Our new Learning Enhancement teaching space
Ensuring that every child is included and that they have access to high quality education is the key focus our learning support department. We have excellent Teaching Assistants who support pupils within the classroom on a daily basis, working with class teachers to ensure their needs are met. Sometimes, however, pupils need extra support that requires them to have specialist intervention and that is when they access our fabulous resource, The Treehouse. Launched in September, The Treehouse, based next to the Art Room is a quiet haven of specialised learning.
The Treehouse has three main branches: in one, we now have a wonderful Specialist Teacher, Mrs Eccles who works with our pupils who have diagnosed specific learning differences. She plans and delivers high quality specialist teaching that links directly to the pupils' learning needs and styles. In another branch, our experienced Learning Support Tutor, Mrs Miller works with pupils with a range of needs. She teaches fine motor skills for our dyspraxic pupils, working memory techniques for our dyslexic pupils and provides high quality, personalised interventions for pupils in reading, spelling, comprehension and Maths skills. All the team work closely with class teachers and parents to ensure that strategies taught are linked into classroom and home learning.
An equally important branch, and a development that we are all proud to offer, is the “Breathe Branch” This core area of The Treehouse is a calm space, where pupils who need to, can come to relax and re-set before returning to the classroom. In this area, we have bean bags, “grass” to wiggle their toes into, calming lights, bubbles, anxiety aids and books addressing their emotional needs. Pupils can listen to relaxing music with headphones or take the time out to talk through their worries with one of our team, often working through strategies developed in their one-to-one learning support sessions.
The Treehouse is also home to the “Listening Ear” service, where at breaktimes and lunchtimes, pupils can come to talk through any worries or concerns in this calm and welcoming environment. If you haven’t yet had the chance to see this wonderful new resource, please do pop in and see us!
Mrs Bidgood, Head of Learning Enhancement
WHITE ROSE FRIDAYS
This term has seen the introduction of an exciting new initiative in the Maths Department called 'White Rose Friday'. White Rose is a scheme of work designed to deepen understanding, confidence and competence in Maths and really focuses on making strong mathematical links between numbers and concepts. This initiative was introduced after extensive data analysis revealed that although the children's arithmetic skills were strong, problem solving was the area that the children found most challenging. White Rose Friday has been a huge success and we have already seen improvements with problem solving!
Mrs Millard, Head of Maths
GOLD FOR EXCELLENCE IN STEAM
Heywood Prep has developed its own approach to ensuring pupils are well equipped for the 21st Century workforce. In an ever changing climate of fast paced technology and communication, we envisage that our unique approach to STEAM ensures pupils can handle all that their future holds at a time when futures can seem unpredictable.
Our pupils benefit from a dedicated STEAM curriculum, bringing together disciplines in STEM with the creative drive of the Arts. Pupils experience at least one hour of STEAM teaching and project work per week, as well as a cross-curricular approach in all Maths, Science and Computer Science lessons. As a pupil-centred community, we have listened to what pupils are engaged and excited by and married this with likely developments that will shape their future. At the heart of our STEAM curriculum, that runs right from the EYFS to Year 6, is the Engineering Design process (EDP). In much the same way that pupils use the Scientific Method to problem solve investigative questions about the world, the EDP allows pupils to find creative and meaningful solutions to real problems. Our EDP ensures pupils know the steps to take to solve problems, regardless of what they are and how they find them. Using the EDP as the delivery for all of our STEAM lessons ensures all pupils leave Heywood well equipped for an ever changing challenging future. Three themes are embedded in our weekly STEAM lessons, one theme for each term.
Earth and Beyond – This theme explores many of the space based technologies and exciting new developments in space science that will unfold in our pupils’ futures. Pupils of all ages have a passion for space and with recent interest in Tim Peake’s Principia mission due to be repeated, we felt it wise to capitalise on the huge range of resources being developed to support the UK’s renewed position in space missions including the ExoMars rover, the James Webb telescope and the InSight lander. Space themes occur not just in our STEAM curriculum but elsewhere such as in EYFS, Maths, Computer Science and Science. Our staff have a strength in Space Science and have used their knowledge and expertise well to enrich pupils experiences. Wherever possible we invite local groups and industries to further improve the pupil experience of STEM problem solving. Aerospace Bristol, the British interplanetary Society and Bath Astronomers have all contributed to what we offer at Heywood. We have been keen to involve the local community too, with Observation and ‘Little Stargazers’ evenings for parents and pupils. Our rich development of space sciences at Heywood has even helped us enrol in the National STEM Learning centre’s ‘Space Education Quality Award’.
The United Nations’ Global Goals form another term’s theme for our STEAM curriculum. In this strand, pupils in all year groups take on set goals such as finding affordable and clean energy, helping preserve aquatic life and terrestrial life, and even considering ways to beat poverty and hunger. Using the EDP, pupils must find realistic, manageable ways to solve what feel like overwhelming problems. To their credit, with only a little guidance many pupils have shown their determination to find ways to help. Teachers act as facilitators, putting pupils in touch with industry experts to help them. One such example includes STEM Ambassadors who have visited to share their knowledge of the water cycle, another example is pupils visiting Trowbridge County Hall to meet with Environmental Officers – in this instance, pupils demonstrated a prototype tool to detect unsuitable drinking water and left with further advice on how to improve it using UV light. Wherever possible, pupils take on the responsibility of working to solve the problem at hand; when given responsibility, pupils create sensible solutions.
Our final strand of our STEAM curriculum is perhaps the strand that excites and engages pupils and parents alike the most – The Joy of Living. Often the ‘cool’ factor of technology is finding ways to occupy our time leisurely, and this strand of STEAM learning utilises this. Visiting theme parks and using Lego to engineer our own rides, exploring digital art software and making music with Makey Makey are a few of the ways we explore engineering for the sake of fun! Most recently, our Gifted and Able pupils were delighted to help a local law firm prepare for their team training day, by teaching them all they knew on building and programming robots. The robot our pupils created for them, and loaned them, went on to win for the adults in their team event. Using the EDP to solve new and challenging problems has instilled our pupils with a sense of purpose and capability that they take beyond our classroom.
STEAM at Heywood Prep certainly has a lot to offer, our school does not rest on its laurels as our teachers continually adjust and edit the content and experiences we offer to pupils. Technology and the ways we use it are always changing, and so is Heywood Prep.
Heywood Prep received two coveted awards for STEAM education this term; we earned a Gold award in the Space Education Quality Mark and were winners of the Independent Schools Association Innovation in STEAM award.
Mrs Evans, Head of Science
Children in the Prep Department were completely absorbed by the visit from WWI expert, Steve Williams who brought a fascinating collection of artefacts in to show us and his talk gave the children an insight into life in the trenches focusing on a soldiers kit and the terrible conditions endured with the mud, rats and lice. Children wrote some letters home from the trenches and also had the challenge to devise their own ‘tank.’
In English lessons, Year 6 very much enjoyed studying ‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo which provided the opportunity for some very evocative poetry writing and in Art lessons, children from Y1-6 made their own clay poppy which then became part of a large poppy art installation on the tree outside the main school.
Miss Colbridge, Head of Humanities
THE joy of learning to read
News from the Reception Classrooms
From unknown symbols on a page to reading simple words and sentences independently, the Reception children have travelled on a magical reading adventure this term.
Through a discovery of phonemes each week, the children quickly began to recognise individual sounds, blending them together to read words. Captivating the children’s enthusiasm for reading through songs, actions, games and puzzles, our Reception children have quickly mastered the art of reading a story. The delight on the children’s faces when they realise that they could read the bedtime story to their families is magical to witness, and we look forward to helping them apply their phonic skills to help them record their own imaginative ideas as they learn to write next term.
Mrs Lawrence, Head of Upper Prep
WHERE OUR FOOD COMES FROM
What's been happening in the Nursery this term?
One of the main focuses in Nursery this term has been harvest and farming. The children have enjoyed creating some very colourful displays for their classrooms including farming scenes complete with scarecrows, combines and a variety of crops, as well as using a variety of fruit and vegetables and paint to create some lovely art work. As part of this topic we walked the children into Corsham one morning to visit the various shops and look at the produce they sold. The highlight of this trip was visiting the greengrocers and purchasing a variety of fruit which we brought back to Nursery. The children really enjoyed using this to make fruit salad for their lunch.
Through this topic we were able to teach the children about different kinds of food, where they come from, how they are produced, healthy eating, and even introduce such concepts as shape, size and colour as well as exploring, forging links and learning about our local community.
Mrs Jones, Head of Nursery
Wow - what an amazing term of Sport at Heywood Prep! Fixtures in rugby, hockey and football against the Bath and surrounding Prep Schools have come and gone, and the progress and development that has been made by pupils has been incredible. There have been some excellent results, although performances are so much more important. I would like to thank all the staff who have made this possible, and the fantastic support on the sidelines by the parents. Some of the highlights of the term have included: being Flag Bearers for Bath RFC in their match versus Worcester Warriors RFC, all children from Reception to Year 6 participating in the Inter-House Cross Country; we are building up a reputation of strong runners! I look forward to the upcoming ISA South West Cross Country at Exeter in January. I am proud that every child has had the opportunity to regularly represent the school in fixtures.
In January, Years 4-6 will have their Sports Tour to Hooke Court, Dorset and the opportunity to play fixtures against Taunton Prep and Perrott Hill Prep School. The U11 Boys Hockey Team will be playing at the Lee Valley Olympic Hockey Park in London, whilst we will have a number of pupils representing at the ISA Table Tennis and Fencing events. We wish them all the best of luck!
Heywood Prep continues to provide a diverse range of sporting opportunities and the department will continue to facilitate, support and nurture all of their ability levels.
Mr Knight, Director of Sport