Academic Curriculum

A broad and balanced curriculum is on offer at Westonbirt Prep School for all pupils from those in our Nursery through to those in Year 6.

The full range of academic subjects is offered, many of which are taught by specialist teachers, as well as a wide programme of extra-curricular activities. French, Music, Games, PE and Swimming are all delivered by specialist staff to children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. In addition, speciliast staff also teach Art, DT, Science, Geography and History to pupils in Years 3 to 6.

The full curriculum contains: English, Mathematics, Science, ICT, French, Geography, History, RE, PSHE, Art, Music, DT, Games, PE, Swimming and Outdoor Education.

Many of our pupils are identified as being gifted academically or talented in a particular field. Extra support and encouragement is provided to stimulate these pupils further in their lessons. In addition, extra activities, such the Maths Challenge competition are also offered.

There is normally at least one drama production per term in addition to the annual school summer musicals and regular class assemblies. Through performance and showcasing their talents, children grow in confidence whether playing a role on or off the stage. Productions take place in the purpose built Orangery theatre or in a more informal assembly setting.

Through speech and drama lessons the children develop confidence and communication skills, clarity and diction of speech , vocal and facial expression and intonation, appreciation of poetry and prose plus a great deal of imagination!

Each term the children work towards a specific project – in November they are entered into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art Examinations (LAMDA); in May they enter The Cheltenham Performing Arts Festival and in June they enter the Poetry Vanguard Examinations held on site.

The children have achieved some outstanding results such as Distinctions and Honours in both examinations. Many marks have been in the high 80’s and some in the 90’s.

The Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts saw each and every child rise to the occasion getting record results. The pupils came first in all of the 6 classes that were entered!

We have a formidable Music department and pupils have at least two periods of singing and music per week.music 200

Many children learn an instrument with tuition from peripatetic teachers who cover instruments in the string, brass, percussion and wind disciplines.

However, children often start their musical journey by learning the recorder or xylophone, moving on to more advanced instruments like the piano, violin, cello, oboe, clarinet, flute, viola, guitar, trumpet, trombone and saxophone.

We offer tuition at all levels from the rudiments to the highest grades and encompass both the practical and theoretical side of music. External boards such as the Associated Board of Royal School of Music examine pupils.

Solo singing and voice lessons are also available and children can join the various junior and senior choirs.

Pupils are encouraged to play together in ensembles or chamber groups and demonstrate their aptitude at assemblies, concerts and at external choral venues.

Children at every stage of the school have the benefit of art sessions. We provide a wide variety of materials, textures and colours and help them to try many different mediums, styles and techniques such as pottery, mosaic and sculpture. This allows children the freedom to be inspired and experimental and indulge their vivid imaginations through visual creativity.

Boys and girls use purpose built light and spacious art rooms and they take enormous pride and pleasure in seeing their work exhibited in classrooms and along corridors.

Older children are encouraged to create an art portfolio, essential for preparation for senior school and scholarships.

gifted and talented 200At Westonbirt Prep School we have a ‘gifted and talented’ programme which provides extra educational support for pupils who excel in a particular area, learn faster than others or have the potential to achieve results at a level significantly ahead of their year group.

Pupils may have exceptional ability in an academic subject such as English, maths or linguistics or their talent may take a more practical form in areas like sport, music, art and drama. We also consider leadership, decision-making and organisation skills.

We identify children based on exam results, quality of term work and the observations of teachers. We then arrange for them to participate in our Challenge clubs where they take part in activities designed to stimulate and advance progress.

With such extensive grounds and fine facilities sport is an integral part of Westonbirt Prep School life. We maintain a broad PE and games curriculum so that every child can choose a regular activity, whether competitive or skill-based, and enjoy taking exercise. We will always foster and tutor those children who are a little less able or confident in the sports arena.

Through PE sessions given in the purpose built sports hall (from Nursery onwards) children gain essential skills, including ball skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and building up stamina. Dance, gymnastics and trampoline sessions help them to learn balance, creativity and independence.

Children also start to understand the benefit of teamwork, which neatly feeds into the games programme.

Westonbirt Prep pupils receive specialist coaching in a wide variety of games using our exceptional sporting facilities. These include a 25 metre swimming pool, well-maintained pitches, netball and tennis courts (with a new Astroturf area in planning). The boys play rugby, football, hockey and cricket and the girls’ main sports are hockey, netball and rounders. During the inter-house competitions mixed teams participate in these sports.

Both sexes take part in track and field athletics, swimming, tennis, judo, golf, fencing and cross-country activities.

We encourage a fair, competitive spirit and play many matches, tournaments and galas against other schools and field teams for local, regional and national events. Children can also gain experience and self-confidence through internal House contests and at our annual sports day.

We have close links with amateur and professional sports clubs, expert coaches and host master classes given by the UK’s top sportsmen and women.

Westonbirt Prep School offers a broad range of sports, including tennis. Professional tennis coach, Stephen Johnson, heads up the individual coaching and group coaching (see his profile below).

We offer bespoke tennis programmes at 3 basic levels:

Bronze Package (Social player)
1 x 30 minute lesson per week (individual or a shared group lesson of max 4 pupils)

Silver Package (Competitive player)
1 x 30 minute individual lesson
2 x 30 minute group lessons (max 4 in a group)
1 x 30 minute matchplay session

Gold Package (Performance/Elite player)
Bespoke packages to suit the player’s needs

Each of the individual programmes is tailored to meet the player’s needs, following the Long Term Player Development (LTPD) programme.

The Westonbirt Tennis Academy is available to every child wishing to play tennis, including talented athletes already within the school and tennis players who wish to join the school . Physical screenings and physical programmes can also be arranged for the pupils, as well as tournaments in and out of school.

For further information about Westonbirt Schools’ Tennis Academy please contact our Director of Admissions, Patricia Stevenson on admissions@westonbirt.org

COACH: STEPHEN JOHNSON
CCA LTA Licensed Coach
S.A.Q. International Qualified

I have been coaching full time for 14 years, during which time I have been able to develop my coaching skills to cover a wide range of abilities and ages. I am currently the Head Coach at Bridgwater LTC and also coach at Westonbirt Girls’ School and Sodbury TC. My main interest is in performance tennis and I have coached many successul juniors. During the last 10 years, I have had 9 individual age group winners at the County Championships. Three players made the main draw singles of the National Championships and one player made the semi final of the U14 Girls Championship. In 2005, I coached the winner of the National Fred Perry U10 Championships and in 2009, the winner of the European U14 Tour Event.

As a junior myself, I represented Lancashire and the North West of England. I grew up playing for Holcombe Brook in Lancashire before joining the RAF. In 1994, I was the RAF tennis champion and played at Wimbledon. I had my highest rating of 2.2. I played 10 years for David Lloyds in the Premier Division of the National Club League. In 2011, I was player and captain of Bridgwater Over 35s men’s team which reached the semi finals of the British Over 35s Championships. I am married and have two young boys.

At Westonbirt Prep School we take every opportunity to ensure that our boys and girls immerse themselves in the great outdoors as often as possible.

Fresh air, exercise and learning about and in the landscape environment are central tenets of our educational philosophy.

This is the central idea behind our exciting Forest School programme which has been pioneered by Ann Dicks, our qualified Forest School teacher.

All children, from aged 3 to 11 take part in regular Forest School lessons, which are delivered in our own outdoor classroom in the ‘spinney’. Located in the woodlands within the grounds of the school, the spinney allows boys and girls the opportunity to be inspired by the outdoor environment and our spectacular grounds.

The Forest School methodology is best epitomised by the quote “there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing!” and the children do learn outside in all weathers. Through the Forest School programme we recognise that “boys really can be boys” (and girls really can be girls too) when working, playing and learning out of doors. Through managing risk sensibly and with a common sense apprroach we are able to evoke childhood experiences of yesteryear in a natural environment.

To ensure every child achieves their full potential, particular provision is available for pupils with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and mild attention disorders. Extra support and individually planned programmes and exercises are provided. This might take the form of weekly meetings or short booster sessions over a half term or a term.

The Learning Support department consists of a Learning Support teacher (SENCo) together with Learning Support assistants (LSA’s) and a dedicated learning support room, the Beehive, where teachers can work with small groups or individual children depending on their needs.

Strong working partnerships are developed with parents and all those involved in a child’s well-being, including educational psychologists and other professionals. This is paramount in enabling children to participate fully in school life alongside their peers.