Last Thursday our steering group (Senior leaders from our 13 schools) met to discuss and plan their work together for the coming weeks. Maths and Science leads will be meeting to work together on looking at best examples of Using and Applying in Maths and evidencing progress in Science. There will be writing moderations after Christmas for Year 1 through to Year 6, with schools taking it in turns to host. Our secondaries and primaries are setting up visits to our Nurseries to support reading and IT and we hope to restart our Year 12 to primary reading programme with Evelyn Grace Academy 6th form soon. In the Spring we shall be doing a Science project involving More Able pupils from St Gabriel’s working with primary pupils on investigations, using the secondary school facilities, leading to a cluster Science Fair. As always it is the expertise and enthusiasm of our great group of teachers that makes this work possible.
Our Early Years Forum met last week and put together a list of book titles they really enjoyed with their classes this year. Here they are:
Sharing a Shell,
The Crocodile who didn’t like Water,
Not again Red Riding Hood.
The Snail and the Whale
What the Ladybird Heard.
Last night several BLC year 5 and 6 teachers got together to work with Steph King from AK Mathematical Solutions on Maths Problem Solving and Fluency. Steph took the group through a series of examples and activities to show how to develop children’s skills in problem solving and reasoning: asking the question – ‘what can’t the answer be’ was a useful way to work through some of the problems and to encourage children to explain their reasoning:’ it can’t be x because….’. Steph recommends the use of resources such as Cuisenaire Rods and Numicon tiles right through to KS2, so children can experiment with problems and visualise answers. Teachers commented on how they would use more questioning in their maths lessons, asking children to write a problem for a calculation and encourage more talking through word problems. Everyone felt it was a really useful session.
This week the BLC Early Years Forum were delighted to welcome Clare Bradley, formerly EYFS Advisor for Lambeth and now Deputy at Effra Early Years Centre and part of our cluster. Clare gave an excellent presentation and facilitated discussion on the teaching of reading from Nursery through to Reception. The Forum agreed that using a good core book was a great way to immerse the children in reading, stories and to link to all sorts of other activities for learning – enjoyable for both the children and the teachers. Imaginative ways to get children to discuss setting and characters were really worth developing. Clare also recommended encouraging reading by developing children’s knowledge of those familiar signs and words they know: their own name, Tescos signs, the Frozen logo and the like! Favourite core book titles from our forum included: A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton, Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom, The Stick Man and The Gruffolo, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, The Bog Baby by Jean Ellis and Gwen Millward and The Dark by Lemony Snicket to name but a few.
Teachers in the BLC have been working together to look at children’s work and produce exemplars of what ‘at’ Age Related Expectations of writing looks like for children at the end of year 3 and year 5. This work is being extended to other year groups this year. The teachers have examined the work against the National Curriculum goals. We hope these exemplars will be of use to all teachers.