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This blog is designed to keep you up to date with what's happening in our Academy.  Just as in every week, the past one has been a busy one so here are some of the highlights.


By sla13, Feb 3 2019 11:00PM

We never forget the fantastic role our HLTAs and TAs play in supporting and advancing the progress of our children and training plays an important part. Last week we hosted some national training by University College London called Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA). We are very committed to this research placed project and therefore all our TAs and HLTAs attending the first session in a series of workshops. The Strategic Leadership Team and all the class teachers we could release also attended this excellent training. We have a very talented group of support staff and they demonstrated their true professionalism throughout the week.


LOWER SCHOOL: Last week throughout Lower School, Chinese New Year celebrations were in full swing! The children listened to the story, 'The Great Race' to find out how the Chinese zodiac was created from the first twelve animals to pass the finishing line in a swimming race and they had opportunities to retell the story using puppets and masks.

Across the Foundation Stage, the children took part in a range of activities linked to the Chinese New Year, including making concertina dragons, painting with black paint to write Chinese script and working collaboratively to make a large, colourful dragon head, which they then used to take part in a group dance. In Nursery, the boys and girls were very enthusiastic chefs, waiters and waitresses in The Orchard Chinese Restaurant! They took orders, wrote them on their note pads and served up delicious noodles and vegetables. Throughout the week, the children also listened to relaxing Chinese Zen music, which was very calming, and they showed great Aspiration by learning the words to the Chinese New Year song ‘Gung Hai Fat Choy’. In Reception, the children enthusiastically took part in a range of building challenges; these included making a bridge for the animals of the Zodiac to cross the river and constructing the Great Wall of China with a range of resources! The staff were so impressed by the team-work and problem-solving skills shown by the children. The boys and girls were very creative throughout the week, mkaing their own patterned Dragon masks and learning a Chinese dragon dance and singing songs to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The children also created a 'WOW' wordbank to describe the Chinese Dragon and then wrote a descriptive sentence in their writing books. In Maths, the children took part in lots of subtraction activities; they particularly enjoyed using the aqua beads and Numicon to explore their calculations. They created number stories based on the story 'Mouse Count' by Ellen Stoll Walsh and used the toy mice and snake to retell the story using mathematical language.

In Year One, the children used Google Earth to find out where China is in the world and they were amazed to discover how big China is compared to the United Kingdom! They learnt that it is the second biggest country in the world and that it has steamy jungles, snowy mountains, deserts and enormous cities full of skyscrapers. After listening to the story 'The Great Race', the boys and girls used adjectives to describe one of the twelve animals from the race. They also used another traditional Chinese story, The Magic Paintbrush, as the inspiration for some creative writing. The children enjoyed a range of Chinese New Year creative activities, including making Chinese lanterns, fans and dragons. They were very aspirational and used Chinese characters to write their own names and they made oragami pigs and pig fortune tellers, as this year is the Year of the Pig. In Maths, the children used their knowledge of number bonds to 10 to add numbers to 20, using tens frames to support their learning.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: Last week in Year 2, the children continued to explore dragons and mythical creatures, linked to the book 'Tell me a Dragon' by Jackie Morris. They thought about any worries or fears and created a creature to protect them. The children also made a dragon passport, thinking about where they might live, what they eat and their particular strengths. The adults were all incredibly impressed by the wonderful array of dragons, including Rainbow, Stone, Ice, Bin and Lava dragons, I wonder if your child could tell you about theirs!

In Maths, Avocet and Heron continued to focus on shapes, exploring 2d shapes within 3d shapes and the properties of 3d shapes, including faces, edges and vertices. They ended their week with a range of shape challenges linked to their Sparkling Learning Power.

As part of their themed learning the children enjoyed finding out more about mosaics and were very eager to create their own games on Sketch Nation, where they brought to life their own battles between the Romans and Celts. The children all demonstrated a good awareness of how important it is to 'Bee Safe' when using the internet to locate images and information.

Year 2 thought about the importance of wellbeing, linked to Childrens Mental Health Week and discussed feeling and fears. They thoroughly enjoyed the story of 'The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark', with many children relating to Plop, the baby barn owl, who was just a little bit afraid of the night time.

In Year 3 the children started writing some amazing poems based on famous paintings. They created word banks full of adjectives and their use of similes was simply fantastic!

In Maths they continued to multiply 2 digit numbers by 1 digit numbers using the picture and row method, they were very aspirational during this.

The children have had a focus on reading this week compiling Star Reader quizzes, class stories and some comprehension challenges.

The children went to Torquay Boys Grammar School for a handball tournament, where they competed in friendly games against other local primary schools and had great fun taking part in student led activities about handball.

Year 4 have been very busy exploring the digestive system and even created a model to further their understanding of what happens to food after you eat it. They all thoroughly enjoyed this messy investigation and showed lots of Topaz Learning Power.

In Maths, the children concluded their work on multiplication and division and this was rounded off with a run through of the 4, 6, 7 & 8 multiplication tables.

Skylark & Woodpecker have had a focus on a range of reading activities this week and have been seen encouraging one another and endeavour to improve on their own personal bests when it comes to reading quizzes and comprehension tasks.

Y4 also had a focus on their Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) as last week was Children's Mental Health Week. The children identified key words that they need to unpick in order to further their understanding and then explored the idea that thoughts are like bubbles. This led them to consider how they can begin to manage their own thoughts.

UPPER SCHOOL: Last week, Year 5 began to write an information text detailing the lives and experiences of women, children and soldiers during World War 2. In Maths, Year 5 were looking at place value, which included reading, writing, ordering and comparing numbers to at least 1 000 000. As the week progressed, Year 5 became increasingly confident to determine the value of each digit in these numbers. During History, Year 5 explored how the British government used propaganda posters to influence public opinion and get its message over to the public. Inspired by what they had learnt during History, Year 5 planned the design for their own propaganda poster which could have been used as part of a WW2 campaign. As part of their thematic work, Year 5 learnt about the major events that took place within World War 2 and ordered them on a timeline. In addition to this, on Friday, all the children in Year 5 bought in a vegetable and prepared a World War Two, ration-inspired, vegetable hotpot; this went down very well with a lot of the children, many of whom came back for a second helping. Who knows, they may even ask for sprouts to accompany their next Christmas dinner!

Year 6 continued to research the key events that led up to World War Two and the impact the war had on the lives of men, women and children. During Literacy, Year 6 considered the impact carefully considering verbs can have when creating character and setting descriptions. Furthermore, as part of Let's Think in English, Year 6 developed their inference and reasoning skills as they explored the story 'The Giving Tree'. In maths, Year 6 applied their understanding of division to fractions as they converted mixed number fractions. In addition to this, Year 6 added and subtracted fractions with different denominators and mixed numbers. During outdoor PE, Year 6 worked with the Sports Leaders from TBGS to develop their hockey skills. As part of indoor PE, Year 6 continued to choreograph their own Jive inspired dance. During RE, Year 6 continued to explore the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt.

On Tuesday, as part of Safer Internet Day, Upper School learnt how to 'Bee Safe' online when sharing content on social media and online. In addition to this, Matilda Club took part in a workshop led by professional practitioners from the RSC. As well as learning some of the songs from the musical, Matilda Club explored the Acrobat and Escapologist scenes inside the library. On Thursday, Upper School participated in the BBC's Live Literacy Lesson to launch Radio 2's 500-word story competition. During the live lesson, Upper School explored how to plan a story in which the main character overcomes a hazard.

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