As I write this we have been running for 5 months, but already the benefits of our approach are being seen. I’m posting this in “Making A Case” because I feel it would be useful as supporting evidence if you are building a case in your own school.
- There was 100% attendance at the recent Year 1 parent evenings. The Parents reported unanimously that they felt fully informed about their child’s learning and that the use of the web-based programme Tapestry allowed them to talk easily with their child about their learning and extend their learning at home.
- The enabling environment has allowed all members of staff to challenge and push children’s learning on further. For example, each pupil will get a mix of Teacher-led activities, challenges to consolidate learning and child initiated learning during the playful learning time.
- Tapestry has allowed for quick up to date assessments to be made about progress. Alongside the usual book evidence gathered in a more traditional way, the teachers and TA’s are able to show the children learning, and gain insights into their next steps for learning.
- The use of flexible timetabling has had a huge impact on learning time. By not going out to playtime we are gaining 2 to 3 hours extra teaching time a week.
- Likewise, the staffing structure has been an important element in the success. On a Tuesday and Thursday we have a HLTA trained in PE to take the P.E. lessons. This means that instead of the teacher and TA having to hand over progress etc. the same person is teaching both sessions in the week. But more importantly, we have been flexible with our time. We have split the children into 3 mixed ability groups (20 children in each). On a Tuesday this allows each class teacher to work with 10 pupils for 40 minutes on an English based activity or maths whichever is most needed.
- Simultaneously, 20 children are taking part in PE, and 20 children are accessing enhanced provision outside which is linked the curriculum. This then rotates so all children access all areas (meaning smaller groups for everyone). On a Thursday there is a split between a focus on handwriting (where we are seeing good progress), Music/ ICT, or any other areas of the Year 1 curriculum that may require discrete teaching and PE. The single changing of clothes at the start and the end of the session also means more time learning.
- We have 5 groups for phonics this year as we have more staff. This means that group sizes are smaller and we can concentrate on raising levels. The first half term we recapped phase 3 and 4 in mixed ability groups. After half termly assessment, we have created an ‘at expected’ group that are moving onto the phase 5 sounds following letter and sounds as a starting point. The other groups are remaining mixed ability this year as if you limit the groups by ability setting, some children will not get the full range of sounds needed to pass the screening and read confidently. We are then of course implementing in-class intervention for the children that are significantly behind. This is made possible because of the enabling
environment as adults are freed up to do daily sessions with these children.
- We are also rotating the children in the phonics groups so they are taught by each member of staff over the week. This guarantees consistency and also allows the teachers to teach all of the children over the week and to see their progress and plan for intervention if needed.