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Sensible approach to literacy teaching

Discussion in 'Primary' started by mashabell, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. As do many of the staff in mine, but this depends on the children (and their parents) being willing to give up their lunchtime too - not going to happen with many of them.
    Making amazing progress (in terms of the children achieving level 1 in KS1 and then achieving level4 in KS2) would be wonderful, but it isn't going to happen in a single year. This would depend on buy in from every member of staff, every year. In many schools (or individual year groups), this isn't forthcoming, and even if it was, there is only so much one member of staff can do!
     
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Indeed it does. Completely. A whole school approach and commitment to raising attainment for all children is absolutely the key.

    A 1a to a 4c is not all that amazing...
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    agreed ... hard work but not amazing
     
  4. You sound defensive, but I haven't said your approach is wrong, or that 'all schools are the same', or that I am interested in Eddie's approach. I am critical of many of the priorities my school has, but can also see the pressures and diktats that have created the system we all work under. If you have a Head who is supportive of you, and who doesn't care about Ofsted or school ratings, then great. Unfortunately there are many who don't meet that standard. In my school, underperforming children (in terms of those who don't make level 2 at KS1 are rare, which is why there is greater focus on medium/high attainers).
    It is wrong to assume that just because you don't agree with Eddie's approach, that everything he says is wrong. He has made some valid points about the nature of persistent 'failure' in our primary schools, as defined by the persistent 20% of Year 6s who leave without a level 4 on their KS2 tests. We can skirt around that as much as we like, blaming 'off days' or whatever, but it's there, screaming at us, and has been for many years now.
    Personally, I am a huge synthetic phonics fan. I DO believe, that taught properly, it will lead to much better reading standards, even within that 20% for whom other methods appear not to have been successful.
     
  5. Glad we agree.
    My point is that you won't be lucky enough to get this buy-in, in all schools, and in many schools, it simply won't be enough. Teachers should not be expected to pick up the slack where extra resourcing and staffing should be the norm, but I fear that is what is happening.
     
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I am not for a minute saying everything Eddie says is wrong but I do think he is making a number of assumptions about data...the first being that the 20% failure is spread evenly across every school




     
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Nopes, just pointing out that not all schools do what yours does.
    But we don't ALL work under the ones you mention. I work under huge pressure to ensure all children make at least 2 sublevels of progress while they are in my class, as does every other teacher in my school. The starting and end points matter less, but progress is everything.
    I don't and thank goodness for it, it would be incredibly unprofessional to be that way. However ofsted and CVA league tables need to see ALL children making progress, hence the pressure we are under.
    I haven't assumed anything of the kind.
     
  8.  
  9. Yes, that's entirely sensible. My own school would hardly feature in terms of that 20%, but there is a school round the corner from my own home who have approximetely 30% every year who don't make a level 4 in reading. It's a fantastic school. In many ways much better than my own. The national statistic though, is persistent. give or take a few percent each year. That stubborness, is what interests me, and while I don't doubt there are many reasons for it, I DO think that 'level juggling' has its role to play in explaining it.
    All sorts of skullduggery goes on with levels in all kinds of schools, once you get talking to people. Nasty, but true.
     
  10. But it's not a case of one or the other. If schools cannot give enough support to children without needing teachers to work for free in their spare time then it is the government that is abandoning children, not the schools who do not subscribe to this practice. Teachers who give their time like this are very generous and clearly very committed to their schools and pupils, but they should not have to do it. What's more, by working beyond their contract they are creating a precedent which absolves the government of their responsibility to fund adequate education for children.
     
  11. I am not for a minute saying everything Eddie says is wrong but I do think he is making a number of assumptions about data...the first being that the 20% failure is spread evenly across every school
    I am a professional researcher - I work with neither assumptions nor opinions - ~I work with facts only. I have very detailed information on all schools which take part in the Key Stage tests - I know the schools which never get any chidren to L5 English and the schools which routinely get all of their children to L4/5 English. I have professionally accrued demographic data and am qualified in statisitics.

    The 20% who leave school every year less than functionally literate are spread over the country with some hot-spot concentrations. I always have schools in my projects from these hot spots. I know tht the 20% who are identified at the early Key Stages are the same 20% who never learn to read and write confidently in schools. Even without the research instruments at my disposal commonsense dictates that they are the same children who fail at Key Stage 1 and 2. I know that the vast majority of children who are classed as non or near-non readers in Year 2 never become confident readers and writers. It appalls me that these children are so easily recognised at this very young age and that nothing effective is done with this information. When I use the term 'the dustbin of illiteracy' I use the term advisedly. .
    I think that the significant number of people who lurk on these forums and email me are appalled by some of the comments made by teachers and I often have to explain to them that not all posters on this site are teachers - many are unqualified support staff who have picked up a little of the jargon and feel that this makes them experts. There is always a price to pay for the very sad cooments that frequently appear here and which can readily to attributed to the same posters - unfortunately the price is not paid by them but by the 100,000 children who are failed by a failing system YEAR IN AND YUEAR OUT. I believe this failure also goes a long way to explain much of the anti-social behaviour we have in the UK - we know that about half of those in prisons are illiterate - they are part of the price we pay for failing to provide them with even the most basic educational skills. We need to put an end to this atrocious situation - not seeking to justify or rationalise it! one fifth of the population ARE NOT 'low attainers'. whatever claims are made here.
     
  12. It appals me too.
    That's why I would like teachers and everyone connected with education to become more aware of what is chiefly responsible for it.
     
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    but as you have continually said you don't know what method of reading instruction the schools you work with (low results) use you are making assumptions regarding their use of SP and it not improving results and are you also making assumptions about reading instruction in the schools who have continually had good results ...
     
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    So you know that in a school like mine with a transient population (many arriving in Y6) the results of all the children when they were in KS1? It would be really helpful if we did too but since they arrive from Ireland, Scotland, Spain .........they don't actually have any
     
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    luckily we do see that year on year
    we had one child arrive in Y4 level 1C and achieve a solid level 4 5 terms later so you'll excuse me not accepting that these children should be ignored
     
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    It is supported by the data from my own school. There were quite a number of children in year 6 last year who did not achieve a level 2 or above in their KS1 SATs and a fair few more for whom we have no data because they arrived in England with no English at all during KS2. I saw them 'catch up' and get a level 4, so please don't tell me it didn't happen because I know it did. I also know the same thing happened in many schools in my city and county.

    We also have children who did gain a level 2 in KS1 who did not go on to get a level 4 at KS2 for a whole host of reasons.
    But you are the only one being negative. You are the only one saying these children cannot catch up unless something very different is done. You are the only one suggesting you can save them from dustbins of illiteracy. The rest of us are the ones saying that with excellent teaching and a whole school commitment and belief that all can achieve these children can and will catch up by the time they leave us.
    I'm not sure luck has a lot to do with it. We see it in our school year on year because of the sheer hard work and commitment to ensuring these children do not fail in life. I said pages and pages ago that a 1a to a 4c is not all that amazing. According to some on here you would think it was close to impossible, yet it is what we repeatedly manage in our school and a lot more besides.
     
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I agree it takes more than luck ... lots of effort and hard work from children and staff but I'm lucky that I work in a school where that is encouraged and not one where we simply write off children who didn't measure up at age 6.
     
  18. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Ditto!
     
  19. MillieBear - Open the excel spreadsheet 'National Data' and look at Table 5 for the data I quoted.
     
  20. That leaves 55% of the children who ended KS1 at level 1 who got less than the required standard in literacy and almost 90% of those working at W level - and those KS2 levels are a combination of SAT results and teacher assessment, so not sure how they've been worked out. Assuming they are correct, that's a massive number of children who had poor literacy levels in Y2, and still have poor literacy levels at age 11 - same kids, underachieving, right through their school lives. These are the children being 'left behind' - sometimes despite, and sometimes because of, the systems within their schools.
    I say literacy, becasue those stats are also not broken down into reading and writing results.
     

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