Catherine Junior School

Together, we can do it!


At CJS we believe that reading is a skill for life; one that underpins almost everything else we learn and ensures an individual can develop into an informed and active member of this ever-changing society. Our aim is to equip each and every one of our pupils with a love of reading and a secure set of reading skills which will aid them with the next stage of their education and life beyond! A newly refurbished school library was unveiled in April 2017, and stocks of reading materials – including interactive libraries – have been invested in heavily since September 2015. Reading Champions are appointed in each class to lead other pupils; check that pupils are reading daily at home; and drive pupil engagement in reading through competitions, rewards, prizes, trips & library-related learning opportunities.

To meet the differing needs of various groups of learners catered for at Catherine Junior School, reading is taught in a variety of ways. For those in the early stages of language acquisition, the Roots programme taken from ‘Success for All’ is used. This involves the teaching and learning of phonemes (sounds) and the corresponding graphemes (letters or strings of letters) in small groups of pupils at a similar stage in their language acquisition. Roots pupils are assessed every eight weeks and moved to the next stage when they are ready.

The Roots programme consists of:

  • Daily phonics for 20 minutes.
  • Daily reading of both fiction and non-fiction books that use the phonics taught that week. The vibrant books engage and encourage the children with their decoding, fluency and comprehension.
  • The book goes home every night to be shared with the parents.
  • New vocabulary is introduced weekly.
  • Games ensure the lessons are fun and enjoyable.
  • Writing based on another story.

All other pupils receive at least two shared reading sessions per week, with their class teacher sharing a text with the class whilst overtly modelling the reading skills required to comprehend and absorb the information in the text in a meaningful way. These skills are then assessed in a subsequent small group guided reading session (one per pupil per week), where each pupils’ grasp of targeted reading skill(s) is monitored on a weekly basis. The school adopted the KTC (Knowledge Transfer Centres) programme of teaching and assessing a small number of crucial reading skills in this way in 2016 and we thank the support of local school, Highfields Primary, in starting us on this learning journey.

Reading forms a large part of other lessons across the curriculum, including English. Here, the focus is on unpicking what authors have included and why, with a view to use these to become more effective writers ourselves. These may include (depending on the pupils’ age and stage of education): choices of vocabulary; description; technical application of various grammatical structures; and supplementary features of the text.

All pupils are expected to read for at least 10 minutes at home, at least five times per week. Home reading is rewarded through the collection of stamps which earn certificates, badges and even the occasional off-site trip to meet an author or select new reading materials for the school. Reading Champions are selected by each class each year to monitor home reading, collate records and identify pupils who have earned rewards, allowing for 18 pupils per year to develop within a class leadership role and have a noticeable impact on the learning of peers.

What are novel studies?

  • All aspects of English (reading, writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation) are taught through one, carefully chosen text
  • One text is explored for at least half a term - though careful planning, specific sections of text are looked at in detail
  • The children are always very engaged in what they are reading - they are desperate to read more!
  • Children are actively taught drama and debate
  • Novel study allows teachers to link learning across the curriculum

Why have we chosen to teach English through this approach?

  • The use of high quality texts to teach all reading, writing and grammar skills means that meaningful links can be made.
  • Drama and debate add depth to the learning and improve speaking and listening skills.
  • children can practice the skills they learn in English and apply them across the curriculum.
  • The texts are specifically chosen to contribute to the children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development.
  • The use of drama and engagement with the characters and text enhances the children's imagination, which in turn improves writing outcomes.

Writing within Novel Studies

  • Novel study is the catalyst for all the children's writing in English.
  • In the course of the children's time at school their writing will include all the different text types i.e. 

Non chronological and chronological reports
Autobiographies and 
Character writing
Persuasive writing
Balanced arguments
Newspaper reports


Novels for the Spring Term

Year 3 - Esio Trot - Anthony Brownes
Year 4 - The Butterfly Lion
Year 5 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Year 6 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

We teach maths in a variety of ways to engage children and help them consolidate their learning.  We use Maths No Problem scheme to support the children's lessons.  This scheme follows a teaching cycle of direct instruction, guided practice, partner teaching and independent tasks.

 Click on the picture below to view the Maths No Problem videos discussed at the recent Maths workshop.

We encourage children in all lessons to use practical equipment (concrete representation), before making drawings and diagrams to show their understanding (pictorial representation).  When children are confident in their understanding they record their calculations in written form for example 12 x 2 = 24 (abstract representation).

This cycle of teaching and learning ensures children are secure with their Maths understanding (mastery curriculum).

We have introduced 'Mathletics' which is an online program. This allows children to complete homework linked to their learning at school in a fun and safe environment.

What is Project Based Learning (PBL)?

  • Based on authentic, real world enquiry and links with the community and ‘professional’ experts
  • Work is in depth, based around an essential question
  • Outcomes are expected to be the highest (professional!) standard
  • Progression of skills is tracked and monitored via a rubric, which children should have access to
  • All final outcomes are exhibited

Why teach the new curriculum this way?

  • Engaging and challenging at all levels
  • The children learn real world skills
  • Cross curricular learning
  • Collaborative group work goes hand in hand with the principles of cooperative learning
  • Learning to learn skills (4cs)
    • Critical thinking
    • Communication
    • Creativity
    • Collaboration

Please click on link below to find out more about PBL at Catherine Junior School

 Project Based Learning (PBL)

We are committed to ensure all children study R.E., in preparation for later life.  This encourages a tolerance of all religions and promotes British Values.

  • R.E. is taught as a ‘stand-alone’ subject.
  • We teach from the 2015 Leicester syllabus, which has been approved by all religious groups in Leicester.
  • Additionally, each year the children take part in a celebration assembly performed in front of the whole school and to parents. The assemblies stem from one of the four main religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism.