Catherine Junior School

Together, we can do it!


Phonics (sounds) and early reading are taught using the Roots programme, which is taken from Success for All.  The children work in small ability groups, whilst the rest of class are doing Novel Study.  They are assessed every eight weeks and moved onto the next level, when appropriate.

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.

When the children have completed the Roots programme they move back to their class to join in with Novel Study.

All children are assessed regularly using NFER reading and comprehension tests.

We promote reading and the love of books in a variety of ways:

  • By teaching English through Novel Study.
  • All children are heard read at least once a week, during carousel time. The books are chosen to encourage both boys and girls and are often sequential, to promote a love of books.
  • The children have the opportunity to select their own reading book. These books are colour coded to suit different reading abilities.  We encourage children to read these books to an adult at home every night.
  • Children who are unable to read to an adult at home have the opportunity to read to an adult at school during Breakfast Club, Homework Club (lunchtime) and during After Care club (after school).
  • All children visit the school library weekly to choose a book to take home.
  • Once a year we invite a book company to come to school to sell books to both children and adults.

Reading Ambassadors

Every class in school has appointed a Reading Ambassador.  Their main role is to promote reading in school.  They do this by monitoring which children in the class are reading every day and rewarding them with stickers, certificates and reading related trips, such as Author Weeks (to hear authors talk about their books) and The Biggest Book Show On Earth (World book day, which they organise).  These trips are also used to encourage reluctant readers.  The Reading Ambassadors also help children to select books.

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.