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Message from Mrs McIntosh

‘One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.’  Malala Yousafzai

Teaching children to write is one of the privileges of working in the Junior Department. Watching the children grow and develop in confidence and independence is wonderful to see but, of course, it takes a lot of skill to help the children along their writing journey.  

The Early Days  

Pre-writing skills will have been developed at home and at nursery and pre-school. These involve developing the hand muscles and gross and fine motor skills.  

They will have explored mark-making and used and played with words and language in so many different ways. I always tell parents that speaking must come first. If they can’t talk about it, they won’t be able to write it!  

When the children start to write it is about being able to form the individual letters. They need to make a connection between the sound of the letter, the phoneme, and the shape the letter takes, the grapheme. Children in Reception need daily practice in recognising these and so they will enjoy activities where they have to find the g, the m, the y and so on. They will also regularly write the letter shapes, not only in their books but on small whiteboards or in the sand or even in shaving foam! The more multi-sensory the better!

They need to be very secure with knowing what each grapheme looks like so that they can recall each of the 26 shapes automatically and with ease.  

The next stage is to begin to segment the sounds for spelling. This means that when they want to write a word they can identify each sound within the word h-e-n or s-t-o-p and they can remember them and write them down. The vast majority of our Reception children, who have only been in school for seven weeks can now do this. How incredible!  

Next, they begin to write phrases or simple sentences. For this they need an excellent working memory to be able to actually remember what they want to write but also stamina. Their hands get tired, they lose concentration easily and then the sentence or phrase is gone. We also now need to teach them about finger spaces and what a sentence is.  

With the introduction of sentences, we begin to teach the children about capital letters and full stops. They won’t begin to master these properly until the end of Year 1 or even into Year 2 but the concept and recognition starts now.  

They also need to generate ideas and think about what they actually want to write. The use of picture prompts and visual stimuli or re-telling familiar stories helps with this.

Did you know that in Reception alone they will write: 

  • Stories 
  • Poems 
  • Postcards 
  • Lists 
  • Recounts 
  • Fact sheets 
  • Recipes 
  • Letters 

Wow! There is already so much to think about isn’t there? There is no doubt that learning to write is hard but here in the Junior Department we enjoy the challenge, both as students and teachers and we hope you enjoy seeing them develop too and we value what you do at home as well. It is most definitely a joint effort.  

Each week I am honoured to have children come and show me their writing with pride and I love rewarding them for their efforts, both with verbal praise but also a special sticker! 

Have a lovely weekend, and do ask your children what they have written about this week!

Mrs McIntosh 


From the Maths Department

We’re celebrating Maths Week England by taking part in a friendly times tables (and division) competition. The competition runs from 07:30 GMT Monday 14 November to 19:30 GMT Wednesday 16 November. It’s all done online via

Children can play in any game-mode with every correct answer to a multiplication or division question, earning themselves, their class and the school a point. The Times Tables Rock Stars platform will calculate the class average (the number of correct answers per pupil in the class who play during the competition hours, subject to a daily 60-minute limit (see below)). Winning classes in the school and in the competition as a whole will be the ones with the highest average.

To support player well-being, there is a daily time limit of 60-minutes per player. In other words, each player can earn competition points for up to 60-minutes between 07:30 GMT and 19:30 GMT on 07:30 GMT Monday 14th November to 19:30 GMT Wednesday 16th November. Once the player goes beyond 60-minutes of play on that day, they will still earn coins but will no longer earn points towards the competition.

In the spirit of the competition, please don’t play on their behalf but by all means encourage and support them to the extent that it doesn’t cause high stress levels or impact on family plans.

Good luck and happy rocking!

Marion Wright
Head of Maths

This Week in Reception

It has been a great start to Autumn at Beechwood! During Reception’s walk around School and through the woods this week we found lots to look at.

During half term, Reception pupils collected a bag of Autumn goodies – we loved looking at what everyone had found and are going to use some of the materials to inspire our work in maths.

Reception Autumn Learning November 2022

This Week in Year 1

Year 1 have produced some excellent pieces of writing this week. Our topic this half term is ‘Light and Dark’. We began the week by reading a story called ‘Sparks in the Sky’, which is all about Bonfire Night. We then discussed our senses, and thought of some fantastic adjectives to match to them. We used these adjectives to create an acrostic poem, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were so impressed with everyone’s imagination and vocabulary. To round off our week, we proudly performed our poems in front of the class.

To accompany our writing, we also created a pastel firework display and made model rocket fireworks.

Take a look at Year 1’s week in photos below:

Year 1 Poems and Fireworks

This Week in Year 2

The Year 2 teaching team are extremely proud of the writing progress that the children have made so far this term.  Hallowe’en on Monday inspired us to write magical potions filled with descriptive adjectives. If you fancy knowing how to become invisible, need to speed up, go through walls or teleport then you just need to ask Year 2!

Later in the week the Gunpowder Plot was the inspiration for some recount writing where we used time connectives to organise our work. Best of all though, we hope that you are impressed with our handwriting and presentation. Well done Year 2!

Year 2 creative writing
Writing isn’t just reserved for our Literacy lessons but features in most of our lessons. Before half term, the children created chatterboxes during their PSHE lesson when they were thinking about mental health well-being. The children had great fun coming up with useful suggestions for when they needed some downtime. Take a look at their photos below:

Year 2 Make Chatterboxes

From the Junior Library

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish by Chloe Savage

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish is a beautifully illustrated adventure, following a fantastic female STEM role model.

Dr Morley embarks on a quest to the northernmost tip of the world, to discover a creature that everyone talks about but nobody has ever seen: The Giant Arctic Jellyfish. After years of research and hard graft, she gathers together a highly trained crew and a boat full of specialist equipment, and sets sail for the vast icy scapes of the Arctic. 

A moving tale of grit, endurance and self-belief to inspire young explorers and dreamers from a stunningly talented debut.



Please can all ‘Read for Good’ donations be paid online by 11 November (no cash to be brought into school) and for your children to return their sponsorship forms to their Class or to their English teachers.  Thank you in advance.