- 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.
We foster an enthusiasm for reading by identifying the right books to stimulate each child, reading aloud regularly and having Guided Reading sessions. Above all, we want the children to leave The Paragon with a passion for English that will last a lifetime!
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.
'How many hours do you think you have been alive?'
We make maths come alive by showing how important it is in everyday life - a vital tool in working out how long it's going to take to save up for that new computer game or measuring the ingredients for a chocolate cake.
Our teaching is based on the National Curriculum but not limited by it. It uses everyday life situations as well as structured play, activities and discussions to introduce key concepts. We use our diverse environment, both in and out of doors, to test and explore concepts in meaningful situations.
A combination of class, group, paired and one-to-one teaching enables us to identify at an early stage any children who are struggling and make sure we give them the necessary extra support. Children are streamed from Year 3 for maths and we also identify those children that need extra challenges; nurturing their natural curiosity to explore mathematical concepts deeply and apply them creatively.
Our aim is that all children should leave The Paragon with good basic numeracy, 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.
What colours can you see inside a black box?
Science at The Paragon responds to children's natural curiosity. They acquire scientific understanding through activity, discussion and investigation. Therefore, we have 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 labs to conduct experiments. This is balanced with acquiring knowledge of the specific topics.
Our Science modules cover all the sciences - biology, chemistry and physics and across the school our Science curriculum makes the most of the opportunities for cross curricular working, particularly linked with Maths, Design & Technology, ICT and Outdoor Learning.
Science is taught by our class teachers and specialist science 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.
Pupils also attend Science Days such as the annual 'Bath Taps into Science' event and the national science quiz and take trips to local science exhibits such as @Bristol. From Year 5, children are taken to the science laboratories at Prior Park College for many of their science classes.
Can a robot think?
We recognise that, as they grow up, all our children will need to use technology, possibly in ways we cannot yet imagine. To enable them to thrive in our technological world, we give them a wealth of opportunities to develop their IT skills.
Our well-equipped IT suite houses a network of PCs with fast, child-safe internet access.Touch screen displays in classrooms, sets of iPads and an extensive collection of educational software also enable us to use IT right across the curriculum. We aim to give all Paragon pupils a high level of proficiency in a broad range of applications; from desktop publishing to databases; video editing to 3D design. From Year 1 upwards, children learn how to code, using child-friendly, graphics-based programming tools.
Children love technology and they learn fast - we capitalise on that enthusiasm and have high expectations of what our pupils can achieve. Prep pupils make extensive use of iPads in their studies across the curriculum, alongside more traditional methods of working.
We encourage creativity and a questioning approach, so pupils have the confidence to experiment and explore – essential requirements for the Digital Age.
“Philosophy is fun – even if your head hurts afterwards.”
In Philosophy, children are encouraged to think for themselves when grappling with some ‘big ideas’: Am I the same person I was yesterday? Is punishing people ever right? If animals could talk would we eat them?
They often get to choose the questions. For example, Years 5 and 6 have chosen to explore the concepts ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, asking whether ‘good’ and ‘bad’ exist independently of us or whether our morals just come from our parents and our culture. They especially enjoyed using stories and scenarios to explore consequences and test out possible solutions to dilemmas. Children are morally serious people who enjoy using Philosophy sessions to discover what they really think, usually after realising that things aren’t always how they first appear to be.
The biggest challenge for young philosophers is learning to provide reasons to support their beliefs and opinions. Like older people, children often express frustration when it becomes clear that, in developing their arguments, they find they have contradicted their original point. But this is all part of the process of clarifying our ideas and making sure our reasoning is sound. Philosophy is always useful, in the end.
Pupils in Years 5 and 6 have Philosophy lessons and Years 3 and 4 have Philosophy Club. Their heads hurt but they love it!
Did you know that the Georgians used urine to wash their clothes? A fact which all of our Year 3 pupils discover on their annual visit to No 1, Royal Crescent.
It's not hard to find the past at The Paragon - we're based in a Georgian family house within walking distance of Bath's Roman remains and excellent museums. We use all these available resources, and more, to help children discover what life was like long ago, bringing the past alive.
Throughout the course of the children’s time in the Pre-Prep, they are encouraged to handle artefacts, pictures and photographs; progressing to maps, documents and architectural and environmental clues. They learn history through cross-curricular topics such as castles and dinosaurs, events such as The Great Fire of London, and famous people in history such as Florence Nightingale and Neil Armstrong.
Each year, Prep children study a local, a national and an international historical topic, learning from a variety of sources. Local topics include the History of Transport in Bath and Bristol’s influence in the growth of the Slave Trade. National topics vary from the Roman invasion of Britain to post-war Britain and international history includes learning about the Aztec Tribe of Mesoamerica and World War Two.
Allowing children to hold the whole world in their hands.
Paragon pupils are taught Geography though a variety of topics. 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 skills, knowledge and understanding of the world, its environments and economies, whilst promoting global citizenship.
Strong cross-curricular links 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 topics such as Africa, the Great Outdoors and Island Communities (inspired by the Katie Morag stories). The Prep Department begin to look at aspects of Geography more deeply: to explore the formation of rocks and minerals, investigate transport and industry in the local area 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.
To enhance the RE curriculum further, children visit local churches, mosques and synagogues. 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.
Extra-curricular activities include Sing Out! (our Monday morning wake me up for children and parents), The Choir (Years 3-6), Joyful Noise (by invitation) and Boys Don't Sing - our very popular all boys choir. Instrumentalists are catered for by 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.
Download music tuition guidelines and an application form below:
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.
In 2020/21, we are delighted to be working with the egg theatre in Bath. Our youngest Squirrels pre-schoolers are collaborating on an Early Years Christmas production aptly named 'Squirrel' which will be shown at the theatre through December. Practitioners from the theatre will come to The Paragon for World Book Day as well as producing a 'Play in a Week' with Year 3 in May 2020. 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.
At The Paragon School our aim is to develop the skills that enable every child to live and work in a natural and man-made world that is evolving all the time. We provide problem-solving experiences to inspire children to make functional products. They are given challenges that are carefully structured to develop creativity and perseverance. There are so many cross-curricular links and children quickly learn that D&T will always involve some maths, science and art because it simply can’t stand alone.
Whilst at The Paragon the children have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, including mechanisms, food technology, 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.
Whether using our workshop in the woods or designing products on screen to be printed on our 3D printer, pupils are given exciting, open-ended challenges which encourage them to 'think outside the box' whilst acquiring a wide range of practical skills.
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 6, the pupils take part in an exchange with a French school and get to meet their pen pals during a five-day trip to France. This is an ideal opportunity for them to get first-hand experience of the culture and language which they have been learning about throughout their education at The Paragon.
In Year 6, children benefit from the visit of a group of Spanish pupils from a private school near Madrid. Having two foreign languages helps them be prepared for secondary school but also gives them the potential to communicate with 600 million non-English speakers-worldwide.
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 a partnership with local outdoor play specialists, Swainswick Explorers, 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 pheasant stew (having learned how to pluck the pheasant first!). 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 and rope climbs 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 Katie Mason MEd, NASENCO, 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 and the SEND Information Report 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. Further information can be found in the SEND information report.
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, Personal Development lessons 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 four key areas: Relationships, Health and Wellbeing, Living in the Wider World and British Values.
As children grow, they need guidance in developing positive friendships and connections. 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 and appropriate behaviours, about belonging to and contributing to groups and communities and valuing the environment so they can appreciate and contribute to the wider world they are part of.
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.