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The Headteacher's Blog

Introduction

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.

Yours sincerely,
Stuart Jones

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Introduction

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 the School Governors, 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.

 

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Introduction

Welcome to the Y4 blog. We know that the question that children are mostly asked as they leave school is 'What did you do today?' The response is often 'nothing'! Well, here is where you can find what 'nothing' looks like. In our weekly blogs we will share with you what your children have been getting up to and all of the wonderful work that they have been doing. The Y4 team consists of the following teachers: Mrs Shaw and Mrs Drury in Y4S/D, Mrs Smith and Mrs Smith (this is not a typo!) in Y4S/S, Miss Norris in Y4HN and Miss Wall in Y4AW. The children are supported by our teaching assistants too, including Mrs Biggs, Mr Jenkinson and Mrs Tandy. We also have help from Miss Lee, Mrs Cooper, Mrs Flynn and Mrs Wolff. Some of the children are lucky enough to spend time in The Hub too with Mrs Tandy. What a team!

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Introduction

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

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Introduction

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....

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20 May 2017

Trained Teachers Fail Test

Last week I wrote about the statistically unlikely (third in five years) external check of our end of key stage 2 test processes and system. This checked on the security and proper administration of reading, punctuation, grammar and spelling, arithmetic and mathematical reasoning tests. Clean bill of health, you might remember.

This week we have heard that we will also have external moderation of our Year 6 teachers’ assessment of writing.

We again have no worries about this, because:

  • We have focussed on this for two years,
  • We have led in the local school cluster on moderation,
  • We have taken external training for our literacy team on writing at ‘greater depth’,
  • We have kept aware of interim guidance,
  • We have a colleague involved in city-wide moderation training and locality moderation work,
  • We have continually given staff time to work on this area,
  • Senior leaders have stayed involved in the process and showed how it important to them,
  • Resources (including staff and time) have been given as fully as we can,
  • Our colleagues have agreed with colleagues across the local cluster of schools,
  • We have joined activities across the cluster in all four key stage 2 year groups.

However, there has been some doubt, ever since the changes to assessment expectations from the ‘new’ curriculum and the ‘new’ assessment system itself, about anyone’s ability, confidence and accuracy in reaching judgements.

The process as it currently stands is that teachers have to identify enough evidence across the curriculum that a ‘pupil can’, independently, meet all the required statements at a stage in order to be said to ‘meet the expected standard’ or to be ‘working at greater depth’.

The moderators were, at last this year, provided with some nationally provided training materials (and a very short timeline). They got to undertake some briefing and then work through three portfolios from three pupils. They had to decide if there was sufficient evidence to award one of the judgements, or if to say that a child had not yet met the expected standard. You’d hope, like I would, that, after training, all the moderators / teachers (all Year 6 teachers or literacy leads in schools, and all put forward by their Headteachers as knowing what they are doing) would take the test and pass. All they had to do, after all, was score 3 out of 3.

Oh, if only it were so simple. The TES website this week broke the following story of how the training hasn’t actually led to that outcome

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/exclusive-more-sats-chaos-two-thirds-moderators-fail-assess-pupils

‘Data uncovered by TES suggests the government has failed to ensure the “more consistent, reliable approach” to moderating teacher assessments of writing it promised following last year's Sats chaos.

Two-thirds of moderators trained for this summer incorrectly assessed pupils’ work when tested earlier this year’.

And it gets worse:

‘Responses from 101 local authorities also revealed large variations in the proportions of moderators managing to correctly assess all three portfolios of pupils’ work – ranging from 6 per cent in Sheffield to 100 per cent in 13 other authorities.’

If trained moderators cannot get it right, what possible hope is there for the rest of the profession?

2,547 team moderators were trained nationally. There are around 11,000 Primary schools in England. That’s at least 8,500 without a trained moderator in-house.

I do like to explain the theory of cognitive dissonance to colleagues and student teachers. It explains how, immediately after teaching in a Higher Education setting, knowledge and understanding of a taught topic was found to have regressed in comparison to before a lecture or teaching session. Psychologists suggest that it takes a while for learners to internalise new learning, especially where it challenges previously held belief and comprehension. Maybe the moderators were simply tested too soon after training – it was a rush job by all accounts, and the re-test with a new portfolio even more so (over one weekend in term time so it was on top of normal workload).

One wonders what score untrained Y6 teachers would get.

I am, typically, highly respectful of colleagues’ knowledge, position and role. But, if I don’t like the report after our moderation visit in June, I might just challenge on the grounds of, ‘do you actually know what you are talking about?’

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04 Jan 2017

Training Days - what? Again?

Staff completed their third and fourth training days of the year this week, while the school’s pupils had an extra-long Christmas and New Year holiday.

There are long-established reasons for placing the training days like this, always up against the start or end of holidays. We hope it makes it easier for parents/ carers to arrange childcare, that it gives greater opportunity to take a vacation out of term time by increasing the length of break and number of possibilities, and it keep s the term time itself intact as one block. We always synchronise with our feeder school, but cannot do so with the many Secondary schools that our pupils’ siblings attend. Too many Secondaries and far too many feeder schools unless all would take the same days. And as many are now Academies with full freedom to select their own arrangement of five training days there really is no way to insist on coordination.

We used these two days to concentrate on:

  • The next stages of Rights Respecting Schools work – how we cover all the Articles in our cross-curricular teaching,
  • Moderating writing within and across year groups, leading from the annual John Lewis TV advert - using writing specifically produced by all the pupils for assessment to develop further our own understanding and recognition of ‘working at greater depth’ and ‘meeting the expected standard’,
  • Planning for the teaching of English in year groups, and for mastery maths lessons – so that we share planning skills and roles, ensuring quality provision is continuous,
  • Interventions available in school including Lexia, First Class at Number, Catch up Reading and others – what they can provide, who they are aimed at, what can be expected from them, what they need in order to be most effective,
  • Staff well-being – so that we are fit and well in order to look after our pupils as best we possibly can and as they undoubtedly deserve.

Our fifth and final training day closure is in June, fitted alongside the May half term holiday. This year we will have been able to have one on each of the five days of the working week – helping our part-time staff and hopefully inconveniencing each part-time working parent / carer a little less.

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16 Sep 2016

Mnemonics, Acronyms and Learning how to spell ‘tricky words’

For me it’s ‘guarantee’ and ‘liaise’, and 'diarrhoea' – I always want to put an ‘e’ in the middle of ‘guarantee’ instead of the ‘a’, and I struggle to place both ‘i’ in ‘liaise’. And 'diarrhoea' makes all of us want to use a four-letter word instead. Spellcheck is often of no use.

After you‘ve mastered synthetic phonics there will still be words that don’t work that way. Some have to be learnt using graphemes, knowledge of word roots, families of words, alternative pronunciation / phoneme and so on. We use, as do many schools, handwriting to support the learning of some spelling patterns (it’s known as a ‘hand for spelling’).

The use of mnemonics (‘Oh yUo Lucky Duck’ to remember the pattern ‘ould’ in could, and should, and would) and acronyms is an established method for those ‘tricky words’. However, there is an oft repeated fault or missed opportunity with the majority use of the method. Many a child (and adult) will say, ‘Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants’ as a way to remember the spelling of ‘because’. The fault, as I see it, of the method is that there is nothing to remind the child that they are using a prompt for the word ‘because’ – they have to know the first letter or ‘sound’.

I think the method is even better and more effective if the mnemonic starts with the word being spelt out – so to remember ‘because’ you might say, ‘BECAUSE Eleven Coats And Umbrellas Seem Effective’ or ‘BECAUSE Elephants Cope And Usually Seem Energetic’. Say the word you want to spell and it starts you going with the mnemonic itself.

I’m not actually sure that it is the mnemonic that is assisting with the learning, but the build-up to it. It needs quite a bit of thinking about to come up with even a silly, if grammatically correct, sentence or phrase. It needs a lot of looking at and checking you have all the right letters in the right order. You have to repeat it a few times to get the phrase down off pat. You have to look again. People ask you to repeat it because it sounds such fun. They have a go and hearing their versions triggers the letter pattern in your head. We generally call this ‘over-learning’ or rote.

Anyway, diarrhoea – ‘DIARRHOEA Is A Really Rather Horrible Openly Evacuating Anus’

Liaise – LIAISE In An Italian Secret Escape

Guarantee – GUARANTEEs Aren’t Usually Read And Never Treat Employees Equally

Can you make some to help remember which / witch goes where / were / wear and whether / weather  their / there / they’re is right?
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03 Sep 2016

Pure whimsy

Based on nothing more than your first response, are there more references to things being made of 'triple chocolate' or 'double chocolate'?

For me it's the former - I cannot actually think of a single 'double chocolate' - but neither can I work out why 'triple' should be the expected standard. If we need three types of chocolate in or on a doughnut to make it great, why not four or five types of the glorious stuff to make it even better?

Is it 'triple' because 'quadruple' and 'quintuple' and 'sextuple' just sound wrong? (Or do those words signify a multiple serving of the same type rather than a broad variety of linked substances - six of one topping rather than six different toppings? 'Triple' is not the same as 'treble', after all.)

Ordinarily I would find a way to neatly tie this up in an education analogy. I'll let you try.

The Baccalaureate perhaps? Secondary schools' GCSE benchmarking perhaps? The 'Three Rs' maybe? Labour Party education shadows? Terms in a school year? Strikes and you're out? The three stages in the education system (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary)?

Have some fun.

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22 May 2016

We're Cooking on Gas

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.

I used:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51JSTXhfx3c

followed by:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xm2lvgEpthQC&pg=PA158&lpg=PA158&dq=apple+crumble+by+jean+kenward&source=bl&ots=IymJ8HSpqW&sig=fKIB4y36jT3nLZ3AYyZAyFLHo0o&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiO286Rs-7MAhWKKcAKHahBAI8Q6AEILzAD#v=onepage&q=apple%20crumble%20by%20jean%20kenward&f=false

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!

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