Volume5 Number 2 Spring 2004 - W by fjzhxb

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									disseminating good practice and celebrating achievement in Wiltshire

Produced by the Schools’ Branch Volume 5 Number 2 Spring 2004

Introduction
If you have any items including articles, reports and especially pupils‟ own work which you wish to disseminate to a wider audience please send either by e-mail or disc to the General Editor, Susan McCulloch (for contact details see below) If you wish to suggest a Special Issue for later publication please contact susanmcculloch@wiltshire.gov.uk (01225) 713742

Susan McCulloch, c/o Libraries and Heritage HQ, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8BS

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Contents
Editorial Federation of schools Opportunities for learning, in all areas of the Foundation stage, during child initiated activities To investigate if a nurture project with emotionally disadvantaged children will enable them to move forward in their learning Background paper – Why Creativity and why now? Raising standards through developing creativity The learning gap at Key Stage 3 Literacy research and development in R.E. Developing study skills with dyslexic students in Key Stage 4 Raising the performance of girls in Key Stage 4 science at The Clarendon School How can I, through the exploration of gifted and talented mentoring at Westwood St Thomas, seek to understand myself as an educator. How can I live out my democratic values in practice more fully by using formative assessment techniques? Pastoral support and peer counselling Impact of the primary school library on reading and information literacy 3 4

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13 21 32 35 38 50 53

58 60 70 73

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Editorial
Although this is one of our general publications disseminating information about action research projects completed in the last few months, many of the articles are linked by the theme of developing children as learners. Craig Gibbens, in the featured article in “Research in Focus” notes that “.. it‟s not what you teach this is the most important in terms of pure knowledge, but the balance of knowledge and skills with which the children then can apply their learning and move their learning forward”. He describes the role of the teacher as a “Structured Facilitator”, someone who “provides well prepared and planned opportunities with clear learning intentions and is prepared to accept different but nevertheless quality outcomes” (Italics are mine, editor). To complete this “learning picture” you will also find the prequel to this paper (pages 21-34) This theme is picked up by Mark Potts (see pages 60-9). In this very detailed exploration of using formative assessment techniques. That is giving students both the criteria for judging their essays and empowering them to assess their own work together with written feedback form the teacher. Also in this topic of developing learning skills, you can also find an article on developing study skills with dyslexic students in Key Stage 4 which demonstrates that when dyslexic pupils are given greater ownership of their own support they are more willing and able to learn (pages 50-52); another on improving students‟ writing skills in RE by using a discussion framework (pages 38 – 49); developing opportunities for learning during child initiated activities (pages 9 - 12) and the role of the primary school library in developing information literacy skills (pages 73-). Self-esteem is also a key component of learning. Jill Vincent‟s article looks at using nonthreatening activities to increase self-esteem and thus developing a positive approach to learning (pages 13 – 20). To add to these research projects I should like to remind you of the Advanced Information in "Research in Focus" which outlines the work of Mary Kellett from the Open University who has just published a paper entitled “Just teach us the skills please, we‟ll do the rest: empowering ten-year olds as active researchers”. A title that expresses the need the young people to be taught how to learn, as John Abbott of the 21st Learning Initiative is quoted as saying “The future belongs to those who know how to learn”. Other research projects cover such diverse topics as the role of mentors (pages 58 – 9), how a school has sought to encourage the performance of Key Stage 4 girls in science (pages 53 – 57) and tackling the learning gap at Key Stage 3 and pupils‟ experience of transfer (pages 35 – 7) School management is not forgotten in this edition of the Journal with an article on the pastoral support for new heads (pages 70 – 74) and on pages 4 – 8 a summary of the research into forming School Federations. I hope you find much to stimulate and enjoy in this edition of the “Wiltshire Journal of Education”.

Susan McCulloch, editor.

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Federation of Schools
Issues      Federation could stabilise the school population and prevent closure of village schools therefore guards village identity – Schools often a focal point of village. It is essential that dioceses are fully involved. Federation offers more opportunities to adopt innovative ways of sharing resources, expertise and good practice. Federation creates opportunities to support, coach, mentor induct and develop staff members and governors. Geographical proximity is crucial.

Recommendations              Awareness should be raised in the LEA and amongst schools about Federation. The LEA needs to have a strategic plan, which includes clear guidelines for all stages of the process, when federation is being considered. Church status or none may be different for the existing schools; therefore the category of the federated school must be sensitively negotiated (Trust Deeds may present difficulties). Consider whether the education offered would be best served having a new school building. Federation seems to be more easily managed where only two sites are involved. We would suggest no more than three. A two-site model consisting of a split of KS 1 and 2 seems to be the most successful to have evolved. If three sites are involved there could be specialist sites for Early Years, KS1 and KS2. The LEA should support the staff and governors in drawing up shared Mission, Aims and policies. Governors, well supported by LEA, should draw up job-description of Head teacher. Consider possibility of one assistant head teacher on each site. Consideration should also be given to complexities of travel (dangerous journeys and prolonged ones due to rivers, bottle-necks etc). LEA should help the school to seek grants to further the development of the staff and school. Whole community issues must to be brought into the debate; national moves for rural development should be explored in order to bring in funding.

LEA Role   Needs to be clearly defined and transparent to all. Financial and administrative support for federation should be an integral part of the EDP.

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The LEA should have a named person to:  Provide information  Help the flow of information during consultation  Provide training for governors and head teachers  Ensure policies, protocols and procedures are followed.

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   

The strategic plan should be sufficiently flexible to respond to local need. The commitment should be to support schools considering federation. Should be aware of financial implications with costed models available. Have a strategic overview of the viability of schools (based on agreed criteria see below) and where federation therefore becomes a means of ensuring viability.

Criteria for viability  Recruitment problems especially staff and governors.  Educational standards.  Class size.  Workload on head teacher and teachers.  Educational opportunities adversely affected by mixed age-group classes, especially cross-phase.  Budgetary difficulties.  Falling rolls over a period of one year (including projection).  Accommodation difficulties (link to Asset Management Plan) o Suitability for purpose o Adequacy o Unable to meet National Curriculum requirements o Poor condition o Health and safety o Inadequate ICT provision. Quality of Education Advantages  Access to teacher specialist expertise  Avoidance of cross-phase classes  Consistency and continuity of planning improved  Cohort size increased and therefore less volatility at end of Key Stages  Resources targeted to age groups  Increase possibility of high quality recruitment  Reduction of teaching commitment of Head Teacher in order to improve management, including monitoring and evaluation of standards  Possibility of employing a Deputy or Assistant Head to further aid management of all sites  Academic ability groups larger to increase peer support and challenge to increase motivation  Social e.g. more opportunity to play and work with peers Disadvantages  More difficult to enable children to have an overview of the whole school ethos  Management of two sites  May be fewer role models for younger pupils.  Less interaction with other age groups Finance Issues       Needs to be properly financed – you do not save money by federating Equitable resources for both/all sites At least one base manager on each site (with some management time) as well head teacher Headteacher – non-teaching Equipped Head teacher‟s office on each site Travelling expenses for H.T. and other staff

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         

Administrative support on both sites (perhaps bursar on one, general administrative support on other) Both buildings/sites need to be age-group appropriate Safe and secure transport for pupils Salary of Head Teacher Resourcing of school to meet requirements of National Curriculum e.g. hall, outdoor facilities (games, early years structured play space) New buildings if necessary Insurance for travelling between two sites including transport of children Need for modern technology – probability of Broadband – web-cams would enable virtual conferencing Equitable working conditions Loss of Standard Fund monies from two to one school.

Staffing (see also issues raised in finance)     Advice and professional development discussions will be needed for all staff, especially the Headteacher, to provide emotional and professional support through the changes. Clear advice should be available especially when two or more heads are in post at the time of the proposed federation. Close links kept to professional associations at all times. Specific training should be given to headteachers in the management and organisation of the proposed model in before they take up the post.

Advantages      Curriculum responsibilities shared Opportunity to appoint high quality Head teacher (would need to have good strategic vision and ability to communicate this) Extra promotion opportunities for teachers Collaborative planning Less isolation

Disadvantages  Staffing would be more costly

Ideas to Promote Whole School Ethos         Language of sites needs to be developed (not two schools) Culture of shared aims and values Opportunity to rethink all policies, school ethos etc. Uniform Logo Whole staff meetings Whole school worship/assemblies on regular occasions Whole school web-site

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Status of Schools Involved    Where there is more than one type of school involved, it is essential that the LEA and Diocesan boards work closely together with the possibility of change of status on the agenda. It would be essential that governors and the LEA Governor Support were fully involved from the outset. The trust deed of the schools will have to be consulted before any proposals are made.

Secondary Catchment Issues     Proximity of the local secondary. Perceived quality of a secondary school when compared with a neighbour that one or more of the schools may feed into. Local admission agreements and school admission policies. Cross county issues.

Transport     Cost of transport to and between sites for administration, management and getting staff and pupils together. Timing of the separate sites days to help staff and parents especially when out of hours clubs are in progress. Travelling expenses built in to budget. Insurance for staff cars if to be used for school business.

Parents     Early involvement in consultation. Consultation should be based on the advantages and disadvantages especially in relation to the quality of education provided. Their commitment to the one school and one ethos will be important. Consideration should be given to how parents/staff have access to one another should difficulties be caused by transport issues e.g. children bussed in and out.

Community   Sensitivity needs to be shown to the profound changes that may occur in the communities. There is a need to be as equitable as possible in terms of support and facilities in all or both communities. Consideration should be given as to how the school and its facilities can best support the community and how the community can support the school. This may include post office facilities, out of hours learning etc.

Governors  Guidance should be written to illustrate how governance might change, linked to possible models (see below). Guidance should be related to the status of the school and include clear protocols to show how the transition will occur.

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LEA Governor Support should consider the issue as part of the governor training/awareness programme. This should include protocols to how to start the process of considering federation as an option. Federation may solve the issue of a shortage of governors in some areas. As governor vacancies arise fairness and equitably for the different sites should be considered.

Models      Differing models of federation should be explored and used as case studies. This should include financial and organisational modelling. Our research indicates that a federation of two schools to be ideal, three possible, four exceptionally difficult and fraught with many managerial, organisationally problems. From the research it appears that for a 2-school federation rather than 2 all through primaries, KS1 and 2 bases appear the better option. When considering three schools we suggest a model consisting of an early year‟s base, KS1 base and KS2 base. Specialist facilities and teaching expertise can be better applied. Criteria need to be drawn up to facilitate decision-making about which building is to be used for each phase or age group. Factors will include proximity of under-fives groups, sports facilities, toilet facilities and size of classrooms. The potential of buildings and site to be adapted will also be a factor.

Proximity     The actual mileage and difficulty of roads between sites should be carefully modelled. As the crow flies can produce a false picture. The 4-school model will put a strain on travel and communication especially for the headteacher. This may be a crucial factor against this model. The 4-school model mitigates against the establishment of a whole school ethos especially from the pupils‟ perspective. Travelling difficulties could reduce opportunities for pupils to meet. Difficulties of lack of proximity may be overcome by the use of technologies such as broadband and video conferencing, which may be cheaper and more effective than travel in the long term.

Ofsted Any views of Ofsted either on federated schools or inspections of federated schools should be explored. For example what is Ofsted‟s definition of small and federated? How are finances viewed in terms of value for money?

Report of behalf of the Wiltshire Federation Research Group

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Opportunities for learning- in all areas of the Foundation Stageduring child initiated activities.
What was I trying to find out?     To what extent are the activities 'child initiated'. Do all children have equal access to the activities. Do the activities provide opportunities to learn in all areas of the Foundation Stage. How to assess the learning that takes place and if there is a requirement to 'timetable' observation of children during the school day.

What I learned (maximum five bullet points)     In our setting provision for true 'child initiated' activities is too demandingconsidering the ratio of children to adults. Activities that children choose for themselves are heavily influenced by gender. There are opportunities to include all areas of learning- but there has to be some teacher direction to ensure this takes place. Observation of children involved in activities of their choice is a necessity in order to be able to assess the learning that takes place and the development of individual children.

Who was involved? Reception class practitioner (full time) and Nursery Nurse (three mornings a week) Reception class- 30 children Background In January 2001 I participated in a training session on the Effective Early Learning Project (EEL) along with the Reception class practitioner. We felt that it would be a worthwhile undertaking enabling us to evaluate our own practice and the learning taking place within our setting. The Foundation Stage curriculum had also recently been implemented and we thought it would be an opportunity to assess its impact on our setting.

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Several months into the project the class teacher went on maternity leave and I took over her role including the management of the EEL project. Through the project I was introduced to a variety of rigorous research techniques- including regular, timed observations of children involved in a variety of activities during the school day. All information gathered from these observations had to be analysed and represented in graph form specifying criteria such as gender, areas of learning involved, level of engagement with activity, etc. By the end of the project I was aware of areas that needed to be addressed and this research report is the result of my findings and the methods I have introduced to try and ensure a balanced learning experience for each child. This was an ongoing project, but I stopped working in the Foundation Stage in July 2003. The current Reception practitioner has continued with the child initiated activity system that I set up. What I did and evidence of change From the first rounds of the EEL observations I found that the children were not having enough opportunity for autonomy- their day was too prescriptive with little need for decision making or using their own initiative. To address this situation I adapted the 'High/Scope' techniques to suit the physical resources, including manpower, we had available. Ideally, each child should be able to make their own daily play plan setting out what they would like to do and then evaluating its success with their group. Unfortunately this requires a much higher ratio of adults to children than I had available. Instead of allowing complete autonomy over choice of activities I provided the children with an activity board. This had pictorial representations of all activities available but the activities for a specific day would be starred. This was limiting choice- but ensured that I was able to prepare the activities in advance. It also meant that I was able to provide opportunities for learning in all six areas of the Foundation Stage and that I could include these 'child initiated' sessions in my planning. When observing the children making their choices of activity it became very clear that some children dominated certain activities and that others would never willingly participate in an activity. The challenge was to think of a way to encourage children to try everything, without being too prescriptive, giving them access to the learning opportunities being made available. The role-play area was a definite favourite, particularly with the more extrovert children and I realised that other children were missing out on the experiences it provided. We tried basing an adult in the role play area and this had an instant effect. The 'regular' children were not as enthusiastic (!) to make it their first choice and the more introverted children felt more confident in giving it a go. The adult's role was to act a s a 'prop'- not to direct but to be directed and to discuss possibilities for the role play- as well as to evaluate the learning that was taking place. The other area where inequality arose was the 'writing table' and this was definitely a gender issue. The boys were never observed making the writing table their first choice of activity- and often ended up there because no other options were available. The girls, on the other hand, loved it and would spend entire sessions absorbed in

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colouring, book making, tracing, etc. I tried a vast number of activities related to fine motor and writing skills that may have encouraged the boys to choose this one area over the others, all based at the table, without success. I realised I needed to make the activities more appealing to boys- so I tracked two boys and recorded their favourite activities including their physical aspects, for example, outdoors or indoors, floor based or table based, employment of gross or fine motor skills, etc. The results showed me that these particular boys enjoyed floor based activities and being outdoors, but that they were equally as happy using fine motor skills, such as building with lego, as they were using gross motor skills, such as riding the 'wheelie' toys. Using this evidence I tried providing writing experiences in different places, for example; map making on the floor using large pieces of paper, water writing with different sized paintbrushes outside on the ground and walls, drawing mini beasts using clipboards outdoors, wax rubbings of leaves, bricks, bark, etc based outdoors. These activities did appeal to the boys and they occasionally took them further on the actual 'writing table'- by writing out labels, etc to go with their work. This type of activity needs thought and planning- and, if it is outdoors, requires an amount of supervision- so may not always be a possibility but well worth the effort. By limiting the children's choice of activities I was able to plan learning outcomes and to ensure that all areas of learning were being covered but, of course, the outcomes were not always the ones planned! However, if the children have access to resources specific to the learning intention then they are being exposed to that area of learning. During the first round of EEL observations I realised children were not getting enough experiences in Knowledge and Understanding of the World. This was largely a resources issue and I was able to budget accordingly, buying in science based equipment and providing access to collections of objects in the classroom, e.g. musical instruments, shells, fossils, etc. One activity I set up was focussing on growing and change- the children had a variety of different sized clothing and dolls and their task was to clothe the dolls suitably. This was done without any adult intervention and the results looked dire! However, when the children reported back they were talking about things being 'too small', that they couldn't find the right clothes for the 'baby', the 'grown up dolls couldn't wear nappies' etc. So, although they had had difficulty with the task they were using the appropriate vocabulary to achieve the learning outcome. Assessment is an essential process in tracking the development of each child. In childinitiated activities the adult is supposed to take a back step, not to intervene but to support and this provides an ideal opportunity for the adult to observe the child involved in an activity. Not just for signs of success in terms of Early Learning Goals but also how that child interacts with the world around him/her. When I began the EEL project I wondered how I would be able to find time 'just to observe', but as I became more involved with the project I realised what an essential part of assessment it is particularly now that Foundation Stage practitioners are required to complete pupil profiles. When the children were involved in child initiated activities I took it in turns with the Nursery Nurse to observe specific children. We would plan together at the beginning of each week and decide who we would be observing- and what we would be looking for. This would then be timetabled, giving it the status it deserves as well as giving out the message that this is now part of the daily routine in a Foundation Stage setting.

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Further reading Evaluating and Improving learning in Early Childhood settings: A Professional Development Programme Director: Prof. Christine Pascal High Scope project P.F.W. Preece Vicky Hutchin Tina Bruce

Observing and Assessing for the Foundation Stage Profile Time to Play: In Early Childhood Education

Claire Usal-Stewart Downton Church of England Primary School Downton Salisbury SP5 3LZ

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To investigate if a nurture project with emotionally disadvantaged children will enable them to move forward with their learning.
Initially a 'special playtime' was arranged in response to a few children in Key Stage One with a lack of social skills, linked to a behaviour programme. It was used as a reward following targets being attained. A TA, who is popular and well respected by the children, took the pupils out into the empty playground and played games with them. This was an extremely popular reward and worked well as part of a behaviour programme. Sometimes it was necessary to take other children out as well to make up a group to play certain sorts of games, and also to work on turn taking etc. The class teachers began to notice that children who were not necessarily having behaviour problems but found play difficult, ( for e.g. an introverted child or a highly strung child ), were ' on task ' more following this positive play experience. This was discussed informally with the SENCO at behaviour and IEP reviews. From this, the idea of a ' nurture group ' was floated at a SMT meeting and at a staff meeting. Staff were invited to nominate children they felt were emotionally disadvantaged in some way, and the SENCO selected six children per half term to work for one hour one afternoon a week with Tom Whisstock a TA. The children were in pairs irrespective of age or gender. It was felt that it would be good if the pupils could feel ownership of something in the school so we kicked off with a gardening project and a project to make Christmas decorations in the first term. The activity was not as important as the opportunity to have attention paid to them and a chance to chat. The emphasis was on non threatening activities that required small amounts of co-operation. All the children that were nominated had the opportunity to be in the nurture group for a half term over that first two terms. By liaising closely with the class teacher, lessons such as PE ( Which was a success point with some children) could be avoided or vice versa. The pupils involved looked forward to attending and the teachers reported positive effects on their attitude to school life. However no formal monitoring took place unless the child had an IEP. This was the point that we felt that, even though in educational circles the link between self-esteem and learning has been well documented, it would be helpful to research this further and see if there was a link t0 improved performance in learning. We decided to use assessment material already used throughout the school from Y2 to Y5 in May 2002 as a starting point. Average progress should be half a level in KS2 so we took this as our baseline. This is linked to National Curriculum levels in Numeracy and Literacy and based on teacher assessment and SAT tests. We would base Y1 children on teacher assessment against literacy and numeracy objectives. ( Appendix 1 ) Emotional literacy is more difficult to assess but we decided to attempt a checklist type format. This is a school generated checklist to give a rough overall picture.( Appendix 2 ). We devised a diary type sheet for each child ( Appendix 3 ) on which the TA would note down the activities and comments as the nurture group ran. The children would have a code name on this sheet so it could be linked to photographic evidence without the dangers that publication may bring. At the first staff meeting of the Autumn term the class teachers were invited to nominate children for the nurture group from the class they had taught previously. Interestingly of the seven children nominated six were boys, and four were from Year 3. The SENCO selected six of these and planned a timetable so each child was part of a pair and worked for one hour a week, with the TA. The class

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teachers completed the Emotional Literacy checklist for the child they had nominated. In May the class teachers again filled in an Emotional Literacy checklist ( Appendix 4 ) at the end of the project. Activities which were planned for the Autumn term included gardening, outdoor games, and making Christmas decorations. The TA working with the children soon assessed the sorts of activities that inspired the individual children and adapted the activities to suit each pair of children. He also met regularly with the SENCO to chat over any items recorded on the diary sheet. It was noticeable that strong bonds were set up between the TA and the children, and also between pairs of children, even of different gender and peer groups. They were often seen playing together outside the nurture group time. Child A was a year 6 child nominated by her Year 5 teacher due to her introverted behaviour in school, low self-esteem and confidence, and also that it seemed she took a lot of responsibility for her younger siblings at home, as well as general housework. Her mother had reported to the class teacher that she considered her to be 'very naughty' at home. She was paired with a boy from year 1 ( Child B ). Looking at the diary kept by the TA over the year he noted that she was extremely obedient early in the Autumn Term, preferred to let either the TA or the other child to lead any activities but joined in mostly silently. After half-term she began to become more chatty and to build up a good relationship with the other child. She was still very reticent to make any choices for herself, always wanted other peoples choices before her own. Later in the year the TA noted in the diary that she had said that she always let her brothers and sisters choose activities at home, as it was easier. In the Spring Term the TA encouraged and supported her to make choices to please herself, not always others, and reports that she began to enjoy taking her turn to choose. She made an 'elephant' in one activity , was extremely pleased with it and took it home to give to her Mum. The TA also noted observing that she seemed to be 'standing up for herself' more in playground situations. She became much more chatty about personal things and her facial expressions increased as she visibly relaxed. He especially noticed a difference in her behaviour in the Year 6 residential trip in the Summer Term. She appeared happy and relaxed in the company of her peers and joined in all activities without having to be encouraged. When her current class teacher completed the 'Emotional Literacy Checklist' at the end of the year he commented specifically on an improvement in her all round confidence, both in the classroom and in the social context. Academic progress was mixed, comparing progress over the previous year 5 with Year 6. In Maths and Writing progress was average. However in Reading comprehension her SAT result was improved by a whole level in year 6, comparing with a third of a level in Year 5. Child B was a Year 1 child nominated by his Year 0 teacher as he was finding managing his behaviour, ( often attention seeking ), difficult. He was finding it difficult to respond emotionally to situations often responding inappropriately. However he wanted to be liked and had responded to a positive approach. He was paired with a year 6 girl ( Child A ). From the notes in the TAs diary Child B was initially eager to please but only on his terms. He would do anything to be 'first' at all activities, found it very difficult to wait for a turn and was devastated if he 'lost' at a game. He gradually built up a relationship with Child A and was sometimes willing to let her go first at an activity, although he would not initiate this. By the Spring term the TA was noting that he was finding it easier to share things with the other child and was becoming quite fond of her, giving her a spontaneous hug on one occasion. He was chatty and the TA noted that he had often said he only ate chicken nuggets at home, even though his Mum had something else. At the end of his time in the Nurture group he was able to lose without it affecting him so badly. However out of nurture group he still displayed 'difficult' behaviour, mostly in the playground. His class teacher commented when filling in the checklist at the end of the summer term that Child B was now able to accept being second in the line etc, and that he was able to co-operate in the classroom. Child C was nominated by his Year 2 teacher, as he was extremely anxious to please but lacking in confidence and self-esteem. He had had difficulties in academic work especially Literacy. From diary notes made by the TA Child C often felt 'victimised' both by other children and by adults in

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authority, even though this did not appear to be the case. He found following instructions difficult and would not accept losing in a game. The notes show that he was able to talk through incidents that were playing on his mind and begin to see that there was often another way of seeing and responding to them. He began to follow instructions more carefully and was able in some circumstances lose a game without questioning the situation. This child made average progress in Literacy and above average progress in Numeracy over the year. Child D left the school after a half term, so another child from Year 4 was put into the group to start the Spring term. He now becomes Child D. He was nominated by his class teacher as he was displaying lots of negative emotion, particularly anger. He rarely smiled and often looked unhappy. He was over-reacting to criticism and could respond by shouting or being physically aggressive. His teacher said, " I would love to see -------- smile. " He was paired with Child C. The TA noted in his diary that Child D was 'like a bull at a gate ' in all activities and reticent to chat over anything. He appeared to 'bottle up ' feelings. However as the term went on he noted that the child was slowing down and relaxing in the group. He became more chatty and would even chat through incidents. In the Summer term he seemed to be able to think about the things that bothered him most, and evaluate whether it was worth getting upset about or not. From this a place in an 'anger management ' group running in school was found for him to build on this. When completing the checklist at the end of the year his class teacher noted that he had become increasingly better at handling his frustrations, although he still could get upset easily. Academically Child D made above average progress ( one whole level ) in Writing and Maths. He increased his Reading comprehension by two-thirds of a level, again above average progress. Child E was a year 3 child nominated by his Year 2 teacher for a variety of reasons. He lived in unusual and extremely cramped conditions with three other younger siblings. He craved attention especially 1:1 from adults. He found it very difficult at times to control his emotions, could get easily upset, angry and sometimes hit out at others. He also routinely did not tell the truth about incidents. We had to be careful to choose the right time for him to come out of class and choose the right sort of activity. His motor skills were very poor and as a result hated any kind of 'handicraft' activity and did not enjoy physical games such as football. The TA reported in the diary that Child E loved any form of work in the school garden and grounds, and was extremely interested in any wildlife discovered. There is an entry in the diary referring to a slow worm, that was found in the schools wild area, that Child B was fascinated in. He was always chatty and asked a lot of questions and sometimes gave rather 'quirky' replies himself. By the Spring term he was starting to chat to the TA about incidents where he had been in trouble at both home and school. The TA was able to teach Child E how to play rather than fight and the child told the TA that, he had tried to teach his brothers at home. Child E was paired with another child ( Child F ) who was also having a tough time with siblings at home, this time older siblings, and who also could be regularly involved in negative incidents at school. This appeared to work well and the boys seemed to identify with each others problems. Academically Child E made average or below progress in Maths, Writing and Reading comprehension but was at 'W' level at the end of Year 2 and being assessed using the 'P' levels. His Year 3 teacher commented at the end of the year that Child E was more able to work with a partner now but still was very 'emotional' and could get very upset easily. Child F was nominated by his Year 2 teacher as she felt he was very vulnerable. He had an older brother with emotional and behaviour difficulties who had been suspended on several occasions from school. His teacher felt that Child F was very affected by this, and the circumstances at home and felt he lacked attention and praise. This in turn seemed to affecting his progress. Child F was paired with Child E and both of them seemed to enjoy physical work, such as gardening or community work, around the school building. He enjoyed the activities, but it was not until the end of the Autumn term that he began to talk about his brother, and how things were at home. The TA noted in the diary that Child F needed time to 'speak out' without the pressure of his brother around. His poor behaviour at home seemed to be to try to achieve the same attention as his brother. His class teacher reported at the end of the year that he was attempting to draw attention to

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himself in the classroom by acting inappropriately. Academically Child F made average progress in Writing and Reading Comprehension but just above average progress in Maths. His teacher reported that he was still finding it difficult to work with others either in a pair or in a group. In fact Child F was the only child in the group to have a less favourable score on the 'Emotional Literacy Checklist' at the end of the year than at the beginning. All the others improved significantly in being able to recognise, understand, handle and appropriately express their emotions. So to the question we asked ourselves as a school at the beginning of the project. Is there an advantage to these children in attending the nurture group and did it have a positive effect on their learning? Certainly in five out of six of the children their self esteem was improved, and this meant they had a more positive approach to their work. However this did not always manifest itself in higher test results. We must take into account that SAT tests, even optional, can be stressful to these children, so this could have a significant effect. Most of the ' Emotional Literacy Checklists' completed at the end of the year, showed a positive move in the children becoming more emotionally literate. Looking at the results of the study, we as a school have decided that a nurture group running within the school is valuable and value for money , and it has been identified in budgeting for this academic year. Certainly there are particular children with emotional problems, associated with anger, that would be better served by working in a more formal 'Anger Management' group. These are now running quite successfully within school, on a regular basis, to meet their particular needs. These two interventions will go some way to meeting the needs of some emotionally disadvantaged children within our school, and enable them to move forward with their learning.

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Appendix 1 Nurture Group Name Test Salford Reading PIPS Level Maths NC Reading Comprehension Writing Spelling Science Baseline DOB Date Screening Data Coded Name Result/Level (Use ‘P’ levels if at W TA/Test

JV2002

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Appendix 2 Emotional Literacy Checklist. Emotional Literacy Definition „People are able to recognize, understand, handle and appropriately express their emotions.

Always Mostly Uses a wide range of emotional vocabulary Is able to be assertive in difficult situations Is able to manage anger Shows emotion Enters into class discussions, puts hand up on carpet etc. Is able to take risks with their learning Is able to accept constructive criticism Responds positively to targets uses limited feelings vocabulary to express

Sometimes

Rarely

Never

u r

Could you just jot down a few notes below, outlining the reasons you nominated this child for the nurture group this year. Thank you.

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Appendix 3 Name DOB Coded Name

Date

Activity

Comments / Quotes

JV2002

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Appendix 4 Emotional Literacy checklist Emotional Literacy Definition “People are able to recognise, understand, handle and appropriately express their emotions Name: Date:

V2002 Always Mostly Sometimes Uses a wide range of emotional vocabulary Is able to be assertive in difficult situations Is able to manage anger Shows emotion Enters into class discussions, puts hand up on carpet etc. Is able to take risks with their learning Is able to accept constructive criticism Responds positively to targets uses limited vocabulary to express feelings Rarely Never

Would you fill this in now that the child has had a year in the Nurture group. If you have noticed anything particular regarding the child‟s attendance at the Nurture group would you note it below. Thank you.

Jill Vincent Staverton School

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Editor’s note: this report precedes “Raising standards through developing creativity which is reproduced as the feature article in “Research in Focus”

The Background; Why Creativity? And Why Now?
I applied for Best Practice Research Grant funding from the DfES in March 2001. My research was entitled “Development of Creativity, Focusing on the Quality of Teaching”. I was prompted to engage in this research as a result of my own concern that raising standards in the core subjects to satisfy local and national imperatives was potentially in tension with a broad and balanced and essentially “creative” curriculum. Put bluntly I was concerned, as were many, many of my colleagues, that in our ever accelerating and ever more ambitious race to realise ever more demanding targets in Literacy and Numeracy, we would sacrifice breadth for depth with disastrous results. I was also concerned that some of the independent learning skills and attitudes that I could personally justify as a core curriculum would be overlooked as we crammed children to attain highly in summative assessment tests. I felt that the contrary could and should be true. I was and remain concerned about children attaining highly in “core” areas; I believe that highly literate and highly numerate children are one indicator of a successful school providing a vibrant curriculum, but not at any cost. I believed that a creative and vibrant curriculum, and a focus on the teaching of the generic capacity to learn, should result in higher attainment in conventional terms as well. My problem was; we could easily measure the conventional success, but had no mechanism for measuring and thus quality assuring the other, at least equally important areas that concerned me. As MacBeath states; “We had better learn to measure what we value or we will be forced to value what can be easily measured” John MacBeath Schools Must Speak for Themselves. That, succinctly was the challenge and the focus of the research. As the research progressed the emphasis shifted a little away from producing tools and protocols for assessing the quality of teaching in terms of enhancing children‟s creativity. I found myself more closely focusing on the generation of data to establish baselines and value added statements to enable target setting in attitudinal development. This, I hoped in turn, would then lead to an institutional focus on the enhancing of generic learning attitudes and skills as a result of the sentiment expressed in the MacBeath statement above operating in our favour. I was confident that such a healthy professional orientation would fruit in many ways, not least in supporting our mission to produce highly competent learners, but I also believed it would show positively in our SAT results. The quotation below succinctly sums up what could be a fatal dilemma… “In times of great change” and when has change been greater? “ learners inherit the earth, whilst the learned remain beautifully equipped to deal with a reality that no longer exists.” Eric Hoffen quoted in “The Learning School” MacGilchrist et al Teachers ought to be able to answer the question why are you doing whatever you are doing at any given time? For some of the time at least the answer to this question might well be rather mundane, but teachers do need to reflect on what they are doing and how the children perceive it.

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 How does this sit with lifelong learning?  Where are you coming from?  This is why cynicism is death to teaching and learning. The majority of children are very effective learners.  Where does this leave us as teachers?  What real value are we able to add? And critically  What‟s in it for them?  What‟s in it for us? Three interesting quotes from Louise Stoll and Dean Fink at a conference held in Cheltenham for school leaders and advisers June 2002. “Go to where the ball will be, not where the ball was” “What do you abandon?” “Learning without motivation is shallow.” Primary Education should be about two things; 1. Becoming better at who you are now… better at being eight, nine, four or five and… 2. Happiness and prosperity in future life. If this is to be achieved it must have credible currency in the present and the future. “It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to rank and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the engagement of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.” Einstein “The test of a successful education is not the amount of knowledge that a pupil takes away from a school, but his appetite to know and his capacity to learn. If the school sends out children with the desire for knowledge and some idea of how to acquire it and use it, it will have done its work.” “To many leave school with the appetite killed and the imagination loaded with undigested lumps of information. The good schoolmaster is known by the number of valuable subjects that he declines to teach.” Sir Richard Livingstone “The Future in Education” CUP 1941 n.b. the word “use” in first paragraph and “valuable” in second.

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So the research began in March 2001 with the presentation of the bid. Timetable Sept 2001 – analyse optional SATS and initial Questionnaire. Feedback to staff and review direction of research. Carry out initial activities for “Creative Benchmark.” Oct 2001 – audit of timetables and planning. Nov 2001 – Inset on becoming a more creative teacher, followed by formal observations. Dec 2001 – review progress so far. Compare literacy/numeracy levels with creative levels. Jan 2002 – review planning for term – compare to provision for Sept. More or less provision for creativity? Analyse timetables. Review direction of research. Feb 2002 – staff involved in discussing the impact of training. Self review and monitoring. Set targets for rest of term. Mar 2002 – carry out resources audit prior to new financial year. Review levels and compare – plot progress and identify any children benefiting from new approach. Ask children to express views. Apr 2002 – more formal observations followed by questionnaire to evaluate success May 2002 – analyse SAT results compared to targets. Look at target groups of under/over achieving boys/girls, civilian/army etc.. , plot areas of development and deliver training. Give feedback to staff on findings. June – July 2002 – draft and publish booklet, produce development plan for 2002-2003. Final analysis of targets, levelling and a review of the project, its impact and effectiveness. Individual self review and a review by project team. Set targets for next year. Methodology In constructing a methodology I worked with Pete Mountstephen Colerne‟s link adviser (named as research mentor). After considerable discussion we determined that enhancing “creativity” hinged upon developing appropriate learning dispositions so that children were positively orientated towards risk taking, the making of connections and using past experience to build new knowledge and to raise interesting questions. In our thinking we drew heavily on Pete‟s own research into this area and upon the work of Professor Guy Claxton, most specifically his book “Wise Up”. Guy Claxton specifically identifies three new Rs of “learnacy”; the attitudinal basis for the generic capacity to learn effectively. These are Resilience, Resourcefulness and the capacity to Reflect. What do these key words mean in this context?  Resilience means “stickability”, the capacity to “hang out with uncertainty” and to relish difficulty and challenge.  Resourcefulness is best summed up by Piaget‟s definition of intelligence “knowing what to do when you don‟t know what to do”. See appendix 1 Pete Mountstephen‟s poem “What Do You Do When You Don‟t Know What To Do?”  Reflection. The use of oneself as a resource rather than always relying on outside sources to support or provide in the learning process. Children experience very little opportunity to reflect or to develop their capacity to do so in schools, and we can give the impression that the answer always lies outside the individual rather than lying within, as it can and often does. As Guy Claxton notes “When in a state of relaxed reverie, people also experience a degree of detailed access to their own memories which they could not match with their conscious intention. It is as if memories spontaneously appear with a vividness and conviction that they may lack in the normal, busy state of mind.”

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Wise Up page 97 We were keen to ensure that we could “measure what we valued” and that we could give teachers and other staff the professional confidence to make qualitative statements that could be used to baseline and track children‟s progress in attitudinal terms. The management and staff of Colerne are not the type of professionals who are easily persuaded unless the case is very well made, so we knew the value of making our work not only credible but easily adopted into normal working patterns.  Base lining children We wanted to establish a creativity benchmark from which we could plot added value. In doing so we determined that creativity would be best developed through enhancing core attitudes of Resilience, Resourcefulness and Reflection.  Base lining teaching We set out to establish teacher‟s views of creativity, how creative they felt they were as teachers and as learners themselves and what a creative classroom would look like.  Generation of value added data We wanted to establish a way of refining teacher assessment into a qualitative data bank that could be credibly used to establish progress in children‟s positive attitude development.  Staff development We intended to deploy two teacher training days and a number of staff meetings to introduce the “3 Rs” and the teaching of attitude generally, develop shared understandings of operational procedures and refine data as it emerged into a common format for monitoring and evaluating progress.  Governor development We reported the progress of the research to the curriculum committee of the governors as the project developed and I fed back the outcomes of the teacher training days. I replicated the input provided by Pete Mountstephen during the first training day for governor information.  Generation of resource materials for staff This was largely developed from the practical elements of the second teacher training day and provided, 1. a continuum for attitudinal development 2. a judgement comment bank used to refine and sharpen qualitative statements made by teachers providing data that can be evaluated and 3. a series of staged prompts developed to meet the specific developmental requirements of children as they pass through the year groups to support the practical application of 3Rs in their specific context, at their specific age and stage Narrative of Events; The Methodology in Action  Base lining children The research began with six children from each of the ten classes being identified, to be tracked throughout the year. The children were a cross section of gender and abilities, chosen randomly to fit the criteria, by myself. Their class teacher then observed the children, whilst undertaking three tasks designed to assess their resourcefulness, resilience and reflectiveness. Guidance on the type of activities to set up was provided. Each member of staff then graded the children on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the most creative, for each of the 3R‟s. This provided us with a baseline from which we could assess children‟s creative development. At that point in time we were still developing our own notion of “Creativity” and this would later impact on the quality of our initial judgements, although

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we were not aware of this at the time. The children were then observed throughout the year and the evidence collated and assessed to provide and end of year assessment. Many of the children had progressed in terms of a numerical score, some remained the same and some had regressed. Was this really the case or are our judgements still in need of refining? Or is it really inappropriate to score creativity as it can fluctuate from day to day and activity to activity. Maybe it is more sensible to plot a child‟s progress along a continuum – we felt so!  Base lining teaching A questionnaire was devised and sent out to every class teacher. The aim was to encourage each member of staff to think critically about creativity, what it meant to them and how it manifested itself in the learning environment they provide. I wanted to establish what learning really meant to each member of staff and discover how, if at all, pupils were involved in their own learning journey. The answers were then collated and fed back to staff as part of a staff meeting. This provided the opportunity to discuss the findings in a general sense, not highlighting individual opinions and establish the foundations for the development of the research, focusing on the quality of the learning environment and how this would support the development of the 3 Rs. The conversation evoked passionate views and it soon became apparent that there was a weight of opinion wishing to explore the concept of “Learnacy” – what makes children learn and how can we involve children in their own learning. This was really exciting, as the findings pointed towards us not being allowed to be that creative, although as a staff we felt we wanted to be! We felt constrained and restricted by the idea that an amount of learning takes a given amount of time. We strongly felt that this did not necessarily need to be the case. The challenge was then to put the theory into practice.  Generation of value added data Evolution of continuums. As the concept of “learnacy” was discussed it became more and more apparent that this was to be the essence of “Developing Creativity” and the quest became focused on the ability to value Teacher Judgements. Why did we feel uncomfortable making judgements that were not backed up by numerical data? We explored in depth the idea of a developmental continuum for attitudinal learning in an effort to breakdown each of the 3 Rs into recognisable and progressive steps. At first, as part of a TD Day, we agreed to level these steps in the same way the National Curriculum works, moving from Level 1 to Level 5 throughout your school years. Working groups were established and they set about levelling attitudinal development. One group in particular was not convinced that this was the right approach and embarked on a very healthy discussion that centred on the fact that Creativity was not wholly progressive. In fact there may be a number of factors that could cause movement in a backward direction. So at this point we agreed to simply list statements/steps and I, as chief researcher, would then produce two models:  Levels ;  A continuum A further staff meeting was then held to discuss the preferred option and after some fascinating discussion we decided to trial the continuum approach to measuring Creativity. The discussions were always professional and involved with pupil learning, inevitable encompassing “How children learn best” and this was engaging and refreshing to hear and share colleagues real thoughts and beliefs. At this point I felt a shared passion and sense of real commonality in the development of “learnacy”. The research was really beginning to impact on the development of learning within our school. The language of the continuums provoked even more discussion. Staff wanted it to be tight and meaningful, so that the attitudinal judgements were not vague or “waffly”. In this way, we felt that the judgements we were happy to make would be measurable and understandable to every audience coming in to contact with them – parents, children, teachers and Governors.

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We were determined to be able to support our judgements through observations, conversations and evaluations – vital evidence in a child‟s development. So all the statements were plotted on a Continuum for each of the 3 Rs, against which Creative progress can be plotted, supported by teacher generated evidence. We felt confident to back our own judgements!  Staff development The initial plan was to deploy two teacher training days and a number of staff meetings to introduce the “3 Rs” and the teaching of attitude generally, develop shared understandings of operational procedures and refine data as it emerged into a common format for monitoring and evaluating progress. It was vital we explored the question of “Why children (and teachers too) come to school? Staff were asked to discuss their thinking in small groups and analyse their impact on children‟s lives. The outcomes were refreshingly positive and shared a degree of commonality, as we all felt, some with more passion than others, that our main responsibility was to make children better at who they are and what they do now. It was also suggested that our role was to prepare them for future life and lifelong learning. This view evoked strong opinions from the room. How could we predict what learning would be needed in 10, 15, 20 years time? The technological revolution was progressing ever so fast, which makes it almost impossible to predict what knowledge will be needed! So if knowledge becomes obsolete, dated or unfashionable what is it important to teach and explore? At this point Pete Mountstephen, my guru and mentor, seized the moment and introduced the concept of “learning to learn”, identifying skills that will make us more proactive and less passive learners! Otherwise known as Learnacy, the 3 Rs and the teaching of attitudes. We then put this in to practice as we spent the next session attempting to juggle and levitate malteesers! The exercises were an attempt to find out how resourceful, reflective and resilient we were when faced with a challenge. How would we approach the task and respond to our successes/weaknesses? What coaching strategies would we employ? How would we cope under pressure, with our peers observing our attempts? It provided an excellent parallel to how children may feel and again made us realise how important it is to educate children with skill learning, adaptability and the ability to reflect on their own learning. This was to provide the launch pad for whole school Creative developments. Condensing two days interaction, dialogue, critical thinking, self- evaluation and analysis of data would become a bit of a monologue but the key outcomes of each day were     the development of Creativity to become the number one school priority; decide what Creativity will look like at Colerne; organise and agree the language and format of the Developmental Continuums; develop a comment bank for recording and reporting on children‟s creative progress.

Long-term aims   setting attitudinal targets; developing a whole school system for tracking attitudinal development.

The research had shifted its focus somewhat. However underpinning the desire to teach “Learnacy” is the belief that creating Resourceful, Resilient and Reflective children will raise standards as we will have children enjoying their learning and being jointly responsible for their learning. Who says

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a certain amount of learning must take a certain amount of time to be learnt? Or will it ever be learnt if it is not meaningful or necessary to lifelong learning? The point of active and successful research is, in my view that it raises questions that you then explore – although the answer may not come in a neat package! A series of Staff meetings and Key Stage Meetings were then organised to produce the relevant documentation. Most importantly there was a strong sense of needing to develop this individually within our classrooms. The aim was whole school development and improvement with the method down to individual interpretation – a chance to allow your own creativity to flourish. So that is where we are now – focusing on the impact of Creative Teaching and the development of our long term aims.  Governor development The most effective development came in the form of replication, as unfortunately the Governors couldn‟t make the initial TD Day! I reported back to the Curriculum Sub – Committee informing them of the difference between creativity and “Creativity”, in terms of the 3 Rs. The main focus was to inform the committee of the desire to make children more involved in their learning and to share with them the approaches to measuring this. We also discussed the notion of making judgements and the language we were going to use to validate such observations. Although supportive themselves, the committee were conscious that there might be a faction of sceptics, who would need convincing as to the value of promoting the 3 Rs. So we tabled an agenda item for the next full Governors meeting, in order to gather their support and invite them to become involved it‟s implementation. It was also agreed to establish a Strategic Development Group that had a remit of looking at how we could move the school forward, encompassing the challenge of raising standards through teaching creatively. Regular meetings of this group helped re-write the school aims, helping to focus on developing Creativity, within school and the wider community. The progress of the research continues to be reported to both the Curriculum Committee and Full Governors at each meeting.  Generation of resource materials for staff The aim is to provide a visual reminder of the 3 Rs in every classroom. It is expected that each member of staff will build on the existing framework and make the 3 Rs class appropriate! The continuums are currently being implemented and used to track groups of children in their “Creative” progress. The attitudinal judgements were used in the personal section of the annual report to comment on the children‟s attitude to learning. They are continually being reviewed and will soon be included in a section within our whole school assessment procedures. Conclusions and presentation of data. The research has raised more questions than it has provided answers, exactly as one would expect.  Where do I take this project from here?  Can the continuum and comment bank established within this project be developed into a whole school assessment and evaluation/reporting system?

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 How does all this monitoring and evaluation sit with attitudinal target setting and how would this be developed?  How can we ensure that the climate in each classroom supports a journey of effective selfdiscovery for all who work there?  How can we measure the impact that creative teaching (as defined in this project) has on raising standards as measured by end of key stage assessments? How would such a judgement relate to level three end of KS1 and level five end of KS2 attainment particularly?  What impact has the project had on attainment within the foundation subjects at end of Key Stage?  Is there a need for an enquiry group to track and monitor the development of Creativity? A recent OfSTED inspection (June 2002) made a series of judgements that would bear out some of the intentions of this research had at least been successfully addressed if not fully met. Indeed it is arguable that such intentions could be “fully met”. Examples of this from the text would be; Teacher risk taking, “ Teachers give pupils space to think things through and try to have a go at solving problems independently before intervening at suitable moments with very well focused and directed questions, which spark their thinking further.” “A key feature of successful lessons was the environment provided by the teacher, for the children to take risks.” Attainment across the curriculum, “Achievement by all pupils is very good. This includes those pupils who joined the school in reception, those who have been to more than one school, higher attaining pupils and those with special educational needs.” “A greater number of Year 6 pupils than usual attained the higher level 5 in all three subjects.” Child attitude, behaviour, social skills and readiness to learn. “ Pupils‟ self evaluation of their own and other‟s learning plays a major part in all lessons.” “Throughout the school, pupils‟ attitudes to learning are very good. They enjoy coming to school.” “They listen carefully to each other‟s point of view when negotiating who will do what and give due consideration to this when reaching their decisions.” “… the excellent learning ethos present everywhere.” My Own Learning I think it is fair to conclude that opening my horizons to a different way of learning is already beginning to impact on my planning, teaching and assessment. More sessions are planned to include opportunities for children to develop their own learning outcomes, take risks and evaluate their findings. With the support of the “Transforming Learning” self – evaluation program, I am now really beginning to look at myself as a creative practitioner. As for my own “Learnacy”, I am now even more convinced that children must be actively encouraged to take the lead in their own learning. We as educators for an unknown future need to explore the capacity for each individual child to be resourceful, resilient and reflective in their

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learning. How can educationalists predict what learning is appropriate for 5, 10, 15 or even 30 years time? Technology is advancing at such a pace it would be futile. However we can equip children with the skills and attitudes necessary to cope with such a challenging and changing world. Make them learners not learned! So personally I have become more concerned about how a goal is reached, challenging the children to think of a method and approach to the planned activity. When they are faced with difficulties I encourage them to attempt solutions only intervening to ensure their safety! After all isn‟t it an active researcher who wants to learn by asking questions and making “mistakes”? Maybe a mistake in one person‟s eyes is an excellent learning opportunity in someone else‟s. In my last classroom Creativity took the form of a learning wall, where children were encouraged to post answers to problems and seek the advice of their peers. There was also a chart providing guidance on “What to do when you don‟t know what to do?” There was time built in to sessions allowing for thinking time – for planning and reflection. Opportunities to visualise the end product, goal or target were also encouraged. I feel it is crucial we encourage children to visualise their success if we want them to achieve! However Creativity is not a pink and fluffy thing. It is an approach, a way of teaching and a quest to create children that want to lead and challenge their own learning. The staff at Colerne are currently adapting their practice in order to enhance the children‟s development and learning by becoming more Creative themselves! Data – tracker group evidence. The evidence collected to produce the baseline at the start of the research was derived from individual teacher activities, many of which involved physical activity. The end of year assessment was based on the children‟s overall approach to the 3 R‟s. The staff were not reminded of their original scores, only the structure i.e. 1 = very – 5 = not at all! These were the % of children improving, staying the same and moving backwards along the continuum. 12% of the children left during the year – 7/60. Resourceful Reflective Resilient Improved 30% = 17/60 47% = 28/60 38% = 23/60 Stayed 37% = 22/60 25% = 15/60 22% = 13/60 Backwards 23% = 14/60 17% = 10/60 28% = 17/60

So in terms of measuring improvement in standards across the curriculum can we use these percentages as a marker for validating such progress? Or is this too crude a comparison? It is fair to say that as a result of a more Creative approach to teaching that nearly a third of the tracker group have made significant progress in managing their own learning. It also highlights the potential for children to move backwards along a continuum. All the children in one class improved in all 3 areas. The class teacher knew this was because she had “..let go of the children and allowed them to take risks and find out by trial and error.” She was aware that the children were more reflective and were willing to engage in conversations about what went wrong and hoe they remedied the problem.

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Timetable Trawls and Changes After carrying out a timetable trawl that identified as much as 60% of any week spent working on Literacy or Numeracy based activities, it was felt that there was room for improvement. We wanted to release more time for being Creative yet not allow standards to slip, by drastically reducing the hours spent teaching NNS/NLS. OFSTED also commented on the bias towards certain subjects, particularly in Year 6. The outcome was a restructured day. Assembly was moved to the end of the day, thus creating a teaching slot of 45 minutes between 10 a.m. and 10.45 a.m. This increased the timetable from 20 to 25 teaching sessions and allows for an increased delivery of all foundation subjects. Appendices 1 Poem Bibliography:  Schools Must Speak for Themselves the case for school self-evaluation. John MacBeath pub Routledge Falmer in partnership with NUT 1999.  Wise Up the challenge of lifelong learning. Guy Claxton pub Bloomsbury 1999  Primary Tales Learning by Heart. Pete Mountstephen pub National Primary Trust 2001  All Our Futures Creativity, Culture and Education. Pub DfEE 2001

Craig Gibbens Colerne CE Primary School Pete Mountstephen formerly LEA Primary Phase Adviser

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Appendix 1.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? What do you do when you don‟t know what to do? It can make you red! It can make you blue! It can make you too scared to see things through! So what do you do when you don‟t know what to do? You can blame the captain. You can ask the crew. But maybe the answer lies with you! What do you do when you don‟t know what to do? Sharpen your pencil ? Or go to the loo? Or become invisible, quite see through? What do you do when you don‟t know what to do? Ask for help From a wise guru? Or mess around and spoil the view? What do you do when you don‟t know what to do? Because it‟s scary, and it‟s dark And you‟ve lost what‟s true. And it‟s easier to hide when you haven‟t got a clue. So what do you do when you don‟t know what to do? Pretend you‟re ill? With Martian flu? The harder you think, the more you‟ll stew! So tell me; what do you do when you don‟t know what to do? STOP!! And let yourself come through! And you will find you always knew! Away in your head where the ideas brew, There‟s an answer waiting there for you! © Pete Mountstephen 2000

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Raising Standards through Developing Creativity.
Following on from the initial research allowed us the opportunity to further investigate the notion that raising standards would be enhanced by implementing a Creative approach to learning. What had we already established? A successful way of measuring children‟s creative development had been devised, revised and implemented with 10 groups of “target children”. These groups were comprised of 6 mixed ability children from each of the ten classes in the school. It was agreed that these children were to be tracked for the academic year to see if there was a link between increased Resourcefulness, Resilience and Reflectiveness and academic improvement. We had also agreed on a bank of Attitudinal Judgements that assessed the children‟s attitude to their learning. The aim was to prove once and for all that our hunch was in fact true - that children will raise their standards in Numeracy, Literacy, Science and the rest, if they are actively engaged in their Learning and seek to become “Life long Learners”. Phase 2 So September 2002 saw us undertake a series of “baseline activities” to establish a starting point from where we could measure the children‟s creativity and plot it on the continuums. We had already developed a better strategy for assessing the children as we adopted a multi – subject approach this time, implementing cross curricular activities. This allowed us to observe the children in many different working situations and see how they responded when it wasn‟t seen as Literacy or a Numeracy activity. The findings initiated a series of professional discussions and debates as to how children were learning best and what approaches they were responding to best. As a staff we were beginning to realise, it’s not what you teach that is the most important in terms of pure knowledge, but the balance of knowledge and skills with which the children can then apply their learning and move their learning forward. I would describe this approach as being a “structured facilitator”. One who provides well prepared and planned opportunities, with clear learning intentions and is prepared to accept different, but nevertheless quality outcomes. The more the research unfolded the more we discussed the approaches to becoming more creative. Staff ever eager to do themselves down in the creative stakes will seek a quick fix. Is there a book entitled “50 ways of being more Creative”? I have not found it yet! There are no easy solutions and you have to explore your own strengths if you are to successfully raise standards through a creative approach to learning. You need to begin to think outside the boxes of NNS, NLS and QCA but don‟t ditch what‟s good, build on it to enrich the children‟s learning. December saw the first chance to measure creative progress with the school‟s first “challenge week”. The children were given the task of producing ideas, props and backdrops for our Christmas Play. We planned activities that would promote the 3R‟s and allow the children to make decisions and take risks. The results were staggering. Through adopting the Foundation Stage approach to assessment and observing for the majority of the week, we were able to highlight some key issues to raising standards. 80% of the SEN and lower ability children that were being observed were reported to be:

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     

enjoying their work; showing greater resilience than in Literacy and Numeracy lessons; solving and overcoming difficulties with greater independence; joining in discussions and being more proactive; concentrating for sustained periods of time; reflecting on their learning.

On the other hand some children (20%) in the higher ability group were observed to be less engaged than usual and less resilient. When questioned one of this group stated “Its not the same not really knowing what I‟m meant to do.” Further progress The outcomes of the week and the progress made so far were discussed at two staff meetings in February 2003. The aim was to secure a working knowledge of children‟s creativity and discuss how the learning environments had changed and see if our approaches were radically different. Finally I also wanted to see if staff had used the Attitudinal Judgements to help them assess the children against the continuums. The above information was revealed and staff became engaged in quality professional discussion concerning learning styles, meta cognition and pedagogy. We were really getting to know these target children in depth – not just their National Curriculum levels but their preferred learning styles and their attitudes to learning in a variety of contexts e.g. in groups, pairs and individually, when problem solving and taking risks. Staff talked openly about the changes in their rooms and their developments within the classroom. These included:       learning walls are you stuck boards feeling thermometers worry boxes/books traffic light assessment children‟s own targets for their learning

We also agreed that we would highlight opportunities to develop the 3Rs on our planning in purple so we could monitor it carefully, this being creative activities or where a planned activity could be delivered in a creative way. The message was that the goal was attainable and the path individual. I was simply delighted with the level of conversation regarding how children learn best. If we discover that for each individual child in our establishments then we will have hit the jackpot! A visit to the National Creativity Conference in March 2003 further convinced me that Colerne were moving the right way. It raised a number of questions that I wanted to explore with the rest of the crew! Edward de Bono had blown me away and I was desperate to integrate “Thinking Skills” into our curriculum. The conference message was loud and clear – put Creativity first and think outside the restrictions. That‟s what I wanted our school to do. Take our own risks and back our professionalism and critical self review procedures. I returned to Colerne in April after a brief secondment and was delighted to enthuse everyone with a report on my opinions of the Conference. They agreed that “Thinking Skills” would compliment our quest to develop creativity. This is to be another project though, as in June we were accepted into the Vibrant Schools Project.

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The month of May saw the first chance to analyse the impact of creativity on the core subjects. After KS1, KS2 and Optional SATs we got together as a group to analyse the children‟s performance. In reception where I was teaching there were no tests but after another week of observations in June it was clear that all 6 target children had made at least 2 steps progress along each continuum and the children in the parallel class had also made at least 2 steps of progress (except one). This was clearly due to the fact that children were continually challenged to use their knowledge and skills to try and overcome difficulties independently, take risks and think about their learning. As for raising standards in core subjects across KS2 the vast majority of children did progress by at least 2 parts of a level in Science, Literacy and Numeracy. There were some exceptions and as a school that base improvement on self review, we have analysed the reasons for this. It still remains difficult to separate the difference between the impact of quality teaching and that of Creativity but we will keep trying! If you happen to have both, as we have at Colerne, it can only be a real bonus for the children and their learning. KS2 SAT scores were slightly down on previous years but we knew that this cohort would find it difficult to follow previous years and our continuous improvement. They were set very challenging targets and came exceptionally close to achieving them. To conclude I would like to mention our end of year reports. Staff were very happy to comment on the 3Rs and use Attitudinal Judgements in the section entitled “Child as a learner.” This is important in our Learning Journey as a school, as we strive to explore how our children learn best and begin to value/measure what we know is just as important as knowledge. What price Creativity?

Craig Gibbens Colerne CE Primary

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"The Learning Gap at Key Stage 3"
The initial objective of the study was to illuminate the causes of the often reported KS2 to KS3 'learning gap'. Methodology  the sample group consisted of 12 children selected from 4 feeder primary schools;  the children were nominated by the feeder schools to represent (in equal numbers) high ability, middle ability and lower ability (but not special needs) pupils;  lessons in maths, literacy/English, science and ICT were observed in June/July of Year 6 and again in October - May of Year 7, focusing on the patterns of activity of the pupils;  pupils were interviewed about their confidence in, and attitude towards, school in both Year 6 and Year 7 and also completed the same questionnaire about their confidence in, and attitude towards, maths, literacy/English, science and lCT in both Year 6 and Year 7 – see appendix 1;  teacher assessments of the pupils' levels in the four subjects in Year 6 and Year 7 were recorded; The hypothesis was that we would be able to spot trends in progress through lCT levels, confidence as learners and changing attitudes to the four subjects that would lead us to some of the roots of the KS2 to KS3 learning gap. The outcomes  We reported our findings to a whole staff training session at Bradon Forest and gave some feedback to the primary schools who assisted us.  We were surprised to find no clear indication of the learning gap occurring in our study group.  We did find out a great deal about the children's experiences in transferring from KS2 to KS3. There are various reasons why we may have failed to demonstrate a learning gap with these pupils:  The study involved popular, successful schools. Maybe they are unusual in their ability to smoothly continue motivating the pupils on transfer.  The schools have already undertaken a considerable amount of work to ease transfer.  The scope of the study in terms of timescale may have been insufficient. The study commenced 'post SATs' in Year 6 and followed the pupils through Year 7. Maybe following the pupils through Year 8 might have been helpful.

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 The children's awareness of their participation and the extra attention given to them in the study, may have boosted their self-esteem within the school context. However, the study was successful in that it  provided our staff with evidence that transfer to Bradon Forest School can be successful and stimulating for our pupils.  helped staff to reflect on the experience that the children bring with them.  gave personal benefits to the researchers in understanding the arrangements the children experience at KS2 , the small detail of children's activity in class and their reactions to a range of subjects which was most valuable.

Sue Piper and Chris Farr Bradon Forest School

Editor‟s note - A summary of the main findings can be obtained in the form of a Powerpoint presentation from either author.

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Appendix 1 Pupil questionnaire used at Year 6 and again at Year 7 What do you think about things that you study at school? Ring your answers to show whether you agree or disagree with each statement Key ++ = -agree strongly neither agree nor disagree disagree strongly + agree a bit disagree a bit ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = --------------------------

I enjoy school most of the time I am good at maths (numeracy) Maths (numeracy) lessons are interesting Maths (numeracy) lessons are fun Maths (numeracy) is easy Doing well in maths (numeracy) will be important to me in the future It is cool to be good at maths (numeracy) I am good at English (literacy) English (literacy) lessons are interesting English (literacy) lessons are fun English (literacy) is easy Doing well in English (literacy) will be important to me in the future It is cool to be good at English (literacy) I am good at science Science lessons are interesting Science lessons are fun Science is easy Doing well in science will be important to me in the future It is cool to be good at science I am good at working with computers Using computers in lessons is interesting Using computers in lessons is fun Using computers is easy Learning to use computers will be important to me in the future It is cool to be good at using computers My favourite subject in school is I like it because

_______________________

This space is for anything else you want to write about what you like and don‟t like about what you learn in school.

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Literacy research and development in Religious Education
INTRODUCTION This research developed through an initial meeting, to discuss ways of improving students‟ writing in Religious Education, and led to the following essential objective

'To improve student writing in terms of demonstrating knowledge, understanding and reflection, following discussion'.
The research was conducted during the spring and summer terms of 2003, and involved two year 7 groups from Bradon Forest School. The findings of this project, along with its limitations and recommendations are set out as follows Religious Education provides an excellent forum for discussion work, valued by students who have often not had the opportunity to express their views regularly in this subject at KS2. However, often the 'often the beauty of what is said' during discussion, is lost when students write. Written responses can be disappointing; often the breadth of knowledge, understanding and evaluation conveyed through discussion is not exemplified in written responses. Students also tend not to use other people's ideas, and their responses lack depth and maturity, focusing more on knowledge than understanding and evaluation. Some students claim that they do not know what to write. Methodology Initial ideas as to how to meet the objectives are as follows


Clarify with students the 'golden rules' of discussion work, and the need for respectful listeners and commentators in order to benefit from this type of activity. Encourage the use of open questions, and the need to evaluate our responses in light of the views of others. Construct a 'discussion frame' to record responses during discussion, e.g. why, who, what, where, how, effects, impact, personal reflections, and so on, using students to identify key responses. Each section could be colour-coded to aid visual leamers.





This could be could be used in conjunction with key word/symbol mats. This frame would then be used to identify the key points, constructing a writing frame together, based on the most thoughtprovoking and relevant points, reiterating the need to use subject specific terminology It is proposed to trial this with several year seven groups, taught in mixed ability groups. Initially, the discussion frame will be used during whole class discussions, extending its use to small group discussions. Along with this, I would like to consider the use of similar methods using a Jigsaw approach, which would be particularly useful when comparing and contrasting practices amongst and between faiths (necessary for L5 AT1).

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Limitations All year seven groups vary in ability, preferred learning styles and so on. They have only one RE lesson a week, and developing the ethos for good discussion can take time with younger groups of students. Also, some groups are more responsive to this type of work than others. Writing frames can be limiting for the more able, and may restrict responses. Perhaps the use of exemplary work would stimulate responses, in order to show what a good piece of writing should look like. Certainly work produced by trial groups could be used next year, showing models of the end results to students, which students can then annotate to exemplify good practice. There are other options I would like to try, for example, the use of drama/role play, but will wait to see how these initial proposals develop. GOLDEN RULES Before any productive discussion work can be undertaken, clear guidelines needed to be given to students, clarifying teacher expectations. RE involves a great deal of discussion, but it needs to be handled carefully, particularly given the nature of many of the issues covered. The 'Golden Rules' of discussion were drawn up, in consultation with students, highlighting the need for respectful listeners and commentators in order for students to benefit from this type of activity. These were discussed and agreed with by the trial groups and were displayed in the RE room. They include the following
   

Always listen Put your hand up to talk Express your thoughts clearly Respect other people's comments and views

Methodology A new assessment task was written, in line with the Wiltshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. This was a summative assessment, based on the concept target, 'Applying and Interpreting Teachings, Sikhism'. The assessment followed a series of lessons about the life of the Gurus, and focused on the foundation of an important group within Sikhism, 'The Khalsa', and how Sikhs are initiated into this group. Discussion Frame A discussion frame was introduced to the whole class, as the topic of the Khalsa was begun. The objectives of the lessons were to discover, how and why the Khalsa was started, the effects that this would have on the Sikh community, and how it would affect individual Sikhs, those who choose to join today, and those who don't.

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The discussion frame (see Appendix), contained key questions, such as - who, where, what, why, how, my view, and was first used after a video was shown. Students recorded their ideas after and during a whole class discussion. During the following lesson, the discussion frame was re-introduced, during small group discussions. The students were placed into particular groups, for example, confident contributors together, or in some cases, confident contributors placed with more reticent students. Students were also given a sheet to record any key words or phrases. The students then fed back to the whole class, sharing the key points and ideas from the discussion. Their key ideas were then written on the white board, and noted by the other groups. Discussion Evaluation Sheet At the end of the lesson, students were given individual discussion evaluation sheets and were asked to record how much they thought they had joined in the discussions, why this might have been the case, and how they could have improved their discussion. Finally, they were asked to award a score out of ten for their performance in the discussion. Assessment The students were then introduced to the assessment task, and its objectives were discussed. The students were encouraged to use their discussion frames, and notes, particularly for the elements of the task which required evaluation. Key words relating to the task were recorded on the white board. Students had two lessons and a homework to complete the task. Student Interviews Once the assessment had been completed and levelled, a range of students were interviewed to discover their responses to the research objectives and findings from the assessment. The students were chosen carefully, for example, those who had particularly made reference to other people's ideas in their assessment, those who hadn't, and those who could be relied upon to confidently discuss these issues. The students were asked a number of questions. For example, what they enjoy about discussion work, what would make discussion better, why they sometimes don't use all of their good ideas from our discussions, why they often don't use other people's ideas, and if they do, why. The interviews were quite informal. and lasted approximately 45 minutes.

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FINDINGS FROM THE USE OF THE DISCUSSION FRAME
 

Students on the whole make good use of this frame. It appeared to be less effective during whole class discussions, however, it did give an initial stimulus and focus to discussion. It did appear to be much more effective during group discussions, and clearly allowed for a much more focused session. Those more confident, and more able, handled it better, as would be expected, with some taking more of a leading role. Those less able, seemed more daunted, and some were confused by feeling that they had to put something under a particular heading or category. For example, some asked, 'where shall I put this?'







On reflection, Perhaps the generic frame needs adapting, for example, by adding the category 'How does belonging/joining affect people? The recording of key ideas/phrases and words from the discussion was interesting. It was decided not to include key words for stimulus, but to wait and discover which key words the students would come up with. Perhaps some key words should have been included, e.g. the Khalsa, initiation, ceremony, still leaving the opportunity for their ideas. Many students did come up with some excellent words and phrases, connected to higher order skills of reflection, analysis and evaluation, for example, 'sense of identity and belonging', 'unity', proud, 'defending their faith'. 'won't deny their faith', 'commitment'. Further development in this area could be to consider ways of widening the discussion, for example, using envoys, nominating a leader, nominating a scribe - then photocopying or displaying ideas, exchanging sheets. Along with this, the discussion frame could be adapted to facilitate more differentiation, for example, by reducing the number of key ideas and questions. FINDINGS FROM THE DISCUSSION EVALUATION SHEETS Both groups completed these evaluation sheets, on average, students felt that they had 'contributed about enough' in the discussion. On average, 50% of the students felt that they should award their performance in the discussion as 6/10. Below are some of their responses... . 'I liked expressing my ideas, it made me want to learn more' 'Some people are shy, and needed to join in more' „We need to practice team work more in school' "listened and joined in' 'I couldn't improve my conversation more, it was great‟ 'It was good not having a leader' „We can learn from each other' 'It got me thinking, listening to other people's ideas' 'I joined in too much, we need to work as a team more' 'I enjoyed showing what I know' „We should take turns to write ideas down' 'I didn't have any good ideas' „We needed more time'

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Many of the student's comments corroborate the findings shown in the Standards and Effectiveness Unit's work, 'The Management of Group Talk (7.1), which states, 'Collaborative group talk gives pupil's time and space to connect new ideas with what they already know'. 'Collaborative talk gives pupils a greater ownership of learning', and “When pupil's discuss their ideas with their peers, they sharpen and refine their own understanding' FINDINGS FROM ASSESSMENT TASK This was a new assessment task, and on reflection, perhaps it would have been advantageous to have used a tried and tested assessment. However, this unit did not have a current assessment. and I was particularly interested to see how students would handle this task, given that our Year 10 and 11 GCSE students study Sikhism, and find elements of this topic challenging. For example, many GCSE students find it difficult to explain how and why the Khalsa is important to Sikhs, and how initiation affects the lifestyle of a member, (RS2, RS3 attainment objectives, OCR) Also, setting a more extended piece of writing may have been better, but there are already RE assessments of that nature in year seven. Can Improvements be measured? On the whole, the assessments made much better reading. Many students had used their discussion grids when writing up their assessments, and had used the ideas from others in the group. This was particularly noted where students were required to evaluate their responses. For example, one student had commented that 'joining the khalsa showed that many Sikhs were not prepared to deny their faith', and that, 'wearing the 5 K's showed that they were proud of their identity, even if it meant that they might be picked on because of it'. Several students had gone on to use this in their work. Interestingly, these were students who rarely showed this level of understanding. This is very promising, showing high level skills of empathy, reflection and evaluation. Clearly some students found it challenging to express such ideas, but the majority did engage more with the task. However it is difficult to say whether the discussion work increased motivation and engagement. It could be that students find this subject more interesting than others. In group one (7P) and group two (7T) improvements were shown in student's attainment levels.

.

No students

Group

Improvement

No Change

Dropped

26 27

7P 7T

16 13

6 9

4 5

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 

in 7P 8 students had increased their level by .5 level in 7T 5 students had increased their level by .5 level

These figures show significant improvements by many students, some, particularly the more able, had increased their levels significantly. Along with this, a number of less able students had moved their level, from level 4 to 5, showing that they had used the more advanced skills required at this level. One very able student achieved level 7; her work was outstanding!

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FINDINGS FROM STUDENT INTERVIEWS Ten students were interviewed, in an informal setting. They were asked a series of questions and their responses were noted. Q.1 What do you enjoy about discussion work? All students stated that they enjoyed discussion work, some reasons given were 'I like sharing my ideas, helping others and me' 'I like finding out what other people's views, sometimes I use them. ' 'I like to think about other people's views'. Q.2 Is discussion better when it involves the whole class? Pairs? Or groups friendship/grouped by teacher? What are your reasons? There were mixed responses to this question. Several preferred whole class discussion, '... ..it lets us explore all views' Others preferred small groups, not in friendship groups, but placed in groups by the teacher, “we get distracted in friendship groups' One commented '... team good speakers with quiet ones', „It's good to add and develop our ideas, it makes us think more.' Q.3 What would make discussion better? Again, views were mixed. Comments include, 'if we had more time', 'if we work more as a team, help the shy ones maybe write down ideas for them.' 'pick on the quiet ones'. „make sure that everyone says something, they could hold a stone, then speak.' Q. 4 Sometimes you don't use all of your good ideas from the discussion, why is this? None of the students thought that this was the case because they had already done this work. Five students said they enjoyed discussing, but not writing. Two students said they were not sure what a good piece of writing looks like. None of the students said that they did not want to use other people's ideas. Several said they found it difficult to get started, and suggested more model sharing of answers together, and liked using the discussion frame to help with this. One said that they needed more help with paragraphs.

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Q.5 If you do use other people's ideas, what makes you decide to use them? Five students said that it depended on my reaction, if I had confirmed that it was an excellent point, or a valuable comment. Another student said that if several students repeated the ideas. One suggested that we should rate people's comments. One student disagreed with this, and said it was unfair. Several suggested that we should draw up 'star comments', and record them on the white board, or comment mats. Two students said that sometimes the comments are at 'too high a level, and they are not comfortable with using them. Another pointed out that as these are good, I should explain them more, even if it is really complicated. One student said that he knows that some people don't want to give their ideas away, especially if they think that they will get a higher level, or if they know that I will value their comments. All students confirmed that they did not decide to use or not use comments based on friendships. They all said that '..It wasn't important who had said it'. One student said that they needed more time to write down other people's ideas, sometimes they forget them. Several students said that they liked it when I asked them to explain their ideas more, or gave them another question. This showed that their ideas were good. This was a very valuable exercise, and I was surprised by some of their very frank comments. I had assumed, wrongly, that students used more ideas from others if they were their friends. It was also interesting to discover how much they were watching for teacher reactions to their comments. With group one, this was particularly evident, as they are as a whole class, very good at discussion work, and discussions could quite easily dominate the lessons if allowed. With 7P there are many opportunities to have discussions with higher order questioning, resulting in a greater level of reasoning and understanding. Clearly, the teacher needs to carefully manage and nurture discussion, with a range of questioning techniques, but also, needs to be very aware of their responses to student's comments, and how they will be received. The interviews also confirmed how much students do enjoy discussion work, and like to share their ideas, and listen to others. They also showed how for many students, getting their ideas down on paper is difficult, even after an enjoyable discussion. Clearly, this is an on-going problem, especially for the less able. Perhaps as a department we need to make greater use of modelling, and allow for more structured writing. Perhaps we need to consider other methods of assessment.

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Interviewing the students also raised the issue of timing. Some students must feel rushed when completing an assessment. This is probably because in year 7, students have two lessons a fortnight, and there is a great deal of content in the Wiltshire Agreed Syllabus to get through. Perhaps it would be better to cut down on the content, and spend more time on the assessments, even though all the requirements of the syllabus might not be met. With parity in Humanities from September 2003, this should be greatly alleviated. BIBLIOGRAPHY Literacy across the curriculum The Management of Group Talk (7.1) Standards and Effectiveness Unit. DFEE Crown, 2001. Teaching Listening Skills Through the Management of Group Talk Bradon Forest School Document 2001 Writing Non Fiction. Bradon Forest School Document Year 7 Speaking and Listening Bank. DFEE, 2001 Language at Work In Lessons DFEE 2001 Hastings, S Questioning TES July 4 2003 Browning, P, Fruitful Discussion Guardian February 25 2003

Brandon Forest School

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Religious Studies Discussion Evaluation Sheet Topic: Name: How much did you join in the conversation? Too much About enough Not enough Why did that happen? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… List two things that would have made the conversation better: 1. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… …… ……. ……. Number in group:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I would award my performance

/10

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Religious Studies Discussion Frame Topic/Issue ………………………………………………….. Who?

Where?

Why?

What?

How?

My view

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Developing Study Skills With Dyslexic Students in Key Stage 4

What was I trying to find out? If, as part of developing the policy, giving dyslexic students in KS4 greater ownership of their own support opportunities resulted in improved attitudes and / or attainment. What I learned    Disaffected students are more willing (and able) to learn if they feel that they have chosen to attend specifically tailored sessions on study skills. Year 10 and Year 11 students can be taught together, and collaborate well, if their need for the lesson content is similar. Organisational skills can be taught to dyslexic students and can bring them improvements in their school work, and a confidence that permeates other aspects of their lives.

Who was involved?      Rosemary Croft, project leader Sarah Fletcher, research mentor, University of Bath Barbara Mackereth, Assistant Headteacher and in-school project organiser 10 dyslexic students, 3 from Yr 10 and 7 from Yr 11 the students‟ teachers

What did I do?         I met each student 1 : 1 to discuss, in principle, extra support for their learning and the specific form that support might take, e.g. help with essay writing I drew up a programme of 11 different skills – based lessons; each was for 1 hour on Friday afternoon between January and May 2003. The programme was made available to the 10 students and they chose which sessions they wished to attend. I printed individual programme sheets on fluorescent sheets. They were stuck in students‟ planners. I sent reminders for the first 2 sessions so that patterns of attendance were established. I taught the sessions. The students completed evaluation sheets at the end of the programme. Mainstream teachers completed evaluation sheets to give feedback on the students‟ progress.

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My evidence     With few exceptions the students attended, participated in and enjoyed the sessions. Students‟ behaviour and attitudes were consistently very good – even from the most disaffected. Although the sessions ended at 3.40pm on Friday afternoon students often stayed until 4.00 or later to discuss ideas and issues further. Parents of some of the students have written to express their gratitude for the part played by this project in improving their sons and daughters‟ attitudes to work: “By teaching….. how to organise his life through one of your lessons, home life has become much easier as … would forget things that were asked of him, or never try things because he felt he could not do them no matter how much praise we gave him. …. Is now able to focus himself much more and gets less angry when asked to do things.” 100% of students surveyed about the impact of the programme said that the sessions were helpful. They reported enjoying:    being able to pick the sessions they needed; having a better understanding of how they learn; feeling more in control of their own learning; feeling more responsible; being part of a small group; receiving advice from a teacher other than their tutor; the mature atmosphere in the group.



All students reported having tried to use some of the new ideas in lessons or homework. Most reported feeling more confident in their learning and having better selfesteem. The students‟ teachers were surveyed to assess their perceptions of the programme‟s impact. 93% (of 45 teachers‟ responses) reported at least some positive impacts. Most common were: increased motivation (38%) improved attitudes (33%) greater responsibility for own learning (33%) less anger / aggression / frustration(29%) better organisation(20%) more homework done (13%) willingness to revise (13%) more deadlines met (13%) awareness of how to learn (9%).

 

Teachers‟ responses indicate that the main gains were in attitudes and behaviour rather than actual improvements in the standard of students‟ work. Further evaluation will be undertaken in September 2003 to study the performance of the students in Year 10 exams and GCSE to see if they met or exceeded their targets.

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My research activities

      

Conducted an initial literature review – researching and reading key texts re dyslexia and dyslexic students Formulated proposals for practical activity to try out ideas from research. Discussed and agreed proposals with my research mentor, Sarah Fletcher. Trialled new ways of working with the sample group of students. Conducted evaluations of the project with students and their teachers. Amending the programme for 2003 / 4 to take account of students‟ feedback, eg by building in more individual coaching with participants. Produced summary report re methodology and outcomes for the Wiltshire Journal.

Further reading Study skills, Christine Ostler Dyslexia: a parents‟ survival guide, Christine Ostler

Rosemary Croft The John of Gaunt School

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Raising the Performance of Girls in Key Stage 4 Science at The Clarendon School
Aims    to investigate why the girls at Clarendon significantly underachieve at key stage 4 in science; to intervene in the underachievement cycle, giving the students the tools they need for success; to involve the students as co-researchers.

School data showed that for the last three years the girls at Clarendon had significantly underachieved compared to the boys who were more likely to reach their target grade predicted by CATs and SATs (appendix 1). This also bucks the national trend. Informal conversations with year 10 and 11 girls across the ability range revealed that they thought science was 'hard' and, as they saw it, lacked relevance for their lives. The initial focus for the inquiry was to un-pick this further and from the findings work with the students to explore strategies to boost their performance. Research Processes A group of twelve year 11 students were identified as underachieving by two or more grades in their year 10 module tests and were approached for their willingness to actively participate in the research. All agreed and took part in semi-structured interviews with these students to explore their attitudes to science; questionnaires and surveys to gauge attitudes to science of wider key stage 4 population (male and female, achieving and underachieving) a journal recording student interviews and details of work in progress. Initially, the students found that working as a small, facilitated group helpful, in that it enabled them to explore and clarify their thoughts and ideas. As the study progressed, the students became more confident and autonomous in framing their own questions and exploring strategies to answer them, such as the student survey. Students found internet research into learning styles and strategies helpful. Initial findings and evidence The discussions with the 12 girls reinforced the initial perceptions of science as  Difficult or hard. 'It's harder than other subjects, even maths' 'Too much to learn' 'Practicals are boring and usually don't work' 'It's boring, it's not your fault, it's the stuff you have to teach us, atoms and things.' 'It doesn't matter what I think or I can't have an opinion it's all facts and things like formulas'

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

Lack of relevance 'I don't need science' 'I know I have to pass it, but I don't see how it will help me' 'I don't want to be a scientist'

When asked about the need to know some science to make sense of topics of current debate such as GM foods, Fertility issues, global warming, they agreed but as one girl said that wasn't really the sort of science they did in class. This is despite the fact that these topics are in the programme of study for KS3&4. Intriguingly, they all had difficulty in naming jobs where science would be an essential or a desirable qualification, apart from 'scientist', science teacher, forensic scientist or pathologist. None could think of an adult that they knew who had a job that needed science, male or female. One girl thought you might need it to be a hairdresser. Why they thought they had not got their target grade All identified classroom climate as something, which they felt hindered their learning. In particular the four girls in the top group felt that the class was too big with 32 students in it as it made it difficult to ask questions 'as you feel everyone else gets it and you are holding the class up.' All but one felt that the boys were the dominant voice in the class, both in the positive sense that they were seen to answer most of he questions but also they were considered the most likely to 'mess around'. They readily admitted that girls, including themselves were most likely to chat, a low level disruption if a disruption at all! All named disruptive individuals (male and female) in their particular class and it was these students that the girls felt caused the greatest impact and it was held that the key contribution the teacher could make was to remove these students. Other factors such as sex of teacher did not seem an issue and personality and competence of teacher was seen as far more important. Summary of first stage and questions for future practice While there were no real surprises, these initial interviews suggested three approaches  Raise awareness of women in jobs and following careers in science and engineering. Dr Helen Heath at Bristol University continues to be a useful contact for her' Girls into Science' courses. However it is important to realise that not all of the girls at Clarendon will pursue university level careers and so public health officers and scene of crime police officers from the local community were invited in to work with students. School assembles and notice boards featured the achievements of past and present woman scientists Carry out a survey of a sample of the year 10 and 11 students.



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

Explore strategies to make science 'easier' and more accessible and relevant. For instance the group will analyse their Learning Styles using tools such as The Leaning Style Inventory Multiple Intelligence Questionnaire VAK Kiersey Temperament Sorter

Students will be encouraged bring to class articles from papers, summaries of television reports on current issues, and news items. Time will be made for students: to present news items and will be encouraged to give opinions with justification Stage 2: What Next? Students and teacher decided to ask the following questions of 30 year 11 students 1. When you are successful, what do you contribute to the success? 2. In what ways will studying science be useful to you in your future? 3. In what ways is studying science relevant to you now? 4. What makes it easy for you to do well in science? 5. What could teachers do to improve your chances of hitting your target? The responses to Q1 showed no gender divide with students responding that they: had to listen in lesson (19); had to 'work' (9); had to revise for tests (21) The responses to Q2 showed that boys tended to see a link between school science and job prospects/career path. All boys listed jobs for which a scientific background would be useful, electrician (12), doctor (7), PE teacher/sports science (5), physiotherapist (2), Vet (2) and plumber (1). The girls responded doctor/medicine (7), physiotherapist (1) nurse (3), beautician/hairdresser (3), pharmacist (1), and

.

The responses to Q3 showed that the majority of the students did not see science as having an immediate relevance: many left this question blank. One responded in terms of space research, another two on the issue of GM foods, the most popular concern with environmental issues (8) To do well in science as a classroom subject, most students wanted 'interesting' lessons (12), Humour in lessons/'non stressy' teachers (7) no seating plans (6) revision lessons (5), smaller classes (4), role play (2) no enforced participation/being put on the spot (2), fewer cover teachers (2), approachable teachers (2) Significantly, some students felt that teachers could help more in revision lessons by not just

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covering content but also helping with strategies (8). This did seem to be consonant with the view that girls see science as outside themselves and their community whereas the boys saw it linked to jobs in the community and careers that they could pursue. What to do about it? The findings supported the programme of visits etc that had been set up for the year. Significantly, it was decided that these would not be 'all girl' events but would be open to boys too.
The Girls do it for themselves!

As a result of working out their learning style preferences, the group decided to work with learning partners with the same/similar ways of learning to work out ways of revising, in particular.  The visual pairs took to cartooning and mind mapping in a big way, using the Internet to supplement their own ideas. The kinaesthetic group relaxed into dance/movement as a learning strategy and they thought they would picture in their minds the moves to recall information.



The auditory pair made tapes to music and rhythm. They were given quality time (5 PSHE sessions) to do this. As a teacher I was struck by the fact that although they had heard of these techniques and understood them, crucial seemed to be the dedicated time given to them within a subject context and working collaboratively with peers.

The group was keen to visit tutor groups with their message but time ran out. They plan to visit assemblies in the autumn term with their 'Tips for the Tops'. GCSE Results Ten of the twelve girls achieved their target grade in science: they may have done that anyway Moving forward As a result of the above, this year will see:     dedicated time within lessons to implement learning/revision strategies; continue to display news items, magazines which highlight the work of women scientists and engineers invite women scientists and engineers to run workshops and give lectures to students; look at the proposed GCSE syllabus which has modules on the Public understanding of Science.

Further research

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

To what extent are the perceptions described above of Science shared by girls at key stage 3 and at key stage 2? What strategies do other schools use to make science 'girl-friendly'?



Maureen Nitek The Clarendon School

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How can I, through the exploration of gifted and talented mentoring at Westwood St Thomas, seek to understand myself as an educator?

What was I trying to find out?    The impact of the gifted and talented mentoring system on stakeholders at Westwood St Thomas. How to improve the current system in operation. To understand my own role within the process to a better extent. What I learned      That mentors need to have ownership over the process in order to be in control of their role as a mentor That the student‟s voice within the mentoring system is of vital importance, and that we need to include students more in planning for improvements. That mentoring meetings need to be increased in frequency to once per half term. That the “I” within my research is a shadow of my own involvement. That the process of mentoring is unique to each pairing of mentor and mentee. Who was involved?       The gifted and talented co-ordinator The headteacher and senior management team The mentors of Westwood St Thomas The mentees of Westwood St. Thomas Gifted and talented co-ordinators within the Wiltshire group The gifted and talented management group at Westwood St. Thomas What did I do?      Interviewed a sample of mentors and mentees in order to gauge their views of the effectiveness of the programme. Collected records of interviews taking place within the school. Asked the gifted and talented management group to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme. Sent a questionnaire to all stakeholders involved in the process. Referenced my enquiry to current literature and to an international perspective.

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My research activities     Teacher-researcher journal Interviews (semi-structured) Questionnaire sent to all stakeholders Critique of current literature and research relevant to the mentoring of gifted and talented mentoring. Further reading        Aujla, R. (2003) Mentoring for success in Curriculum Briefing 2003 (1) Optimus, London Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2001b) Research Methods in Education. 5th ed. New York: Routledge/Falmer Eyre, D. and Lowe, H. (2002) Curriculum provision for the Gifted and Talented in the Secondary School London, David Fulton Jekielek, S., Moore, K., Hair, E. and Scarupa, H. February 2002 Mentoring: A promising strategy for youth development in Child Research downloaded from www.childtrends.org on 11/03/03 Miller, A. (2002) Mentoring students and young people London, Kogan Page OfSTED (2001) Providing for Gifted and Talented Pupils HMSO Sternberg, R.J. (1986) A triarchic theory of intelligence in Conceptions of Giftedness, ed. Sternberg, R.J. and Davison, J.E. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Contact details for more information   E-mail Karen@collins1908.freeserve.co.uk Karen‟s previous research and a full 46 page dissertation can be found on www.teacherresearch.net

Karen Collins Westwood St Thomas School.

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How can I live out my democratic values in practice more fully by using formative assessment techniques to influence my own learning and the learning of others?
Living Out My Values “ Values are defined as desirable trans-situational goals, varying in importance, that serve as guiding principles in people‟s lives” (Shechtman 2002)1 My childhood upbringing in Merseyside led me to believe passionately in equality, freedom, justice and humanity. These values have proved to be trans-situational in that they have stayed with me as I have moved between jobs and they have guided me in choosing jobs that enabled me to live out these core values. My first job was as a Youth Worker in Bootle, Liverpool, one of the most deprived areas in the United Kingdom. Since then I have worked in three different comprehensive schools. I struggled to live out these core values when I was striving to survive in my first years of teaching as a young, inexperienced, nervous and very insecure teacher. My story is about how I have tried to live out my democratic values of equality, freedom, justice and humanity, more fully through my work. In my first teaching job at an all boys‟ comprehensive school in south London, the School culture encouraged a didactic pedagogy and gave paramount importance to techniques that acted as a controlling mechanism on students. In the words of one senior teacher at the School, “Do not smile at them until Easter” (Potter 1985). As an inexperienced teacher and one who was very much made aware that I was at the bottom of the hierarchy, I found myself struggling to live out the values that I cherished. My teaching approach was characterised mostly as autocratic and directive. Considering my approach from a learners point of view, I can draw on the work that I did on effective learning 2 to recognise that I would have got a low response on the student questionnaire that I designed (See Appendix 1) for questions 7 and 10. 7. In lessons my teacher is interested in listening to my ideas. 10. Sometimes my teacher lets me choose what work to do or how to do it. Potts (2001) I gave students few opportunities for independent learning. Most of the assessment that I carried out was summative with great emphasis on the written test. I used assessment to achieve the following:  To exert control over learners  To manage behaviour in the classroom  To instil fear in to learners  To emphasise the importance of the subject-matter Ironically, one of the subjects that I taught was Government and Politics. Whilst I may have articulated my democratic values, I was not fully living them out in my practice. This was not a tension that I recognised at the time. Behaviour management was an issue that I struggled to come to terms with and subsequent experience has taught me that engaging students with appropriate tasks that empower them and develop their independence reduces the need to focus on behaviour management. When I left this School for a very different school with a different intake of students and a different School culture, I recognised the tension as it had existed. At Westwood St Thomas School, a 14 to 19 mixed comprehensive with the majority of its students coming from the most deprived ward in Wiltshire, I was immediately struck by the extent of co-operation between teachers, the good

1 2

From “Validation of the Democratic Teacher Belief Scale” in Assessment in Education, Page 363 Mark Potts – Guidelines for Effective Learning for Masters Degree Unit 2 in June 2001

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relationships between teachers and students and the prevailing atmosphere of friendliness and warmth. These features were highlighted in the most recent OFSTED report on the School in 19983. “Ethos is a strength of the school. Students are positive and mainly take pride in their work and try hard to do their best. The headteacher and staff team work hard to provide a supportive environment.” (OFSTED 1998) These characteristics of the School are to my mind a result of the way that many of the teachers live out their democratic values in their teaching. Democratic teachers (i.e. those who value freedom, equality and justice) tend to be selftranscendent and open to change rather than self-enhancing and conservative. They tend to be more co-operative and affective than oppositional; influence is shared with students rather than dominating them. They are more understanding and friendly rather than strict and admonishing in their behaviour” (Shechtman 2002)4 Two examples serve to illustrate this democratic culture. Firstly, the School‟s approach to the development of a code of conduct for behaviour5 illustrates the democratic nature of decision making. Parents, students, staff (teaching and non-teaching) and governors were invited to take part in a training day that developed this code of conduct. This meant that all stakeholders had an opportunity to make a contribution to this key document that influenced classroom practice. Secondly, In September 2000 I was promoted to Deputy Head with responsibility for the Quality of Learning. One of my first tasks was to develop a “Guidelines for Effective Learning” document 6. I was drawn to this task by the opportunities that it would give students to influence teaching and learning in the school, so making the democratic values more transparent and embedding in the school culture the student voice. “Involving pupils in their learning changes the nature of the pupil/teacher relationship, such that the commitment to teaching and learning is a genuinely shared responsibility”. (Fielding 2001).7 In developing the guidelines I became interested in accelerated learning 8 and developed a view that understanding the needs of learners and changing our teaching methods to meet these needs is central to being an effective teacher, thus reinforcing my democratic belief in equality of opportunity. I also recognised the importance of striving to meet the needs of all learners whatever their preferred learning style. These influences helped to shape the Guidelines for Effective Learning that are now a fundamental part of the School‟s self assessment process as we strive to move forward as a learning school. In recent years the School has recognised that the professional development of staff is the key to school improvement (See Appendix 2)9. Our in-service training, including the MA course with Bath University, has focused on understanding learning and improving classroom practice in order to develop learners that value freedom, equality and justice. “The relationship found between effective teaching and democratic beliefs suggests that more should be done in teacher education to develop such beliefs”. (Shechtman 2002)

3 4

OFSTED Report 1998 – Page 3. The OFSTED report of 1994 made similar comments. From “Validation of the Democratic Teacher Belief Scale” in Assessment in Education, Page 364 5 The School Code of Conduct was developed in September 1996. 6 The Guidelines for Effective Learning (See footnote 2 on Page 4) 7 From It’s About Learning and It’s About Time by Stoll, Fink and Earl; Page 70. 8 We had a Teacher Training Day on Accelerated Learning led by David Gresham. I read several books and found Alistair Smith’s book, Accelerated Learning in the Classroom, particularly useful. 9 The Statement on Continuous Professional Development was written by Stuart Jones in 2002 and updated by me in January 2003 and is included in the Staff Handbook.

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Our assumption has been that we can improve our understanding of how people learn and that we can be more effective as teachers in empowering learners. It is against this supportive background that I am able to take risks to try to improve my own practice and try to live out my democratic values more fully. Assessment as a Tool for Empowering Learners. “Assessment should be aligned with the exercise of active learning, responsibility and autonomy”. (Macdonald and Twining 2002)10 I have come to recognise assessment as a tool for empowering learners through my teaching of vocational courses. My introduction to formative assessment was through vocational education. As Head of Business Studies at Westwood St Thomas School in 1995 I introduced BTEC courses to the School. BTEC courses offered a portfolio-based approach to assessment with opportunities for advice and guidance from the teacher that could really influence the learning. It offered the possibility of a more democratic relationship between the teacher and the learner, where the teacher was able to point the learner in the right direction and encourage independence in learning, a quality that was rewarded in the assessment regime. It seemed to me that I was able to have a significant influence on the learner through the quality of feedback that I gave. Indeed, this point was stressed at the training that I attended to become an external verifier for vocational courses. The success of vocational courses in the School as highlighted in the 1998 OFSTED report stimulated my interest in assessment as a way of empowering students to take responsibility for their own learning. “Students are proud of their achievements and are enthusiastic about their work. They respond well in lessons, work productively with one another and in the main sustain a satisfactory rate of independent work. They give close attention to the direction and advice of their teachers.” (OFSTED 1998)11 Vocational education put assessment and feedback at the heart of improving the quality of learning. When my MA tutor gave me an extract to read from “Inside the Black Box – Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment” (Dylan Wiliam and Paul Black 1998), I was struck by the emphasis on informative feedback to students, that empowers them to make progress. “Feedback to any pupil should be about the particular qualities of his or her work, with advice on what he or she can do to improve” (Black and Wiliam 1998) and “Feedback has been shown to improve learning where it gives each pupil specific guidance on strengths and weaknesses” (Black and Wiliam 1998) The process of formative assessment that they suggest supports my own democratic values of providing all of my students with opportunities to continuously improve, so doing themselves justice and encouraging independence in learning (freedom). “Whilst it can help all pupils, it gives particularly good results with low achievers where it concentrates on specific problems with their work, and gives them both a clear understanding of what is wrong and achievable targets for putting it right”. (Black and Wiliam 1998)

10

From “Assessing Activity-Based Learning for a Networked Course”, in British Journal of Educational Technology, Page 616. 11 OFSTED Inspection Report on Westwood St Thomas School 1998 – Paragraph 194.

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This process supports my own belief in giving greater support through constructive feedback to those that require it, thus extending equal opportunities. Here was the research evidence to support the practice that I had developed through teaching vocational courses. The focus of Black and Wiliam is very much on assessment for learning. The assessment is as much for the teacher as it is for the students, in that the teacher learns how to modify the teaching to enhance the learning. This idea is very much in line with Judi Marshall‟s idea of living life as inquiry (Marshall 1999)12 and Jean McNiff‟s ideas drawing on the work of Jack Whitehead. “An I – (internalised) enquiry is that conducted by the individual in to her own practice. She reflects critically on her work, either privately or through discussion with others, and aims to think of original ways that will help her to improve” (McNiff 1993)13 This supports my view that as professionals engaged in the activity of learning, we should be seeking to continuously improve our practice. It is exactly what I was seeking to embed in to the School culture in developing the Guidelines for Effective Learning. Nor should we ignore the links between assessment and self esteem. As Tom Robson, Science Advisor for Wiltshire LEA said in a recent presentation: “Self-belief grows when the learner experiences success and this is recognised by others. The learner is then motivated to learn more.” (Robson 2002)14 I recognise this in myself as a learner. The importance of motivating learners to learn more has to be central to our assessment practice. If we discourage learning through our assessment we do our students a great disservice. Sibani Raychaudhuri brilliantly evokes the potential de-motivating effects of assessment in this poem entitled “Self Assessment”: My red folder in the fourth year wants me to be clear and positive about what I achieve in school “in my own words” which are foreign to me. In my own words in my own language (which has no place here) how can I feel clear and positive? My red folder in the fourth year wants me to be positive about my grade E in English History: the heritage and glory of the British Empire “in my own words”.

12 13

Living Life As Inquiry by Judi Marshall, professor of Organisational Behaviour at the University of Bath. From Teaching as Learning, Page 16. 14 Said at a Conference entitled Improving Behaviour for Learning organised by Wiltshire LEA in November 2002.

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My red folder in the fourth year suddenly out of nowhere wants me to assert what I achieve in school “in my own words” How can I blow the trumpet they‟ve taken from me? (Raychaudhuri 1988) My reading of Black and Wiliam, Gipps, Harlen, Torrance and Prior and reflection on my own experience, led me to believe that one of the main reasons for the re-motivation of students was through the formative assessment techniques encouraged by the vocational courses. Students who previously had not fared particularly well in tests and examinations were re-engaged in learning through the vocational courses. As our School‟s OFSTED report in 1998 points out: “Most students begin key stage 4 GNVQ courses with modest standards in the key skills of literacy and numeracy. All make at least satisfactory progress. Many make good progress and achieve results which are in line with national expectations. Those who respond well to the good teaching make rapid progress to attain high standards.” (OFSTED 1998)15 The courses encouraged positive feedback to students that empowered them to make improvements to the quality of their work. I developed the skills to provide this type of feedback. It gave me great pleasure to see students submit work of a vastly improved standard having taken advice from me on initial drafts. Nor were the students penalised for this by the external assessment system, but they were in fact rewarded for it and encouraged to reflect on the learning process that they had gone through.16 Extending The Use Of Formative Assessment Convinced of the benefits of formative assessment for learning, I wished to spread the word amongst my colleagues. I decided to take an action research approach, “To put the ideas generated by basic research to the test of practice”, (Torrance and Pryor 2001). I will try to demonstrate how my own learning and that of my staff colleagues and my students has been influenced by my actions on formative assessment. I took the opportunity to put the research to the test and share the results with staff on a Training Day in October. I decided to use video evidence of my own assessment practice in the classroom and that of a colleague, Bob Ainsworth17. I took some video footage of myself teaching my AS Level Economics class and of Bob assessing and giving feedback to a Year 11 Business student. I made sure that I gained the consent of the students involved. The video footage is included as Appendix 3.18 I find the use of video footage of classroom activity to be a particularly powerful tool for training and development. It brings the issues directly to colleagues' attention and gives a real insight in to

15 16

From OFSTED Report on Westwood St Thomas School, 1998; Paragraph 192. Such was the assessment system of the GNVQ in the mid to late 1990s. It has since been altered but retains an emphasis on continuous assessment, thus giving the opportunity for teacher feedback and student reflection to have a real influence on learning. 17 Ethical note: I have received Bob’s written consent to use his name in my report and to include the video footage of the session that I recorded as an Appendix. 18 Appendix 3 - Assessment in the Classroom Video.

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classroom activity. It provides an excellent opportunity for discussion and often I find that when colleagues view footage of classroom activity they make unexpected observations. Having viewed the video footage of my teaching with my colleagues in October, I claim to have learned the following from it:  A colleague made the point that what struck him most about the way that I interacted with the students was the way in which I encouraged the students to use specialist economic terms in their responses. On reflection, I see that what I was doing was re-orienting the students‟ thinking. “Dialogue with the teacher provides the opportunity for the teacher to respond to and re-orient the pupil‟s thinking”. (Black and Wiliam 1998)19  In terms of questioning, I feel that most of the practice that I demonstrated was divergent questioning.20 However, on one of the occasions when a student made a response that I had not expected, I feel that I missed an opportunity to build on it and scaffold further and deeper learning. I feel strongly that such opportunities should not be missed. Even though it would have taken me on to an issue, “unemployment”, that is not an area of knowledge for the current module, it would have developed students‟ thinking as economists and this is what I wish to develop in my students.

The video footage and discussion of Bob‟s assessment of the student has led to further dialogue between Bob and me about his assessment practice. This has been captured in emails printed as Appendix 521. I feel that I can claim to have had some influence on Bob through this process. Making the video itself and putting it in the public domain put the focus firmly on his assessment practice. This has helped him to reflect and consider ways of improving it. “If I was to do it again, I think I would change it slightly”. (Ainsworth 2003). He goes on to outline, in his email response, how he is developing a way of involving the student in planning their own improvements to their work through dialogue with him. This is good formative assessment practice and empowers the students to improve their learning. Empowering AS Level Economics Students to Learn The next challenge for me was to live out my belief in empowering students through formative assessment more fully by changing my assessment techniques with my AS Level Economics students. AS Level Economics is not a vocational course and is regarded as an academic course. The assessment regime favours external examination. In the past I had assessed students during the course through interim tests to assess how much they understood and given them a grade. I decided to change my assessment practice by focussing on setting tasks that enabled me to provide useful feedback for learning and by deliberately avoiding grading of their work. The difficulty is in showing my influence on the learning of my AS level Economics students. I share responsibility for this group with a colleague. I teach them 60% of the time and he teaches them 40%. We split the teaching of the modules accordingly. This means that I had to deliver three topics for the first module between September and January and help students to be ready for their external module examination. I decided to create three extended assignment tasks, as shown in Appendix 6a. I decided that I would assess these formatively. I made a deliberate decision not to give the work a grade but to give written feedback on what they had done well and how they could improve. Examples of the feedback that I gave to students are included in Appendix 6b. I then gave them time to improve their work and I re-assessed it to check their understanding. Some students heeded the advice that I gave and did improve their work, others didn‟t. Those that did paid close attention to my comments and changed, or added the information. As you can see in
19 20

Inside The Black Box, Page 11. See Appendix 4 – a copy of a handout on assessment that I gave out on the Training Day, in which I refer to a typology of questioning, with a distinction made between convergent and divergent questioning. 21 This discussion took place between 4th and 7th Jan 2003.

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Appendix 6b my initial assessment of TV‟s work asked him to “draw a production possibility curve and use it to illustrate opportunity cost”. This is precisely what he has done, as shown, following this assessment. The two pieces of work from HD show that she has heeded my advice and improved her work. I make the claim that for these students the process of formative assessment that I implemented enhanced their learning. I make this claim on the basis that it meets all five of the conditions for formative assessment as outlined in a paper by Dylan Wiliam: “1. A mechanism exists for evaluating the current level of achievement; 2. A desired level of achievement, beyond the current level of achievement (the reference level) is identified; 3. There exists some mechanism by which to compare the two levels, establishing the existence of a „gap‟; 4. The learner obtains information about how to close the gap; 5. The learner actually uses this information in closing the gap.” (Wiliam 1999) What about the students that did not respond to my feedback? I conclude that this was because I did not provide classroom time for students to respond. “Enhancing the quality of learning through improved formative feedback takes classroom time, and is in conflict where teachers feel under pressure to “cover” a statutory curriculum.” (Black and Wiliam 1998) This is a lesson that I have learned for assessment of work for the next module. In line with my own democratic values and the ideas of Stoll, Fink, Earl and Fielding, it seemed to me to be important to seek the views of the students on how they had been assessed. “It is not surprising that pupils would rather be elsewhere if their opinions are not sought and they have no opportunity to contribute to decisions that affect them"” (Stoll and Fink 1995) A discussion that I had with Sarah Fletcher of Bath University, who is research mentor for the Westwood St Thomas School MA group, led me to seek their views as a focus group through video evidence, rather than through a questionnaire. (Sarah‟s ongoing dialogue with me about this assignment has proved to me the value of formative assessment. She has given me ideas for taking my learning forward as I write it.) I prepared questions for the students (See Appendix 7), set the video camera running and left the room. My notes22 from the video footage23 and the video footage itself show how the students have understood my assessment practice. SH24 - “To what extent did it…..(help us to learn)?” MT – “I think it did help us to learn. It gave us points we needed to work on and points we knew we were strong on” SH – “And we had to re-do it, didn‟t we, until we got it right?” MT – “What do you think Tom?” TV – “I think it‟s a good way of assessing… It tells us what to work on.” Later, they are comparing it to other practice that they experience around the School.
22 23

See Appendix 8b for my notes from the video of the discussion. See Appendix 8a for video footage. 24 For this section I use abbreviated names. All the students are in the Post 16 economics class at Westwood St Thomas School.

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MT – “How is the assessment different to Mr Evans, or in other subjects?” SH – “Totally different” MT – “Mr Evans didn‟t thingy….” HD – “We did have a test.” SH – “We should have been able to do it again, like copy it out and improve it” TS – “In Physics….we do a test paper. MT – “There‟s no feedback is there….Business, you get feedback and grades so…., I think that‟s a lot better”. Clearly, they value the feedback that they are given and the direction that it gives them to improve their work. They can see the link between assessment and learning. One student expresses the desire to be given a grade as well. He remains to be convinced of the benefits of comments only on the work, the approach that Wiliam favours. The Influence of Year 10 Students Whilst conducting my research in to the influence that my assessment techniques were having on students in my Economics group, I was involved in an after school session in November 2002 with the Westwood St Thomas teacher research group to which a group of students were invited. The students were not one‟s that I teach. The session presented the opportunity for the group to discuss with the students what it is that they see as most useful in assessment. The following quotes from students struck me as extremely interesting25: “It is useful to have the assessment criteria beforehand, so that I can use it as a checklist. I can guess my mark when I hand it in”. (Garvin 2002)26 To me this confirms the importance of self-assessment as expressed by Black and Wiliam as follows: “ For formative assessment to be productive, pupils should be trained in self-assessment so that they can understand the main purposes of their learning and thereby grasp what they need to do to achieve”. (Black and Wiliam 1998) Another comment was: “We should have individual targets for ourselves rather than competing against others”. (Garvin 2002) Another student confirmed this: “Personalised comments from the teacher are the most important form of feedback, as they show real interest”. (Glew 2002)27 Again, our own students are articulating Black and Wiliam‟s findings in their own ways: Feedback to any pupil should be about the particular qualities of his or her work, with advice on what he or she can do to improve, and should avoid comparisons with other pupils”. (Black and Wiliam 1998) I left the session excited by what I had heard. I was very pleased that we had invited the students along and exhilarated by the way that the students had articulated their views. Here was confirmation directly from the students that they found the most useful assessments those that informed their learning and empowered them to improve. The session influenced my own learning
25 26

See Appendix 9 for my notes on the discussions. Shane Garvin is a student in Year 10 of Westwood St Thomas School. 27 Natasha Glew is a Year 10 pupil at Westwood St Thomas School.

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as I reflected on the value of it and recognised the importance of involving the students in formulating the School policy on assessment.28 This was an important learning experience for me and has changed my approach to developing the school assessment policy. Whereas the intention in the School Improvement Plan for 2002-3 was to consult with staff colleagues, I now recognise the importance of working with students as well in the formation of the policy. After all assessment practice affects them most directly. I will also involve them in monitoring the implementation of the assessment policy and in evaluating it‟s effectiveness. Inclusion and the pursuit of justice for our students are key democratic values that are demonstrated through these actions. Validation of My Actions Through a School Visit As part of my NPQH29 training I am required to make a visit to another school in order to develop my school improvement project. My school improvement project is about improving assessment practice. This gave me the opportunity to validate my actions on formative assessment and to help to develop my thinking about how I might develop the project further. I arranged a visit to Haybridge School in Worcestershire30. They have introduced formative assessment in to teaching across the School. I visited the School in January 2003 and talked to a number of teaching staff who had incorporated formative assessment techniques in to their teaching. I have included my notes from the visit as Appendix 10. Talking to teaching colleagues at the School confirmed my belief that formative assessment is part of good practice. Teacher after teacher talked with enthusiasm about how it empowered students and encouraged them to take responsibility for their own learning. “Giving students the criteria for essays is empowering the students to assess their own work” (Connolly 2003)31 “It‟s all about empowering them (students) to be successful” (Meyrick 2003)32 There is a strong commitment from the teachers that I talked to in helping students to be successful in developing the skills for learning that will be of value to them for the rest of their lives. They saw formative assessment as playing a leading role in the development of those skills. What surprised me was the extent to which the teachers had responded to the research on assessment in their own classrooms. They were living out the idea that grading acts as a barrier to learning and were enthusiastically embracing the ideas of Wiiliam and Black from Inside the Black Box (Wiliam and Black 1998). “The giving of marks and the grading functions are over-emphasised, while the giving of useful advice and the learning function are under-emphasised”. (Black and Wiliam 1998) This will influence my own classroom practice in that I will emphasise in my feedback the advice that I give to students on how they can further their learning. I will then give them the time to follow the advice. Another key learning point for me from the visit was how the School had encouraged the growth of formative assessment through professional development and the establishment of a working party. This process had encouraged experimentation by the teaching staff within their subject areas. This seems to me to be totally consistent with the democratic principles of empowerment enshrined in formative assessment. In this case the managerial process is empowering the staff and encouraging
28 29

Students will attend meetings to draw up a draft assessment policy. National Professional Qualification for Headteachers. 30 Haybridge School is a 13-18 comprehensive school in Hagley, Worcestershire. It has Beacon School status and is a Technology College. 31 John Connolly is Head of History at Haybridge School. 32 Keith Meyrick is Head of Technology at Haybridge School

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them to take risks within a supportive environment, an approach that the school improvement literature supports. Each department within Haybridge School was trying out different aspects of formative assessment and adapting it for their own purposes. This action research approach was leading to healthy discussion amongst colleagues about how to improve teaching and learning. Another key learning point was the existence of a tension between the demands of the School assessment and reporting system, based on target setting and predicted grades given to students, and the implementation of formative assessment processes in subject areas with its emphasis on constructive feedback and avoidance of grading of students. This is a tension that is recognised by some staff, though not all and it will be interesting to see how this is managed. I now recognise it as a tension that is arising in our own School as we develop formative assessment practices. The Next Steps My experimentation goes on as I seek to find an effective way of formatively assessing my students so that they can improve their learning, and I seek to live out my democratic values more fully by empowering them to do so. I do believe that I have been able to demonstrate in this assignment that my learning has developed as a result of formative assessment, through both self-assessment and peer assessment. I also feel that I have been able to demonstrate a measure of influence on colleagues and students learning through this process. As a School we are moving towards a set of guidelines for assessment for use “Inside the Black Box” (Black and Wiliam 1998), i.e. in the classroom. This process is involving colleagues and students in the drawing up of the guidelines, thus living out my democratic values as a teacher more fully. I will be disseminating this research to members of the working party. I will also be sending a copy of this work to the LEA adviser on Teaching and Learning in Foundation subjects, who meets with colleagues in other schools in Wiltshire to work on assessment issues. This is a journey that I have travelled and continue to travel. It may be that others can learn from it and improve their own learning. As for my own future learning, this assignment has led me to reading the work of Stoll and Fink. As a result I have become interested in action researching further the impact that student involvement in learning can have on the school as a learning community.

Mark Potts Westwood St Thomas School

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Pastoral support and Peer Counselling
A summary of comments by the participants How have you benefited personally?
 Yes loads. I feel inspired. Feeling pretty low on energy levels ‟til today-could not get going.           

Jenny has certainly fixed this and helped to refocus me. Permission to visit my own „wells‟ more often. Yes, it has boosted my confidence. It reminds you of what it should be like. Yes, it has reminded me that humanity is still alive. It helps you stop see you are not alone. Initial links of pairings used to develop further and stronger partnerships from all concerned. I have recognised the needs of all staff and there are clear benefits for the whole school. It has given me time to reflect and to think. It has extended my professionalism. There are at least 100 new things I might do next. I will do five as a matter of honour. I have taken away lots of practical ideas, which I will try to use without being „ambushed‟! Excellent for staff and children. Very useful strategies to take back. What were the strengths of the workshops?

            

Opportunities to explore individual problems and needs of individuals. Lots of laughter. Honesty and openness, freedom from political expectations. Openness from all members in the group. Freedom to go of track occasionally with personal issues. An excellent facilitator, inspiring and such lovely stories. I can‟t remember when I have enjoyed INSET so much. A clear match of needs of participants with content. Small group size helped interaction. Time to meet and share ideas. The refocus on circle time approach to self-esteem. Raising awareness of the implications of circle time in developing staff self-esteem. Jenny‟s dynamic approach and enthusiasm. The volume of good ideas. Lots of practical advice. What changes would you like to see?

   

None times 3. 1 day was not enough, so much good stuff to try, reflect on and access especially for the pairings. Residential 2-3 days? More time. Participants to know more about content in advance.

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What follow-up would you like to happen?
      

To put into practice with the group, which I thought was great, all that we learned. Another day would be good! Another meeting possibly at end of summer/start of autumn (possibly overnight stay) Extending areas identified by participants and some reflection time. Development of further support groups for heads, new heads to the LEA and acting heads. Also for new heads following their year with their mentor. Clearer recognition by the LEA of the need. Something on assertiveness and more techniques for listening, communicating, management and survival! I would like to keep contact with a fellow head to share ideas/problems.

Introduction It was clear that the issue of pastoral support for heads was a real concern both in schools and the LEA. There was proven good support for new heads in the LEA, including a mentoring system, which had been confirmed by HMI. The feedback from those support groups already in existence was very good. Some successful clusters also provide good support to their members. It was felt that for other heads, especially those in service a little longer there was less strategic support. A trial group of 8 to support heads in schools of over 200 was established. Commentary  The heads were identified using clear criteria agreed with PHF and invited to join the group. There were no refusals only enthusiasm and feeling of being pleased they had been considered. This commitment and enthusiasm lasted throughout the trial and was a huge factor in making it a success. Each head committed time to attend training with Jenny Mosley and an evaluation time to review the project. They also committed themselves to meeting with an identified partner for four half days during the course of the trial. It was crucial to the success of the project that members, including the advisers Shirley and Ian, could talk openly and in the strictest confidence. This enabled us to work in an atmosphere of openness, trust and with mutual respect. This never wavered and made the experience a rewarding, profound and at times humbling experience. The training day at a hotel in Bradford-on-Avon with Jenny Mosley was a great success. She dealt with dealing effectively with our own self-esteem in a practical and interactive way. Everyone was encouraged to share hopes, ideals and fears. We were also shown techniques of relaxation and dealing with problems including peer counselling, hand massage and visualisation that allowed us to bag or bin concerns and deal with our own well being and that of others. We visited our „wells‟ that give us energy –cognitive, emotional, creative, physical and spiritual and learned how to ensure we had a balance in our lives and are prepared to look after ourselves. By doing that we are able to manage more effectively and help others to do the same. There was a lot of laughter and release of tension as the day progressed and the group gelled very quickly. Members were also given funds to buy some of Jenny‟s materials to support their work in school; it was like Christmas! Pairs then booked time to visit one another, which they all did! The review day included another follow up session with Jenny, which visited the whole school circle approach again at the request of members.

 



    

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

Members also shared what they had done with one another in their visits.

The review      I can only describe the review as overwhelmingly positive. The feeling was that it was so reassuring that someone was thinking about them and cared what happened to them. The partnerships had led to the forging of real friendships and extending one another‟s professionalism. Good practice was shared and members used one another as sounding boards and critics. All felt able to be honest with their partners and within the group. This enabled them to share problems. Many said it was good to know they weren‟t the only ones with such problems and fears. A problem shared really did halve it! As a result morale amongst the group had risen considerably, motivation had returned and given new energy to the members. They had started to look after themselves more even though for some it was small beginnings. As a result it had helped raise staff morale in some schools. There was a determination for those heads still to meet.

Conclusion  The importance of mutual support for heads that feel isolated and perhaps unsupported was strongly felt. The success of the trial showed the need for more heads to have access to such peer and LEA support if they are to cope with the demands of a difficult and at time lonely role. More should be done to put heads in touch with one another and for clusters to work together so that pastoral and professional support can go hand in hand. In these days of considerable challenge there should also be the hand of support made explicit so that heads can talk freely about their successes and their worries. This was a small start but a bid has been made to start similar groups in the new EDP.



Note  As a result of the success of the first session and appreciation shown by the group we were able to use a combination of funds to run a second group of 8 focussing on peer counselling with Jenny. Some activities were similar but this concentrated more on support for others within school including staff and pupils. Time was given for the heads well being too and dealing with problems. The results and feedback mirrored the first group almost exactly with the same appreciation for inclusion in the group and the thought that someone cared enough to give them support.



From the advisers point of view it also supported our own esteem and well being. The group helped us too and comments have been made outside the meetings to us about concern for our own welfare. We do feel that the groups have given a more human perspective to the roles we all play and that we all need to be looking after one another if we are to succeed as people and professionals. Indeed they are not and should not be mutually exclusive rather mutually inclusive.

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Impact of the primary school library on reading and information literacy
In 2001, the Library Association, now the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) decided to fund research on the impact of the primary school library on reader development and information literacy. This research took place in 12 English primary schools, two being in Wiltshire – St Marks‟ CE Junior School , Salisbury and Longleaze Primary School in Wootton Bassett. Each of the participating schools were asked to focus on 3 aspects of the original report sent to all primary schools in England “Primary school library guidelines”. These were
 promoting  developing  developing

reader development; information literacy; a library policy linked to the relevant whole school development plans.

CILIP will be publishing the full findings from all 12 participating schools and drawing conclusions based on the research, but, with the support of the head teachers of both local schools I am pleased to publish some details of their research projects. Reader development – the Longleaze Experience The staff at Longleaze School decided to fully involve pupils in selecting stock for the school library, the expectation being that consultation and participation would develop pride in the school library and encourage ownership of the stock. A report by is included as Appendix 1 Information literacy “The future belongs to those who know how to learn” John Abbott “Information Literacy is the ability to locate pertinent information, evaluate its reliability, analyse and synthesise the information to construct personal meaning and apply it to informed decision making” Pam Berger, American Library Association. After setting a baseline measure and working with pupils on developing their information literacy skills particularly in identifying and locating information, staff at Longleaze school produced a final evaluation task. Appendix 2 provides more detail giving the questions asked of pupils. One interesting observation is that the results follow a traditional learning model which is not a straight line but a staircase with periods of increasing skills followed by static periods where support is required. Year 1 and 2 pupils were able to complete the task set but only with help. Year 3 and 4 pupils achieved the task set and were confident in the process showing their growing competence at the level required. At Year 5 and 6 however pupils again needed help to complete the task. They were not going backwards, rather the level of skill required had increased and support was needed to move them on to the next level of competency.

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St Mark‟s CE Junior School also both surveyed and observed pupils using the library. Appendix 3 is a report of their observations of pupils using the library and what changes needed to be made. School library policy Both schools developed a school library policy over the period of the project. These have been reproduced in appendix 4 and 5. Evaluation of project 1 This project presented an opportunity to focus on the development and use of the school learning resource centre. It was something that needed to be done. Other curriculum pressures had assumed greater importance and library skills had tended to be marginalised. A project like this did however raise the awareness of the importance of library skills as a gateway to learning, linked with an enjoyment of reading. In our school the children benefited because it made staff aware of what they need to teach children about library skills and actions were put in place to facilitate this. The project took longer than anticipated due to pressures on people's time, but was well worth doing. We also had fun doing the various linked activities. As result of our investigations there is now greater awareness by staff and children of the LRC as an integral part of the school environment and its use for curriculum purposes. The issues, which the initial questionnaire threw up and which were discussed at the INSET session in November 2001, have been addressed as is shown in the following positive outcomes:
    

Children have better awareness of what the LRC room is and what it is for; Children have a good knowledge of the difference between fiction and non-fiction; Y3 upwards are good at using the Booktracker system to locate non-fiction books; All children have a good awareness of and are able to use content and index pages; Children are good at discarding non-fiction books.

Since the start of the project, the school has opened a computer suite so research through the internet will be done here. One of the most important outcomes is that it shows us the areas we need to develop in the future to ensure that the children have good library skills. They are:
 



In KS 1 the library skills need to become automatic. The children need more practice. All children need help in identifying:  key words for the initial search for books  key words for their search for information  the question to be answered  relevant information They need to know whether their question is answered and to be able to answer the

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question in their own words. To enable this to happen these skills need to be taught and practised. Staff are better informed as to the library skills they need to teach. and the use of the LRC is more closely monitored. The type of tasks that we used for the evaluation process give a good indication of the children's skills and mirror what happens in life. It is now up to the school to ensure that the good practice that has evolved as a result of the project is continued. Evaluation of project 2 In the two years since the beginning of the project, there have been great changes and improvements in the quality and accessibility of the library at St Mark's School. Improvements continue to be made, with the long term aim being the provision of a dedicated and we1l stocked Resource Centre, to include the facilities of the IT Suite. The way forward seems to lie in two complementary areas: the continuing development of the stock and physical environment and the introduction of the structured use of the EXIT model in a1l classes. INSET wi1l be required to support teachers initially and time allocated to enable the Library co-ordinator and the Literacy co-ordinator to develop a programme for the teaching of the required skills, as part of the literacy hour, to ensure continuity and progression throughout the school. In order to encourage more children to use the library facilities we are keen to make the library an attractive and comfortable place to visit. Books need to be well labelled and attractively displayed and there need to be activities and 'events' going on to raise the status of the library and books in general. It is important for parents to be aware of the library as a resource which they can use with their children. To this end I hope that Parent Librarians will open the library for children and their parents after school. Vitally, teachers need to endorse the library as an exciting and valuable teaching resource and to encourage their classes to maximise on its potential. The increased involvement of the team of Parent Librarians is of paramount importance. Much of what has been achieved is as a direct result of their interest and hard work. As we work towards the provision of a new library, their expertise and generosity with their time will continue to be vital. Their ideas and suggestions are invaluable. We hope to continue to encourage interested parents to come forward yearly, and to train them to support the development of library work. As well as helping with the daily chores of tidying and monitoring library stock, Parent Librarians are keen to be involved in supporting teachers in their delivery of library skills programmes, in training other parents and in running Book Groups for children at lunchtime or after school. As a school we need to raise awareness among staff, governors, parents and children of the role of the library in developing learning that is life-long and independent, leading to the highest possible attainment by all pupils, while at the same time, viewing the library as a pleasant place to go and enjoy reading for pleasure.

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The latest developments at St Mark‟s CE Junior School has been the opening of a Research Suite. £6,000 was raised by the Friends of the school to completely refurbish the school library. This has now been sited in a new wing, with the ICT room, to provide a learning centre that includes both paper and electronic sources of information and books and other formats such as tapes and CDs to encourage reading for enjoyment. The new facility was opened on World Book Day in 2004 by the Lady Mayor of Salisbury. The school hope to extend the use of the Research Suite to encompass the local community including other schools on the campus as well as parents and residents in the area. The future for primary school libraries As well as the new edition of “Primary school library guidelines” there are two new publications that have been endorsed by Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education “School libraries making a difference” – which sets out how the school library can provide a flexible place for learning and develop pupils as independent learners. “Self-evaluation for primary school librarians” – a toolkit to evaluate progress in the seven key areas identified by Ofsted in the New Framework for Inspection. Copies of both publications will be distributed to primary heads at cluster meetings in the summer term. Susan McCulloch, Learning Resources Sharon Ibbotson, St Mark’s CE Junior School Ann Glenton, Longleaze School

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Appendix 1

Book Shop Visit - MOD 11th March 2002
The purpose of the visit was to involve children in the process of choosing books for the library and to acknowledge their own choice of books. Prior to visit Which children should be the ones to go on the visit to the bookshop? It was decided to invite the children appointed to the school council to be the ones to visit the bookshop. In Yl pairs of children were asked. This meant that 12 children, the head, and two staff would be involved in the visit. . The children who were on the school council were asked to find out what sort of books the rest of the class would like. Obviously the class teachers co-operation was needed for this, especially with the younger children. At the school council meeting immediately prior to the visit the children came with their lists prepared. Details of the visit were explained to them, how much money they would have to spend (£1000 in total) so how much per class was that (about £100 per class) and about how many books would that buy (about 10 hardback and more paper backs) A calculator would be a useful thing to bring (it turned out to be very useful) Visit We arrived at the Wellwisher bookshop in Devizes at 10.00 and Karen the owner was waiting for us with Susan McCulloch and Lesley Hughes, the librarians. Introductions took place, the different areas of the bookshop explained, then the children took off their coats and left them in the bath (the coat pegs being full) and went upstairs. The children settled on the floor around Susan who began by asking them how they had been elected to the school council. How had the money for the books been raised? There had been a sponsored event and the money was to go to two projects - playground toys and books. How did you find out what people wanted? We asked them. We gave out sheets for them to write their choices on. Decisions Susan said that before they could choose books they would need to make some decisions. How many copies of each book? Class 10 wanted several copies of the popular books, while George, Y4, wanted single copies of different books. );> What sort of books Fiction or non-fiction? Should they be hard back or softback? You would get more books with softback. Some decisions had already been made in discussing with classmates. Was there anything that surprised you? How many books they wanted and how many asked for the same type. Quite a few people wanted scary books. The ones in school are not that scary. What about younger children? Perhaps there should be something on the back to identify the type

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of book, and also a 'language warning'. Assessment criteria You will need to make judgements about the books  Pop up books: are they strong? Do they work well?  Instruction book: can I follow the instructions?  How do I know this book is the best? Read the blurb; read what other people say about it.  Non-fiction book: Check the index and contents.  Fiction book: look at chapter headings  Read some of book - is it the right level?  Who is going to read this book? Make you judgement against the 'perfect book' . Selection When you have made you selection have a look and see if it is biased in any way - too many of one sort, too many for one particular group of children What do I really need/want? All this was gone through before we stopped for drink and biscuits The time between drinks and lunch was spent looking at the books and making choices. Two children were sent to ask Karen if there would be any discount. The deal was 15% discount or plastic jackets on the books. Lunch We sat round in the upstairs room and had sandwiches, fruit and cakes After lunch there was a short time for final selections and the children were busy adding up their own totals to see if they had spent their full amount or overspent. This is when the calculators were extremely useful! Susan then added everyone's total which came to £1163. We now had to decide about whether to have the books jacketed. A plastic jacket doubles the life of a book. There was an almost unanimous decision to have plastic jackets. Still more decisions to be made before our choice was complete. We looked at everyone's choice and considered whether to keep or put back double copies, some were unsuitable (too old), some were similar to ones we already had. Negotiations took place so that our agreed total was reached. Agreement at last and a job well done. Satisfaction and enjoyment, and hadn't the day gone quickly. It is worth saying at this point that the children approached their task in a very responsible way. They behaved admirably and it was a real pleasure to be with them and see their enjoyment in what they were doing.

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Appendix 2 Final evaluation task For this we decided to give the children a question to find the answer to. This would mirror what they would be expected to do in reality. Would we be able to see that the children had acquired some library skills? It would also show us what still needed to be done. We had the children in groups of three, mixed ability, from each year group and the tasks were differentiated accordingly. We devised an observation sheet to record what the children did. We had also made sure that there were books with the answers in and we knew what they were!! Findings Yl
     

All children were aware of the fiction and non-fiction areas of the library They knew the answer they needed was in the non-fiction section They were not aware of how the non-fiction was organised and were therefore looking at random They did not understand the relevance of the stickers on the books. There was confusion with the stickers on the reading books ( also sited in the LRC) They needed help to establish the key word 'bird' in the question They were unsure about contents and index

Task achieved with help Y2 All children were aware of the fiction and non-fiction areas of the library  They knew the answer they needed was in the non-fiction section  They used the Booktracker chart when reminded, otherwise would have looked at random.  They knew how the colours worked but not the numbers  They were therefore able to look on the shelves in the appropriate places  They looked through the section at random but were able to find some relevant books  They needed reminding about contents and index, but knew what they were for and could use them Comment: it's not very good if it doesn't say (i. e. if there is no contents page or index)


Task achieved with help

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Y3
      

All children were aware of the fiction and non-fiction areas of the library They knew the answer they needed was in the non-fiction section All were aware how non-fiction is organised and immediately went to Booktracker books and chart They were therefore able to find relevant books quite easily They needed help to identify key words They used both contents and index and were able to locate the answer They also knew that they had the answer and could answer the question in their own words

Task achieved. Children were confident in the process Y4
      

All children were aware of the fiction and non-fiction areas of the library They knew the answer they needed was in the non-fiction section All were aware how non-fiction is organised and immediately went to Booktracker books and chart They knew about the colours and the numbers and were therefore able to find relevant books quite easily With help they were able to identify key words to narrow the search They used both contents and index and were able to locate the answer They were able to process the information and could answer the question in their own words

Task achieved. Y5
       

All children were aware of the fiction and non-fiction areas of the library They knew the answer they needed was in the non-fiction section With discussion identified key words and which books might be useful Used Booktracker books and chart and knew how non-fiction was organised Were able to find relevant books They used both contents and index with confidence Found relevant passage in book but did not relate it to the question Tended to dismiss book because information was not on the expected page

Task achieved with help Y6
   

All children were aware of the fiction and non-fiction areas of the library They knew the answer they needed was in the non-fiction section With discussion identified key words and associated words (also lateral thinking about when the tunnel was built) Used Booktracker book to locate key words, numbers as well as colours

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 

Needed the suggestion about making a collection of useful books Were good at finding books but less good at narrowing search to key words in order to answer question

Task achieved with help.

Task Y1 Y2
Can you find a book that would tell you about birds' nests ? (such as where they build them, what they build them from)
[The nest Usbourne First nature - Birds]

Y3 Y4
I want to know about how a helicopter flies. Can you find a book that would explain that?
[Flight Through Time]

YS Y6 When they were building the channel tunnel (or any large tunnel) how did they get all the earth out?
[How Building machines work]

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Appendix 3

Many of the teaching strategies used are familiar to us and form an integral part of our current teaching. What is now required is a systematic approach to introducing and developing the skills throughout the school. Literacy Focus Children were selected across the KS2 and ability range and asked to complete a Library Questionnaire to identify the types of books children want to read and borrow from their school library. The results of this can be found in Appendix 4. The results gathered suggest that, amongst the children who completed the questionnaire, (63 pupils), there is an enthusiasm for reading in our school and a desire to borrow books, both fiction and non-fiction, from the school library. Favourite authors identified included Roald Dahl, Dick King Smith and J.K. Rowling. The library has a good stock of these books. Books about sport were also popular and the stock of these needs increasing. We are now keen to encourage greater numbers of children to use the library. Ideas for developing this are to be found at the end of this report, in the What Now? section. Since the questionnaire was completed, the Friends of St Mark's and their children have also requested the following books:
   

Easy versions of classics, such as Wind in the Willows, Alice etc. The Princess Diaries Animal Ark books Books by  Jacqueline Wilson  Enid Blyton,  Alan Ahlberg

Non-fiction books requested: Horrible Histories Nature Dictionaries A number of the books identified by the survey and by parents have now been ordered. In addition, we have bought a wide range of poetry books to meet the demand from pupils and to replenish and replace an ageing stock. These have been paid for by the School and by the Friends. The Friends, as part of their awareness raising and fundraising have also suggested Book Pledges and Gift Aid cash donations to buy books. They have offered to advertise and collect coupons for Walkers Crisps/ newspapers Books for Schools. Another idea has been to provide an ordering service for parents who would like to buy books on-line, but lack the facility. -

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During the project we developed a process model to describe interactions with non-fiction texts and alongside this model developed a range of teaching strategies and materials. A summary of this model is given below,

Extending Interactions with Texts: The EXIT model

Process stages 1. Activation of previous knowledge 2. Establishing purposes. 3. Locating information 4. Adopting an appropriate strategy 5. Interacting with text 6. Monitoring understanding 7. Making a record 8.Evaluating information 9. Assisting memory 10. Communicating information

Teaching Strategies 1. Brainstorming, concept mapping, KWL grids 2.Question-setting, KWL and QUADS grids , 3. Situating the learning in meaningful contexts 4. Metacognitive discussion, teacher modelling 5. DARTs, text marking and restructuring genre exchange 6. Teacher modelling, strategy charts 7. Teacher modelling, writing frames, grids 8. Modelling, discussion of biased texts 9. Review, revisit, restructuring 10. Writing in a range of genres, writing frames, non-fiction books, drama, other alternative outcomes

A full account of the project and the teaching strategies we have developed has been published in a number of articles and a book (Wray, D. & Lewis, M. (1997) Extending Literao/ Routledge).

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Appendix 4 LONGLEAZE PRIMARY SCHOOL POLICY ON THE USE OF THE LEARNING RESOURCES CENTRE 1. Statement Longleaze School is committed to raising the standards and quality of experiences that we provide for the children who attend this school. This policy is to ensure maximum and effective use of the Learning Resources Centre (LRC). 2. Aims Our Learning Resources Centre is for all members of the School community, but is targeted at providing children with positive and exciting Learning Resource Centre experiences. Our Learning Resources Centre is used to support the curriculum study of our children and to support personal pleasurable reading. Our Learning Resource Centre is used to teach children how to use, handle and respect books. 3. Resources To ensure a breadth and balance of the resources within the school's Learning Resources Centre, the whole staff will be involved in the ordering and updating of books. This will ensure the Learning Resources Centre supports the curriculum. The Learning Resources Centre co-ordinator will lead this process, and will ensure the purchase of new materials also supports and encourages children's own reading. The Learning Resources Centre stock will be reviewed in an ongoing programme by the LRC co-ordinator in order that the collection can be kept up to date and relevant. Wiltshire and Swindon Learning Resources Team will be asked to review stock periodically to give advice and update. The governors will commit funds annually to the Learning Resources Centre to fund the replacement of books. 4. Environment The Learning Resources Centre is used to promote books and reading. It has been designed in distinct areas for easy access by the children. The furniture shall provide opportunity for study, such as some work tables and chairs. There are more informal areas with floor cushions and easy chairs. Classes are timetabled to use the Learning Resources Centre every week, but are also allowed open access with their teacher's permission. During their time in the Learning Resources Centre, children will be taught and encouraged

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to use a variety of Library skills. These will include:
  

selecting appropriate reading material; finding the required book using the "Booktracker" system handling and replacing books correctly.

The school will develop and review a scheme of developmental library skills. Plants and other artefacts will be used to enhance the environment. Y6 children are given responsibility for watering plants, tidying bookshelves etc. Displays should raise awareness of books, authors or show relevant material, and may include children's work. 5. Organisation The Learning Resources Centre contains the reading scheme books. These are colour coded with coloured labels near the base of the spine, according to the Cliff Moon classification. The fiction section is colour coded with small colour labels near the top of the spine as follows  Blue picture book  Green easy story books for emergent readers;  Yellow more difficult picture books and a medium range of story books for developing readers;  Red story books for independent readers these books are arranged in alphabetical order. Sets of guided reading books and big books are also stored in the Learning Resources Centre. Any of these books can be used to supplement class book corners. Loans from Wilts and Swindon Learning Resources can also be used in book corners and in the Learning Resources Centre. The range of fiction books provided shall cover a variety of social situations and cultures. If any of the language or subject material in the books causes concern, it shall be referred to the English co-ordinator. The non fiction section is coded according to the "Booktracker" system. This is a simplified version of the Dewey Decimal system. Books have a large coloured label and a number label near the base of the spine. Poetry books are labelled with a P and are kept separately. It is the responsibility of each subject co-ordinator to review the section of books related to their subject and inform the Learning Resources Centre co-ordinator of any new books required, out of date books and gaps in subject material.

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Appendix 5

Library Policy St Mark’s CE Junior School

Introduction

'What we learn from good books and other resources becomes part of us.' Library Association

1.1

The school curriculum develops enjoyment of, and commitment to, learning as a means of encouraging and stimulating the best possible progress and the highest possible attainment by all pupils. The role of our school library is central to supporting our children's learning. It plays a key role in helping our children to develop their communication and informationhandling skills. It also offers them a view of the world that is free from stereotypes, is inclusive and promotes equality of opportunity for all. Our library helps our children become independent and lifelong learners through offering opportunity for the children to take responsibility for their own learning. The resources in our library support the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum by promoting the ability in children to read fluently a range of literary and non-fiction texts, and to reflect critically on what they read. Aims and objectives

1.2

2.1

The aims of our library are:  to extend children's learning experiences;  to develop children's skills as independent learners;  to support teaching and learning in our school, and to enrich the curriculum;  to provide opportunities for children to access resources for themselves. Organisation

3.1 3.2 3.3

Our school library is a centre of learning that we make accessible to all the children and staff at our school. The resources within it promote equality of opportunity for all our children. The physical environment of the library is designed to stimulate our children. This motivates them to explore resources for their work in school and for personal study. The library has collections of fiction and non-fiction. We classify all non-fiction books according to the 'Book Tracker' Simplified Dewey Decimal Classification System. We use coloured labels to identify general themes within the collections. Fiction books are classified alphabetically by author within themes, ego historical, adventure etc. Each classroom also has a small fiction collection. Computers with CD, Internet access and a range of multimedia resources are located adjacent to the library, in the IT suite.

3.4

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3.5

The library is operated by Year 6 librarians, on a rota system. Children's cards are held in the library. Our library is open during normal school hours. Each year group has a time each week in order to browse and borrow books. The library may be used for personal study or class use during lesson time.

3.6

3.7

The library is also open from 3.30 to 4.30 each afternoon for parents to select books with their children. A parent helper is available during these times to support parents and children. The Schools Library Service is used to supplement the range of resources available to children. Our children further develop their library skills through work linked to the literacy hour. Resources

3.8 3.9

4.1

The library co-ordinator manages the school library and library resources across the school, with the support of parent librarians. We use the Schools Library Service to provide specialist advice and support where necessary. A parent helps in the library when it is open at the end of each school day. Teachers, pupils and parents are involved in the purchasing of library resources. We use our library resources to positively promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children and to reflect the needs of all our pupils. The school allocates funding each year to support the library. This funding is supplemented by the Friends of St. Mark's. Stock is reviewed regularly to ensure that our resources are in good condition, up to date and relevant to our children's needs. Evaluation

4.2 4.3

4.4 4.5

5.1

The library co-ordinator reviews the effectiveness of our library on an annual basis. This is used to inform future developments in the library.

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