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Summer Term in Rowan Class

Wow I can’t believe it is already the Summer term. How time flies. This will be a jam packed term for Rowan class where we will be fitting in lots of learning opportunities as well as heading off to Cuffley Camp for 3 days in June.

Cuffley Camp

We will be visiting Cuffley Camp from Wednesday 14th June to Friday 16th June 2017 and this is an excellent chance for the children to get stuck in to nature, to push their limits and strengthen their independence. I know that I am really excited for this trip and I am sure that the children are too. I will be holding two meetings for parents – one at 3.15pm on Friday 19th May and the other at 7pm on Monday 22nd May. This is where you will be given any information and documents you will need.

In English this term, Rowan class will be learning about different structures in Poetry such as Haikus, Tankas and Kennings. We will also be learning about the features of persuasive writing and using our new knowledge to write our own persuasive letters. Towards the end of our term, we will be writing our own adventure stories. We will continue to have stand-alone Spelling lessons three times a week and handwriting lessons twice a week.

In Maths we will be continuing our learning on fractions. We will be learning how to compare fractions, how to find equivalent fractions and how to add and subtract fractions. We will be revising the different methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division before moving on to Measurement, Geometry and Statistics revision.

Our RE topic this term is all about Hinduism. We will be learning to understand the Hindu belief that there is one God with many different aspects. We will also be learning to understand the significance of the River Ganges for a Hindu and non-Hindu.

Our Science Units for this term are ‘Light and Shadows’, ‘Forces’ and ‘Plants and Pollination’.  

Our topic begins with History where we will be learning about children’s experiences in WWII. We will also be learning about Volcanoes in Geography this term.

Children will be bringing home 9 spellings to learn from either the Year 2 spelling list or the Year 3&4 spelling list. These are practised in class as well as at home. Children will test each other in order to embed the word. On average, every other week children will be given the opportunity to be tested on their spellings by Mrs Corlass – if they are not ready they can choose to keep their spellings for a while longer. At times I will complete a whole class spelling test of both sets of words to retest spellings from previous months. This is to ensure children really know those spellings – this may mean some words are repeated over the year. Sometimes your child may bring home a list of random words which are not from the Year 2 or Year 3&4 list – these are from the children’s literacy work and have been spelt incorrectly during a lesson.

We will be continuing with our Maths Passports this term, your child should know their current target in order to practise this at home as well as at school. We will be checking children’s progress against these targets once a week on a Thursday or Friday afternoon. It is quick mental fluency which aids your child in their daily maths lesson.

From now on your child will read with an adult from Rowan Class every other week, please can I ask that you are reading with your child at home and writing in their reading record. This only needs to be for 5 minutes to pick up on any issues. It’s also a chance for you to see the progress they are making in their reading. I will continue to teach daily guided reading sessions which allow me to hear children reading a slightly higher levelled book as well as check their comprehension.


Homework will follow the same pattern as Autumn and Spring term. Every Monday your child will bring home a piece of Maths or English homework in their yellow folder. This will need to be completed and returned by the Friday of the same week.

Every other Monday your child will bring home their Learning Log which will have a project inside. This will need to be brought back in the following Friday (10days after being brought home.)

I am sure we are going to have a fun-filled and energetic Summer term (it is Rowan Class after all) I am super impressed with how engaged and enthusiastic the children are with their learning. This term will be a good chance to prepare them for their next challenges in year 4. Thank you all again for your ongoing support.

If there is ever anything you need or if you wish to have a discussion with me please make an appointment at the office to come and see me before or after school.

Miss Mileham  

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Summer Term in Chestnut Class

Summer Term 2017 in Chestnut Class

Welcome back to the Summer Term. It is hard to believe that we are in the last term already. When I think back to our first week in this class, we have all come such a long way. The children are maturing fast and it is lovely to see them now taking responsibility for their own learning and being proud of what they have achieved. They are doing so well, we have had lots of fun and I am very proud of all of them.

We have an awful lot to squeeze in this term but it is going to be a great one with outdoor swimming around the corner, lots of lovely outdoor science activities, a whole term of athletics, rehearsing for the school play and our class trips.

Our English units for this half term have a theme of ‘freedom’ running through them. The children may have already been talking to you about our first book we have been reading called, ‘Henry’s Freedom Box.’ It is a heart-wrenching true story about a young slave, Henry ‘Box’ Brown and his escape to freedom. The children know this story really well already and will use this to write a chronological report pretending that they are Henry. This will also lead us on to learning and writing about some famous Black people in history. After this unit we will be immersing ourselves in lots of wonderful stories of Africa and continue to learn how to improve our story writing with good elements of grammar to extend sentences.

Mrs Barrie will continue teaching French on a Monday. The theme of learning for this term is learning the names for classroom objects, as well as following simple commands in French. Mrs Barrie will also continue teaching our RE unit on how Jews show commitment to God. I am sure your children told you about the special afternoon we had with Reverend Susannah learning about the Passover festival. I will put up some of the photographs from the meal on our website gallery.  

Our Maths learning this term will start with a Geometry unit learning about the properties of shapes and triangles. We will then move on to statistics and using and applying what we have learned throughout the year to solve problems. The children will also be practising their Maths targets regularly and times tables as much as we can. Please continue to help your child learn their tables and targets at home. A curriculum requirement is that children should be fluent in all times tables by the end of Year 4. This can only be achieved with help from home as times tables need to be practised regularly in order to be embedded.  

Science still has a predominant place in learning in our classroom. This term we are moving outdoors. We have already started growing tomatoes for our flower bed, we have been learning how to identify trees by their leaves and we have spent quite a lot of time practising how to read and make classification charts. This week I will be assessing how much they have learnt by asking the children to classify sweets in a branching database!!

Our two weeks of History topic learning about the impact WW2 had on children has proved to be popular with all. The children have been so immersed in the topic and have produced some excellent work. I only wish our curriculum allowed us to continue this a while longer as we have merely touched the surface but it has given the children some good basic knowledge to take forward into secondary school. I think they all enjoyed hiding in the hall cupboard during a pretend air raid! Whilst we have been learning about WW2, Mrs Johnson and I have been looking through all the old school records to see if we could find any evidence of WW2 bombings at our school. There is quite a bit missing during this period but we have been able to find out that our school and Tewin took on a lot of evacuees at the time. We have photocopied some of these pages for you to read and will pop them in your child’s book back as they make fascinating reading!

This week is assessment week and so we will not be following our normal weekly timetable. Please make sure your child goes to bed at a good hour. Children will be doing tests for either Year 5 or 4 and following the same format as the Y6 SATS timetable but there is nothing for them to worry about! These assessments will give me a good indication of where they are in their learning and any gaps that still need to be filled.

As always, please pop in and see me if you have any concerns about your child’s learning.

Mrs Cowler

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Helping your child with Telling the Time

The dreaded Maths Unit! This is always something I struggled with as a child, and it is often an area that children find difficult due to its abstract nature. We hear many "1 past 3"s and "50 to 9"s. Teaching time is a long process and cannot be taught in one night/one go! Obviously, the notes I have written below are quite wordy, but it may be helpful to use the same sort of terminology to help the children to understand.

Here's a few pointers we use in class and the sort of 'learning process' we go through:


1. They need to know and understand the concept of how many hours in a day, minutes in an hour and seconds in a minute. This will really help and is also a curriculum objective.

2. To understand the long hand is the minute hand and the short hand is the hour hand. (I teach the children to remember it as 'minute' is the longer word so it is the longer hand). At this point its a good idea to write on the hours (numbers in the middle).

TEACH O'CLOCK - Key points: short/hour hand is the o'clock/hour, minute hand on the 12/60 minutes/the hour/o'clock.

3. Draw an empty clock. Draw a line to cut the clock in half. If theres 60 minutes all the way around the clock, how many minutes is it to half way (30 minutes).

TEACH HALF PAST- Key points: short/hour hand half way past the hour, minute hand on the 6/30 minutes.

4. Now show a quarter. What's a quarter of 60? We can halve it and halve it again to find 1/4 of 60 (15 minutes). Draw these minutes around the clock (15, 30 and 45). Children need to know that 60 minutes is the hour/o'clock.

TEACH QUARTER PAST - Key points: short/hour hand past the hour, minute hand on the 3/15 minutes.

4. Colour in each side of the clock a different colour. Write past on one side, to on the other to remind them that one side is going past the hour (o'clock), and the other side is on the way to the hour (or until the hour/o'clock).

5. Now show three quarters of the clock, which only needs to travel another quarter of the clock to reach the whole hour. This means there's quarter of the clock until/to the next hour (quarter to, 45 minutes or 15 minutes to).

TEACH QUARTER TO- Key points: short/hour hand past the hour, minute hand on the 9/45 minutes.

6. Can the children fill in the missing minutes? See if they can spot the five minute increments.

TEACH 5 minute increment 'past'- Key points: short/hour hand past the hour, minute hand covers the hour/big number because it doesn't mean the big number, it means the secret minutes that the clock doesn't tell you! e.g. 1 means 5 minutes, 2 means 10 minutes.

7. When the minute hand goes past the 6/30 minutes, it moves to the 'to' side. We have to count how many minutes it is until the next hour, and counting in 5's really helps.

TEACH 5 minute increment 'to'- Key points: short/hour hand past the hour, minute hand covers the hour/big number because it doesn't mean the big number, it means the secret minutes that the clock doesn't tell you! e.g. 8 means 540 minutes or 20 minutes until the next hour minutes, 10 means 50 minutes or 10 minutes until the next hour.

The key with this is getting the children to count how many minutes UNTIL the next hour.


There are lots of board games out there to play, but the best thing is to have their own watch! We are always asking the children what the time is in class and this is the best way to learn so that they understand the concept of time, when things happen, and they become motivated to tell the time so they can work out how long it is until something they enjoy happens e.g. home time!


Here are some online games you might find helpful:

I hope this is of use to some of you!

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Maths Revision and Reading Strategies

I have listed some helpful hints for revision below, particularly some strategies for reading that you can be using at home to help your child significantly.

Please continue to use the CGP books if you have them. If not, you can find many activities online to help support your child.

Maths Revision

We have recently covered the following which would be good to revise:

- Pictograms/Bar Graphs - being able to read them, gather information from them and compare the data etc.

E.g. how many more people like red than green? Which is most popular?


- Positional language - clockwise, anti-clockwise, quarter turn, half turn, three quarter turn.

E.g. If the shape starts like this ¬ and makes a quarter turn clockwise, what does it look like now?


- Time - o'clock, quarter past, half past, quarter to and 5 minute increments, comparing sequences of time, ordering time, knowing how many minutes in an hour, hours in a day, seconds in a minute etc.


- ALWAYS practising number bonds as this helps in every area of addition - we even use them in year 6! 


Reading Revision

It's not about how fluently and quickly you can read, but your understanding of the text. Children are assessed on inference and understanding of events.

These are reading strategies we have been using in class. It would be great if you could refer to these at home with your reading too:


1. MAGIC FINGER: Break up the words into smaller words and sounds. If you still can't read the word, what MIGHT it say? What does it sound like?

2. FIND THE KEY WORDS: Look to find the important words in the question and see if the same important words are in the text. Is the answer nearby?

3. SEQUENCING/ORDERING: If you are being asked to number some sentences into the order of which they happened in the text, underline each part in the text. Then you can see what order they happened.

4. READ YOUR QUESTION AND ANSWER TOGETHER: Read your question and answer in your head. Does it make sense? E.g. What colour is the dog? The dog is soft and fluffy......NO!

5. KEEP LOOKING! The answer is ALWAYS there! 




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Can you believe it?!

I hope you all had a wonderful and restful Easter Holidays. I am currently in disbelief that we are in our final term as Cherry Tree Class! Year 3 is just around the corner....ahh! Here is a little update on what to expect this term....



This week we are focussing on telling the time. The aim is to be able to tell the time to the hour, quarter past, half past, quarter to and to 5 minute increments. We will then compare and order sequences of time. After this we will be on a revision timetable in the run up to SAT's (double ahh!).


This week we are starting on our Myths and Legends unit where we will be focussing on The Little Red Riding Hood! If you read the previous blog post you will have seen how we have managed to use the money raised from the World Book Day event to buy some lovely role play equipment to help us in this unit - thank you :)


My favourite unit - Plants! We will be learning about the ideal environment to grow plants, how they pollinate, germinate and seed dispersal. If you have any pots, seeds or soil you would like to donate to us to use for this project we will would really grateful!


We will be focussing on Athletics this term in the run up to Sports Day so we can all be as fast as Miss. Tebbutt!.....(awkward silence..). We will eventually move onto Dance.


We are looking at 'Our Wonderful World' - looking at identifying and locating the 7 continents and 5 oceans. If any of you have done a significant amount of travelling and have some resources you would like to share with us, or you would like to come in and talk about your travels showing your journey on a map/globe, we would be really grateful!


We will be focussing on the Explorers Neil Armstrong and Christopher Columbus. We would love to have an 'in-class museum' to show off to you at some point during the school day, so keep an ear out for a time and date!


We are still looking at Christianity and Judaism.



If you read my Spring blog post you will have notived that I mentioned a possible trip about food. This did not happen but as soon as the SAT's are out of the way we will be looking to book a fun trip for the Summer term.



As mentioned, we are very close to becoming Year 3's. This means a harder curriculum and higher expectations of independent learning. To make the transition easier, I will be setting the children weekly homework (as currently in place) but I will be monitoring those who do and do not hand in their homework. As is carried out the same in year 3, those who do not bring in their homework on the due date will be staying in at lunch times to take time to complete it. The children will have a names homework folder sent home soon.



Please see separate blog post on my advice for revision for reading and maths.



You should have been told last year if you child did or did not pass their Phonics Screening check, but please let me know if you are not sure whether your child is retaking or not.


Miss Tebbutt x

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££ Thank you! ££

££ THANK YOU! ££


Thank you to all of you who have donated to any of the school fundraisers this year. As a class, we have been donated 2 sums of money; one from the Film night organised by the PTA and one from the World Book Day organised by Mrs. Shortland. I have reported bac to the PTA on what we have spent the money on but I thought you would all like to know too!


Film Night £100 donation:

All on D&T resources for our food unit - bread, sandwich fillings (ham, cheese, soft cheese, cucumber, sweet corn, houmous, pepers and many more) tasting food (yoghurts, pitta and more), paper plates, cleaning equipment, table cloths, plastic spoons, cups, party food for the packaging and tasting (jaffa cakes, mini jaffa cakes, party rings, mini party rings, fairy cakes, swiss rolls etc).


Thank you to the PTA for allowing us to thoroughly enjoy our DT project of making party food sandwiches!



World Books day £42.50:

- £8 6 glue sticks

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Easter Revision for Year 6 SATs!!

Please see uor class page under curriculum - scroll down for lots of information and resources. I will be adding the SATs timetable over Easter. 

All year 6s have brought home a 10 day revision booklet which is Easter themed and fun!! They MUST do this as it is essential they do not forget what they've learned or all their hard work will be for nothing. I want them to be able to come back after Easter and carry on making progress rather than having to relearn what they've done already!! 

There's also a top tips section which encourages them to drink plenty, take breaks and get plenty of exercise to release those endorphins - happy chemicals!

Happy Easter to you all.

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World Book Day ...and Dr Seuss's Birthday!

Well what an amazing day it has been! Right from the start, in our special World Book Day Assembly, the excitement began to bubble as we found out a bit about Dr Seuss. This wonderful enthusiasm carried us through our Paired Reading this morning. Our partner classes were: Willow and Rowan, Birch and Chestnut, and Cherry and Oak. It was an absolute pleasure to see you all thoroughly enjoying reading with your partner and really helping each other out. In fact, it was so successful, we will probably be doing this more regularly! 

In the afternoon, we all took part in DEAR ...drop everything and read. In Oak Class, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop! This was swiftly followed by our Dr Seuss book focus, where each class read a different book and created some imaginative writing. We all then made eye-popping, jaw-dropping, colourful displays which were all real team efforts. Every child's work is on display in our hall - it's our very own writing gallery! 

Early this evening, lots of children returned to school wearing...ONESIES! We even had our own Cat in the Hat. We shared our special book in different classrooms and returned to the hall for our biscuits and hot chocolate. Finally, we watched a video of Dr Seuss's Sleep Book to send us all off to sleep. 

I have absolutely loved hearing so many of you read today and it was a joy to see you all work so well in paired reading. I was also so lucky to have the chance to visit your classrooms and hear many of you read your writing to me. What creative and enthusiastic writers you all are. Well done everyone for making today so magical... and I think Dr Seuss would have been amazed! 

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Spring Term 2

Hello and welcome back! 

We hope that you all had a fun yet relaxing half-term and managed to re-charge your batteries. 

I hope you found parents evening both informative and useful, 10 mins is such a short amount of time to tell you all of the wonderful things your child has achieved so please accept my apologies if you had a long wait. I am sure you all know now how much I love a chat and I am so proud of the little beans that I  couldn't stop myself. I also hope that you had a chance to look through the books and saw just how far the kids have come since Semptember. Thank-you for all the support you give them at home because without that none of this would be possible. 

Such a lot of learning happens in the spring term and the children seemed to enjoy the challeges they were met with. 

In maths we will continue to develop fluency and confidence as the children work with numbers to 100 in counting, addition, subtraction and problem solving. We also worked hard on recognising coins and adding values of coins. At the end of last half-term we started learning about time. This was a really tricky concept for all of our children who in a digital world don;t always have access to analogue clocks or watches. Could we ask that to support your child with learning to tell the time that you encourage them to wear a sensible watch for school. Ask them regularly to tell the time. This half term we will look at multiplication and division, using the 2x, 5x and 10x table. We will start by counting in muliples and then look at how we can work out groups of amounts etc before moving on to formal written methods. We will also be learning about fractions this half-term, this is always fun, especially if we use food to cut up into halves and quarters :). 

In literacy we are kick starting the term with a unit on Traditional Tales. We will start our focus on folk tales from around the world. The children will be writing their own tales by the end of the unit. The children have LOVED learning how to join up handwriting and many are starting to apply this to their work. We are working really hard to form sentences on the line, use capital letters and full stops or other forms of punctuation, use our phonic knowledge and our understanding of new common exception words and also to write things which are interesting and make sense! An awful lot to expect but we are all getting there at our own pace. 

Our next topic is Geography. We are going to be looking at seasons and how they change. We are still getting lots and lots of Flat Stanley mail which is so exciting! I just need to keep up with it as it arrives! After this we have a 2 week Art topic where we will be learning how to paint portraits. 

As part of our next Geography topic (where food comes from) I have provisionally booked a workshop in Pizza Express Herford (in April), please watch this space for info regarding this trip. I am hoping I can plan another trip before I head off to have the baby but if not I will plan one for the sumer term. 

PE. Mrs Barrie teaches PE on Tuesday's. Unfortunately there are a large number of children who do not have a PE kit in school. Please ensure that your child has navy short, a white Tewin top and their house team colour top in school ALL the time. This also includes outdoor shoes and a water bottle. If the children do not have trainers they are not allowed on the apparatus or on the field. This causes a lot of upset and distress so please send the children with the right kit everyday. 

PTA money: each class has been given £100 towards classroom resources. I have so far invested in some new books for guided reading (star wars and traditional tales), a new world puzzle (request from the kids), cooking and craft bits, some storage for bookbags, paper and books for literacy. A huge thanks to everyone who donates money to the PTA this is such a great help! 

Here's to another super half-term! 

Miss Fairhall and Miss Morris 


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Spring Term


Welcome back Oak Class to a brand new term and a brand new year!

I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and New Year. Thank you so much for the lovely gifts and cards which you kindly gave us - hopefully you all received your thank you cards. 

I'm very proud of the enthusiasm which Oak Class have shown in their approach to all our topics this term - I don't know many children who thank their teachers for teaching them!! So here's my chance to thank my lovely Oaks for being so keen to learn, "Thank you all!"

Below you will find a taste of the term to come. 


We've started the term with all cylinders blazing! So far, we've enjoyed reading and writing free verse poetry utilising our poetic techniques such as personification, simile and metaphor, to name just a few. Currently we're studying J K Rowling's Harry Potter series, learning how to create flashbacks effectively in stories and how to develop characters with depth and interesting settings. We're learning how to plan efficiently and how to develop creative and well-structured plots. We will be entering a story writing competition this term, so watch this space! 

For maths, we're continuing with our year plan which you will find on our class page under curriculum. Some of the highlights are: negative numbers (counting across zero in a range of steps & problem solving); developing and polishing our formal written methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; using  a wide range of mental strategies to help calculate quickly; number puzzles; calculating with decimals; Roman numbers and calculations and much more! We will be covering fractions in some depth, statistics, measurement and geometry.  

For topic, our term started with the Ancient Greeks, covering gods, goddesses and their belief system, democracy and aspects of everyday life. We've also compared this with our own system of democracy. Our current topic is from design and technology and explores how to design and make an electrically powered vehicle incorporating a pulley. Who can design the fastest vehicle? Will it stand up to the rigours of the race track? 

DT materials: Thank you so much to all who've sent in recycling so far. We particularly need bottle lids, small boxes and tubes. Can you also please search out any toys or household items with pulleys and/or gears? Many thanks. 

Our science continues with materials which we love because there are lots of opportunities for conducting our own investigations. So far, we've investigated changes of state, dissolving, evaporating, and separating various mixtures and suspensions. We will shortly be moving on to Forces and Sir Isaac Newton. 

RE is proving very interesting as we compare two different accounts of the birth of Jesus from the gospels of Luke and Matthew. We've thoroughly enjoyed creating a piece of art work showing the contrast in the two accounts. For PSHE we've discussed our values and how they relate to our everyday lives, especially in and around school. We've explored friendship and have had many interesting discussions based around helping and supporting each other. 

Of course all our other subject areas continue full steam ahead, such as spelling, grammar, guided reading, minute maths, maths targets, handwriting and much more. For full details of our topics this term, see our year plan on our class curriculum page. 


This continues as for last term with Maths and English handed out every Wednesday, due in by the following Monday. Merits for those handing it in the next day! There have been many merits handed out for this so far this year - well done! If homework is not handed in on the Monday, one chance will be given to complete it at home that night, if it is not done by Tuesday, it will be completed during break and lunch time until it is finished. I encourage the children to start it the same day, then if there are issues, to raise them with me the next day, rather than the day it is due. 

Times Tables - if your child already knows all their times tables, these should be practised several times every week to keep them sharp and fast. They can go on DBPrimary and practise mixed challenges.

If your child does not yet know all the times tables, this should be done daily until they are confident and fast with all of them mixed together. Cards and other practical methods should be used. Wall charts are a great idea, provided they are used. DbPrimary has some great games, but do use a variety of methods, looking for patterns and memorising the numbers. This will support what we are doing in school, since we cannot work individually with children every day. Much of maths at this age and beyond is using times tables so they must be confident and quick or they will find maths difficult. If you need advice, please come and see me. 

Spellings - these should be worked on several times every week, using the methods they have learned at school (all in the yellow spelling folder). Personal spelling logs should also be practised (at the bottom of the page) and these should be updated regularly by your child. If your child is still working on year 3 and 4 spellings, these should be done more often to move them on. 

Reading - it is important that your child continues to read challenging books regularly and that he/she has the opportunity to discuss these with you in depth. This develops vocabulary and a whole range of oral skills, which they need for writing and for life in general. This will stand them in good stead in every subject from here on. 

PE Kits

Please ensure your child has the correct PE kit in school every day. Girls please ensure you have socks in your kit as tights are not acceptable or safe to wear in PE. Please remove earrings on PE days. All children should have a change of socks for PE as children of this age sweat and their socks can end up wet.  There have been many lessons missed by children without kits in school. PE is an essential part of the curriculum and is extremely important for your child's health and well-being. Exercise releases endorphins which literally cheer you up. Our regular PE day is Tuesday. We are attending Wodson Park in the afternoon of Thursday 2nd February so children need to come to school in their kits and joggers. We will be arriving back around 6pm. 

Year 6 SATs

Unfortunately, I had to cancel our SATs evening due to heavy snow! There is another session planned on Monday 30th January at 3:30pm. I have made it earlier as this will make it easier for the children to attend. I would like as many parents to attend as possible since I will be covering how you can help support your child at home, leading up to SATs week as well as during that particular week. I will be answering questions about all sorts of situations. If you cannot attend, please make sure you watch the Powerpoint which I sent out via School Ping and follow the advice about how to support your child. Many thanks. 

I'm looking forward to a happy and productive spring term. 

Mrs Shortland




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Happy New Year!

Welcome back everyone.

  I hope you had a lovely Christmas and feel rested and ready to face the New Year. I may have mentioned it once or twice, but we are all incredibly proud of the hard work that the children put in last term, particularly with such a wonderful Christmas performance. They did, indeed, all shine. Miss Whitby; Mrs Walker; Mrs Carnegie and I would like to say a big thank you for all the lovely Christmas gifts.  They were so kind and thoughtful and we feel very spoiled.

Our topic this half-term is ‘Once upon a time…’ and we are already onto our second story.  Last week we read The Three Little Pigs, and have followed it with The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We will make a short detour to learn about the story of the Chinese zodiac before reading Goldilocks and The Three Bears.  We will be using these books to help us write speech bubbles; character descriptions and zig-zag books, culminating with a week adapting the stories we have read to create our own.

In maths we are learning to use a number line, practising one-to-one counting and saying the number as we make our finger do the jump to the next number.  Board games are very good for this and are a fun way to support your child with number recognition and counting on from any number.

We now have our own maths passports like the rest of the school and have sent the first piece of homework out.  Thanks to those who have already sent it back.  We need to see evidence of understanding at least three times before we consider it to be securely learnt and homework counts as one example.  With that in mind, please remember that it is the child’s work that we want to see.  If your child can tell you the answer, but isn’t sure how to write it, please model it for them to copy, or write it in yellow for them to trace.  Crossings out or backward numbers give me a much clearer understanding of the support a child needs than the neat writing of an adult.

The children are doing very well with phonics, thanks to all for supporting them with the cards and reading books at home, and a huge thanks to the parents who have helped to make the cards so far.  There are still more to make if anyone feels like offering! This week is a revision week before we carry on with new digraphs. 

Some pleas:

For anyone who has left outdoor shoes at home so far, or has not yet sent wellies and a rain suit in, please make it a priority to send them into school.  I can only protect school uniforms from mud if I have a way to cover them and there is invaluable learning taking place in our muddy area and the new mud kitchen!

We do also have a number of children without water bottles which should, by the way, only contain water please, and we are finding a number of un-named sweatshirts and cardigans that prove difficult to get back to the right child.

If anyone has any old or odd socks at home could we please have them? We will be making sock puppets with the class very soon and have a limited supply.  Plain paper bags would be helpful for similar reasons.

The donations we received last term, of resources and money, were wonderful and have allowed us to enhance the learning environment greatly.  We are now in our second term and a donation of £5 a term will help us to continue to provide exciting resources.  We now have a new mud kitchen, a small-world jungle and a fantasy fairy garden being planned.  We have bought books and ‘props’ that have enabled us to follow the children’s interests.  We have cooked, and will be again next week, when we celebrate Chinese New Year and would like to thank you for your support last term.  We are looking forward to a fun-packed term but, as always, please feel welcome to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

With best wishes,

Mrs Dear and the Willows team

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Belated Happy New Year!

Hello Cherries!


Well we have well and truly hit the ground running this term! It's a term packed with learning opportunities - always my favourite term!


In Maths this term we will be looking at Money (as you will know from the homework!), Shapes and Fractions. Fractions is my favourite unit to teach because it means we get to share and eat food :D

We are continuing with our Traditional Tales unit focusing on Cinderella. The children love it! We are learning so much Grammar that we are using in our writing such as conjunctions, prefixes and commas. We are also learning about different sentence types such as Statements, Commands, Exclamations and Questions. We learn these whilst planning towards our end outcome - our own story based on Cinderella.

Our Unit is Materials Matter. We have been finding out about their uses and properties such as absorbancy, hardness and softness and their uses in day to day life. We have already conducted a few experiments - what a bunch of Scientists we have!

FOOD! We are very lucky that our History, Geography and D&T units this term as based on FOOD! Food from around the world (Geography), food through time (History) and preparing healthy food for an event (D&T). We started our History unit in class last week. Watch this space for a trip involving food this term!

You may, or my not, have heard what we have been doing in PE this week and last. I'll be surprised if you haven't as the children have loved it! We have been learning skills in Hockey such as passing, dribbling and scoring goals. Our next unit for the second half of this half-term will be Modern Dance! 

Thank you for all of your support you have given to your children and us in our first ter - here's to another great one!


Miss Tebbutt x 

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Spring Term in Rowan Tree Class

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had an enjoyable and restful Christmas break.

Firstly, I would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ for all your presents, cards and vouchers. I am very appreciative of your generosity. I have spent my vouchers on some lovely skin care products.

Mrs Morris, Mrs Corlass and Mrs Barrie have also asked me to thank you all for your generous gifts/ vouchers. They were also blown away by your kindness.

We have a very short (but very busy) term ahead of us. In English this half term, Rowan class will be learning about Arthurian Legends and Explanation texts. We will continue to have stand-alone Spelling lessons three times a week and handwriting lessons twice a week.

In Maths we will be learning more methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division before moving on to Measurement, Geometry and Statistics.

Our RE topic this half term is all about Jesus’ miracles. We will be looking at the theme ‘healing’ and discussing what this term means to us.

Our Science Unit for the first half of spring term is ‘Food and Bodies’. We will be learning about food and nutrition as well as learning about our skeletons.

Our topic begins with History where we will be learning about ‘The Victorians.’ Our focus will be on Victorian toys before moving on to learn about the artwork of William Morris. After our History unit is complete we will be moving on to D&T where we will be learning about Control Mechanisms – levers and linkages.

Children will be bringing home 9 spellings to learn from either the Year 2 spelling list or the Year 3&4 spelling list. These are practised in class as well as at home. Children will test each other in order to embed the word. On average, every other week children will be given the opportunity to be tested on their spellings by Mrs Corlass – if they are not ready they can choose to keep their spellings for a while longer. At times I will complete a whole class spelling test of both sets of words to retest spellings from previous months. This is to ensure children really know those spellings – this may mean some words are repeated over the year. Sometimes your child may bring home a list of random words which are not from the Year 2 or Year 3&4 list – these are from the children’s literacy work and have been spelt incorrectly during a lesson.

We will be continuing with our Maths Passports this term, your child should know their current target in order to practise this at home as well as at school. We will be checking children’s progress against these targets once a week on a Thursday or Friday afternoon. It is quick mental fluency which aids your child in their daily maths lesson.

From now on your child will read with an adult from Rowan Class every other week, please can I ask that you are reading with your child at home and writing in their reading record. This only needs to be for 5 minutes to pick up on any issues. It’s also a chance for you to see the progress they are making in their reading. I will continue to teach daily guided reading sessions which allow me to hear children reading a slightly higher levelled book as well as check their comprehension.


Homework will follow the same pattern as Autumn term. Every Monday your child will bring home a piece of Maths or English homework in their yellow folder. This will need to be completed and returned by the Friday of the same week.

Every other Monday your child will bring home their Learning Log which will have a project inside. This will need to be brought back in the following Friday (10days after being brought home.)

I absolutely love teaching Rowan class – they are so enthusiastic, funny and hard working. I’m really impressed with the attitude they place on their learning and how much progress they are making from their hard work. They genuinely love to learn and every day they give me something new to smile about.

Thank you to all parents and carers for your ongoing support. If there’s ever anything you’re not sure on, or if you want to communicate with me, please email me on or book an appointment to come and see me. 

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Spring Term in Chestnut Class

Spring Term in Chestnut Class

Happy New Year everyone and welcome back. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas – mine was a bit eventful (to say the least) with nine growing puppies and thirteen for Christmas lunch but one to be remembered! Thank you so much for all the little Christmas goodies and the Vouchers you gave Mrs Johnson and I. It was very kind of you and very much appreciated. Thank you.

This term will be another busy one, as we build on what we have learnt in the Autumn term and have a real drive towards meeting targets and making progress, in what is rather a short term.

Leading up to half term I aim to cover two units in English. The first, will be Fairytales and Playscripts. Lots of drama as expected in this one and improving punctuation and sentence structure for writing dialogue. The unit after this one will be using stories from the same author to help improve writing. For this unit we will be reading two wonderful books by Lynne Cherry. Our main grammar focus will be on how to improve sentence structure by modifying adjectives, nouns and preposition phrases. Mrs Barrie will be teaching a unit on Persuasive Writing with a rainforest theme for inspiration.

Mrs Barrie will continue teaching RE on a Monday this term. The children will be learning about Judaism and will end their topic with a special Passover meal with Reverend Susannah after the Easter break. Mrs Barrie will also be teaching French on a Monday through our Au Café topic where the children will be having fun learning how to ask for food and drink in French.

Maths this term will begin with Fractions. There is a huge emphasis on fractions in the Key Stage 2 SATs and much of this is taught in the Year 4 curriculum, and so I would like to spend a few weeks on this to ensure that all children are secure in their knowledge and understanding. After a few intense weeks on fractions we will move on to Time which should take us up to half term. Our unit on time will see children, not only knowing how to tell the time in 12, 24hour, digital and analogue clock but, being able to convert quickly between them and work out distances between time. Any help at home with learning how to tell the time, if your child doesn’t already know, would be appreciated as the expectations are that children should already know this before entering Year 4.

Every Wednesday afternoon is Science learning. While the Year 5 children are taught with their peers in Oak Tree class, the Year 4s will be learning about States of Matter. They will be learning how to group and identify materials into solids, liquids and gases and learning fun facts like, ‘even the air around us can be a solid. But not with us alive in it!’ We will also be observing changes of states between materials when they are heated or cooled (there may be a bit of tasting in this one!)  We will also be identifying the parts played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle. 

This week we will begin a History topic on Thursday and Friday afternoons about the ‘The railway revolution.’ This mini topic will give the children an insight into the impact that the Industrial Revolution had in developing the current Railway system that we have in Britain. We will also be learning about some famous people that were responsible for making it happen.

After two weeks of History topic we will move swiftly on to a D&T topic of cooking where the children will be learning how to make a range of savoury filled rolls, including the roll!

On top of all of this lovely learning, PLEASE can you ensure that the children keep up with their spelling practise. They are all doing so well and it would be a shame to let it slip now. Maths Targets too! Practise, practise and more practise – that is the only way that targets are going to be met. It is evident that those children that have been doing just this are making the most progress and it is really starting to show in Maths lessons, as they are accessing the work much easier and working at a faster pace.

Swimming starts tomorrow at Stevenage Leisure Pool. Please ensure swimming costumes, hats and goggles (if needed) are in school. Mrs Johnson and Miss Mileham will be travelling with the children. Mrs Johnson has been doing this with me for a few years now and is well aware of our expectations.

Last term we had quite a lot of children that didn’t have their PE kits in school. Although we will be swimming for PE this term, I would like to still fit in some more when and where we can. We have a Tag rugby tournament coming up soon and an Indoor Athletics event imminent. I would rather the children didn’t do PE in school clothes, especially when we are outside on the muddy field. If they haven’t got trainers either – they will need to miss out.

We are very fortunate to have an experienced Higher Level Teaching Assistant in our class. Mrs Johnson will continue with Maths interventions in the afternoons for those children targeted as needing extra support. She will also be doing a daily Phonics intervention as a six week catch up program for a few children, as well as handwriting and spelling for some. You may notice a bit of extra homework in your child’s bag from these sessions. They are optional but would greatly benefit your child as a recap to what they have been learning.

We spent the last term getting to know each other and although we needed a lot of time spent on behaviour management and acts of kindness, I am hoping we have crossed over that bridge now and the children will continue to make an effort to be kind and respect each other’s differences. Please be assured that we take bullying very seriously in our school. I am a great believer that children will only learn if they are happy and feel secure. Please see or email me if you have any worries.

Thank you for spending the time to read this lengthy newsletter.

I am looking forward to an exciting, yet jam-packed term ahead.

Mrs Cowler

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Happy New Year!

Wishing you a warm welcome back and a very happy new year from us all in Birch Tree Class! 

Firstly, Mrs Barrie, Miss Morris and myself would like to say a huge THANK YOU for all of our wonderful gifts, cards and vouchers! We were really spoilt and very grateful :) 

We hope you all had a super break, managed to spend some time with your family and friends and enjoyed the festivities. 

We are getting straight back into the swing of things this half term (as we only have 5 weeks!) In English we are learning about tales from Africa. We will be focussing on sentence writing, using capital letters, full stops, finger spaces and correct letter formation. There will be greater emphasis on spelling and handwriting this term. Your child will be bringing spellings home each week and we will test them at school (there will not be a set day for spellig tests). To support your child's hand writing and sentence structure try practising writing a few of the spellings in simple dictated sentences. 

In Maths we will be starting the term working on place value. Looking at numbers to 100, up down and across from any given number. We will move on to addition and subtraction. If the children know their number bond facts up to 20 they find this much easier. keep practising! This term we will also cover fractions, 3D shapes, time, money and counting in 2s, 5s and 10s!! A super busy time ahead!!! 

This week the children will be learning about Epiphany and the journey of the kings in RE. We would love it if you could join us for our service at church on Friday (details to follow!). Next week in history we will be learning about food and how it has changed over the years, this is followed by a geography topic of where our food comes from. We will hopefully be organising a little trip as part of this topic. Watch this space! 

In ICT this term we are learning about using the internet to search for things. 

In PE we will be using the apparatus and learning different skills, this will still happen on a Tuesday so please ensure your child has the right kit in school all the time. 

Coats, outdoor shoes and water bottles: Please ensure these are in everyday. We do not have any spare cups to provide drinks in other than at lunch time. Children are not allowed to play on the apparatus in school shoes. 

We teach guided reading first thing in the morning. Please ensure your child arrives promptly as it disrupts the rest of the group if we need to start again. 

New learning log homework is coming out this week, you have a whole half term to complete it. Some outstanding pieces have been completed so far! Well done!! 

Phonics Screening happens in June, it is a national test for all year 1 children in the UK. We will be working hard to prepare them at school (this is not a scary test and the children are not under any pressure to 'perform' and are unaware they they are being tested!) I will be running some before school phonics clubs for any children who I feel will benefit and you will recieve a letter shortly. We will hold a phonics screening session for parents so that you feel you are prepared and supported. If in the meantime you want to know more you can google phonics screening year 1 and you will get the idea. 

Here's to lots of learning and fun!

Can't wait to see the kids tomorrow!!!! 

Miss Fairhall, GIRL Bump (aka puddin') and Miss Morris :) 

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Willow class - November 22

Hello everyone,

What a busy time we are having!  After our fantastic science week, we are now firmly into our new topic ‘Journeys’ and the run up to Christmas. Last week we went on a Bear Hunt, learning lots of different positional language as we hunted over, under and all around for bears and identified the ones we found using non-fiction reference books.

This week the children chose to travel to Australia.  We are using the book ‘Wombat goes Walkabout’ to help us think about our different strengths and abilities.  We will be continuing to use non-fiction books, researching facts about Australia, and have set up camp outside with tents, a ‘camp fire’ and lots of billy cans.  We are hoping to finish the week with a real campfire but that will depend on the weather.  You will receive more information on Thursday if this looks promising.

We would like to say a big thank you to the Mums who came in to help with science week, and to those who have been supporting us by making phonics cards and with gifts of much needed stationary.  You are all very much appreciated.  We also have a couple of lovely volunteers who will be coming in on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to help with admin jobs and, if anyone else would like to join them just let me know, there are always plenty of jobs to go around! 

This term is a busy and, unfortunately, expensive time of year.  As a small school our budget is also tiny and is often stretched to its limit just providing the essentials.  In Reception, so much of the fun, and the learning, is to be found in the creative activities we provide and Christmas is a prime example of this.  In the past, Willow class teachers have asked for donations from parents and carers and I need to do so once more.  Mrs Carnegie has been cooking with the children today and we hope to be able to do more cooking and Christmas crafts in the next few weeks; but we will need your help to do so.  £5.00 per family will allow us to buy resources like the following: more cooking and play dough ingredients; card, foam, sequins, metallic paint, calendars and gems for craft activities; sand, shaving foam, rice and cornflour for sensory writing practise.  If you are happy to donate this amount each half term we will be able to continue to enhance the children’s learning with resources bought specifically to support their interests, making their Reception year as exciting as possible. 

I will send a note in book bags about this that will also include items on a wish list.  These will be toys and equipment that I feel we are missing in the class and if you are having a clear out and realise that you have a surplus of small world figures, for instance, please think of us!

Sorry this has been such a long blog! I would just like to finish by saying how well the children are doing with their play rehearsals. They sing beautifully and we are looking forward to sharing our play with you.  Any costume issues please let us know as soon as you can and we will help.  We hope you will stay for photos and mince pies after the performance, more information to follow.

Best wishes,

Debbie Dear

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Chestnut Chat - 20th November

Chestnut Chat – Year 4 and 5 Class – Autumn 2

20th November

I apologise for the blogs being a bit sparse over the past few weeks. I have quite a hectic home life at the moment, trying to entertain and look after our 9 Great Dane puppies, in between school work and paying some attention to my own children.

However, I am so pleased with the progress that is being made in our class. The children are settling into the pace of a Year 4/5 class and are taking much more responsibility for their own learning. ‘Growth mindset’ plays a big part in all we do and the children are buying into this well – mistakes are good in our class because we can learn from them and grow our brains!

After our half term break, we came back to an action packed week full of Science. I think this year, more than any, the children got so much out of the week and the learning ‘through play and having fun’ that was evident throughout the school was incredible. It was also lovely for me to see a different side to some of the children in our class that thrive from more hands on learning. I hope you too have heard all about the incredible week of learning we had.

Our Maths lessons this term have been heavy on learning lots of strategies to help us with mental maths. Times tables is such a big part of the learning in Maths and I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that children are learning their tables at home. It is a Government requirement that children know their tables ‘inside out with quick recall’ by the time they leave Year 4.  If children are not secure in their times tables, it makes everything they do in lessons that bit harder. We need our times tables to solve problems with multiplication, to find the answer to division questions, to find the area of a shape, to work out and compare measurements and much more.   As we all know as adults, times tables are also a skill we carry with us for the rest of our lives, as we use them in a lot of the daily things we do, and so it is essential that children get a good grasp and understanding of them now. Many of the children in our class are on track for doing this and our Maths Passports are certainly helping, but there are some children that could really do with some help and encouragement at home. There are plenty of free good apps that can be downloaded to add to the fun learning experience. Please look out for any extra times tables activities in your child’s book bag to support their learning. There is also a page dedicated to times tables on dbprimary (our learning platform) with lots of links to websites to help.

In English we are having a real drive on handwriting, spelling and sentence structure. Children have daily practise of spellings, learning new ways to help them try and remember their words. Please can you help by asking your child to practise their spellings they are working on. Every child has a copy of all the words to be learnt off the statutory word list and there is no harm learning more than just the nine they have been given. Spellings are tested every Friday afternoon, along with times tables.

As you have probably aware, the bar has been raised for all subjects across Primary school and reading has been significantly raised. The reading requirements and text types that children in year 6 need to be able to read and understand are at a very high level. In order to prepare children for this, children should be reading every day. The books they are reading should be over a range of genres including non-fiction books. They should find the books a little bit difficult with just one or two words that they have to think about for them to be reading at the right level. You can help your child with reading by asking them questions about the story they have read eg: who was the main character? Why do you think the author has chosen to use this word? Can you show me where the author has used an adjective, or fronted adverbial phrase? Why did the author start a new paragraph here?

In the next few weeks I am hoping that we will get the chance to make some Christmas cakes in class. Please can you save and let us have any clean 227g small tins (usually for tomatoes or beans) as we will be using these as individual baking tins.

Thank you

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Science Week in Rowan Tree Class

Rowan's had such a jam packed Science Week and they were all so enthusiastic and engaged. It was lovely to see them all loving different parts of their science learning. I must say that I also learned a lot from Science Week, especially from all the children's speeches on Monday. They were so confident and knowledgable. It was wonderful.

There are some photographs in the gallery, in Rowan class' album, that show some of the activities of our week. 


I'm already looking forward to the next Science Week, as I know many of the children are too. 

Miss Mileham 

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Autumn B in Rowan Class

Wow can you believe we are already in November. This term is flying by.


This half term Rowan class will be learning all about America in their Geography topic and in RE we will be discussing the meaning of Christmas. Speaking of Christmas...we have already started learning our song words for our Christmas play with Cherry Tree and Birch Tree class. They're going to be amazing, we are all really looking forward to it. 

For Maths this half term we are continuing to look at number and place vaue, this includes improving our mental fluency. We have spent some time looking at different methods for addition and subtraction and this week we will be moving on to multiplication and division. Soon we will be exploring fractions, one of my personal favourite maths units. 

In English this half term, we will be learning how to write limericks, playscripts and instructions. Rowan have been building their vocabulary over the past couple of months and we are always looking for ways to improve our writing. 

For PE we will be spending the first 3 weeks learning how to play netball outside (please rememeber your trainers Rowans!) We will then move on to indoor Athletics. 

I am so impressed with how well the children have settled into Year 3, they've been putting in lots of effort and working very hard. I'm sure it will continue this half term. 

Miss Mileham

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Science Week Day 5: Science Show and Heart Dissection!

Today we went in to the hall and a visiting scientist came in. He was really funny. He blew up balloons and made them stick to the wall, he controlled a dahlek which kicked the Earth off the table and told lots of funny stories about science!

After that, we dissected a pig's heart and to start with, I wasn't keen about doing it, but I really learned a lot about the different organs in the body. We finished the day with an assembly, where the best scientists of the week won prizes. However, all the teachers said we had all been brilliant scientists!

Reported by Thiyara D Y5

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  Our Address:
Tewin Cowper C of E Primary School
Cannons Meadow,
01438 717378
01438 718586