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Reading and Phonics

We teach reading through the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves.

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the foundation stage. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are. The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

How do I know the teaching will be good?

All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. Reading coordinator and Senior leadership watch teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning how we want them to learn.

What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

You will be invited to observe how your child is learning phonics in school during their reception year. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.
Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly here:

If you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. Oxford Owl is a super dedicated website for parents with a wealth of helpful advice on synthetic phonics and over 260 free eBooks.

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

Connect with Read Write Inc.

Parents can find out about Read Write Inc on their Facebook page.

Tab 2 content – coming soon….

Tab 3 content – coming soon….

At St Mary and St Michael’s, it is our intention to encourage children to be inquisitive throughout their time at school in which the programme that we follow allows our children to be. We follow a ‘Switched on Science’ scheme which offers this as well as full coverage of the National curriculum across Key Stage 1 and 2.

This curriculum is a flexible and creative investigation-based programme with a clear focus for working scientifically – a core assessable element of the new curriculum. It also fosters healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living. Through the practical element of Science, it engages learners, at all levels, and increases their knowledge and understanding of our world. Pupils are also able to learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.

To achieve the above, we ensure that children are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through:

  • practical experiences
  • using equipment
  • conducting experiments
  • building arguments
  • explain concepts confidently

Early Years pupils access scientific opportunities through play based learning. Children in the Early Years Unit benefit from their very own playground with areas devoted for exploring different areas of science – such as the investigation area, the garden area and the water area. Our Early Years staff follow ‘In The Moment’ planning to encourage children to think independently and ask questions about the world around them.


At St Mary and St Michael Catholic Primary School, we aim to provide a relevant, challenging and enjoyable computing curriculum that helps our pupils to participate in the rapidly changing world where work and leisure activities are increasingly transformed by technology. Computing is taught through a combination of discrete lessons as well as being embedded across the curriculum. Skills are taught as part of literacy, numeracy, RE, science and topic lessons which allows children to use computing to enhance their learning.

By the time pupils leave primary school, we aim to develop pupils who:

  • Are responsible, confident and creative users of technology, who apply computational thinking beyond the Computing curriculum.
  • Are digitally literate and are active participants in a digital world.
  • Know how to stay safe whilst using technology and on the internet, minimising risk to themselves and others.
  • Understand and follow agreed E-Safety rules, and know who to contact if they have concerns, including the use of report buttons.
  • Have repeated practical experience writing computer programs in order to solve problems, including logic & algorithms.
  • Ask and answer questions through collection, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information.
  • Understand how digital networks work and the services they provide.
  • Use search options effectively, understanding the need to evaluate the relevance of content.



Geography at St Mary and St Michael’s follows a thematic approach and links closely to History. It brings a curriculum that focuses on place and locational knowledge, human and physical geography and geographical skills and fieldwork. We develop our pupils’ knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to their topics and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.

In key stage 1 specifically, we use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries. We use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of our school and its grounds. We enrich our children’s understanding of geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom.

In key stage 2, we continue and enhance what the children have learnt in key stage 1. We not only focus on local place knowledge but also broaden our children’s locational knowledge through identifying the position and significance of key geographical regions and areas (latitude, longitude, Equator). We also begin to study the use of digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied

Music content – coming soon….

Art content – coming soon….

Design and Technology content – coming soon….

Spanish at St Mary’s and St Michael’s

The Spanish curriculum we follow at St Mary’s and St Michael’s focusses on stages of gradually building pupil’s knowledge, constantly recapping and building on what has previously been learnt. It excellently prepares pupils for their eventual transition to foreign languages at Secondary School. The skills they learn whilst learning Spanish at Primary will aid them not only in Spanish at Secondary, but will also be of
benefit in aiding them to acquire any other modern foreign language.

At Primary level Spanish, pupils are encouraged at all times to strive to work things out for themselves, work in pairs and small groups sharing knowledge, and to speak aloud when possible – thereby building confidence. Pronunciation, memory, pattern finding, sentence building, autonomy, performance and creativity are the concepts at the heart of their learning.

A Breakdown of What We Study:

In Year 3

The phonics, learning the vowels first.
The numbers 1-10 and how to ask and give their age.
Read rhyming stories, sing songs, practise tongue twisters and have further opportunities to make the sound-written link by listening to words and anticipating their spelling.
Christmas vocabulary.
Nouns (pencil case items).
They are made aware of gender.
The verb forms ‘tengo – I have’, ‘es – it is’ and encounter the negative forms of these.

In Year 4

Animals and colours.
The key verbs are ‘es’ (he/she/it is), ‘son’ (they are), hay (there is/are). The negative is revisited and there is also a subtle introduction to ‘también’ (also/too/as well), ‘pero’ (but).
Retell a familiar story – The Very Hungry Caterpillar – in Spanish.
Christmas vocabulary.
Numbers 1-31, months, dates, asking for and giving birthday.
Shapes and prepositions of place.

In Year 5

Continuing with shapes and prepositions of place, looking at the artist Miró.
Parts of the body and face.
Language for family members.
Re-tell the story ‘The giant turnip’.
‘Tengo un/una ..que se llama…’ I have a …called…
Adjectives for describing personality and physical description (hair and eyes).
Key verbs in the 3rd person singular and plural: –> tiene (has), es (is), tienen (have), son (are).
How to ask for and give the time.
Food and drink vocabulary.
Different mealtimes.
Opinions of different food and drink.

In Year 6

Sports and opinions.
Learners may start to use dictionaries.
Different instruments.
Opinions of different types of music,
Give reasons why, using ‘porque’ (because).
Describing the weather.
Revising colours (with adjectival agreement) with common nouns and then the flags of a few familiar countries.
Expressing what each country is famous for.
Focus on Spain and some of the key features of the country. Attention is paid to forming plurals of nouns and using the adjective ‘mucho’ (lots of).
Use ‘hay’ (there is/are).
Look at key cities and their location in Spain, using the points of the compass and key geographical features to locate them on a map.
Vocabulary for places in the town.

At St Mary and St Michael School we believe that Physical Education (PE) plays a fundamental role in a child’s development. Physical Education (PE) can inspire and challenge an individual. We understand that a positive and well balanced PE curriculum can lead to lifelong participation in sport and can help children lead healthy active lifestyles.

All children at key stage one and two participate in two hours of PE a week. We ensure our PE curriculum meets the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum and provide learning opportunities in dance, games, gymnastics, athletics and outdoor education. In addition, children in years 2, 3, 4 and 5 will also complete a term of swimming. It is expected that all children change into their PE kit during lessons.

Our passion for PE was recognised in 2014/15 by being the first school in Tower Hamlets to receive a Sainsbury School Games Gold Award. Since then we have maintained our Gold standard and have worked closely with the Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation to help raise the profile of PE within Tower Hamlets primary schools.

Follow our PE blog or our PE twitter account (@MissClough_SMSM) for more information on our participation and success at competitions.