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					SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
PGCE (SECONDARY) COURSE 2009-10

Experience in a primary school

Teachers achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) are required to be aware of
expectations, typical curricula and teaching arrangements in the Key Stages or phases
before and after the ones they are trained to teach. For secondary trainees on the 11 to 18
age range course at the University of Leeds this means undertaking a primary school
experience.

Your course of teacher-training starts when you go into a school on Monday 7 September
2009 to undertake your primary school experience.

These notes are designed to help you to get the most out of your placement and to maximise
your understanding of the transition between KS2 and KS3. We cannot specify the exact
form your work will take and you will need to negotiate a timetable with your school's
headteacher - preferably before 7 September if possible – however, we would like you to
gain agreement to undertake as many of the activities specified below as time and
circumstances allow. A copy of these guidelines should be given to the headteacher of the
school in order that s/he is aware of the experience you need to gain.

During the primary experience you should keep a file detailing the experiences and
activities you have undertaken on your placement, organising it according to the areas of
focus outlined in these guidelines. In addition, at the end of your placement you will have to
write a 1500 word assignment based on your experience and observations. Details of the
requirements for this piece of work can be found in this document.

Secondary PGCE Primary School Experience

The transition from primary school to secondary is a crucial time in a child’s learning and
development. It is necessary to understand the differences and similarities inherent in both
phases, in order to build on existing success and prior learning.

It is important for secondary teachers to appreciate the work carried out by their primary
colleagues, the styles of teaching and learning etc. It is the intention that the primary school
experience allows secondary PGCE students an insight into the workings of a primary school
and to see firsthand how primary colleagues prepare their pupils for transition into KS3. You
will need to apply your knowledge and understanding of this aspect in your teaching.

The purpose of the primary school experience is to facilitate secondary PGCE students’
understanding and appreciation of the education process, from reception onwards, and to
illustrate that children have a seven year educational background in schooling before they
enter secondary school in year 7. It is imperative to understand the teaching experiences to
which children have been exposed and how these shape their understanding and learning.
A misconception, and one that is thankfully waning, is that a child spends their entire time in
primary school ‘sticking and gluing’. In fact, they enter reception with few reading and writing
skills to draw upon and work through an extensive programme of cognitive development in all
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curriculum subjects until they reach year 6 and have become rational, independent learners
with a wealth of learning experience and skills upon which to draw. .

Furthermore, it is not to be forgotten that these children have already undergone one
successful transition between key stages, from KS1 to KS2.

During your primary school experience you will be required to focus on three main aspects of
teaching: teaching of your subject, literacy and language, and numeracy across the
curriculum, but also try to observe as many different subjects being taught by as many
teachers as possible. This will give you an opportunity to observe many different teaching
and learning styles.

Please Note
There is a series of ‘pre – placement’ and ‘placement tasks’ which you should undertake in
order to help you develop an understanding of these issues and support your writing of the
Primary Experience Report

We hope that your Primary School Experience will be interesting, useful and enjoyable. We
are sure that it will provide you with invaluable insights, knowledge and understanding to
bring to your Secondary PGCE training.


Language, Literacy and numeracy across the curriculum – some background
information

‘Language is the prime medium through which pupils learn and express themselves across
the curriculum, and all teachers have a stake in effective literacy’. [Professor David Hopkins,
Primary Strategy, 2003]

The notion of literacy embedded in all subject objectives is much more than simply the
acquisition of ‘basic skills’ which is sometimes implied by the word: it encompasses the ability
to recognise, understand and manipulate the conventions of language, and the development
of the imaginative and flexible use of language. It also includes speaking and listening skills
which enable the child to meet the full demands of the National Curriculum, and the
development of their oral skills in parallel with their comprehension of written texts.

Essentially literacy and language should not be treated as discrete subjects but must be
embedded in all subject objectives and the teacher needs to facilitate the use of language
and literacy skills in all areas of the curriculum. Opportunities to use a variety of different
subject texts make cross-curricular links easy to manage, e.g. recount a science experiment:
here how to write a ‘recount’ is taught in literacy yet the model text is from science. Similarly,
when children are required to record/write about a geographical event, their attention would
be drawn to the report writing covered in literacy.

Skills and strategies taught in reading, e.g. using phonic recognition, contextual clues,
pictorial clues etc., all can be used in accessing texts from other curriculum subjects.

In the same way that literacy and language development and use exist outside of (as well as
within) the English curriculum, numeracy sits outside, as well as within, the mathematics
curriculum. Skills taught and acquired in numeracy can and should be applied across the
curriculum. For instance, children are taught problem solving techniques where they are
required to study a problem and through discussion with peers, or individually, decide how to
approach the problem, identifying key words or phrases, they decide upon the operation(s) to
be used and through trial and error test their theory until the answer is found. Equally,
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children are taught to present their findings in numeracy in a variety of ways, e.g. tables,
bar/line/pictorial graphs, pie charts etc., these skills are transferable to other subjects within
the National Curriculum.

It is the intention that children perceive that the skills they are taught in numeracy, language
and literacy can be, and ought to be, used in other areas of the curriculum

You may find it useful to look at :

www.ttrb.ac.uk               Teacher Training Resource Bank
www.multiverse.ac.uk         Diversity and Achievement
www.teachernet.gov.uk        Education site for Teachers.

Numeracy and literacy across the curriculum – some considerations

Try to observe other subjects, as well as maths and English, being taught to see if cross-
curricular links are being made. What evidence is there that numeracy and literacy skills are
being taught in other subjects? Do teachers remind children of previous concepts covered in
their numeracy or literacy sessions that they could draw upon e.g. writing a report or recount
in history, producing a graph in science or DT to show findings, using role-play, or
performing? Are problem-solving skills taught in maths being applied in different lessons,
e.g. science or DT?

Look for examples of where numeracy, literacy and language skills were used in other
curriculum subjects. Did this have an impact on the quality of work produced by the
children? Do you think these skills are transferable from subject to subject? Can you give
examples when literacy and numeracy skills could have been used and weren’t, and how you
would have incorporated these into the lesson? Remember to focus on how this informs
your understanding of the transition between KS2 and KS3 and how this will benefit your
teaching and learning in KS3/4. Your should also make sure that you spend time looking
(where possible) at KS1 and how learning and teaching at this stage ‘links’ to KS2 and
beyond.

Subject Teaching – some considerations

Is organisation of the learning environment for the teaching of your subject based on whole-
class teaching? Are ‘topics’ being used as a framework for teaching and learning a number
of subjects in an integrated fashion ? Is the ability of individual children carefully considered
and taken into account in order to encourage effective learning? Because of the wide
spectrum of abilities, is work differentiated to enable all children to achieve realistic
expectations and learning targets? To facilitate interest, learning and achievement, is
emphasis placed upon an exciting and stimulating learning environment, appealing to
children both visually and kinaesthetically, i.e. bright, relevant, informative and interactive
classroom displays to support lessons and to celebrate children's achievements?

Look for examples of different approaches to the organisation of teaching and learning for
your subject and question their effectiveness. Are the learning environments stimulating and
does the teacher use displays as a teaching tool? Are displays bright, informative and
interactive? Do other members of staff within the classroom have a clear role and how does
this improve the quality of teaching and learning? How are children grouped for particular
tasks – why? Is there evidence of high expectations of children’s achievement? Remember
to focus on how this informs your understanding of the transition between KS2 and KS3 and
how this might benefit your teaching and learning in KS3/4. Your should also make sure that

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you spend time looking (where possible) at KS1 and how learning and teaching at this stage
‘links’ to KS2 and beyond.


The primary experience, tasks and report
Pre-placement tasks and guidance

You should look at this guidance and the pre-placement tasks PRIOR to undertaking your
Primary Placement and before completing the report.

Please note that there is focus on your subject, but also on literacy and numeracy since
these are key areas of children’s learning to which all subjects contribute, and for which they
have responsibility.

In terms of your understanding of numeracy and literacy learning, in subject teaching at KS3
and beyond, it is, therefore, essential that you gain some understanding of how children’s
competence and confidence in these areas are developed in their primary experiences,
which precede their entry in to the secondary school.

Subject – pre-placement tasks and guidance

   1) Look at the National Curriculum website and follow the links to your subject area for
      KS 2.

   2) Browse the site in order to familiarise yourself with the requirements and guidance for
      the teaching of your subject for this age range (9-11)

http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/key-stages-1-and-2/subjects/index.aspx


Numeracy (and Mathematics) – pre-placement tasks and guidance

It is important to recognise that in the Key Stage 3 National Strategy Framework for teaching
mathematics: Years 7, 8 and 9 (Page 9) ‘Numeracy’ is referred to as:

        ‘ a proficiency, which is developed mainly in mathematics but also in other
        subjects. It is more than an ability to do basic arithmetic. It involves
        developing confidence and competence with numbers and measures. It
        requires understanding of the number system, a repertoire of mathematical
        techniques, and an inclination and ability to solve quantitative or spatial
        problems in a range of contexts. Numeracy also demands understanding of
        the ways in which data are gathered by counting and measuring, and
        presented in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables.'

   1) Look at the National Strategies website

http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/primary/      and   follow   the   links   to   the
mathematics framework.

   2) Browse the site in order to familiarise yourself with its content. In particular, follow the
      links to ‘Planning Guidance’, ‘Year Blocks’ – particularly Year 6 and ‘Resources
      Library ’.

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Literacy and language (and English) - pre- placement tasks and guidance

In common with the relationship between numeracy and mathematics, the relationship
between literacy, language and English and the ways these are conceptualised and
addressed in the curriculum is complex. The focus of these tasks, however is the teaching of
literacy and language as opposed to the teaching of English.

   1)     Look at the National Strategies website

   http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/primary/ and follow the links to the literacy
   framework.

   2) Browse the site in order to familiarise yourself with its content. In particular, follow the
   links to ‘Planning Guidance’, ‘Year Units’ – particularly Year 6 and ‘Literacy Resources
   Library ’.

   3) Follow the Links to ‘Letters and Sounds’ within the literacy framework page (in CLD
      section) – this gives guidance and information about the use of phonics in teaching
      reading.

   4) Read the ‘Rose Report’.


Primary Placement Tasks

Subject (English, maths, MFL, science)

          a) Talk to the school’s coordinator for your subject to find out the school’s policy
             on learning and teaching for your subject at KS2 and particularly in year 6.

          b) Observe at least one class teacher to find out how s/he is implementing the
             schools’ policy on the learning and teaching of your subject, preferably in Year
             6.

          c) Make notes on the particular challenges which Primary colleagues appear to
             face in teaching your subject, and identify the issues which this raises for
             secondary teachers of your subject, particularly in year 7.

          NB Your notes will provide evidence for you to use in the writing of the primary
          report.

Numeracy

          a) talk to the numeracy coordinator. This may be same person who is the
             mathematics coordinator for the school. Find out the school’s policy on
             ‘numeracy across the curriculum’, and what this means in terms of numeracy
             teaching and learning across the school, and within subject-teaching contexts;

          b) Talk to at least one class teacher to find out how s/he addresses the teaching
             of numeracy in at least one subject.

          NB English, MFL* and science students may focus on their subject. In the case of
          mathematics students, choose another subject on which to focus.

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          * MFL students may need to choose an other subject if there is no MFL teaching
          taking place during the placement.

          c) Observe at least one class teacher to find out how s/he is implementing the
             schools’ policy on the teaching of numeracy in subjects other than
             mathematics, preferably in Year 6.

          d) Make notes on the issues which your observations and discussions raise in
             relation to children’s numeracy abilities, and identify the issues which this
             raises for secondary teachers of your subject, particularly in year 7.

          NB Your notes will provide evidence for you to use in the writing of the primary
          report.

Literacy and Language

          a) Visit the school library to find out what resources are available to support
             language and literacy development;

          b) Observe how language and literacy are being developed in class teaching –
             particularly year 6 if possible

          c) Observe at least one class to find out how literacy and language capabilities
             are being developed in the context of the teaching of your subject – if possible.

          d) Find out how ‘Phonics’ are being used within the teaching of reading in the
             school.

          e) Make notes on the issues which your observations and discussions raise in
             relation to children’s literacy and language abilities, and identify the issues
             which this raises for secondary teachers of your subject, particularly in year 7.

          NB Your notes will provide evidence for you to use in the writing of the primary
          report.


Guidance for Writing the Primary School Experience Report (1500 words)

At the end of your Primary School Experience you will be required to write a 1500 word
assignment based on your investigations and experiences relating to teaching and learning
in your subject and numeracy, literacy and language across the curriculum.


This is the first piece of assessed work you have to do for the course and it will be marked on
a Pass/Fail basis. Should your first submission not meet the Pass standard your tutor will
advise you on how to improve the assignment and you will have the opportunity to rework it
and present it again.

You will be expected to draw upon the observations you have made and suggest how these
have informed your understanding of the transition between KS2 and 3 and how this
knowledge and understanding might aid your own teaching. What similarities and parallels
with primary and secondary teaching can you draw? How might you apply your knowledge
and understanding of the transition in your own teaching?

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The following questions/prompts/suggestions are given as guidance, intended to focus your
attention on teaching techniques and situations that might prove informative and aid you in
the writing of your assignment.

This piece of work is a required part of the course which is used to:

a) assist students’ developing understanding of the relationships between primary and
secondary schools;

b) give student’s the opportunity to write an academic essay without the pressure of formal
assessment. This is particularly important for the many students who have not written in this
style for some considerable time;

and

c) help tutors to identify any support needs, in terms of academic writing, which may be
needed by individuals or groups of students.

Each Method tutor will discuss these reports and help student teachers who have found the
exercise difficult. This assignment is not formally assessed.

The report should be handed to your method tutor at your first full method session in w/c 14
September 2009.

You may find it useful to consider these questions and integrate your responses into your
report.

The report should focus on three aspect of primary schooling. These are a) teaching of your
subject e.g. maths, MFL, English or science b) numeracy and c) literacy and language.

In writing this report you will be expected to:

   a) draw upon the tasks you have undertaken (pre and during placement)
   b) suggest how these have informed your understanding of the transition between KS2
      and KS3
   c) suggest how this knowledge and understanding in each of the three aspects might aid
      your own teaching
   d) Draw on relevant literature to support your discussion and assertions.

Teaching of your subject e.g. maths, MFL, English or science

      What are the similarities, parallels and differences between primary and secondary
       teaching of your subject?
      How might you apply your knowledge and understanding of the teaching of your
       subject in the primary context to your own teaching, in order to aid pupils’ ‘transition’
       between primary and secondary?

Numeracy

      How was ‘numeracy’ addressed in the primary school where you are placed? What
       are the reasons for this ‘approach’?
      How was the teaching of ‘numeracy’ within your subject undertaken in this school?
       What were the reasons for this ‘approach’?

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Literacy and Language

      How was ‘literacy’ and ‘language’ teaching addressed in the primary school where you
       were placed? What were the reasons given for this ‘approach’?
      How is the teaching of reading and particularly the use of ‘phonics’ undertaken in this
       school? What are the reasons for this ‘approach’?

NB In writing the report you will be expected to refer to research and academic literature in
the relevant field and to present your work according to the academic conventions laid out
below.


Alternative Assignment ONLY for those students NOT undertaking primary experience
at the start of the course.

Choose ONE of the following :

a) 'Discuss and analyse critically the recent arguments in the press concerning the the
number of students achieving A and A star grades at GCSE'

b) 'Examine and analyse critically your recent experiences as an adult learner on a subject
enhancement course'

c) 'Everyone remembers a good teacher' - discuss this statement in relation to your own
experience of schooling and analyse critically your conclusions about the nature of 'good
teaching' which arise from it'

In answering one of these questions you will be expected to refer to research and academic
literature in the relevant field and to present your work according to the academic
conventions laid out here.

NB If you are undertaking one of these alternative assignments you must hand it in during
your subject session in w/c 14 September.

Presentation of Academic Assignments

It is expected that all work will be of the highest possible standard. Standard of presentation
is important and every effort should be made to produce literate and well-structured
assignments, which are accurate in terms of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Students
should observe these guidelines for the presentation of work.

Assignments (or comparable work) should be word-processed (double spacing) on A4 paper
with a margin of approximately 1.5"/4 cm on the left of each page. All essays should be
proof-read to avoid 'typographical errors'.

Candidates must ensure that pages are numbered, spelling is correct and conventions used
are consistent throughout the essay.

References
References must be provided for all sources quoted using a recognised, appropriate system.
The School of Education strongly recommends that students use the Harvard System which
is clear, simple and easy to use. References are cited in the body of the text, and listed
alphabetically in the bibliography.

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Further examples and more information may be obtained by accessing the University
Library guidance at

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/library/training/referencing/harvard.htm

Abbreviations
If abbreviations are used in the text, a list should appear on a separate sheet following the
title sheet.

Footnotes
Where footnotes are used they may be given at the foot of the appropriate page or grouped
together at the end of each chapter or section. They may be numbered sequentially
throughout the work or numbered separately on each page where they occur. Reference
numbers in the text should be typed above the line.

Appendices
Appendices (if any) should appear at the end of the assignment immediately before the
bibliography.

Number of words

Students sometimes submit assignments that are far longer than required, in the mistaken
belief that a longer assignment is a better assignment.

Individual copies may be checked for plagiarism, as stated on the registration document
declaration, either as part of a random sample or in connection with a potential case of
plagiarism.

It is the responsibility of students to hand in work, in the appropriate format, at the correct
time, and to obtain a dated receipt for their work

NB
The Primary Experience Report (or alternative for those NOT undertaking primary
experience at the start of the course, is handed in during the first subject session in
w/c 14 September 2009.




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experience ptp1 info 2009 .doc




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