16.6.22 Lesley Lyon, Chair of Governors

On Thursday 16th June the three governors who are responsible for monitoring English spent the day in school with Mrs Buttress. We were engaged in a number of activities during the day including observing lessons, speaking to a group of pupils, discussing data and reflecting on what we had observed. This was done to ensure that the school had begun to address the points picked up by our external English advisors who had visited in January.

All three governors were delighted with what we observed. It was a joy to see the children’s enthusiasm for reading and writing. In lessons we saw the classes studying a really wide variety of literature from Macbeth in year 4, the mysterious ‘Song from Somewhere Else’ in year 5 and the beautiful Carol Ann Duffy ‘The Lost Happy Endings’ in year 3. We heard the children gasp with delight as the next page was turned and use impressively advanced vocabulary for their age. In fact one of the governors thought the children were in year 4 rather than year 3 because of the standard of writing.

We observed children learning spelling rules, taking dictation, preparing for the school spelling bee, editing their work and experimenting with homonyms, similes and alliteration. The children learned with passion and enthusiasm working hard and always on task. The teaching was well planned and we saw evidence of teachers using the ideas from the training they had received in phonics, writing and the Power of Reading.

We interviewed two groups of boys from across the year groups. This had been at the suggestion of the external advisors in January. We know that boys at Mellers find many aspects of English difficult and we wanted to know more from the children. They spoke enthusiastically about their reading in particular about a book called The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge. Their recall of the details of the story was impressive. They also spoke about how they find writing hard and that it hurt their hand to write for long periods of time. They said that they also found spelling hard but that they enjoyed it and wanted to get better. It was a joy to speak with such an articulate and enthusiastic group of boys.

Finally we had a discussion about the data which had been put together in mid May. Mrs Buttress said that they were disappointed with some aspects of it. Mellers is still feeling the impact of lockdown, particularly on writing, which is much more difficult to teach remotely and the teachers’ nervousness about predicting too highly. She is expecting a jump in the results this term based on the wonderful teaching, the quality texts the teachers are using and the sheer joy of the children in wanting to use more challenging vocabulary.  It was a wonderful day shared by 3 governors:  Teeny Reid, Celia Morris, Lesley Lyon

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