Follow up from KS1 Curriculum Meeting

Questions from Parents and Answers Following the distribution of KS1 Curriculum Information for English and Maths, October 2021

These are the main points raised before and then answered during the zoom meeting on 20th October 2021.

Please would it be possible to share with parents the different strategies that are used to teach children addition and subtraction in year 2 as the numbers get bigger? Maths teaching has changed so much since I was at school so I am unsure what methods to use if I am asked for some help or if homeschool comes around again!

The roll out of our new calculation policy, which has been created together with the Junior School, has been delayed due to COVID. It will be shared on our website and with parents very early in Term 2. In the meantime we have included and directed parents to videos and methods to support at home with videos from White Rose, the scheme we use in school. These are found in our blogs. The Calculation Policy will show the resources and methods used not only in our school but also for Y3-Y6 at the Junior school too. It will show a progression and show how we aim to set the early foundations. 

We are currently also updating our website to include more, not only for maths but across other subjects, a clearer way of showing the progression and for offering support of how you can help at home. If we were to need anymore periods of lockdown these would be additional to all the advice and support we would offer through our blogs.

How often do children read to an adult? 

At least once a week. This is with the class teacher and maybe as part of a group or individually. There are other adults in school who will also read with children additionally to this. Next term, COVID guidelines permitting we are aiming to reintroduce Reading Rangers across all the year groups. If you are able to commit to a weekly time slot then we are having a meeting on Thursday 4th November at 9:45 am directly after our open morning. More information will be available then.

Will there be any incentives given for the children’s regular reads? 

We will be launching our new incentive ‘Read for the Stars’ at the start of Term 2. All children will come home with a bookmark which will need to be dated each day that they hear their child read. When a side of the bookmark is complete then they will receive a certificate and a celebration in assembly. This year there will be 3 certificates to earn, Bronze, Silver then Gold. The final completed side will earn them a book which is the ‘Special Headteacher’s Award’. We will send more information out next term as we launch the initiative.

Will the children receive encouraging comments about their read from their teacher, in their reading record books? (This would provide encouragement but also an understanding of their progress from their teacher’s perspective). 

The most important feedback for anyone and our children is verbal feedback in the moment. When the children read in school, notes and assessments are made in our records. We give the children verbal praise and feedback and talk through next steps. The reading records are for a record of home reading. Teachers look through these books at regular intervals. If you have concerns about your child’s reading at home or are struggling to engage the child then please speak to or email your teacher. It could also be that you want to check in with your teacher that they are making sufficient progress. They will  be glad to offer any suggestions. Likewise, your teacher will speak to you if they are concerned with reading progress. We won’t wait until Parent consultations if we have concerns.

Do you encourage cursive handwriting at this stage?

We do cursive handwriting but not pre-cursive. See the examples below to help see the difference between the two:



Our current handwriting policy does not include lead-ins to letters as shown on the pre-cursive example. Some letters have exit ‘flicks’ which will be used for joining when the time is right for your child. Your children have been taught to join digraphs and trigraphs as they have been taught since they were in Reception. These are the sounds where 2 or 3 letters are joined together to make 1 sound. These continue to be taught throughout Key Stage 1 and during the end of Year 1 and through year 2 a progression is taught to joining more of their letters.

We have children who join our school who may have started elsewhere using an alternative approach. We do not try to ‘unteach’ the way that they have been taught from previous schools. We support and praise them in their formation and their approach. 

With a change in National strategy, all schools are being advised to move to a non-cursive and print approach to handwriting for Reception from this September. We will no longer be teaching our new cohort to join their di and trigraphs. This will impact these children as they progress through the school but our current Key Stage 1 children will not be affected.

The presentation mentions the new pilot scheme for phonics teaching. Is this new this year and if so how does this marry up with phonics teaching the children will have received in previous years? Will the approaches be blended together or will there be some re-teaching required?

The whole school is following a new synthetic phonics scheme this year. We have not needed to roll it out gradually from the Reception children up as it follows completely the progression of Letters and Sounds that we have been using for many years at Henleaze. It has been developed by the English Hub that we are partnered with from Portishead.The reading books are set in the same way so the changes and investments we have made over the last few years have not been wasted and we are able to continue as we were, just using some new resources. The main changes again are seen in Reception this year with new ditties, rhymes and actions to help support the learning of new sounds. In Key stage 1 we have stuck with our old ones so they are familiar to the children. The changes will then move up with the children as they progress through the school.

Extra Notes:

Phonics Screening

Year 2 children will take part in the Phonics screening in week 2 of Term 2. They have had a lot of time in term 1 to recap Year 1 work and prepare. This would normally have taken place in the June of their Year 1 but has been put back Nationally to this time. Separate information has been shared with Year 2 parents.

We hope for a more ‘normal’ year and if so then our current Year 1 children will take part in their phonics screening next June. We will share more information with Year 1 parents nearer the time.

Thank you for your support and for those parents who were able to join our zoom session. If you were  not, then we hope you have found this document useful. We are hoping that we will soon return to face to face meeting times but will aim to keep our communication with yourselves as open as we can until then. We are planning to share more information about our wider curriculum later in the year. We are also making changes to the support and information offered on our website for all subjects. Please continue to check your class and whole school blogs for updates and more information.

If you have any further questions please email the main school office. Address your email as Key Stage 1 Curriculum Questions and we will endeavour to answer them for you. If they are more specific to your child then you may choose to email your class teacher directly via the class email address.

Thank you

Mrs Gibson and Mrs Hibbard and all of the Key Stage 1 Team

Unfortunately the recording of the session failed so won’t be available. Slides containing information can be found in an earlier blog post.

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