Hill West Primary School Issue 8, May 2013
Pedagogical Newsletter – May 2013 Learning Profiles Thank you for recently completing the learning profile with your child and returning it to school. We want to involve you in the setting and checking of your child’s learning targets so that we work in partnership to ensure rapid progress across the curriculum.
In this issue: Learning Profiles Global Education Parent View New Primary Curriculum Raising the Bar Strong Governance Lesson Observations Result from EYFS pilot
Global Education The term global education is used to describe strategies for: gaining knowledge of world cultures; understanding the historical, geographic, economic, political, cultural, and environmental relationships among world regions and peoples; examining the nature of cultural differences and national or regional conflicts and problems; and acting to influence public policy and private behavior on behalf of international understanding, tolerance and empathy. This week Miss Stone and I fly to
Tanzania to spend a week teaching in our partner school James Ole Miyla. It is located in Mabogini village about 14km from the nearest town of Moshi. Their school motto is ‘Education, Environment and Respect’. The school has around 386 pupils and 11 teachers, two of whom will be visiting Hill West in September. The pupils in Year 4 have been sending and receiving letters and are currently making friendship braclets for us to take with us. They will be eager to find out more about their new friends on our return. Together we hope to challenge stereotypes and discrimination while raising awareness of different cultures.
Reminders: We break up for half term on Friday 24th May and all children return on Monday 3rd June
We recently wrote to our Year 5 parents asking them to use Parent View to register their thoughts about our school. We are now calling on all of you to do the same. Parent View was launched in October 2011 and includes 12 multiple-choice questions. It is used by Ofsted prior to their inspection to gather your views about our school. Ofsted claims that gathering parents’ views electronically will save time, costs and resources. They also point out that it is a more anonymous system and parents might have
greater confidence in an online process that removes the need to hand the questionnaire response directly to school. Although I don’t think this is necessarily the case at Hill West I would urge you to access the questionnaire to share your views. This is a vehicle to let us know what we could be doing better as well as celebrating all the excellent work that we do. www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools/forschools/parent-view/parent-view
New Primary Curriculum
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Glossary of Terms Pedagogy – the craft of teaching
ATLP – Arthur Terry Learning Partnership
Global Education gaining knowledge world cultures
Floor Target minimum standard
EYFS years stage
– early foundation
GLD – good level of development
The existing primary curriculum for England in mathematics and science, say the authors of the new curriculum, focuses insufficiently on key elements of knowledge and is not as demanding as in other countries. So in mathematics in the new curriculum there will be greater rigour, in particular arithmetic, and promoting efficient written methods of long multiplication and division. There is to be more demanding content in fractions, decimals and percentages. As widely reported, the removal of calculator and other ICT devices is encouraged as strong written and mental strategies should be developed. The proposed programmes of study for science are also more ambitious, with a stronger focus on the importance of scientific knowledge and a greater emphasis on the core scientific concepts underpinning pupils’ understanding. The mathematical aspects of science are to be strengthened and for the first time primary pupils will be taught about evolution and inheritance. The proposed English programmes of study require higher standards of literacy. Pupils are expected to develop a stronger command of the written and spoken word. Through the strengthening of the teaching of phonics more pupils should read fluently. Word lists are included for Key Stage 2, with the expected focus on Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation. The retention of the current subject composition of the National Curriculum is accompanied by the addition of foreign languages at Key Stage 2. The languages mentioned are: French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Latin or Ancient Greek! There is an intention to make the study of a foreign language compulsory at Key Stage 2. This is to enable schools to be more ambitious about teaching language in secondary school. The replacement of the current ICT curriculum encompasses a new computing curriculum with a much greater emphasis on practical programming skills. Pupils in Key Stage 1 are to be taught what algorithms are, how they are used in digital devices, and that programmes execute by following a sequence of instructions. Pupils in Key Stage 2 are encouraged to design and write programs that accomplish specific goals, as well as use logical reasoning to explain how a simple algorithm work. There is also a responsible emphasis on online safety and responsibility. History – at Key Stage 1, pupils are to learn about the lives of significant individuals in Britain’s past – scientists such as Isaac Newton or Michael Faraday, reformers such as Elizabeth Fry or William Wilberforce, medical pioneers such as William Harvey or Florence Nightingale, or creative geniuses such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel or Christina Rossetti. The Key Stage 2 history curriculum is expanded to include: early Britons and settlers; relations between England, Wales, Scotland and France; the Renaissance in England; and the Glorious Revolution, constitutional monarchy and the Union of the Parliaments. World War 1 and 2 are only specified at Key Stage 3. All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage and sex education to pupils in secondary education. All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.
Raising the Bar In March the schools minister David Laws introduced new accountability measures and standards for England’s primary schools that will see: Floor standards raised to 65% from 2014; New data being published showing the proportion of primary children who achieve a “good” Level 4 (those who score in the top two-thirds); Struggling primary schools being made to draw up Pupil Premium action plans with
support from an “outstanding education leader”. The Department for Education suggests that these measures will help raise standards in primary schools and ensure children are ready for secondary school. They take the view that schools will up their game to wherever the standard is set. Obviously at Hill West we are already achieving significantly higher standards than the new floor standard of 65% with on average more than 90% of all pupils achieving above Level 4 at the end of KS2.
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Lesson Observations Unlike staff at some schools, the staff at Hill West welcome professional lesson observations as a vital part of their continued professional development and we have found it a powerful tool to help us improve the quality of teaching and learning throughout school. Teachers and Teaching Assistants here see lesson observations as a chance to share best-practice not only with colleagues in school but through inter-school collaboration. Over the course of the last year we have hosted colleagues from a number of other schools who have taken part in the Outstanding Teacher Programme or Improving Teacher Programme and these participants have spent time observing lessons around school. More recently the senior leaders from the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership spent an afternoon in school observing lessons. Staff at Hill West also get the opportunity to watch and reflect on each-others’ practice. These observations have helped the quality of teaching move to Outstanding.
Strong Governance At Hill West we have a Local Governing Body whose responsibility it is to oversee the strategic direction of the school and respond to and shape the work of the Learning Partnership Academy Trust. Good governance is the key to ensuring our school is successful. In successful schools the head, senior leadership team and governors manage to achieve mutual understanding, a shared vision and trust in the work of each member of the senior team. The governors can take care of the strategic issues but trust the head to get on with the day-today running of the school. The Governing Body should be the head’s critical friend. Critical in that they have to challenge, ask the tough questions and invoke debate. But friend because the support, expertise and experience they can bring is invaluable to ensuring a head teacher meets the challenging objectives set. A board of governors, by its very nature, has to consider risk and can err on the side of caution. But they should also be able to display courage and ambition for the school. It also provides another system of checks and measures to ensure the right decisions are being made at the right times by the right people to the overall benefit of the school. Like businesses, heads and governors must understand their customers (pupils and parents), communicate regularly and be flexible and responsive to the changing market environment.
“The moment where you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever being able to do it”. Sir James
Matthew Barrie Results from the EYFS Profile Pilot Research has shown that children have performed less well under the new Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Early Learning Goals introduced this year than under the previous assessment regime. Only four in 10 children in the pilot reached ‘a good level of development’. The key findings of the report show that 41% of children achieved a good level of development (GLD). 52% of autumn born children achieved a GLD; 48% of girls achieved a GLD; the total average point score was 32 points out of a possible 51 points; 30% of children whose first language is not English achieved a GLD; across the Early Learning Goals, performance was lower in Writing and Reading and highest in Moving and Handling, Health and Self Care and Technology. As a result of the findings from the pilot we are monitoring the progress of our pupils in EYFS very carefully.