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Primary teachers can you help me? Please?

(8 Posts)
HauntedLittleLunatic Thu 11-Aug-11 23:09:57

Hi,

I will be doing a secondary PGCE in Sept but have to start with a primary placement - which of course has to be written up. I am looking for some core information to put in this...which I am finding a PITA to find cos of the National Stratgies site being shut down (I know all the info is still there as long as you know where to look - I am hoping someone might be able to provide a nice link?). I am also looking for some "Opinions" on a couple of things which I will use to focus my observation when I do my placement in Sept. I will not be writing up any opinions offered here directly - just using it as a framework to look for further opinions in my placement school (i.e. so I sound a little bit knowledgeable on the subject grin). Feel free to only comment on one or 2 questions.

Any help will be gratefully recieved.

So first the fact based stuff :

I have found a list of compulsary subjects, but are their compulsary amounts of time to be spent on each (other than literacy and numeracy? What are the compulsary times for NLS and NNS? If someone coupld point me in teh right direction in teh archived National strategies site for these strategies I would be grateful)?

How are the compulsary subjects impacted in a faith (specifically Catholic) school. I know there is a larger devotion to RE but how much larger?

On a practical level what are the options for timetabling the different subjects? Do you teach every subject every week? Or do you - for example - teach a block of history for a few weeks, and then use that slot for geography for the next half term?
How rigid is a weekly timetable in primary? Do you always teach - for eg science first thing Monday morning?

And some opinion based stuff.

How do you view the recent reviews, Particularly the primary review which is now not being implemented by new government?
Do you feel in limbo waiting for new review/strategy?
What is the process - in your experience - for implementation of new strategies? How quickly do they get implemented? How readable are the policy documents? Do front line teachers have access to/HAVE to read teh documents or do they get distilled by the information cascade?

The "reviews" which I have been asked to look for evidence and opinions on are as follows:
The Primary Review - Jim Rose - Published April 2009
Williams Review of Mathematics (2008)
Jim Rose review of early reading - 2006
Coalition government emphasising synthetic phonics as best practice (2010)
Lamb enquiry into Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence (2008)
Coalition Government Green Paper "Support and Aspiration: A new approach to SEN and disability" published March 2011

That seems like a lot of reviews in a short time...are you aware of them all? Realistically are they all implemented fully? Do any/all of them radically change teaching from former "best practice"?

How are SEN children integrated into whole class teaching from a differentiation POV? What should I be looking for on placement to see evidence that their individual needs are addressed?

Sorry it is long. Any help and/or opinions you can offer will be gratefully recieved. If you want to PM me rather than put it on the open board please feel free.

Thanks in Advance.

spanieleyes Fri 12-Aug-11 09:05:06

- I am hoping someone might be able to provide a nice link?) the best one I have found is www.teachfind.com/national-strategies/tutorial-using-primary-framework-website as all the links seem to work!
* but are their compulsary amounts of time to be spent on each (other than literacy and numeracy? What are the compulsary times for NLS and NNS?* There are no "legal" times for any subjects. Recommendations are given ( links gone but try sites.google.com/site/tesfaqs/timetable for info)

How are the compulsary subjects impacted in a faith (specifically Catholic) school. I know there is a larger devotion to RE but how much larger? I teach ina Cof E school we have to do 1 hours RE a week, I think many Catholic schools do 2 hrs but would imagine it is up to each diocese.
On a practical level what are the options for timetabling the different subjects? many schools "block" subjects so history one term, geog the next, many schools run a "topic based curriculum" so a subject is covered cross curricular ( I am looking at Vikings next term, so mainly History but we will also cover geography, art, DT)

How rigid is a weekly timetable in primary? Do you always teach - for eg science first thing Monday morning? Each school will be different. We set for literacy and numeracy so all classes will be doing those subjects at the same time ( but not necessarily at the same time as the next school down the road!) Other subjects are timetabled so as not to clash -we can't all do indoor PE at the same time as we only have one hall. Each school sorts out its own timetable to suit.

spanieleyes Fri 12-Aug-11 09:15:37

How do you view the recent reviews, Particularly the primary review which is now not being implemented by new government? Do you feel in limbo waiting for new review/strategy? To be honest, there have been so many reviews/new strategies/recommendations that I think most primary teachers just heave a sigh and get on with it! I personally wish they would just leave us to teach what OUR children need to learn, not some "one size fits all" decided by MP's with children in leafy suburban schools ( gross over generalisation there!)
What is the process - in your experience - for implementation of new strategies? How quickly do they get implemented? Too quickly! All the good is thrown out with the bad, local authorities go into overdrive rolling out apporved training programmes and then bang, off you go!
How readable are the policy documents? Generally incomprehensible!
* Do front line teachers have access to/HAVE to read teh documents or do they get distilled by the information cascade?* You never get the same story from 2 different sources, so straight to the documentation-if you can navigat eyour way round it, have you ever tried to find the same document twice on the Framework site, it was a nightmare!

*The Primary Review - Jim Rose - Published April 2009
Williams Review of Mathematics (2008)
Jim Rose review of early reading - 2006
Coalition government emphasising synthetic phonics as best practice (2010)
Lamb enquiry into Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence (2008)
Coalition Government Green Paper "Support and Aspiration: A new approach to SEN and disability" published March 2011*
I've read all but the last one- hasn't reached us yet, but then I'm not a SENCO so might have got stuck there!
Realistically are they all implemented fully? Do any/all of them radically change teaching from former "best practice"? Good schools were doing most of it already, bad schools still won't
How are SEN children integrated into whole class teaching from a differentiation POV? What should I be looking for on placement to see evidence that their individual needs are addressed? Depends on the severity of SEN. Some children need minor adjustments to the objectives/activities to enable them to be accessed, some children need a completely different curriculum to be planned for them and a few children shouldn't ( in my opinion) be in mainstream school.

HauntedLittleLunatic Fri 12-Aug-11 09:16:39

Ty the links look perfect. Will look properly later.

Comments are very useful too.

Thanks again.

HauntedLittleLunatic Fri 12-Aug-11 09:18:24

Xposts with second post. Those opinions are just the sort of thing I was looking for.

Lifeissweet Fri 12-Aug-11 09:43:15

With regard to timetabling - my school is very flexible. We timetable across each phase (yrs 1&2, yrs 3&4 and yrs 5&6) for Maths and English so that they can be set. Other than that it's down to the individual teacher and it can regularly change by the day to fit in extra hymn practice or mass (Catholic School) or other things that crop up.

We plan thematically apart from Maths, so we might have a science week or a D&T week or spread a subject out across half a term, it entirely depends on the theme and how it works best. It generally doesn't matter how it is timetabled as long as we get all NC objectives done in the course of a year (so we might not touch History for half a term at a time, and do Geography based objectives instead, if the theme lends itself better to Geography, for instance)

The only things that are set in stone in the timetable are ICT (because of timetabled slots in the ICT suite), P.E. (same for the hall) and R.E, which we STRICTLY have to teach 2 hours of each week. I sometimes think that we could get away with not teaching any literacy for a week as long as the R.E is done, but that's just my school!

How do you view the recent reviews, Particularly the primary review which is now not being implemented by new government? Do you feel in limbo waiting for new review/strategy?

There are so many reviews and either they are taken on board whole-heartedly and too quickly (e.g. Jim Rose's review of early reading which brought about a mad flurry of synthetic Phonics), or the review comes out and is largely ignored.

I do feel a little bit in limbo about the curriculum review. My Head decided to throw out all the strategies and frameworks in an attempt to bring in a more 'creative curriculum' type of affair, but it's been a nightmare and we know that we've spent a year honing planning that will be obsolete again as soon as the Tory Government announces that it wants 3 hours of Classics and Latin...or whatever they dream up next.

What is the process - in your experience - for implementation of new strategies? How quickly do they get implemented?

As I said above - either too fast and too rigorous, or not at all.

How readable are the policy documents?

Not very!

* Do front line teachers have access to/HAVE to read teh documents or do they get distilled by the information cascade?*

We do have access to them, but typically don't have the time/inclination to read them thoroughly unless it's of particular interest (e.g. - for a literacy or maths co-ordinator or SENCO) Generally, we'll have a training session given by a curriculum co-ordinator to provide an overview of actually how it will work in practice.

*The Primary Review - Jim Rose - Published April 2009
Williams Review of Mathematics (2008)
Jim Rose review of early reading - 2006
Coalition government emphasising synthetic phonics as best practice (2010)
Lamb enquiry into Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence (2008)
Coalition Government Green Paper "Support and Aspiration: A new approach to SEN and disability" published March 2011*

As Above..

Realistically are they all implemented fully? Do any/all of them radically change teaching from former "best practice"?

Generally, not really.

How are SEN children integrated into whole class teaching from a differentiation POV? What should I be looking for on placement to see evidence that their individual needs are addressed?

It is done a number of ways. In class, the SEN chn are given slightly different work to do (depending on the SN and the severity). They are often given more support by the Class Teacher or Teaching assistant. For subject such as science or R.E, where understanding is more important than recording, we sometimes scribe for them or support them with their writing in other ways.

They are sometimes supported with extra resources - maybe more practical means of performing a mathematical process, for instance.

In my school, we have more of an issue supporting children with EAL needs than SEN, but we do have a degree of both.

In the afternoons, all TAs in the school are taken out of class to do one-to-one or small group tailored interventions to meet their individual needs and we try to incorporate the work they do in these sessions back in class - which might mean access to word banks or flash cards.

Hope that helps - good luck!

mrz Fri 12-Aug-11 09:56:13

How are the compulsary subjects impacted in a faith (specifically Catholic) school. I know there is a larger devotion to RE but how much larger?

On a practical level what are the options for timetabling the different subjects? Do you teach every subject every week? Or do you - for example - teach a block of history for a few weeks, and then use that slot for geography for the next half term?
How rigid is a weekly timetable in primary? Do you always teach - for eg science first thing Monday morning?

And some opinion based stuff.

How do you view the recent reviews, Particularly the primary review which is now not being implemented by new government?

I feel angry that the last government wasted a huge amount of money publishing materials and sending them to schools before they actually presented the proposed changes to parliament and then just abandoned them before the elections.

Do you feel in limbo waiting for new review/strategy?
In the sense the new government have made lots of noise ablout plans but nothing concrete.

What is the process - in your experience - for implementation of new strategies? How quickly do they get implemented?
At one stage it was estimated that there were THREE new strategies per DAY! Some schools jumped in immediately only to find they were scrapped quickly some took the route of only implementing the statutory ones and waiting to see with others.

How readable are the policy documents?
It varies greatly
Do front line teachers have access to/HAVE to read the documents or do they get distilled by the information cascade?
Teachers usually get a copy of either the whole document or the significant parts (as more are only available on line and the high cost of printing hunderds of pages)

*The "reviews" which I have been asked to look for evidence and opinions on are as follows*:
The Primary Review - Jim Rose - Published April 2009

I felt Rose found what the government wanted him to find rather than it being an honest reflection

Williams Review of Mathematics (2008)

Good

Jim Rose review of early reading - 2006

Didn't go far enough and leaves itself open to debate
Conflicted with the Government support of Reading Recovery

Coalition government emphasising synthetic phonics as best practice (2010)
Doesn't address the root problem of teacher training

Lamb enquiry into Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence (2008)

Doesn't offer solutions would money be better spent on the front line rather than conducting reviews?

Coalition Government Green Paper "Support and Aspiration: A new approach to SEN and disability" published March 2011

Worry how it will impact in practice

That seems like a lot of reviews in a short time...are you aware of them all? Realistically are they all implemented fully? Do any/all of them radically change teaching from former "best practice"?

Schools in practice don't have to implement these only the statutory parts so in reality things are often a bit hit and miss.
As far as phonics goes there are NQTs and students on TES saying they have had no phonic instruction at university and have not taught it in practise ...

How are SEN children integrated into whole class teaching from a differentiation POV?
Again it depends on the actual SEN - teacher knowledge and experience. Most children can easily have their needs met within the classroom others with more complex needs can be "failed" because mainstream schools don't have the expertise and access to the resources that would be available in special schools. In order to give these children the support in mainstream the same level of funding and the same resources need to be provided.

What should I be looking for on placement to see evidence that their individual needs are addressed?

Knowledgeable staff aware of the child's needs and how to meet them. Children achieving and learning and making progress.

HauntedLittleLunatic Fri 12-Aug-11 15:34:54

I Love MN! This is fab.

Has raised things I hadn't even thought of (which is kind of what I was expecting), that I can look for or ask questions about when I am actually on placement.

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