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Our New School Year 2022-2023


Curriculum Overviews

Half Term Homework Projects and Useful Vocabulary

Curriculum Overviews

Homework Projects

Phonics and Early Reading

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised complete systematic synthetic phonics scheme to teach phonics and early reading and this begins in Reception.  Please see below a progression overview for the year as well as some handy resources and helpful videos to help you understand more about the scheme and how to support your children at home.


Summer Term 2022

Caterpillar friends

We have been fascinated by our new visitors in Class 1.  They started out as tiny, wriggly caterpillars and have now hidden in their cosy cacoons or chrysalides.  Every day the children check on their little friends (as they like to call them) to see if they have emerged, eager to feed them before setting them free into the wild as beautiful, painted lady butterflies.  This has inspired further research into the life cycles of different animals and plants and has also inspired discussions around changes in our own lives and school journeys.  We will keep you updated with any news!  Fingers crossed we have some fluttering butterflies very soon!

Phonics Screening Check

We are so incredibly proud of all our Year 1 children for being phonics superstars this week!  After working extremely hard in their phonics lessons this year, they rose to the challenge of completing their Phonics Screening Check with enthusiasm, confidence and resilience.  You are all amazing, Year 1.  Well done!

Amazing Africa

The children have been really inspired by our mini topic on Africa.  They have located Africa on a map, compared African village life with village life here in Birstwith, been on a virtual safari, designed and made their own African animal print-inspired costumes, composed their own African music, practised carrying fruit in a basket balanced on their heads and learnt about foods which are grown in Africa and then brought to England to be sold.  They loved sampling African fruits and making their own fruit salad.  

African Drumming Workshop

The children greatly enjoyed their recent African drumming workshop.  What an amazing opportunity for them to learn more about African culture and enhance their topic on 'Africa' through this first-hand experience.  

A Jolly Jubilee

We had such a wonderful time celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.  The children enjoyed developing their understanding of changes within living memory whilst learning about Queen Elizabeth 11 and our Reception children were brilliant at creating timelines of the Queen from a baby to present day, using some impressive vocabulary linked to chronolgy and sequencing.  Everyone painted a beautiful portrait of the Queen and decorated bunting to display for our special celebration on the last day of term.  Parents, carers, governors and special guests from the village were so impressed with the children's performances of a traditional English country dance and Jubille songs, concluding with the National Anthem.   Such an uplifting finale to our busy first half of the summer term.

Bluey the lamb

One of our Reception children brought their pet lamb Bluey for a very special Show and Tell.  We learnt all about what he likes to drink and eat, how he will grow up and what his wool might be used for in the future.  Everyone was so gentle and Bluey loved meeting all the children and teachers too!  This experience really enhanced the children's learning about new life and spring.

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, choosing these books carefully as we want children to experience a wealth of quality texts.

  • Our classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. 
  • In Class 1, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are refreshed to match current learning, topics and interests.
  • The children also take home Sharing Books regularly which they select from a range of non-fiction, fiction and poetry books in school.  We encourage families to enjoy these books together and value this experience of quality time together with a good book.  Our Reading Ambassadors from KS2 sometimes help with our Sharing Book Library.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. It must be booked via the school booking system. Children also have regular opportunities to engage with Reading for Pleasure events such as World Book Day.

Spring Term 2022

Mrs McIntyre visits Grace Darling's home in Northumberland, the Longstone Lighthouse

Victorian Workshop

To give the children a sense of what life was like in Victorian times, one of our Birstwith School grandparents brought in a selection of Victorian household artefacts which have been passed down through the family over time.  The children enjoyed playing a game of 'what does this remind you of' and learnt a great deal about how common household objects have changed over time.  This really brought to life what life was like in Victorian times to enhance the children's topic on Grace Darling, Victorian heroine.

Learn about Grace Darling, famous Victorian heroine, by following the link below

Hindu Workshop

It was amazing to see our Reception and Year 1 children transform into the most dazzling dancers during their 'Hindu Experience' workshop.  After being 'transported' to India through stories, music and dance, the children dressed up and performed their own dances complete with percussion accompaniment.  We were all so proud of the children's confidence, engagement, focus and enthusiasm.  Such an exciting experience for everyone!

World Book Day

It was a pleasure to invite parents into school to join us for our World Book Day celebration.  This year we chose to focus on a poetry book entitled, 'An Emotional Menagerie'.  Class 1 chose Serenity as their focus poem and enjoyed taking part in a range of wellbeing, yoga and meditation activities throughout the day as well completing some super poems of their own linked to the theme.  The children performed their poems to their parents and this was such a special occasion for all.

Comic Relief

We loved dressing up in red and getting creative with our whacky hairstyles to celebrate Comic Relief and raised lots of money for this worthy cause.  A really fun day!

Autumn Term 2021


For the past week and a half, Birstwith School has transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland.  The children have experienced so much...from carols around the tree to singing on the radio and Christmas Lunch to a ride on the Polar Express, Christmas Jumper Day...not forgetting Christmas Party Day and a visit from Santa himself!  What fun they've had.

Although we were disappointed we could not invite our families to watch our Nativity Play this year, this did not stop us from enjoying dressing up, saying our lines and singing all the songs.  Everyone felt like a film star being recorded and rose to the challenge of remembering when to come on stage and perform their part.  The stars certainly did shine for Class 1 on this very special occasion!

The children have worked incredibly hard to make beautiful cards, crafts and even delicious truffles to share with their families over the Christmas holidays.


A Winter Wonderland

The winter weather has provided a wonderful opportunity for the children to explore snow and ice.  From observing nature trapped in the ice to watching it slowly melt and rolling giant snowballs to creating snow creatures, the children have certainly made the most of the winter wonderland in our beautiful outdoor setting.


It has certainly been a Happy Harvest in Class 1.  From a walk around the village, stopping off to harvest produce from the Community Garden to making pumpkin soup and performing a special Harvest song and poem in the Harvest service at Church.

ZooLab visit

During the Autumn Term we enjoyed an incredible workshop led by ZooLab.  The children met many different animals including a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach!  Everyone was so brave handling the animals and some children even overcame their fears of certain little creatures.  This was an incredible experience for the children and enhanced their science topic all about Humans including Animals.  They learnt so much about the animals' diets, behaviour and habitats - a wonderful event to kickstart our year.