We know that children start school with sparkling imaginations and a willingness to take risks with how they think. We embrace this everyday through our teaching, creative learning and stimulating curriculum that inspires, excites and enables a ‘could be’ attitude. By doing this, we are able to nurture their fertile minds and celebrate each child’s ‘bright spark’ that makes them a unique individual.
Julie Barrow, Head of the Junior School
Our nursery experience is designed to bring out the best in every child. Our motto be what you are reflects the whole school ethos, with children encouraged to develop in a way that suits their own individual interests and skills.
Our range of music, drama, movement and play activities inspires children to grow emotionally, socially and intellectually. Your child will leave our nursery with the confidence and independence needed to adjust to their next challenge: school!
Learning is about much more than literacy and numeracy. It is also about creativity, friendships and understanding the world, which is why we put play at the heart of everything we do. Through play we can support children to build their confidence and independence and empower them to choose, imagine and empathise with other children.
In our free flow environment, our skilled team of practitioners provide a range of inspiring adult-led activities and opportunities, which give the children the balance of self-selected play and adult-supported play. This balance ensures that they meet their full potential in all areas of their learning.
We use an online system called Tapestry to record your child’s time with us. By logging on with a secure username and password, you will see videos and photo observations of your child’s learning and development. You can share it and post any comments and photographs of your own, helping to create a fully holistic view of your child.
Our extensive nursery facilities are thoughtfully designed to encourage your child’s creativity, development and natural passion for learning. We have distinct learning areas: a home corner, a reading space, an area for creative activities such as sand and water play, and a large carpeted area for construction play.
Outside, we have a self-contained play area with grass and hard play safety surfaces so your child can explore the outdoors, enjoying climbing, balancing, ride-on toys and more, all within a safe environment. Children enjoy our themed days, such as Welly Wednesday and Fitness Friday. Activities are child-centred and often child-initiated, with staff as nurturing and resourceful facilitators.
Our nursery is located in the heart of Wells Cathedral School, allowing us to take advantage of the full range of facilities, including the sports and drama halls, music rooms, dining hall, nature area within the beautiful school grounds, and additional play facilities.
We recognise that toddlers need good nutritious food to give them the energy they need to learn and play throughout the day! We provide healthy & varied meals and snacks with each of our sessions so you don’t need to worry about factoring in food as part of your hectic day.
Depending on your choice of sessions, your child can enjoy breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and a light tea with us. Meals are served in the school dining room, which is an ideal opportunity for them to learn the culinary skills they need for lunches at school.
8:00 am – 12:30 pm
11:30 am – 4:30 pm
11:30 pm – 6:00 pm
12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
12:30 pm – 6:00 pm
08:00 am – 4:30 pm
08:00 am – 6:00 pm
Includes Little Wellies Sweatshirt
Education at its best is a deep act of care. If we care, then we will notice. If we notice, then we will act on a child’s behalf. If we act for each child, then they will grow best, will achieve best and will become their best selves. To be known, to be noticed, to be valued and to be cared for are the essentials of a good childhood, and they are at the heart of everything we do.
In their learning and in their life at school, our dedicated team of staff devote themselves to knowing each child’s strengths and needs and responding appropriately. We have rigorous frameworks for knowing, communicating about and acting for each child and meet on a daily basis to talk about our children. The security they have in their relationships with teachers who truly know them and care about them is the springboard for their learning and the guarantee of their well-being.
We understand growing up is a learning process, which can present our children with challenges, and it is not always easy. Children will make mistakes and need to be allowed to learn from them in a safe, supportive environment. Through our dedicated team of staff, which includes form tutors, professional counsellors, qualified nurses and doctors, a head of pastoral care and a Life Skills programme, every child has a ‘safety network’ they can trust if they need to share any worries.
We always take time with each child so we can listen to their joys and concerns. No life or community is without difficulty, and occasionally unkindness will arise. When it does, our children trust us to care, to understand, to listen and to help them resolve things. We work closely with parents and families to resolve any issues, using open and honest communication.
When they leave our Junior School, our goal is to ensure that each of our children has a high level of spiritual awareness, emotional intelligence and self control and are also active and responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to the school and the wider world.
Across the school, the strength of personal relationships between pupils and staff fosters a positive learning environment and teachers give generously of their time both inside and outside the classroom in order to help pupils to learn.
ISI Inspection 2014
Our motto be what you are is reflected in our approach to our curriculum. We give our pupils a range of opportunities designed to help them to discover themselves, to challenge themselves (and be challenged!), to succeed, and to see failure as a learning experience. Through a vast and varied range of learning opportunities our children are able to develop their talents and discover new ones both in and outside of the classroom within an accepting community that encourages everyone to be exactly what they are and become the best version of themselves.
Our Junior School offers a challenging and creative curriculum to inspire our children to become problem-solvers and to take risks from early in their school careers. All children are encouraged to develop teamwork and leadership skills, make friends and have fun.
Children use their initiative and dare to take risks in a supportive environment. Whilst our curriculum complies with statutory requirements and takes account of the general requirements of the National Curriculum and EYFS framework, as an independent school we are released from the constraints of the National Curriculum and pupils receive a rich educational diet.
The children are mainly looked after by their Form Teacher up to Year 3, but also work with specialists in subjects like Games, Music, Art, Drama and Dance. In Years 4, 5 and 6, we have an increasing use of specialised staff across all subjects. In Languages, we want pupils to be confident in embarking upon new challenges so we study French in Year 1-6, with the opportunity to attend a Latin Club for Years 5 and 6 and a Spanish and Portuguese Club for the younger children.
We have a strong and effective partnership with the Senior School, both in terms of shared facilities and specialist teaching.
Artwork exhibited around the school demonstrates the creativity of pupils and junior school pupils have exhibited in the National Gallery.
ISI Inspection 2014
We are proud that Arts Council England recognised our dedication to the creative arts by awarding our whole school the Artsmark Gold, which has only been achieved by a handful of independent schools. It acknowledges our use of visiting artists in workshops, our many trips to theatres, museums and art galleries, and our participation in national and international arts festivals, such as the Edinburgh Fringe where we take many of our productions.
Our annual Arts Week is a fun and rewarding opportunity for all pupils from Nursery to Year 6 to enjoy a range of creative arts activities surrounding a particular theme that changes each year. In the past, we have explored India, the Caribbean, West Africa, China, Bali, Somerset and Time including activities such as drumming, dancing, printing, ceramics, puppetry and sculpture. Each pupil is able to work with professional artists during the course of the week.
Parents are able to see the fruits of the children’s labours showcased at our annual Open Exhibition Afternoon.
We encourage all pupils to perform in our termly informal concerts, which offer everyone (from beginners to specialists) the chance to show off their developing talents. Our range of ensembles and orchestra provide additional opportunities for our talented young musicians to shine and improve. Pupils can audition to become members of the school choir in years 5 and 6 whilst pupils in years 3 and 4 can sing in a fun choir each week.
In Year 1, all pupils have free strings lessons with our specialist music teachers. We also offer a free brass trial scheme to all pupils aged 6-11 with our specialist brass teachers.
All pupils from Nursery – Year 6 have a chance to shine in our drama productions! We separate the productions into two age groups: Nursery – Year 2 and Years 3-6.
The younger children perform a wonderful nativity at the end of Advent term and a special Easter production.
The older children participate in the Christmas Celebration, which is a mixture of music, poetry and prose, and instrumental items celebrating the joy of the season, held in the Cathedral Nave. They also perform in a play at the end of the school year. All pupils perform in one role or another, whether on stage or as part of the vital backstage crew.
Our pupils learn a huge variety of modern and traditional dance movements in our dance studio, and they have a chance to perform in our annual informal concert and at the end of year show.
Through imaginative coaching that emphasises fundamental movement skills, we nurture each and every pupil as resilient and robust self-starters. By giving each child a clear pathway through a range of enjoyable physical activities, we hope to engender self-sufficiency, leadership and a perseverance to aim high in all that they do.
The organisation of a regular and appropriate fixtures programme is important to us. Pupils compete competitively in matches with other schools from Year 3 onwards. Our aim is to involve every pupil in these games with the emphasis on enjoyment and providing opportunities for the children to learn through playing the game with continuous positive encouragement from coaches. We have several teams per age group, which allows all children to experience competitive games at the appropriate level for them.
In addition to our matches in hockey, rugby, netball, cricket and rounders, we also compete in the local cross country league throughout the year, and many of our runners go on to represent Mendip in the inter-area championships. Many of our children also swim competitively for the school swim squad with several going through to the IAPS regional championships round each year.
We also run a wide range of co-curricular sports clubs that all pupils are welcome to attend whatever their ability: games, swimming, running, and rookie lifeguard to name but a few.
A wide array of extra-curricular activities provides excellent opportunities for pupils to develop individual enthusiasms and include cheerleading, drama, dance and sports in the junior school.
ISI Inspection 2014
We believe that every child has strengths and hidden talents; our challenge as teachers and educators is to discover what these are and then nurture them. Our activity programme is a key vehicle to enable this to happen and helps our children to become self-motivated individuals with increased confidence and self-esteem.
Our dedicated team of staff are able to provide a wide range of clubs; from ballet to rookie lifeguard and everything else in between. Some of the new activities added to the programme have been in response to requests from the School Council, which provides an active pupil voice in the Junior School.
In Years 5 & 6 we have an annual outdoor education trip to Skern Lodge, North Devon in Bideford. Their wide range of outdoor education activities, from high ropes to water rafting and tunnelling, encourage our children to explore and challenge themselves as individuals and as a team.
Years 3-6 also enjoy outdoor education as part of their PE programme. As well as orienteering, our children can enjoy climbing on our climbing wall. The Rookie Lifeguard club is very popular with Years 5 and 6, which helps the pupils to develop their aquatic skills.
Our children in pre-prep and nursery do weekly forest school using the wider spaces as their classroom – dressed in wet weather gear and wellington boots, ‘Welly Wednesday’ is one of the highlights of the week for children and staff alike! The children can be seen exploring the nature area, seeing to our chickens, building a bug hotel, gardening, going on scavenger hunts, visiting the local community, or toasting marshmallows on the fire!