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Teaching & Learning

Creating the right conditions for learning.

A prerequisite for all learning in the classroom is a good relationship between staff and children and every year we ensure plenty of time is given to forge and cement these important connections. Working in partnership with home and parents, our teachers build a bond with children that enables them to feel safe and secure within the school environment.

Writing - English lessonOur staff are driven, talented and committed and place St. John’s at the forefront of research informed practice. Regularly incorporating new approaches to teaching and learning, our dedicated teachers are passionate about what they do and are always looking for ways to improve learning and raise expectations. Strong teamwork, combined with regular collaboration when lesson planning, creates an environment of shared expertise and a consistency of experience for our children.

Every subject counts so at St. John’s we don’t teach to the tests, but give careful consideration to the teaching of all subject areas as well as broader, enriching learning experiences. Our measure of learning success is not simply the focus on academic results, we equally celebrate achievements in music, art and sport and value every individual’s potential.

Play and engagement is a quintessential element for children to enjoy their learning and their childhood. As a school we recognise the value of play-based learning and aim to develop a wide range of play environments to meet the needs of all our children. Enjoyment in learning is important for all ages so our child-centred approach to teaching is intermixed with a strong sense of fun. We believe that learning should engage pupils on an emotional level and this aids the achievement of our end goal to develop confident, articulate, well-rounded children who understand the importance relationships with others and enjoy taking responsibility for their own learning.

“Teachers and teaching assistants are highly  skilled at the work they do together.”
OFSTED 2015

Curriculum Overview

At St. John’s, we pride ourselves on a rich and varied curriculum designed to bring learning alive for our pupils.

Pupils writingThrough crafted lessons that engage and challenge, our children grapple with complex, interesting topics balancing knowledge and skills development and enhanced through computing. We take the content as prescribed in the 11 subjects of the National Curriculum and the approved syllabus for RE, and tailor it to our children’s needs through a 2 year rolling programme. We make it purposeful and relevant using real life as often as possible to make learning authentic; that means visits out and visitors in are a regular feature of what we do.

Situated in close proximity to Durdham Downs, Bristol Museum and the city centre means getting out to enhance our children’s learning is easy, but we also travel further afield – be it to Roman ruins in Wales, as a WW2 evacuee to the Steam Museum in Swindon or even for a trip on the London Eye. We also have residential trips in Year 4 and Year 6. Our curriculum continues to develop, with an increasing focus on linking our learning to our local community. The key is to make learning enticing both in the classroom and out, giving our children a real sense of awe and wonder and ensuring that they see learning as an exciting challenge.

We believe that ensuring the National Curriculum is irresistible is just the beginning.

Guitar groupWe teach French from Year 1 upwards, utilizing specialist teachers for this as well as for Music and PE so that our children get expert, passionate teaching and a clear progression.

We are a school that loves to sing and musical opportunities, including learning from a range of instruments, are wide and varied as children move through the school.

Children’s attitude to their physical development is crucial to their health and competitions and tournaments really enhance our PE provision.

Over the course of the year we have a number of immersive themed weeks involving exciting lessons, visitors, an inter-house competition and usually a bit of dressing up! Children get the opportunity to learn in detail about a particular artist, author or culture, or to broaden their musical or sporting horizons.

We are a member of the NW24 Teaching and Learning Partnership with Mr. Hoye chairing the Headteachers’ Group.

NW24 logoThis provides opportunities across the year for our children to take part in a number of inter-school events and competitions including cooking, sport, art, story writing, maths and music. Our curriculum during the school day continues after school across both sites, through our comprehensive activities programme.

As a caring school that aims to enrich all aspects of each child’s development, we put high value on PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education). We make time in the busy day to check in with children, to talk through any issues that arise and to teach them to become independent problem solvers as they navigate the challenges of relationships and growing up.

Transition to Secondary School

By the time our children leave us at the end of Year 6 they are fully prepared for their next stage of learning.

This is reflected in their academic success, and equally in their personal growth. St. John’s pupils are often identifiable by their politeness, their ability to relate to and care for different people of different ages, their attitude to learning and their desire to be the best person they can be. This capability and unassuming confidence enables them to continue to go from strength to strength at their secondary school and embrace the new opportunities and challenges ahead.

Our Year 6 children go to a wide range of both state and private secondary schools. While Cotham and Redland Green Schools receive the majority of our children in the state sector, a third move on to other state schools across the city. We have an excellent track record of St. John’s children securing places in independent schools in Bristol, most notably at Bristol Grammar, Redmaids’ and QEH. The well-rounded education they receive not only enables them to be offered a place, but a number of our children are awarded scholarships for their academic, sporting or musical ability.

Whatever pathway our children go on, their time at St. John’s gives them the best possible start to their education. When past pupils come back to visit us, as they often do, it is a joy to see how they continue to flourish and grow into incredible young people.

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