Please see the letter below to all young people, from the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP.
I wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for the way you have responded to the huge challenges you have all faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether this is your first year at school or your final year of college, I know the disruption you have all faced to your education since the pandemic began has been incredibly challenging and has meant completely changing the way you learn - either learning remotely at home or continuing at school or college with fewer of your friends around you and lots of safety measures in place.
Whether you were at home or at school, the disruption last term and throughout last year asked a lot of you and your families. I am filled with admiration for the incredible way you all responded and the resilience you have shown. Not being in school or college with your teachers and friends was a huge sacrifice. Everything you did, with the help of your families and your schools and colleges, and everything you missed out on – time in school, taking exams, seeing friends, playing sport and much more - made such a huge difference to helping us stop the spread of the virus. I want to say a huge thank you to all of you.
Getting all young people back into school and college safely has been my priority throughout the pandemic. I know how vital it is not just for your education but also to spend time with your friends and to feel happy and secure. All our lives have changed a lot in the past year but the challenges that young people have faced have been some of the hardest. I will continue doing everything in my power to make sure that all of you are supported to boost any areas of work you’ve had less time at school to study, get the qualifications you deserve and have the opportunities you need to succeed.
Continuing to follow all the safety measures your schools and colleges have worked hard to put in place, as well as taking a test twice a week, is so important and helps us to stop the virus spreading. The testing that thousands of you have been taking part in at school and college is a vital part of this. I am so grateful to you and all the staff who have supported you to do this. I know your schools and colleges have worked incredibly hard to prepare you to test yourself at home.
As most of you at secondary school and college move to testing yourself regularly at home, it’s vital that you continue to test and report online twice a week through the Easter holidays and after you return to school. Home testing twice a week for you and everyone you live with makes a huge difference and means you are playing a really important role in helping us move back to a more normal way of life. Your school or college will continue to support you and make sure you have tests. You and your family can also find out more about home testing here.
I was delighted to see the enthusiasm with which so many of you returned to school at the beginning of March and I am sure you have had a wonderful few weeks catching up with your friends and teachers. It was fantastic to meet pupils delighted to return to school on my visits to schools like Arden Academy and Bedford Free School and to see so many more of your reunions on social media. I hope that the new term will be just as enjoyable and successful for all of you.
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have continued to write up their information texts in English. They have researched oceans, marine life and marine plants. The children are excited to finish writing up their information and creating their own books using the information. In Maths, they have consolidated their understanding of dividing 2-digit numbers by a 1-digit number.
Year 4 – have continued to learn about decimal numbers. They have found the decimal equivalents of halves and quarters, compared and ordered different decimal numbers and have started rounding them to the nearest whole number. In English, they have begun planning and writing a 'What am I riddle' based on their class text 'Varjak Paw'. In Humanities they have finished off their learning about the Ancient Egyptians. They have looked at some of the different Gods and Goddesses, Hieroglyphics and finished with the River Nile. In Art, they have tackled the tricky task of perspective drawing and planning their final images.
Year 5 – have learnt so much about bike safety and how to be safe on the roads with lots of the Year 5s taking part in Bikeability training. All involved were very enthusiastic and relished the whole process. They have continued with their poetry unit based on the class book and have had the experience of writing their own poems. Everyone realises now just how difficult poetry writing is. They completed their fractions unit in Maths and have now begun to look at the relationship between fractions and decimals. Year 5 will be continuing with this next week. They have also created Rangoli patterns as part of their Art unit, creating them using coloured sand. They all look great!
Year 6 – have been working really hard as it was Test week - well done to all of them for their efforts. They have had a challenging week in Maths too, as they have been learning about algebra, the nth term and linear sequencing. In English, the children have been planning and drafting their own ending to their book, Rooftoppers - they will read the real ending next week. In Humanities, they have continued to look at the history of crime and punishment and have been focusing on the Medieval, Tudor, Early Modern and Victorian periods.
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have been multiplying 1-digit numbers by a 2- and 3-digit number. They have been practising the formal method for multiplication and solving problems involving multiplication in Maths. In English, they have enjoyed using their research to begin writing their information text on the 5 Oceans of the world.
Year 4 – have been continuing to expand their knowledge of decimals. They have been using a place value grid to help them divide by 10 and 100 and have been applying these skills to word problems. In English, they have finished off their explanation text about cats. They were very excited about the fact that cats get to sleep for 12 hours a day! In the afternoon, Year 4 have been jumping into their time machine and travelling to Ancient Egypt. This time around, they learnt about the pyramids of Giza and how to make a mummy. They have also started their Art topic and have created a biography about the artist, David Hockney.
Year 5 – have had another busy week creating rhyming couplet poems in English and finding fractions of amounts in Maths. They have continued reading their class book 'Running On Empty' and story mapped the main events. They have also completed assessments as well as continuing with their Indian art project. They have produced a design to block print using string on card and printing onto strips of paper. This produced a repeated pattern design.
Year 6 – have been enjoying reading more of their book, 'Rooftoppers' and only have a few more chapters to go now. In English, the children have been re-telling a story and creating their own ending; they have been working hard on using techniques to engage the reader. In Maths, they have been revising fractions and have also learnt about Roman numerals. The children have begun their new Humanities topic which is the history of crime and punishment in Britain. They have particularly enjoyed creating their own curse tablet, after learning about Roman forms of crime and punishment.
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have been working hard on learning the compact method for addition in Maths this week. The children have mastered this operation and have solved many mathematical problems involving addition. In English, they have begun looking at non-fiction texts. In the coming weeks, the children will be writing an information text on the oceans of the world so this week, they have been busy planning their research and discussing in groups what information they will include in their text. We are extremely impressed with how well the children have settled back into class and how hard they have worked this week.
Year 4 – have begun writing a non-chronological report about cats after reading their class text, ‘Paw’. They have been making notes about different cats, planning and writing their introductions. In Maths, they have been learning about tenths and converting them into decimals. In Humanities, they have begun their topic on ancient Egypt and have worked on map skills. They have even started turning their own portrait into a portrait of a pharaoh.
Year 5 – have returned ready to learn and happy to see friends. For Maths, they have been multiplying fractions this week. They have edited and published the newspaper article that they wrote during the last week of online learning. They have also spent some time reading the class book 'Running on Empty' and focused on writing expanded sentences using this week's spelling words. In Art, they practised drawing some Mehndi patterns, evaluated their ideas and drew a final design. Year 5 have also completed their Tree of life work thinking about their hopes, dreams, personal qualities and what is important to them. They all enjoyed the discussion and thinking process. The children took great care when producing their individual trees.
Year 6 – have settled in very well, it has been really lovely to see Year 6 back in class again! Following on from writing short stories in English during the last week of online learning, the children have again been writing a short story now they are back in class and we are very impressed with their writing so far. In Maths, they have been re-visiting previously taught topics: rounding, number properties, negative numbers and BODMAS. We have been continuing to read our story, 'Rooftoppers' during Guided Reading. The children have been learning about the artist Leonora Carrington in DT and have been patiently making their own Dream Catchers.
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have been busy writing a descriptive poem about the Iron Man. They have used descriptive language and have impressed everyone with their metaphors and similes. In Maths, the children have been revising taught methods for addition and subtraction. They have also worked hard with missing number problems. They had a fantastic film afternoon this week with popcorn and a drink.
Year 4 – have wrapped up their final piece of English work for this year by publishing their newspaper reports. As well as that, they have been brushing up on their SPaG knowledge and writing Christmas stories. In Maths, they have consolidated the term’s work with questions using all four operations. They have also created some amazing winter kitten and puppy pictures that they couldn’t wait to take home. In preparation for next term, they have begun learning about Norse Gods and Goddesses.
Year 5 – have been very happy to be back in school this week after their isolation. They have had another busy week beginning to plan and write a diary entry in English. They will continue this after the Christmas break. They also enjoyed watching some Christmas adverts and retelling the story. In their Maths lessons, they have been working out perimeters and finding missing sides of shapes, as well as using division to work out the lengths of sides of shapes when the perimeter is given. Each morning, they have enjoyed some PE activities with Mr Hawkes to get everyone ready for the busy days they all enjoyed. As it's the last week before the Christmas holidays, they have also enjoyed completing various Christmas activities, not forgetting our movie! We hope everybody has a lovely holiday and look forward to seeing each other in the New Year.
Year 6 – have continued to work hard. In English, the children have completed their non-chronological reports about owls and have found out some very interesting facts about these fascinating birds. They have completed this half term's Science topic on living things (including micro-organisms) by looking at the results to an investigation into the growth of mould on bread; and by designing their own micro-organisms. They have also finished reading their book, Skellig by David Almond, which they have all enjoyed.
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have finished writing their informal letters from the Iron Man to the farmers. The children have included many writing features and have impressed us with their progress this term! In Maths, they have been revising addition, subtraction, multiplication and division methods taught throughout the autumn term. The children have also done a fantastic job in DT and have enjoyed making their own hand puppets.
Year 4 – have written their newspaper reports on Leon’s vanishing act at the circus from their class book, Leon and the Place Between. In Maths, they have been working on their division skills, using the bus stop method and solving word problems. They have also been busy expanding their knowledge of French numbers, places and modes of transport.
Year 5 – have continued to work hard during the online Maths and English lessons and been busy producing their own projects. Morpurgo and Kipling have been looking at multiplying and dividing fractions. Many children have participated well during the class discussions and completed the work provided showing their calculations. Both classes enjoyed practicing the Christmas signing song, the Christmas jumpers and hats were amazing! For English, the children have written a narrative about a short film called The Girl and the Fox. They created a story map then wrote expanded sentences including lots of English features. From here, the children wrote a narrative about different parts of the film. The children have even created a project on a subject of their own choice. Some children created their projects using technology and others produced their projects on paper. Well done for all your patience and hard work Year 5. We look forward to seeing you at school next week!
Year 6 – have produced some delightful descriptive writing, focusing on settings and characters. In Science the children have continued with their topic of Living Things (including micro-organisms) and have been looking at helpful and harmful micro-organisms. Their book in guided reading makes lots of reference to birds and owls, in particular, so this week the children have been having a go at sketching birds, producing some lovely pictures. They have also been researching owls in preparation for writing a non-chronological report on the subject.
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have begun writing an informal letter in the character of the Iron Man. The children are learning to empathise with a character and to include features of an informal letter. In Maths, they have been learning how to find the perimeter of shapes. Their knowledge was put to the test at the end of the week when they were challenged to design a new play area for the Iver Rec! The children were very creative and have designed some fantastic play areas!
Year 4 – have been planning their newspaper reports about the incident at the circus - Magician Abdul Kazam sent Leon to the place between! They are excited to report on Leon’s discovery of the place where magic lives. In Maths, the children have been using their times tables to solve written methods of multiplication. In Science, they have finished their topic work on sound by consolidating their knowledge and producing an informative leaflet all about sound, some have even included a quiz. Both classes have also worked very hard to learn the British Sign Language signs to two well-known songs.
Year 5 – have looked at how to use modal verbs and synonyms in sentences and will be trying to use these correctly in their writing. In Maths, they have completed work about perimeter and adding and subtracting fractions that with the same and different denominators. Everybody has worked hard to complete tasks online and have adapted well to online learning again. They have looked at how the Ancient Greeks invented the Olympic Games and how the Ancient Greeks have impacted our modern day life. They are also making sure they spend time practicing their times tables, reading and learning to sign the Christmas songs! They also had the opportunity to participate in an online PE session with Mr Hawkes! The children have been keeping active by doing online sport Christmas challenges run by our sports partnership.
Year 6 – have been developing their descriptive writing skills as they write a narrative, paying particular attention to the description of the characters in their stories and to the setting. We are looking forward to reading the finished stories. In Maths, they have continued to learn about percentages and have been solving problems linked to this topic. The children have started their new Science topic this week: Living Things (including Micro-organisms) and have been learning about the classification system.
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have been busy writing a diary entry in the character of the Iron Man. The children have enjoyed imagining themselves as the Iron Man. In Maths, they have begun learning about perimeter of shapes and in DT, the children made a finger puppet in preparation of their glove puppet which they will be making soon!
Year 4 – have been investigating sound even further. They have been learning all about the different parts of the ear and how they all have their roles in allowing us to hear different sounds. They have also created their own experiment exploring which material is best at absorbing soundwaves. In English, they have finished their persuasive letters to the prime minister asking him to ban the use of circus animals and have produced some really convincing pieces of work. In Maths, they have deepened their knowledge of multiplication by finding factor pairs. Additionally, they have used their times table facts to help them solve problems involving scaling.
Year 5 – have worked hard online for the last few days of isolation. In English, they have watched a video clip about diving giraffes and have completed some writing trying to add in some relative clauses from the work learnt in English last week. They have completed some word problems related to all four operations covered so far in year 5 (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). They have also learnt the formal written method for division, with and without remainders. When Y5 returned to school, they completed work about Kindness as part of a whole school project about how we can make the world a better place if we are kind to all living things.
Year 6 – have returned to school this week after their period of home-school learning during self-isolation. It is lovely to see the children back in school; and we are really proud of the way they quickly adapted to learning through Microsoft Teams. We must say a big thank you to parents for your support in also adapting to this way of learning. In English this week the children are starting to write a narrative with a particular focus on description of characters and setting. They are moving on to learning about percentages in Maths and in Humanities they are finishing their topic on Brazil by researching the cultures of the country and producing a non-chronological report on the subject.
This Week In School…
Year 3 – have solved the mystery of the half term visitor as they started to read their new class text, 'The Iron Man.' They have enjoyed reading this story together and thinking carefully about the language and illustrations used. In Maths, they have continued to work on fractions and are using bar models to find unit and non-unit fractions of whole numbers!
Year 4 – have started their investigation into sound. They have explored what amplitude and frequency do to change sounds and how they affect soundwaves. They have also investigated how we hear and the roles each part of the ear has in registering and interpreting sounds. In Humanities, they have finished the topic of 'The Regions of Africa' and have been creating booklets to showcase their knowledge. In English, they have been learning about how to write a formal letter and have begun to transfer that knowledge into a letter trying to persuade the government to ban the use of circus animals. In Maths, they have been developing their knowledge of multiplication. They have been solving problems involving multiplying multiples of 10 and 100.
Year 5 – have been busy this week with online learning. In English, they have been learning about relative clauses in order for them to use them in their writing, they are looking forward to including some in their next piece of work. In Maths, they have been learning to divide. They are using the bus stop method and will move on next week, using long division including remainders. They will use both methods when completing word problems next week. They have mainly been learning how to use Teams. Everybody has done so well to manage to logon, learn and complete tasks whilst being at home. Mr Hawkes has also uploaded some PE for everybody to keep fit whilst isolating.
Year 6 – have been embracing online learning and we are extremely impressed with the way they have adapted to this during these unpredictable times. Despite having to learn and work from home, the children have continued to learn how to do fraction calculations in Maths; and in English they have been writing diary entries in character and improving their grammar knowledge. The children have also continued with their work on our topic of Brazil, researching different areas of the country, deforestation and urbanisation.
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