- Religious Education
- Design & Technology
- Modern Languages
- Outdoor Learning
- Personal Development
Our teaching introduces children to the richness and diversity of the written and spoken word in creative ways. Lessons are carefully planned to ensure a balance of class, group, paired and individual work and teachers ensure that all children are supported so that they can reach their potential, whatever their ability.
Communication skills are going to be vital for all our children and we place enormous emphasis on promoting good literacy. We use presentations, performances and discussions to help children develop confidence in communicating their ideas aloud. Emphasis is also given to ensuring that children have a secure understanding of the fundamentals: grammar, punctuation and spelling.
At The Paragon, we develop and foster a love for reading for all our children, with books at the very heart. In addition to providing children with the opportunities to read their own books aloud as part of reading for pleasure, whole class Guided Reading lessons are delivered in Year 2 to Year 6. These lessons are built around engaging key texts and extracts across a variety of genres, where children are provided with regular opportunities to read aloud and develop their reading skills, including inference, retrieval and the impact of language on the reader.
As well as having access to the Bath Children's Literature Festival, we participate in a range of reading, writing and speaking competitions and challenges, and are always seeking innovative ways to help children develop a love of reading. Our eagerly anticipated Pre-Prep bedtime story nights, paired reading across the year groups, World Book Day, National Poetry Day, the Summer Book Fair, visits from famous authors - all wonderful ways that we celebrate storytelling.
Mathematics teaches children how to make sense of the world around them through developing their ability to calculate, reason and solve problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
At The Paragon School, we believe strongly that everyone is a mathematician. It is our duty to remove barriers to learning and support the children in developing a deep conceptual understanding of mathematical concepts. Our teaching is based on the National Curriculum but not limited by it. We work to develop children’s fluency, reasoning and problem solving in every lesson.
Fluency involves the quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures and the flexibility to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics. It goes beyond rote learning. To support this in Pre-Prep, we use daily number sessions to support the learning of key mathematical skills such as addition and subtraction facts up to 20. This is continued as an intervention in Prep for any children with any gaps in their knowledge. We also learn our times tables fluently using a range of strategies including the use of Times Tables Rockstars. This brings learning to life in a fun and supportive way.
In each lesson, children are encouraged to reason by getting them to explain how they solved a problem and explaining why a statement might be true or false. The children also problem solve by applying their learning to real life contexts as we discover what it means to work systematically.
Children are streamed in Year 5 and Year 6; although, we will continue to review this in order to best meet the needs of the children.
Our teaching of mathematics is led by the 5 big ideas of mastery: Coherence, Representation and Structure, Mathematical Thinking, Fluency and Variation. Whether in a maths set, or taught as a whole class, the structure of the learning stays consistent throughout the whole school. We model concepts using concrete, pictorial and abstract resources and encourage children to uncover the mathematics through use of these resources. During the lesson, we actively monitor the progress of the children and respond in the same lesson by offering support or challenge. All children have access to reasoning and problem solving each lesson whether it is through independent work or whole class discussion.
Our aim is that all children should leave The Paragon with good numeracy skills, an appreciation of mathematical pattern and structure, a confidence in their ability to use maths to find the answers to some of life's challenges and, importantly, an enthusiasm for lifelong maths learning.
Science at The Paragon responds to children's natural curiosity. They acquire scientific understanding through activity, discussion and investigation with an emphasis on practical, hands-on experiences, learning through real life in relevant contexts and situations. We introduce children to the excitement of scientific investigation, using our grounds to study insects, plants and habitats and our classrooms to conduct experiments. This is balanced with acquiring knowledge of the specific topics.
Our Science modules incorporate biology, chemistry and physics and our Science curriculum makes the most of the opportunities for cross curricular working, particularly linked with Maths, Literacy, Design & Technology, Computing and Outdoor Learning. We also spend time looking at the work of real scientists to ensure meaningful links are made between the science learned in school and the wider scientific community. Younger children are introduced to key texts relating to scientific figures using age appropriate language and concepts. These support our school mission of being outward looking and globally aware.
Science is taught by our class teachers. From a young age, the children are encouraged to use their senses to observe, measure, record, explain and make simple predictions. Their skills develop over time and our older children acquire the skills to prepare full scientific investigations involving designing the experiment, collating the results and drawing conclusions. We continue to explore ways to offer expansive opportunities in Science such as inviting outside speakers to inspire the children, going on trips to scientific venues and celebrating British Science Week.
At The Paragon, Technology is used in everyday teaching and learning practices. We teach a bespoke computing curriculum, teaching children to think ‘computationally’ as they embark on their educational journey with us.
Formal computing lessons commence in Year 1. Pupils are taught to use Microsoft packages, as well as coding and programming. Other creative skills such as Podcast production and creating a stop frame animation using tablets are taught from Years 3 to 6. Throughout the school each classroom has its own interactive white board, and each class has a set of iPads. Pupils from Year 5 are provided with their own Personal Learning Devices to maximise and enhance their learning opportunities, such as researching and word processing, not only throughout their school day but also at home.
We encourage creativity and a questioning approach, so pupils have the confidence to experiment and explore. Children are taught how to stay safe online both in our PD unit on media literacy and digital resilience and also in weekly Computing lessons.
The word philosophy comes from the Ancient Greek words 'philo' meaning love and 'sophia' meaning wisdom. During their weekly Philosophy lessons, Paragon pupils from Year 1 up to Year 6 share their own thoughts and wisdom in response to some of life's big questions.
Lessons follow the Philosophy for Children (P4C) format which is an enquiry-based approach that encourages children to:
value their own and others' ideas
be confident through the realisation that there are no right answers
- be curious and ask 'big' questions
- actively listen and speak with confidence and clarity
- think critically
- think collaboratively
- think caringly
As they progress through the school, children increasingly follow the basic P4C structure of lessons. By the time they get to the top of the school, in their hour-long lessons, Years 5 and 6 experience a complete P4C lesson right from sitting and becoming part of their class philosophical community to finishing the lesson reflecting on what has been discussed.
At our school, children from Years 1 to 4 are able to philosophise for 30 minutes each week, and philosophising is actively encouraged outside of lessons and school too! Our Year 5s and 6s relish the opportunity of thinking for a whole hour (although this can result in brain ache).
Here are some of the big questions that our children have pondered recently if you too would like to have a think about them:
Is anything permanent?
Do animals have more or less freedom than humans?
Do aliens exist?
What is normal?
Does practice always make perfect?
As you can imagine, there are an infinite number of different answers to the above questions. So, we really are on a journey of Limitless Discovery during our Philosophy lessons!
At The Paragon, history is all around us. Whether it is our city’s fascinating Roman origins, the ancient Bronze Age landscapes nearby, or even the beautiful Georgian building where our lessons take place, history is something that our children can and should experience first-hand. The past, though, is not something that should simply be learned about. Our skills-focussed history curriculum aims to teach children to actively investigate, interpret and question the past. What information from a given historical source is trustworthy? What similarities can we spot between two ancient cultures? What was the most significant cause for a particular historical change? Learning how to answer questions like this enables our pupils to develop into active, engaged historians who are passionate about the past that they are studying.
Paragon pupils are taught Geography though a variety of skill-based lessons each term. Led by the children’s natural curiosity, Geography lessons explore the differences and similarities between people and places on a local and global scale. Geography allows children to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world, its environments and economies, whilst promoting global citizenship.
Core Geographical skills are developed through practical activities, outdoor learning and fieldwork. Children are taught to communicate their knowledge in a variety of forms including writing and drawing, creating diagrams, maps and digital presentations.
At Pre-Prep level, pupils study seasonal changes and weather, map-making and reading and basic human and physical features.
The Prep Department begin to look at aspects of Geography more deeply: to explore changes to the local areas over time, investigate areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and develop an understanding of how human activities can contribute to changes in our environment.
What are the important festivals of the Christian year? What is it like to do the Hajj to Mecca? What were the miracles of Jesus? Why is the festival of Hanukkah important?
These questions give a flavour of some of the topics covered in Religious Education at The Paragon. Good RE lessons are essential to help a child to understand the world around us and to respect other people’s beliefs. As a Christian school, our lessons focus on Christianity and we study in detail the actions and messages of Christ. Further to this, though, we look in detail at all of the world’s major religions. Our approach to teaching RE is lively, engaging and interactive.
The school year is punctuated by major Christian events, such as the Carol Service, Nativity Play and Easter, and assemblies can reflect further on stories from the Bible and messages for modern life.
The subject is broad, colourful and fascinating. It is also an incredibly important one in multi-cultural Britain.
“We love the way the children’s artwork is celebrated around the school and their genuine enthusiasm for lessons.”
Drawing… painting… pottery… still life… sculpture… 3D… pastels – art lessons give children the chance to try their hand at all these and more.
We study the work of artists, architects, designers and crafts from different cultures and times, observing differences and similarities and developing children’s critical appreciation. The artworks they study and create are put into context and contribute to a richer understanding of life. Local artists, craftspeople and illustrators are invited in to school to talk about their work and what inspires them. We also visit local museums and galleries to study great works.
Output from our art lessons fills our walls, classrooms and grounds with vibrant life and colour and shows just how creative children can be with the right encouragement. We have exciting extra-curricular art activities for the children including pottery, drawing and sewing clubs and, in the holidays, we offer The Paragon Art School.
At The Paragon, art is enjoyed by all the children and our aim is to stimulate artistic creativity and imagination through visual, tactile and sensory experiences.
It's ‘Music for All’ at The Paragon.
Within class lessons, the children learn to sing, rap and beatbox. They explore a variety of instruments, both tuned and untuned and learn ways to play them as individuals and within a group. They are immersed in music from different times and cultures, exploring and comparing it with music from their own lives. They love to compose; from a few notes to piano pieces, fanfares to Christmas carols, the children learn to notate their compositions in a variety of ways.
Beyond the classroom, there are opportunities to learn a musical instrument with one of our visiting teachers. Instruments on offer include cello, clarinet, cornet, drum kit, flute, guitar, bass guitar, piano, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, violin and voice. All pupils in Year 2 learn recorders, Year 3 learn a string instrument as a class based lesson and all pupils in Year 5 participate in samba lessons . We hope that they will be inspired and continue to play their instrument when they move into the next year group.
Extra-curricular activities include Sing Out! (our Monday morning 'wake me up' for children and parents), The Choir (Years 3-6) and Joyful Noise (by invitation). Instrumentalists enjoy a variety of music groups such as brass, wind and string groups, all geared to the individual needs of the children. The school also has an orchestra and a samba band.
There are many performance opportunities open to the children; annual school stage productions, music evenings, visiting care homes, busking for charity or taking part in school concerts (planned and impromptu!). We are proud to report that each year the school enjoys individual and group success in the locally renowned Mid-Somerset Festival.
You can make an initial enquiry about music lessons using the following link: Application for music lessons
Expressing yourself out loud and in action.
Every Paragon pupil has the opportunity to shine, from our Pre-Prep pupils who perform in a Nativity play each year, through musical theatre performances in the lower Prep school years to the Year 5 and 6’s two act musical, held in the Julian Slade Theatre at our senior school, Prior Park College.
Through participation in productions, pupils understand commitment, patience, empathy, teamwork, and ultimately success and pride as they entertain and learn. As they progress, the children can choose to entertain the audiences on stage or opt to become involved backstage directing the lighting, organising the props or overseeing the sound.
In Drama lessons, pupils in Years 5 and 6 are given the opportunity to let their imagination run wild and their creativity flourish. Drama offers children the chance to develop skills in a different way to those in academic subjects and is a great way of developing a pupil’s self-confidence and team-building skills within a small group.
The pupils work through many different aspects of drama, such as improvisation and role-play; they also apply these skills to current issues or topics from other lessons. It is a powerful means of educating pupils in an energetic and creative way, allowing each and every child to thrive in an environment which is enormous fun. In other year groups, drama goes hand in hand with English as the children learn to express themselves with confidence and conviction.
Extra-curricular drama is also popular and provides the opportunity for pupils to take LAMDA exams with group or individual performances.
Design & Technology lessons are classroom and outdoor learning based. Children are given exciting, open-ended challenges which encourage them to 'think outside the box' whilst acquiring a wide range of practical skills. Most year groups will explore mechanisms such as Nepalese tomato transporters in Year 4, food technology in all years, construction and textiles. Children delight in seeing their innovations develop. During each project they learn to work together, work alone, think, design, repair, strengthen and evaluate as they explore possibilities. We encourage the children to think about important issues such as sustainability and enterprise.
The primary aim of the Sports Department is to instil in each child a love of sport, from Pre-School through to Year 6. We have the responsibility to introduce all the children to a wide range of sports whilst teaching a healthy and respectful attitude towards competition. The emphasis is always on enjoyment and being the best we can be. We believe that if the children enjoy their sport they will want to learn more and they will subsequently achieve more.
We promote sport and fitness for all ages and ability levels. We recognise that the lessons learnt through participation in sport and team activities are invaluable for personal development and we want to foster a lifetime of healthy living. Whether a student is participating as an individual or as part of a team, sport provides them with a unique opportunity to begin lifelong friendships, learn to conquer their fears and build strength of character.
The Paragon offers an extremely varied programme of PE and Games. Lessons from our specialist sports teachers cover netball, hockey, rugby, football, cricket, tennis, gymnastics and the components of fitness. From Reception onwards, children also have swimming lessons. Our sports teams are highly competitive and take part, with considerable success, in a wide range of tournaments and festivals. We also offer a vast range of sports clubs including fencing, rugby sevens and cross country.
We make good use of our facilities: a well-equipped gym, a hard play area (for tennis and netball) and a playing field. We also use our excellent facilities at our nearby senior school, Prior Park College. These include our multi-purpose sports centre and fitness suite as well as an indoor swimming pool, sand-dressed artificial pitches, grass pitches, tennis courts, athletics track and dance studio.
The Paragon is very much a school that looks out to the wider world and one of the ways we do this is through our study of modern languages. All children learn French from Pre-School onwards and the lessons are taught by a native French speaker. Pre-Prep classes have half an hour per week and Prep classes have an hour. Children in Years 5 will study Mandarin as well as French, and 6 receive a French/Spanish lesson on alternate weeks. In the early years the emphasis is on having fun and familiarising children with the new sounds through games, songs and stories while older children develop their speaking, writing, listening and reading skills.
To complement their learning of the language, the pupils also discover various aspects of the culture, geography and history of France, such as traditional playground games, Paris and the Eiffel Tower, Bastille Day, the French revolution and the role of La Résistance during World War Two.
In Year 3, the pupils are introduced to a pen pal in France.
At The Paragon learning experiences are not just confined to the classroom, but are also inspired by and taught in the great outdoors.
We take curriculum lessons outside to use the playgrounds, extensive woods, lawn and streams to bring topics alive. It makes lessons much more memorable and exciting. Examples last year included filming Personal Development shots on the theme of Friendship and Bullying, creating an African Keyhole Garden, searching for 2D and 3D shapes in the playground for Maths, investigating forces or heart rates for Science, re-enacting the Battle of Waterloo and many more.
We also enjoy Forest School activities; wonderful ways to help boost self-esteem and develop cooperation, improving concentration as well as gross and fine motor skills. The majority of our teaching staff are nationally accredited with qualifications in Forest Schooling and we have taken to heart the fun, stimulation and recognised learning benefits of practical learning outside the four walls of the classroom.
We have bespoke Outdoor Learning teachers who work with children every week. Using our outdoor woodworking workshop as a base, the sessions involve exploration of the local landscape. Green or reclaimed wood are also used to develop creativity and D&T skills. Children may make anything from birdhouses to Roman villas, a footstool for Mother’s Day or a tasty stew. Each session is linked closely to the curriculum to further ignite a love of learning.
We have eight acres of woodland at our disposal which has distinct learning areas around the site. Each has a different learning focus with activities ranging from woodwork to storytelling and from cookery to drama. Themed trails have been created allowing access to Bark Wood (our learning plateau). Sloppy Swamp (our vegetable plots and animal habitats) and Outer Mongolia, where we light fires, cook wild plants and create marvellous objects using natural resources and a range of tools.
The Paragon’s Learning Support Department, led by Mrs Rachel Anderton, works to support children with a variety of needs.
The type or level of support may be agreed upon entry or during a child’s time at The Paragon. Some children may need additional support for a short period of time, while others have longer or on-going support. Please see the school’s Admissions Policy for more details.
The Learning Support Department at The Paragon can provide for a variety of needs and offers support to children on a case-by-case basis.
The Learning Support teachers work closely with parents and class teachers to ensure that the child's needs are met. The child is at the centre of the support we provide and programmes are tailored to suit individual needs. When needed, the Learning Support Departments works closely with outside specialists, such as Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Educational Psychologies, CAMHS, etc.
Pupils who receive one-to-one support have a Support Profile (SP) which is shared by staff to ensure that their needs are addressed within classroom lessons. The SP is reviewed at least every term to ensure progress and that targets are appropriate and achievable.
A fundamental part of our role as educators is our responsibility to help develop the pupils' spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development. At The Paragon, in line with the government's RSE guidance we deliver Personal Development lessons which have a pupil-focused approach, ensuring the children have the freedom to explore real life pertinent issues within class discussion. We also deliver PD content through assemblies, cross curricular topics, themed days, school trips and events. Personal Development lessons focus on three key areas: Relationships, Health and Wellbeing, Living in the Wider World whilst encompassing our British Values.
As children grow, they need guidance in developing positive and safe friendships and relationships and in how to respect themselves and others. Our Personal Development curriculum helps them to manage emotions, accept differences, respect equality and operate in a diverse society. We help the children understand rights and responsibilities, self-respect, money and work, about belonging to groups and communities and valuing the environment so they can appreciate and contribute to the wider world they are part of. An important part of the curriculum is exploring physical health and mental wellbeing, as the children grow and change. As the world around us continues to develop digitally, the children are taught how to stay safe online in our unit on media literacy and digital resilience.
Our cosy well-stocked library is located in Lyncombe House, and is used by all year groups on a daily basis. All pupils have library sessions, where they are given guidance on books to suit their reading ability and tastes. During cold weather, children may use the facility to play chess or cards, or to read quietly. The library is also used for Philosophy classes, House meetings and other lessons.
The Paragon regularly welcomes authors, poets and illustrators to the school to inspire the children and as a school, classes attend author events at The Bath Literature Festival.