What are the staff doing on Friday?

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 05.45.13

INSET days are a sore subject with some parents – a day off mid-term for your children can result in childcare worries.

So – all the more important that we make the most of the day! Here are some answers to commonly asked questions in the playground:

‘Will this affect my child’s attendance?’

No – it is planned day off and so you are expected to be absent.

‘What are you doing all day?’

On Friday staff from all three Bristol EACT academies (Greenfield, lminster Avenue and St Ursula’s) will be at Greenfield getting our heads around our new assessment model, and supporting one another in making judgements about where children sit on it.

‘What is the new assessment system?’

Some of you may remember your child’s report having levels given to you that weren’t numbers – instead they were words like ‘below expected level, expected level and above expected level’

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 05.10.16

The reason we have changed to these words is because of the New National Curriculum and the Assessment without levels agenda. Both of these huge changes to the what we teach, how we teach and how we move children’s learning forwards.

‘What changes will I see in my child’s classroom and learning?’

  • No more use of numbers to assess levels – instead we will stick to the three terms above.
  • More use of something called ‘mastery teaching’ where our teachers encourage children to deepen their understanding by sharing their ideas, teaching others or using their skills in a completely different subject area.
  • More mental maths targets and homework -the new curriculum is much harder – and so we need to catch up quickly to make sure more of our children are at the ‘expected level’. As an example, on the new curriculum children should know all of the times tables up to 12 x 12 by heart by the end of year 4.
  • A greater focus on reading at home – this will ensure that children are ready to ask and answer questions at the new expected level. the new curriculum states that by the end of year 6 they should all be reading novels. You will have noticed that we are putting on more parent phonics workshops, stay and read sessions and training to support with this.
  • A bigger push on presentation – our expectations for handwriting have increased and there are lots of ways in which we are isupporting children in making sure they meet the new expectations – and lots of rewards too!

‘What stays the same?’

  • The care, support and excellent teaching we offer.
  • Our high expectations of all learners to succeed -we want all of our learners to either be working at an expected level or an above expected level in all subjects.
  • The Early Years teaching approach is not affected by this change – but at Greenfield because the move from reception to year 1 is such a focus for us we have chosen to use an assessment system that reflects this – this is why we have the canopies and the early years approach being used so well in year 1 at the minute.  This has read to happy and settled learners in year 1 and we are really happy with how it is going – we won’t be removing this suddenly.
  • The tests at the end of Key Stages 1 & 2, and the phonics assessment at the end of year 1.

If you’d like to know more about what is expected in the new tests – these documents just came out from the government to show what is expected in each year group (2&6)

Key Stage 1 (Year 2)         Key Stage 2 (Year 6)

‘But you’re always changing things!’ (this year with all the government changes – this is a very valid point!)

Sometimes, change is a good thing, sometimes change is not. Sometimes, we have no choice but to change! At Greenfield the advantage of being an academy is that we are able to choose some parts of the new curriculum and make decisions about what suits our learners best – so we only make the good changes! We have made an academy wide decision across all EACT school to choose this assessment system, and are all supporting one another with getting our heads around it. The same for the curriculum – support and development is key for this to work well and cause minimal disruption the children’s learning.

Every decision that we make here about learning is based around the needs of your children and how we can best help them to succeed, because at the end of the day – that’s what it’s we are all about. We strive for all children to do better than expected – and we want happy, safe and valued leaners who do incredibly well at our school. This has not changed – and will not change.

‘I have more questions!’

Good – this shows you are taking a real interest in your child’s learning. Come and speak to me or speak to your child’s class teacher and we can help with any more questions. If i get lots – I could even put on a parent workshop or talk about it.

I hope this at least answers the question of what we will be doing this Friday – and why the day of training is necessary,

Miss Richardson