent meeting, governors decided to acknowledge this by holding a celebration for the best ambassadors of the Warden Hill Way. Teachers have been asked to select a child in their class who stands out in representing the Warden Hill Way. The two School Councils were included in promoting the event during assemblies. It took place on Wednesday 15 December. It gave the Governors a chance to find out more about pupils’ achievements. 

Litter Pick

On Friday 15th October, the Eco Warriors, dressed in their Hi Vis jackets and armed with gloves and litter pickers, set out to Salisbury Avenue Playground to do a litter pick.  The litter pick was inspired by a Warden pupil Ella Head who recently took it upon herself to do a litter pick in her local area.

When the Eco Warriors arrived at the park gates, they were greeted by Councillor Tony Oliver who helped to coordinate the litter pick, together with Councillor Iain Dobie, Mrs Flooks and Karen Watson, who manages the UBICO waste collection contract for CBC.

The children were fantastic during the litter pick and represented Warden Hill brilliantly, helping each other to sensibly collect and bag up the unwanted wrappers and rubbish.

The litter pick was an important activity which continues to raise the awareness within our school and local community of the damage that litter is doing to our environment.

Well done Eco Warriors – a great job

Cheltenham Open Door

As we approach Christmas, we have been thinking about how lucky we are. We have warm homes. Santa will visit us. We have loving families and people to spend Christmas with. We will have yummy Christmas dinners and other treats.

We are getting excited!

We thought it would be great if we could help some local people, who are not as lucky as us.

We have chosen the charity Cheltenham Open Door: https://cheltenhamopendoor.org.uk/

The charity first opened at Christmas and is now open all year, welcoming people from all walks of life through their doors.

Some of the people they help have addictions, mental health problems or physical health issues. Some have no friends or family and are lonely. This Christmas the charity are moving to a bigger building. Since the pandemic, guest numbers have risen 60%, so more space was needed.
During the Christmas period, guests will be able to get a Christmas dinner and everyone will receive a gift bag.
Cheltenham Open Door is a friendly charity where people trust the volunteers.

It is a HAPPY place.

At our school Christmas events this year please look out for School Council members who will be holding collection buckets. If you have some spare cash, please help us by donating, so we can raise some money for this worthy Cheltenham charity.
We wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

Consider donating online: https://www.justgiving.com/cheltenhamopendoor

Advent Book

“How Winston Delivered Christmas is a book written in 24 and a half chapters. You should start reading it on the 1st of December, and then read one chapter a day in the run-up to the 25th. The half chapter at the end is to be read on Christmas day itself!”