A Parent’s Guide to Year 6 SAT’s 

Here is some important information about the Year 6 SAT’s. They will be starting on 13th of May 2019 until Thursday 16th of May 2019. 

Below is the timetable of when your child will be sitting each SAT. 

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There are no tests on the Friday of that week.  

 

Monday 

The children will need to complete the Grammar, Punctuation and Vocabulary Test. It includes a range of question types, including questions where children must tick a box or circle particular word types. Later questions are more challenging, such as having to tick within a box of suggested answers. This test takes 45 mins and is worth 50 marks.

The second test on Monday will be the Spelling Test. In this test there are some sentences read to students and they must write the correct spelling into the gap. This test takes 15 mins and is worth 20 marks.  

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Tuesday 

The children will sit the Reading Test that lasts for 60 mins and is worth 50 marks. They will get a reading booklet that consists of different texts including fiction and non-fiction. The test includes different types of questions such as having to investigate the text to find and copy a word. There may be questions where they must talk about the language choice of the author and where they have to tick true or false, or tick one particular statement.  

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Wednesday 

The first maths test is taken on this day starting with the Arithmetic test (calculations without a context). The children need to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes. These range from simple arithmetic which can be done mentally, to calculations with fractions and later calculations that require the column methods. For some questions there are 2 marks available, so the children get 1 mark for the working out even though the final answer is incorrect.  

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Wednesday and Thursday 

Children also need to complete Reasoning Paper 2 and 3 on these days. They each last 40 mins and are worth 35 marks. These problems and presented in a context and start off easier, getting gradually harder. These require more detailed calculations. Again, method marks are available, this means if children have carried out the method correctly, but the final answer is not accurate then they would get 1 mark.  

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Reporting Results 

At the end of the test week the papers are marked externally and returned to schools in early July. Results are presented using a scaled score between 80 and 120. 100 represents the new expected standard for 11-year olds. Results of the test are reported back to parents at the end of the academic year, showing both the scaled score and whether the child has met the expected standard. In addition, teachers will make a separate teacher assessment.  

Remember to Relax 

As a parent you can support your child by making sure they are not worried about the tests and to help them put their minds at rest. We want your child to do their best of course but we don’t want them to be panicking. If you do have any worries be sure to ask your child’s class teacher or myself (Celia – Primary Specialist) here at Spark Academy.  

Charity and giving back

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Spark Academy is an organisation with a strong social and moral conscious. We care about people, embrace growth, and learning is in our DNA. We are incredibly passionate about our work and always believe in generously giving back to local and wider communities through charitable work. It is our mission to open schools in countries where child slavery and exploitation is rife and also provide a safe space for these children and their communities to gain access to unlimited opportunities through the power of education. We firmly believe that with your help and support, we will achieve this together.

We are already on our way however! In November 2016, we were able to donate stationary to a school in Kenya for the less abled. Furthermore, the children in Mexico, Riviera Maya loved their hand delivered Christmas presents. The smiles and excitement on the children’s faces was priceless! With your help and support, we can continue this good work together!

Words from our Founder and CEO there, Mital Thanki.

 

Our work at Spark Academy

Here at Spark every little bit really does help, whether it being buying locally to help support local businesses or making a simple donation to a charity as a way of getting rid of your loose change. Charity isn’t always about making big gestures. The smallest act of kindness can really make a huge difference to people’s lives. 

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Back in September we held a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support. We set up a cake stall in the office and flung open the Spark Academy doors to encourage passers-by to pop in and have a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chat. Just by selling cake, through the kind donations of Spark students, staff, friends and family we raised £88.93. Amazing, right?? 

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Doing your bit

“How can I help?” I hear you cry. Well don’t panic, you can help Spark get involved in Red Nose Day 2019. Comic Relief, the charity behind Red Nose Day, spends any money raised to help people living tough lives across the UK and Internationally.  

 

Since Red Nose Day 2017, we have helped nearly 15 million people across the UK, and some of the world’s poorest communities. 2.6 Million of them are children and vulnerable young adults.

At our core we are working to create a just world, free from poverty.

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Red Nose Day is Friday 15th March 2019. If everyone in the Spark family donated £1, we could raise £350. How spectacular would that be?  

If you would like to be involved and show your support then you can do so throughout the week. Wear something red to your lessons during the week 11th – 15th March 2019 and bring in your £1 donation, it’s that simple! 

Watch out for extra information on social media for how else you can get involved and donate with Spark Academy. 

If there is a charity or community group you are passionate about and would like Spark Academy to help raise money, fund equipment, or just simply spend time helping out, then let me know.  

Together we can all make a difference. 

Nic  

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British Science Week

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What is British Science week? 

British Science Week is run by the British Science Association. It is a 10 day celebration of science starting on 8th March – 17th MarchEvery year there is a theme, with the theme this year being ‘Journeys’. 

 

Journey into Space 

This year, on 20th July, we will mark 30 years since the first moon landings. This is probably still the most famous of all journeys in science.   Screenshot 171 - Spark Academy

The first man to take a step on the moon, Neil Armstrong, said it was ‘one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind’. This could not be more true! Not only is the journey to the moon in itself a huge feat, space travel has also left us with some items you may not be able to live without. Due to the extremely hostile environment of space, there are many problems when making the journey there and back safely. As a result, there are many inventions that have offered solutions to these problems. Some of them even find their way into our own lives. 

Real life examples of space technology 

 

Memory Foam: was first developed in 1966 and was initially used in seats to protect astronauts from the effects of G-Force. 

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Baby formula: many commercially available baby formulas contain nutritional enrichment ingredients which were originally intended for long-duration space travel. 

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Camera phones: Despite their ever-changing looks, 1/3 of all camera phones use the same technology that was developed in the 1990s. It was created to solve the problem of having a camera small enough to fit on spacecraft, with scientific quality.  Screenshot 174 - Spark Academy

 

Nike Air trainers: came into being thanks to suit construction technology developed by NASA. 

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Next time you take a journey, think about the science behind that journey and how it may have just given us something that we now couldn’t live without. 

Company Values – Respect

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Respect and dignity – value every person

Respect is something that we all expect. This is the same whether it is from our work colleagues, students, or our family and friends. However, time and time again it seems that respect is forgotten by those around us. It could be as simple as forgetting to say please or thank you, or not listening when someone else is speaking. We respect those we teach and value every person, not just for what they are saying, but for who they are as well.

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Everyone we come into contact with is treated with dignity and respect. We don’t judge on size, age, race and religion. We treat everyone as equal and respect what they have to say and who they are.

Respect all customers and students through our service

Respect - Spark Academy

We at Spark Academy make sure that everyone has a voice and are all listened to, whether it is parents in consultations or children so they can keep building on their progress. We value the students’ opinions and responses in the classroom. Also, we encourage the other members of the group to show respect by listening to what others have to say. We promote these values throughout all of our lessons, as well as upholding them in our daily lives.

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Fairtrade Fortnight

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What is Fairtrade Fortnight?

25 February – 10 March 2019 

 

This event happens every year to celebrate the people who grow our food. These are the people who live in the poorest countries of the world and are often exploited and poorly paid. This year the big focus is on the people especially the women. These are the women who grow the cocoa in the chocolate that we enjoy.  

 Ghana cocoa  woman - Spark Academy

 

How much money do you think she deserves?

Currently most cocoa farmers are living on 74p a day. Can you imagine living on that amount of money to feed you children? It is £1.86 that each of these farmers needs to earn a day to achieve a living income.  When you are buying your chocolate or cocoa look for the Fairtrade label to help these farmers achieve this living wage. This doesn’t solve all the problems, but it does mean the farmers can sell the product at a decent price and therefore increasing their income.  

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What is a Living Income?

A living income means enough money to live a simple but dignified life. These farmers want to be able to pay for essentials such as clothing, medicine and school. We believe this is not a luxury but a human right! 

 

What do we do at Spark?

Here at Spark Academy when possible we like to buy fair trade products such as Fairtrade coffee, Fairtrade tea bags, Fairtrade bananas and when it is needed after a long day of teaching – the essential Fairtrade chocolate bar. The next time you are out and about doing your weekly shop, look out for those Fairtrade products that you could swap for and think of the difference you will be making. In lessons such as Primary English we have looked at a Fairtrade non-fiction reading comprehension. The children have had to read the text carefully to be able to answer the questions. They also enjoyed reading the leaflet, locating key information and producing a Fairtrade poster. We believe at Spark that learning should be relevant, kept up to date with ongoing issues and promoting compassion, humanity and kindness which are just some of our Six Core Values.  

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Eat that frog!

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frog2 - Spark Academy

 

 

 

Imagine you have a job and that job was to eat frogs every day, how would you go about it? Which type of frog would you eat first? The smallest frog or the biggest frog?

Mark Twain famously wrote:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do this first thing in the morning. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What does this mean for students?

When prioritising your homework, studying and revision, it’s essential that you get the biggest, most daunting topics out of the way first. Eating that frog (the hardest and most undesirable task) first, will allow you to use most of your energy on tackling the difficult task as opposed to using it on easier tasks.

Many students will do the easy tasks first to get them out of the way, but a lot of research shows that the remainder of the study session run smoother when the frog is gone.

What happens if the frog is hard to swallow?

That’s where we come in! At Spark Academy, we are always here to help you swallow that frog and digest it better! Why not check out a Spark Vids, or look back at the notes we have provided? If you are still finding the frog difficult to swallow, make a note of the question and bring it to your next lesson with the tutor. We are always happy to help! Be proactive and utilise your teachers at Spark Academy!

Remember, your brains are not fixed at a certain intelligence. Your brains continue to grow through lots of practice and training.

So what are you waiting for? Take the leap and eat that frog!

10 Top Tips for Enjoying Reading

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Why is reading so important?

It is a known fact and evidence backs this idea up that children who read for pleasure everyday do better in reading tests, have a wider range of vocabulary, increased knowledge of different cultures and better general knowledge. An enjoyment in reading is important to allow this to come to fruition.

 

What difference can parents/guardians make?

So much difference even if it is only to hear your child read a few pages a day whether they are in year 3 or year 6. Sharing books together builds a bond between children and parents/guardians. Just hearing stories helps a child to be exposed to rich and wide vocabulary. This helps the child to build their own vocabulary and greatly improves their listening skills. For new words that the child comes across a discussion can be had regarding the new word. As a parent/guardian it is important to play a role in the continued interest in books. Be that with visits to local books shops, libraries and introducing new authors. It is important to help children discover book that interest them and keep them engaged. Reading should be fun and not seen as a chore.

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Some hints/tips for reading with children

Sharing books with children allows you to be part of the adventure, to experience it together. It allows you to ask questions, talk about the book together and discuss each other’s opinions. Sharing a book is a bonding experience and something nice to do together. You don’t have to take on the role of the child’s teacher instead just enjoy it!

  • As you read to your child bring the characters to life. Encourage you child to use character voices too.
  • Discuss the characters together, the events going on so the story comes alive.
  • Remember that your face says it all and so children will love it if you can use expression on your face to portray the character. You can encourage your child to do this as well.
  • Turn off the TV and put all other distractions to one side. This allows you both to concentrate on the book.
  • Try audio books – these can be listened to in the car, on computers or phones. It is a really good way for your child to build their understanding of stories and also improve their listening skills.
  • How long should we spend reading together? The most important thing to remember here is go with how long the child can pay attention for. We don’t want them to switch off and become bored. Many experts suggest a routine e.g. reading a bedtime story together.

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10 top tips for enjoying reading:

  1. Make books part of family life.
  2. Join the local library.
  3. Match their interests.
  4. All reading is good (comics, magazines, leaflets)
  5. Get comfortable – snuggle under a blanket, make a special reading den, read on a bean bag/ cushion.
  6. Ask questions
  7. Read when ever you get the chance!
  8. Read again and again that favourite book or poem.
  9. Bed time stories are a great way to end the day.
  10. Rhyme and repetition are great ways to remember poems/books and makes you want to join in!

 

 

Further information

Advice on reading to your child http://www.wordsforlife.org.uk www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/pedagogy/b00192950/encouraging-reading-for-pleasure (guide for teachers, but contains plenty of relevant advice)
Phonics support http://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/schools/phonics.aspx
Literacy Trust http://www.literacytrust.org.uk

Where to find your local library: http://Directgov:www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/YourlocalcouncilandCouncilTax/YourCommunity/DG_4018790
Find a local bookshop:http://www.booksellers.org.uk/bookshopsearch www.nationalbooktokens.com/stockists
Find a book online: http://www.amazon.co.uk www.bookfinder.com www.penguin.co.uk www.puffin.co.uk www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb
List of author pages:
Quentin Blake: http://www.quentinblake.com/en
Tony Bradman: http://www.tonybradman.com
Roald Dahl: http://www.roalddahl.com
Michael Rosen: http://www.michaelrosen.co.uk

 

Best wishes,

Celia cartoon - Spark Academy

Celia Allan
Primary Expert
Spark Academy

Real Life Maths

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Maths is everywhere!

Whether you hope to study biology, economics, sociology, psychology, physics or many other subjects, Mathematics is used all the time. You will need to solve numerous Maths problems, as part of your studies.

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Shopping

Maths is all around you the minute you step into your local supermarket! You will pass through automatic doors and security scanners. None of these would exist without Maths. The bar codes on each product identify the product and manufacturer.

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Cooking

Using Maths in cooking is unavoidable. One example is when you have to convert the proportions of a recipe for a certain amount of people to a different number. When you convert weights, for example grams to pounds, Mathematical calculations are used. Temperatures between Celsius and Fahrenheit may need converting also.

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Buying A House

Buying property is one of the most important and practical examples of using Maths in everyday life. When you borrow money, you are presented with a repayment plan that accounts for interest rates, sometimes fixed, sometimes variable, depending on the length of your loan. If you borrow for ten, twenty or thirty years, the rate will differ. Mathematics is used to calculate how much you are going to pay overall, the amount you must save and the total you will have to repay.

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DIY

If you are planning a Do-It-Yourself project you will need to use Maths. Whether you want to calculate the angles necessary to construct a partition or work out the number of tiles needed to decorate a bathroom. You need to know how to calculate angles and find the hypotenuse of a triangle and be at comfortable calculating surfaces in square meters and volumes in cubic meters.

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Navigation

Nowadays, GPS receivers are found in so many cars and smartphones. Before all this technology came along, we had the compass, protractor, sextant and the astrolabe (hard to pronounce, I know)! It’s with triangulation that we can determine our distance from a fixed point, and direction of movement.

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Logical Thinking

Away from the practical applications of Mathematics in your everyday life, there are holistic benefits of Mathematics are skills that can be used in all sorts of situations. If you can reason more effectively and remain consistent and precise in your thinking, there is a good chance that you will be able to make better decisions.

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Did you find this blog post interesting? If you would like to join our Maths lessons, then feel free to contact us for a free trial: https://spark-academy.co.uk/contact/

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

katherine - Spark Academy

Katherine Wallis
Maths Teacher
Spark Academy

Back to school, back to Spark Academy!

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With the summer holidays feeling like a distant memory, we are pleased to have our pupils back and rearing to go at Spark Academy!

There is certainly a buzz around our new and improved academic programme as well as the wonderful new additions to our team.

What can you expect from Spark this year?

 

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We’ve been working really hard over the holidays to ensure that the new programme hits off to a successful start. We’ve been busy creating great resources for our students which include:

  • Revision booklets with plenty of worked examples and notes.
  • Differentiated worksheets (Spark Plus, Spark Pro and Spark Advanced) with increasingly challenging questions and an exam focus.
  • Folders with dividers that help our pupils to organise work effectively.
  • Bespoke video tutorials (Spark Vids).

The teachers have also been busy  meticulously planning exciting and engaging lessons to help all of our pupils maximise their potential!

Tell us more about the video tutorials!

 

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Our bespoke video tutorials are made by our very own Spark Academy teachers to help our pupils even more outside of the lesson. As you can see, we take our work very seriously and we want our pupils to make as much progress as possible!

Sparkvids is our new platform for all of our pupils to access videos in Science, Maths and English (depending on the package signed up for). Sparkvids is ideal for pupils to have access to teaching at their own convenience and is also useful for:

  • School homework
  • School tests
  • Spark Academy homework
  • Revision & exams

We also have some neat exam hints and tips!

When will Sparkvids go live?

We are currently in the process of getting the videos and packages added onto our system and we will be going live in the next two weeks!

 

Stay sparkly!

 

mital - Spark Academy

 

Mital <3
Founder & Passionate Teacher
Spark Academy

 

 

Celebrating Pupil Progress

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As our parents will know, at Spark Academy we have just finished completing our Spring term assessments. Although we see progress every lesson when we see our students, we understand that it’s important for students and parents to see progress in test scores too – both at Spark and at school.

We have been very proud of our students this term. Across the board we have seen improvement from last term in every class – and some of our students have absolutely outdone themselves!

 

Which students have progressed the most?

 

While all of our students have progressed, it’s always nice to celebrate a few individuals or classes. Spark Ideas would like to say a big congratulations to:

 

 

Radhika (Year 5 at Belgrave)

 

Radhika has worked very hard since joining Spark in the Autumn term. She has progressed fantastically well in her sentence writing and understanding of spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as making big strides in her Maths work. Her determination to succeed is definitely paying off!

 

 

Maya-Diyaa (Year 4 at Belgrave)

 

Maya-Diya has made great strides in her spelling and reading comprehension since she joined Spark. Her hard work has been supporting her both at Spark and at school – keep it up!

 

Eshaan (Year 3 at Oadby)

 

Eshaan never fails to be positive during his lessons at Spark and has worked exceptionally hard to improve his own understanding of literacy and numeracy. Eshaan’s hard work has been noticed both here and at school – his teacher has been impressed by his improved number skills and his understanding of similes!

 

Our Entire Year 4 Oadby Class

 

Yes, the whole class! This group of students have worked consistently throughout this term to improve their understanding. In English specifically, every student made a significant improvement from last term – before Christmas most were finding spelling, punctuation and grammar difficult, but through dedication the whole class has come on in leaps and bounds. Well done Year 4!

 

Adnan (Year 10 Oadby)

 

Adnan is an individual who is totally determined to succeed in his GCSEs next year. He consistently puts in 100% every week and in every homework, which is helping his progression enormously. In his tests at school, Adnan has already improved by almost two full grades since October. Congratualations Adnan and keep it up!

 

Rahul (Year 11 Belgrave)

 

Rahul is a student who has really sat up and took notice this term – he has begun working hard in lessons and submitting homework every week, which has made a big difference to his work. He is progressing well and on his way towards achieving his target grades when he sits his exams in a few weeks.

 

Congratulations to all of our pupils who have made progress this term – we look forward to celebrating you again soon!