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New Starters

Starting School

Monkton Park is a Community School run by the Local Authority. All our admissions are controlled by Wiltshire Council. This includes new pupils joining the school in their Reception Year and also pupils joining the school, in year, and in other year groups.
Please click here for detailed information about the admissions process, and for on-line applications. Everyone who lives in Wiltshire must complete a common application form (either online or on paper) even if the school you want your child to attend is outside Wiltshire. If you want to apply for a place at a Wiltshire school but live in another county, you must complete the common application form which is produced by your own local authority.  When you apply for a place, you will be asked to list three schools in order of preference.
Most children start school in the September following their fourth birthday. However, by law a child does not have to start school until the term following their fifth birthday.
All reception age children are offered full time places when they start primary or infant school.

Choosing Monkton Park

Choosing a school for a child is one of the most important decisions that parents have to make and we advise prospective parents to start thinking about a place well in advance of application and admission. This allows you time to look through all the official information about the school, Ofsted reports and DfE Performance data but also to visit the school and see the school in action during the school day. If you would like to come and look around please do not hesitate to contact the school office.  If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them.

Induction Visits

Preschools will prepare children for starting school and our staff visit the children in their pre-school settings during the summer term prior to their September admission. Children will also visit the school for induction afternoons in the summer term when they will be introduced to school routines.

At Monkton Park children new to Reception attend for mornings only for their first full week in school, going home before lunch at 11:45am. Children stay for lunch in their second week and go home at 1:15pm. Children are full time in their third week.

The Foundation Stage Curriculum

There are seven areas of learning in the new foundation stage curriculum:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, social and Emotional Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

These areas link and flow into the National Curriculum subjects which your child will start studying in Year 1.

Each area is equal – and over the school year your child will be taught using a topic based approach which ensures all areas of the curriculum are covered. You will receive a Curriculum Map three times a year to inform you of the learning that will be taking place and we encourage you to follow through any of this learning at home.

The Daily Routine

This is an example of your child’s daily routine when he/she attends full


08.45 - 09.00 Table Top Activities - Your child is encouraged to play quietly with an activity
09.00 - 09.10 Register, choose helpers and share the day's timetable
09.10 - 10.05 First Session
10.05 - 10.15 Assembly
10.15 - 10.30  Playtime
10.30 - 10.45 Milk and snack time
10.45 - 11.45  Second Session
11.45 - 12.00 Wash hands for lunch and Story Time
12.00 - 13.00 Lunchtime
13.00 - 14.00 Third Session / Play Planning
14.00 - 14.15 Fruit Time
14.15 - 14.30 Playtime
14.30 - 15.00 Get ready to go home and Story Time

PE is in the school hall and ICT is in the computer suite.After a settling in period the children attend assemblies every morning.

Mathematics at Monkton Park Primary School

To start with at Monkton Park Primary School maths is taught to the children for short periods of time, and this is built up gradually over the year so that by the summer term the children are ready to have an hour’s maths session in small groups.

Children work towards the more formal structure used with older children in Key Stage 1. For them, each session will follow the same structure: Mental/Oral Starter – a warm up to get them ready. Main Activity – practical activities on the carpet, sometimes followed by a task at their tables. Plenary – the learning is brought back together.

Your child will initially work on the following topics:

Number recognition and ordering

  • Counting
  • Adding/Subtraction
  • Shapes – 2D and 3D
  • Time – learning the days of the week and reading the time to o’clock
  • Measuring
  • Money – in role play situations
  • Position
  • Patterns

Each week a topic will be taught, and then throughout the week the children will experience a range of activities related to this theme – for example: if counting were being taught, possible activities could be as follows:

  • Day 1: The children will throw a dice and collect that many cubes, or count items in the sand tray etc.
  • Day 2: The children will count a set of animals and match this to its corresponding numeral.
  • Day 3: The children will put a series of numbers in order.
  • Day 4: The children will make a number snake by sticking numbers on or by writing the numerals that they know.
  • Day 5: The children will count on from any number and say 1 more than or 1 less than.

Maths is always fun and play activities are linked to the theme.

Reading at Monkton Park Primary School

At Monkton Park Primary School we teach reading in a variety of ways. Your child will experience books throughout the school day, during their literacy sessions and at story time. Here they will see how books work, they will learn how a story is built up and they will start to see words and print. They will also be given reading books.

Reading Books

Once your child has started school and they are settled and feel comfortable talking to their class teacher she will start to send home ‘reading’ books.

These reading books will at first be picture books or books with very little vocabulary in them, as at first it is very important to ensure that your child is ready to read. When your child is then ready, he/she will bring home books from one of the following schemes:

  • Ginn
  • Oxford Reading Tree
  • Storyworld
  • Rigby

All of these schemes are very colourful and attractive to the children and are designed to build up your child’s confidence whilst they are learning how to read.

How your child learns to read

All children learn to read at different speeds and there are a wide range of skills that are needed. We find it helpful to think about both word recognition skills and language comprehension. We want all children to have good word recognition skills and good language comprehension and both need development in tandem.
Children will be taught a range of strategies.

Picture Clues

Your child will start with a picture book at school, because pictures help to tell the story. It is very important for the children to learn to use the pictures to support their reading.

Vocabulary Build Up

During the first few weeks at school your child will be bringing home a book called ‘Look’ from the Ginn scheme. This book has the word ‘look’ on each page and the children feel confident because they know how to read the word. The next book then has ‘look’, ‘in’ and ‘here’ on each page, so that the child’s vocabulary is building up. The next book then adds more vocabulary and so on. Once your child becomes confident with these words the stories get more interesting and the children then start to move into other reading schemes with repetitive language.

Thinking what words may fit/prediction

As with picture clues, your child will be encouraged to have a go and guess/think what the word may say. For example if there was a picture of a cat climbing a tree, and the sentence said – He is going up the tree. It is hoped your child would predict the word ‘tree’ and not say another word that starts with a ‘t’.


At Monkton Park Primary School, your child will learn their letter sounds using the phonics scheme ‘Letters and Sounds’. This scheme teaches your child 44 phonemes (letter sounds) in the Reception year. The scheme continues throughout Year 1 and 2. Your child will learn single letter sounds as well as sounds made from 2 or 3 letters (e.g. ch). Your child will also be taught to recognise tricky words such as go, no, I and to.

The scheme encourages the children to blend and segment the letters as they are taught. For example the children will learn s, a, t and p initially and will be encouraged to put the sounds together in words like at, sat, pat, tap etc. Phonics will support the children in their reading by encouraging them to sound words out and then blend the sounds together to decode it. Phonics will also support the early stages of writing, where the children will be asked to think about what sounds they can hear and to segment the sounds in a word.

We will use the Jolly Phonics actions to support the children’s learning.

Reading in School

The class teacher and the teaching assistant will hear your child read regularly. Parent helpers may also hear your child read, however, they will be following the plans set by the teacher. Please fill in your child’s contact book and please make any comments when you hear your child read. Your child will have his/her books changed regularly, and we encourage you to read a couple of times a week at home with your child and at a time when they are not tired and when they are not engaged in other activities.

Reading is not a race to decode text. Children need to be helped to understand the meaning of words and how they work in context, in order to become fluent readers. At the start of their journey they learn to read and as they get older they read to learn.

Play Planning

At Monkton Park Primary School your child will have play planning sessions several times a week. This is a time when they can explore the classroom and play in different areas.

Within the classroom there are the following areas:

  • Sand
  • Water
  • Art and Craft
  • Writing Area
  • Maths Area
  • Role Play Area
  • Computer
  • Finding Out/Investigation Area
  • Outdoor Area
  • Listening Area
  • Book Corner
  • Play dough
  • Construction Area

During each play planning session the class teacher sets up a range of activities in each area based on the topic  theme for the term and on the children’s interests. The children will be have a range of child initiated and adult led activities and care given tasks to do in each area.

Foundation Stage Profile

What is the Foundation Stage Profile?

This is a statutory assessment that is carried out whilst your child is in his/her first year at Monkton Park Primary School.

The Foundation Stage Profile (FSP) tracks your child’s development and progress in the 7 areas of learning.Your child will be assessed on entry, then at the end of each term in each of the the areas.

The assessments that are carried out on your child are done in an informal context, and the children do not know that assessments are being made about them, nor are they asked to sit any tests of any kind. At Monkton Park Primary School, whilst the children are playing or going about their daily routines, observations are made by both the class teacher and teaching assistants.

Directed and planned activities are also created – for example in Maths – to assess what numbers your child knows he/she may be asked to throw a dice and collect that many cubes – this would indicate straight away what numbers your child recognises, if they can count that many cubes and if they can match the number to the amount.

What happens with the assessments?

Each term, the children are assessed and their FSP tracking sheet is updated by the teacher. This is shared with you at the Autumn and Spring parents evenings. In the Summer term you will receive your child’s scores, along with their annual report.

The score that each child has achieved in all areas is entered into a data base and collected by Wiltshire County Council, who then collate the data and present this nationally to the Government.

Assessment is not just to summarise children’s achievements at the end of the year. Teachers will routinely be assessing the children to ensure that they are receiving the curriculum and learning experiences that are best suited to their needs.

Finally, if your child has not met all of the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Reception Year, the class teacher in Year 1 will continue with your child’s FSP to ensure that they continue their learning experiences, until they are ready to start a Year 1 curriculum. You may see your child'd profile at any time as it is a document about your child. Parents are also welcome to help inform their child's profile. If they make an achievement at home, record it and date it on a post-it note and send it in to school with your child. This can then be added to your individual child's Learning Journey. This helps to give a full picture of their achievements.

Things that you can think about and do before your child starts school

Can your child recognise their name in all kinds of scripts?

Write your child’s name and explain that it says their name.

Write your child’s name with a highlighter and have them trace over it. Do it often enough so that they come to recognise the letters in their name
Build to dotted writing: your child joins the dots to ultimately write their own name.
Print your child’s name from the computer in a variety of fonts. This teaches your child to recognise that the letters hold the same value even when the font is different.
Ensure that your child’s name is written with a capital letter at the beginning and lower case for the rest.

Does your child know how to use the toilet alone?

Being able to use the toilet alone is obviously important. Children must know about toileting and hygiene before they get to school.
We will always let children go to the toilet on request and we encourage frequent toilet. breaks during the day. Explain that they should ask their teacher if they need to go.
In preparation, have your child use the toilet at regular intervals during the school day.
Encourage your child to go even when they don’t need to at the time.

Can your child dress and undress without help?

School uniforms are child friendly but children will have to get changed for PE activities.
Have your child dress and undress as part of dressing-up activities.
Dress and undress themselves when they get up and when they go to bed at night.
Have them practise doing up buttons, zips and shoe laces.

Does your child have a lunchbox?

It is important that children know their own property. Make sure that their lunchbox is easily recognisable. Many are the same! Also check that they can unwrap food in cling film, open plastic pockets and packets of crisps, biscuits and containers.

Does your child eat at regular times during the day?

In school food is only eaten at certain times of the day.
At Monkton Park YR children have a snack at during the morning, lunch at midday and fruit during the afternoon.
It can help them to match the school routine prior to arrival.
Breakfast becomes very important once school begins ensure your child eats a good filling breakfast before school and eats early enough to avoid the early morning rush. We appreciate that this is difficult for busy families!

Preparing For Reading

Don’t worry about reading. As you can see from all the information above, preparing children for school involves so much more than decoding text. It is not essential that they are able to read a book when they begin school however it is important that they are aware of books and know that there are particular things to do with a book. Most importantly they should know that books give them access to brilliant stories. Read to them and tell them as many stories as you can.

Does Your Child Have A Regular Bedtime?

Getting enough sleep is important to ensure that we are performing at our best. Children need enough sleep and need regular routines.
Setting a bedtime allows your child the comfort of knowing exactly when they will go to bed. When they begin school there are so many big changes going on, it is important that some things, especially those things at home, remain regular and known. Having a regular bedtime before school begins can help your child feel secure and confident.
Set a regular bedtime and stick to it.
Ensure your child is getting enough sleep.
Get your child up early enough to get to school on time.


A huge indicator for success in life is the ability to “bounce back” after difficulty and to persist in the face of challenges. Successful people learn through their mistakes; so children need to know that mistakes are part of the learning process. Mistakes are not impossible to solve, unforgivable, or an indication of stupidity.  Sometimes fear of failing will stop children from trying new things. Reward your child for attempting new things and encourage them to keep trying even when they do make mistakes.

Children often see through shallow praise and know when it is deserved. Praising effort more than success encourages children to achieve and helps develop resilience.

Schools rightly value verbal and language skills: learning to read and write are vital skills and it is right that these areas should be praised. But children need to know when they have worked hard and achieved success in every area of their learning. Encourage your child to reach their potential in all areas and to appreciate all their abilities, talents and skills. Allow your child to practise those things that they are good at whenever there is an opportunity.

Oral Language

You need to make sure that your child is exposed to lots of language. Talking is the first tool your child develops for learning. Being able to hold a conversation, looking at the person that you are speaking to, following and understanding the speech of others, following instructions and asking and answering questions are all important skills for your child to master

If children do not have the language to express themselves it is difficult for them to interact with other children, teachers and other parents.

Talk to your child in clear language.
Use English if it is not your first language.
Practice giving instructions and having your child follow them exactly. Keep them simple at first.
Ask questions and check if you child understands you.
Expect your child to ask questions when they need information, don’t just do things for them.
Encourage them to speak in complete sentences.
Help your child practise speaking clearly so that they can be understood.
Help your child practise speaking while looking at the person being spoken to.
Encourage your child to speak a lot. Use lots of different words to say the same things so that they are continually exposed to new words. Talking about words will help stimulate their interest in language.
Talk about what you are doing and expect your child to do the same.

Developing listening skills

Listening skills are vital for successful communication.

Take turns to speak and listen.
Question your child and listen for appropriate responses.
Encourage your child to ask questions and listen to answers.
Children who are unable to listen to others and who insist on talking over other people often find school difficult because there is an expectation that the child will listen to others as well as sharing their own ideas and experiences. Basic training in good manners begins with: you speak and I will listen, I speak and you will listen.
Create opportunities for your child to listen to others.
Ignore talking while you are speaking.
Stop speaking when your child stops listening.

Gross and Fine Motor Skills

Gross motor skills are all the broad and large movements we are able to perform. As babies, we have little or no control of our bodies and we gradually develop motor control. First we are able to perform very broad movements like swinging an arm in the direction we want and then we work up to the level where we can pick up a tiny button from the floor:- fine motor skill.

Your child should practise large movements to get ready for finer movements later. Gross motor activities increase muscle tone and motor control so make sure you child gets plenty of practice at running, jumping, crawling, catching, kicking, throwing hopping, clapping climbing, swinging, balancing, pouring and carrying.

 Play is always the way to develop these skills and it is important that your child continues to develop and enjoy their physical abilities as much as their intellectual and computer skills.

As motor control becomes better, children are able to do finer and more dextrous movements. These skills are essential for writing and many other tasks that the children practise as they get older

Fine motor tasks for hand eye coordination:

  • Colouring pictures
  • Copying letters patterns and numbers
  • Playing with clay and Plasticine
  • Punching holes with a hole punch
  • Screwing and unscrewing nuts and bolts
  • Picking up small objects one at a time, e.g. buttons, beads, paperclips, pebbles, gravel, rice grains
  •  Using clothes pegs to make a chain of clothes pegs
  • Hand wringing clothes (helping with the washing)
  • Using sand, rice or beans for play such as pasting them on paper
  • Stacking objects into piles
  • Using locks and keys
  • Dressing and undressing teddies and dolls
  • Making chains out of paperclips
  • Playing “two cups and a ball” passing the ball from cup to cup without touching it with their hands
  • Threading macaroni, cotton reels or beads
  • Playing marbles
  • Playing with building blocks, Lego or Meccano
  • Doing jigsaw puzzles
  • Turning pages when reading a book
  • Making paper boats and planes
  • Knitting, using big needles and thick wool
  • Screwing tops on and off bottles of different sizes
  • Cooking (e.g. making pastry with their hands and rolling it out or stirring the cooking mixture with a spoon)
  • Using an egg beater (with water or for real cooking)
  • Playing “a handful of objects” picking up as many objects (e.g. beads, macaroni, buttons) as possible with one hand. Counting them one by one and seeing if the counting improves
  • Doing finger painting
  • Passing a tennis ball or beanbag from one hand to another or from person to person as quickly as possible
  • Hitting balloons and keeping them up in the air
  • Blowing bubbles and catching them with their fingers
  • Putting on and taking off socks and gloves
  • Bowling at targets
  • Hitting a suspended ball with hand or bat
  • Counting small objects
  • Tying and untying knots and shoelaces
  • Playing post box: putting coins, letters and cards into a small box with a slot in the lid
  • Playing with finger puppets and sock puppets
  • Using a keyboard
  • Using a pegboard, putting pegs in holes- for older children make this more interesting by getting them to copy a pattern on a board
  • Using tweezers and tongs to pick up small objects
  • Weaving and lacing items.
  • Hammering  basic woodwork under supervision using simple tools
  • Dealing out cards, shuffling cards and making card houses
  • Pouring liquid between containers
  • Pushing toy cars around roadways
  • Using a stapler
  • Making and flying kites
  • Counting and stacking coins with left and right hand
  • Playing a blindfold game: identifying objects by touch.
  • Making and copying patterns in sand or flour
  • Making collages
  • Making pipe cleaner animals
  • Cutting and sticking activities.

Doing a variety of these activities little and often will pay dividends

Play-dough recipe

Mix half a cup salt, 1 cup flour, two tablespoons of cream of tartar. Add 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon oil and half a bottle of food colouring. Stir over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until dough is pliable

Store in a freezer bag in a sealed container.

When you read with your child teach them which way up the book should be.

Talk about the stories that you read. Let your child know how stories go.

Share your love of reading to inspire your child to read too.
Let your child see and hear you read regularly. Read for your own pleasure as well as reading to your child.
If you are not too self conscious, “doing the voices” is a great way to get your child involved in the story.
Show your child how to read. Trace under the words you are reading with your finger. Ensure that your child is aware that reading is done from left to right.
Make books and reading part of your daily life. Take time to snuggle on the couch and share a book. Read at bedtime.
Join the library and let your child borrow books too.
Encourage and support any reading like behaviours your child does on their own e.g. holding the book and turning the pages, running a finger under the words, making up their own stories from the pictures, using book language like “once upon a time”.
Talk about the book before you start to read it. Look at the cover and try to guess what the story might be about. Talk about the title and how it gives clues to the story.
Most importantly, it is not just about word recognition, talk about the stories you read. Stop in the middle and ask your child what they think will happen next. Help them to explain why they think that might happen. The story has all the clues: use the pictures and keep going back to the story. Teach your child to be a thoughtful reader and to guess ahead.
When you finish a story talk about what the best part was.
Ask questions and talk about your own reaction to the story. Tell your child what you found funny, sad interesting etc.
If your child has a wide experience of stories and books they will be very well prepared for the next stages of learning to read.

Ways to help your child develop mathematical ideas

Here are some useful tips to help with your child’s mathematical development –

  • Sing number rhymes.
  • As you climb the stairs count each step.
  • Ask your child to say what number comes next.
  • At tea time count the chips on the plate etc.
  • Use language such as next, more, less, together etc.
  • Look at buildings and name the shapes – e.g. a square window.
  • In the bath write numbers in the water/bubbles.
  • Look at the coins we have.
  • Get your child to pay for small items in the shop.
  • Talk about where things are – e.g. the teddy is on top of/next to the book etc.
  • Look at the clock.
  • Say the days of the week – e.g. we have PE on a Wednesday.
  • Says number names in order.
  • Takes turns and shares fairly.

Coming to school is an important milestone for children and families. We hope that the information given above gives you a picture of the things that you child will do in school but also gives you useful information in preparing them for that next important step.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Monkton Park School, Sadlers Mead, Monkton Park, Chippenham, SN15 3PN
01249 652395