As you would expect from a traditional, independent school like Branwood, all of our classes are housed in individual form rooms. This allows our children to benefit from a calm and quiet environment when grappling with the perils of long division, whilst at the same time allowing animated discussion to proceed without disturbing others.
In the upper school children have their own individual desks and personal resources which they are responsible for. In the lower school children work in a more informal atmosphere with groups of pupils seated together and a variety of activity stations in each form room.
A wide variety of communal resources are available in each form room, with individual teachers having considerable freedom to tailor their classroom environment to the needs of their children. For example, we do not have a central school library but rather each form room has its own library of age appropriate material. In this way, children have constant and unfettered access to reading, and books become an integral part of their daily life in school.
We are fortunate to have a room available for a wide variety of general activities that require a space outside the normal classroom setting. This may include science activities, music lessons, maths groups, reading activities and extra-curricular clubs.
Our dedicated music room is available for all class music lessons, individual lessons, group activities such as our recorder group and the school choir. We have a fantastic range of tuned and non-tuned instruments such as keyboards, recorders, and a variety of percussion instruments including full drum kits and glockenspiels. The music room also has easy access to the ICT suite allowing the children to explore the exciting world of digital music.
Although Branwood’s role as a preparatory school places an emphasis on traditional teaching and learning methods, we recognise the increasingly important role that technology plays in education and the wider world. As such, ICT is used in many different ways in the classroom, and our pupils are given the opportunity to use the school’s ICT resources as part of their day-to-day learning.
Every classroom is equipped with a large interactive display board which is used daily by staff and pupils as part of everyday teaching and learning. Each class also has its own set of iPads, allowing children to work in pairs, groups or individually, linking the iPads to the internet and to the interactive display boards. Pupils are able to create Leno boards, compose music and access numerous apps to enhance their learning.
The school also has a suite of more traditional PCs for word processing and other tasks. These are connected to an interactive display board.
The school has a custom built website, Facebook and Twitter accounts and our own personalised app, all of which work together to keep parents and staff fully informed and up to date on life here at Branwood, as well as providing valuable links and resources for pupils.
All of our meals are prepared and cooked in house by our team of caterers who provide a variety of hot meals to the whole school in two separate sittings each day. Any special dietary requirements are obviously catered for.
In addition to the regular lunchtime menu, our team also provide any catering requirements we have for special events, be it our regular MacMillan Cancer Care charity coffee mornings or a one-off special event such as a wedding breakfast to celebrate the recent marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Our weekly lunch menu is posted on the web site, school app and on the school noticeboard by the rear entrance in the playground.
We are lucky to have a large school hall which is used for a wide variety of school functions including our regular assemblies, charity events, plays and prize giving evenings.
In addition to our conventional playground and astro turf pitches, our other major outdoor space is the copse. This is a lovely wooded area which the children use both during playtime and during lessons.
The school’s PTA has very kindly donated the funds for the development of the copse area, which now boasts an outdoor classroom and planting area for the use of the whole school, as well as a storyteller’s chair that enables outdoor lessons to be delivered in fair weather.
Branwood has a tremendous range of sporting equipment to help ensure our children have a healthy and active body as well as a healthy and active mind. Whether it’s the fixed gymnasium equipment in the school hall or just simple things like beanbags to help KG1 with their hand to eye coordination, we feel it’s important that our sporting activities are supported with a high quality and wide range of equipment.
The school is privileged to have two large astro turf pitches which make it possible to play sports far more frequently and reliably. In addition to their use for timetabled and extra-curricular sporting events, these areas are also used during playtime, giving our children a huge amount, and variety, of space to socialise, let off steam and keep healthy.
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