Use this section to find out more about the main parts of the school including the nursery and the curriculum offered at each level. Subject details are provided by each department.
Pupils follow the National Curriculum and are entered for all National Tests. The curriculum is designed to prepare pupils to achieve the intellectual flexibility required to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.
"We look at the whole child - we aim high but the pupils are not under pressure"
Pupils can join the school at the Foundation Stage, attending our Little Bears Nursery.
‘Little Bears'. The Nursery is run by a qualified Early Years specialist, who not only provides daily Numeracy and Literacy Enrichment Sessions, but introduces the children to a foreign language. From the initial introduction to education in the Lower School, boys and girls proceed through the Middle School and enter the Upper School, where they are offered a full range of GCSE subjects.
Click on the subject areas below for further information.
Physical Education is a key part of school life at St. Ursula's. As well as developing physical skills, we recognise its importance in promoting healthy living and team work, as well as providing fun and fulfilment.
St Ursula's is proud of its reputation for offering all pupils the chance to try a wide variety of sporting and physical activities. The school has excellent facilities and competes in many team sports.
Regular fixtures in Netball, Girls Football, Rugby, Football, Cricket, Tennis, Rounders and are an important feature of the school calendar. See Sports Fixtures for more information. We are very proud of our school teams and those individuals who compete at club and representative level.
Over a school year we offer a wide range of sports clubs including Association Football, Netball, Rugby, Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball, Dance, Gymnastics, Health-Related Fitness, Cross-Country Running, Tennis, Rounders, Athletics and Badminton. See Lower School Clubs and Middle/Upper School Clubs for more information.
In addition, the PE Department organises extra activities including trips such as "Army Day" and whole school events such as "Dance Day." Furthermore there is an annual outdoor activities trip to France every year.
The PE Curriculum
The Physical Education Department offers a wide range of practical and examined physical education, adhering to the National Curriculum guidelines. PE is compulsory for all students from Reception to Year 11.
Reception to Year 9
All pupils have 2 lessons per week. In addition, pupils in years 3 - 6 inclusive, have a weekly swimming lesson.
The emphasis is on developing the vital components of health and skill related fitness via a balanced and varied programme of practical activities.
Years 10 - 11
Those students who do not opt for the GCSE course continue to have one lesson of PE each week.
Students who opt to take Physical Education at GCSE level follow the AQA examining board curriculum. GCSE students receive four lessons each week. The course requires students to pursue four practical options of their choice.
- Mr M. Trotter (Head of PE)
- Mr O. Barwell
- Mr A. Smith
Beyond the Curriculum
A successful education is not just about the study of subject areas and the sitting of examinations. These, of course, are vital, but young people must be prepared in other ways for adulthood, for further successful studies and the world of work.
At St. Ursula's we help our students to acquire good communication skills, the ability to work with others, to think independently and to take responsibility for themselves and others. Such skills build gradually into a sense of self worth; they are practised in the classroom but also acquired through participating in a broad range of activities. Pupils contribute greatly to the ethos of the school via such activities as:
There is a full programme of clubs and activities on offer for pupils in all parts of the school. Follow the links to view for the Lower School and Middle and Upper School.
Little Bears Nursery
Set within our beautiful school grounds, Little Bears has superb facilities and is exceptionally well resourced. The nursery was refurbished in 2005 and benefits from its own enclosed garden and outside play area.
The emphasis at Little Bears is to provide a secure and relaxed environment, acting as a bridge between home and school. There is a broad early-years curriculum with activities carefully planned around the six key areas of learning, as set out in the "Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage," as well as other activities, including French.
Little Bears offers a stimulating environment, designed to give children positive learning experiences that are fun and fulfilling. The experienced nursery team at Little Bears is led by a fully qualified teacher who specialises in early-years. With excellent carer / child ratios the nursery staff can work closely with your child, enabling them to benefit fully from the many learning opportunities that are presented through planned and self-initiated play activities, therefore promoting high self esteem.
Children would usually join the nursery in the term of their third birthday, but may be considered slightly younger. Part-time and flexible sessions are available with year round care offered at our school holiday club on site.
Little Bears has been awarded the "Bristol Standard" by the Bristol Early Years and Childcare Partnership for the quality of its work. The government's early-years grant and employers' child care vouchers are all accepted and sibling discount is available.
Nursery - Year 4
St. Ursula's Lower School focuses on building children's self-esteem and self-confidence in a warm, caring and stimulating environment. This environment is ideal for nurturing our pupil's individual talents right from the start in the Foundation Stage at Little Bears Nursery and in Reception class, through the transitions into Key Stages 1 and 2.
Mrs Alexia Bryant is Senior Teacher of the Lower School and leads a team of creative and energetic teachers. Pupils are divided into year groups and each class teacher is responsible for ensuring individuals' academic progress, making certain that each child achieves their full potential. Class teachers are also responsible for the well-being and pastoral care of their pupils.
Small class sizes mean that pupils have many opportunities to explore and discover for themselves, alongside the structured curriculum, so each child develops a real enthusiasm to learn.
We are passionate about learning at St Ursula's and believe that high expectations for each and every pupil are a prerequisite. These expectations exist in the context of a demanding, challenging, thinking curriculum. It is a curriculum that is inclusive, that supports and challenges all learners using a range of stimuli whilst maintaining self-esteem and confidence.
We offer a wide range of subjects:
English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education, Citizenship, French, Design & Technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), History, Geography, Art, Drama, Music, Physical Education, and Swimming (Years 3-6).
To supplement these subjects there are a wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer after school or at lunchtime.
Our Lower School is an extremely happy environment where respect for others, friendship and fun are paramount. The whole school exudes a strong family atmosphere where the older pupils take responsibility for looking after the younger children.
This means that the move up to Middle School is always positive and stress-free. With such an excellent start in the Lower School, we find that children are always looking forward to their next step and are hungry to learn.
Years 5 - 8
Children enter the Middle School in Year 5 and stay until the end of Year 8. The Middle School crosses over Key Stages 2 and 3.
Miss Lee Hewett is the Senior Teacher for Middle School. Her main role is to ensure that every individual child within her care is cared for, so that they have a smooth transition from the end of Key Stage 2 through to the start of Key Stage 3.
The time that the children spend in Middle School is vital, so that they are confident learners and well prepared for the build up to their GCSEs in the Upper School.
Miss. Hewett ensures regular meetings take place between form teachers, subject teachers and the Headmistress to ensure that all aspects of an individual child's academic progress, welfare and personal development are constantly monitored.
Every pupil is developed as an individual within the different subject areas, facilitating their own individual, optimum progression from key stage 2, and through the initial stages of Key Stage 3. In the Middle School, every pupil has the opportunity to discover the concepts of a wide variety of subjects.
The subjects offered to every pupil at Key Stage 3 are:
English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education, Design and Technology (Textiles, Graphics, Resistant Materials and Electronics) French, Drama, History, Geography, ICT, Music, Art, Citizenship, PE and Games. Keen linguists also have the opportunity to study German from Y8.
Academic development is supplemented by an exciting extra-curricular programme which gives pupils opportunities to be involved with a broad range of activities and events throughout the school year, including musical performances and sporting events. Pupils are also encouraged to get really involved with school life through the school council, prefect system and by joining one or more of the many clubs on offer to develop their personal interests and talents.
The warm and caring atmosphere in the Middle School at St Ursula's makes it an exciting, yet homely place to be.
The Upper School covers Years 9-11. The focus is on instilling the appropriate work ethos for GCSE studies and beyond. Students are allocated to a tutor group under the leadership of the Senior Teacher for Upper School. The team of tutors works together closely, addressing concerns promptly and encouraging all students to attain the very best that they can: both within the classroom and without. Tutors work with pupils, subject teachers and parents to ensure that the very best pastoral and academic guidance is provided.
Pupils study a range of subjects following the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3: English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education, Art, Citizenship, Design and Technology, Drama, French, Geography, History, ICT, Music, Physical Education. Approximately half the year group study German as a second Modern Foreign Language. Pupils sit SATs in Mathematics, English and Science in May of Year Nine.
Key Stage 4
In Years ten and eleven pupils study for between seven and nine GCSEs. All study Mathematics, English Language, Science and Religious Studies. Most also take English Literature and a second Science GCSE.
Pupils choose three further GCSEs from a range of options. The timetable is arranged to ensure that as many students as possible are able to pursue their favoured choices.
In addition to compulsory and optional GCSEs, all students have Information and Communication Technology lessons and work towards the ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence). Citizenship and Games lessons are also timetabled for all.
In Year ten all pupils undertake a week's work experience which is accredited by Connexions.
Also in year ten, pupils can start working on the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. There is a full extra-curricular programme, in which all Upper School pupils are encouraged strongly to be involved. With a wide range of sporting, musical and theatrical events as well as a full weekly timetable of clubs, there is something for everyone.