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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 and Miss Farrin are the Learning Support Assistants 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 we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible within school hours.


Our curriculum learning this half term

Our six curriculum ‘Uprights’ underpin the whole-school curriculum. Uprights are the ropes that hold up a hot air balloon. Each half term centres on a different Upright, the second being Leadership. We firmly believe that children need to learn to be leaders and followers and to respect those who take leadership roles. We are looking forward to choosing our school leadership positions soon. For more information about why leadership is an important part of our curriculum, please visit our website: https://www.upton-st-james-primary.torbay.sch.uk/curriculum/ The children will continue to be learning the British values, many of which link directly to Leadership.  Our worship centres around a Christian value each term – this term the value is truthfulness which links beautifully to leadership. We provide opportunities to families to join us in collective worship throughout the year.


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 post regular updates through the Class Dojo App.

We also have a class page, which can be found on our website at: https://www.upton-st-james-primary.torbay.sch.uk/class-pages/



Reading is the gateway to all learning and is at the heart of our school curriculum. We ask that each child reads for 10-15 minutes each night and records their reading in their reading logs. Please can parents/carers sign reading logs to show that that your child has read and bring them back in each day ready to be checked. If your child is accessing our Read Write Inc phonics programme, please see the separate letter outlining the books that will be sent home.


We have a new Reading ‘Swap shop’ in the foyer area of the school office. Children are welcome to come and choose a book, sign it out in the folder, enjoy and then sign it back in! If you have any books to add to the swap shop, we would be delighted! Please keep this area tidy and only take one book at a time, so that there is enough reading material for everyone to access.


We invite families to join their children in a Reading breakfast before the school day once a half term. This is a wonderful opportunity to come into school and read alongside your child. We will also hold early reading and phonics talks for parents/carers of children in EYFS and KS1. We encourage you to come along to these to find out how best to support your child with their reading – dates can be found on the school newsletter. Our second reading breakfast this year will be on Friday 25th November 2022 at 8.30am – 9.00am – pop it in your diary now!


Our curriculum learning this term:

We are incredibly proud of our Upton St James curriculum. Our overall school curriculum map can be found on the school website by scrolling to the bottom of the website page. Each individual subject also has a separate page with information on how the curriculum is progressive across the school. https://www.upton-st-james-primary.torbay.sch.uk/curriculum/


Our class core curriculum learning will be:

In English, we will be learning to apply the phonics that we have learned to write words and begin to write simple captions. We will also continue to practise writing our names, forming each letter correctly.


Useful websites and resources

Read Write Inc ‘How to say the sounds’ parent video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkXcabDUg7Q

Read Write Inc ‘Sound Blending’ parent video: https://schools.ruthmiskin.com/training/view/KDhkKVLt/7IidhZWH

Oxford Owl – sign up for free to access lots of English and phonics support and guidance for parents, games and activities for children and even an e-book library: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/


In Maths, we will be learning to compare sets of objects using the vocabulary ‘more than’, ‘fewer than’ and ‘equal to’, and will continue to practice subitising (seeing how many without counting) groups of objects to 5. Additionally, we will build our understanding of numbers to 5, investigating how they are composed and exploring the concept of parts and wholes.


Useful websites and resources

Download the White Rose ‘1-Minute Maths’ app to get you child practising early maths skills such as subitising, counting and number recognition. Find it in your app store or follow the link here: https://whiterosemaths.com/resources/1-minute-maths#download

Topmarks has lots of early maths games: https://www.topmarks.co.uk/Search.aspx?Subject=16&AgeGroup=1


Children in years 1-6 all have a Numbots or Times Tables Rock Stars username and login. We ask that they practise their number skills using these sites for at least 15 minutes per week. Please let us know if you need help logging in.


Our wider curriculum learning will be:

At Upton we focus on wider curriculum subject each week so that it is taught in depth and to help children know more and remember more as the unit of learning builds over the week. The children’s home learning each week will include some research linked to next week’s learning. We ask that children bring this in on Monday to add to the class ‘Learning Journey’ display in the classroom.


In Geography we will be exploring homes around the world, including our own. We will compare homes and lives, saying what is the same and what is different. Our key text will be the Lonely Planet publication, ‘A Place Called Home’.

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

Same, different, home, map, aerial view


In Science we will be finding out about different habitats, building on our understanding of the concept of ‘home’.


Habitat, safety, desert, jungle


In DT we will be designing and making a sleigh for Santa, learning how to join materials effectively.


In Music we will be preparing songs for our Christmas production, learning the words and music as well as how to perform a song so that everyone can enjoy it.


In Religion and Worldviews (RW) we will be exploring the ideas and traditions associated with Christmas.



As last half term, our class PE day is Monday and this term we will continue to focus on fundamental movement skills. The children will continue to be asked to come into school in their uniform and will get changed into their kit before the extended PE session. Please note that the children will not be able to take part in the PE session without their kit and a PE kit register will be taken each week.


Home learning

Our home learning expectations are that children read their Read Write Inc reading book daily and practice their phonics sounds using the sound flashcards provided. This is the most important thing that you can do to support your child’s learning – all that extra practice at home really does make a massive difference to their confidence and progress!

Additionally, we will set a short home learning task each weekend. This is linked to the following week’s learning, so provides an introduction to the new topic.


Useful diary dates this term

Branson class library visit - 29th November

School Motto

"Rising to our best"


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

Get in touch

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