We have listened to the views of parents, staff and pupils in relation to homework and as a consequence we are changing the way we approach home learning at St Matthew’s. In order to encourage the important skills of teamwork, independence, reflection and creativity we have introduced half termly learning projects which will run alongside daily reading, weekly spelling and times tables. We have set up this new system in order to re-engage the children through a range of more relevant and interesting activities. We have also re-branded home work as ‘Home Learning.’
You will find in your child’s home learning book, a grid of learning activities across various subject areas. Each week your child must choose one activity to complete in their home learning book, a grid of learning activities across various subject areas. Each week your child must choose one activity to complete in their home learning book. Please ensure your child chooses an activity from each area over a half term. In addition to this, we continue to expect daily reading, weekly spelling, and regular practise of times tables and number facts.
We encourage all children to read at home on a daily basis. This may be on their own or with an adult/sibling. We expect adults at home to play an active part in promoting reading for pleasure and to ensure a rich dialogue between teachers and parents, please write a weekly comment in your child’s reading journal.
To improve the spelling of children in their tests and across the writing, St Matthew’s has brought in a spelling scheme that is widely used across the borough called ‘No Nonsense Spellings’. The focus of the programme is on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings. Children will also engage with the etymology of words, thinking about root words and word families
As part of this new approach to teaching spellings, the children will not be tested on a weekly basis as they had been previously. Instead, each week the children will come home with the spelling rule that they have been learning with some suggested words that fall under that rule. The aim is for them to not just learn the words from the statutory list, but to explore and learn the rules themselves. By doing this, they will be able to apply the rule to unknown words in the future.
Research has shown that weekly tests of a set list of words are not conducive for secure spelling that can be applied within their writing. The government expectations of the spelling lists that the children have in their home learning books is for these words to be used correctly in their everyday writing, rather than just be spelt accurately in a test.
However, to track progress and to ensure the children understand the rules that have been taught, there will be a test at the end of each half term. The children will be tested on a range of words that fall under the rules they have been learning and practising at school and home. Please note, they will not only be tested on the suggested words that go home, but on any words that follow the rules.
To support your children, please use the range of spelling strategies we are practising in school. Not every strategy works with every child or with every letter, but your children will know which approach best suits them from work we have done in class. The strategies to use are:
These spelling strategies have been compiled by specialists in the field to support children’s learning needs. Every child is different and they may prefer a more kinaesthetic, auditor, visual or reading and writing approach to learning spellings, so please do not feel that your child has to use each of these strategies.