Welcome & Prospectus
Welcome from Mr & Mrs Capper
- A safe and nurturing family environment where learning is fun.
- Independent thinking with a creative, broad-based curriculum.
- Self-confidence and respect for others.
We aim to give children the best education possible for they can only give their very best if they are happy and interested in what they are doing. Silverhill School achieves this by keeping the children motivated and involved in a wide range of activities both in and out of the classroom.
Naturally, importance is given to academic progress and our small class sizes assist with this. A great deal of individual attention is given to each child. We also believe that children need to develop self-confidence and self-discipline, and to learn good manners and consideration for others. This is a caring environment in which children flourish.
The progress of the children thrives on close communication between the Headmistress and the teachers. Termly discussions are held to monitor the progress of each individual child, as well as half-termly assessments, parents’ meetings and reports.
This, combined with clear target-setting, has evolved into a coherent and sensitive team of staff, keen to work closely with parents in the upbringing of their children.
The school benefits from being set in nine acres of grassland, gardens and trees. We believe that the educational importance of the school extends beyond the classroom, embracing all that the seasons of the year offer.
Every child deserves the highest standard of care, love and security. We focus on building close relationships with both children and parents to ensure their needs are met and we have an open door policy enabling parents to speak with practitioners on a daily basis.
We believe that the safe and stimulating environment we provide enables babies and young children to thrive and develop.
Throughout their time in Early Years, we track your child’s progress to ensure that we are helping them meet their potential. We want children to become enthusiastic and motivated learners who thrive on discovering new things.
The Baby & Toddler Unit and Nursery benefit from having loyal and experienced staff taking care of the children from 8:00am to 6:00pm, throughout the year. Pre-School children follow a term-time structure with the option of SCAMPS Holiday Club for out of term time care.
Baby & Toddler Unit
‘It’s a very difficult time giving your baby to someone else to look after however comfortable you feel about the setting. From day one we felt that we had made the right decision to put her in the capable hands of the Baby Unit. The team quickly became like second mothers to her, and they still are.’
Situated in the characterful old coach house, our Baby and Toddler unit have both activity-packed play rooms and separate sleep rooms for quiet and calm time to rest. We also have appropriate bathroom facilities which allow children the independence to wash their hands and begin toilet training.
‘My daughter has only recently started in the Nursery, as she turned 3, but she settled in straightaway. The staff are very welcoming and polite and made her feel at ease. They do a wide range of activities throughout the day and make sure that the children play outside twice a day. The food is also excellent with a great variety. There is also a great link between parents and staff with weekly newsletters and organised events. I couldn’t be more pleased with everything about the nursery.’
With three generous-sized play rooms and small class numbers, children in Nursery are encouraged to be independent in their self-care needs and their daily routine. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity and working within the guidance of the EYFS, through structured play, the foundations are laid for their education.
‘Our daughter has a great time every day she goes to Pre-School and that’s due to the highly motivated staff who work at Silverhill. Its caring and committed people is what sets this setting as second to none. We couldn’t be happier.’
At three to four years old, children attend Pre School where we have two classes; Bunnies and Owls, each with a maximum of sixteen children and a staff ratio of 1:8 children.
In Pre-School we work towards enabling a smooth transition to Reception by providing children with a strong, solid foundation in all the Key Areas. During their time in Pre-School, our experienced practitioners will take every opportunity to extend the child’s skill and support their learning. Working within the EYFS framework, children are supported to tackle challenges and manage risks in a safe environment. We provide a rich, stimulating setting for children to thrive and grow, encouraging them to be independent and confident, building on their self-esteem in a caring and nurturing environment.
Our specially designated Early Years garden provides open space where children have the opportunity to enhance their physical skills, communication and language skills, role play, sensory, maths and personal skills.
Forest School is an experience outside the classroom that offers children the opportunity, over repeated visits, to engage with the rich, natural diversity of the woodland environment. We are very fortunate to have extensive grounds at Silverhill School where we can see wildlife such as squirrels, hedgehogs and a variety of birds and where we can teach children to build nests and animal houses, encouraging them to respect and understand their natural environment.
The Forest School ethos is based around promoting independence, good self- esteem and building confidence. This approach is delivered through allowing children to have space and freedom.
Although some boundaries and rules are necessary to keep children safe, playing outdoors allows children the freedom to take risks and develop life skills, whilst giving them a break from the over-stimulating classroom environment.
In Forest School children have a choice of how to spend their time and activities can be repeated until the child feels satisfied with their achievement, helping to build confidence, sensitivity, resilience and curiosity.
Essentially, Forest School time is child-led and adults simply act as facilitators, being there to mentor and help children in their discovery of the natural world.
‘My daughters attended Silverhill from Transition until Year 6. During that time they experienced a fantastic education with many extra-curricular activities including the study of wild life at the Silverhill Coach House pond and an educational trip to France. We are lucky enough to have some very fond memories of our time at the school including some fantastic drama and choir productions, not to mention Sports Days where each and every child is encouraged to do their very best. Our daughters moved onto senior education armed with confidence, great social skills and a solid foundation from which to develop their academic ability. The teaching staff at Silverhill are second to none and small class sizes mean that each child is given the required level of attention. Silverhill became our extended family during our time with them and we would recommend it to anyone looking for a first class education for their child in a warm and friendly environment.’
‘Silverhill is a family school for people who want to be part of a community which welcomes and nurtures all.’
Reception and Key Stage 1
Reception and Key Stage 1 benefit from having well-qualified teachers and support staff to ensure all their educational needs are met. The children are also offered Spanish, PE, Games and Music by specialist staff. In Year 2 they are introduced to French. (note made of Year 1)
Reception is the introduction to children’s main school career. It is the end of the Foundation Stage and the children still follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. When children begin their Reception year, they attend full time from the beginning.
Children are taught by their own class teachers as well as specialist P.E. and Spanish teachers.
There continues to be a focus on learning through play as well as structured activities. The children have reading books sent home daily alongside daily phonic sessions that are fun and interactive.
We make the most of our beautiful grounds and also take part in Forest School initiatives. At break times, children in Reception will play with children in Year 1 and 2 in the playground or the Orchard.
The children have lots of fun whilst learning and laughter can be heard every day!
Year 1 is the start of more formal schooling, a time where children learn to take ownership of their own desk and belongings. However, although we follow the National Curriculum framework, their learning is often led by the children’s own ideas, allowing their questions and creativity to enhance their learning.
Morning lessons are primarily literacy- and numeracy-based and children are given weekly spelling tests and encouraged to read regularly. During afternoon lessons children experience a variety of subjects, including Spanish and Topic work. They also go swimming fortnightly and are taken to visit the local library.
Year 1 sees the children mature emotionally and independently as they enjoy being part of the Key Stage 1 (KS1) community.
In Year 2 children continue to consolidate and extend the skills and knowledge they have gained in Year 1.
As their reading becomes more proficient, the children begin to answer more complex comprehension questions and widen their experience of different genres, covering fiction and non-fiction. Literary skills are strengthened and creative story writing is developed.
In Maths, multiplication and division are introduced and children begin to use their number skills to solve simple problems both mentally and using written methods.
In other subjects, including Science, the Humanities and the Arts, a cross-curricular approach is taken enabling the children to make links between their learning.
Key Stage 2
The curriculum becomes more subject-based: Latin, Spanish, Classical Civilisation and IT are introduced and taught by specialist teachers. Not only are the pupils prepared for SATS and, where required, entrance exams to independent secondary schools, but they are also given the opportunity to develop as confident and well-mannered people in their own right.
Debating has become a very popular and energetic item on the curriculum for Years 5 & 6, who are becoming increasingly articulate about national and local issues.
This is the beginning of Key Stage 2 (KS2) and the children start to take on additional responsibilities and are encouraged to become more independent in their approach to school life.
A unique feature of KS2 at Silverhill School is that children are taught a number of subjects by specialist subject teachers in different classrooms. This encourages movement around the site and starts to prepare children for life at secondary school. In addition, children in Year 3 are introduced to Classical Civilisation where they learn about the Chaos theory and hear stories of the gods and goddesses of Antiquity.
Children are now also offered the opportunity to do Speech and Drama and prepare for LAMDA exams.
The annual Year 3 trip is linked to the history curriculum and will be either a Roman or Viking related activity day which is highly interactive and greatly enjoyed by all.
At playtimes, Year 3 children join their older friends in the ‘big field’ with its obstacle courses, green spaces and den-building areas.
Year 3 offers a great start to children’s more senior years here.
New specialist subjects, Latin and Grammar, are introduced in Year 4. Grammar, having now returned to the National Curriculum, is assessed at the end of Key Stage 2 in a separate Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling paper.
The use and usefulness of Grammar is reinforced in Latin lessons and the children build on their knowledge of Classical Civilisation from Year 3.
During Year 4 the children begin to consolidate their organisational skills, taking responsibility for looking after all their belongings and ensuring all their homework is handed in on time. This puts them in good stead for secondary school.
This is the beginning of Upper KS2 and we now expect the children to be more independent in their organisation and personal life.
Extracurricular activities start to feature more and in Year 5 the children are involved in a number of clubs such as Dance, Art, Music, Science and Drama.
In addition, at Year 5 children are introduced to Debating. This is a very important part of our curriculum as it helps the children to think beyond their immediate world to the diverse issues that may occur globally e.g. pollution and global warming, along with national issues such as whether or not to remain as a country in the European Union, etc. Here the children’s knowledge about our world and its social issues are debated and analysed.
A pupil who moved to secondary level wrote in to say:
‘Debating. Wow, I miss debating so much. It was the lesson I loved the most and it was the lesson when in fact we became the teachers.’
The KS2 play is staged alternate years in the summer term and Year 5 are involved in all aspects of its production both front and back of stage. This gives the children a chance to experience working within a team, whilst helping them to develop new skills and grow in confidence.
A residential trip is offered to children in KS2 and takes place every other year. This is a wonderful opportunity for children to develop independence away from home.
Year 6 is the final year of the Primary Phase where the main aim is to prepare children for Secondary School. During Year 6 children will be given the opportunity to take on roles of responsibility within the school such as register monitors, librarians, IT monitors and buddy workers with KS1 children. They are called upon to show parents around the school during Open Days and to set up the hall for assemblies.
By Year 6 the children are exclusively taught by specialist subject teachers and they are used to moving around the school. We greatly encourage independence and the children always rise to the challenge.
There is currently a statutory end of year assessment in Maths and English during the Summer Term (May). The children enjoy the challenge of the revision programme and feel a huge sense of achievement when the tests are over. They also delight in the opportunity to eat a varied breakfast each day of the exam week, prepared by our wonderful kitchen staff, which includes bacon sandwiches and Pain au Chocolat!
In Year 6, children visit the Lifeskills Learning for Living Centre in Bristol – an invaluable experience – where they are put into real life scenarios, learning and demonstrating safety skills and facing emergency situations.
As outlined in the Year 5 details, children either take part in a whole school drama production or enjoy a wonderful trip.
Year 6 is a memorable and exciting year and we aim to have prepared the children well for the next stage of their academic career. Past pupils often come back to visit us and tell us that they will always remember their time at Silverhill School.
The site is ideal for Silverhill’s sporting activities, which include Football, Netball, tag Rugby, Cricket and Hockey – not to mention Tennis and Athletics in the spring and summer terms. Swimming is also timetabled. Competition with local schools is a regular feature.
A former pupil had this to say about rugby:
‘I started playing rugby at Silverhill when I was 7. We played tag during games and I also went to the after school club. Doing this encouraged me to join a club out of school.
Playing tag taught me about teamwork, spacial awareness and core skills as well the rudiments of the game.
When I was in Year 5, I ran a lunchtime club for the Year 2s teaching them tag rugby. This helped to improve my communication as well as my understanding and perspective of the game.
When I went on to secondary school, I captained my school team and also got selected to play for the year above.
In Year 8, I was put forward to play rugby for Bristol Academy. As well as playing for my school and club, I now also train weekly with Bristol Academy.’
Specialist Sports Teachers, both male and female, are an equally important part of the children’s educational environment. Self Defence classes are taught by a Black Belt Taekwondo champion and we also have football and rugby specialists.
We are able to consult with a Dyslexic and Dyspraxia specialist and a Speech and Language therapist if your child needs an assessment and ongoing support. We are also able to offer intervention programmes to support those who have dyslexia and difficulties with literacy and numeracy. There is an educational therapist on our staff to support those children with emotional needs.
To sum up . . .
Our goal in Main School is to develop the children both academically and socially to ensure that they are well prepared for all aspects of their life.
The teachers nurture the children’s social development to ensure that they are happy and contented so that they are able to fulfil their potential academically.
“Teachers always take their time with children and check that they’re doing well.” Lizzie, Year 3
“Education is brilliant here, all the different subjects we learn.” Ella, Year 5
‘‘Most importantly our children have been extremely happy at Silverhill. When our son left Year 6 he moved to secondary school with great confidence and ease, which is testament to the great education he has received at Silverhill.’’ Parent