Archives for 2021

You are browsing the site archives by date.

The Benefits of learning a language at Primary School.

At Hopelands Preparatory school we believe it is important for all children to be given the access and knowledge to not only learn a new language, but to also gain an understanding of another county and their culture.

French is spoken by over 221 million people across five continents and is the second most widely learned language after English. It is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, visual arts, dance, and architecture.

Instilling a love of language at an early age has many benefits, at Hopelands Preparatory School we support this by having a specialist French teacher who teaches the children from Reception through to Year 6. Through learning from an expert, the children become fully immersed in the world of language. Not only does this build their language skills it also supports their transition to secondary school. Our French teacher, Madam Trebble, outlines the following benefits.

‘Learning French’: 

  1. Is fun! French provision at Hopelands offers the children the chance to explore French through games, songs, rhymes, and storytelling.
  2. Promotes self-confident and curious learners. Pupils are encouraged to become language detectives and as they learn to ‘crack the code’ there is a repeated sense of accomplishment.
  3. Enhances communication, social and literacy skills. Lessons focus on practising reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
  4. Provides opportunities to perform which nurtures pupils’ self-esteem.
  5. Improves memorisation skills and the ability to interpret meaning. Pupils are presented with many new items of vocabulary and structures.
  6. Enhances knowledges of your own language. As pupils’ study French grammar and compare it to their own, English grammar rules are reinforced and made clearer.
  7. Increases intercultural understanding. Pupils are encouraged to explore, compare and contrast aspects of culture with those of other countries.
  8. Develops critical thinking skills, problem solving, creativity and flexibility of mind. Learning a language helps to boost children’s cognitive development.
  9. Improves performance. Many studies have shown that foreign language learners tend to perform better in maths, reading and vocabulary tests than those who don’t!

Learning a language allows you to fully appreciate the culture and engage with local native speakers when traveling, hugely enhancing the experience of travel.

Gone are the days where French lessons consisted of looking through the Tricolore and wearing a beret on the obligatory French day. Now the children discover the wonder of language through songs, games, puzzles, storytelling and more.

If you wish to find out more about what Hopelands can offer for your child please contact us on 01453 822164 or email scompton@hopelands.org.uk

Read More

Summer Performance of Oliver

Lights on, videographer ready, staging set, Stonehouse Court Hotel booked, and the children rehearsed. The only thing potentially missing was the audience. With the late announcements of further restrictions, seating plans had to change, key stage bubbles could not mix, and we had to adhere to the hotel’s Covid policy.

Our fantastic and understanding families supported us with the new seating plan. The use of a large gazebo for the younger children ensured they could remain an integral part of the whole school performance. Lastly, the clever juggling and re-arranging of the show by our drama teacher meant ‘Oliver’ could go ahead against all odds.

We were absolutely thrilled that the children were able to hold their summer production of ‘Oliver’ in front of an audience. The children had an amazing time and performed to perfection! The production was filled with acting, dancing, singing and most importantly children having fun. But the icing on the cake was for parents to share their children’s enjoyment.

We are all looking forward to our next show!

Read More

Memories from one of Hopelands first ever pupils!

In 1954, Mrs Eva Murray-Browne, who was the wife of a Doctor and lived in Stonehouse, saw that there was a need for an affordable local school which offered excellent education. She was a mother of 4 children and she originally founded the school in her home which was called the Mount (pictured). Her vision was to encourage pupils to learn together in an environment of strong family values. It is incredible to think that our school originally started with just fifteen pupils round the dining room table and is now bustling with over 70!

The vision of Mrs Murray-Browne, developed over fifty years ago, is still integral to the success and progress of Hopeland’s Preparatory School. By working closely with our Hopeland’s parents, we retain the family and homely atmosphere while continuing to achieve academic excellence.  Our aim is to ensure, that by the time our pupils leave us in Year 6, they are confident, resilient, inquisitive young people who have gained a love for learning and a zest for life.

We love hearing from former pupils, and we were delighted when John Tuffin got in contact. He attended the Mount from 1954 to 1956, together with his brother and sister, (in those days boys had to leave when they turned 7). John said it was a happy experience where he received a high standard of tuition and unlimited kindness.  Here are some of his recollections from his time at Hopelands:

I have abundant memories of The Mount, as it then was. (Hopelands was the name of the house where it later moved, further up Regent Street).

Mrs Murray-Browne was the Principal and never far away.  On a day-to-day basis the school was run by two friends, Miss Gallie and Miss Bowmer.  They were talented teachers.  Miss Bowmer was very musical.  Other teachers were Miss Alliston and Miss Saint.  In keeping with the Parents National Education Union tradition, various mothers used to come in and help as well.

Apart from the three Rs we learned some general culture about Roman history and Greek legends.  We started French, read Bible stories, and had a lot of music.  When I was about 6, we had Picture Study.  Each term we were given a book of reproductions of about 10 paintings by a single artist.  Every week we spent a period looking at one of these and discussing it.  I did Vermeer, Gozzoli and Memling.  Vermeer and Gozzoli struck a particular chord with me, and I still have one of the Gozzoli reproductions.

We also spent a lot of time with games of all sorts, drawing and painting, sewing and crafts.  In the summer we played rounders outside. The food was excellent and abundant, and we had lunch in Mrs Murray-Browne’s dining room.

I have only good memories of Hopelands, I am delighted to see that you are still going, and I wish you every success for the future.

A fantastic insight into the early days of Hopelands!

 

Read More

Lockdown Part 3 – What our parents say

Within a week of entering 2021 the nation was put on lockdown once more. With minimal notice, plans had to be cancelled, businesses and schools were closed, parents hoped their home IT was up to the challenge and school staff aged a few years overnight.

Within a day, Hopelands Preparatory School teachers moved their lessons online and the virtual timetable, which had been developed to strengthen pupils’ resilience and continue their passion for learning, was implemented. The virtual timetable mirrors the school day and runs from 8.30-3.30. Every subject continues to be taught including art, DT, dance, French, PE, and music. The children attend the lessons, interact with their form teachers, see their friends, ask questions, and receive feedback on their work. We know that home schooling can be both uninspiring and isolating, so having this interaction with teachers and peers is key to continuing the successful relationship the pupils have with our school. To date we have had an outstanding high engagement rate with our pupils through the virtual learning which we are incredibly proud of.

There are 10-minute breaks between each lesson as well as the longer morning and afternoon breaks and time for a healthy lunch. Children are encouraged to move away from the screen, run around outside or play with their siblings or toys.

Parents have both embraced and supported the timetable and have been instrumental in encouraging their children to carry on their love of learning. We have listened and acknowledged their feedback as it is important for us to understand how we can further support our families through these difficult times.

 

  • ‘I am amazed and grateful for how well the online learning appears to be working and a credit to all those involved in accomplishing this.  Thank you.  Our son is certainly more comfortable with the experience this time round, if still a little reluctant to open his camera!  Tomorrow morning’s music session might sort that out as he presents his violin and a short piece of music!’

 

  • ‘We have been blown away by how brilliant you have all been this term, and prior to this lockdown. It is evident there has been a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes preparing for a possible lockdown, but to roll out a full online timetable for all 6 classes with 24 hours’ notice is incredible! The communication has been fantastic, both from you all in the office, but also from all the teachers keeping us updated with lesson plans. We were very impressed with how the class teacher adjusted her teaching plans considering feedback from some of the parents, adapting content and providing resources such that classes could be carried out off-line if that was the parents’ preference. She has also been brilliant these last two days managing on-line teaching and 4 students in class. We are reminded, yet again, how pleased we are that we decided to send our child to Hopelands…. as before in the previous lockdown, the ‘I can, I will, I do’ attitude shines through.’

 

  • ‘We are so deeply grateful for the day we stepped into the Head Teachers office: two confused worried parents, too frightened to make the change to Prep School. “Well, what are you waiting for?!” you asked us quite firmly! It was just the shake we needed. Our daughter is flying at grammar school and we are so grateful for the excellent quality of teaching our youngest child is receiving at Hopelands. So, thank you one and all.

 

  • ‘Just wanted to say what a fantastic job you and the rest of the staff are doing. The Government really did spring it on everyone this time, but it has been incredibly smooth and well organised. Both my children really enjoyed the school experience yesterday, so thank you’

 

  • ‘We just wanted to say how pleased and impressed we are with the provision of teaching during the lockdown. It’s great to see how well the children and teachers can work together remotely.’

 

Read More

Choosing a Primary School for your child during lockdown

Choosing the right primary school for your child is one of the hardest decisions for any family and made even more difficult during a national lockdown. At such a young age, you are deciding the next 7 years of your child’s school life. Everybody has a different set of criteria in terms of what they are looking for in a school. However, most families want to ensure their child achieves the following:

  • Happiness
  • Academic Excellence
  • Creativity
  • Confidence
  • Resilience

and most importantly to instil a love of learning that leads to academic success.

In normal times you can visit different schools and see the children in the classroom environment. As soon as you enter a school, your instincts will tell you, if you have a good feeling about it. However, due to Covid, schools are currently closed to external visitors, which makes choosing much more difficult. There are other ways which can help with your decision:

  1. Contact the school to arrange a virtual meeting with the Head Teacher. At Hopelands Preparatory School we are happy to organise meetings via Microsoft Teams with our Head, the appropriate class teacher, and the parents. At these meeting you can discuss your needs and hopes for your child. Ask questions, how does the school support high or low achievers, is there a parent / pupil survey which you can look at, where do children normally go to secondary school afterwards, is there morning and/or after school provision etc.
  2. Study the schools’ website. Is there information on there about the school’s ethos and values? If so, do you agree with them? Read their latest OFSTED/ISI report. Does the school have regular newsletters, it may be useful to have a look through recent ones as this will give you an insight into daily school life. Are the children’s achievements celebrated frequently? Check out the school calendar, is it filled with different trips and excursions? All these will enrich a child’s learning.
  3. Find out if the school offers extracurricular clubs. If a school has a wide variety of both lunchtime and after school clubs this can really add to a child’s school experience, and is a sign of committed and passionate teachers, who will want to go the extra mile to support your child’s educational journey.

Schools have been, and continue, to be working above and beyond during the pandemic. At Hopelands we are following our timetable online with every subject being delivered including art, PE, music, and dance. Our children have yet again risen to the challenge of virtual learning. They have all engaged and it is clear to see that their in-school training on Teams has been highly beneficial. Their focus, concentration and resilience has been apparent, and we are very proud of them.

If you wish to find out more please call 01453 822164 between 8.30-3.30 or email scompton@hopelands.org.uk to find out more.

 

Read More