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The Downley School

“Learning, Growing and Succeeding Together”

Year Group Information

Year 1 Start of the Year Information

Dear Parents/Carers,

This note covers topics such as the timetable, classroom organisation, and homework. It is not meant to be totally comprehensive as we hope to make many changes to the curriculum and the learning experiences across the whole school this year. Further details will be provided on this blog or sent out via parent mail as and when they become available.

Miss O’Donnell will be teaching in the Gorillas whilst Mrs Day and Mr Khan will be in Silky Sifakas. Mrs Burton and Mrs Casella will share their support across the year group during mornings and afternoons. Mr Rushant will take each class for PE and Mrs Aitken for spelling and handwriting on Wednesday afternoons.


Timetable and classroom organisation

1)  P.E. will take place on Wednesday afternoons.

Please ensure that your child has the correct P.E. kit and that all items are named.  Their P.E. kit should be kept in school every day unless it is being washed! The school P.E. kit consists of a white shirt (polo shirt or T-shirt), navy blue short, trainers and a navy blue tracksuit for outdoors (no hooded tops).


2)  Reading books and reading records should be brought to school every day.

The children’s reading books will be changed twice a week.

Collected on a Monday – returned on a Tuesday

Collected on a Thursday – returned on a Friday


The class teachers or learning assistants will aim to read with each child every fortnight. Please ensure that you read the teacher comments in your child’s reading journal as they will inform you about what your child is doing well and what they could do to improve their reading further. When you read with your child at home, please can you write a brief comment about how they are finding the books and any areas you feel they would benefit from support in.


3) Water bottles

Children can bring in a small, named water bottle which will be stored and used inside the classroom.


4) Book Bags and folders

In order to help the children remember to take home/ hand in their homework, reading books and letters, we do ask that you provide your child with a book bag or folder for their tray. This will prevent items being mislaid in the cloakroom or left in their drawers.



As a school we are currently reviewing our homework policy and we will share any changes when our final decisions have been made. For now, the priorities for homework for Year 1 children are:

Reading – reading regularly is very important and is one of the best ways you can help them with their learning. A Year 1 child should read at least 4 times a week whatever their level of reading fluency. Regular trips to a public library or book shop would help them to experience a range of different genres. Please talk with your child regularly about the books they are reading, even if they are a fluent reader. In depth discussion of a text ensures that the higher level meaning is fully grasped - think of the book club model that is so popular with adult readers! We advise that every book be read twice, the first time to check fluency and ensure they can sound and blend each word and the second to check for comprehension and understanding of what they are reading.


Phonics – There will be one focus for each week. This will be a sound that they have learning in class and will need further practise at home. The children will be given a selection of activities they can choose from to practise each sound. The activities will be active tasks that help to engage and motivate your children to learn.


Spellings - A list of spelling words will be given out on a Monday for the children to learn. They will contain the phonics sounds that the children will be working on throughout the week and are used to reinforce learning already taken place in the classroom. There will be an activity menu inside the books for examples of different ways to practise them which make the learning more fun. Their spellings will then be checked the following Monday and any spellings they are unsure about will be highlighted in their book.


Learning Logs

More information to follow.



Year 1 Assessment

We appreciate that it is rather early to be thinking about the end of Year 1 Phonics Screening when your child is at the beginning of this academic year. However, we feel it is important to make you aware that your child will be formally assessed on their phonics in June 2020. These formal tests will sit alongside our teacher judgements. We plan to run an information session in the autumn term where we will share further details of these assessments.     

Yours sincerely,

Miss O’Donnell       Mrs Day        Mr Khan