22.11.22 Lesley Lyon, Chair of Governors

For our English monitoring this term we focused on phonics and writing. We know that our phonics results dropped this year and as a result we have taken on a new scheme called Little Wandle and governors were keen to see the impact of this work. Alongside this we also understand how important it is that our children have the ability to write well. In order to monitor this aspect we worked with Mrs Buttress and looked at children’s books and talked to children from years 3 – 6 about the writing they do in school.

Mrs Buttress had visited Snape Wood school to see how they were getting on with Little Wandle in the morning and she came back feeling very positive about the scheme and the progress we are seeing in the Mellers’ children. From her observations of our lessons she had seen that the staff are growing increasingly confident in its use and that the training they had received had been highly effective. We observed that the high level of skill that the staff need to use the programme were becoming well established. The children love the programme and that the financial investment we had made in it should show some big improvement in results. Staff will be continuing to develop their skills on INSET day.

The afternoon was spent looking at writing across the school. The evidence was absolutely clear that from whatever starting point the children are making progress. For example children starting F2 in September making marks in their books, by November were clearly forming letters and in some cases words and the beginnings of sentences. They are following the scheme of work which teaches them to write both fiction and non fiction. They practice their handwriting.

As we looked across the year groups the progress between years was good and was clearly visible. We could see how children developed the technical skills required to form words as well as their creative ideas. By the time we got to the year 6 work it was a delight to see the level of vocabulary used and the power of description they had developed in their poetry and story writing. It was also good to see how, throughout the year groups, the children developed their skills of letter writing – such an important skill for later life.

The most pleasurable part of the session was talking to children from years 3 – 6. We spoke to 8 children in total who told us about their reading and writing. They all loved to write although they said they found hard sometimes. They loved the books they read in class. They told us that they really liked their writing being displayed, it made them proud. They said that they would like to do more of their own stories and Mrs Buttress is going to make sure that they all have a free writing book to use not just the older children.

It was a delight to hear them talking about the library. Governors decided to fund this space two years ago and it was wonderful to hear them tell us about what a difference it had made. They all said that they preferred it to their reading corners because it enabled them to see all books and not just those suitable for their age. They enjoyed taking the books home and reading them to family members.

We were particularly impressed with the progress children make, the level of vocabulary they are taught, the quality of the literature they read and their real enthusiasm for writing. It was a great session!

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