September 2020 New Year 3 information

Dear Parents,


Welcome to the Junior site of King Ina C of E Academy. Usually we would have had a ‘real’ meeting to introduce the teachers and staff who will be working with your children in September. For obvious reasons this cannot happen this year, so I hope this letter will tell you much that you need to know and answer many of your questions. Life is very different for us all at the moment due to the COVID 19 situation. I will share with you much of how we usually work in school, but there will be different ways of working as we follow government guidance for September.


I am Mrs Billenness, head of the lower Juniors and teacher of Merlins class, the other teachers are Miss Chandler who teaches in Harriers class and Miss Smith and Mrs Gay who both teach in Kestrels class. The children are in three mixed Year 3/4 classes for the next academic year and we are already liaising closely to ensure that all three classes have a similar educational and social experience. They will stay with their own class teacher for nearly all of their lessons, although one P.E. lesson will be taught by a school coach and our experienced HLTAs will teach some lessons.


Many things will remain familiar for the children especially in the curriculum. We will build on their KS1 learning following the Year 3 National Curriculum and we have already had transition meetings with their Year 2 teachers and the SENCO, so that we are aware of the children’s strengths and particular needs. During the year the children will be taught Mathematics, English, Science, Topic - including History/Geography, Art, Music, ICT, P.E. R.E. and Languages.


We have all lived through a difficult and unprecedented experience, and we aim to welcome your children back into formal education and to support their emotional wellbeing by exploring PSHE themes, school values and our golden rules, with an initial focus on Community during the first half term of the academic year. We will also be focusing on the basics of Reading, Writing and Mathematics. We will be spending time carefully assessing the children, so that we can support where support is needed and provide challenge to the children who are ready for this.


We follow the Accelerated Reading programme, so the reading system will have continuity with KS1 achievements. Under normal circumstances, the children will have reading books to bring home each evening to share with you and they will quiz on them to test for comprehension before choosing a new book. They will not be expected to read a new book each day as the books become longer and take more time to read. They will be expected to stay on a level for a while, reading a range of different genres at each stage, before we feel they are ready to move up to the next level. At the Juniors, we give the children a reading range and they select their books from within that range, we do not tell them which book to read but we guide them to select a book that they will enjoy - this means the actual book level numbers may vary slightly from book to book but they will all be within the correct range for your child. Sometimes, children will choose a book outside of their range because it may be of specific interest to them. This is normal and is not anything to worry about.


There will be weekly spelling lessons for the children and lists to learn after the first half term. The words will be ability appropriate ranging from the Year 3 national recommendations down through the phonic stages depending on your children's spelling needs. Before half term we will be working on key vocabulary and phonic skills to ease the children back into this area of learning.


There is a new National Times Tables assessment for Year 4, starting from next summer, so there will be an increased focus on learning the times tables with quick instant recall of answers ready for when your children are in Year 4 themselves. The children will have times tables to learn weekly for little tests in class, building on the times tables they have learnt during KS1.


In addition to learning their times tables, there will be some Mathematics homework set at the end of units of work to consolidate their learning and to show you what they have been learning about in lessons. This is usually set using our online Mathletics programme, for which the logins are usually rolled over from Year 2. The children will have a couple of tasks to do each week. If you have a problem accessing online learning, please just let us know and then the children can do their homework at lunchtime using our resources at school.


The children may have a series of six one-hour swimming lessons at some point over their year. These are taught at Huish pool by our trained staff and members of their staff, they also provide a life guard for every lesson. Letters will be sent out about this and we will also ask you to complete a short communication about your children's swimming ability before we go, to help us gauge which group they should be put into for their lessons.


As part of our enrichment provision Mrs Faulkner, our instrument teacher, offers music lessons in a range of instruments, mostly guitar, violin and keyboard.  These lessons are held at school but are not funded by the school, so there is a cost implication. Further details about music lessons will follow in the Autumn term.


In Years 3 and 4 the children can choose to come away on a residential experience with us to Kilve Court. We go for three days in March and we have a great time living together, doing environmental and physical activities developing our 'have a go' attitude, challenging ourselves and learning how to support each other through team work activities. More details will be available early in the Autumn term – Covid19 permitting!


Under normal circumstances, our school day starts at 8.50am, with the gates opening at 8.40am. Please look out for information about staggered start and finish times for September. We have one morning playtime when the children are allowed to bring a healthy snack to eat, then lunch is at 12.15pm until 1.15pm. Our school day ends at 3.15pm.  We hope there will be very few injuries on the playground, but we follow exactly the same first aid system as the Infant school, so notes will come home for significant grazes and bumps. A head bump letter and wrist band are always sent home with every bumped head incident.


The children will need to bring their P.E. bags with them and leave them in school all the time so that they are able to do lunch time clubs if they wish, as well as their regular P.E. lessons. We have many lunch time and after school sports clubs, and a range of other after school clubs which usually take place once the school year is underway. The children may wear a wrist watch but not one with internet access; no other jewellery, apart from studs in pierced ears, is permitted. Everything the children wear and bring to school MUST BE NAMED so that we can reunite items that get put down in 'unexpected' places with their owners!


In the morning when the children arrive at school, please say your goodbyes at the gate and the children will then be able to go straight to the classrooms once the big gates are unlocked at 8.40am by a member of staff. On the very first morning, adults will be on hand to guide your children to their new classrooms. If you need to see one of the class teachers, you must go to the office where someone will be able to help you. At home time we will bring the children to the gate to meet you at 3.15pm.


We are always available to speak to you if you have any concerns about your child, but please speak to the office and make an appointment for after school so that we can give your concern the time it might require, rather than catching us first thing in the morning when time is more limited. If the issue is urgent, then of course we will see you in the morning, but mornings are just a little bit trickier to organize with the arrival of the other children. We will always contact you if we have a concern or if there has been an incident that we need to talk over with you. Please let us know straight away if your children have any problems, we can usually sort out problems much quicker if we are told about them straight away.


I hope this has given you lots of information to share with your children and that most of your questions have been covered. Please do not hesitate to contact myself or the other teachers via the office if there is anything else you would like to know.


We are really looking forward to meeting yourselves and your children in September.