Sonja Jones

Sonja Jones

Hopelands ranked top Independent Preparatory School in Gloucestershire!

Hopelands Preparatory School in Stonehouse has been ranked as the top independent prep school in Gloucestershire, according to The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2022.

 

We were thrilled to receive the news that Hopelands was awarded position number 22 in the newspaper’s Parent Power ‘Top Independent Preparatory School’ league tables, which came out last December.

Parent Power league tables identify the 2,000 highest-achieving schools in the UK, and their table of ‘Top Independent Preparatory Schools’ positions Hopelands as the highest independent preparatory school in Gloucestershire.

Schools are normally ranked by their recent standard assessment tests (SATs). However, as these tests did not take place last year due to the pandemic, Parent Power took a three-year average of the schools’ previous academic outcomes. They focused on Reading, GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling), and Maths. A score of 100 represents the expected standard children should achieve by the end of year 6, Hopelands scored well above this with 110, 108 and 108.

‘This outstanding result, which has seen us increase our ranking by 13 places from last year, alongside recently becoming a Music Mark School, is a fantastic achievement. Together with our dedicated staff, supportive families, and wonderful children I am very proud of the inclusive learning environment we have here at Hopelands,’ said Head Teacher, Mrs Sheila Bradburn.

 

 

Read More

Changing Schools

All every parent wants, is for their child to be happy at school. Seeing your child thrive in an innovative and nurturing environment is key to both their and your happiness. Listening to your child’s excited chatter at the end of the day about what they have learnt, or the games they have been playing, gives you the confidence that they are both settled and content at school.

However, sometimes this does not happen. Your child may be showing signs of struggling at school, becoming disinterested in lessons or have problems with friendship groups. Simply put, they are just not happy. Changing schools can seem extreme, especially part way through the year, but it does happen, and if it is done carefully, it can be incredibly effective in restoring your child’s happiness.

Is it easy to change schools?

At Hopelands, we receive many enquiries from families who are looking to move their child part way through their primary schooling. The first thing we advise them to do, is to come and visit us during a normal school day. They will be able to spend time with the Headteacher and be shown around the school by the Head Pupils. We feel it is important to hear what the children have to say about their school and to see how they behave in the lessons and during playtimes. After the visit we offer a taster session. This provides a great opportunity for the child to come and join their class for either a morning or an afternoon. As we are a small school, with an average of 12 children per class we find that this helps the settling in process as they soon get to know everyone, from Reception right through to Year 6.

What happens when you start at Hopelands?

We recognise that moving schools and making new friends can be a little daunting and we work hard to ensure there is a smooth transition. On the first day the child is assigned a buddy and for children in the younger years their buddy will be a child from Year 6. At Hopelands it is seen as a privilege to be a ‘buddy’ and the pupils treat this role with great pride and responsibility. The buddies often form great friendships with the younger pupils and even have ‘buddy’ photos taken at the end of the year when the school photographer comes in.

The teaching staff keep a close eye to make sure the new pupil is settling in well. If there are any concerns the children are listened to, and a resolution is swiftly found. We pride ourselves on pastoral support and teacher/pupil relationships are key to our success. Our small class sizes come into their own here. But if the new child does not yet feel confident to talk to a staff member, they can post their concerns in the worry boxes which are in every classroom. Every day, the worry boxes are checked by the form teachers to ensure no worries are ever missed.

What do the families say who moved here from another school?

At the end of the day no one understands better what the reality of changing schools means than the families who go through this. We always strive to achieve the best for our families and regularly ask for feedback – here is a snapshot of what some families have said:

‘We hadn’t planned to send any of our children to an independent school. We weren’t sure if we’d “fit in”! Hopelands is a really special place. Freddie immediately felt at home and has thrived and grown into the absolute best version of himself. He is much more confident and happier; he has really been nurtured by the small class sizes and the engaging teaching. We truly believe that moving Freddie to Hopelands has been the best decision we’ve ever made for him. He wasn’t failing in his previous school, he wasn’t unhappy there, but he wasn’t the Freddie we now have!’

‘Our eldest daughter joined Hopelands in year 3. We were nervous about the move as she had been at her previous school for 5 years (nursery & lower prep) but for various reasons we had to make the move. To say it’s the best decision we made is an understatement. She fitted in straight away and her teachers helped with our nerves! She is now just about to start year six and our only regret is we didn’t move sooner.’ 

We were obviously apprehensive about our son changing schools, but from our first contact with Hopelands we were impressed by how welcoming both the children and staff were. He settled in immediately, and the transition could not have gone more smoothly.’ 

To find out more about Hopelands Preparatory School please call 01453 822164 or email scompton@hopelands.org.uk

 

 

 

Read More

What to look for when choosing a Primary School

Choosing the right primary school for your child is one of the hardest decisions for any family. At such a young age you are deciding the next 7 years of your child’s school life. Although people look at different features in a school, most families want their child to achieve the following:

  • Happiness
  • Academic Excellence
  • Creativity
  • Confidence
  • Resilience

and probably most importantly to instil a love of learning. It is important to choose a school which you believe will motivate your child to be the best they can be.

Here are key things to look for when visiting schools:

  1. Open days/mornings are great but to get a true feel for the school, visit again during a normal school day. See the children in the classroom environment, do the pupils look happy and engaged in the lessons, are they working in teams, are they inquisitive? Observe a break time, are the children being kind and respectful, is there any bad behaviour and if so, is it dealt with both quickly and efficiently. Do they walk around school calmly and well behaved? Are they good ambassadors of their school? Do they wear the uniform with pride? Did you feel welcome when you first entered the school?
  2. Look at the displays, they can give a good indication of what the children are working on in class. Do the displays celebrate the pupils’ work and achievements, are they interactive?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

As well as considering the factors above, it is also important to trust your instincts when choosing the right primary school. Nothing beats the feel-good factor when you walk round somewhere. Primary schools can be a fantastic experience for both you and your family; great relationships, academic excellence, and a love of learning which will continue to grow.

The deadline for Primary School Applications for September 2022 is the 15th January 2022.

Read More

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, Madame 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
,

We are open!

Since the 23rd March, together with the rest of the UK, we have been in lockdown. The once busy corridors filled with laughter and happy children were only allowed to be open to the children of key workers. Whilst virtual learning has been successful, it doesn’t beat the face to face contact, so we were thrilled last week when the Government announced that as long as the classes do not exceed 15, we were allowed to open our doors to all the year groups. Seeing the pure excitement as the children lined up, following the social distancing rules, it was clear how happy they were to be back at school. This has only been made possible due to our long standing commitment to keeping class sizes small.

Class size is defined as the number of pupils in a class with one teacher. The average class size for primary schools is 27.1 pupils. However, the 2017 Government figures revealed that there were over half a million primary school pupils in classes of 31-35 children. In addition, 39,088 primary children were in classes of 36 or more pupils, and of these, 16,571 children in classes with 40 or more pupils.

At Hopelands Preparatory School we keep our classes small – at an average of just 12 pupils per class. Being a small, happy school, we are dedicated in enabling all our children to achieve their full potential.

Here are 7 reasons why your child could benefit from smaller class sizes.

  1. More attention from the teacher
    The fewer pupils there are in a class, the more time and attention the teacher can give each one. A teacher will have more opportunity to get to know their pupils, observe how they work and help them improve on their weaknesses. All our teachers get to know each child personally and make a positive contribution to their development. This is not so easy in larger classes as any specific weaknesses or lack of confidence can go unnoticed for a longer period.
  2. Better academic results
    Research has been carried out that links smaller class sizes to achieving greater academic results. Here at Hopelands we seek out the innate talents in each child and provide additional assistance and encouragement where needed. In the last 2 years we have had an average of 95% of our pupils go on to one of the many excellent local Grammar Schools. For a non-selective school, we believe that this says a great deal about the quality of our teaching and learning.
  3. Quieter classes
    The more children in a class, the noisier it becomes. For some children this can be a real distraction and can lead to many disruptions of the lesson being taught. We believe a lesson should be focused on learning and ensuring the children understand what is being taught rather than becoming distracted.
  4. Pupil confidence
    With smaller class sizes pupils feel more confident to put their hand up and ask questions. They feel more at ease contributing their own ideas and feel less intimidated if they do not understand something. This helps strengthen a teacher and pupil relationship and the pupil becomes more engaged in the learning. In larger class sizes, it is easier to ‘hide’ behind the other pupils which could lead to not being able to understand the lesson or they could become bored which can lead to disruptive behaviour.
  5. Social benefits
    Being at school is not just about how well you achieve academically. It is also about learning positive social skills. At Hopelands we work to build resilience, this is achieved through our secure environment which promotes positive attitudes in every child, so they feel able to take risks and become more confident. We also believe in respect; manners are very important to us and each child is taught to be respectful and courteous to each other and staff. All of this will translate positively into the workplace later in life.
  6. Tailored instruction
    With larger class sizes it can be incredibly difficult for a teacher to keep all the pupils fully engaged as their range of abilities could be extreme. With smaller class sizes a teacher will be able to tailor the way they teach to suit the abilities of all the individuals in the class and not just those who need the most help. At Hopelands when we identify an extra learning need, we have the facilities to break into smaller groups to be able to focus on a specific area.
  7. Being able to teach!
    Behind every teacher sits a mountain of administration work. Lesson planning, marking work, sourcing educational events and numerous administration tasks. Being a teacher isn’t just about teaching. In larger class sizes, the actual teaching can become sidelined for all their other non-teaching tasks. The benefits of having a smaller class size enables the teacher to spend more time focused on doing the job they signed up for – being able to teach!
Read More
,

The Benefits of Small Class Sizes

Choosing which school for your child is an incredibly important decision and can seem daunting. There are many questions to ask including:

  • Will they receive an excellent education?
  • Will they be encouraged to be creative?
  • Will they learn resilience and how to get along with their peers?
  • Will they have fun?
  • Will they have opportunities to explore music and dance in extracurricular activities?
  • Will they be happy?

There are many areas to consider and compare when making the decision, one of these is the size of the classes.

Class size is defined as the number of pupils in a class with one teacher. The average class size for primary schools is 27.1 pupils. However, the 2017 Government figures revealed that there were over half a million primary school pupils in classes of 31-35 children. In addition, 39,088 primary children were in classes of 36 or more pupils, and of these, 16,571 children in classes with 40 or more pupils.

At Hopelands Preparatory School we keep our classes small – at an average of just 12 pupils per class. Being a small, happy primary school, we are dedicated in enabling all our children to achieve their full potential.

Here are 7 reasons why your child could benefit from smaller class sizes.

  1. More attention from the teacher

The fewer pupils there are in a class, the more time and attention the teacher can give each one. A teacher will have more opportunity to get to know their pupils, observe how they work and help them improve on their weaknesses. All our teachers get to know each child personally and make a positive contribution to their development. This is not so easy in larger classes as any specific weaknesses or lack of confidence can go unnoticed for a longer period.

  1. Better academic results

Research has been carried out that links smaller class sizes to achieving greater academic results. Here at Hopelands School we seek out the innate talents in each child and provide additional assistance and encouragement where needed. In the last 2 years we have had an average of 95% of our pupils go on to one of the many excellent local Grammar Schools. For a non-selective independent school, we believe that this says a great deal about the quality of our teaching and learning.

  1. Quieter classes

The more children in a class, the noisier it becomes. For some children this can be a real distraction and can lead to many disruptions of the lesson being taught. We believe a lesson should be focused on learning and ensuring the children understand what is being taught rather than becoming distracted.

  1. Pupil confidence

With smaller class sizes pupils feel more confident to put their hand up and ask questions. They feel more at ease contributing their own ideas and feel less intimidated if they do not understand something. This helps strengthen a teacher and pupil relationship and the pupil becomes more engaged in the learning. In larger class sizes, it is easier to ‘hide’ behind the other pupils which could lead to not being able to understand the lesson or they could become bored which can lead to disruptive behaviour.

  1. Social benefits

Being at school is not just about how well you achieve academically. It is also about learning positive social skills. At Hopelands School we work to build resilience, this is achieved through our secure environment which promotes positive attitudes in every child, so they feel able to take risks and become more confident. We also believe in respect; manners are very important to us and each child is taught to be respectful and courteous to each other and staff. All of this will translate positively into the workplace later in life.

  1. Tailored instruction

With larger class sizes it can be incredibly difficult for a teacher to keep all the pupils fully engaged as their range of abilities could be extreme. With smaller class sizes a teacher will be able to tailor the way they teach to suit the abilities of all the individuals in the class and not just those who need the most help. At Hopelands Preparatory School, when we identify an extra learning need, we have the facilities to break into smaller groups to be able to focus on a specific area.

  1. Being able to teach!

Behind every teacher sits a mountain of administration work. Lesson planning, marking work, sourcing educational events and numerous administration tasks. Being a teacher isn’t just about teaching. In larger class sizes, the actual teaching can become sidelined for all their other non-teaching tasks. The benefits of having a smaller class size enables the teacher to spend more time focused on doing the job they signed up for – being able to teach!

 

Read More