Literacy brings results

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Literacy brings results

Shirenewton Primary School, Monmouthshire, has used a wide range of highly effective strategies to significantly improve pupils’ literacy skills. These include fast-paced sessions with no downtime, ensuring that all pupils are active participants in their learning and firm emphasis on the direct teaching of phonics. The success of these approaches is evident in the much-improved teacher assessments.


Number of pupils: 205
Age range: 4-11 years
Date of Estyn inspection: November 2011

Context and background to sector-leading practice

Shirenewton Primary School is situated in the village of Shirenewton, four miles from the town of Chepstow in Monmouthshire. The school opened in 1985 and caters for boys and girls aged four to 11 years.

The school serves an economically advantaged area with 2% of the pupils entitled to receive free school meals, which is well below the local authority and all-Wales average. Many pupils come from professional backgrounds. Currently there are 205 pupils on roll, between the ages of four and 11 years. Pupils are organised into seven classes according to age, three in the Foundation Phase and four in key stage 2.

The majority of pupils come from homes where English is spoken as a first language. None of the pupils come from homes where Welsh is spoken at home. Nearly all pupils are of white British ethnicity. There are no children who are looked after by the local authority and there have been no exclusions during the past 2 years.

Less than 10% of pupils are identified as having additional learning needs and two pupils have statements of special educational needs.

Key stage 1 2007

 

Reading

L2+

Writing

L2+

Reading

L3

Writing

L3

Boys

93.7%

93.7%

12.5%

6.3%

Girls

100%

100%

21.4%

21.4%

All pupils

96.7%

96.7%

20%

13.3%

Key stage 2 2007

 

L4+ English

L5 English

Boys

82.4%

11.8%

Girls

100%

47.1%

All Pupils

91.2%

29.4%

The school’s data analysis highlighted the need to improve the percentage of pupils achieving the higher levels at each key stage.

Description of nature of strategy or activity

The specific strategies that have resulted in whole school improvement in literacy, particularly for boys have included:

  • the development of a ‘can do’ culture and a consistent approach to the teaching of literacy across the school;
  • good whole-staff training to develop the confidence and skills of all staff involved in teaching literacy leading to consistently good teaching across the school with a commitment and enthusiasm for literacy teaching;
  • structured meetings to review and evaluate current practice and plan the next steps;
  • the work of a highly-trained and skilled literacy co-ordinator whose commitment inspires and motivates the whole staff;
  • allocating management time for the literacy co-ordinator to provide support, monitor teaching and assess reading skills every half term;
  • grouping pupils by stage rather than age enabling teaching to target pupils at exactly the right level and providing targeted support for under-performing pupils that includes daily 10 minute tutoring focusing on their particular weaknesses;
  • establishing links with a network of literacy co-ordinators in Monmouthshire to share resources, analyse good practice and plan ways forward including being part of a working party to look at writing activities;
  • investing in a complete phonic literacy scheme supplemented with a wide range of good-quality reading materials, which have been levelled for children to borrow and share with parents;
  • developing attractive reading corners in each classroom and establishing home-reading logs, which has promoted the partnership between the school and the parents in supporting the pupils’ reading skills;
  • consistent use of assessment for learning strategies throughout the school;
  • allocating a small group of pupils requiring support to every member of the Foundation Phase staff, the key stage two support assistant and the headteacher and ensuring these pupils receive 10 minute daily tutoring focusing on their particular weaknesses;
  • providing additional small group support to key stage 2 pupils with a reading and/or spelling of less than level 3(a); and
  • ensuring that literacy sessions are well-planned with a different focus for each day of the week and that the structure is specifically designed to help boys and that pupils are required to write each day following a speaking and listening and reading slot.

The school has found that boys have benefited particularly from the structure of the lessons and they respond well to:

  • fast-paced sessions with no downtime (sounds>reading> questions>hold a sentence> editing etc) and the familiarity of the activities, which has developed their confidence since they know what they have to do and the purpose of the tasks;
  • active participation – boys respond well to being given the responsibility of ‘being the teacher’ and teaching their partner through partner work;
  • active involvement – every pupil answers every question (no sitting back and letting others respond on their behalf);
  • the direct teaching of skills such as phonics and using it in spellings, with the pupils looking for errors in editing;
  • large sounds charts with all the possible phonemes adapted and added to by pupils and staff - showing them the whole picture instead of keeping it ‘secret’ and expecting them to work it out for themselves, for example, these are all the different ways of making ‘i’ sound (igh, i-e, ie, y etc);
  • discrete teaching of sight vocabulary and words that are phonetically irregular;
  • partner work, modelling, shared and paired reading;
  • consistent use of praise and pupils being encouraged to praise and celebrate others’ successes;
  • consistent use of writing frames, writing prompts and vocabulary walls;
  • 30 minute story time per day with books specifically selected and planned across the school;
  • literacy emersion - literacy is developed throughout the day and across all subjects; and
  • use of helpful information communication and technology packages and white board software to enhance teaching and pupils’ enjoyment.

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

As the school has developed its work in this area, it has refined its strategy in several ways, including:

  • placing greater emphasis on writing activities as pupils become competent readers;
  • carrying out six-week assessments and providing pupils with suitable literacy targets that help them know what they have to do to improve;
  • grouping pupils with particular tutors in order to make best use of staff expertise and match this more appropriately to the specific needs of individual pupils;
  • using assessment for learning strategies to mark learning with the child, which has resulted in pupils being constantly aware of what they have done well and what they need to do next; and
  • developing a competitive element into the literacy work, which has motivated the boys in particular to work hard and to ‘move up’.

More-able Foundation Phase and key stage two pupils.

Once the pupils have been acquired the skills to be proficient readers and writers, they move on to comprehension and a structured writing programme. The problem-solving approach and interrogation of different texts appeals to boys in particular.

Impact on standards and prospects for improvement.

No one individual strategy has led to the school’s success. The starting point was analysing the available data and considering the messages this provided before formulating an improvement plan. The school’s thorough self-evaluation processes enabled leaders to plan strategically and to trial, implement, review, embed, evaluate and build on success systematically over the last four years.

2011 data shows the levels both boys and girls are achieving in literacy have improved dramatically.

Analysis of End Key Stage 1 Teacher Assessments 2011

ENGLISH

 

English L2+

English L3

Boys

87%

53%

Girls

100%

33%

All Pupils

93%

43%

Analysis of End Key Stage 2 Teacher Assessments 2011

 

English L4+

English L5

Boys

93%

71%

Girls

100%

43%

All Pupils

96%

57%

Analysis of End Key Stage 1 Teacher Assessments 2011

Percentage of ALL PUPILS achieving each level

 

ORACY

READING

WRITING

OVERALL LEVEL

 

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

2008

3%

77%

20%

3%

60%

36%

3%

77%

20%

3%

70%

27%

2009

0%

61%

39%

3%

68%

29%

14%

64%

21%

3%

68%

29%

2010

0%

65%

35%

3%

48%

48%

13%

64%

23%

3%

61%

35%

2011

3%

60%

37%

7%

63%

53%

10%

53%

37%

7%

50%

43%

  • The number of pupils achieving level 1 in English in each cohort remains fairly constant equating to 1 (3%) or 2 (7%) pupils each year (all on SEN register)
  • The percentage of pupils assessed at level 3 overall in English has increased steadily each year from 27% in 2008 to 43% in 2011
  • Oracy results have remained fairly constant over the past 3 years
  • Reading results have improved dramatically at the higher level 3, with 29% achieving level 3 in 2009 and 53% in 2011
  • Writing results at the higher level 3 have also improved significantly, from 20% achieving level 3 to 37% in 2011

Percentage of BOYS achieving each level

 

ORACY

READING

WRITING

OVERALL LEVEL

 

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

2008

6%

67%

27%

6%

60%

3%

6%

80%

13%

6%

80%

13%

2009

0%

58%

42%

5%

63%

32%

21%

58%

21%

5%

63%

32%

2010

0%

87%

13%

6%

56%

38%

25%

75%

0%

6%

81%

13%

2011

6%

53%

40%

13%

33%

53%

20%

40%

40%

13%

33%

53%

  • Every year 1 or 2 boys, those with special educational needs, achieve level 1 in reading
  • There has been a significant improvement each year in the percentage of boys achieving level 3 in reading from just 3% in 2008 to 53% in 2011
  • There has also been a big improvement in the percentage of boys achieving level 3 in writing from 13% in 2008 to 40% in 2011

Percentage of GIRLS achieving each level

 

ORACY

READING

WRITING

OVERALL LEVEL

 

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

L1

L2

L3

2008

0%

87%

13%

0%

60%

40%

0%

73%

27%

0%

73%

27%

2009

0%

67%

33%

0%

77%

23%

0%

77%

23%

0%

77%

23%

2010

0%

40%

60%

0%

40%

60%

0%

53%

47%

0%

40%

60%

2011

0%

67%

33%

0%

47%

53%

0%

67%

33%

0%

67%

33%

  • In each cohort all girls achieve level 2 or above in all areas of English
  • In 2011, the percentage of girls achieving level 3 in each area was lower than last year but significantly higher than in the previous 2 years

Summary

  • This 2010/11 cohort of pupils is the first group who have been taught using the introduced synthetic phonic system from the beginning of Reception
  • The percentage of pupils achieving level 2+ remains constantly high each year varying from 93-97% (depending on whether there are 1 or 2 SEN pupils in the cohort usually boys)

The percentage of pupils achieving level 3 has increased significantly in reading and writing since the initiative

READING: 29% (2009) > 48% (2010) > 53% (2011)
WRITING: 21% (2009) > 23% (2010) > 37% (2011)
OVERALL: 29% (2009) > 35% (2010) > 43% (2011)

  • The percentage of girls achieving level 3 is higher than in 2 out of the past 3 years
  • In 2011, the percentage of boys achieving level 3 in all areas of English was higher than for the past 4 years
  • There has been a big improvement in percentage of boys achieving level 3 in 2011

ORACY: 13% (2010) > 40% (2011)
READING: 38% (2010) > 53% (2011)
WRITING: 0% (2010) > 40% (2011)
OVERALL: 13% (2010) > 53% (2011)