Tag archives: national curriculum

Friday, 31 October 2014

Literacy across the curriculum – statements by Ofsted and in the new national curriculum

IMG_1208This term I am giving both primary and secondary courses on literacy across the curriculum, a sign of the importance of this issue. It is extremely high on Ofsted’s agenda, and the new national curriculum also places great stress on teaching literacy through all subjects.

I have pulled together relevant extracts from the national curriculum and statements made by Ofsted about literacy across the curriculum.

National Curriculum in England Framework Document

  • Teachers should develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject.
  • Teachers should develop pupils’ reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge.
  • It is vital for pupils’ comprehension that they understand the meanings of words they meet in their reading across all subjects.
  • It is particularly important to induct pupils into the language which defines each subject in its own right, e.g. accurate mathematical and scientific language.

Ofsted: Moving English Forward

  • Too few schools have effective programmes for developing literacy skills across the curriculum.

Ofsted: School Inspection Handbook

  • Literacy includes the key skills of reading, writing and oral communication that enable pupils to access different areas of the curriculum.
  • Inspectors will consider the impact of the teaching of literacy and the outcomes across the range of the school’s provision. They will use the evidence they gather to inform the overall evaluation of pupils’ achievement, the quality of teaching and the impact of leadership and management on raising standards.
  • Progress in literacy is assessed by drawing on evidence from other subjects in the curriculum, where this is sensible.
  • The descriptors for an outstanding school include the following criteria:
    • The school’s curriculum promotes and sustains a thirst for knowledge and understanding and a love of learning.
    • Pupils read widely and often across all subjects to a high standard.
    • The teaching of reading, writing and communication is highly effective and cohesively planned and implemented across the curriculum.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

My final reading round-up of 2013

I’m busy planning inset days on reading for early January, and have been looking in depth at the new curriculum for England. I’m certainly not a fan of everything in it, but I definitely like the emphasis on reading for enjoyment and on reading across the curriculum. (It’s no coincidence that I’ve had two literacy-related enquiries from maths teachers in the last couple of weeks – great to hear of maths departments taking support for reading so seriously.) I am relieved that comprehension is given equal weighting to word reading – just this morning a literacy coordinator told me of year 6 pupils who can decode without problems, but simply don’t get the meaning. It’s good that teachers are strongly urged to read whole books to children, and that promoting wider reading is heavily stressed. This surprisingly poetic sentence especially pleases me: ‘Reading feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.’ UKLA has produced a very useful review and planning tool for the new curriculum for English.

Ofsted’s 2012/13 Schools Annual Report states that pupils don’t receive enough encouragement to read widely for pleasure, and that time needs to be made for the reading, sharing, recommending and discussion of texts. This is a particularly interesting statement, coming from Ofsted: ‘Schools can be distracted by national tests and examinations, which do not always assess pupils’ wider reading skills well.’ Ofsted also says older students need to see the practical benefits of reading, as something that affects their daily lives.

Lots of ideas for on reading promotion in this Guardian article.

The Kids Lit Quiz is a lovely way to build up excitement around reading. I felt very lucky to attend the UK final two weeks ago. My picture doesn’t adequately show the buzz in the room.

Great to see an article about DEAR (Drop Everything And Read), an excellent scheme, though I certainly disagree with the authors’ assertion that good school libraries are not a necessity.

I’m sure all readers of my blog are fully aware of the crucial importance of school librarians for reading promotion and lots more. Author Linda Strachan here makes a passionate case for them in response to Edinburgh Council’s discussions on cutting the number.

I enjoyed reading about this bedtime reading event.

Beanstalk volunteers work wonders with children’s reading. Crucially, they give lots of choice of reading materials. A volunteer at a workshop I gave this week told us about the dramatic change the Minecraft Annual made to one boy’s attitudes to reading.

This is an interesting piece by Marcus and Julian Sedgwick on graphic novels: why and how to read them and where to start.

Finally, Michael Morpurgo is the new president of Booktrust.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Reading in the new national curriculum for England, and other reading news

I blogged about reading only last week, but important new information has since emerged.

I’ve been looking at the language and literacy and English sections of the revised national curriculum in England framework document. It’s good to see the status given to spoken language (a glaring omission in the draft). Reading for pleasure thankfully remains a high priority. I am delighted that schools are told they should provide library facilities, and do everything to promote wider reading. Literacy is viewed as an integral part of all subject teaching, as it should be. The emphasis on comprehension is welcome, and the stress on sharing a wide range of books. The benefits of reading aloud throughout KS1 and 2 are rightly highlighted, with several references to reading whole books rather than extracts. I’m pleased that year 2 and lower KS2 pupils should have opportunities to exercise choice in selecting books and be taught how to do so, though I think this should start earlier, and continue later. The extremely prescriptive requirements relating to phonics, spelling and grammar are a much bigger concern. I also fear that the stipulation that two Shakespeare plays and pre-1914 literature are studied at KS3 may jeopardise the reading enjoyment goals in some schools. (There is also little space for studying post 1918 literature in the KS4 English programme of study.)

Today has seen the publication of disturbing research by the Sutton Trust about gaps in reading attainment in England and Scotland. The brightest boys from poor homes are two and half years or more behind those from wealthier homes in reading. For clever girls, the gap is little better. These are the worst figures among OECD countries. In general, the poorest teenagers in England lag two years and four months behind their richest classmates in reading.

This week we have also learnt the impact of irregular bedtimes on reading. At 7, lack of regular bedtimes is related to lower reading scores in girls, though not boys. Non-regular bedtimes at 3 are associated with lower scores in girls and boys. Girls who have never had regular bedtimes at 3, 5 and 7 have significantly lower scores, as do boys with non-regular bedtimes at any two ages (3, 5 or 7).

No absence of reading skills or enjoyment with these girls I met at Chadwell Primary School.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Proposed changes to the English national curriculum

I suspect that many people may not have spotted the publication of the proposed changes to the English national curriculum in the run up to Christmas. These are some of the significant proposals:

  • The national curriculum should set out only the essential knowledge (facts, concepts, principles and fundamental operations) that all children should acquire.
  • Key stage 2 should be split into a lower and upper KS2.
  • Key stage 3 should be reduced to two years, and key stage 4 expanded to three.
  • Oral language should be a key feature of the new curriculum.
  • Modern foreign languages, history, geography and design and technology should be compulsory subjects up to the age of 16.
  • The system of measuring progress by levels should be ended.

Implementation of the revised curriculum has been put back to autumn 2014. There will consultation between now and then.