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Holy Family Catholic Primary School



01229 828018



Summer Term 1- Year 1!

Our class teacher is Miss Gardiner and our teaching assistants are Mrs Bragg and Mrs Albery. On Wednesday and Friday afternoon's Miss Wall will be teaching Year 1. We will be exploring the exciting topic of Safari in Africa in all of our class work. This half term the children will be practising their Phonics in preparation for the Phonics Screening Check.


We are beginning this term by learning about out topic of “Safari in Africa”. In Year 1 the main targets for writing are: to use capital letters and full stops, use finger spaces between words, to correctly form letters, to use phonics for spelling and to check that writing makes sense. We will start our topic by writing some riddles about different safari animals and writing some postcards from Sunny in Meerkat Mail. . 


In Maths we will be working on Multiplication and beginning work on our times tables.


 The children will  have PE on Monday and Wednesday. Please can parents ensure children have their PE kit in school at all times and that any earrings are removed. Our outdoor day is Monday for which children should wear old clothes, a waterproof jacket and a pair of wellies. 


One of the best ways to support your children's learning in school is by reading with them at home. The children will be given two books each week, one a story book and the other a Phonics book. They need to read these books more than once in order to develop fluency and understanding of the text. The Phonics books also contain word lists which should be practised. In addition to this the children are also very welcome to use our class library and bring home home additional books to share with you. Please sign your child's reading record when they have read at home.

The children will read in school on a regular basis both individually and as a small group. We will keep records of this reading in school and therefore may not write in children's home records each week. If you have any questions or concerns about your child's reading please pop in to see us before or after school.



For homework we are focusing on reading and spellings. This half-term I am introducing a reading for treasure scheme. If your child reads 5 times a week and writes this in their reading record before Friday there will receive a treasure prize! 

The Phonics Screening Check

What is the phonics screening check?

The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills to read words and are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.

The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then we will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child improves their reading skills. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term. In our school, we already identify individual children who need extra support and provide early intervention support, however we must comply with the statutory requirement.


How is the check structured?

The check consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half nonsense words, the nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have.


Is it stressful to test such young children?

The assessment will be age-appropriate, with children sitting with a teacher and reading one-to-one. It should be an enjoyable activity for children which will take no more than 10 minutes.

Why are nonsense words included in the screening check?

Nonsense words are an established assessment method of many schools, and are included in many phonics programmes. They are included because they will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. This is a test of a child’s ability to decode using phonics. Children who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word.


How long does the check take?

Every child is different but in most cases the check should take approximately 10 minutes per child but there is no time limit.


How will the results from the phonics screening check be used?

We have to inform parents towards the end of the summer term in Year 1 of their child’s results. We will let you know in our end of year report how your child did and if there is anything that you need to do to help your child improve. If your child does not reach the required level, we will tell you what provision we are going to be making at the end of Year 1 and beginning of Year 2 to help this be addressed and also how you can support us in developing this key skill.


What happens if a child struggles with the screening check?

The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of Year 1 and who therefore need extra help. We will then provide extra help at the end of Year 1 and in Year 2 and children will then be able to re-take the assessment in Year 2. If your child requires extra help then we will inform you of this. As parents you will continue to be kept well informed of your child’s progress in all aspects of reading including phonic development in Year 2.


How can I help my child?

In school we are continually checking your children’s phonic development within our approach to the assessment of reading. This screening forms part of our overall assessment procedure. However, there are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading skill development.

  • Let your child see you enjoying reading yourself – they are influenced by you and what you value!
  • Immerse your child in a love of reading: share books and magazines with your child, take them to the library to choose books, read to them regularly, point out texts around you, e.g. in the street etc.
  • Make time for your child to read school books to you regularly – encourage them by pointing to the words and ask them about the story they are reading
  • Use phonics play . This is a website which is packed with interactive phonics games to help children to learn to hear sounds and blend sounds. We use this in school and some aspects of it are free to use at home.
  • Help your child to practice reading the pseudo words which will be sent home.
  • Attend our Parent Workshop meeting
  • Make sure you are pronouncing the sounds correctly by watching this short clip Sounds Pronunciation

What shall I do if my child is struggling to decode?

Say each sound in the word from left to right.

Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it.

Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.

Work at your child’s pace and have FUN!

Remember! We are here to help your child to do their very best and develop a fluency and love of reading.

Miss Gardiner