School Logo

Ducklings and Swallows - Reception and Year One

Literacy must reads

Welcome to team Ducklings!


In our class we have our teacher, Mrs Cooper and our Higher Level Teaching Assistant, Mrs Quirey. We learn with, and alongside, our friends in Year 1.


In Reception, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.  The curriculum consists of 7 areas of learning which are divided into Prime Areas and Specific Areas


Prime AreasSpecific Areas
Communication and LanguageLiteracy
Personal, Social and Emotional DevelopmentMaths
Physical DevelopmentUnderstanding the World
                 Expressive Arts and Design              


We lead a creative curriculum where children are the ‘boss’ of their own learning. Our curriculum enables us to provide endless learning opportunities, both indoors and outdoors, which aim to support, deepen children’s knowledge and consolidate learning. We are really lucky to have a spacious outdoor classroom. Our outdoor environment offers children the chance to use their senses and explore all areas of learning.




Our typical school day includes a daily Phonics and Maths inputs, teacher directed group work for maths, reading and writing and lots of child led play where children have the opportunity to show off the skills they have learnt. We have PE on a Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and Forest School on a Friday afternoon.  


Reading books are checked daily at school and children are expected to read on a daily basis for 10 minutes at home with you. These books follow our phonics progression and help children to become fluent readers.



A home link letter is sent home each Friday. This is where we celebrate the learning that has taken place throughout the week; the books that we have shared, letters and sounds that we have learned, maths challenges that we have overcome and a home learning activity.


Our partnership with parents and carers is of huge importance. Teachers are available to speak to parents via our Marvellous Me web-based communication – we love using this platform to share news and photographs of your child’s learning in school. 


We welcome new children to our school – please contact the school office to arrange a tour of the school and an opportunity to speak to our staff. 


If your child will be starting school in September 2024 then please don't hesitate to contact the school office for further information. Just ask for a tour of the school and an opportunity to see learning in action. 



Please wear P.E. kit into school on a Tuesday and Wednesday.

Reading books

Bring reading books in daily so that we can read together at school. We will change books on a  Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. 

Forest School

Forest School is every Friday.

A spare pair of wellies and clothes should be left in school for wet and muddy days.  

Home Learning 

Home learning will be set on a Friday via your home link letter and collected in the following Wednesday. 

PhonicsEach day we learn a new grapheme, we will send home our Say it, Sing it, Sort it sheet. The QR codes help you revisit the new letters and sounds through songs and games online. Daily, via Marvellous Me, we also send home video links to support additional practise at home.


Please email the school office or contact your child’s teacher


We value your role as a parent/carer in reading with your child and helping them to learn their phonic letters and sounds. 


Every night: 

Enjoy a bedtime story. This could be a library book or a book from your own collection at home.

Practice reading and spelling your key words that are sent home

Read your child’s school book with them and pop a message in their reading record to celebrate that they have read with you. 

Scan the code on your phonic Say it, Sing it, Sort it sheet to practise the letters and sounds of the day.

A visit from the dentist! Camilla and Siobhan kindly came in to tell us all about why oral health is important and what we can do to take care of our gums and teeth. We learned that teeth help us to bite and chew, support our speech sounds and gives us a confident smile. We are now experts at knowing how to clean our teeth, for two minutes, twice a day. We also know which foods and drinks promote healthy teeth and gums and which we should only have as a treat!

Enjoying reward time! We made sure we wore the right equipment to keep ourselves safe, listened carefully to instructions and wheeled off happily!

We have loved having Hanna join team Ducklings for the week. We found out so much about circus life and we were grateful to her circus family for giving us an extra performance in school. Thank you Hanna and all at Jay Miller's Circus

Click on the splat to share our learning through topic work.

We value parents and carers as partners - together we can achieve anything at St Mark's!

Welcome to team Swallows!


In our class we have our teacher, Mrs Cooper and our Higher Level Teaching Assistant, Mrs Quirey. Mr Norman and Miss Hoppe support our learning in phonics, Miss Edwards and Mrs Cooper help us to be confident in maths, Mrs Corsair leads our learning in Music and Mrs Quirey teaches our computing knowledge and skills. Last but not least, the wonderful Mr Johnson enables us to safely take risks as we explore our Forest School. We are lucky to learn with, and alongside, our friends in the Early Years. We are indeed, one big and fabulous team!


What’s it like in Year 1?

As the children move into Year 1, they will continue to learn in a practical and exciting ‘hands-on’ way. During the year, we will be encouraging a more independent approach to their learning; gradually shifting the balance of ‘learning through play’ towards more ‘adult led learning’.



We have different topics each half term to keep the children motivated and inspired to learn. Topic plans go home to show what we will be learning about and to encourage parents to be involved in their child’s learning.  



We have a fruit snack every day and we do encourage children to try all the different fruits we receive. Children need to have a named water bottle which they can access all day. Milk is also available.  



PE days can vary each half term and we do a mixture of ball skills, dance, gymnastics, running and jumping.

For the first half of the Summer term PE is on a Tuesday and Wednesday.  


Home Learning 

Home learning is set each Friday via Marvellous Me and collected in on the following Wednesday. Activities are usually spellings, phonic challenge or maths game. Each half term we also encourage children to work collaboratively with their family on a topic based project to hook the children into the new topic. Reading books are changed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It is expected that children read at least 4 times a week to earn their Golden Ticket. 



In Year 1 phonics is very important. We practice our letters and sounds everyday in a very structured fast paced session. At St Mark's we have a stage not age approach to learning phonics so that learning is appropriate to every child. Children are encouraged to use their letter mats in class to support segmenting to spell and aid their writing. These are also sent home for children to practice with their parents.


Key Stage 1 Phonics Overview Jan 2024

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

Children complete a word-reading check towards the end of Year 1 so that parents can be confident their children are being taught to read successfully. Children read 40 words. It takes between 10-20 minutes but children can read in their own time and are not rushed. If they do not manage to read 32 of the words, they are given additional support in year 2, and repeat the check at the end of Year 2. The 'pass' mark of 32 is subject to change by the government and schools will be notified late June of this figure. Year 1 children will take the Phonics Screening check during the summer termWe politely request that parents ensure children in Year 1, and those in Year 2 who are retaking the Check, are in school during the administration of the phonics Screening Check.


How can you support your child out of school?

Support your child by sharing their home reading books at home and playing any phonics games that have been sent home. Please go through their sound mat and tricky words which are attached to their reading diary. An excellent website for phonic games is: All phonics phases are covered on this website. 

Read as much as possible to and with your child. As children become more fluent readers, they develop the skill of word recognition. However, it is important that children continue to practise good segmenting and blending skills in order to decode unfamiliar words.

Here is some further information regarding the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check for you to explore.



Below are some links which may help with phonics work at home especially for the children in reception and key stage 1.

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds (British English)