One can easily be mistaken in thinking that the Spring Term is relatively less demanding than the Autumn Term in that it is short; short it may be, but no less industrious. At Wandsworth Prep, we do just as much, but in less time.
What facilitates the broad learning experiences of all the children in our care, is the dedication and hard work of our teachers, without whom many of the children’s achievements would not be possible. Furthermore, the unrelenting enthusiasm and effort with which the children themselves approach school life needs not be overlooked and remains a key component in the wheel of success.
I never fail to be impressed by the quality of learning that takes place at Wandsworth Prep. The end of term project showcases serve to allow children the opportunity to exhibit the high standards they have achieved, not only in core subjects, but in the wider curriculum. Our curriculum strikes a genuine balance between ensuring firm foundations and creativity.
Alongside what is taught in the classroom, is careful thought given to enhancing children’s learning experiences through competition or access to specialists in their field. The care and attention taken, for example, by children in Years 3, 4 and 5 when writing their own short stories to be entered to the nationwide 500 words competition hosted by Radio 2, might not have been so greatly applied had they been asked to sit at a desk, only to be left to fester in an exercise book.
Whether a child is the next Beyonce or more inclined to sing solos in the shower, the benefits of a broad music education are well documented. In March, all children in Years 3, 4 and 5 donned the mantle of pop stars and went to Wembley Arena to take part in Voices in a Million, a project founded in 2009 to raise awareness for the plight of millions of children worldwide, who are orphaned, abandoned or separated from their birth parents. Aside from the natural euphoria that comes with being part of a 12,000 strong choir in a world class arena, the impact on the children’s sense of unity and ability to empathise was quite intangible.
Extending the school’s musical provision to ensure that each child has the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate music, is one of the aims which the school is seeking to achieve this year. Children of all ages take part in termly music recitals, which not only celebrate their achievements, but play an integral part in building confidence and self-esteem. In addition to current provision, in the Summer Term, children will be able to further explore their talents by learning brass, guitar or singing as well as combining their musical and drama skills to take part in a Glee Club.
Whilst Wandsworth Prep is a small school, we are a small school with wider opportunities, afforded by being a part of Bellevue Education and the Independent Schools Association. In March, children in Year 2 took part in a 5 a side football tournament against four other schools, hosted by sister school, Weston Green School in Thames Ditton. The children who took part returned to school as medal winners, having finished in third position. Aside from allowing children to apply their skills in practice, such events serve to provide children with the valuable experience of working as a team in a competitive environment; life skills which are as integral to future success as academic achievement.
Healthy competition inspires children to achieve their best and should not be narrowed to the sports field. In February, children from Reception to Year 5 took part in the annual Fourth Plinth Art competition, hosted by the London Mayor, to create artworks inspired by the commissions for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. The competition allowed children authentic freedom to explore their creativity; turning their new and imaginative ideas in to reality. The artworks the children produced can be viewed on the gallery of the Mayor of London’s website.
Focus in the Summer Term will continue to be placed on providing our children with a broad and balanced education, enhanced by visits designed to ignite their passion for learning and, at the same time, foster the skills that will strengthen their position as learners. The end of term show cases will allow children to share their learning with their parents through dialogue and discussion; the hallmark of deep learning. Children’s sense of empathy will be enriched through the planned Art auction to raise money for the school’s charity and Sports Day will encourage cooperation, collaboration and sharing the success of others.
Alongside the planned events I, personally, look forward to those impalpable moments which take place in every classroom, with every teacher, on a daily basis when children realise the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of what they are learning.
Bridget Saul - Headteacher