Colston’s Lower School, Bristol: a positive, happy environment for children aged 3-11

I was recently invited to visit Colston’s School, an independent school for girls and boys aged 3 – 18 in Stapleton, Bristol.

Located next to the M32 in Stapleton, Colston’s School has the advantage of being accessible for many busy working parents, as well as offering 30 acres of beautiful green space for its pupils to enjoy.

The Nursery at Colston’s School takes children from age 3 years+, the Lower School is for children aged 4 – 11 and the Upper School is for children aged 11 – 18.

And, due to an investment of over £1 million, this September a fantastic new Early Years Foundation Stage centre will be opening at the school bringing the nursery and reception classes together under one roof, as well as including two exciting and challenging play spaces.

On my visit I met David A. H. Edwards, the headmaster of the lower school at Colston’s who took me on a tour of the Lower School. I found David to be friendly and down-to-earth and an expert on children’s education. He also clearly enjoys what he does and his enthusiasm for the school was evident.

A father-of-two himself, David’s children also go to Colston’s School and his wife is also a teacher there and this definitely adds to the warm and friendly atmosphere throughout the school.

I was keen to find out from David what makes the school tick and what its values. David explained that Colston’s School prides itself on five shared values: manners, behaviour, effort, looking after each other and last but not least, having fun.

The value on manners and behaviour at Colston’s was apparent on my visit and tour of the school and the children whom I met were polite, friendly and welcoming. And, as well as being all very well-behaved and polite, children were also all excited to tell me about what they were doing at school that day!

On my visit to Colston’s School I learned that there is a focus on each child as an individual, their own personal talents and abilities are recognised and that each child is stretched to reach their own unique potential.

As well as plenty of encouragement and support from the teachers, regular and frequent rewards are given to children for effort made and each child’s achievements are celebrated.

For example, the school has a Celebration Assembly every Friday and many certificates and badges are given for achievements such as Star pupil, Pupil of Merit and subject awards.

In addition, regular events take place at the school which give children a chance to shine, such as House Music Competitions and Swimming Galas.

There are diverse extra-curricular activities to suit each and every child, with the list of activities including drumming lessons, forest school, golf, Street Dance, climbing, cookery and chess club to name but a few!

Colston’s lower school has a wonderful blend of offering both a first-rate traditional education while also embracing the modern.

For example, as well as offering traditional core subjects such as maths, English, Sciences and foreign languages, along with subjects such as music, sports and drama, IT literacy is highly valued at Colston’s: there is a fantastic IT suite and children have regular IT classes, all children have access to iPads in class sets and they also do a lot of work on internet safety.

However, the school also recognises the importance of a balance of indoor activities with outdoor activities, and the school makes full use of its 30 acres of green space for lots of regular forest school sessions, sports and other outdoor fun!

The school facilities are great, with spacious and colourful classrooms and there was lots of interesting work displayed everywhere which had been created by the children. The school building itself also has a great blend of old and new with its beautiful, traditional features complemented by great modern facilities.

On my visit I particularly enjoyed visiting the science laboratory and learning about the experiments that children had carried out that week, plus I also enjoyed watching a drama class in action!

The teachers whom I met on my tour were all very friendly and clearly enthusiastic about their subjects and this enthusiasm had clearly filtered down to the children.

Colston’s School works around busy working parents, offering wrap-around care for children both before and after school if needed from 7.30 in the morning until 6pm at night. Those children staying after school are well looked after, with encouragement and help given with their homework, as well as sandwiches to keep them going until pick-up.

David told me that in turn, parents of children at Colston’s are very supportive and that they are very much on the same page as him in wanting the very best for their children.

David told me that while Colston’s is an independent school, it is accessible to a lot more people than people might think. David was keen to empathise that parents of children at Colston’s School are very normal, from very normal backgrounds who work very hard and make sacrifices for their kids. David, himself, attended a state school and is from a very normal background.

Classes at Colston’s Lower School are small with an average of 15. David explained that the advantage of small class sizes is further boosted by the great specialist teachers at Colston’s, all experts in their particular subjects.

Colston’s School is ‘mildly selective’ and each child entering the Lower School has a Maths and English assessment to establish where they are academically.

However, Colston’s has an effective Learning Support unit which helps children with additional learning needs such as mild dyslexia or dyscalculia.

When a child first starts at Colston’s Lower School she or he is assigned a buddy, a child with similar hobbies and interests in their class who will help them settle in and feel comfortable in their new environment.

David explained to me that Colston’s School offers “proper old-fashioned food” with a team of great chefs who freshly prepare healthy, nutritious meals for the children every day, for example, roasts on Wednesdays and fish and chips on a Friday. There is also always a full-salad bar for children, too.

As well as wholesome lunches, children are also sustained throughout the day fruit or digestive biscuits and glasses of milk at break times.

I really enjoyed visiting Colston’s Lower School today, meeting David Edwards and the other friendly staff and learning more about the school. Children were clearly happy and enthusiastic about what they were doing and the atmosphere was friendly and warm throughout.

If you would like to find out more about Colston’s School, there are several ways you can do this. You can visit the school at its upcoming open event, a Whole School Open Morning on Friday 27th April, or at one of the other three open morning events held every year.

Or, you can simply phone Colston’s to arrange a time convenient for you to visit the school, meet David and have a chat and a coffee, and then go on a tour of the school. This will give you a chance to talk about your child and where they are at, as well as their difficulties and skills and so on.

If you would then like, a taster day can be arranged for your child at Colston’s, plus maths and English assessments which will give you the chance to see where there are academically. If your child is of nursery school age, they can also enjoy a pre-prep taster session, however, will not need to undertake assessments.

You can also find out more about Colston’s School by visiting http://www.colstons.org/.

*Disclosure: This was a sponsored post however my views are my own.

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