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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.


About our class

Mrs Wright is the teacher and Mrs Birkett is the Learning Support Assistant in this class. 


Pupils and their parents/carers are welcome to come into the playground from 8.40am. The bell will ring at 8.45am and the children are asked to line up smartly holding their reading diaries to be checked on entering the classroom. The gate is closed at 8.55am and any child arriving after that time will be marked as late. The school day finishes at 3.10pm and children can be collected from the main gate. Children should be in full school uniform every day, with any long hair tied back.


We really value parent/carer-school partnerships so please do speak to your child’s class teacher on the playground if you have a quick message or ring the school office to book a telephone appointment if a longer conversation is required. You can also use Class Dojo to message your child’s class teacher and they will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible within school hours.


Our curriculum learning this half term

This half term is based around the theme of ‘Wonder’. Please see the curriculum information on our website about why ‘Wonder’ is an important ‘Curriculum Upright’ at our school.




In worship we will be focusing on ‘Loving our global neighbour’, as well as looking at the global goals for sustainable development: https://www.globalgoals.org/ Our Jigsaw theme is ‘New beginnings’ which fits perfectly with the time of year and ‘New year resolutions’.

Our Class Learning

An outline of our class learning is added to the school newsletter each week – please do take a look! We will also add at least one item of interest about our class to Class Dojo per week, such as photos, videos or pictures. If you haven’t yet connected, please do speak to the office.


Our curriculum learning this term

In English, we will be developing our confidence and skills to apply what we have learned in phonics to read and write simple words and sentences. We will read and discuss stories and use these to inspire our writing. We will practise correct letter formation.


In Maths we will continue to develop our subitising (recognising small quantities without counting e.g. dice patterns), and comparison of numbers. We will continue to count, ensuring that we can recite numbers accurately to 20 and beyond and count small groups of objects accurately. We will explore the ways in which numbers are formed by combining smaller numbers, and will learn number facts that will help us to add and subtract with speed.

In Geography, we will be finding out about life in Madagascar. We will explore the similarities and differences between life in the UK and life in Madagascar, thinking about people’s lives, homes, schools and the natural environment.


Key vocabulary that would be useful to learn and discuss with your child is listed below:

similarity – A similarity is a sameness or alikeness. Used when comparing two things.

difference – Ways in which two things are different to each other.

environment – an animal’s environment is the place where it lives (its habitat). The environment is the whole of the natural world that surrounds and affects all life.

country – a land lived in by a people with a common government. The country that we live in is England.


In Science we will be investigating water; why clean water is important, how it keeps us healthy, why it is important to the natural environment. In addition, we will be exploring concepts such as floating and sinking and waterproof materials.


Key vocabulary that would be useful to learn and discuss with your child is listed below:

liquid – Liquids take the shape of their container, such as a bucket, jug or coffee pot. Liquids include things like water, juice and soda.

waterproof – something that keeps water out.

hygiene - the practice of keeping clean to stay healthy and prevent disease.

healthy - being free from sickness; well; fit.


In DT we will learn how to draw a design, choose the most appropriate materials for the task, join materials in different ways and evaluate our products.


In Music, we will continue to use percussion instruments as we develop our understanding of rhythm and pulse. We will continue to learn a range of songs and rhymes by heart.


In RW, we will be asking ‘How can we care for our wonderful world?’ We will explore what makes our world wonderful, focussing on the natural world. We will hear the creation story and consider our role as caretakers of the world around us.



Our PE days are Mondays and Thursdays and this term we are focusing on tag rugby. All children have now been issued with a PE kit consisting of black shorts, t-shirt in their house colour and a PE bag. As we are outside for our PE lessons, please feel free to send in a pair of joggers or leggings for use in the cold weather.



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 every day to show that that your child has read and bring them back in each day.


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 or skills that the children need to practise. 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. Additionally, we may also send home a writing sheet linked to the sound learned that day. Please support your child to complete these, asking them what the sound is and helping them to start each letter in the correct place as indicated by the dots and arrows.

School Motto

"Rising to our best"


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

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