Ensuring pupil education is full of happy, nurturing and inspiring experiences, Westbourne Prep School leads the way with it’s creative, outside-the-box teaching methods. We speak to Jo Chinnock, Head of Westbourne Prep to find out more about their FAB and STEM school models, and how through lockdown, pupils are still achieving amazing results.
Can you tell us about your FAB school model?
It’s a great teaching model that helps pupils learn about the Forest and Beach environments. Our model has been adapted from the Forest school method to suit our surroundings on the beautiful Welsh coastline. The method also helps us strike the balance between creative and academic learning. We brought in a new member of staff to make sure the two elements could be combined, and for two mornings every term the children go out and learn about the environment hands-on.
We’ve had year two pupils come back from Porthkerry, explaining how the waterways in work, from weather patterns, rivers, how water travels back to the sea and how it’s linked with the moon cycles- which is amazing!
It’s gone down so well with the kids, who are all kitted up in their wet gear and get stuck in!
Can you tell us about the STEM model?
We love the STEM model! Once a week the whole school comes together and works in groups around four main principles: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Each group is given a task that feeds into a big project.
One of our recent projects has been around movement and structure and the results are amazing! Our early years have been building structures and foundations to hold up models, our Key Stage 1 pupils have made a model with pulley’s and elastic bands to understand how muscles work, right the way up to Key Stage 2 where pupils are making a robotic hand, using raspberry pies (which are small computers).
What message would you like to get out to future pupils and parents?
Our pupils are some of the happiest I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and that’s down to our wonderful staff- most of whom have invested years of good teaching in our school. Everyone here devotes their time to the school and our pupils. Also, our class sizes promote an environment that achieves brilliant results- and that’s all pupils, whether academically or creatively minded.
How have you adapted to the pandemic?
We knew we had to adapt quickly before the original restrictions came in, so we set up daily online learning platforms for all our pupils, which enable our teachers to do live lessons. Our teachers came up with more imaginative ways of teaching, by using the home environment to our advantage, and it meant that our STEM model was used more to facilitate core subjects. Today, our safety practises are followed to keep everyone safe and healthy. Our small class sizes help manage social distancing measures and the kids are loving, their thermal camera snaps every morning!
What makes Westbourne Prep stand out?
Our relationships between our parents, staff and pupils is second to none. Our teaching staff go above and beyond. Our staff taught over half term to ensure pupils still achieve the best results, and have laid down the groundwork to make virtual learning a success.
What do you love about Penarth?
It’s a perfect place to live. I’ve moved here after being away for 10 years, and not only does it have the best school, the community feel you get here is fantastic!