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Upton St James CofE Primary School

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Richard Branson (Reception class)

Welcome to Branson class!

We believe that Richard Branson needs to be remembered because he made the first hot-air balloon crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. He has also set speed and distance records for balloon flight and made several attempts to fly all the way around the world in a balloon as well as being a very successful person in business. He achieved all this despite struggling at school due to dyslexia and ADHD.


The adults in our class are Mrs Wright (class teacher) and Mrs Birkett (LSA). Our school day starts at 8:45am and ends at 3:10pm. Children can be dropped off and collected from the main school gate – please let us know if someone different is going to be collecting your child.

It’s great to see everyone looking so smart in their new uniforms! In Reception we are very lucky to have a large sandpit and water play area. Unfortunately, this means that, despite the aprons, the children often get their clothes wet. It would be really useful to have a change of clothes for all children in school in case of emergencies. This could be a change of school uniform or a pair of black leggings or joggers and a plain white t-shirt.

Bookbags have now been handed out and these need to be in school every day. Its also good to get into the routine of checking and emptying them daily as letters and other information often come home in them.


Our curriculum learning this half term

Our new curriculum documents can be found on the school website. Please take a look as these explain our approach to the curriculum and the progression in teaching and learning in each subject area.

This half term, in Branson class, we will be focusing on settling into school, learning new routines and ways to learn, and making lots of new friends. Additionally, we will be starting our journey as geographers, finding out about our place in the world. We will look at and make maps, learn where Torquay is in the UK and world and explore the environment of our school and local area.

To support your child with this learning please take time to use and discuss the key vocabulary below.


Key vocabulary

England/country – The country that we live in is England

Torquay/town – The town that we go to school in is Torquay

Map – a map is a ‘birds-eye’ view of a place.

Symbol – maps use symbols(pictures) to show where real things are.



Our PE days are Mondays and Tuesdays. Our PE kit is a T-shirt (colour of house) and black shorts, and these will be issued later this half term. Please can you provide a named pair of black plimsolls for your child. Please make sure that, once issued, your child’s PE kit is in school at all times.



We really value reading at Upton and ask that each child reads for 10-15 minutes each night and records their reading in their home reading diaries. Please can parents/carers sign the reading diaries to show that that your child has read and bring them back in each day. Reading diaries and reading books will be sent home once we have reached the appropriate stage in our phonics programme. In the meantime, we will send home storybooks for you and your child to enjoy together. These will be issued on Friday and should be returned the following Friday for other children to enjoy.



At Upton St James (USJ), we follow ‘Read, Write, Inc’ (RWI) in Reception and key stage one. RWI phonics lessons teach children to read accurately and fluently and with good comprehension. The children learn to form each letter, spell correctly and compose their written ideas step by step.  Each day we have phonics lessons and additional practise and reading times. Additionally, the children will bring home reading books and practise materials (see below). For further information about our approach to teaching phonics, please see the curriculum documents on the school website.


Home learning

Links to Read Write Inc videos and activities will be regularly posted on Class Dojo. These will link to our in-class learning. Watching these with your child will give them valuable phonics practice and will help you to gain a better understanding of phonics and how best to support your child as they learn to read and write.

School Motto

"Rising to our best"


‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12 v:30 – 31)

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