Home Page

Welcome to Southtown Primary School Nurturing shoots - growing minds


Year 1 - Birch (Penguin)

On February 25th we shall be celebrating Superhero Day and learning about Sir Thomas Moore 1920 - 2021

What have you been up to in February, and what will we be learning after half term??

Birch Class February Newsletter.

 Hello Birch Class


Well, what an unusual half term we have all had haven't we? I have been working in my kitchen instead of the classroom quite a lot, and,like you have been using objects in my house to help explain our learning which has been interesting.  I have really enjoyed seeing all that you have been doing whilst you have been at home. It has been so quiet in school and very odd without you all being there to keep me busy! Miss Neve has worked very hard with the children who have been in school in Birch Class and they have missed those of you who are at home. 

Next half term is quite a short half term. Let's keep our eyes open for signs of Spring....and hopefully the weather will warm up too. Thank-you for all your help and support with your child's learning, it is a most challenging time, but I think you've done an amazing job. Remember everyone's circumstances are so different at home, and as I say to the children, we all do our best!

Thank-you for your patience when I've had some technical hitches....I feel my technology skills have improved over the last few weeks ;)  I have been very appreciative of your interaction, comments and messages. Your feedback is really important to me and has helped me. 

This has not been an easy half term for the children and adults - your contributions on Class Dojo have made it much more fun and rewarding for me!  I  do hope we shall be back in the classrooom soon!  As soon as we know when that will be, and what it will look like we will let you know. 

Kind Regards

Miss Jo Birks



 Hi Birch Class


Next term we shall be moving into the season of Spring. The days will be longer, the flowers will start to bloom and we will see fresh new leaves on the trees. Our Topic is called "What is in Percy's Garden?" Have you read any of the stories by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen about Percy the Parkeeper? They are some of my favourite children's stories - I love the cheerful illustrations. We will read some of these stories and ask lots of questions. How does Percy keep the plants so healthy and fresh? What kind of plants grow in different places? What would Percy's park look like if there was no rain? 


As we'll be learning about nature we shall look at nature-inspired art. We'll learn about artsits like Andy Goldsworth and Nils-Udo. We shall also be learning about Music appreciation. It'll be fun to listen and discuss different music from arond the world, what we like, or don't like about it and the different kind of natural and man - made instruments different people play. 


At Southtown we're really fortunate to have children from all over the world. Many of them speak Portuguese so we thought it'd be a good idea to celebrate their language and learn some Portuguese together. We have some books we can look at and will look at some typical food and traditions - hopefully with some help from our Portuguese speakers! 

It's going to be a fun and busy term Birch Class! I'm already looking forward to it! 

Miss Birks

Next term our Topic is "What is in Percy's garden?" We shall be looking at plants and growth. Here are some spring pictures by famous artists.

Birch Class December Newsletter

Birch Class Newsletter

  Hello Birch Class, 

  Here is some information about what we shall be learning this half term!  Our new topic is all about SPACE and so we'll be asking the question "What is out there?"  

What do you know about planets and people who have been into space? Do you know which animal was sent into space? 

We shall be finding out all of this and more during the next few weeks. 

As the seasons are changing, it's getting darker and colder isn't it? In science we'll be looking at the changes we notice around us outside. Remember to bring in your wellies and warm clothes into school as we shall be using the wildlife area on a Tuesday too. Make sure you have a waterproof coat so you don't miss out on the fresh air at play times. Unless it's really wet will will be going outside. 

Towards the end of the term we will of course be preparing for Christmas, but more about that later.....for now lets zooomm into space......


Miss Birks 

                                                                             Welcome to Year 1!

Teacher: Miss Birks     Teaching assistants: Miss Neve and Mrs Linton

Our day starts at 8.50am and finishes at 3.20pm

PE days are on Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning so children will need to come to school wearing their PE kits on these days

What to expect in Year 1

Leaving Reception behind and moving into Year 1 can feel like a big step for both children and their parents. We aim to make the transition into Year 1 a smooth one. The children will still be learning through play, they will still be exploring, discovering and engaging in role play. Your child’s day may be a little more structured than it was in Reception and they may have to sit at a table for a little longer than they are used to, but they will still also be learning in a variety of ways; while moving, exploring outdoors, in groups, on the carpet or walking around the school!

What will my child do in Year 1? 

Your child will have left the Early Years Foundation Stage behind in reception, although some goals may be carried on with them as they move into Year 1. This will be their first year of the National Curriculum. Like all year groups, Year 1 has government statutory schemes of learning to follow. There is a Year 1 phonics screening test in June, which helps us to identify if your child is secure in sounding out and blending graphemes. It also detects if they can read phonically decodable words. Don’t be worried about this test, we will be assessing your child regularly and will have identified any areas they need to focus on well before the test date.

1. Phonics

Phonics is a big part of Year 1. Your child will continue to expand on their knowledge of phonics and will probably surprise you with just how quickly they develop their reading. They will do at least 20 minutes of phonics learning each day, just like they did in Reception. These are fun, pacy sessions which involve games and tasks. They will learn tricky words, spelling rules and how to sound out and blend to aid them with their reading and writing. They will be encouraged to ‘have a go’ at spelling when writing independently, by phonetically sounding out words. We will ask them to ‘write it like it sounds’ and, as the weeks go by, they will learn the correct sounds to replace those guesses.

2. Literacy and stories

Your child will be learning through a topic this year, which makes lessons relevant and exciting. They will learn English through all sorts of wonderful stories and they will also act out stories that may be familiar to you at home. They will plan and write their own wonderful creative stories, design posters and leaflets. They will learn to write in sentences and to use exciting language — all while improving their handwriting. You will probably be amazed at their development on your first parents’ evening!

3. Maths skills

Maths lessons this year tend to be enjoyable, with plenty of hands-on activities. Your Year 1 child will count with objects and work in groups to explore shapes and pattern. Now that they are using numbers over 20, they will learn to use a 100 square to help with their adding and subtracting. Number bonds will also be reinforced.

They will learn to count forwards, backwards, in 2s, 5s, 10s, 20s, and they will double and halve. They will do maths inside and outdoors and, because we work in a very cross-curricular way in Year 1, he/she will be talking about maths during other subjects, for example; while measuring ingredients for cooking (DT), drawing tables to record experiments in science or drawing maps in geography.

4. Topics

T here are a wide range of topics covered in Year 1, and your child will undoubtedly have their personal favourites.

Year 1 topics this year:

Autumn term 1- What is an island?

Autumn term 2- What’s out there? (Space)

Spring term 1- What is in Percy’s Garden?

Spring term 2- If there were no bricks what would The Three Pigs use?

Summer term 1- What if the Masterchef kitchen were to burn down? How can a brand new ship sink?

Summer term 2- What shall I wear today?

We also develop their social skills and empathy for each other during RE and PSHE. Year 1 is an important year for your child’s increasing independence. The days are so varied and busy, the hours just fly by!


How can I help my child in Year 1?

1. Carry on reading

Reading at home with your child is so important. It helps them to develop their learning in lots of areas. 

You may not always have time to read the whole book (schools understand home life is busy ) but just a few pages a day can increase their confidence and get them into the routine of practising and applying their phonic knowledge.  As long as they are reading, that’s fantastic. Most children this age really love to read new and familiar stories.

2. Keep everyday learning light

Otherwise, try to keep any home learning light, and don’t push it if they seem tired or reluctant. School is exhausting for a child in Year 1. If you do want to do more than reading and spellings, ask your child to write a message to a family member, count their toys,  help to make dinner or help you weigh or measure something. Disguise the learning! They won’t want to sit at a table and focus quietly after such a busy day.


Covid-19: Is your child unwell? Click on 'Covid-19' to check if your child should be attending.