When prospective families tour the infant school with Mrs Savage, Assistant Head (Infants) and Mrs James (Admissions Manager) they are often looking for evidence to justify the termly fees – a natural process when drawing comparisons to the maintained state school sector.
The tour highlights just some of the areas where The Elms creates tangible benefits and clear advantages in terms of academics, opportunities and pupil development.
A community where everyone cares
Our strength lies in the belief that every child is a unique individual. Every decision we make and everything we do places our pupils at the heart of our thinking. One of the ways we achieve this is through small class sizes, meaning no child is overlooked during their learning journey.
“For us The Elms is such a special place where everyone knows who you are. The encouragement and support given to each and every child, irrelevant of their abilities, is far beyond what you would expect. There are so many opportunities at The Elms and every achievement is recognised. Our children love going to school every day and as a parent, I honestly couldn’t ask for anymore!”
Mrs Sparling, Year 1 and Year 5 parent
Teachers build meaningful relationships with their class and enjoy frequent one to one time to nurture each child’s abilities. An experienced teaching assistant in each infant class, further enhances the adult to children ratio and provides an extra set of helping hands and listening ears for the children.
The ethos of our excellent pastoral care runs through all staff to ensure the happiness of the community. From the Lunchtime Supervisors who support our children with so much warmth and kindness during their mealtimes, to the Grounds and Gardens team who offer a smile and wave to every passing person as they tend to the 45-acre campus. Through our own behaviours and attitudes, and by placing great importance on manners and good behaviour, we instil in every child a set of values and standards to guide them throughout their lives. By feeling happy and valued themselves, they replicate these feelings with their peers and form friendships strong enough to last a lifetime.
Broad and balanced curriculum
Whilst state schools focus the majority of their lesson time on maths and literacy, at The Elms we combine these important core subjects with cross curricular links for broader academic achievement. Learning is brought to life through a ‘topic based’ curriculum that combines elements from different subject areas. This approach provides the children with the context to apply the skills and knowledge that they have been learning.
Further to this, our specialist lessons are renowned for providing opportunities that some children simply wouldn’t experience until secondary school. Our weekly French lessons ignite the children’s interest in learning a second language at a time of key development when their brains readily soak up new vocabulary. Our Design and Technology room and our Art Studio introduce children to a vast array of tools and our specialist teachers inspire them with new styles and techniques.
As an independent school, we are not confined by the National Curriculum. Our teachers prefer to see its content as a starting point, where they have the flexibility to tailor their lessons to the needs and interests of our pupils. With heightened engagement in their studies, pupils achieve greater academic success across their subjects.
We believe that happy children are the best learners and that our children’s futures are not determined by test papers in the infants or junior year groups, which is why SATs do not take place at The Elms.
The Elms sits within a beautiful 45-acre campus alongside our senior school, Trent College. Every facility that our pupils could wish for can be found on-site-an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, age tailored libraries and woodland Forest School are just some of areas that pupils enjoy on a regular basis. Explore our facilities further by viewing our online 360° interactive map.
The extensive facilities foster inspiration and ambition, which continues our aim of holistically developing the whole child and encouraging them to strive for success in all aspects of school life and beyond.
Learning opportunities are also generated by the inspiring site. Reception children were recently intrigued by the high jump, so the Trent College Sports department were delighted to provide them with an introductory lesson. Similarly, our Catering team’s Nutritionist is passionate about adding excitement to healthy eating habits and regularly provides behind the scenes tours of the catering facilities and interactive presentations and hands on activities across the year groups.
Outdoor education – a whole world of learning
The infant classrooms are situated within a dedicated building and enjoy their very own outdoor space and playground,
We are currently creating an exceptional space for our pupils to explore, learn and enjoy with The Elms Playground Redevelopment project. Mrs Savages excitedly shares, “When the works are competed, I believe our outdoor offering will be one of the best in country. Pupils will be able to enjoy the very latest in outdoor play equipment designed to stimulate their learning and development whilst guaranteeing fun for all! Children will benefit from varied environments suited to their age which will inspire and excite during break times as well as offering further options for outdoor lessons.”
Trips are a fantastic way to enhance classroom learning and immerse children in real-life experiences. Within the infant year groups, we include the cost of academic trips in our fees with the aim of one trip or external visitor / workshop per term for each year group. Recent examples have included Beaumanor Hall, the British Motor Museum and a Drumba workshop.
A healthy, nutritious and exciting lunch is provided for all pupils at Trent College and The Elms in The Prince Obolensky Dining Room. The daily offering is extensive and delicious, catering for all dietary requirements and palates. The importance of good nutrition is essential and can directly impact pupils’ growth, development, behaviour and educational attainment. With this in mind our catering team at Holroyd Howe design varied and balanced menus each term with fresh seasonal local produce.
Children excel with a strong home-school partnership
The Elms is proud to be a community and central to this are the parents. The pandemic limited contact with parents to the school gates, which inspired Mrs Savage to introduce opportunities to get to know our parent body better and exciting ways for them to explore their children’s setting. Several Parent Workshops took place towards the end of 2022 and were a huge success, examples include a Year 1 French breakfast with our Specialist Languages Teacher and a Pre-School Forest School session.
As part of the school’s long-term plan more events are scheduled for 2023 for families at the Nursery through to Year 2.
A further benefit of the Parent Workshops is sharing our teaching techniques and terminology which enable parents to have a better understanding of how they can support their children at home. “A lot of teaching methods, particularly for the infant year groups, have radically changed since our parent body were at school. By working together and using the same methods at home and in the classroom, we see a fantastic improvement in the academic abilities of the children ”shares Mrs Savage.
“The specialist subject teachers are one of the standout benefits of The Elms. From Pre-School age, our children have received the very best tuition in a wide range of subjects, from experts in their fields. As parents, we also build relationships with those teachers, as we support our children at home, collectively working together as a team. Events such as the French breakfast, are also a joy to attend, for everyone involved. It’s wonderful to see your child thriving in their school environment, with a fantastically engaging teacher. It also puts my lack of language skills into perspective when my 5 year old is able to order my French breakfast for me. Such a confidence boost for our children also, to be able to put into practice, the lessons they are being taught.”
Mrs King, Year 1 parent
Our parents have busy lives and the structure of the school day is there to support the whole family. Pupils can enjoy a full day at school from 8am and participate in after-school clubs until 16.30pm. With clubs featuring options such as karate, disco dancing and Lego club, parents can feel satisfied knowing their children’s co-curricular interests are being met without impacting on family time. Extended care is also available from 7.30am to 6pm for an additional charge.
Experience The Elms for yourself
Book a personal tour of the schoOL where you can meet our inspiring staff, explore the campus and discover what makes our school an excellent place to learn and flourish.