Sandal Castle VA Community Primary School

A Church of England school serving the Community since 1686

Headteacher: Mrs Nichola Russell
Telephone: 01924 303525
Address: Barnsley Road, Sandal, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF2 6AS

Diocese of Leeds
Thank you to our parents, carers and families for your unwavering support, care, kind words and emails. We are all in agreement that the last few months have not been easy, but in working together, communicating effectively, respecting that the decisions made have been to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all, we have successfully and safely reached the end of the academic year. It's been lovely to see how the school community continues to pull together through these uncertain and unprecedented times. Thank you. We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Summer and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on the 8th September.
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Books and doors are the same thing. You open them and go through in to another world.


Reading for Success

First, Foremost and Central

Learning to read so we can read to learn and gain pleasure is at the heart of all areas of the curriculum. Early reading is therefore our first, foremost and central priority in school so all children are readers. Books are enjoyed and used across all curriculum areas as highly valued hooks, tools and a way of escaping in to other worlds, times, places and situations.

Reading at Sandal Castle

What does reading look like at Sandal Castle?

We are determined that all children will learn to read, regardless of any barriers to and levels of learning. We place a strong focus on reading and believe that all children need to learn how to read by the end of KS1- marrying both strong phonic knowledge and fluency for comprehension. Our teaching of phonics across school is fundamental to the progress of all children, regardless of their starting points. We believe that it is important that all children become fluent readers and as a result, reading is always our first, foremost and central ongoing priority. Because of this, children will have the skills and knowledge to access the wider curriculum. A crucial part of this is to inspire a love of reading. A range of texts and genres are shared and used daily as part of functional reading lessons but also as part of timetabled ‘story time’ across school- this is integral to our approach to whole school reading. We foster a love of reading across the curriculum as it is our upmost priority. Our teachers read to children every day, sometimes to challenge and often purely for pleasure. Reading aloud and storytelling are skills we develop and value highly amongst our body of staff.

In order to develop an effective reading curriculum, we have ensured that the various strands (Read and Respond, Cracking Comprehension, RWI Phonics and Spelling, Reading Buddies, use of the Cross Curricular Library, daily reading with a teacher and daily timetabled story time respond to crucial elements of educational research and theory behind reading development and promoting a joy and love of reading.

We understand that a skills model is very important because by teaching a sequence of skills, separately defined in a logical and sequential order, improves comprehension of texts. Certain elements of our curriculum offer this vital opportunity to our children to allow them to understand the meaning of words by building on sounds and letters and whole words so that they can be related to other words in a sentence.

However, other elements of our reading curriculum follow a psycholinguistic model. This is where we encourage and support children in predicting the meaning of words and texts based upon their prior knowledge and experience. We understand that often children need to build upon their own store of information about how language works in order to make sense out of what they are reading and to get meaning. We believe strongly in offering children as many experiences as possible to build on and develop their existing stores of information through rich reading opportunities in school.

These two approaches alone are not enough and we also follow a ‘schema’ model. It is clear to us as practitioners that interaction between what is in a text and a child’s prior understanding and experiences is crucial to development of understanding. We choose our texts carefully to allow children to infer meaning through interaction with their own thoughts and emotions, experiences and understanding. We understand that children need a framework for understanding new information and respond to their needs, backgrounds and experiences to create meaningful reading opportunities. We know that how they view the world will influence how they read a text, make predictions and inferences. We offer many opportunities to allow our children to make connections between what they read and what they have experienced in the world around them. In Read and Respond lessons, children use their own store of information to help them to interpret texts and to help them explore author’s purpose, specific characters etc and we have designed a reading curriculum which values excellent questioning in order to help children to make sense of information and abstract ideas. To do this, we know that their interpretations will be based on their personal backgrounds, history, knowledge and beliefs and we value and explore these meaningfully as part of our reading lessons. As practitioners, we have learnt that the effect of prior experience can be so great that it can sometimes be limiting and therefore we strive to create a reading curriculum which offers a multitude of experiences so that children can develop and broaden their own stores of information to draw upon. We have found that this approach means that children have a vaster supply of prior knowledge with which to make inferences, predictions and ultimately to reconstruct meaning. We know that in order to motivate and build interest, we need to choose our texts wisely and question effectively. As practitioners, we know that vocabulary development is crucial, not just to ensure a wide understanding of word meaning but also to support the development of concepts and ideas behind basic word meaning.

We don’t teach these skills in isolation- each part of our reading curriculum nourishes another to provide a rich and broad reading life for all of our children.

Similarly to Vygotsky and his Theory of Creativity, we believe that literature has a key role to play in the development of each child. Literature helps to pull children into an imaginary, topsy-turvy world which helps their intellect work and their perception of reality. Literature helps to create links between emotion and thought and imagination.

Read and Respond:

From EYFS to Year 6, children have a Read and Respond lesson once a week. From Year 1, children take part of a text home each week (a few pages/a chapter) to read in preparation for a lesson in school time. In EYFS, the text is explored in class. All children receive the same text and can read this text with an adult, an adult can read it to them or they can read it independently at home. It is crucial that all children receive the same text because the text has been chosen to challenge thought through themes and issues explored in the text and will provide opportunities for book talk. Where SEND children need a different text, this is provided but wherever possible, the same text is used and the support differentiated. This is because the texts chosen open up new worlds of interest and issues for our children to explore, beyond what they would choose to read themselves or are able to read independently using the school reading scheme for home reading but in a supportive environment. The text is read prior to the lesson because the focus of the lesson is to delve deeply in the language, themes and ideas. Teachers plan exciting and engaging lessons once a week based on what the children have read at home where they cover a range of learning objectives:

The focus of these sessions is in depth book talk in response to a wide variety of the above objectives so that comprehension skills are explored in detail. Work is completed in a Reading Journal where the sequence of learning follows our feedback and marking policy. The outcome of the work done in this lesson is not always written- it can be debate, drama, art, or recorded in a variety of ways. Texts chosen must be challenging and provide ample opportunities to develop key reading comprehension skills whilst exploring moral, ethical, cultural and spiritual issues.

Cracking Comprehension

Teachers from Years 1-6 use Rising Stars Cracking Comprehension to support and refine children’s reading comprehension skills when responding to specific question types. This happens either for short bursts daily of 15 minutes or one longer session per week. We use the texts and questions provided and focus on modelling questions types and developing wider vocabulary. The work done in this session is recorded in a Reading Jotter. Texts are challenging and offer children the opportunity to explore traditional and more recent texts.

Daily Individual Reading

Children take home an individual reading book daily- they are also provided with a reading card which acts as a reading diary which is shared between school and home. Class teachers listen to readers daily- either whilst the TA is registering the children or supporting snack time. Teachers record this daily reading session and ensure that the whole class is listened to over a fortnightly period by the teacher. Any other individual reading is in addition to this and it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all children are reading regularly. Our extensive school libraries also provide additional reading material for our children to borrow and enjoy. This system aims to encourage children to:

  • Read widely for pleasure and enjoyment.
  • Choose texts from a wide variety of authors and text types.
  • Pursue favourite authors and series but also discover and explore new authors and text types.
  • Learn how to select and choose texts but also to challenge themselves in their selection as well.
  • Develop stamina when reading.
  • Respond to questions about their text using the Reading Gems and Bloom’s Taxonomy so that they are exploring and reflecting upon their text fully.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is a joy that staff at Sandal Castle want for all our children, whatever their reading preferences may be. Developing a love of literature and language and also seeing its importance as a tool to master, is integral in our curriculum. Our ‘Free Readers’ enjoy books which challenge them and broaden their reading horizons, but also the freedom to devour series they love which may not be as challenging because they are at a stage of independent reading where they can indulge in this. Books and a love of reading floods our school- teachers talk about books and reading experiences with our children daily. Each classroom has an attractive but purposeful reading area which is owned by the children and each year group has access to library of new and well stocked books to share with children. Each class hosts a Book Advent each December where new books are celebrated each day for the classroom. Children choose to read for pleasure in their free time in the Reading Garden. Books are celebrated and used effectively across the curriculum, for theme days cross curricular links are explored on Roald Dahl Day and World Book Day for example. Our Reading Council which has members from each year group is responsible for choosing new books for school and organising events around school books are reviewed at our Book Clubs, as part of national book award schemes and for our school newspaper. Reading is rewarded with whole school Star Reader awards weekly but also as part of class systems as well.

Story Time

Story time is an integral and valuable part of the school day and is timetabled as such.

Reading Buddies and Paired Reading

Year 5 children are trained by the Reading Council Leader to read daily with children in Year 2. The Year 2 readers are chosen based on the outcomes of pupil progress meetings and their progress as a result of the buddy scheme is measured for impact. In each class/cohort, teachers pair readers of similar and differing abilities to support each other in daily reading.

World Book Day - 5th March 2020


As part of world book day EYFS focused on one of our favourite authors Julia Donaldson. We found out facts about her and enjoyed reading plenty of her most loved and famous stories. We particularly enjoyed reading Super Worm. We went on a worm hunt finding and collecting worms and made our own wormery to eat using crushed up Oreo cookies and strawberry laces ! We enjoyed Monkey Puzzle and learnt about butterflies and their lifeclycles , made salt dough butterflies and butterfly collages. Just Like Julia Donaldson our favourite story of hers is The snail and the whale. We enjoyed making out own slime to explore and making our very own clay snails.

Year 1

World Book Day for children in Year 1 focussed on the well loved text, Peter Pan by author J.M Barrie. The children used the information gained about characters within the text to follow clues to save Peter Pan from Captain Hook. They used this information to navigate themselves around the school grounds,ensuring they used the blooms taxonomy skills of remembering, understanding, application and evaluation.

A retention activity followed where the children were encouraged to utilise these skills to produce a map where they plotted locations within the text. The ensured that the children also used their mapping skills taught within Geography

The children then created larger scale maps indoors and out and used their computer skills to navigate beebots around the locations on a laerger scale.

Year 2

We read the book Orion and the Dark, covering the illustrations so we couldn’t see what any of the characters looked like. After we had read the book, we created an image of what we thought the Dark looked like. We then justified our thinking using ideas and information from the book to write a description.

We brought in our favourite books from home to share with our friends and grown-ups, and chose books to read from our class reading area.

We read the poem ‘Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich’ by Shel Silverstein and Mrs Wolff’s ‘Crazy Sandwich’ poem inspired by Silverstein’s. Miss Grannon composed her recipe for ‘A Crazy Sandwich’ with help from the class. We then worked in pairs to invent and plan our own ingredients for a crazy sandwich incorporating rhyming words and using humour to add interest and fun! We also discussed the use of imperative verbs to instruct how to add their ingredients. Children redrafted their ideas and we selected some to present as a class poem for display in our classroom.

Year 3

During World Book Day, we analysed the actions of Mr Bunny, who had taken advantage of the workers in his factory by not respecting their rights. The children evaluated how Mr Bunny had treated the workers, leading us to debate the question “Should Mr Bunny resign?” The children took part in a conscience alley activity to present their opinions and justify their thoughts. We then considered the importance of democracy in a variety of communities, such as schools, the working environment and the wider world. Children in class 3SE, decided Mr Bunny could stay as the boss of the factory as long as he changed his evil, wicked ways.

Nataniel and Kinza read the story of the Gingerbread Man. They then made and decorated their own.

Further evidence of our work across school...

Here we see evidence of the impact of our language rich curriculum on writing. Pola and Oresti whilst forming their wonderful dragon sculptures used a range of language devices to great effect.

Author Visit - 16th September 2019

Local author Stephen Pass visited school and lead a series of workshops for the children in Years 3 and 4. He read from his illustrated children’s book ‘Madge the Mermaid’ about a mermaid created from items washed up on the beach. The children enjoyed hearing Stephen read from his book and participating in the activities. The children also had the opportunity to ask him questions and have their copies of his book signed.

Roald Dahl Day Celebrations - 13th September 2019

Foundation Stage

On Roald Dahl Day the Foundation Stage children loved learning about 'George's Marvellous Medicine'. They took part in a variety of exciting activities, including mixing their own marvellous medicines in the classrooms by investigating different ingredients and colours, creating a medicine bottle collage, making a marvellous juice drink to try, going on a scavenger hunt and then making potions outside in our mud kitchen and having fun with 'Grandma balloons'.

Year 2

To celebrate Roald Dahl Day, Year 2 spent the day reading and enjoying the story of ‘The Twits’.We spent time analysing the language Roald Dahl used to describe Mr Twit.

We then created our own Mr Twit’s beard collages, using a range of techniques and materials –including a range of foods!

After this, we worked as a class to create poems to describe Mr Twit’s beard and the foods you might find within it.Some of us created our own poem, and some created some fantastic group poems.

In year 4 we discussed our favourite books by Roald Dahl and investigated a problem for Willy Wonka, using our skills as Scientists to make a hypothesis, perform an experiment and observe the results in order to draw conclusions and report back our findings to Mr Wonka.

Year 6

In Year 6 we enjoyed reading James and the Giant Peach, and imagining where we would travel to in a giant peach. We also looked at Atlas of Adventures illustrated by Lucy Letherland to inspire our own adventures.


Our children love to be journalists and write for our very own newspaper, the Sandal Express. The Sandal Express features strongly within our reading curriculum, themes are used in collective worship ensuring that worship is lead by our children and it is also available for community reading within the Spring Cafe, Portobello Community Centre and at Sandal Mews.

Sandal Express Edition 1

Sandal Express Edition 2

Sandal Express Edition 3

Sandal Express Edition 4

Kate Greenaway Book Awards 2019

Year 6 Book Club have been the first children in school to lay their hands on the new nominations for this year’s Kate Greenaway Book Award. They are deciding on their winner before the actual winner is announced. The shortlisted books this year are;

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Ocean Meets Sky by Tan Brothers

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane

The Day War Came by Nicola Davies

Suffragette The Battle for Equality by David Roberts

You're Safe with Me by Chitra Soundar

Beyond the Fence by Maria Gulemetova

The Wolf, The Duck and The Mouse by Mac Barnett

The theme is human rights this year and the children posed for a photograph with their new book marks to demonstrate the values being celebrated in the fabulous nominations this year: mercy, love, justice, solidarity, equality, truth, fairness, safety and knowledge.

The children's thoughts will be shared in the next newspaper and then the books will be shared throughout school.

Reading Garden Launch!

Our lovely quad area has been transformed into a fantastic reading garden. Our reading councillors have been busy making sure that a good selection of books are on offer for all ages and that the fantastic outdoor sculpture designed by our Year 6 children and produced by artists at the Hepworth Gallery is used creatively to provide seating.

World Book Day 2018


In Foundation Stage the children and the teachers loved dressing up as book characters. We looked at the author Julia Donaldson and the children enjoyed telling us about her books they had already read and why they liked them. We then worked on 3 books, looking at the stories and completing activities linked to the book. In Shark class we read ‘The Smartest Giant in Town,’ did rhyming activities and created the giant a new tie. In Starfish class we read ‘Superworm’, created models and pictures of worms and made a wormary for real worms to live in. In Dolphin class we read ‘Monkey Puzzel’ played with a jungle small world, drew pictures of us and a parent and sorted pictures of adult and baby animals. All the classes swapped around complete all the activities and had a great day!

Year 1

In Year 1 we read the story of Peter Pan and created our own islands based on Neverland using a key to help record landmarks. We discussed the settings in the story and followed instructions to find treasure outdoors: Miss Grannon was very excited to find a letter from Tinkerbell when she entered the class room this morning. In the letter, she explained that her good friend Peter Pan had been captured by Captain Hook and that she needed our help to find him (see photo of letter attached). The children even found fairy dust (pics of hands with glitter on) which we think must have come from Tinkerbell. We also found more fairy dust outside close to where we found hidden treasure (chocolate sweets)!

Extra information: We think that Tinkerbell got to Peter before we did and that she left us the sweets as a 'Thank you' for us trying to help her. However, some of us questioned whether Captain Hook had got to Peter first and we were worried that he might have heard that we were trying to find Peter. Ask Thiago about this one as he was pulling funny faces en route to the dining hall and was squirming in his costume stating that perhaps Captain Hook left the sweets and he's trying to poison us!

We also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of growing up.

Year 2

Shared their favourite books from home.

Listened to the story of Orion & The Dark and drew and explained how they imagined 'the dark' would look.

Explored a poem about 'A Hippopotamus Sandwich' and then worked to create a class poem titled 'A Crazy Sandwich'.

Year 4

In Year 4, children enjoyed studying the books 'Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World' and 'Fantastically Great Women Who Made History' and learning about some of these important historical figures. Linking to our Science topic, we then researched one Scientist each who has made an important contribution to the world and wrote biographies of our chosen Scientist which we then collated into our own class book of Great Scientists Who Changed The World.

Year 6

World Book Day in Year 6

In 6FW, we read two texts to help us to figure out how to inspire others to help the homeless and needy in our community. We read an article about a homeless lady who sits day in day out on the street in the cold and no one ever even notices her, let alone helps her. Mrs Waddington gave us these responses and we had to turn them into better ones:

I’m too busy to help!

It’s not my responsibility!

She has brought it on herself!

Keep her away from me!

Don’t get too close, she smells!

Just ignore her, it’s not our problem.

I’m scared of her.

Thank goodness that isn’t me.

We decided that maybe some of these responses are how we might react honestly in our heads but that we have the power to change our thoughts so that our actions are kind and show empathy. Here are our better versions:

I will make time to help.

I am not too busy to be kind.

I would want someone to help me.

What if it’s not her fault and just her circumstances?

Even if it is her fault, she is only human, we all make mistakes.

If I made a mistake, I would want a second chance.

It is everyone’s responsibility to be kind.

I might be scared of her, but I can find a way to offer help.

I’m glad it isn’t me, but if it was, I would want someone to show me kindness.

We read a book called ‘The Prayer’, which told the story of a little homeless boy who had no one to help him. We asked ourselves- will we be the ones to save him? Is it enough just to witness something bad or should we act?

Reading Award Cards

Eve W from 3ER has received a reading award today for getting on to Free Readers- well done!

Sandal Express

Children enjoying the second edition of the school newspaper- Lewis settled himself in for a good read!

Year 3 - February 2019

Year Three children have helped create this beautiful display inspired by their Read and Respond text, Butterfly Lion.

Year 6 - February 2019

Year 6 have created some beautiful, creative pieces of writing and art work based on the video Road’s End. We have some budding authors amongst us!

Book Club

KS2 Book Club have been learning about Anne Frank from a fantastic non fiction text in our cross curricular library. Now they are working on their own projects linked to her life.

Read and Respond - y6

Year 6 have recreated a character from their Read and Respond text, Trash, using trash! The character Rat who lives underneath a rubbish heap, is now proudly presenting our wonderful writing based on the text.

Poetry - December 18

In Year 6, we have been studying Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem about Winter. We explored what wintertime means to us and developed an understanding of some of the trickier vocabulary in his work, comparing his memories of wintertime with our own. After listening to Lauren Child’s top tips for writing poetry, we wrote our own versions. We tried to emulate his style whilst modernising the content and language. Here is Francesca’s wonderful poem, which will also be published in the next issue of Sandal Express:

The orange sun awakes,

Overlooking the frosty fields and lakes,

Even the plants quiver and quake,

As the icy wind makes them shiver and shake.

I walk over to the window and I can see,

A winter world surrounding me,

I walk downstairs and suddenly smell,

The [pine needles that I know so well.

I put my hat upon my head,

Wishing I was still in bed,

I walk outside, feeling bold,

As my face goes numb with cold.

A beautiful Robin I can see,

Flying by the skeleton trees,

I hear a nose which is rather queer,

But discover it’s just a baby deer.

Now that I have seen the snow,

I think it may be time to go,

My fingers are getting very numb,

And I would like to go back inside to my mum.

As I go back to the house,

Everything is as quiet as a mouse,

I walk into the dining room to see,

A Christmas Pudding flaming in brandy.

By Francesca W.

Book Advent 2018

After the success of our Book Advent 2017, we have continued the trend into 2018.

Rainbow Bear - Year 3

Over the past two-weeks, year three have continued to complete work based around their class novel: The Rainbow Bear by Michael Morpurgo. In this unit of work, children were given the task of creating a free-verse poem about Polar bears, the Arctic and Climate Change. Their work was entered into a nationwide competition led by First News and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), with the chance to win tickets to see the Dr Dolittle the musical and meet the cast! Finally, as a reward for their fantastic poetry, 3RW have adopted a Polar bear for their class.

Book Club

Year 6 Book Club entered a poetry competition this week. Using a stimulus provided by Premier League Primary Stars, the children read a poem all about diversity, celebrating what is the same and what is different about us all around the world. The children worked in pairs and each pair produced a verse for the poem. Using a book from our Cross Curricular Library called At the Same Moment Around the World, the children decided to link their ideas to how shared experiences of how stories can join together people who might on the surface of things, seem very different to one another. Here is our poem, it is written by TImmy, DD, Jessica, Joel, Chloe, Olivia, Rania, Amaara, Selina, Inaaya and Alexis.

At the Same Moment Around the World

In Hawaii, Jessica is reading Sherlock Holmes, anxious to solve the mystery,

At the same moment in Quebec, Canada, Joel is reading Itch, wondering where the rock is now.

Different books, different people, same freedom to imagine.

In France, Timmy punches the air with delight as Alex Rider escapes the bad guys on a bike,

At the same moment in Russia, D’vante is galloping around his bedroom as he gets the same rush of excitement.

Different parts of the world, different people, same feeling of adrenaline.

In Germany, Robert is reading Goosebumps, he is frightened of the scary characters,

At the same moment in Senegal, Liam is reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, laughing aloud at the ridiculous events.

Different languages, different coloured skin, same pleasure.

In California, Olivia is reading Harry Potter, hiding under her sheets from Voldemort,

At the same moment in Spain, Chloe is reading Trash, feeling angry about the injustice in the world.

Different time zones, different cultures, same butterflies in their tummies.

In Dubai, Ammara is reading The Midnight Gang , mesmerised,

At the same moment in China, Rania is reading The Twits, laughter bursting, eyes hooked.

Same joy, different books, different ideas.

In Switzerland, Inaaya is reading Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, cackling with amusement.

At the same moment, in Greenland, Alexis is tackling the tricky words in her very first book,

No matter who you are, no matter your colour, books still bring light to your world.

In Morocco, Selina is reading Sky Song, her heart is dancing with the Northern lights,

At the same moment in England, Tyler is reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, greedy to eat the chocolate.

Same thrill, same moment, different place.

In New York, Alfie gets a feeling of warmth when he is gifted a hug from his favourite character in The Hobbit,

At the same moment in Sweden, Kate is lifted by the soft, sweet words from her favourite story, Forbidden Friends.

Same comfort, same relaxation, a world apart.

At the same moment all around the world, children are wondering and dreaming about what the next chapter holds. Different corners of the world, same suspense.

A book is a magical door to exploring the world beyond our wildest dreams. It is open to all of us.

The judging panel includes former Premier League footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer and songwriter Olly Murs, Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, poet Joseph Coelho. Casia Wiliam, current Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh-language Children’s Poet Laureate) will guest judge all Welsh-language entries. All judging will be overseen by National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas.

Poetry Focus

Year 6 are using this beautiful text daily in a whole class guided reading session. We explore a poem a day and pick out key features of language, structure and imagery.

Poetry, Forest School and Golden Time cross curricular links

6FW are really enjoying their Forest School Golden Time. This week they used the leaves from their tree survey to create their own impressions of the Jabberwocky from Mr Skelton’s favourite poem!

Blue Peter Book Awards 2019

Since 2000, the enormously popular and influential Blue Peter Book Awards have been recognising and celebrating the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children.

The Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 celebrates children's books published in the last year in two categories: the Best Story and the Best Book with Facts. Previous Blue Peter Book Award winners include Cressida Cowell, Michael Morpurgo, Katherine Rundell, Oliver Jeffers and Liz Pichon.

The judges this year are Darren Chetty, Louise Pentland and Alex T Smith.

This year, we have applied to help judge the awards. We are looking forward to hearing if our application has been success


Looking for your child's next favourite read? You've come to the right place.

Bookfinder will help you discover the very best children's books: magical mysteries, astonishing adventures and fantastic non-fiction. Follow the link below then simply choose an age range, pick as many themes as you want to search through thousands of book reviews, and get reading.Enjoy!

Megan Rix Author Visit

Our children loved meeting Megan Rix talk (especially the parts where she brought her dogs out on stage!) and were so excited to get a book and have it signed. Megan was even kind enough to have a photo with our children with their signed books!

Cross Curricular Library

Our children in Year 2 creared a wide range of seasonal, Autumnal Art work inspired by the text, Tree; Seasons Come, Seasons Go by Patricia Hegarty.

Our children in KS2 have created their own artistic interpretations of the Northern Lights after learning about this scientific phenomenon and reading a wonderful text called Aurora from our Cross Curricular Library which explores the legends and myths behind the lights.

Author Visit

Children’s Author and Professional Dog Handler, Megan Rix

Monday 24th September 9.15am – 11.30am

Megan will be talking to children about her latest books The Paw House and Emmeline and the Plucky Pup,two new titles in her series about animals which are full of adventure, fascinating history and super cute animals, perfect for fans of Michael Morpurgo and Dick King-Smith. She will share the fascinating stories uncovered in her research about the incredible animals that helped us.

The Paw Houseis a modern day story that focuses on an animal rescue sanctuary and Megan will share her fascinating, heart-warming research for the book and ways all children can help animals.

Emmeline and the Plucky Pup was written to celebrate the anniversary of 100 years since women got the vote and features many of the amazing real women of the time, and one amazing fictional pup and boy.

She also talks about her own two dogs, Bella and Freya, and her experience in helping to train Assistance Dogs. Bella and Freya will be with her to help demonstrate their assistance skills. Megan will also reveal her own writing process, how research is transformed into a story and offer top tips to aspiring writers.

Megan was shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book Award 2015, was the regional winner for the Stockton and Shrewsbury Book Awards, and shortlisted for the Doncaster, East Sussex, Worcestershire, Young Quills and Southwark regional Book Awards.

We are delighted that Silcoates School have invited our children to take part in the visit.

Roald Dahl Day - 13th September 2018

We brought Roald Dahl’s books to life on the 13th September via dance and drama workshops.

Our children used the book options: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Enormous Crocodile or The BFG.

Each class developed responses to the chosen book through movement and dance, with the guidance of a professional dancer and choreographer.

The day started with an assembly that showed the children how to turn everyday movements into dance. Then each class worked in turn to explore their chosen book, concluding with a performance moment to each other and to their teacher.

Further book options: The Twits, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Magic Finger, George's Marvellous Medicine or Matilda

Led by an expert drama facilitator each class became immersed in the story's world using drama exercises drawn from professional theatre.

Our children gained deep insights into the books selected as we focused their imaginations and explored the characters, context and themes from new angles.

Foundation Stage

In Foundation the children listened to the story of 'George's Marvellous Medicine'. They talked about the events and the characters in the story and then they enjoyed taking part in a variety of activities. They created their own marvellous medicines using a range of ingredients and decorated medicine bottles to put it in. They mixed a juice drink they could enjoy and sorted items using the initial sounds. They played with balloons, like Charlie's grandma, throwing and catching them and they used a paint splatter technique to create a class piece of artwork.

Meanwhile in Year 4

Year 4 took part in a range of activities based around three of Roald Dahl's best loved children's books. As Authors, we explored the character of Grandma from George's Marvellous Medicine and worked collaboratively to build up a character profile. As Scientists, we tested a theory and reached conclusions in order to help Willy Wonka in his Chocolate Factory and as Dancers, we told the story of the BFG with wonderful expression and creativity.

Year 5

Reading Buddies

After the success of our reading buddies last year,our new reading buddies have begun to read alongside our KS1 children. Each of our KS2 buddies has a chosen member of KS1 to work with throughout the year. Here are a few photographs of our reading buddies at work...

International Literacy Day - 6.9.18

In assembly, KS2 celebrated International Literacy Day with Mrs Waddington by playing her favourite game, Top 5. Children were asked to pick their top 5 reads to share with everyone and ever since, Mrs Waddington has been receiving post its and notes from children with their final choices.

Here are some of them:

Diana in Year 6 puts Aru Shah and the End of Time at number one, any Harry Potter at number two, A Dog's Purpose at number three, Wonder at number 4 and Born to Run at number 5.

Farrah in Year 4 puts Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at number 1, Find the Girl at number two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at number 3, but has too many other options to pick a final two, it is too hard a choice!

Jaelyn in Year 6 loves Matilda and has to put that at number one, Harry Potter at number 2, Hashtag Find the Girl at number three, Gangster Granny at number 4 and Thornhill at number 5.

Here are the top 5 for Mrs Smith...

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Quentin Blake - The Roald Dahl Centenary Portraits at Wakefield Museum

To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl, Sir Quentin Blake created a series of 10 portraits of memorable characters from Dahl's well-loved collection of books.

Visitors are invited to imagine that the characters have sat for a formal portrait. Some of the portraits include the Twits, Charlie and the most formidable Miss Trunchbull.

During the year, each year group will visit the exhibition.

Kate Greenaway Award - July 2018

Year 5 voted for their favourite book after studying all of the various nominations for the Kate Greenaway Award. The national winner was Town is by the Sea by Sydney Smith but our winner was Thornhill by Pam Smy. We reread the official winner and all agreed that is was a beautiful story.

Reading and Sports Week - June 2018

The Olympic, Paralympic and School Games values provided the underpinning focus of our Sports week celebrations :

Olympic Values

Paralympic Values








All year groups were asked to plan and produce cross-curricular evidence, based around their chosen PE text, from our well resourced cross-curricular library. Miss Whitehead our PE Leader asked staff to be active and creative in how both children and staff would gather the evidence but she would love to see writing based on the week and your chosen text.

We are looking forward to seeing photographs of the week!

Author visit - June 18

We love the author John Matthews and we love stories about King Arthur. We were so excited that Jessica met him and had her copy signed!

The World Cup and author Tom Palmer - June 2018

Children's author Tom Palmer, who has written lots of books based on sport, is writing a live story about the world cup aimed at KS2 children. He will be releasing a new chapter every weekday, based on what has been happening on the pitch during the matches the previous day. Each chapter will be short, and is designed to be read aloud to children.

The first chapter is available now, and is written to be read tomorrow; 14th June, for the first day of the world cup. Following this, a new chapter will be posted every morning before 7:30am based on the events of the previous day. More info can be found here and chapters can be downloaded from the box on the right of the webpage:

We are looking forward to hearing more each day...

Kate Greenaway Award - May 2018

Year Five have been devouring the book nominations for the Kate Greenaway Award. Working in pairs and then teams, the children have supported each other with shared reading and have been judging the books based on a success criteria devised as a class. The success criteria develops their reading age related expectations and in groups we have reviewed our progress against these. A dark and creepy story called Thornhill is inspiring much discussion and glee at the minute. Will it be our winner?

Using our Cross Curricular Library

In Year 5, we used a book called Gravity to help us to piece together a better understanding of what gravity is and how it effects the world we live in.

In the words of Jessica:

“To be a better scientist, I used this book. As a reader, I used the evidence from the book to form my understanding of what gravity is. There were lots of pictures but not many words so we had to infer and figure out what gravity actually is. I used the pictures to piece together this jigsaw. We talked about our ideas and what we thought was correct and relevant to create the order of the book. When we pieced them together some of them didn’t make sense, so we had to predict and problem solve using evidence to find the right meaning.’

Our Cross Curricular Library

Our fantastic Cross Curricular Library hosts books from all across the curriculum including History, PE, Maths, French, Equality and Diversity, Geography, RE, Computing and Technology. Books have been researched and allow staff and children to deepen learning and understanding across the curriculum through a love of books, texts, illustrations, language, maps and a range of reference and story books, not to mention poster sets! Books are signed out regularly from across school to bring learning to life.

May 2018

So far in our shadowing, our favourite book nominated for the CILIP Carneigie and Kate Greenasway medal is this wonderfully illustrated book about animals. We have been using it as part of our DT and Geography work this week where we have been researching and creating 3D models of the Amazon Rainforest. It has provided much enjoyment and inspiration! Make sure you get a copy- it’s a must read according to our children!

March 2018

Nominations published for the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals 2018

Nominations have been published for two of the country's oldest children's book awards for writing and illustration for children. The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded annually by CILIP for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people; while the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for distinguished illustration in a book for children and young people.

121 books have been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and 116 for the Kate Greenaway medal. In total 237 books have been nominated for 2018. This is 30 more than for the 2017 Medals and 75 more than for the 2016 Medals. Each nominated book is read by every member of the judging panel - twelve children's and youth librarians from CILIP's Youth Libraries Group - who volunteer their time as judges.

From these nominations the judging panel will decide the long and shortlists and finally, the 2018 medal winners, based on the official medals criteria. The long and shortlists identify a range of outstanding books for children and young people of all ages and interests, with world-class literature and illustration from new and established authors and illustrators.

A panel of judges from Amnesty will award the Amnesty CILIP Honour to one book from each shortlist that most distinctively illuminates, communicates, or celebrates our personal rights and freedoms.

Here are a selection of the shortlisted books for the Cilip Kate Greenaway Medal. We have purchased the books for each class to read discussing the plot, illustrations etc and vote on a winner. We will the see if our winner is the same as the national winner when the votes come in.

A First Book of Animals, Nicola Davies

King of the Sky, Nicola Davies

Night Shift, Debi Gliori

Under the Same Sky, Britta Teckentrup

Thorn Hill, Pam Smy

The Song From Somewhere Else, A. F Harold

Town is by the Sea, Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith.

World Book Day 1.3.18

The snow did not affect our World Book Day Celebrations!

Foundation Stage

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

More great costumes in year 3, and a selection of photographs of the children completing their WBD project. We asked children to bring in shoeboxes, then we read an extract from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and looked at the descriptions Roald Dahl used to describe the chocolate room. The children then created their own chocolate room in their shoeboxes based on the descriptions.

Year 4

Year 5

We enjoyed reading some of How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. In Chapter Two, the vikings try to steal dragons from a cave of 3000 dragons but one of them sneezes and they are faced with 3000 dragon eyes staring out at them. We created our own artistic impressions of these dragon eyes.

Year 6

New Books! 14.2.18

We are really excited about the arrival of the new books we have ordered for school because we raised the money to buy them when we organised a book sale at our Christmas Fayre. Our children couldn’t wait to get their hands on these new books and have even helped us label them up so they are ready for everyone to enjoy!

Sandal Castle Primary supports Wakefield Hospice supporting World Book Day

At Wakefield Hospice, to celebrate World Book Day they are giving school children a voucher for a free book from either their Ossett or George Street, Wakefield shops. We are delighted to support the Hospice in this venture!

Wakefield Hospice Supports World Book Day 1

Wakefield Hospice Supports World Book Day 2

Book Club - Spring Term 2018

Children from across KS2 meet on a Monday night to celebrate and share their love of reading. Children create projects inspired by their enjoyment of books and favourite characters and settings. So far, Jorja from Year 6 is working on a Power Point about The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jake, Nathan and Logan are creating their own Harry Potter version of Monopoly, Diana and Ebony are using art materials to create a piece of art work inspired by Michael Morpurgo's The Mozart Question, Ellen and Lucy are dramatising Hetty Feather, Natasha is designing a board game based on The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Jess, Timmy and Olivia are writing an illustrated story compiling and mixing three of their favourite stories: Alex Rider, Harry Potter and the Wizard of Once. These photos show them at the beginning of their projects. Watch this space to see their progress!

Reading Buddies

Confident readers across school read daily with younger readers to develop positive reading relationships and book talk amongst peers. During this session, the Reading Buddy listens to the younger child read, reads aloud to the younger child and then asks questions to provoke discussion about the text, often recommending other books. Both the Reading Buddy and the Reader are really enjoying this process and look forward to reading together with enthusiasm

January 2018

20th December 2017

During our Christmas Worship at St Helen's Church our children had the opportunity to read their own poems inspired by A Story like the Wind by Gill Lewis. The poems were an emotional and sensitive response to the refugee crisis. They were performed beautifully in front of an audience and it offered a touching, thought provoking moment to the service!

The Waddington Written Word Library

Thomas has set up his own library, bringing books into school from home. He has organised it himself and recommends books and lends them to children across the Year groups. Suri from 6MF has also donated a set of books and so has Jake. It is proving very popular and the books are the talk of the town! He has called it The Waddington’s Written Word Library!

Meet Our Reading Council!

Members of our Reading Council lead the book sales at our Christmas Fayre.

Class Reading

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Story time and the daily class read are a much valued part of the daily routine in every year group.

The following art work is inspired by the setting of the Year 5 class read; Who Let the Gods Out by Maz Evans and Stonehenge is the setting.

In KS2, we have started using the book Snow by Walter de la Mare in English. Our aim is to produce our own free verse poem in his style, make careful choices and using simple but effective language to move the reader. Today, we enjoyed his use of language so much that we practised the different verses in groups and performed it to one another. Here are some photos of our group work.

Reading Event September 2017

On the 13th September, we teamed up with Usborne Books to raise £456 to buy some beautiful new books for the Free Reader section of our school library. Children recommended authors and we researched a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles. We are now eagerly awaiting their arrival in school and we can’t wait to start reading them!

Roald Dahl Day September 2017

Enjoying celebrating Roald Dahl Day!

Our children enjoyed reading Roald Dahl poems and short stories whilst also bringing in favourite books/comics to read during the day. The children were encouraged to discuss Roald Dahl as an author whilst also discussing other favourite authors and make recommendations to their friends.

Book Fair

We hold 2 Scholastic Book Fairs each year. This year, our book fairs coincide with our Parent Consultation evenings. Mrs Ireson coordinates our book fair competitions with winners receiving a choice of books from the Fair. The winners of the October Book Fair competitions are pictured below.