At Marden Lodge we are introducing a number of initiatives this year, which will have a positive impact on the quality of learning and teaching and thus raise standards across the school.
In essence, we believe that it is imperative that children have a strong grounding in the basic skills of reading, writing and mathematics and, consequently, a number of our initiatives are designed to strengthen the school’s work in this area. We are making changes to the curriculum in order to make it more engaging for pupils, through the introduction of whole school topics and a greater use of outside visitors and school trips to provide a context for the learning. Alongside this work, we have introduced changes to the staffing structure, as we develop leaders of the future through the introduction of a lead practitioner role and a new title for our teaching assistants which puts greater emphasis on learning.
We have recently introduced Read, Write Inc, a synthetic phonics programme which teaches children how to decode the sounds that make up words. Lessons are fast-paced and involve the whole class, keeping concentration levels high.
In the government report ‘Reading by Six, how the best schools do it’ which draws on the practice of twelve outstanding schools, seven out of the twelve schools featured used this programme to effectively raise standards. We are confident that this will accelerate pupil progress in Early Years and Key Stage 1.
Reading and the love of literature will run throughout the school, with all classes being named after key authors which will provide the stimulus for some of their work in literacy. The authors and relevant classes are as follows:
Reception Martin Waddell Waddell class
Year 1 Julia Donaldson Donaldson class
Year 2 Anthony Browne Browne class
Year 3 Roald Dahl Dahl class
Year 4 Anne Fine Fine class
Year 5 Philip Pullman Pullman class
Year 6 Michael Morpurgo Morpurgo class
We will also be building on our work to improve writing through further use of talk for writing. Talk for Writing, developed by Pie Corbett, enables children to imitate the language that they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. This is then followed by shared writing which demonstrates how children can craft their writing, helping then to write in the appropriate style.
This work will be supported through the introduction of ‘Story Starters’ a hands-on tool that inspires children to collaborate whilst creating and communicating stories, using LEGO bricks. Children work in groups to develop a story together, building their stories with bricks then documenting them using a simple digital process.
Lego will be further deployed to support other areas of the curriculum through the use of ‘Build to Express’ a technique which engages pupils by combining LEGO model building and learning. Children are challenged with building tasks related to the topic and their learning is extended through questioning which encourages them to reflect, explore different avenues and thus develop a deeper understanding of what they are learning
Whole school topics were introduced in September which will facilitate the delivery of the new national curriculum whilst engaging learners and demonstrating progress across the school. For 2014/15 our topics are ‘Once upon a time’, ‘Adventures’ and ‘Lights, Camera, Action’.