Learning and the Curriculum at Hotwells

Our overarching aims - ‘We are ambitious; we are creative; we are local citizens; we are global citizens’ - sum up our whole Curriculum. We want our pupils to develop into respectful, resilient, young people who are ambitious for themselves; who are creative, and who see themselves as local and as global citizens with strong voices. 

We are Ambitious

Children cannot aspire to things they have never encountered. We want to broaden our children’s horizons, expanding their knowledge of the world by nurturing their interests. Not only do we have high aspirations in the core subjects of Reading, Writing and Maths, but we know that learning is broad and limitless.

We are Creative

At Hotwells, we value individuality. Along with our local community, we understand the importance of the Arts and activity encourage and promote opportunities to use our creativity.  Not only does this apply to Art, Drama and Music, but also in the way that we actively encourage our children to develop their imagination and think creatively to problem solve.

We are Local Citizens

We want our children to develop a sense of pride in themselves and respect for their school community and others within it.  We pride ourselves on being community-minded, small, nurturing and welcoming and value intergenerational links within the Hotwells community. 

We are Global Citizens

We believe that our children need to know about and understand the world that is beyond their immediate community. They need opportunities to experience the richness of its diversity and show they care about the management and sustainability of the environment. 

At Hotwells, we encourage our pupils to be both environmentally aware and appreciate the 'big wide world in our small school', valuing the importance of our diverse school family, inclusivity and tolerance of others.  We believe that children finding their voice is as important as them becoming avid readers or great writers.


We aim to make learning at Hotwells memorable and meaningful!  Each subject is planned using a clear progression of knowledge which children will develop as they move through the school.  You can find out more about each curriculum area by clicking on the relevant link below.



 Science History Geography
Art and Design Design and Technology Music
PE MFL Computing

 Religious Education

The EYFS Curriculum

If you want to find out more about our Curriculum, you can contact the School Office who will put you in touch with the relevant member of staff.

Academic achievement is always a high priority and we have high expectations for our learners.  The core subjects of English and Maths are focused on with care and precision so that learners receive a high quality and carefully tailored approach as they move through the school.  We equally value a broad and rich curriculum that gives all children the opportunity to develop and shine in all areas of learning.  The Arts, Music, Sports, Science, Computing and the Humanities are given quality time and space to be taught and developed. 

We also have theme days and weeks during the school year which promote and inspire a particular aspect of learning, for example our pupils have been inspired by Arts Week, Music Week and STEM Week over the pat two years.  A range of exciting events are organised during these special weeks and many members of the school community become involved, helping to make them a fun and memorable time for all the children.

Using Bristol as a Resource:Learning Beyond the Classroom

We make the most of the world around us and opportunities to take learning beyond the classroom. We are in a fantastic location with so many interesting places, such as the docks, the S.S. Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge within walking distance. We make frequent use of the local area and the school grounds to enhance children’s learning.   We also look for opportunities to work with the community; including parents and volunteers.  We work closely with Hope Chapel, Trinity Church and Goldney House and Gardens in a number of ways, such as our exciting new Memory Club link with Trinity Day Centre and our annual Harvest Festival in partnership with North Bristol Foodbank.

Our children in Key Stage 2 go on residential camps every year, which give them experiences beyond those we can provide in school. Our pupils also enjoy regular Forest School sessions as well as a range of extra-curricular opportunities, such as sailing and cricket!  We regularly invite visitors into school for the children to meet and learn from. For example, local artists have led workshops for our children.  We know that these experiences interest and inspire our learners



Phonics is teaching the sounds in words and the letters or groups of letters that represent these sounds. Being able to use phonics is fundamental to learning to read and write.

We use the Unlocking Letters and Sounds scheme to support the teaching of early phonics at Hotwells.  Our aim is that all children will have a sound knowledge and understanding of phonics by the age of 7. Some children need continued support with the learning of phonics in Key Stage 2 and for these children, additional teaching in small groups continues, using the Read Write Inc scheme (our previous phonics scheme), until their knowledge of phonics is secure. Every year we organise meetings for parents so that they can become familiar with our approach to teaching phonics and can support their children at home in the same way they are learning to read and write in school.


Home Learning at Hotwells

We value learning at home and know that home learning helps children do better at school.  Learning outside school can take many forms, from attending clubs, to pursuing hobbies and interests, as well as completing activities set by school.

One of the most valuable things parents can do to support learning at home is to ensure that their children read regularly; with an adult when they are younger and independently as they get older.  Many parents find it can be helpful if children have a regular time when they read, such as just before they go to bed.  Having a regular time helps to develop the habit of reading daily.

Examples of home learning expectations:



Regular sharing of stories and books and reading/phonics practice as the year progresses

Class 1 and Class 2

Read to/with an adult 10 minutes every day

Weekly spellings

1 homework activity a week (which should take 15 – 30 minutes)

Class 3 and Class 4

Read 15 minutes every day

Weekly spellings

Times tables

1 homework activity a week (which should take about 20 – 40 minutes)

Class 5 and Class 6

Read 30 minutes every day

Weekly spellings

Times tables up to 12 x 12

2 homework activities a week (which should take about 30 – 45 minutes each)



The Arts at Hotwells

We are rightly proud of our Arts provision at Hotwells. We have an annual Arts Week and we also take part in the West Bristol Arts Trail in October each year.

We value Music and we celebrate the fact that so many of our children choose to learn a musical instrument in school.   As well as learning music through the curriculum, we have a fledgling school choir. More recently, we were delighted to have formed our own Hotwells Orchestra who performed alongside members of the Hotwells Music Workshop to accompany our Key Stage 2 Carol Concert. We look forward to developing these links further over the coming years.

We know that taking part in a school performance can be a highlight of a child’s school experience and a memory that will stay with them for life.  All children have the opportunity to take part in school performances during their time at Hotwells. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 produce shows at Christmas time, Years 3 and 4 focus on Singing, Orchestra and Dance performances and our Year 4, 5 and 6 Key Stage 2 performance happens at the end of the school year.