Reading and phonics
At Birchanger C of E Primary we recognise that reading is the golden ticket to children being able to access all areas of the curriculum which is why reading is at its heart. Our aim is for every child in the school to make the best possible progress, along with engendering a love of reading and a breadth of knowledge about quality literature.
The children in Reception and Key Stage 1 (and some in Key Stage 2) follow the DfE Letters and Sounds Phonics Programme and our sequence of reading books is arranged in phonic phases to reflect the programme taught in school. Please click on the link below for further details on phonics at Birchanger.
Further Enrichment Activities
Children at Birchanger School have the opportunity to take part in many enrichment activities both on and off the school premises.
Music is an integral part of our school. Pupils are offered individual music tuition from Essex Music Services and group tuition is also integrated into our termly activities.
Our children visit lots of different places as part of their class topic work as well as sports and music events during the year:
Young Voices 2020
In February Years 5 & 6 children traveled to London to take part in the Young Voices Concert at the O2 Arena. This event involves thousands of children forming a mass choir, conducted and accompanied by professional musician and dance groups.
Pantomime Visit 2019 - Sleeping Beauty
Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 travelled to the Rhodes Centre, Bishop's Stortford to see Sleeping Beauty. This year the whole school will be seeing Aladdin.
School of Rock!
Years 3,4 and 5 travelled to London to see the musical School of Rock!
We have a number of lunchtime and after school clubs including sports, gardening and reading clubs. We are very lucky to have our own Forest School area adjacent to the school - all children take part in our Forest School during the school year.
During last term we have been carrying out a review of homework in response to feedback from parents. There is plenty of research about how homework can support learning which can lead up to as much as five months improvement per year. Children who regularly complete targeted homework achieve better than children who don’t. Completing homework regularly is often the key to a child reaching their full potential.
As part of our review we asked the School Council for their thoughts about homework. We asked them whether we should keep it or stop homework altogether. We also asked which tasks they felt would be enjoyable and effective. The Council decided felt that they wanted to keep homework as they understood that it helped them to learn and prepared them for life in secondary school. They also asked for us to include some projects that could be completed over time and linked to learning.
After bearing all of these thoughts and factors in mind we have decided that we are going to make some changes to homework. We have retained some of the important homework that have supported learning so far and have added some new ideas.
this will continue as it is a cornerstone of learning. To reflect its importance we are asking parents or carers to record reading five times or more every week. Each child will have a reading book that is targeted to their reading level so they should be able to read it confidently. If your child finds their book too challenging then please let us know.
a thorough knowledge of all the times tables is an expectation of all children by the end of Year 4. The Multiplication Test Check is a new national test for all Year 4 children to test this. The government has introduced this test because of the important nature of tables for accurate calculations. Currently, the children have regular tables tests and this will continue. Children who are learning tables will be given a table to revise so that they can practice their fluency at home to enable them to recall times table facts more and more quickly. Children who have not yet started to learn their tables will focus on counting.
weekly spellings will also go home and these will be taken from learning in class. Learning what words mean, how to spell them and being able to write them in a sentence accurately is a vital skill in writing so words sent home will continue to be tested.
Free choice menu:
following the suggestions of the School Council we are going to introduce something new. Soon, we shall send out a list called ‘Free choice menu’. This menu will reflect the topic that the children are learning and the first menu will reflect the Best of British topic. Some of the ideas on this menu will include to create the skyline of London (this could be a picture, model, collage, photo or something else creative).The children may also want to try out the ‘Best of British Bake off!’ which gives the cooks among the children an opportunity to become traditional British bakers. The children may want to try cooking shortbread, parkin or the a classic Victoria sandwich cake.
We shall send out the full list before half term and then you and your child can choose to complete any of the tasks. This is not compulsory however some children may want to attempt one or more task from the list and they will have half a term to develop their ideas. All of the projects will be shared in the hall at the end of term Open Classrooms for everyone to see.