Whilst every Bellevue school enjoys its own unique identity, each school shares the same core belief that underpins approaches to teaching and learning and pastoral care. Whilst the core subjects of English and maths play a pivotal role in the curriculum, we strongly believe that education is not just about reading, writing and arithmetic.
On a wider scale, in 2014, Mike Cladingbowl, Ofsted’s director of school standards, warned educational leaders of the need to strike a healthy balance between English and maths and other subjects. With too much emphasis placed on core subjects, children’s experiences, according to Mr Cladingbowl, are in danger of becoming seriously limited. What schools must strive for, is: ‘the right balance between the core subjects and the foundation subjects; between English and mathematics, and art, history, music, geography and so on’.
Many schools aim to ensure the children in their care enjoy access to a broad and balanced curriculum through the teaching of a variety of subjects. How we, at Wandsworth Prep, define a broad and balanced curriculum, however, is everything a child learns at school. As professionals, we continually ask ourselves if high grades and progress alone are enough. We ask ourselves what education is really for, at the deepest level.
First and foremost, we want our curriculum to be the underlying reason why our children love coming to school. Our primary aim is to ignite in each child a passion for learning. Learning, however, has to be meaningful and it has to be memorable.
Hand in hand with laying firm foundations in English and maths, is a truly cross-curricular approach to curriculum planning that allows for relevant aspects of history, geography and science to be drawn upon in a way that brings learning to life through application of skills in meaningful context; alongside this, is more freedom in the teaching and study of art and technology.
This term, the World War II project undertaken by children in Years 3, 4 and 5, will not only build on their historical knowledge and understanding, but will develop the skills of investigation and enquiry with ample opportunity for discovery and challenge. Furthermore, with a focus on life as an evacuee, children will be subtly encouraged to empathise with the 1940s children about whom they read, a skill that will serve to underpin the relationships they form throughout their lives.
At Wandsworth Prep, we teach the child, not just the curriculum.
Bridget Saul - Headteacher