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 teachers are Mrs Dutton & Mrs de Brouwer (3D/deB), Mrs Holden (3SH), Mrs Noble & Mrs Finney (3N/R) and Miss Wall (3AW). We have three Teaching Assistants who work within the team: Mrs Allen, Mrs Dawes and Mr Gartrell.
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 Loosley (5NL), Mrs Rougvie and Mrs Jones (5RJ), Mrs Webb and Mrs Ridsdale (5WR) and Miss Cunningham (5EC). Many children are supported by Mrs Hill, Mr Swain and Ms Kania (the Year 5 Teaching 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 Shaw and Mrs Watkinson (Y6S/W), Mr Bradshaw (until Mrs Parker returns) in Y6AP), Mrs Phillips (Y6CP) and Miss Norris (Y6HN). Also teaching in Year 6 is Miss Lee (Monday - Y6AP, Tuesday - Y6HN and Wednesday - Y6S/W) and Mrs Grimsley (Tuesday -Y6CP).We are also very lucky to be helped by Mrs Ainsworth and Mrs Biggs. 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....
One of the slightly naughty delights of being a teacher is the freedom to go, just a little, off-piste occasionally, and to find your own way of presenting learning, stimulating responses or garnering enthusiasm for a topic that might otherwise strike as dull for a slice of the class.
It’s ‘Poetry Day’ for most of the school on Monday (23rd May). Year 3 were reading, decoding and writing short poems themselves last week. As last week’s homework was simply to practise the lines of the songs for the Year 3 ‘big assembly’ there was a 20 minute slot after lunch on Friday where I could take my pick. Mrs Dutton had suggested I share a favourite poem or two.
The class, every one of them – boys, girls, high ability, less able, EAL, SEN, omnivore, vegetarian and fruitarian, was enraptured by the ‘hook’ and then listened and engaged fully with the poem.
A Golden Buzzer moment!
Have I stumbled on the sort of data evidence that persuaded Ministers to radically change the Primary school assessment system? I was preparing for a presentation and discussion this week by looking out some data on school performance.
There were lots of contradictory ideas and theories jumping out at me – Infant Schools get better KS 1 results than through-Primaries (so we should change to an Infant / Junior only organisation?), but through-Primaries get better KS 2 progress than Junior Schools (so we should move to a through-Primary only from an Infant / Junior organisation?). Money brings provision and capacity, allowing wider opportunities, greater staffing, newer resources, newer building and so on, and so well-funded schools must be better. Except the highest attaining and highest achieving Primary-sector school in Sheffield happens to be one of the lowest funded per pupil (so we should reduce school funding in order to improve outcomes?).
Anyway, back to my bolt-of-lightning moment. I was looking at the list of Sheffield Primary-sector schools and had sorted them to see how many scored 100% in the measure of pupil progress at expected or better rates. (In old-money, this was 2 Levels + across Years 3 to 6.) What struck me, more than which schools or geography, funding, pupil numbers, SEN, character or prior position was the different numbers of schools (out of 130 Sheffield schools with published data) that scored that magic 100% in the different published areas of the curriculum.
For Reading – 9 schools scored 100% of children making 2 Levels + progress.
For Maths – 14 schools scored 100% of children making 2 Levels + progress.
For Writing – 33 schools scored 100% of children making 2 Levels + progress.
Writing was, and will be this year still, marked within each school, with around one third of schools having some of their assessment externally moderated.
Why nearly four times as many schools making 100% in writing compared to reading?
Is it a coincidence that we see the greatest changes to the assessment process coming in writing?
Does the greater number getting success in writing merely reflect a later development of those skills?
Are schools ‘massaging’ the figures?
And what chance that the new system changes any of this?
I heard this great story of rapid response and quick thinking.
At the Y6 Apprentice Sale one stall was not doing well. The stall holders had a fine set of books on show, but no paying customers.
They sat this out for quite a while, sure that the children in school are readers and would part with their pennies to buy a decent book.
They looked around and realised that the next stall was nearly sold out of their goods – hedgehogs made from paperback books using a little origami. (See photos on the Year 6 blog - http://www.lydgatejunior.co.uk/year-6/friday-5th-february)
So, they set to and converted all their books to paperback hedgehogs, and sold the lot!
Does this still count as putting books in the hands of young readers?
I was stopped last week by a parent who wanted to chat about his perception of Parents Evening. He felt that his child’s class teachers had not got a clear position on the progress the child had made, and that the language my colleagues had used was vague and not reassuring.
We explored the changes in the curriculum that have only been fully in place since September, and won’t be in the assessment system for at least another eighteen months. He went away somewhat pacified by my assurance that the written reports sent home later in the academic year will focus on progress and not coverage.
The new assessment system is still evolving, much like a newly formed planet emerging from a cloud of gas and particles whirling after the collapse of a star system. The day after the publication of school performance tables (http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=106998) schools across England received links to more documents giving information about the revisions to end of Key Stage assessments for Foundation Stage, and Key Stages 1 and 2. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/interim-frameworks-for-teacher-assessment-at-the-end-of-key-stage-2 and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pre-key-stage-2-pupils-working-below-the-test-standard) .
These are ‘interim’ arrangements, and so we must not get used to them as, presumably, they will change again in 2017. I have mentioned before the new language that we will have to use to inform parents about their children’s attainment – they will either meet or not meet a national standard – a ‘scaled score around 100’. What we have today been told is how we must describe the performance of those children who are working below that national standard.
Keep in mind that this is to replace an out-moded, not fit for purpose, insufficiently challenging system that used ‘Levels’ where the number accorded to a ‘Level’ showed the (not necessarily linear) progression. Schools developed sub-levels to describe better the various shades of progress and this was accepted over time, and subsequently widely used.
Come July 2016 we will be telling parents that their Year 6 child is either working at / has progressed to:
Foundations for the expected standard
Early development of the expected standard
Growing development of the expected standard
Working towards the expected standard
Working at the expected standard, or
Working at greater depth within the expected standard
A quick, cheeky, question – have I put them in order or not? In what order would you place those statements? (And is it me, or does it look and feel rather like the ‘old’ ‘working towards’, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5?)
There’s a whole lot of murk out there still – we are constantly told not to interpret the end of Key Stage guidance to work out what children should be able to do (an age-related expectation) at the end of any other year group. We are told to enter only children for whom the test is accessible, but without knowing the ‘pass mark’ to guide us on whether there is any point or not. We can use the one set of sample papers published to see if children can answer any of the questions, but as we don’t know the minimum mark needed to register a ‘scaled scored’ we are still none-the-wiser. Hopefully clarity will emerge over time.
One slight, but unexplained, change is that schools will have to submit their ‘teacher assessments’ a whole month earlier than in previous years. (We have to send them to DfE as well as to parents.) The deadline just jumped from June 24th to May 27th. I cannot come up with a single good reason. My one suggestion is rather cynical and conspiracy-led: ‘they’ trust teacher assessment more than the tests (but would never admit it), and so want to confirm test outcomes against what the professionals, who have worked with the children for four years and more, think before setting the threshold for the national standard. Or the computer team at the standards and testing agency has a big holiday booked for late June.
And in the meantime, we’ll keep on teaching the children things they don’t yet know but could do with learning. Seems about right. (That would be 'Purposeful People engaged in Disciplined Thought taking Disciplined Action', one of the things remarkable associations do that others don't.)
Let’s play ‘Only Connect’ – spot the link... Horn-ed Viper, you say?
For four points – Ronnie Barker?
For three points – Ronnie Barker and John Lennon?
For two points – Ronnie Barker, John Lennon and Stanley Unwin?
(Final clue at the bottom)
The Witches scene from Macbeth is the most quoted Shakespeare, apparently – all that ‘fire burn, and cauldron bubble’. No chance of it being ‘Pointless’, then.
I was treated this week when offered the chance to read re-workings by two Year 6 boys. (I know, boys writing! Amazing!). They discussed the original and their in-the-style-of work eloquently and with some real understanding. They had the rhythm just right, the syllabic pattern, the rhyme, the circular end / beginning. And they had well-thought out explanations for Shakespeare’s intent and word selection.
They told me how they had had to think really hard in order to understand some of the unfamiliar language, which is fair. I’m pleased with their resilience, for one thing.
In both pieces I saw examples of creative and original phrases and wording, a nod to Shakespeare’s record as the greatest individual inventor of new words in the English language.
The first had added to the brew, ’a piece of old oak bar’. I explored the words and tried to guess the intention – is the bar suggesting strength, like a steel bar, or perhaps or was it a section of a gate, door or barricade? Clearly the ‘old oak’ was referencing the traditional tree of England, and was perhaps a metaphorical use?
In the second I found, in the final chorus, ‘double, double, toil and rouble’. How politically aware is this kid? Is it a filmic reference to the frequent portrayal of Eastern Europeans as the ‘baddie’ in English language films? By sleight of hand has he deliberately placed an older spelling of the Russian currency in his evil brew to condemn that state's role in modern conflicts?
Clearly we have on our hands two writers who deserve a wider audience and encouragement in this field of cultural expression and invention.
And then I asked them what their intentions had been – was I right in any of my thoughts?
For one point - Ronnie Barker, John Lennon, Stanley Unwin and William Archibald (Dr) Spooner?
The connection is deliberate misspellings – Ronnie Barker wrote many ‘Two Ronnies’ scripts himself including the ultimate, ‘Four Candles / Fork Handles’ sketch. (Six minutes of pure, pure gold.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz2-ukrd2VQ
John Lennon liked a play on words and a cheeky reinvention through misspelling – his second published book of poetry was ‘A Spaniard in the Works’. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xf2evb_john-lennon-the-wumberlog_creation
Stanley Unwin, of course, made a career out of getting words wrong. His mother hurt herself coming home one day because, she had "falolloped over and grazed her kneeclabbers". http://www.stanleyunwin.com/
And Dr Spooner has his own category of mixed up phrases in the self-named ‘Spoonerisms’. http://www.fun-with-words.com/spoonerisms.html
I’d perhaps awarded the lads a little too much respect, but they were gentle with me and terribly honest. They had intended, ‘old oak bark’, and ‘double, double, toil and trouble’, but spellchecker is a wonderful thing.
I can’t begin to tell you what they put when they meant to add to the infernal brew, ‘ squid's tentacles’, but did make me laugh and wince!