Happy Father’s Day from Year 4!

Too hot or too cool to join in with my Dad-dancing in today’s assembly, the children were less reserved in Thursday’s rehearsal and threw some amazing shapes. Relive the magic this weekend with our video…

We are looking forward to our class trip on Tuesday to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. The forecast is currently for sunny intervals and a high of 23 – much more bearable than today’s temperatures, but the children will still need to dress for the weather – sun screen and school caps are a must, as well as comfortable shoes or trainers for all the walking we will do. The children should wear school uniform.

It would be a good idea to pack an extra drink or two for our trip in addition to that included as part of our packed lunch. A small, draw-string style backpack would be a handy way to carry this around, if you already have one.

Please make sure that you have given your child any medication needed – such as travel or hay fever – in plenty of time to ensure that they enjoy the day. Our journey to Kew will take about an hour.

I hope the sun continues to shine over the weekend and that you all have a Happy Father’s Day.

Year 4 get building

We’ve had another busy week together in Year 4 and the children have enjoyed the start of our new design and technology topic, learning about structures and designing pavilions. We’re looking forward to getting some ideas for our own designs when we visit the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some photos of our first investigation of structures where we experimented with the strength of different shapes.

We are also hoping that our trip to Kew will provide inspiration for our new art topic where we are learning about the art and landscapes of Henri Rousseau. Watch this space in the weeks ahead to see our evolving artwork.

Finally, you can forget the jubilee concert: Year 4 have shown themselves to be true rockstars as they have worked so hard to improve their rapid recall of multiplication tables facts. They will get the chance to try out this knowledge next week when we take part in the national multiplication tables check.

Have a lovely weekend!

Happy Half-Term from Year 4!

We have had a great week at school learning about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The children have brought home a gift of a special souvenir book that commemorates this special event.

Thank you to all the parents who joined us for our jubilee picnic. It was lovely to see so many of you.

I look forward to the start of the final half-term on Tuesday, 7th June. Until then, keep safe and have a great holiday.

Year 4 get creative

Our art topic, looking and learning about the work of William Morris, is heading towards its conclusion and this week the children printed their own repeated designs, combining textures and colours to explore ideas from nature. I would like to think the children will remember this learning in years to come, but it is more likely they will remember the exploding tube of printing ink that turned most of me green.

As we get ready to celebrate the platinum jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, the children have been full of ideas for our hall display. Sadly, the real fireworks and band that played the National Anthem whenever anyone passed have not been possible (yet), but we have all enjoyed making flags and bunting.

We are hoping for fine weather and that you can join us for our Jubilee picnic on Friday.

Wow, Year 4!

Wow! All the children in Year 4 have really impressed, this week. We marked the start of May with a ceremony to crown Mary. May is the month of Mary and it is also the month that traditionally marks the beginning of summer. Year 4 entertained our visiting parents and the rest of the school with two maypole dances. It was lovely to see them enjoying themselves and thinking on their feet.

The second ‘Wow!’ is for all the Year 4 families, who raised a fantastic £274 at the Year 4 cake sale. I am pretty sure that this is a record total for a cake sale and I know how much difference this will make to the children in Year 4. We have already spent the money and ordered bean bags for our reading area and some fantastic new books to support our guided reading – I know that the children will really enjoy them. Thank you so much for your hard work supporting the children and the work of our school.

Have a lovely weekend!

Phonics and early reading

We teach early reading and phonics through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. View our launch presentation for parents below.

More information for parents about our phonics programme is available on the Little Wandle website. The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home. Find our full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview here to see what your child will learn and when.


Phonics (reading and spelling)

At St Adrian’s Catholic Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At St Adrian’s Catholic Primary School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


At St Adrian’s Catholic Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.


Foundations for phonics in Nursery

  • We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
    • sharing high-quality stories and poems
    • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
    • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
    • attention to high-quality language.
  • We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
    • Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace. 
  • If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.

Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
    • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
    • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
  • In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
  • In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

Home reading

  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. All of our families have access to our eBook library.
  • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
  • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

Additional reading support for vulnerable children

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.

Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

  • Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, Prompt cards and How to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.

Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at St Adrian’s Catholic Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • Each class visits the local library every half term.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. It must be booked via the school booking system. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).



Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

  • Assessment for learning is used:
    • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
    • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
  • Summative assessment is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
    • by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
  • The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised placement assessment is used:
    • with any child new to the school to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan provide appropriate extra teaching.

Statutory assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Ongoing assessment for catch-up

  • Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:
    •  their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment
    • the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessment
    • the appropriate half-termly assessments.

Fun in Four

We’ve had another busy week learning together at school.

We were excited to meet Kate Gray, the paralympic athlete and broadcaster, who inspired us with her story and determination. After leading us in a warm-up, we ran the ‘golden mile’ (eight laps of the field) with Kate.

We are enjoying starting to learn May pole dances as part of our PE this half-term. Even though we have only just started, we have taken a crash course so that we might be ready to give our first performance on Tuesday, following the crowning of Mary.

We have made banners to honour Mary as we mark the month of Mary with our crowning ceremony on Tuesday, 3rd May. We have chosen to honour Mary as Queen, assumed into Heaven.

Thank you to all of the families who have supported our Year 4 cake sale today. The children have lots of exciting ideas about how we can spend the funds raised. Many of these are linked to making our book corner more comfortable and inviting.

It’s not too late to get involved in supporting our 50 Books. You can click on the banner below to check out our Amazon wish-list and see what fantastic books we are hoping to read next.

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the bank holiday!

Welcome back to the summer term!

We marked the end of the first week back with a double celebration. Firstly, the children were resplendent in red and white to mark St George’s Day on 23rd April. We learnt about this early Christian martyr and tried to separate some of the facts from the fiction.

Secondly, we marked Earth Day 2022 by learning about the importance of protecting our planet. If each of us invests in small changes, we can make a difference to preserving our planet for future generations. We wrote poems as we reflected on the importance of trees.

We are looking forward to hosting our cake sale next Friday to raise money for our classroom. The children have grand plans for making our book corner more comfortable! They continue to love sharing the books that you have donated to our class library and I thank you for your continued generosity.

Have a lovely weekend!

Y4 Learning in RE

In the first theme of our RE learning for the Summer term, Pentecost – New life, we learn how each of us, by the way we live our lives, the way we treat others, and by our words and actions, show if we have an attitude of service. Often, we are especially influenced by those whose actions speak powerfully of a life of service.

Christians believe that the Spirit of God is active in each person and, in a special way, in the community of believers, which is the Church.  It is the work of the Spirit to enable people to hear God’s message and to live Jesus’ way of service.

We are reminded of this Gospel call by Luke,  

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Luke 4: 18-19

Our share in this Pentecostal gift is further emphasised by the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“Those, who with God’s help, have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it, are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world.  This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors.  All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.”

(CCC Prologue 3)

Home learning

Make a good news board.  Collect some good news from everyone in your family and record it in some way, why it was good news and how it made them feel. Take time and care with your work. Make your good news board something that you can be proud of.

Prayer and Reflection

Father, pour out your Spirit
upon your people,
and grant us
a new vision of your glory,
a new faithfulness to your Word
and a new consecration to your service,
that your love may grow among us,
and your kingdom come:
through Christ our Lord.


(Prayer of preparation for Vatican II)

Happy Easter from Year 4

Our last day of term has been full of colour and fun as the children have enjoyed ‘Break the Rules’ day and raised money to support our fantastic PTA. The morning was punctuated by impromptu renditions of various songs the children know, including our Mother’s Day spectacular and Spring Chicken – I need to make sure I watch Encanto over the holidays after the children’s very impressive version of We don’t talk about Bruno!

It was lovely to see our friend in the choir singing as part of our Easter celebration and I was very impressed by the children who joined with the Chaplaincy team to lead us in our Holy Week liturgy.

So many of you contributed posters to the Easter art competition – well done to Rukksika and Tadhg – and your ‘Growth’ posters very excellent – once again, the children’s creativity and effort are something of which they should be proud. Take a look at the posters in our Gallery.

Thanks to all the children for their enthusiasm and learning across this term. I hope that you all enjoy a happy, healthy, and blessed Easter and I look forward to seeing you for the start of the Summer Term on Wednesday, 20th April 2022.