Welcome to a new academic year. We have had an excellent start this week with a lovely group of Year 5 and 6 pupils. This letter is to share our class routines, which aim to ensure our oldest pupils have the organisational skills and independence so that they are secondary-ready. I feel it is important to clarify our expectations for the term, and year ahead, as early as possible so that we can work together to make the most of the opportunities available and have a fabulous, productive year.
We are lucky enough to have the support of Ms. Friend for our English and Maths lessons this year. Ms. Friend is an excellent Teacher’s Assistant who has worked with Dragonflies for several years. She will be working with groups. The children will also have Mrs Varney to support us in maths lessons most mornings as well as for one afternoon a week to teach ICT/PE and a range of subjects. Mrs Gething, our excellent Maths specialist teacher, will also be supporting and guiding us during maths lessons once a week and to give booster and small group support in the afternoon. Mrs Philps will be in class as a 1:1 support, as will Mrs Pollen.
By Year Five and Six, pupils should be spending 20-30 minutes per evening on homework. They will be set maths and English work from a CGP book each week and will be expected to read for at least an hour a week. This can be in longer or shorter sessions over the week but please could you sign your child’s log every week so that I can be sure they are reading. I will be checking their logs on a Monday as developing a reading habit will be crucial to your child’s success. It is the most essential part of their homework.
The children will be learning spelling patterns at school and will correct and learn from their own errors. They may have some additional spelling lists as a part of their homework tasks, particularly from the prescribed spelling list for Y5/6 which is in their reading log. These are divided into a list of 15 words each half term. Please help us by working on these regularly.
All children will have a half-termly challenge project for extra in-depth research of an area of their interest but connected to our class theme. If your child wishes to do some extra work at any time, this will always be welcomed and rewarded.
Homework is set on a Monday to be returned on the following Monday. They will be rewarded for completing their homework to a high standard and on time by stickers leading eventually to a goody from Mrs Morgan. If they have failed to complete homework, there will be a lunchtime detention on the Monday it was due in on. This is to ensure that they do not fall behind. This will include reading if there has been no signature. If a child has completed their homework but left it behind, they will be expected to do it again in that lunchtime as they need to develop a habit of meeting deadlines. We feel a mixture of rewards and sanctions is the most effective way to ensure they develop good habits and to show we value what they do.
If there is a genuine reason why homework cannot be completed, or if your child has worked for 30 minutes and not completed a piece homework, please write a note in the reading log for us to act upon. We hope homework will be a positive experience. Your child should be able to complete most pieces independently but there may be some where support is needed.
All year five and six pupils are expected to wear a shirt and tie to school with their shirt tucked in and their top button done up. Please encourage this at home. A few have ties that do not clip on but they are unable to tie them after PE/Games. Please can you help them by practising this at home.
PE and Games are on every Tuesday and Friday, but please ensure kit is in school every day as our creative curriculum means we may need it on other days. The children will need a note from home if they cannot do PE or do not have their kit for some reason. They will be given alternative work to do and if we have no parental note they will come home with a reminder.
Our art lessons can take place on any day and it would be very helpful if you could provide a large, named old shirt/top which we can use as an apron. The aprons we can purchase are too small. It is a great help in damage limitation!
Most of the class are now ‘free readers’. This means they are responsible for choosing and supplying their own reading book, either from the school library, their local library or from home. Children are expected to have a reading book in school every day. As mentioned above, I would like children to read for at least an hour over the course of a week. If you have the time to read with your child for a few minutes a week, this can be extremely encouraging, even for the most independent reader. Please support us in this matter by signing the reading log weekly and by informing us if your child has been unable to read for some reason. There is a large body of evidence that children who read regularly have much greater success at all stages of their education.
As in previous years, we will supply all the equipment that your child needs. It is essential that your child uses a blue pen (not a biro) to support their handwriting. They will receive a pen and a pencil and will be responsible for keeping it safe. Once it is lost, they will need to use one of their own. They can include a rubber, sharpener, coloured pencil crayons and a small ruler in their pencil case. These need to be in a pencil case small enough to fit into their class drawer. I have already explained to the children that these will be their own responsibility and that they will need to accept that there is a risk of loss or breakage in a busy classroom. Unfortunately, we do not have time to investigate, sort disputes or hunt for missing items in lesson time.
End of Key Stage Two tests (SATs)
Year Six will have tests in Mathematics, Reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling in May. These are an important indicator of the progress that your child has made in primary school and will form part of the assessments that we pass onto secondary school. I will organise an information session later in the year in order to help you and your child to prepare for these tests. Please be assured that Year Six will be adequately prepared over the course of the year through our curriculum, whilst Year Five learning will not be disrupted or compromised in any way. These tests will take place on the 14th-17th May 2018 and must be taken on the days allocated. Therefore can I politely ask that, if your child is in Year Six this year, you avoid booking any holidays during this week!
I hope that this letter answers many of your questions and that you are able to support us in achieving our aims this year. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to pop a note in the reading log or contact me via the office. I look forward to working with you all.