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Supporting Learning

"It goes without saying that high parental aspirations, parental interest in school life and parental support at home are key to ensuring your child goes from strength to strength in their education. In fact one study proved that the impact of parental involvement and support on pupil achievement (that is showing an interest, being positive about school, supporting children with their learning at home,) without doubt, had the most significant impact upon a child’s achievement in school beyond all other factors." - Charles Desforges, 2003.

With this in mind, this page offers you advice on how you can best support your child’s learning at home. We hope you find this page useful.

If we can help you in any other way please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher. And don’t forget we run parent workshops each year on reading, phonics and mathematics. Past attendees have said these have improved their confidence and knowledge of how to support their child’s learning at home. Keep your eyes out for invitations in bookbags.  

We warmly welcome parents and members of the community into school and are fortunate to already have several adults who regularly come into school to hear our children read. If you have some spare time and are interested in hearing children read at our school or have a particular skill you are able to offer us then please submit your interest by contacting the school office on 01480 398046.

The school is fully committed to safeguarding children and therefore we will: i) ask all volunteers to have a full DBS check, ii) seek two references to gauge their suitability to working with children, and iii) ask them to read and sign to say you will act in accordance with our safeguarding policy and code of conduct. We have a coherent whistle-blowing policy in school so there are clear processes in place to report misconduct. All members of staff are vigilant in this matter.


At Hartford Infant School we use the Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics programs to support our teaching of phonics across Reception and Key Stage 1. We use these programs as a resource and have adapted them to suit the needs of our children. Our phonics is taught through 6 phases.

  • Phase 1 supports the development of listening and speaking skills.
  • Phase 2-5 is a systematic approach to phonics teaching and word recognition skills.
  • Phase 6 focuses on word-specific spellings and the rules for spelling alternatives.

These are clearly mapped out with specific phoneme/grapheme correspondences in our school Phonics Long Term Plan and further detail is provided in our year group Phonics Medium Term Plans. Across the school phonics is taught as a discrete 20 minute session every day. Each lesson follows the structure of revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. Further opportunities for practise and application are given during Guided Reading sessions. In Key Stage 1 parents/carers are notified of the weeks phonics focus through our homework. The children can then choose to practise these in their own way if they wish.

Use the resources linked to develop your understanding of the English phonetic code, which we call 'phonics'.

Don't forget every year we offer a series of parent workshops on reading and phonics...look out for our next workshop in the school newsletters.

Download our Phonic Subject Knowledge booklet for Parents/carers  [if printed double sided it folds to create a handy booklet!] and hear how to pronounce each of the 44 phonemes by clicking here.


Hearing your child read can be a very rewarding experience for both of you, but we also appreciate that it can be quite stressful! We have a Reading Tree Challenge

Please read through the following information to gain an understanding of how our Reading Tree Challenge works in school. Should you wish to ask any questions, please do speak to your child’s class teacher. Alternatively pop into school to see the tree.This is used as a ‘ladder’ for the children to progress up from the silver star at the bottom of the tree to the star at the top of the tree.

Each child will start with a blue ‘Reading at Home’ card and their name will be on a blue card.

Each new academic year the children will start again on a fresh blue reading card as the purpose of the reading tree is to read as many books in a single academic year. The tree helps the children to challenge themselves based on their prior achievement. Last year some children reached the pink coloured card!

Children will be expected to read 40 times to complete the blue card. This might seem quite daunting, so the total has been divided into milestones of 10 sessions, 20 sessions and then 40 sessions. At each WOW milestone the children can move their name up the tree. The children are encouraged to come to the office to show off their reading progress.

We appreciate that some children may have longer sessions to read especially as they move up into the higher book band levels of purple and gold, so we are happy that parents/carers sign the children’s card when the child has read for a substantive time (at least 15 minutes) even if they don’t complete the book in that session.

This process will then be repeated for the next 6 coloured cards totalling 280 sessions altogether. This is an aspirational target of reading 280 times over the year based on feedback from parents last year. Some children naturally will achieve this and others won’t. We won’t ‘push’ children to get onto the purple card but celebrate what card they are on as we firmly believe that every reading session will ensure your child becomes the best reader they can be.

Children repeat the process with their name in red for the 2nd card (milestones: 50 sessions = root of tree, 60 sessions = gold coin, 80 sessions = leaf of the tree).

They repeat again with their name in green for the 3rd card (milestones: 90 sessions = root of tree, 100 sessions = gold coin, 120 sessions = leaf of the tree).

They repeat again with their name in orange for the 4th card (milestones: 130 sessions = root of tree, 140 sessions = gold coin, 160 sessions = leaf of the tree).

They repeat again with their name in yellow for the 5th card (milestones: 170 sessions = root of tree, 180 sessions = gold coin, 200 sessions = leaf of the tree).

They repeat again with their name in pink for the 6th card (milestones: 210 sessions = root of tree, 220 sessions = gold coin, 240 sessions = leaf of the tree).

They repeat again with their name in purple for the 7th card (milestones: 250 sessions = root of tree, 260 sessions = gold coin, 280 sessions = leaf of the tree).

This will mean that children may have their name on the tree in different colours, but obviously a red name on the star near the roots means a child has read more than a child with a blue name on the star near the leaves. So even though they start at the roots again when they start a new coloured card, they are rewarded by knowing they are on a different colour 

Mrs Lee looks forward to sharing completed reading cards with the children at lunchtimes and hearing about the books they have read. Thank you for your continued support.

Don't forget to look out for our annual reading workshops advertised in our weekly newsletter. Feedback from these events is always very positive.


Alongside phonics we teach how to read and spell the year group specific Common Exception Words (set out in National Curriculum – Appendix 1). Spelling enables us to become more effective writers. Put simply, the less thought we have to put into spelling, the more thought we can put into what is said. Children can labour under the pressure to spell and at Hartford Infant School we aim to support the development and skill set of the children as spellers from an early age. Children are encouraged to develop their spelling skills alongside their decoding skills in phonics. Children are taught that theme-based word mats, Common Exception Word mats and classroom displays are there to support and reinforce their spelling. In Key Stage 1 parents/carers are notified of the weeks Common Exception Words through our homework. The children can then choose to practise these in their own way if they wish.


At Hartford Infant School we have a whole school Mastery approach to Maths. This section is being updated.

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