Year 1

Our aim in Year 1 is to promote happy, confident and creative learners. We have a nurturing environment where all learners flourish and develop their independence and curiosity. We believe that learning through play should be an integral part of children’s transition into Year 1 and therefore, to ensure a smooth transition from the Early Years Foundation Stage, we have a unique Year 1 curriculum, whereby, children continue to have access to continuous provision across curriculum subjects. During this transition, children learn through a balance of independent continuous provision (supported by a learning facilitator), guided activities and focus groups. 

Our aim at Hill West is to develop confident, fluent, and enthusiastic readers. Through our commitment to the teaching of phonics and early reading skills, we aim for all of our children to become fluent readers by the end of Year One.  We teach early reading and phonics skills in Year One through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, a highly structured systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme. Each week, children take part in daily phonics sessions, learning four new/alternative graphemes, as well as a weekly review session. At the start of the Autumn term, we revisit Phase 3 phonemes taught in Reception. By the end of the first half term, children are beginning to learn Phase 5 phonemes and reading words/sentences containing these graphemes. We continue to build on Phase 5 phonics knowledge until the Summer term by ‘growing the code’ (teaching alternative graphemes that have the same phoneme).  See below.

Alongside the daily teaching of phonics, all children are assigned a stage appropriate and fully decodable reading book: Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Big Cat books.  These books are carefully matched, by class teachers, to prior phonic knowledge and skills, so that children can read ​fluently and independently​. Ongoing assessment ensures that children will be able to read 90% of assigned texts (9 out of 10 words) correctly, using their prior phonic knowledge enabling each child to see themselves as a successful reader, developing further confidence in their reading ability.  Each child reads the same book three times in school. Each read begins with a revisit and revise of previously taught Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) and words, including new vocabulary and tricky words appearing in the text, followed by sessions practicing decoding skills, prosody (intonation and expression) and comprehension skills.

In Year One, children are prepared for the Phonics Screening Check which is administered in the Summer term. Its sole purpose is to determine whether a child can phonically decode single words to an annually predetermined national standard.

In Writing, children are taught to apply taught phonic skills to write sentences, as well as use a large selection of high frequency words and adventurous topic based vocabulary. Children are encouraged to ‘have a go’ at spelling when writing independently, by segmenting (sounding out words phonetically) if they have not yet learned the correct spelling for a chosen word. Teachers will ask the children to use their ‘segmenting fingers’ and may ask the children to ‘write it like it sounds’ and, as they grow their phonics code, they will learn the correct graphemes to replace those guesses. During the teaching of writing the children will be encouraged to use capital letters, full stops, adjectives, and conjunctions whilst writing for a range of genres.

At Hill West we follow a Maths Mastery approach to our maths learning. We follow the progressive short blocks devised by Hamilton Trust to ensure that children have regular opportunities to revisit and recall prior learning alongside acquiring new mathematical skills and knowledge through fluency, problem solving and reasoning. This means we focus on ensuring that all children have a solid, concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills. We take learning at a steadier and deeper pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, as well as providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are working above the national expectation for their age. Children build upon their learning from Reception and can reason and problem solve with growing confidence. 

In Science, children begin to work scientifically, completing simple science experiments. They also widen their subject knowledge through discovering changes in the environment including; seasons, naming, describing and sorting materials, identifying different types of plants and naming and describing animals.

Children also experience wider curriculum subjects such as Music; where they perform as part of a group and learn to play un-tuned instruments, Geography; where they learn the continents of the world, Art; where they learn about different art movements and artists such as Andy Warhol and Henry Rousseau, History; where they study famous people of the past including Grace Darling.

Through the in depth teaching of our PDW (personal development and well-being) curriculum we explore many topics including; feelings, behaviour, family structures, internet safety, disabilities.  Our children develop a respect for each other’s differences as they grow.  

Non-core subjects are taught weekly and link to our key questions where appropriate.  The knowledge and skills taught are defined in our bespoke progressive learning journeys which are used to plan lesson sequences and assess skills taught.  These are linked closely to the National Curriculum.  

Key Questions to drive learning and progress

  • What will we build together in Year 1?
  • Who celebrates Diwali?
  • Who flies in the skies?
  • What makes the cauldron bubble?
  • Can penguins live in Birmingham?
  • Who’s been sitting in my chair?
  • What are friends for?
  • Is it OK to be different?

 Exciting events in Year 1

  • We visit exciting places such as The Hippodrome, Hatton Country Farm and our local nature reserve as part of our learning experience.
  • We undertake our phonics screening check in the Summer Term.
  • We perform to a live audience

Class Novels include

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, The Twits by Roald Dahl, The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith, A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, Illustrated Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark by Jill Tomlinson.