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Hill West Primary School Issue 3, May 2012

Pedagogical Newsletter – May 2012 What is Phonics? Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully. They are taught to: recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes; identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

In this issue: Phonics Year One Phonics Screening Check New EYFS Curriculum New EYFS Homework KS2 SATS Teachers’ Standards Building Learning Power Academy Trust

What is the Phonics Screening Check? The phonics screening check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonic knowledge. It helps us confirm whether your child has made the expected progress. In 2012 the check will take place during the week commencing Monday 18th June. Children in Year One will be asked to sit with the teacher and read 40 words aloud. Your child may have read

some of the words before, while others will be completely new. The check normally takes just a few minutes to complete and there is no time limit. If your child is struggling, the teacher will stop the check. The test will contain a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ (or nonsense words). Your child will be told to expect some nonwords. You will find out how well your child did on the screening check in their end of Year reports.

New EYFS Reminders: Have you completed and returned the learning profile?

A new, slimmed down early years curriculum for 0-5-yearolds, more focused on making sure children start school ready and able to learn has been developed. Responding to the Tickell Review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), the new framework radically reduces the number of early learning goals from 69 to 17. It focuses on three prime areas of learning.

These areas form the foundations on which children can then master the basic literacy skills they need for school. The revised, simpler framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) was published on 27 March 2012, for implementation from September 2012. This is an integral part of the Government’s wider vision for families in the foundation

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Glossary of Terms Pedagogy – the craft of teaching Phonics – sounds EYFS – Early Years Foundation Stage SATs – Standard Assessment Tasks Academies – schools independent from the LA and funded directly by DfE Building Learning Power – helping pupils to be better learners

Teacher Standards’ – apply to all teachers, outline minimum level of practice expected

QTS – Qualified Teacher Status

Homework Last month the Government scrapped guidelines on how much homework to set. The 1998 guidelines stated; Years 1 and 2: one hour per week; Years 3 and 4: 1.5 hours per week; Years 5 and 6: 30 minutes per day. Schools are now free to decide what to issue. “Homework is part and parcel of a good education – along with high-quality teaching and strong discipline,” the Department for Education statement read. “We trust Head Teachers to set the homework policy for their school. They know their pupils best and should be free to make these decisions without having to adhere to unnecessary bureaucratic guidance”. This decision was made after complaints from parents about homework in primary schools. At secondary level, the impact on pupils’ grades has been backed up by research, but for primary-aged children there is no such conclusive evidence. The issue for primaries is how to set homework that strengthens the relationship between teachers, parents and pupils. There is also the question, what is homework? Does sending home reading books count? What about expecting parents to listen to children practising their times tables? Primary schools have been at the sharp end of the homework debate. In 2008, ATL education union called for a ban on compulsory homework for primary-age children, saying that children should be able to explore, experiment and enjoy learning without feeling pressured. For full article see TES Friday 30th March 2012

KS2 SATs As you will know, this week our pupils in Year 6 have been undertaking their end of Key Stage 2 SATs. This year they had to complete test papers in Reading and Maths. These papers, once completed, are sent away for marking. For the first time this year, children were able to undertake an internally marked writing test and their achievements in this test contribute to

the summative assessments carried out by our Year 6 teachers. Some of our children will also be sitting Level 6 papers next week as this is the first year the Government have issued Level 6 papers for Reading and Maths. These will also be externally marked. As you know all SAT results will be published with your child’s end of year report.

Academy Trust

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THE TEACHERS’ STANDARDS The new Teachers’ Standards published by the Secretary of State for Education come into force on 1 September 2012. They replace the existing standards and will apply to all teachers regardless of their career stage. They define the minimum level of practice expected of teachers from the point of being awarded QTS onwards. The new standards will need to be applied as appropriate to the role and context within which a trainee or teacher is practicing. In brief a teacher must: 1 Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils 2 Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils 3 Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge 4 Plan and teach well structured lessons 5 Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils 6 Make accurate and productive use of assessment 7 Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment 8 Fulfill professional responsibilities


As you know we have recently been invited to join a Learning Alliance and become part of an Academy Trust with two other secondary schools and three other primary schools. The Governing Body have discussed this matter at length and have now passed a resolution to become and Academy. Our application has been submitted to the DfE Academies Division and we are in the process of consulting with staff, pupils, you as parents and the wider community about the potential conversion. If the DfE support our application we would form part of a multi-academy trust with six schools in total. As identified by Steve Mumby (Chief Executive of National College) we know that the quality of school leadership is second only to teaching and learning in terms of the influence it has on young people’s progress. If we are to make sure that more young people, in more schools, are getting the opportunities and chances they deserve, we need to carry on building on the very best leadership development and sharing it across the system. Joining an Academy Alliance gives us greater opportunity to achieve this. The key to this ambition is that school leaders take on a much greater role in developing their own and each other’s staff and supporting each other to improve. We need the very best schools to be at the heart of this approach: not as beacons that others are expected to learn from irrespective of context, but as strategic partners, working together with other schools to identify needs and to share skills and expertise from across the partnership so that all schools can benefit. We are in exciting times…

THE CLUSTER HUB A wide range of services currently make use of the Cluster Hub located next to Mere Green Library.

Building Learning Power… Building learning power is about helping young people to become better learners, both in school and out. It is about creating a culture in classrooms - and in the school more widely - that systematically cultivates habits and attitudes that enable young people to face difficulty and uncertainty calmly, confidently and creatively. Pupils who are more confident of their own learning ability learn faster and learn better. They concentrate more, think harder and find learning more enjoyable. They do better in their tests and external examinations. Building Learning Power prepares youngsters better for an uncertain future. Today’s schools need to be educating not just for exam results but for lifelong learning. To thrive in the 21st century, it is not enough to leave school with a clutch of examination certificates. Pupils need to have learnt how to be tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and logical, self disciplined and self-aware, collaborative and inquisitive. To find out more visit http://www.buildinglearnin

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Pedagogical newsletter issue 3 may 12