The Headteacher's Blog
Welcome to Lydgate Junior School.
We aim to ensure that all children receive a high quality, enjoyable and exciting education.
We feel that our school is a true reflection of the community we serve. Lydgate children are well motivated and come from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. Within the school community we appreciate the richness of experience that the children bring to school. This enhances the learning experiences of everyone and it also gives all pupils the opportunity to develop respect and tolerance for each other by working and playing together. We want your child's time at Lydgate to be memorable for the right reasons - that is, a happy, fulfilling and successful period of his/her childhood.
Welcome to Year 3!
The Y3 Team includes Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/deB), Miss Cunningham (3EC), Mrs Webb & Mrs Watkinson (3W/W) and Miss Roberts & Mrs Noble (3AR). We have three Teaching Assistants who work with small groups and help across the four classes: Mrs Dale, Ms Kania and Mr Swain. Mrs Proctor, one of our regular volunteers, also helps out in all four classes.
We will use this blog to keep you up-to-date with all the exciting things that we do in Year 3, share some of the things that the children learn and show you some of their fantastic work. We hope you enjoy reading it!
The Y3 team.
Welcome to the Year 5 Blog page.
The Year 5 teaching team includes our class teachers, Mrs Parker (5AP), Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (5RJ), Miss Reasbeck and Mrs Ridsdale (5RR) and Mrs Holden (5SH). . Many children are supported by Mrs Hill and Mrs Allen (the Year 5Teaching Assistants) who work with children across the 4 classes. Our Year 5 teaching team aims to create a stimulating learning environment that is safe, happy, exciting and challenging, where each pupil is encouraged to achieve their full potential.
As a parent or carer, you play a massively important role in your child's development and we'd love to work closely with you. Please feel free to make an appointment to see us if you want to discuss your child's attitude to learning, their progress, attainment or anything else that might be on your mind. We'd also love to hear from you if you have any skills that we could use to make our Year 5 curriculum even more exciting. Are you an avid reader, a talented sportsman, a budding artist, a mad scientist or a natural mathematician? Would you be willing to listen to children read on a regular basis? If so, please contact your child’s class teacher. Similarly, if you have a good idea, a resource, a 'contact' or any other way of supporting our learning in year 5, please let us know.
We are working very hard to ensure your child has a successful year 5, please help us with this by ensuring your child completes and returns any homework they are given each week. If there are any issues regarding homework or your child finds a particular piece of homework challenging, then please do not hesitate to come and speak to us. In order to help improve your child’s reading skills, increase their vocabulary and develop their comprehension skills, we also ask that you listen to your child read and ask them questions to ensure they have understood what they have read.
We look forward to keeping you up to date on the exciting things that we do in year 5 through our year group blog.
The Year 5 Team
We are the children in Y6 at Lydgate Junior School. There are 120 of us and our teachers are: Mrs Purdom, Mrs Phillips, Mrs Loosley and Mrs Wymer. Our Monday and Thursday morning teachers are Mrs Farrell, Miss Lee and Mr Jones.We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Ainsworth, Mrs Cooper, Mr Jenkinson, Mrs Biggs and Mrs Dawes. We use this space to share all of the great things that are happening in our classrooms. Join us each week on our learning journey....
We were looking at some end-point data from one of the spelling interventions we run. (To be sure that each intervention works we measure on the way in and on the way out.) It is a twelve-week programme, targeted at children who have a ‘spelling age’ significantly behind their chronological age.
The basic theory for a successful, effective, well-delivered SEND programme is that it should produce twice the normal rate of progress. So over the twelve weeks we hope / expect / want to see 6 months progress in spelling age (or reading age if it’s a reading programme), otherwise we start asking other questions: wrong intervention, wrong children, inaccurate measure, other factors, implemented as intended?
What the data has led me to is some personal professional (statistics) learning: I need to better understand ‘outliers’, how to define them, and when it is appropriate to remove them from a set of scores.
It is fairly easy to see how it would be hasty to base a judgement about the success of a programme on the progress or otherwise of a single participant. Likewise a single test might be too narrow to justify a confident statement of progress for the participant. To judge the programme / intervention itself we want to aggregate and average the progress scores from a decent sized group.
And this is what brought me to identifying my own learning need. Tests scores (using the same test in and out) showed a range, as we’d expect, of levels of progress. We calculated the number of months gained for each child in the programme, some with disbelief – not in the child but in the scale (and sometimes direction) of the scores. The lowest progress scores was minus 8 months, suggesting the child had lost eight months off their ‘spelling age’ in the three month period. The greatest progress was an apparent gain of two years and 10 months, or plus 34 months!
The majority were grouped between 1 month and 9 months, so that plus 34 looks extraordinary / unlikely / inexplicable. It matters because it puts over two months gain per pupil on the mean average. I needed to learn whether and how to discount it (and then what we would report to parents about this child’s progress if we disbelieved the test score).
'Mathwords', sort of helpfully, defines an outlier as: A data point that is distinctly separate from the rest of the data. One definition of outlier is any data point more than 1.5 interquartile ranges (IQRs) below the first quartile or above the third quartile.
So now I need to work out how to calculate the quartiles for the set of data, and the inter quartile range.
There is no hard and fast advice on whether to remove (and report) the outlier(s) as they may be the most interesting and significant data in the whole set!
We will continue to question it all, I think.
- how well a person, machine, etc. does a piece of work or an activity
- the action of entertaining other people by dancing, singing,acting, or playing music:
a performance (mainly uk informal)
- an action or type of behaviour that involves a lot of attention to detail or to small matters that are not important
DfE has published the annual ‘Performance Tables’ this week for end of Key Stage 2 assessments in 2018.
All the usual caveats must be applied when you read the data – are you comparing like with like, is it progress or attainment that matters, reading or maths, funding – does that matter, disadvantage levels, what does the data hide, why publish average teacher salary, what about the private sector, why are so many Academies excluded, how can you tell if small schools do well if their data isn’t published, Infant Schools have no data, is this a one-year snap shot or a three year average?
Dig back through this blog series and you will find me writing about a question at interview (how would you place the school) and about more important things than scores and gloating.
Well, we still are not top of the table, but we are doing very well, thank you. Out of Sheffield’s fourteen Junior Schools (surely a sensible comparison set) we have the:
- second lowest absence
- third highest percentage meeting the 'combined' (reading, writing and maths) expected standard
- second highest reading progress score
- third highest writing progress score
- second highest maths progress score
- fourth highest percentage for higher standard for 'combined'
- fourth highest average score in reading, and
- fourth highest average score in maths,
- AND all with the fourth largest pupil to teacher ratio.
Year 4 thrilled a hallful of parents with the annual pantomime this morning in a demonstration of a different definition of ‘performance’. Huge applause and appreciation was heard and felt because it was brilliant. The story was ‘Cinderella’ but with plenty of twists included. Cinderella was forced to change her life goals once she saw how shallow and desperate the Prince was, and found happiness somewhere else entirely.
The singing was amazing – harmonies and split parts, solos and choruses, actions and dancing. Words were clear as a bell, and jokes were delivered with comic timing.
This was the sort of performance I really wouldn’t mind being judged on.
I hope we didn’t make too much of ‘a performance’ in our organisation and control around FOLA’s Christmas discos. These are run by the volunteer parent team, with a good slice of staff support. They want to be safe and sure and confident they have all the bases covered, and so felt the need to have booking tickets available, and to put out an indicative limit on attendance numbers.
We had two very busy events in the one evening and a whole lot of fun was had, but the volume of email, text and message must have added enormously to their stress leading up to opening the doors.
I think they did an excellent job.
It’s been another really good week.
Is it due to better and better teaching, harder and harder working pupils, greater and greater support from parents, education reforms, curriculum change, the positive impact of successive Secretaries of State for Education, evolution, the internet, an inevitable and unstoppable law of social change, or something else entirely?
GCSE results hit an all-time high: tests are getting easier?
A* at A Level reaches a new record high: curriculum is narrower?
Three quarters of graduates get a 2:1 or first class honours degree: Universities are inflating grades?
8% increase nationally in ‘new’ Key Stage 2 tests in their second year: teaching to the test and losing a ‘rich curriculum’?
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a French naturalist who developed a theory that learned behaviour of an animal, which is supposed to result from physical and chemical changes in the nervous system, can be inherited by its offspring. Lamarck was writing 70 years or so before Darwin.
According to the hypothesis of formative causation, there is no difference between innate and learned behaviour. This hypothesis therefore admits a possible transmission of learned behaviour from one animal to another, and leads to testable predictions of the Lamarckian theory.
'Cultural inheritance', whereby the offspring learn patterns of behaviour from their parents or other adults, is different – it requires the adult and offspring to be together. Lamarckian theory and ‘formative causation’ do not.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? If I learn a new skill, such as playing an instrument, speaking a new language or running a maze, my children will acquire the same skills quicker than I did?
Except this has been demonstrated in the lab (using rats learning to run mazes using negative stimuli). Successive generations of rats learn novel mazes quicker and quicker, even though they were not raised by their parents - the knowledge could not be passed by demonstration or modelling.
However, Lamarck’s theory fails to explain the continued presence of simple organisms, while Darwin’s expects them to always exist, and Lamarck’s ideas fell out of favour.Students at all ages ARE scoring higher than ever before, so something is causing this progress. It may be hasty of any group to claim all the credit, though many would like to.
‘You don’t do much in the last weeks of term, anyway; just watch a few films.’
This is sometimes given as a justification for absence in term time for family holiday. How far from reality it is.
Just this last week we have seen:
- A Year 6 class assembly, much appreciated,
- The (whole) Year 4 Pantomime Performance, greatly acclaimed,
- A dress rehearsal for a Year 3 audience, admired,
- Bread baking in Year 5, using children’s own added ingredients, delicious,
- Baking in Year 6 (croissants), very impressive,
- Foodbank collection, really impressive and gratefully received,
- Christmas School Dinner served to around 300 pupils, massively popular,
- Christmas Service at St. Mark’s, Broomhill, featuring choir, wind band and hand bells, nativity and art club, wonderfully inspiring
- FOLA disco, times two, big fun,
- Year 5 science at King Edward VII, quite interesting,
- Measuring and calculating perimeter in Year 3 maths, pretty useful,
- Focused SP&G work in Year 6, following test analysis, filling gaps in learning,
- Swimming lessons in Year 4, life skill building,
- Spelling, handwriting, PE, music, art, writing, paired, guided, shared and individual reading , RE, assembly, and so on as normal.
Yes, there might be a film in a year group, and a party, and perhaps an afternoon of Christmas-related Art and Craft. These are rewards, social occasions, engaging, and staffed. We hope we have ‘worked hard and played hard’ all term long, and we will be teaching right up to the last day of term.
We’ll start teaching again on the very first day of the new term: there is no time to lose or lost.
You’ll probably end up somewhere else.
We all deal with a whole lot of data in our work these days, teaching being no different from any other profession. This week, during the half term holidays, more data was released from the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 tests held back in May 2017. We have started picking through it all, to see if it changes our view on the world, or seriously our analysis of past performance and therefore focus points for this year.
We already felt unhappy with our 2017 performance in spelling, grammar and arithmetic. Not because they were below average but rather because they were below where we think our pupils at our school should be placed. We know how the other local schools (in S10 and in South west Sheffield, and in Sheffield as a whole) fared, and so have made comparisons.
We were also aware that there is a gap or difference in performance between the pupils that attract Pupil Premium funding (basically those who have some history of Free School Meal entitlement) and the pupils who do not. This gap is pretty much universal (as in, it occurs at most schools), and pretty much obstinately refusing to disappear, but that does not mean we accept it, or refuse to look for further options to reduce or remove the attainment gap between these two groups.
We are, further, aware that the PP group perform better here than the same group nationally, but that is not the measure used to compare performance. It is, after all, reasonable to ask and challenge schools to get those children to the same standards as everyone else.
We had just 13 PP pupils in last year’s Year 6 cohort, each counting as just under 8%. Getting just 3 extra to reach the national expected standard in maths would have us have no attainment gap at all.
We have seen a significant decline in the number and percentage of pupils eligible for Free School Meals and thus attracting Pupil Premium in the last three years. The number on Year 6 this year is even lower, and so the margin, in terms of actual headcount, is smaller and smaller, and each child’s progress becomes even more significant in terms of percentage points of gap.
Also available to schools is a ‘question level’ analysis. This shows how our children did, question by question, compared to the national average. It also throws up oddities, questions and quirks. Why should we have answered a couple of questions 16% poorer than the average? And why 11% better on others? And can we cover the shortfall this year so any question phrased like that, or in that area of study, or using that skill or fact, is answered better, and particularly by PP pupils?
Within school we track pupils’ experience and progress. We know what each has been involved in, and what difference it has made to their performance. We know the success level of each intervention we run. We know how each child stands against our expectations for the year group. We know a good deal about the barriers each child faces.
Where are we trying to reach?
- Spelling scores above average by at least 4%
- Grammar scores ahead of average by at least 4%, and at at least as good as the S10 average
- Arithmetic scores higher generally, and particularly for PP children
- To get all pupils who left Key Stage 1 at a high standard to leave Key Stage 2 the same
- Maths attainment to match our, significantly strong, reading attainment (and progress)scores
- And all the time maintaining the exciting, engaging, enriched curriculum that we offer.
Once we had the destination clear we could set the Sat Nav to plan the best route, given current traffic conditions, and make good time on the journey. The latest data releases have actually only confirmed what we already knew, and were already working on. Anyone who’d like to visit my Office will see a wall of data, charts and graphs that has built up this picture over the last five months. By the end of term we should have a good idea about how much progress we have made already towards these goals. I’ll let you know.