Lesley Lyon, Chair of Governors, 6.12.21
I met with Mrs Buttress this morning, who is an Assistant Headteacher and Lead Teacher for English. Our conversation focused on the work the school is doing to help the children improve their spelling and writing, both of which have emerged as areas requiring development in our recent monitoring activities.
There was a learning walk at the beginning of term in which our expert, Janet Thompson, visited classes with Mrs Buttress to observe the teaching of spelling, particularly in years 4,5 and 6. She was very impressed with the confidence of the teaching and some new strategies which were being used, one of which was timetabling teaching for these year groups at the same time so that a smaller group could be taken out for really focused phonics intervention.
One thing is certain that spelling is on everyone’s radar although Mrs Buttress felt it could be flagged up consistently to the children more.
The pandemic has had a big impact on writing as the children did not practise the technical skills of writing as consistently as they would have if the teaching had been face to face. The areas needing attention are handwriting, punctuation, speed and productivity (the amount they write). These areas are a big focus in school at present. The children have wonderful ideas but the technical aspects of writing need to be emphasised. It is frustrating that this slipped back during the lockdowns however it is now full steam ahead and we hope to be back to where we were soon. It is still true that boys tend to fall a bit behind girls in this aspect but the teams are working hard to address this.
Mrs Buttress also talked about the very exciting partnership with Nottingham Playhouse, which will have a big impact on stimulating ideas for writing and will be offered to all year groups in the coming term.
As ever there is constant monitoring of the teaching of all aspects of English by outside experts and as ever our team is taking on all the advice and reacting proactively to it.