Загрузил ulya.zakharova2014

Teach Primary-2020-03

How to
engage with
Prepare for
a deep dive
into music
N 1 714.2
- 6 5 0£4.99
0 2
771756 650016
Ready-made STEM activities
Going deeper with language
The art of enquiry-based learning
’d like to kick off this issue by saying
a big thank you to my colleague
Jerome Smail for steering the good
ship Teach Primary while I have
been on maternity leave.
Returning to thinking about education
after a year in baby world has illustrated
to me that teaching, perhaps more than
any other profession, is at once constantly
evolving, while also remaining much the same.
While I’m getting back up to speed with the latest classroom
trends and new government diktats, it’s safe to say that across the
country, you all continue to do what you do best: getting on with
teaching kids new stuff, motivating them to learn and supporting
them with life’s challenges, both big and small.
It’s those everyday teaching moments and insights that we’re
celebrating in this issue. On a subject very close to my heart, on
page 38 Emma Mallett advises teachers returning from maternity
leave on making a smooth transition back to the world of work.
There are also tips on building solid relationships with parents,
courtesy of Steph Caswell on page 30, while Lindsey Marsh shares
guidance on organising a fundraiser for your school, on page 43.
The curriculum is under the microscope on page 53, as Steven
Caldwell makes his Teach Primary debut by imparting knowledge
on building solid history content.
Our subject special this month is music, with a section packed
with practical advice on such diverse topics as ukelele lessons from
Tom Gates author Liz Pichon (page 94), to preparing for an Ofsted
‘deep dive’ on the subject (Elizabeth Stafford, page 91).
I hope you enjoy this issue.
Until next time,
Elaine Bennett, Editor
WHY DO I...?
says the Danish word
‘hygge’, meaning cozy
contentment, sums up how
we can increase wellbeing
“It is a case of inding what
comforts us individuals
and respecting the views
of others”
We need to help children
with lower language
levels develop a wider
vocabulary quickly
“Young learners need
to meet the same word
many times and in many
diferent contexts”
says with the right specialist
support, schools can deliver
a quality music education
“A model music
curriculum will not be
successful unless those
delivering it are trained”
Don’t mss ur
ext sse, on sle
17 th Aprl
all 12 Key Stage One titles
Take advantage of our special offer - only £5.99 per book.
Use the code below at checkout:
Check out our full range of Why Do I... ? titles on our website - www.booklifepublishing.co.uk
www.teachwire.net | 3
ISSUE 14.2
How to
engage with
Prepare for
a deep dive
into music
N 1 714.2
- 6 5 0£4.99
0 2
771756 650016
Ready-made STEM activities
Going deeper with language
The art of enquiry-based learning
We’re all
We want to make
sure our magazine is
a brilliant resource
for teachers and are
always striving to
improve. That’s why
we host a reader
feedback panel
every issue to hear
from real teachers
about what they
liked and what they
would change. Got
feedback? Contact
us via the details in
the yellow box below.
15 Eoin Morgan
“Now is the right time to
celebrate diversity”
Get in touch with your rants, comments, photos and ideas.
Plan your music curriculum to satisfy an
Ofsted deep dive by taking these four key
factors into account
The Danish word ‘hygge’, meaning
coziness and contentment, sums up
how we can increase wellbeing
Can untrained, unconfident,
‘non-specialist’, ‘non-musician’
teachers deliver music successfully
in a primary school?
Nicola Bridge pens an imaginary
note to the DfE on the important
issue of the oceans
Here’s why primary schools need to
make space for music in an (admittedly
overcrowded) curriculum
Encouraging enquiry-based learning
can help pupils develop the skills they
need to cope with a changing world
Who can teachers turn to when they
feel they are being unfairly treated by
the head?
We want to hear from you!
4 | www.teachwire.net
Liz Pichon shares some musical activities
from her latest Tom Gates collection
Elaine Bennett,
01206 505994
Joe Carter,
01206 505925
Richard Stebbing,
01206 505957
From King Tut and Sem priests to
earthquake-making gods and
antediluvian toothpaste
Hayley Rackham,
01206 505988
How this Farnham school is setting an
example with its work on curriculum
Efective communication with pupils is
one challenge, but mums and dads require
104 MFL
a very diferent approach
Luke Rogers, Adam Barford,
Debbie Pratt, James Philp
Making the case for why schools need a
progression framework for young people
on the autism spectrum
0800 904 7000
The key to organising a successful school
fundraiser is to come up with a great idea
in the irst place
114 12 THINGS
Ian Goldsworthy takes a wry look at things
that only experienced teachers know
Helen Tudor
Distributed by Frontline Ltd.,
Peterborough. Tel: 01733 555161
Maze Media (2000) Ltd, 25 Phoenix
Court, Hawkins Rd, Colchester,
Essex, CO2 8JY. Tel: 01206 505900
Play with words and the power of persuasion
with this Dr. Seuss inspired teaching plan
We need to prioritise language so young
children can access the curriculum and
Robin Stevens beamed directly into
your learning space – via a free podcast
and downloadable resources
Explore learning opportunities among the
sparse, lyrical prose, stunning landscapes
and naturalistic vignettes of The Dam
How easy is it to make a good spider web
with a hoop and string?
Teaching reading luency can be combined
within broader reading lessons
Engaging, curriculum-aligned activities
can relieve the pressure of delivering
efective STEM lessons
Author Lisa Thompson shares thoughts on
both her (very) early and current work
Exploring local history at KS2 – with a
journey from cricket in Pudsey to the
battleields of the Somme
01206 505995
Andrea Turner
Here’s how to design a curriculum with
historical content that is both ambitious
and carefully sequenced
CliQQ Photography,
Ace Pre-Press 01206 508608
Where to go and what to do when you get
out and about with your class this term
Jake Burrington
01206 505996
Richard Allen
Preparing to return to work from
maternity leave? Here’s some advice.
You’ve got this!
Hannah Jones,
01026 505924
How can you truly engage with CPD
opportunities and maximise their impact? 110 PLAYGROUND SCIENCE
Louis Stephenson,
01206 505927
We review ive new titles that will
excite your class
The views in this magazine are not
necessarily those of the publisher.
Every efort is made to ensure
the veracity and integrity of the
companies, persons, products
and services mentioned in this
publication, and the details given
are believed to be accurate at the
time of going to press. However,
no responsibility or liability
whatsoever can be accepted for any
consequence or repercussion of
responding to information or advice
given or inferred. Copyright Maze
Media (2000) Ltd.
www.teachwire.net | 5
News | Interviews | Ideas | Resources | Research
Booklist targets KS2 mental wellbeing
UK charity The Reading Agency and Libraries
Connected have launched a new children’s mental
health scheme as part of their Reading Well
programme. The Reading Well for Children booklist
contains 33 books covering topics “relevant to the
children of today”, including grief, anxiety, bullying
and staying safe online. The list is targeted at children
in KS2 and includes titles suitable for a wide range of
reading levels to support less confident readers, and to
encourage children to read together with their siblings
and carers. Authors including Michael Rosen, Tom
Percival, Zanib Mian and Joseph Coelho have been
selected to help KS2 children understand and talk
about their mental health and wellbeing. For more
information see reading-well.org.uk
(You’re welcome)
8 | www.teachwire.net
at hs :
ng e M
Ch al le an d
tio ns
Ad di ng ct in g Fr ac
Date :
Cha lleng e Math
Solv ing Prob lems
lving Deci mals
Feed back
deno mina
sam e
with the
e num
lear ning
the sam
fract ions
We are
iples of
subt ract
are mult
Add and
tors that
deno mina
Nam e:
Cha llen
Sha de
We are learning
up to
involving numbers
Solve problems
three decimal places.
We are
learn ing
Solve proble
ms which
require knowi
decim al
equiva lents
ng percen
of @ , $ ,
a denom
% , E , T and those tage and
inator of
a multip
fractio ns
le of 10 or
Tia says:
0.125 is the largest
most digits.
because it has the
answ ers.
Is she right? Use
Chall enge
a number line to
Feedback en ge
Ma th s:
Pe rc en
an d Fra ge s, De cim als
ct ion s
Challenge 1
in the
Stretch your
Because the
questions offered
by these maths
resources from
Plazoom are more
challenging, they’ll
stretch pupils who might otherwise race their
way through. Divided into three sections of
increasing difficulty and including open-ended
problems with many possible answers, they
promote thinking at a deeper level. Plazoom.com
Frac tion
projects from NFU
Education take
children through
each stage of setting
up a farm shop
business. Practical
science and D&T are
throughout the
projects and real-life
problems are
embedded at each
stage. education.
Fractio ns
The Premier League
Writing Stars poetry
competition returns,
with primary school
pupils aged ive to 11
across England and
Wales encouraged
to write on the
theme of ambition
(see Q&A on page
9). To register and
download the free
resources, visit
on s
Designed to align
with the national
curriculum, the team
at The Monument
has produced a
self-guided learning
resource. With fun
activities, this will
help teachers and
pupils explore The
Monument and get
the most out of their
visit to the famous
London landmark.
Fra cti
The green
prove your answers.
weigh ts
are fractio
decim als.
ns. The orang
Fill in the
balan ce.
missin g
e weigh ts
labels so
The weigh
that the
ts on each
scale add
up to 1.
Sha de
in the
miss ing
Saturday. This table
Amit races every
best time.
has lost his fourth
his best times. He
that would
3 possible times
Can you write down
the table?
correctly complete
Time in Minutes
Page 1
| Y5
ight 2019 27.72
Page 1 | Y5
In each bar,
the fractio
yellow and
ns are green
the perce
, the decim
gaps so
ntage s are
als are
that each
row make
Fill in the
s sense .
copyright 2019
Page 1 | Y5
A £2m National Lottery-backed project to support
children’s learning and ease financial pressure on
low-income parents was launched in January,
with 128 schools across the UK set to take action
over the next three years.
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), working
with project partners Children North East, will use
the funding to help schools remove the financial
barriers to learning and participation that hold
low-income children back, alongside easing the pressure
that school-related costs place on struggling families.
The project, UK Cost of the School Day, will roll
out to schools in Coventry,
Neath Port Talbot, the London
boroughs of Greenwich,
Westminster, Kensington and
Chelsea, as well as expanding
to Moray in Scotland.
Sunday-night fear a
common complaint
A new survey has revealed that over a
third (34%) of education professionals
sufer from Sunday-night fear, with 33.9%
admitting that they’ve called in sick because
they were too worried to go to work.
The study by CV-Library, which
surveyed 2,000 British professionals,
found that education workers think
that Mondays and Tuesdays are the
worst days of the working week, with
only 10.2% of respondents choosing
either as their favourite day.
Unsurprisingly, Friday emerged
as the industry’s favourite day
of the working week, with 51%
voting it number one. In fact, nearly
three-quarters (72%) of education
professionals regularly get that
‘Friday feeling’ as the week draws
to a close.
Look ahead | Book ahead
The Harmony in Education
Conference, focusing on
transforming the
curriculum, will take place
at University of Winchester
on Friday 1st May 2020.
See winchester.ac.uk/
Sevenoaks School will
host an International Education
Symposium on 16-17th October to
explore the value, challenge and
reward of thinking creatively about
teaching and learning in schools.
Karl Nova
Hip hop artist, poet and author
What was your experience of
primary school like?
My experience at Burton End Primary
Academy [in Haverhill, Suffolk) was
only up until Y3. I remember being
creative with drawing and I remember
doing pottery in class. It was a good time,
although I do remember some teasing
from other children. The teacher I had
was lovely but for the life of me I can’t
remember her name – it was so long ago
and so much has happened since then!
Did your teachers encourage you to
be poetic or creative?
Because I left Burton End in Y3, I don’t
recall ever doing any poetry. But I do
remember being encouraged to read and
I did learn to write. I’m sure I learnt all
the nursery rhymes I remember from
there as well. When I was whisked away
from Burton End my mother took me to
Lagos, Nigeria, to live with my dad and
in school there I didn’t do poetry either.
It was the influence of an older cousin,
discovering rap music and slam poetry
that got me into poetry and creative
writing. That’s how I’ve become who I
am today.
Do you think there is enough onus on
poetry in mainstream education?
I have been active in creative education
for a while now, promoting poetry and
creative writing in general in schools.
I do think there’s a lot of celebration
and promotion of creative writing and
reading in British education, which is a
great thing. It can only get better.
This year’s Premier League Writing
Stars competition is encouraging
children to write their poems on the
theme of ambition, inspired by Karl
Nova’s own poem Beautiful Ambition
(see ‘Big Ambition’ on page 8).
www.teachwire.net | 9
*The Anaphylaxis Campaign
Easing the pressure
Gavin McLean
By encouraging enquiry-based learning, we
can help pupils develop the skills they need
to cope with a rapidly changing world
ritical thinking plays a vital
role in today’s education
settings and, in primary
education, should be
embraced as an effective way
of providing pupils with the foundations
and skills set to avoid groupthink and thrive
in this new knowledge economy.
Critical thinking is an educational
methodology that has truly withstood
the test of time; in Ancient Greece,
Socrates created the Socratic method to
establish its foundations. Stemming from
a determination to provide a mechanism
through which pupils were presented with
questions (not answers), this method asks
learners to draw upon inquiry, curiosity,
reasoning and self-reflection to define the
most suitable answer or way forward.
Today though, in our modern and
technologically driven age, and an era of
automation where machine-learning does
most of the work, a concerted effort needs
to be made to ensure this vital skill set
continues to be taught in schools.
So what are the skills and traits that
critical thinking develops among learners
that makes it so valuable?
First, it encourages a deeper curiosity
about the subjects and topics presented to
children in class. It promotes important
questions about even the simplest of
topics, questioning the status quo and
discovering a richer level of understanding.
Asking ‘curiosity questions’ like ‘what’s
happening?’, ‘why is it important?’ and
‘what’s hidden?’ develops lifelong learners
who go on to have a greater appreciation for
others’ perspectives and explore issues with
a critical eye.
Secondly, and somewhat surprisingly,
critical thinking enhances pupils’ creativity.
This follows critical analysis of issues
and problem solving that often calls for
creative solutions and thinking ‘outside
the box’, transcending more conventional
boundaries. With critical thinking comes
a freedom from obstacles that may
hinder those who haven’t developed
critical thinking skills, allowing for more
constructive outcomes.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit
of critical thinking is the well-honed
problem-solving skills that follow. Developing
critical thinking allows us to make
better-informed decisions and use reason to
achieve the most effective results.
Assessing problems from all manner
of angles and perspectives allows pupils to
strategically work through the challenge,
consider the pros and cons of different
solutions and rationally select the path most
likely to succeed.
All told though, each of these benefits of
critical thinking work in tandem to develop
independent learners who are empowered to
make decisions for themselves – an objective
that is central to our job as educators.
Understanding the importance of
introducing critical thinking to primary
pupils is one thing, but effective
implementation is another. To help you and
your pupils succeed, here are five quick and
easy ways to place critical thinking at the
centre of your classroom:
l Plan for critical thinking time – as with all
aspects of teaching, planning is key so keep
this in mind when preparing future lessons
by allowing extra time for pupils to test their
analytical and critical thinking skills.
l Make connections to the real world – we
all know that real-world examples help give
pupils greater purpose to their learning, so
integrate practical applications and activities
that will allow them to see how they can apply
their knowledge and skills in real life.
l Encourage reflection to think about
concepts – critical thinking isn’t restricted to
critiquing the knowledge and views of others;
it is also about discovering our personal bias.
For this, I recommend creating an online
space where questions, thoughts and ideas
can be shared. This also creates a safe sharing
space for pupils who are reluctant to speak up
in front of their peers.
l P ose questions – develop your own set of
curiosity questions and challenge pupils at
the end of each class. This leaves them with
something to think about overnight and
creates a valuable way of connecting the dots
during future lessons. Equally, you can ask the
same question at the beginning of the class,
and pupils can use the duration of the lesson
to come up with solutions and suggestions as
individuals or collectively.
l Get active – read a statement to your class
that has two opposing views. You can then ask
pupils to stand on either side of the room to
represent their opinion and to move around
as their views evolve with each subsequent
curiosity question.TP
Gavin McLean has worked in academic and
educational publishing, edtech strategy and
consultancy around the world and is now the
international business development director
of Edmentum International.
www.teachwire.net | 11
facts to wow your class
From King Tut and Sem priests to earthquake-making gods and antediluvian
toothpaste, these gems are sure to pique pupils’ interest
Thanks to Howard Carter inding the perfectly
preserved remains of Tutankhamun in 1922 (nearly
3,000 years after the boy king was buried in his
tomb), King Tut has become the most famous
pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. He wasn’t that famous
at the time though; he became pharaoh at around
eight years old and sadly died a mere decade later.
Ancient Egyptian gods were incredibly varied. Many
of them were inspired by the animals that inhabited
Egypt at the time. Ra was the god of the sun and
had the head of an eagle. Anubis was the god of
mummiication and so had the head of a jackal.
Then there was Geb, the goose-headed earth god
whose deep booming laughter was believed to
cause earthquakes – surely no laughing matter!
Despite Tutankhamun’s tomb being relatively tiny,
it was nonetheless crammed with over 5,000 items.
There were bows, arrows, thrones, several chariots,
board games and even model boats – everything a
pharaoh would want to take to the afterlife.
is a drama-history
practitioner for
Imagining History
school workshops.
Tutankhamun’s father, Akhenaten, was a heretical
king who changed Egypt’s religion. Rather than
a polytheistic religion (in which many gods are
worshipped), Akhenaten favoured worshipping just
one – the Aten. His changes were not a hit with the
population and led to a ‘chaotic’ period of unrest.
Once Akhenaten had popped his sandals he was
wiped from history – his statutes were destroyed
and monuments dedicated to him were removed.
Along with smelling lovely, Ancient Egyptians (along
with the rest of humanity) wanted to look good, too.
As most Egyptians walked barefoot, they would rub
ointment onto their feet that would ofer protection
from both the sun and insect bites. The upper
classes would employ manicurists to look after
one’s inger and toe nails, while all classes would use
toothpaste. One popular recipe consisted of mint,
rock salt, pepper and dried iris lower. The paste
was initially applied with a inger but later, papyrus
mounted on sticks was used as a toothbrush. There
are also records of breath mints being used.
One of the important types of priest was a Sem.
These priests conducted funeral services and
so were responsible for mummifying corpses.
Each priest was highly respected and they would
conduct the spells that guaranteed eternal life. Tick
of a Sem priest and you’d be in real trouble!
Egyptian priests had strict rules of hygiene to
adhere to. They had to shave their heads and
bodies daily (think of the stubble rash!) and had to
take cold water baths several times a day. The gods
would not have appreciated being tended to by a
stinky priest. Indeed many of the spells from the
Book of the Dead could not even be spoken unless
the priest was wearing clean clothes!
Thanks to some residue found in two-millennia-old
amphoras, we now know that myrrh, cinnamon,
olive oil and cardamom were all used as ingredients
in Ancient Egyptian perfume. This would have
created a very musky scent. On special occasions
women wore hair cones made of animal fat scented
with perfume. The hot Egyptian sun would melt
the cone throughout the day, ensuring a constant
aromatic scent – though the greasy caked-on
residue would have taken more than a Brillo pad
to remove.
www.teachwire.net | 13
“NOW is the
right time to celebrate
y earliest
memories of
primary school
are based around sport.
At lunchtime we would go
out and play football. It was
never long enough. We’d
play for around 25 minutes
but it would only seem like
five minutes, and then the
bell would go and we’d have
to line up. That was the
disappointing part. We’d be
having so much fun but it
didn’t last long enough.
I absolutely loved
primary school. And at
secondary school, sport
provided the motivation
for me. I could easily
get through any lessons
provided there was a carrot
dangling at the end of it with
rugby, football or cricket.
I think school would have
been a bigger challenge for
me if that wasn’t there.
My sporting talent
was recognised quite
early on. I went to
secondary school on a sports
scholarship. The school,
Catholic University School,
was in the centre of Dublin.
Children came from both
sides of the city, and even
from the countryside, but it was a close-knit
place when you got there. While I was
at primary school it was more my mum
and dad encouraging me. In fact, that was
continuous all through my time at school,
until I left to go to London when I was 16.
There was one teacher that really
stood out for me. He was the rugby
coach and the cricket coach, but also a
history and business teacher. So it was
no coincidence that I actually really
enjoyed those two subjects and was more
inquisitive about them over all the others,
because I built up a relationship with him
through sport and then naturally became
more engaged.
definitions and terminology
surrounding everything about
the economy.
It was fairly clear cut
in terms of what my career
would be, I suppose, since
I was a teenager. I always
wanted to play cricket, and my
vision of playing cricket was
always in England, and I got
the opportunity to go and play
when I was 15 and had a trial at
Middlesex. It worked out well
and I signed the following year.
It was my dad who got
me into cricket. I grew up
with him as a cricket fanatic.
I’m one of six children and
all my brothers and sisters
play cricket. My two sisters
play cricket for Ireland and
all my brothers have played
representative cricket. So my
dad’s love and passion for the
game certainly rubbed off on
us. It’s in the blood.
I think now is a
really important time to
celebrate diversity, given
the summer we had and
winning the World Cup with
team members of different
races, religions and countries
that they’ve grown up in. We
travelled up and down the
country during the summer
and visited nine different grounds, and
every ground we went to replicated what
our team looks like.
We live in such a diverse society but
we’re divided politically, perhaps now
more than ever. So it’s important for sport
to set an example and get people together
and lead from the front. TP
England’s ICC Cricket World Cup-winning
captain Eoin Morgan believes sport
can bring people together
Pretty much everybody who played
sport I’d try and be friends with. I think
it’s a great way to get to know people and
for building memories. And some of my
favourite memories are getting the bus to
the sports ground on Wednesdays, when
it would be sport all afternoon. The sports
field was about 40 minutes away, so a lot of
my memories are of the time we’d spend
on the bus, talking about what happened in
school or whatever sporting event that had
happened that day or at the weekend.
I really enjoyed economics.
Again, I had a really good teacher, very
engaging. A lot of it was black and white,
early curriculum stuff, mainly learning
The England and Wales Cricket
Board and Premier League have come
together to create Roar! for Diversity –
a curriculum-linked PSHE resource and
competition for seven to 11-year-olds,
available to download for free from
www.teachwire.net | 15
Each issue we ask a contributor to
pen a note they would love to send
A letter to...
he DfE, whih
ees o elp
proect oeans
I implore the government to look
at ways of supporting teachers to
deliver marine elements across the
curriculum in the future
When I was
around four years
old, I remember
spending a family
holiday on the
beach in Devon.
We spent days
exploring the
plethora of life
that lives within
the rockpools and I was fascinated with
the diversity that we found. There are
photographs of me bobbing around in the
water that I don’t even remember being
taken. From that irst memory, I knew that
there was something special about the
ocean, and I now know this to be certain.
Making up 90% of the living space
on this planet and providing half of the
oxygen we breathe, each and every day, we
quite literally need the ocean to survive. It
shapes the features of the earth and makes
it liveable – and it connects every single
one of us, wherever in the world we are.
In the UK and many other countries
across the world, young people can go
through their entire school lives without
learning about topics relating to the
ocean. In the UK, which is a maritime
nation and a global leader in marine
science, ocean-related teaching should be
an essential part of the core curriculum
ofering – especially in a time when we are
experiencing a climate change crisis that is
having a very worrying impact.
In our modern world, there is a lack of
understanding about the ways in which
the ocean supports all life on earth and
how vital it is for our future survival on this
planet – and that is something I believe
needs to change, fast.
School children are the next
generation, and will depend on the ocean
to survive as much as we do today – so
why are we, as a nation, yet to see the
importance of educating them about
it? By helping them better understand
their connection to the ocean, and their
inluence on it, as well as its inluence on
them, we can empower children to take
steps that will help to safeguard their own
futures. And who wouldn’t want to be given
that opportunity while there is still time to
take action?
Creating an ocean-literate nation will
ensure the younger generation can choose
to live their lives in ways that will help to
secure their futures – and our planet’s,
too – and we can do that by exposing them
to ocean concepts from an early age in
schools. Children who are ocean-literate
are more likely to adopt pro-ocean
behaviours, making small adjustments
within their own lives to minimise their
environmental impact – ultimately,
ensuring a healthier ocean for the beneit
and enjoyment of all.
There’s a wealth of other beneits of
embedding the marine environment into
the curriculum, too – from the wide ield
of marine-related careers it will open up,
to the inspiration and sense of creativity
students will gain from engaging with the
awe of ocean habitats and animals.
A connection to the ocean has
also been shown to positively
inluence an individual’s mental
and physical wellbeing.
At the Ocean Conservation Trust,
we believe that the addition of ocean
elements to the national curriculum
at the next reform is of the utmost
importance, and would implore you,
the DfE, and other statutory bodies to
look at ways of supporting teachers
to deliver marine elements across the
curriculum in the future. There are so
many ways that the beauty, geography,
history and science of the ocean can
inspire and engage students at all levels
and across all curriculum subjects,
and there’s a wide variety of resources
available to teachers online and by
interacting with organisations such as
the Ocean Conservation Trust.
A UK-based teacher survey showed
there is huge willingness from teachers
to help children learn about the ocean,
and many coastal schools ensure they
interpret the curriculum to ensure their
students get to learn about it.
However, we are all connected to
the ocean, however far we live from it,
so there is much work to be done to
ensure it becomes a topic taught in all
schools across the country – and that
no child inishes their school career
without being ocean literate.
rom Nicla
Nicola Bridge is head of conservation education and communication at Ocean Conservation Trust
Ginny Bootman
A Danish word to describe feelings of coziness
sums up how we can increase wellbeing – and
it can (sometimes) start with a hug...
s a class teacher, I find
it really interesting to
witness the power of the
hug towards other adults in
my school. I wasn’t born a
hugger; hugging came to me in later life. I
don’t quite know why or how but now I am
known as the school hugger.
I can compartmentalise people into
different hugging ‘zones’. We have the
non-hugger – “please don’t hug me, I will
not hug you back or thank you for a hug”.
The reticent hugger – “I would like a hug
but will not ask for one or initiate”. And
finally the self-confessed huggers – these
people hug, well, pretty much just because
hugging exists.
It should go without saying that you
mustn’t hug someone unless you’re
absolutely sure they’re OK with it. In
my school, if I am in need, I know the
people who will give me the hug that I so
desperately need.
The duration of a hug is also a very
important aspect of any hug. If in doubt, hug
for less time rather than more. You don’t
want to outstay your welcome
and you never want to be
ejected from a hug – that is
just embarrassing!
The best hugger in
my school is the school
dog. He has an amazing
capacity to sniff out
people who need a hug.
Interestingly, seeming
non-huggers become
huggers where Monty
the dog is concerned.
I have seen him seek
out staff who weren’t
even aware they were
having a difficult day!
He has the ability to
calm those around
him because of his
never-ending kindness
and non-judgemental outlook on life. His
photo sits pride of place among the other
staff photos – in fact, his is largest.
One of the children asked the other day
if Monty was the headteacher? Out of the
mouths of babes…
My personal approach to hugging is
very ‘scientific’ (in the broadest sense of
the word). First, to hug or not to hug, that
is the question. My view is not to initiate
unless you are committed to the hug. It
is better not to have hugged than to do an
uncomfortable hug.
I have only had one awkward hug
moment. It was years ago and someone
I didn’t know very well tried to initiate a
hug that I did not want to reciprocate
so I politely recoiled, and then they
high-fived me. All very uncomfortable and
a lesson was learned.
It’s a bit like putting a kiss on a text
message. Once you have put a kiss on one
there is an expectation to always sign off
like that. Recently, I bought a chair off the
internet and the buyer was sending me
message replies with a kiss at the end. No,
no, no!
In the same vein, I once had a
headteacher who I messaged without
signing off with a kiss. One day, for some
reason, she saw a message I had sent to
another member of staff that included a
kiss. She then went through every message I
had sent her, checking for any sign of a kiss
on any message but, alas, none were to be
found. Suffice to say from that day onwards,
I put a kiss on every message I sent her!
‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) is a
Danish word acknowledging a feeling or
moment that gives a mood of coziness and
comfortable conviviality, with feelings of
wellness and contentment. I, for one, love
to snuggle under a soft blanket because it
gives me a feeling of comfort. Similarly,
as a child, my favourite toy was a dog
with beautiful soft fur. By the end of this
toy’s life, all that was left was a piece of
fabric that I carried around with me as a
comforter. I like to think of this as hygge,
and I think we can all live by this, whether
it is through the act of an actual hug or by
making our environment cozy.
We all need and find comfort in
different ways. It is a case of finding
what suits us individuals and
respecting the views of others.
The word hygge typifies it so
well. We can all find wellness
and contentment in different
ways; let’s embrace them and
appreciate how others find
this same comfort. Long live
the hygge. TP
Ginny Bootman is a
speaker on the subject
of looked-after children
and the role of empathy
in the classroom. She
is a SENCo at Evolve
Church Academy,
www.teachwire.net | 19
Who can teachers turn to when they feel they are being unfairly
treated by the head? The answer isn’t straightforward – or conclusive
am a very good teacher. So I am told, anyway. Ofsted
observations have always gone very well, classroom
observations have been mostly great. I have been teaching
long enough to realise I’m pretty good at my job. There
are many of us.
However, once you’ve worked in a toxic school, you realise
how vulnerable you are. What is toxic school? Perhaps there
are too many negative teachers pulling the school down (mood
hoovers). Perhaps the SLT is putting too much pressure on staff.
Perhaps teachers are being targeted because they are
expensive. Perhaps the head is bullying members of
staff. It can be a whole range of things. You’ll know if
you’ve worked in a toxic school. It’s horrible.
My experience of it was when an academy took
over the school. A new head of school was appointed
and within three months, the morale of the staff
plummeted. Staff were systematically targeted
with support plans, non-negotiables (not based on
research) were introduced and observations were
frequent and unsupportive. These were very good
teachers working in challenging conditions. The
academy had to prove they were impacting on the
school. They got it all wrong, in my opinion. So many
good teachers left the profession as a result.
I was soon hit with a support plan and
threatened with capabilities. This was despite a
long track record of good teaching and subject
management. In fact, Ofsted had visited the
school almost immediately after the academy
took over and my teaching was deemed good.
I was devastated. Unannounced learning
walks were introduced and the level of scrutiny
that was put into place (to support me) was
patronising and unnecessary. As upset as I was, I
decided to crack on with it and prove them wrong. It didn’t
work. Two weeks later, I was told everything I was doing wasn’t
good enough. I was on UPS3. Maybe this was why.
Every week, despite the fact I had done everything they had
said to do on my support plan, they would find something new to
criticise. Once I had accepted that I was indeed being targeted, I spoke
up. It made no difference. And this is the point I want to raise in this
article. Who can teachers speak to about career threatening decisions
that are being made about them?
In my case, I spoke to the head first. I was very honest. I told him I
felt I was being targeted unfairly. He disagreed and suggested someone
from the academy could come in to observe my teaching too. Mmm.
OK. That might help. A second opinion, perhaps. I was very naive. It
didn’t go well. Of course it didn’t. The academy was probably putting
pressure on the head to target staff in the first place.
Perhaps my union could help. They came into
school and spoke to the head. She gave him a ticking
off and said he shouldn’t treat staff this way. He said
there was nothing the union could do as he was free
to make judgments on the teaching and learning in
school. My rep wasn’t a teacher. She didn’t observe
me. She took no interest in progress in books or my
classroom environment. She knew her legal stuff
but couldn’t argue my case about my teaching. Back
to square one.
I wonder if there should be a ‘third party’ support
team that could be called upon when a teacher feels
they are being treated unfairly. I desperately needed
an independent person or a team of people to come in to verify
the head’s decisions. Oh, but wait… Ofsted came in. They said I
was good. That didn’t matter. Another third party then, away
from Ofsted? They could scrutinise the head’s support
plans and discuss why capabilities are threatened. Is the
head being fair? Career changing decisions should be
taken very seriously. When things get as far as they did
for me, an independent third party would have been very
beneficial – people who have experience in the classroom
who could challenge or support the head’s decisions.
I was lucky. I was able to find another job before things
worsened. Others crumbled and went off long-term sick.
They never returned. Would an independent third party –
quality control – minimise these occurrences? I still feel
very angry about what happened. I felt very vulnerable.
It never should have happened.TP
“I was soon hit
with a support
plan and
threatened with
The writer has taught in five schools across a 20 year career.
www.teachwire.net | 21
5 ReallySchool
ReallySchool is a cloudbased assessment solution that
allows you to capture, record and
apply assessments to each stage
of skills acquisition for every pupil in
your EYFS, KS1 or KS2 classroom as
you go – helping you reclaim your
time for teaching.
An intuitive app and desktop portal for better quality
observations and assessments in less time…
Designed in the style of regular
social media apps, ReallySchool
is intuitive and easy to use with
no training required. This makes it
accessible for everyone – even for
teachers who are less conident
with technology. You can take
photos of observations and apply
assessments in just a couple of
clicks from its in-built, current, UKwide assessment criteria. You can
even add existing photos from your
device, if appropriate, and enhance
your observations with video and
audio notes.
You can apply assessments
quickly and easily via ReallySchool’s
comprehensive, in-built, UK-wide
criteria. With a corresponding online
desktop area providing a variety of
reports and journals, ReallySchool
allows teachers and senior leaders
to quickly gain valuable insights
into their students’ learning and
progress, even down to how much
support they had for a particular
activity. With so many features
readily available in a matter of clicks,
teachers tell us that ReallySchool
saves around two hours each day!
ReallySchool creates a handy
online log of observation data that
can show you a timeline of each
pupil's progress. Together with
the student progress reports, you
can see how each individual has
progressed over time and, most
importantly, where their learning
gaps are. This eliminates
the task of having to
look back over historic
observations to work it
out for yourself – allowing
you to focus on the task
of illing those gaps and
moving forward.
To ind out more about
ReallySchool and get your
three-month free trial, visit
enhanced ones for staf that will
show which statements have
been achieved and how many are
left to do. For additional insights,
senior leaders can also create and
download a range of reports that
cover class and student progress,
baseline assessments, end of
KS1/2 assessments, whole-school
attainment and SOAP reports.
You can share individual
achievements with parents directly
to their own dedicated version of
the ReallySchool app, including
images, video and audio clips – as
well as leave comments for them to
read and respond to. Parents can
be updated by checking the app as
easily as checking their emails.
You can quickly
and easily generate
journals of pupils’
progress directly
from ReallySchool
to show to parents
at parents’ evenings
– or, alternatively,
Encourage achievement
with student badges for
good efort, behaviour,
teamwork – and more!
Apply to pupils’ records
and share with parents.
Use audio and video to
include children in their
own learning and provide
evidence of achievement.
Record audio comments
to support observations.
Realistically priced,
ReallySchool ofers a
multitasking solution with
time-saving, eiciency and
wellbeing beneits at a
budget-friendly cost.
ReallySchool was a Bett
Awards inalist in 2019 and
2020 – and a Gold Award
winner in the Nursery
World Technology and
Equipment Awards 2019.
www.teachwire.net | 23
Relationships with
Efective communication with pupils is one challenge, but mums and dads
require a very diferent approach. Here’s how you can nail it...
Advice for
f I were to ask you to
think about the best
relationships you have
in your life, which ones
immediately spring
to mind? Maybe
it’s with a
spouse or a
sibling or a
30 | www.teachwire.net
parent. Maybe it’s the ones you
have with your best friends.
No matter who it’s with, these
relationships bring a smile to
your face and a warmth to your
heart when you think of them.
But what if we took things
a step further? What if I asked
you why that relationship is so
positive, why it makes you so
happy? You’d probably tell me
about experiences you’ve shared
together or conversations you’ve
had that made you laugh until
your sides ached. You’d
be able to tell me how
that person makes you
feel when you
see or speak to them. And this is
what makes these relationships
so positive.
At the bottom of it, you see,
underneath all the layers of
laughter and special memories,
positive relationships come
down to a great level of
communication; it enables
them to work well and without
it, relationships fall apart.
So, it makes sense, then, that
a good level of communication
is going to
help you
relationships with the parents
you meet throughout your
teaching career, too. But how
can you go about it?
Daily habits
The easiest way to build
great relationships with
parents is to develop daily
communication habits that
you consistently keep – habits
that aren’t arduous or diicult
to maintain, but that can have
the greatest
impact for
you and for
the parents.
It all starts
with opening the door in the
morning or greeting your class
in the playground.
Smile and have open,
relaxed body language.
Make eye contact with
parents and with the children.
Humans read a lot from the
body language of others. If
you come out with your arms
folded and an I-hate-Mondays
look on your face, your
approachability levels
plummet and parents will
begin to form opinions about
you. It’s not their fault; they’re
human. Have an awareness as
to the tone of your voice, too.
When it comes to the
end of the day, be visible.
Expect parents to want a
conversation, even if it’s just
to check something simple.
If a parent asks to speak to
you, welcome them into the
classroom and give them
your time and your undivided
attention. If you can’t speak to
them for long due to meetings,
open your diary and actively
show them you’re willing to
make time on another day to
get to the bottom of whatever
the problem is.
Get into the habit of sharing
positive feedback with
parents. Don’t just
ask to speak to
them when things
haven’t gone well
for their child.
Why not let
them know
when their
child has
done something to be extra
proud of? A quick phone
call or chat after school can
work wonders. It’s something
most parents will cherish and
will go a long way in helping
you to build your positive
relationship with them.
If a situation has occurred
where a child has made some
poor behaviour choices,
make sure you address it
in a timely manner. Ask
to speak to the parent but
don’t make it obvious to the
others. It’s embarrassing
and can make some parents
become defensive. Keep
things conidential and take
the parent’s feelings into
consideration, particularly
if you have to speak to them
regularly about the behaviour
of their child.
Part of our job as teachers is
to sometimes have diicult
conversations with parents
about their children.
Sometimes, these can be quite
stressful for both the parents
and the teacher.
In order to make these
conversations as constructive
as possible, there are certain
things you need to try to do.
Getting this right can really
have a positive impact on your
relationships and can boost
your conidence, too.
An easy thing to remember is
to structure the conversation
in a way that keeps you in
control as much as possible.
Start by stating why you have
asked the parents to speak to
you on this particular occasion.
If something sensitive needs
to be shared, give the parents a
prior warning that some parts
of the conversation might be
diicult to hear.
Present the facts as you
know them. If it is something
to do with their child’s
behaviour choices, give them
the information that is true,
not something that you think
happened or hearsay from
other children. If you have
investigated the situation,
explain that to them and tell
them what you found out.
Give the parents time to
respond. Listen to what
they have to say. Listen with
your whole body, maintaining
open body language and
eye contact. If they become
upset or angry, realise that
it’s just part of the process.
Apologising for how they
feel can help to difuse
it to some degree, as it
shows empathy. You’re
not apologising for doing
something wrong, just for how
this situation has made them
feel, regardless if you think
their reaction is right or wrong.
Make notes and highlight
any actions you have agreed
to take – for example, seeking
advice from a senior leader.
Whatever actions you agree
to do, you must do them.
It never hurts to follow up
with the parents after a few
days either.
Finish the conversation
by reading back through
your actions and agreeing
to a deadline for these –
the sooner the better. It
ensures that the situation
can be resolved quickly
and eiciently.
Keeping a consistent
approach will ensure you
maintain positive relationships
with parents. It isn’t always
easy though, so if a conversation
becomes diicult to manage,
ask a senior leader to step in
and support you. Also seek
advice and reassurance from
your mentor.
Managing the expectations
of parents is a skill and one
that takes practice. Keep to
your daily habits and your
conidence and expertise
will continue to grow. TP
Caswell is an
coach and
Conversations with
parents can be challenging,
particularly if they are
angry or confrontational.
If this happens, it’s best
to have a few tricks up
your sleeve.
C – Clear the Area
Some parents like an
open forum to air their
unhappiness. However,
most like things to be
done privately, even if
they’re voicing their
opinions loudly at the
start. Get the situation
under control by moving
the two of you away and
into the privacy of your
classroom/meeting room.
A – Apologise
Apologise for how the
parent is feeling at this
moment in time. You’re
not suggesting that you
have something to be sorry
about – you don’t even
know what the complaint
is yet, but you want to
open up the lines of
L – Listen
Listening is the key to
success in any conversation
with a parent, but so few of
us do it effectively. It can be
hard but avoid interrupting
the parent as they’re sharing
their concerns; it’ll only
rile them up even more.
Let them speak without
M – Make an Action Plan
From investigating what
happened or passing it
on to someone more
senior, an action plan
is necessary. Arrange a
follow-up meeting/phone
call, as this will give you a
deadline – make sure you
stick to it.
www.teachwire.net | 31
Onwards and
Professional learning and development is crucial for reigniting a passion for the
job, so how can you truly engage with opportunities and maximise their impact?
eaching can be
the most exciting
and rewarding
profession, but it is
also incredibly demanding and
we can, as teachers, be asked
to enact and endorse practices,
pedagogies and principles
that are not our own; enforced
through a top-down hierarchy
emanating from often unseen
powers. This can have the effect
of diminishing our sense of
autonomy and agency, leading
to a feeling of disempowerment,
ultimately affecting motivation.
Professional learning
and development is crucial
for reigniting a passion for
the job and for providing the
opportunity to expand and
deepen subject and pedagogical
knowledge while interacting
with like-minded professionals.
But why do teachers engage
so little in development and
learning opportunities? And
when they do, why are they
often negatively evaluated or
have limited impact?
There are five possible
reasons as to why:
l Teachers await permission
or instruction from senior
leaders or the governing body
to engage in professional
development and learning,
rarely seeking it for themselves;
l The professional development
and learning is not relevant
or suitable for the teacher or
leader, or is not taking place at
the right time in the academic
calendar or career trajectory;
l The learning and development
offered or available does not
match the aspirations and
interests of the teacher;
l The sessions are instructional
and mechanistic – a set of ‘you
musts’ and ‘to dos’ rather than
offering a space to critically
engage, debate and think;
l The development happens
in isolation, with teachers
receiving input rather than
having the opportunity to
explore topics and create
communities and networks.
It is important, therefore,
that your professional
learning and development is
suitable, timely and relevant
to you – rather than others
deciding the agenda and what
you ‘need’. The professional
learning and development
you engage with must be of
personal, professional interest,
inspiring you and offering
the opportunity to change
and challenge your thinking,
leading to developments and
improvements in your own
pedagogy and practice. At the
same time, your learning should
consider varying perspectives
and enable you to establish
a network beyond your
immediate school community.
All of the above is achievable
but, at times, this might mean
sourcing and self-funding your
own professional development
and learning (particularly if your
setting does not have the budget
to support you).
Professional development
should undoubtedly be an
entitlement but, certainly in
current times, this is often not
a school priority. While this is
not an ideal, we would argue
that time and money spent on
germane and powerful learning
experiences will always pay you
back over and over again.
Consider the type of
professional development and
learning that will best
suit your current needs.
The following questions
can ascertain what
type of professional
development is
most suitable and
then help you critically appraise
the selection on offer:
l What types of knowledge
acquisition does the CPD
support – procedural or
l Is the principal focus
on individual or collective
l To what extent is the CPD
used as a form of accountability?
l What capacity does the
CPD allow for supporting
professional autonomy?
l Is the fundamental purpose
of the CPD to provide a means
of transmission or to facilitate
transformative practice?
Traditionally, or most
commonly, CPD centres around
the delivery of information
and is based on a training style
model whereby material is
presented by the facilitators
or expert, the recipient
playing a passive role with
occasional opportunity for
group discussion or sharing a
response to a task. Of course,
there are times when this
approach is appropriate –
when disseminating policy, for
example – but, in the main, this
format of CPD is reductive and
So what does effective
teacher development and
professional learning
actually look like?
We believe that
a model based on
teachers exploring their own
stories and narratives, and
engaging in collaborative
learning directly relevant
to their classroom lives, has
the potential to empower,
galvanise and re-energise, while
promoting a commitment to
lifelong learning.
Transformative professional
learning and development
creates a space to connect and
think, and the opportunity
to debate, explore and
challenge. Most importantly,
take ownership of your own
professional development and
learning. Invest in yourself
and your career by putting
development at the core of
your professional identity. TP
Catherine Carden and Virginia
Bower are both consultants
with Bowden Education.
www.teachwire.net | 33
order form
Air Business Subscriptions, Rockwood House,
9-17 Perrymount Road, RH16 3DW
YES!Please start my subscription to Teach Primary
4 issues for £18.99
8 issues for £38.99 (1 year)
16 issues for £78.99 (2 years)
The Jolly Phonics at Home kit is an
extensive range of Jolly Phonics
materials that have been carefully
developed to be used with children
who are at the early stages of
reading and writing.
Nursery Name
Daytime No.
Mobile No.
Name and full postal address of your Bank or
Building Society
To the Manager ...................................................
Address ...............................................................................................
Postcode ................................................................
Name(s) of Account Holder(s)
Originator’s ID No. 677186
Instruction to your Bank or
Building Society
Please pay Aceville Publications
Ltd Direct Debit from the account
detailed in this instruction subject
to the safeguards assured by the
Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand
that this instruction may remain with
Aceville Publications Ltd and, if so,
details may be passed electronically
to my Bank/Building Society.
Branch Sort Code
Bank/Building Society Account Number
Data Banks and Building Societies may not accept Direct Debit instructions for some types of accounts
The kit is packed full of multi-sensory
resources enabling the child to explore
and learn in a fun and enjoyable way.
All items are contained within a bright
canvas case which the child is able to
carry. There is even a slot on the case
to add a picture of the child and if you
open Snake’s mouth at the side of the
case there are also a set of triangular
grip pencils and an eraser.
Ages 3+
• Jolly Phonics Activity Books 1-7
• Jolly Phonics DVD
• Jolly Songs (A4 book and CD)
• Jolly Stories
• Jolly Phonics Letter Sound Poster
Plus FREE triangular grip pencils (red,
yellow, green & blue) and eraser
I enclose a cheque made payable to Teach Primary
Please charge my
Switch/Maestro (issue No.)
*This is a UK Direct Debit offer. Gift is only available to UK subscribers. Existing subscribers can renew
using this offer. Your subscription will begin with the next available issue. If your subscription is a gift, the
gift and gift card will be sent to the donor. You can also subscribe via cheque or credit card. In the event of
a gift being faulty or damaged, please contact us within 28 days of receiving the gift. This offer is subject
to availability, alternative gift may be supplied to the same or greater value. This is a limited offer and
may be withdrawn at any time. Photocopies accepted. Cancellation policy applies, refer online or contact
customer services for more details. Please note: Overseas subscriptions will not include subscription gifts
or cover-mounted gifts. By subscribing we will contact you about your subscription where appropriate.
Your details will be processed by Aceville Publications Ltd (publishers of Teach Primary Magazine) in full accordance with
data protection legislation. Aceville Publications Ltd may wish to contact you with information about other services and
publications we provide which may be of interest. Please tick the relevant box below if you ARE HAPPY to receive such
information by Post q Phone q Email q. Aceville Publications Ltd will NOT share your personal details with anyone else.
When you subscribe to Teach Primary
Magazine, you benefit from:
FREE* welcome gift
Access to exclusive digital resources
and special offers
Free time-saving lesson plans from creative and
outstanding teachers
Insight & opinions from leading UK columnists
An entire section dedicated to teaching English
Special features such as coverage of
outstanding schools and behaviour management
1 teachprimary.com/E141
to subscribe... 3
0800 904 7000
Quote: E141
Send us your order form
*Terms and conditions apply, see online for full details Freephone lines are open Monday-Friday 8am-6pm,
Saturday 9am-5pm | aceville@dctmedia.co.uk
Find more at
Are You New To
Special Education?
A small, tight-knit community
of professionals are ready to
welcome you, says teacher
Sarah Helton.
Read it at tinyurl.com/tpareyounew
Chart your
Why schools need a progression
framework for young people on
the autism spectrum
How To Write A
Behaviour Plan
Do your behaviour reports
serve a practical purpose?
Here’s where you might be
going wrong...
Read it at tinyurl.com/tpbehaviourplan
Identifying Dyslexic
Pupils’ Strengths
Pupils with dyslexia can
and will thrive if schools can
properly build on their talents,
argues Jules Daulby.
Read it at tinyurl.com/tptalents
Our sister title SENCo provides useful
ideas, practical guidance and thoughtful
insights into SEND provision.
Request your free copy at
36 | www.teachwire.net
ecent legislative changes
and reports relating to
the education of pupils
with SEND have focused
on the need to consider their wider
long-term outcomes and
preparation for adulthood. The
SEND Code of Practice cites the
need to prepare young people for
employment, independent living,
community participation and
health. Resources that support this
aim, such as those from Preparing
for Adulthood (for more on this see
now place particular emphasis on
the need to work towards these
outcomes from the child’s earliest
years. The assessment reforms
introduced by the Commission on
Assesssment Without Levels in
2015 highlighted the need to take a
more holistic approach assessing
pupils with SEND.
More recently, Ofsted’s new
‘Quality of Education’ judgment
links a school’s curriculum, in
terms of how it’s designed, taught
and assessed, more closely with its
impact on learners’ outcomes in
order to better prepare them for life
after school. For children and young
people on the autism spectrum,
support may be required in areas
relating to the social and emotional
aspects of learning. For some pupils,
making progress in these areas will
enable them to access learning in the
academic curriculum. Improvements
in a pupil’s ability to regulate their
own behaviour or sensory needs,
for example, may lead to improved
engagement which in turn may
drive progress within national
curriculum subjects.
Many practitioners recognise
the need to prioritise these aspects
of learning, but may lack access
to systems that support them in
identifying priorities and tracking
pupils' progress.
In 2015, the Autism Education
Trust, with funding from the DfE,
commissioned a project to develop
a progression framework and
accompanying training module
specific to the needs of pupils on
the autism spectrum. This work
involved a literature review and
a wide-ranging consultation with
practitioners, parents, pupils and
adults on the autism spectrum (see
tinyurl.com/aet-aa-15). The resulting
AET Autism Progression Framework
was subsequently made
freely available to schools and
implemented widely across a
range of mainstream and specialist
services. An evaluation of the framework
was then carried out, the findings of which
were used to inform a revised Autism
Progression Framework 2.0 and suite of
accompanying resources.
These have recently been launched and
are now available as free downloads from
the AET website.
The AET Progression Framework is
designed to support staff in identifying
learning priorities and measuring progress
in areas that other tools and assessment
materials may not cover. It’s intended to
be accessible to practitioners working with
pupils across the autism spectrum, and can
be used in a range of formats according to a
service’s needs.
The new materials recommend four
key steps for using the framework that fit
alongside the Code of Practice’s ‘assess,
plan, do, review’ cycle.
importantly, it aims to alert practitioners
to the fact that the progress of children
may depend on support in these areas
being available. It’s by no means
exhaustive, however, and practitioners
are encouraged to tailor or write their
own personalised learning intentions
according to each individual’s needs.
Extensive content
Each area is then sub-divided so that
users can focus on the relevant learning
for a particular pupil. ‘Social
understanding and relationships’, for
example, is divided into: ‘Being with
others’; ‘Interactive play’; ‘Positive
relationships (supporting adults)’;
‘Positive relationships and friendships
(peers)’; and ‘Group activities’. Those
areas are then broken down further into
more detailed outcome areas and
learning intentions that identify small
The progression framework provides
an extensive ‘bank’ of learning intentions
based on an understanding of autism
and the challenges that young people may
face within education settings. It aims to
address skills and understanding that
pupils might find difficult as a
consequence of their autism, but
also strives to recognise and build
on their strengths and interests, and
improve their overall wellbeing. Most
The main areas of learning in the
framework are as follows:
l Communication and interaction
l Social understanding and relationships
l Sensory processing
l Interests, routines and processing
l Emotional understanding and
l Learning and engagement
l Healthy living
l Independence and community
steps of learning. Practitioners are
encouraged to select or personalise a
small number of learning intentions
relevant to an individual – potentially five
or six per term. Progress towards these
goals can then be measured against a
four-point progress scale over a year or
other specified time period. Degrees of
progress are celebrated as the
development of skills, and understanding
across contexts is recorded.
The framework isn’t intended as a
checklist of skills to be worked through,
but rather provides evidence of progress
in areas relevant to each pupil at specific
points in their school career.
Schools have a number of options for
ways in which the framework might be
used and different formats are available.
They may:
l Draw on the content of the framework
contained in the free PDF document to
inform existing procedures, such as
EHCPs, IEPs or provision maps
l Use learning intentions with existing
progress measures within their
schools, or the sample individual
learning plan template provided in the
free PDF document
l Use the free spreadsheet version
(which includes a guidance document)
l Subscribe to an evidence-based online
version powered by ShowProgress
(see showprogress.co.uk)
One of the framework’s key aims is to
provide a starting point for identifying
individual priorities via ‘learning
conversations’ between key people,
including parents and the pupils
themselves, as advocated in the code
of practice. The new resources
accompanying the revised materials
include a questionnaire for pupils and/or
parents and a two-page summary of the
main outcome areas for use as a ‘way in’
or discussion tool. ‘Mapping documents’
are also available, which link AET
Progression Framework outcomes with
'EYFS Areas of Learning' and 'Preparing
for Adulthood' outcomes. The AET
Autism Progression Framework
materials, accompanying guidance and
information on training is available from
autismeducationtrust.org.uk/pf-2 TP
Suzanne Farrell is
the project lead for
the AET Autism
Progression Framework,
developed for the AET
by Autism Associates
www.teachwire.net | 37
Newly qualified
Your year of endless nappies and night-feeds is fast approaching and
you’re preparing to return to work after maternity leave. You’ve got this!
QT vs NQP (newly
qualified parent).
Two surprisingly
similar initialisms.
Both can feel overwhelming,
chaotic, sleep-depriving and
are certainly coffee-fuelled.
All things considered, perhaps
parenthood is the perfect
preparation for returning to
teaching after all.
The end is in sight. Your
year of seemingly endless
nappies, night-feeds and
blitzing nutritionally balanced
purees is fast approaching.
You feel torn. On one hand,
returning to work represents
adult conversation (can you
remember that?), intellectual
stimulation and a setting
where you are recognised as
a professional first, then a
parent. On the other hand
(although let’s face it, it’s
more like arm now your
once-miniscule newborn
has grown at such a
rapid pace), there’s your
baby – the most perfect
creature who can literally
transform your day with a
giggle or a trusting hand
gripping yours.
It is inevitable
that your new life as
a teacher-parent will
change your priorities
and how you structure
your day. It is complicated
and challenging but has
the potential to be both
rewarding and fulfilling.
You are now shaping the
future for children both
in your professional and
personal life.
38 | www.teachwire.net
1 Keep in touch
The first piece of advice is to
keep in touch with your school,
through formal ‘keeping
in touch’ or ‘KIT’ days to
informal pop-ins allowing
your colleagues to coo over
your new baby. These visits
enable you to maintain your
connection to work and will
ultimately ease your re-entry
into the profession. Legally,
teachers are allowed to
return to the workplace
to complete ten KIT
days during their
maternity leave.
These days are paid in addition
to your ever-dwindling
maternity pay, so are worth
making the most of. Arrange
to meet with your headteacher
or leadership team in advance
of your KIT days to ensure
they are purposeful. Could
you arrange to lead a regular
intervention slot in the lead
up to KS1/2 SATS? Are there
any groups of children who
would benefit from specific
intervention? Creating a
regular routine ensures that
your KIT days have purpose
and can be planned/resourced
in advance, thus alleviating any
stress or uncertainty you may
feel upon returning to work.
on your partner-teacher to
communicate effectively
with you. You would need
to be proactive in finding
out how your pupils found a
particular topic to determine
whether there are children
who require intervention or
post-teaching to embed this
new learning. You will also
have to be prepared to share
a teaching space and may
find your partner-teacher has
different ideas about how best
to organise a classroom and
4 Champion
5 Be your
own person
As each August draws to an
end, every teacher begins to be
plagued with the return-to-work
doubts. Can you still control a
class of 30? What if they don’t
listen to you? Can you remember
the difference between a
subordinate clause and a main
clause? What even is a modal
auxiliary? These doubts rise to
the surface of our minds after a
six-week break from school, so it
Don’t compare yourself to
others. You must choose what
is right for you and your family.
Your priorities are going to
be split from now on and this
2 Meet in advance
doesn’t make you any less of a
Prior to returning to work,
teacher or a parent. There will
schedule a meeting with your
be times when you are asked to
headteacher or SLT to discuss
work late, cover a club or meet
your return. Your employer
a parent. If the time suggested
must offer you the same
does not work for your new
contract you were on prior to
schedule, be honest but firm.
maternity leave. However, you
Have a few stock phrases
may feel this isn’t right for you
prepared: “I’m not at school
now. Whether to return full- or
that day,” or, “That won’t work
part-time, and to relinquish or
for me.” This will enable you to
apply for responsibilities and
set boundaries and maintain a
TLRs are difficult decisions to
work-life balance.
make now they have greater
In summation, trust
impact on your family life.
yourself. Returning to work is
Returning full-time may be
daunting but you are a trained
when to mark those dreaded
right for you. You are already
professional with years of
hot-writes. Another option
aware of the amount of work
experience under your belt.
a heightened case of ‘imposter
could be to discuss with your
and effort that is required. You
Think back to your NQT year;
syndrome’ when returning to
headteacher/SLT whether
would remain fully in charge of
tasks that would have seemed
work after a 12-month absence.
you could be responsible for a
your class and could thus plan
momentous have become
subject specific set, thus giving
your timetable to suit you. For
second nature. NQP year: you’ve
doubts are unfounded and that
you full ownership over the
instance, if you need to leave
got this. Welcome back. TP
12 months away from teaching
progress of a particular group
work early on a particular day,
hasn’t somehow rendered your
of pupils.
marking can be taken home
skillset useless or outdated.
and meetings can be scheduled
You may find your newfound
3 Get organised
around this home-life
status as a teacher-parent has
commitment. As a part-time
In order to reduce any potential increased your levels of empathy
teacher, you may not be able
anxiety upon returning to work, and will allow you to relate to
BA (Hons)
to take books home with you
you need to be confident in
your students on another level. If
and Med
if they are required the next
your chosen childcare. Explore
you do still find yourself lacking
day by students and likewise,
any options you can find, be it
in confidence, speak to your
is currently
there are fewer days available
sweet-talking grandparents or
colleagues. Is there any training
an oracy lead and Y6
for after-school meetings
friends, or choosing the right
you need to be updated on?
teacher, and mum to a cheeky
with parents or colleagues,
nursery for your child.
Are there new policies in place
one-year-old sleep thief.
so flexibility on these could
Consider how each of these
you should be aware
be limited.
options could work around
of? Would they be
If you decide that working
after-school commitments,
prepared to allow
part-time would best fit your
unexpected meetings or a
you to unofficially
new teacher-parent balance,
parents’ evening that has
observe their
you need to consider the
overrun. Have the dreaded ‘chat’ teaching
pros and cons of a job
with your partner and determine practice?
share. Collaboration
who is responsible for picking up
with colleagues can
and dropping off on which days
lead to some of the and how you will deal with any
most innovative
potential sickness. If possible,
and effective
start this routine early so that
your child feels settled and
you are confident they
however, you
are happy in their new
are reliant
schedule before you
return to work.
“Consider how childcare
options could work around
after-school commitments”
www.teachwire.net | 39
Explore a new world of literacy resources
for every classroom...
What can
you expect
from Plazoom?
4 Resources created
by experts with many
years of invaluable
teaching experience
4 Bright, beautiful
designs to inspire
children’s curiosity
4 Free weekly
Featuring wall displays,
worksheets, activity ideas
and much more!
Visit www.plazoom.com/free to download free resources plus get
20%* off all collections when you sign up to our newsletter.
*Discount applies to all collections
Grow your funds
The key to organising a successful school fundraiser is to come up
with a great idea in the irst place. Here are some tips to help you…
school performance, or even
invite students to sing at
community events (like
Christmas lights switch-ons
and community fun days).
polls or surveys and meet
with potential supporters to
ask key questions, get an idea
of numbers and establish any
special requirements they
may have. The best school
fundraisers are not only
Make the
appealing but inclusive too.
budget work
Find out what ideas senior
Work out your budget and
leaders and school governors may
generate ideas that will work
have for events and factor these
with it. If you are on a shoestring
into your plans. Engage other key
budget, then lowstaff too – for example, if you are
or zero-cost
planning a fitness fundraiser then
fundraisers like
invite sports teachers to support
your project. Go over ideas with
walks could be a step
the school administrator and site
in the right direction.
manager and get them onboard
Another alternative is to
too (especially if you need them
work with external
to stay over late). And don’t forget
partners; sports providers like
about you! What are your
Sports for Schools, for example,
interests and what skills do
a football fundraiser.
can organise free fundraisers in
you have? If you love music
How much time do you
school (so far, they have worked
and can play the guitar, why
have and when do you need
with over 6,000 schools and raised
not organise an evening
to raise money by? Questions,
over £4.2m). You could also lean
questions! Factor in your schedule on local businesses for support; if meal and entertain guests
with music you play?
and any deadlines you need to
you don’t have a big budget to
Think about what help
work to. If time is short, cross big organise a summer fair, then
have. If you are short of
fundraisers off your list
rather than running stalls
helping hands, then plan
and focus on quick wins like
in-house, why not invite local
events where parents supervise
bake sales and opportunities
businesses to run these stalls
their own children and explore
to fundraise at school events.
instead? Local face-painters and
low-key fundraisers like yard
For example, you could invite ice cream vans could bring their
sales (which are outdoors and
parents along to breakfast
own resources and manage their
easy to manage if you don’t have
club for a ‘family breakfast’
own sales, and you could fundraise
too much going on). Organise
fundraiser, organise a
through stallholder fees and
fundraisers that give students the
raffle or tombola at a
donations received based on a
opportunity to take on key roles
percentage of their profits.
too (for example, they could run
their own stall at a fete or fair, or
Get people
host a quiz or show). If
onboard early
you have time for DBS
Once you have decided on a
checks then you could
target audience, try to find
invite parents, businesses,
out what type of events
charity workers and other
people would like. Organise
volunteers along to help.
Start at the end
When you’re planning your
fundraising, a good place to start
is by working out your outcomes.
What do you need to raise money
for? How much do you need to
raise? What are the end goals?
Think of fundraisers that
would be a good match for
your cause. If, for example,
you would like to raise funds
(and awareness) for your
sports hall refurb, then get
the ball rolling with
www.teachwire.net | 43
and use this information to
you win!
What resources do you have
What education things are
access to? Pull out those
trending? Check what national
inventories and consider any
resources you can use to generate awareness events are forthcoming
income. If, for example, you have and consider involving them in
your fundraiser (by participating
old books hiding away in store
cupboards then a story evening or in them, you can often access free
resources too). What else is
book-turned-movie night could
make great sense for your school. trending right now? Has a new
well-known film or book just been
Does your school have an
released that everyone loves? If so,
orchard? If so, why not harvest
take the initiative to link your
those apples and make jam and
fundraiser to it.
chutneys to sell? Are there any
other resources you can access? If
Think things
you can borrow bikes from your
local council, or another school,
why not get the wheels in motion Think about your school values
with a bike relay or bike-a-thon? and policies, and any messages
ideas will send out. For example, is
Add extra value your school happy to organise a
Can you raise attainment as bingo night, or is there a concern it
promotes gambling? Think about
well as raise money? If you can
safety too – what level of risk is
add educational value to your
fundraiser then you really are on your school willing to take? If your
to a winner! If, for example, your school is not risk-accepting then
throw high-risk ideas like bungee
school needs to boost literacy
levels then a scrabble tournament jumps and abseils out!
or story evening could be just
what you need. Remember to
involve students in organising the
event too – they can gain all sorts
Once you have considered
of skills (leadership, money,
these factors, you will have
teamwork, communications).
hopefully then identified suitable
How fun is your idea? No one
fundraisers. You could come up
wants to attend an event that is
with your own fundraising ideas,
boring and if you can make the
but there are also A-Zs and lists
idea unusual and different, it is
of ideas online too.
more likely to gain attention. So,
rather than always organising
traditional school discos, why not
organise a glow party or
rollerskating disco instead?
When you have an idea you like,
work out what the return on
investment is. Calculate the
Think wider
number of attendees you aim to
Think about what events
attract and multiply this against
would work well in view of your
the amount you hope to raise per
school calendar, the seasonal
person, then deduct any estimated
calendar and any wider
costs. Is the fundraiser likely to
fundraising plans you might
achieve your targets? If not, you
have. Think back to past events
your school has had too – Is it time might need to revise the idea
to repeat events that have proven or explore other fundraising
channels instead. As well as
successful in the past?
Or do you need to space things out generating income through
entry fees, stallholder fees,
a bit, to keep things varied and
raffles, tombolas and
interesting? Look at any event
through any products
evaluations too (to remind
or services you sell, you
yourself of what worked and
could also appeal for
what could have been improved)
Be resourceful
donations. Millions of pounds
have already been raised through
fundraising sites like JustGiving
and Crowdfunder – is your school
one the many already signed up?
think about food, entertainment,
dress codes, themes, decorations,
guests lists and special guest
appearances. Create an action
plan and maybe even set up a
fundraising committee – there
could be lots of things you need to
Secure a
work through health and safety,
head start
Once you have settled on an idea marketing, insurance and
that can work, get feedback on it contingency plans.
There are a zillion free
and approval for it to go ahead.
you can download off
Give it a fun name and, depending
to help make life
on your event, you might need to
easier when planning fundraising
events (such as event toolkits,
checklists, budget planners, risk
assessments, event name
generators, fundraising widgets,
planning apps and more). These
resources can really help you save
time so that you can plan with
ease and enjoy the process of
fundraising yourself! TP
44 | www.teachwire.net
Marsh is
author of
The School
Crown House Publishing).
A trip to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Bring learning to life at the UK’s largest zoo, where
students can head into the wilderness and come noseto-nose with some of the world’s most endangered
species. A trip to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is the perfect way
to put current environmental issues into context while
empowering students to make a diference. Enhance your
visit by adding a curriculum-linked workshop, taught by
an expert team of learning oicers. Explore how a trip to
Whipsnade can link to your topic.
0344 225 1826
Delve into the habitats of diferent
animals from across the world.
Explore Asia, meeting nature’s
greatest giants; head to Serengeti
and meet our pride of lions and
journey through a tropical
butterly biome. Try the Habitats
(KS1/2) workshop where your
students will consider how
diferent animals are suited to
diferent habitats.
Explore the adaptations of diferent
animal species, discovering how
closely related species difer due to
the habitat they’ve evolved to live
in. Students can encounter real-life
examples of ZSL’s conservation
projects, showing how animals
are responding to changes in their
environment. Try the Interactive
Adaptations Trail on your next
visit (KS1/2).
Discover how a variety of
diferent animals grow, develop
and produce ofspring. Visit the
Butterly House, where there’s
an interactive Metamorphosis
Zone showing students every
stage of the caterpillar/butterly
lifecycle. Try the Lifecycles (KS1)
workshop, where students will
consider their own lifecycle
compared to diferent animals.
Find out what roams between the
exotic species at the zoo. Take
your students on an expedition
exploring the habitats to uncover
native species. Try the Minibeast
Explorers (KS1), where they’ll
collect real data on native species
found in our specially designed
wildlife habitat. Students will
be introduced to food chains
through engaging activities.
www.teachwire.net | 47
A study undertaken by University of Cumbria found
that residential experiences had a positive impact
on pupils’ progress and sustained attainment among
‘vulnerable’ students.
The comparative research project involved Y6
pupils from eight schools in Wigan, who took part in
a four-night residential experience. Schools involved
found the nature of a residential trip enabled their
pupils to establish new ways of being friendly, and
children were able to develop friendships across
normal social groups. They experienced a sense of
achievement, a growing sense of motivation to learn
and be part of the community, along with growing
respect for each other. Children also developed
proactive behaviours in the tasks, in community life
and socially.
Chris Loynes of University of Cumbria said:
“The positive impact on attainment for vulnerable
pupils was an important finding. The explanation
put forward by teachers was that the confidence
gained while away on the residential, coupled
with enhanced relationships with peers and staff,
compensated for the negative impacts on learning
experienced outside of the school’s control.”
In our sister title Top School Trips we
explore the benefits of getting out of school,
highlight the best visits on offer and
provide expert planning advice. Request
your free copy at teachwire.net/free-copy
Where to go and what to do with your
class this term…
Beeston Castle, Cheshire
Over the past 12 months, a crack team of 60 English
Heritage volunteers has been hard at work making use
of authentic tools and techniques to recreate a Bronze Age roundhouse like
those that stood on the site more than 4,000 years ago. The Bronze Age
house at Beeston Castle will help visitors walk in the footsteps of those who
inhabited the site around 4,000 years ago. Visit tinyurl.com/tpbeeston
“Leeds Castle offers 13 different
educational workshops, which
we have developed for children
aged 3-14. We also deliver
educational talks to a wide
range of age groups. In 2017,
we were delighted to win our
third Sandford Award and our
chief executive, Sir David Steel,
often refers to the education
department as “the jewel in
Leeds Castle’s crown”. We are
passionate that all children who
visit us develop a lifelong love of
learning and history.”
Helen Ellis, education
manager, Leeds Castle
www.teachwire.net | 49
Days to remember
“Studying the Holocaust is very relevant for children as a platform for lots of
cross-curricular work. It makes them question and think about other issues.”
Pat Thompson, assistant head, Wynndale Primary School
Take Leo’s journey with us
learn to:
The Journey is an award-winning
exhibition designed for primary schools
and the only one of its kind in Europe.
+ Investigate ideas
+ Think critically
+ Stand up
against hate
Pupils will visit the National Holocaust
Centre and Museum in Laxton,
Nottinghamshire, and follow the story
of a young Jewish boy from 1930s Nazi
Germany to safety in England via the
Our educators will empower your Key
Stage 2 pupils to:
• Experience a Holocaust survivor sharing
their inspirational story on ilm or in person.
• Explore the nature of choices, identity and
what it means to belong.
• Challenge ideas, perspectives and
Our top three
Be immersed
in historic
rooms and
Watch video
excerpts from
his diary.
not just theory, which makes the day truly
special. Pupils leave feeling challenged and
inspired, but don’t just take our word for it.
“The whole journey that you go on –
the work educators do, the way they talk
to the children, the artefacts – it’s
hands-on, something that the children
will never forget. I cannot recommend it
highly enough.”
Melanie Evans, assistant head,
Wynndale Primary School
What makes the day special?
footage of an
Leo’s inspirational journey unfolds in seven
rooms each designed to relect the time
and a key point in his story. Pupils will
be immersed in another time and place
completely free of text labels and with the
focus on age-appropriate sensory learning.
This is immersive, investigative learning
with lightbulb moments; it’s experiential,
“Since I’ve heard the story about Jewish
people and how others were treated, I
wouldn’t judge people by their disability,
religion or the colour of their skin.”
Primary school pupil
See full details: http://bit.do/fuM9X
To Book:
Visit: http://bit.do/fuNbC
Email: bookings@holocaust.org.uk
Telephone: 01623 867650
www.teachwire.net | 51
52 | www.teachwire.net
Designing a curriculum with historical content that is both ambitious and
carefully sequenced can seem daunting task – but this is how to do it...
lanning for
progression in primary
history requires
us, as curriculum
leaders, to rethink how we
perceive progression. We
need to move away from the
notion that one objective
leads onto another, as
tends to be the case in
hierarchical subjects such
as mathematics. The focus
needs to be revisiting key
themes and concepts
that can both
broaden, and deepen
children’s historical
Focused study
as a narrative
Historical content
should create a narrative
in both the short and
medium term that in
due course culminates in
an overarching, long-term
narrative. By creating
narratives within the
curriculum, we can help
children to build on existing
knowledge and link schemata
(areas of knowledge) together
to develop interconnected
webs of understanding. Within
the history curriculum,
there might well be multiple
narratives being told
simultaneously over a child’s
time in primary school. For
example, my school has three
curriculum strands which are
broadly categorised as world,
British, and local history.
Within these three strands,
smaller sub-strands emerge,
such as transport, explorers
and ancient civilisations.
Big questions
‘Big questions’ allow history
leaders to frame narratives
and focus the learning within a
unit of work.
Instead of having a broad
theme such as ‘The Ancient
Egyptians’, try developing
a focused question such as
‘What was it like to live by the
River Nile in Ancient Egypt?’
These overarching
questions should have
multidimensional answers
that require a breadth
of knowledge to answer
comprehensively. Of course,
such a large question might
need to be broken down into
smaller questions that reveal
new insights lesson on lesson.
An example of this could be
that to answer the big question
‘How has Britain changed
from the Stone Age to the
Iron Age?’, children would
first need to answer ‘What
was life like in the Palaeolithic
era?’ or ‘What’s new about
the New Stone Age?’ Asking
and subsequently answering
these bite-sized questions
allows children to feel a sense
of progression as they chip
away at the larger, overarching
Commonly, a primary
school history
curriculum will
mandate an era to
be studied and
provide no further
detail of what is to
be taught. If we want
a history curriculum to
have progression, subject
leaders need to be very
specific about the aspects
of each era that will be
studied. For example, ‘The
Gruesome Greeks’ (cringe!) as
a topic title lacks the necessary
detail and direction to ensure
learning is tightly focused.
This lack of clarity will also
adversely impact any attempt
at planning progression, as
teachers will naturally go off
at a tangent without returning
to the core purpose of study.
Marjory Reeves once wrote
that pupils should have the
opportunity to “sit down in
a good rich patch of history
and stay there for a satisfying
amount of time”. Children
learn what they think about,
so we need to give them
numerous opportunities to
recall and think about the
content they are studying.
Unless children develop a
depth of knowledge about
something, they will be unable
to talk about it confidently, and
will subsequently be unable to
write about it coherently.
For example, World War
II is a multifaceted topic
where teachers run the risk
of skimming over several
key themes aiming to give
www.teachwire.net | 53
because they contribute to
an overarching historical
narrative. Underpinning each
big question, a knowledge
organiser is written.
Year group/age
phase colleagues
work collaboratively
to identify the
essential substantive
knowledge required
to comprehensively
answer the big
Research by the
Sutton Trust identifies
teachers’ content
knowledge as key to
driving student outcomes.
Knowledge organisers allow
teachers to discover and
familiarise themselves with the
‘best that has been thought and
When designing
said’ in each topic.
a curriculum that
Put simplistically,
encompasses a model of
knowledge organisers should
progression, the first thing
encapsulate what Ofsted refer
that needs to be clarified
to as your ‘intent’ for each
is ‘what’ the children are
unit – what you want children
making progress in. A core
to learn. From this, teachers
intention of any history
work together to develop a
curriculum should be to
scheme of work that lays out
develop children’s historical
the order in which concepts
knowledge. However, the
and will be taught.
key aim is not just to develop
As well as detailing
isolated pockets of knowledge,
the threshold concepts and
but to develop webs of
substantive knowledge, a
interrelated schema. One way
knowledge organiser will also
to achieve this is to focus on
lay out the disciplinary skills
conceptual development over
that will be taught throughout
time. Our school curriculum
a unit of work.
was influenced by the work
Thinking as a historian is
of Mary Myatt, who describes
a vital part of the curriculum
words as being conceptual
and by writing schemes of
If progression is to be
holding baskets. These holding into Europe. Later, in LKS2,
work, teachers can carefully
children will learn how the
baskets are often referred to
plot when children will have
Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut curriculum needs to have some
as threshold or substantive
the prerequisite knowledge
developed trade routes, leading semblance of permanence.
concepts. These concepts
needed to interpret and
to a time of prosperity for the
thread through a history
appraise different sources
Ancient Egyptians. Through
curriculum and provide
of information or, indeed, to
intentional curriculum design, reinventing the wheel when it
a mechanism for term on
pursue their own historically
the concept of trade will appear comes to writing schemes of
term, year on year, deepening
valid questions. TP
again and again.
of understanding.
Each time we encounter a
Take the word ‘trade’, for
NQT to develop the subject
concept, our understanding of
example. When studying the
knowledge required to plan a
Great Fire of London, children it becomes denser and more
year’s worth of history (as well
nuanced. Other threshold
will understand that London
Steven Caldwell
as getting to grips with English
concepts could include:
was the centre of trade at the
is an assistant
‘invasion’, ‘monarchy’, ‘afterlife’, and maths) is not a realistic,
time and the reasons for this.
headteacher at a
nor fair, expectation. NQTs
‘settlements’ or ‘kingdom’.
The following year, children
primary school
should be handed high-quality,
By identifying threshold
revisit trade when learning
in Cheshire with
tried and tested schemes of
how trade between settlements concepts, we can then plan
experience of
work that they can adapt to
how other subjects could
started during the Neolithic
working across all age phases. He
their own teaching style and
period. This then develops into complement children’s
is a history and geography subject
the needs of their class.
the Bronze and Iron Age, where conceptual development
leader and a mathematics SLE.
Our big questions questions
in creating meaningful
hillforts were built to protect
remain the same year on year
trade routes that now spanned cross-curricular links.
children a broad overview.
Our school has chosen to
focus solely on the Battle of
Britain, viewing it from the
perspective of ‘a significant
turning point’. By doing this,
children will have detailed
knowledge of the events at
Dunkirk, all the way up to
the immediate aftermath
of the Battle of Britain.
Only by studying topics in
depth will children be able
to grasp historical concepts
such as change and
continuity, similarity
and difference,
and cause and
“If progression is to be preserved,
a school’s history curriculum
needs to have some semblance
of permanence”
54 | www.teachwire.net
www.teachwire.net | 55
Regional stories,
Exploring local history at KS2 – with a journey from the cricket
ground in Pudsey to the battleields of the Somme in 1916…
he story of Major (a
given name, rather
than a military rank)
Booth, a professional
cricketer from Pudsey in West
Yorkshire, is a gateway to
themes of national and global
signiicance – for example, the
importance of the Empire and
political struggles among both
men and women.
Major’s grandfather was a
handloom weaver engaged in
the Chartist movement, striving
for equality for the working
man. By the next generation,
Major’s father had risen in
status to own his own grocer’s
shop, packed with products
from the Empire. He was so
aluent he could aford to have
his son privately educated at
Fulneck School, where Major
learned to play cricket. He went
on to become an engineer but
his skill and love of cricket led
him to play professionally for
Yorkshire and his country.
In 1914 he was honoured as
Wisden cricketer of the year.
The outbreak of the war
led to Booth turning his back
on sport and joining the
15th Battalion of the West
Yorkshire regiment – the
Leeds Pals. Rising to the
rank of 2nd lieutenant, he
tragically lost his life on the
irst day of the battle of the
Somme in 1916. Booth was just
one of 20,000 deaths among
the British troops that day.
Pupils in Pudsey can still visit
56 | www.teachwire.net
places associated with Booth’s
story, including the site of the
grocer’s shop, the memorial
with his name and a plaque
honouring his achievement.
This powerful story was
utilised by Peter Daniels and the
team at Westminster Archives
to support KS2 pupils in schools
near Lords cricket ground
(where Booth had played)
as they grappled with the
challenging theme of warfare
and its impact. It provides
an excellent example of how
studying people with links to our
locality can make national and
global history relevant to our
pupils. These
stories can
also inspire
them to
how they too,
like others,
from their region can go on to
play a part on the national stage
of history.
The focus of this inal part
of my series looking at teaching
local history in primary school
is KS2. It is vital our content
and approaches relect greater
challenge, enabling pupils to
develop and prepare for
studying history at KS3. It
should also further develop their
insight into taking on a more
active role as citizens within
the community and valuing and
preserving their heritage.
KS2 curriculum
The national curriculum
clearly states that pupils
must be taught a local
“Booth was just one
of 20,000 deaths
among the British
troops that day”
history study within KS2,
and includes some examples
on how it can be approached.
The emphasis here is on
lexibility and being inspired
by and working with the
treasures your locality has
to ofer.
l A depth study linked to
a pre-1066 aspect of
British history.
l A study over time tracing
how several aspects of
national history are relected
in the locality (this can go
beyond 1066).
l A study of an aspect of
history or a site dating from
a period beyond 1066 that is
signiicant in the locality.
Making relevant local
links is a great way of
demonstrating to Ofsted
how your curriculum
relects the school and its
locality, is relevant to your
pupils, and is also enriching
their experiences. In a
recent visit to a school in
a former coal-mining area
in Nottinghamshire, I was
disappointed to ind that
pupils there had no knowledge
of the link with the industry.
The school is now planning
a joint local history and
post-1066 study for KS2
focusing on mining, which also
has strong links to national
history and the events
impacting on the industry.
There’s a range of sources
of evidence you can use to study
local history units with this
age group. They should now
be engaging with a number of
diferent types of source within
an enquiry and using more
complex information.
Local directories are just
one of the written resources
available. They provide
background information about
the area and then go on to list
information about all the local
businesses. The accompanying
advertisements also provide
a valuable insight into life in
the area in the past. You can
then compare the directories
from diferent years to look at
continuity and change. They
can look for periods of most
signiicant change, providing
opportunities to link with
national events. There is
also scope to focus on some
entries in more depth by
cross-referencing with other
written sources like the census
or newspapers.
links for learning
Studying local history in KS2
provides many opportunities
to link with other areas of
the curriculum. As Philippa
Dixon – history subject lead
at St Paul’s primary school in
Leeds – found, linking with
geography is the most obvious
choice. But don’t neglect
other areas like citizenship,
with the potential to explore
heritage and whether the past
is worth preserving. Many
maths skills can be developed
within your ieldwork,
especially when investigating
sources like census returns.
Links to science can be
made through investigating
materials used over time
within the environment.
The creative arts and literacy
can also have a key role
through communicating
the knowledge gained and
skills developed.
Philippa found the potential
for learning within local history
was so powerful that the staf
planned a whole term’s unit of
the curriculum around it for
their pupils in UKS2. Their
main focus was looking at the
industrialisation of Leeds,
including the signiicance of the
canals, railways and mills. The
children compare the growth
of Leeds during the industrial
revolution to the modern-day
city, exploring aspects such as
Channel 4’s recent relocation
to the area.
Even the most motivated
of you might still be struggling
with selecting which aspect
of local history to study in a
particular age group. If so, ask
your subject leader to carry
out an audit starting with the
staf and then parents and
members of the community.
Their views should be sought
on which local events, people
and features are of such
signiicance they should be
studied by pupils in the school.
As a staf you can then map
coverage of these over the key
stages. Remember to focus on
reaching out from the local to
make those links to national
and global history by Y6. So
why wait to get started? Local
history makes a great topic for
your summer term! TP
l Geof Timmins, Exploring
Local History for Teachers
in Primary & Secondary
School, available from The
British Association for
Local History.
l Lynne Dixon & Alison
Hales, Bringing History Alive
through Local People and
Places, Routledge.
Trade and local directories:
Census materials:
War memorials
Workhouse records:
To ind out more about
Major Booth and other
sportsmen from
the First World War:
Bev Forrest
is Chair of
the Historical
Committee and
the author of
Rising Stars
www.teachwire.net | 57
Don’t be blinded by
An easy-to-follow array of engaging, curriculum-aligned activities can
relieve the pressure of delivering efective STEM lessons, even for
teachers without specialist knowledge
here are several
challenges when it
comes to teaching
science at primary
school. First and
foremost, teachers have limited
time to plan learning activities
and may not have access to
consumable resources or
science equipment. This makes
it increasingly diicult for
them to plan an extensive and
engaging science curriculum.
While all teachers want to
provide the very best lessons
for their children, this is a tall
ask when confronted by a
lack of resources and time.
Therefore, it’s critical
that resources are made
available to support
teachers in delivering
fun, afordable and
engaging science
lessons without
having to spend
their weekends
and evenings
lesson plans.
science can be a
daunting subject
for teachers who
haven’t specialised
in science,
engineering and
maths (STEM).
people make
the mistake
of thinking
that science is less
accessible as a subject
for teachers compared
60 | www.teachwire.net
to humanities-based subjects,
such as history or English.
However, with the right
guidance and support, science
can not only be accessible for
teaching staf, but it can
also help bridge the gaps
between diferent subject
or curriculum areas.
There is evidence
that it can be
diicult to
engage children with science in
the classroom too. Thirty-two
per cent of primary school
children stated that they
‘agree’ or ‘agree a lot’ that “they
worry about science lessons
being too hard”, according to a
2019 survey conducted by the
Wellcome Trust. Children’s
opinions on science are formed
as a result of a whole host of
interactions, experiences and
relationships with others, so
tackling these preconceptions
is no easy task, but what we do
know is that they can result in
children feeling less conident
in their ability when it comes
to science-based subjects.
These issues can all lead to a
decline in engagement with
STEM subjects, meaning
children are less likely to take
them on at the higher levels
of education. This lack of
engagement in STEM-based
topics is increasingly becoming
an issue in a world that is
growing ever more dependent
on STEM skills.
Critically, any activities
or lesson plans should be
designed to give children the
freedom to make decisions
and come up with their own
creative solutions to problems
by harnessing the power of
learning through play. When
participating in practical
science, children should be
encouraged to take on the
role of investigators, using
materials available to them to
Tackling teachers’
experiment and ind a solution
overburdened workloads
to the problem they have been
must be the highest priority.
posed. When teachers take on
This means there needs to
the role of facilitator, it takes
be afordable, ready-made
away the pressure for them to
resources designed to help
be the expert with all the right
engage young people with
answers and allows them to
STEM learning, while
focus on supporting individual
taking the pressure of class
pupil learning. This is
preparation of teachers. It is
enquiry-based learning, which
important these resources and develops skills such as problem
activities are lexible so they
solving, independent working,
can be adapted to meet the
decision making, practical
individual needs and interests science, relective practice,
of pupils. Teachers always
reporting and communicating.
know what’s best for their
These are all key skills in the
pupils and therefore overly
scientiic process and vital to
prescriptive lesson plans could a well-rounded understanding
only work to lower the quality of how STEM subjects work in
of the class.
the real world.
The increasing importance
of STEM skills across all
careers makes it even more
crucial that children are given
the best possible introduction
to science in the classroom.
One of the reasons that young
people decide to give up
STEM subjects is because
they don’t see them
as relevant to their
lives or future career
aspiration. Research
suggests these attitudes
are formed from a young
age and it is therefore
important that primary
STEM activities are set
in a real-world context
that is relevant to
pupils’ own interests
and experiences.
This is why relevant,
child-led, practical
investigations, are a
perfect way of ensuring
each pupil is given access
to the ultimate science
curriculum without
adding to the workload
of their teacher.
In practice
This activity is designed
to provide children with
real-world challenges that
are relevant to their lives.
They are presented with
a problem and a range of
resources to help them solve
it, but they decide how they
will carry out the investigation.
Give it a go:
The problem
We want to create more
habitats (natural homes)
for minibeasts in our school
or local area. In this challenge
you need to investigate
what kinds of habitats
minibeasts like to live in.
The real-world
It’s important to protect
our local environment and
its biodiversity. There are
wildlife habitats all around
us. We can help to protect
these habitats and create
more of them if we know
about the kinds of places
minibeasts like to live.
The materials
and resources
Magnifying glasses.
Paper, pencils and clipboards
for recording.
l Camera to take photos of
diferent habitats (optional).
l Pictures of minibeasts to
help identify them.
l Container to collect
minibeasts (optional).
l Safe access to the outdoors.
What to do
Begin by introducing
the activity and the problem
they need to solve, perhaps
beginning with a story to set
the scene.
Discuss the areas
they might look in and
the minibeasts they
might ind when they
are outside.
Give out the resources
and discuss how they
can use them to help their
investigation. Discuss how
they will keep themselves
and any minibeasts safe.
Before they begin,
ask children to think
about how they will record
their results – this could be
via note taking, drawing or
photographs. Results might
include what they have found
as well as where they found it
and a description of the habitat.
Back in the classroom,
ask the children to present
their indings to the rest
of the class. They can be as
creative as they like with
their presentations. Use the
facilitation questions below
throughout the activity to
help children think through
the problem.
Where could you look for
mini beasts?
l What types of minibeasts
do you expect to ind there?
l How will you make sure
you don’t harm them?
l Can you describe the
places you found the
most minibeasts?
l What kinds of habitats do
minibeasts like to live in?
l Why do you think this is?
l How could you create more
habitats for minibeasts?
Watch out!
Ensure all children are
l Risk assess the outdoor
areas children will be
l Children should wash
hands thoroughly after
exploring outside and
handling minibeasts.
l Ensure any minibeasts
collected are returned back
where they were found.
is education
at the
Science Association (BSA).
www.teachwire.net | 61
Engineering with just a hoop and string
How easy
is it to
a good
You will need
4 A hula hoop
4 String or wool
4 Scissors
4 A timer (optional)
4 Small balls (eg tennis balls)
4 Optional: spray bottle and water
How to do it
Begin by outlining the activity: the
children will have just 15 minutes
(time limit optional!) to create
a ‘spider web’ within the hoop that will
be able to hold ‘prey’ (small balls). The
success of the web will be defined by
how much prey the web can capture
and keep. So that means the web needs
to catch the balls without them falling
through the string or wool and onto the
ground below.
Start the timer and begin to
create your web. Use wool or
string to thread your web within
the hoop. Hint: first, wrap the thread
around your hoop as though you are
creating bicycle spokes. Then create
circles within your hoop by wrapping
the thread around the ‘spokes’.
Time is up! Hold your web
horizontally and ask a partner
to gently throw the ‘prey’ into
the middle. How many items of prey
can your web hold? How could you
improve your web so it could hold
more prey?
OPTIONAL: Instead of using a hula
hoop, try creating the frame for the web
using natural materials such as sticks.
Take a closer look at the architecture
of the spider webs in your natural
environment. Spray a fine mist of
water using a clean spray bottle to
make a web’s fine details stand out
(this will not harm the web).
steel. It also has good extensibility,
meaning it is able to stretch a long
way without breaking. Because of these
properties, humans are interested in
creating artificial spider silk for uses
such as clothing, military body armour,
parachute material, and for repairing
ligaments (the connective tissue
between bones). TP
What are we learning?
The frosty early spring weather is an
excellent opportunity to appreciate the
amazing architecture of spider webs.
Spiders often use webs to catch their
dinner. A classic orb web is shaped like a
bicycle wheel, perhaps like the web you
have created. Unlike yours, each web
takes about two hours to complete and is
made of spider silk, spun from spinnerets
on the spider’s abdomen. Spider silk
has a high tensile strength, so it is not
pulled apart by a heavy weight. Weight
for weight, spider silk is stronger than
Emily Hunt is a
primary school
teacher and author.
She blogs about
STEM education on
her website and
is the author of
15 Minute STEM (£16.99,
Crown House Publishing).
www.teachwire.net | 63
Reading fluency
can be taught as a
standalone skill, but
it makes sense to
combine the skills
within a broader
reading lesson
Play with words
and the power of
persuasion with this
Dr Seuss-inspired
teaching plan for
KS1 on Green Eggs
and Ham
Language is
the bedrock of
learning and we
need to prioritise
vocabulary so
children can build
the skills they need
Explore learning
among the sparse,
lyrical prose
and stunning
landscapes of
The Dam
Efective use of metaphor, alliteration and
personiication are key to any great writer
and this set of composition resources
from Plazoom helps to sharpen all these
skills and more. There are
eight sets of activity
sheets in the series,
which help children
to develop their
written work through
a combination of
creative prompts
and engaging
Underline the examples of alliteration in this passage.
Bhavesh looked up at the milk-white sky.
Winter was finally here.
The once grey clouds
had now emptied,
sending snow
silently down.
Explain, using your words,
what alliteration is.
Create an example to
explain your definition.
The air was cool,
not cold, and
though the melting snow landing on his
skin sent shivers through his body, it was not
But soon, the weather began to change.
As Bhavesh watched the snowfall, a small breeze
began to grow in force before it suddenly became
a wild wind whipping at his clothes and face.
Instead of settling on the ground, the snow began
to dance in the air. A storm was coming!
Underline the similes in this passage.
A howl erupted as the wind whistled through
the trees. Bhavesh was showered with
pieces of broken branch and he turned
before rapidly racing into the house.
Underline the metaphors in this passage.
There once lived a boy called Jack who lived with his old
Sally nervously pushed at the gate and it creaked open a fraction on
rusted hinges. As quietly as the grave, Sally
squeezed through the gap. Her heart was
a pounding drum as she looked around the
old garden. The night sky was dark
overhead, but a slice of moonlight, falling
through clouds as grey as lead, was a
Think of 3 features of this character.
silver path, leading up to the house’s
Use similes to highlight them.
front door.
mother. The pair of them lived like paupers in an old house at
the edge of a small farm. Although Jack often went hungry,
he was as lazy as the day was long and would never help out
around the farm.
One morning, his mother decided that
she had had enough. As the sun rose,
she woke Jack and informed him that
he would need to go to the market to
sell their only cow.
Where any work was involved,
Jack’s mind was like lightning and he
gave every possible excuse he could think
of to avoid the walk to market.
“Go!” screeched his mother with a voice
as loud as thunder, “and do not come back
until you have sold that cow!”
Jack’s mood was like a heavy cloud as
he walked out of the door, dragging the
unlucky cow behind him.
64 | www.teachwire.net
Explain, using your own words what a
metaphor is and how it is different from
a simile.
“Should I really be doing this?” Sally asked
herself, but kept going. Her curiosity was a rope
pulling her forward. She was walking through a pool
of darkness but she could not stop now.
After a few moments, Sally reached the front of the
house. The rotten, wooden doorway hung awkwardly
open and Sally squeezed through the opening,
careful not to make a noise.
Inside the house, a layer of dust told her that
nobody had been here in years. The loneliness
inside was a giant hand which held her in
its grip.
This is a visual
metaphor. The swimmer
is not really swimming
down the road. What
do you think it is saying
about the swimmer? Can
you change this visual
metaphor into a written
Even after my childhood verse proved
pleasingly popular, I never dreamt I would
one day be sharing it with children in primary
schools as a published author
hen I give
in schools, my
favourite section
is where I talk about my first brush
with writing fame as a child. I show
them a photograph of me aged ten
(complete with 1980s bowl-cut
fringe) and then I reveal a piece of
my earliest work – a piece that has
stayed with me for decades. Here is
small taster [clears throat]:
There was a young girl called
Fay Doodle,
Who had a gigantic poodle.
It ate sixteen tins of meat a day,
And nearly ate poor little Fay…
Yes, my writing career began
with a limerick/poem-fusion. It
was a unique piece of work (And
then poor Fay’s big poodle died, and
its grave was ten-foot wide) but in
the eyes of my teacher, it was an
absolute masterpiece. She mounted
the poem onto some thick paper
and put it onto the wall for all
to see. This was unheard of in
my class. Our teacher never put
our work on the wall. Maybe Blu
Tack hadn’t been invented then,
or perhaps the staple gun was just
at the pre-production stage.
Whatever the reason for not
displaying our work, seeing my
poem on the classroom wall that
day was a very, very big deal indeed.
In fact, it was so unheard of, my
mum kept the poem for 36 years.
Every now and then the ‘Fay
Doodle’ poem would come out
and make everyone laugh, and it
has only been very recently that I
have realised just how important
this poem has become to me. And
sharing it with children today
has been a joy.
When I eventually became
a published author, I never
dared to dream that my books
would be used in schools and
that I would see work inspired
by my stories on classroom
walls. It has been absolutely
thrilling to see. I have visited
students around the country
and been dazzled with displays
and amazed by some brilliant
character analysis. I have also
been blown away with the
incredible, creative ideas that
teachers have come up with to
use across KS2 and lower KS3.
Now that my fourth book, The
Boy Who Fooled The World,
is being published, I am very
excited to see how it might be
used within the classroom. It’s
about a 12-year-old boy called Cole
who inadvertently becomes an
overnight modern-art sensation.
Cole’s painting ‘Catch’ sells for
£100,000 at an auction in a top
London gallery and he is thrust
into the spotlight. His family
have been struggling financially
but now they have more money
than they could ever imagine.
However, Cole’s painting isn’t
exactly all that it seems. He has
fooled the world and when his
secret is exposed, everything comes
crashing down around him.
I hope that Cole’s story might
inspire teachers to use the book
in conjunction with a variety of
subjects. Here are some starting
points to whet your appetite…
Art and
Read chapter
four and then
ask students to
create their own
piece of art, just
like the modern
artist Marika Loft
instructs Cole’s class.
After they have finished,
have a class discussion –
would any of their pieces sell
for a lot of money, do you
think? How about if someone
from a top art gallery says it was
highly valuable? This could provoke
an interesting debate about whether a
piece of art is worth a lot of money
just because someone in a position of
power says it is. Is this the same for
other material things like trainers?
Phones? Hoodies?
Does something only have great
value when consumers want to own it
en masse? What other examples have
there been where things have sold way
over their actual value?
Using the descriptions in the
book, can your students create their
own interpretations of ‘An Enigma
In Oil’ – the mysterious painting
from the local museum that contains
a treasure hunt.
Take a look at the 16th century
painting The Ambassadors by Hans
Holbein the Younger. Can you find the
mysterious skull that Isla mentions in
the book? Can you imagine how
amazing this trick of the eye must
have been back when it was painted?
History/critical thinking
There have been many famous hoaxes
throughout history that have baffled a
lot of experts. Some examples to relay
to your students could include: the
1917 Cottingley Fairies, PT Barnum’s
Fiji mermaid and Panorama’s spaghetti
trees. Which one of these hoaxes does
the class think was the most
successful? Do they think
that there are hoaxes in
modern times due to
the internet and social
media? How can we avoid fake news?
This could lead into a lesson on how we
need to be aware of the news stories
that we read – to ask questions and
investigate further if something doesn’t
sound right.
Can the class create their own hoax
that might fool the rest of the school?
Local history
Cole’s mum works at the local town
museum, which is closing down due to
poor attendance. Research your local
museum and find out what treasures are
kept there. What makes a good museum?
Are museums still relevant in this digital
age? Ask your students to create their
very own museum by making a map and
visitor guide. What artefacts would they
have to entice visitors?
Creative writing
In The Boy Who Fooled The World, a
national newspaper journalist writes
an article about Cole and his
new-found wealth, but the piece is
false, causing embarrassment to Cole
and his family. Read a classic fairy tale
and ask the class to write their own
newspaper article about the story, but
tell them to twist the truth. For
example – The Big Bad Wolf is an
innocent victim! Three Little Pigs
ignore eviction notice! Cinderella is a
lazy and ungrateful stepchild!
I hope these ideas might inspire you
to use The Boy Who Fooled The World
in your lessons, and I’m really looking
forward to seeing how teachers and
students will interpret the book. And if
one day you find yourself stapling a
piece of artwork inspired by Cole’s
story onto the classroom wall,
remember this… it all began with Fay
Doodle and her gigantic poodle. TP
Lisa Thompson is author of The Boy Who
Fooled the World (£6.99, Scholastic).
www.teachwire.net | 65
he English Skills Box provides
opportunities for pupils to read
an exciting range of graded
texts to support, match or challenge
their needs and to creatively use
their skills and knowledge of English
comprehension, vocabulary, spelling,
grammar and punctuation.
The 15 colour sets of five cards
within the box provide a range of
illustrated fiction, non-fiction, rhyme
and poetry texts for children to read
and enjoy. The texts are aligned to
book bands: Box 1 Green to White;
Box 2 White to Grey; and Box 3 Grey
to Dark Red and beyond. The use of a
qualitative and quantitative readability
measure ensures greater reliability in
text measurement and progression.
Follow-up, skills-focused activities
All three levels
of The English
Skills Box for
your school
link to the statutory English national
curriculum requirements and
the content domains for reading,
spelling, punctuation and grammar,
as featured in national tests (SATs).
The number of activities gradually
increases over the three boxes.
The careful grading and steady
skills progression mean the cards
may be used in whole-class teaching,
small guided-reading groups or
independently by the pupils. They may
be used in sequence or selected by the
teacher to match identified needs. The
cards have been written to increase in
difficulty as children progress through
the box. Cards within a colour set may
be tackled in any order.
After every three card sets,
pupils may take a progress test to
review knowledge and skills picked
up along the way. Tests are written in
the style of national tests and will be
provided as a FREE download.
What’s included
with each box?
l 75 cards in 15 colour sets of
ive cards
l 75 child-friendly answer cards
l Teacher Guide with card-by-card
notes and answers
l Downloadable progress tracking
Take a closer look at The English Skills Box
at prim-ed.co.uk/the-english-skills-box
Enter now at teachwire.net/giveaways
*Competition closes at 5pm on 3rd April. Winner will be notified within 21 days. Full terms and conditions available at teachwire.net
66 | www.teachwire.net
www.teachwire.net | 67
Go with
Reading luency can be taught as a standalone skill, but it makes sense
to combine the skills within a broader reading lesson
eading luency has
become something
of a hot topic in
recent times.
This is almost certainly a
consequence of the KS1
teacher assessment framework
setting out 90 words per
minute (WPM) as the expected
rate of reading for children
at the end of Y2 and more
recently the Ofsted education
inspection framework saying
that learners should read with
“luency and comprehension”.
But what is meant by reading
luency, why is it important
and how can we teach it in
primary school?
What is reading
fluency and why
is it important?
First of, reading luency is
more than reading quickly.
Certainly, reading with pace is
an important aspect of luency
but it doesn’t tell the whole
story. In addition to
speed, Pikulski and
Chard (2003) identiied
expression and
as other key
68 | www.teachwire.net
aspects of reading luency.
Children who stop to segment
and blend words ind it diicult
to remember what they have
read and therefore ind it
harder to understand texts,
but when children decode
accurately and quickly, and
when they use the appropriate
expression, they are more
likely to understand what
they read and this is reading
luently. Ninety WPM is used
as a benchmark for this point.
Clearly there will be children
reading at a slower rate who
have good comprehension and
children reading much faster
who have less understanding
of what they have read. And
we all know a child in a class
past or present who read
expressionlessly but with
indisputable accuracy and
understanding. Generally
though, all exceptions aside,
90 WPM is the point where
children are no longer simply
decoding text and recognising
words but reading at a rate
that enables them to gain
understanding of what they
read. Fluency, then, is a vehicle
for reading comprehension.
Fluency is not just about
reading aloud. Being able to
decode accurately at pace and
with expression are skills that
readers apply during (and
enable) their silent reading
comprehension. Encouraging
children to read expressively
in their heads cannot be
underestimated as an approach
to reading comprehension.
It is also worth noting that
luency is not a higher-order
reading skill. Children should
be taught how to read luently
alongside decoding so that they
understand the books they
read, engage with them fully
and develop the skills they
need to read independently as
they develop as a reader.
Quick and easy
ways to develop
reading fluency
Reading luency can be taught
as a standalone skill, but as it is
a vehicle for comprehension, it
makes sense to combine luency
skills within broader reading
lessons. All of the following
activities can be used as
standalone reading luency tasks
or used as part of your whole
class or guided reading practice.
Marks out of ten
Most children are familiar with
TV judging panels so will feel
at home with the format of
this activity. Read a passage to
the children (you may choose
to read it well or make some
errors). Encourage the children
to listen attentively and act as
the judges, giving you marks
out of ten on their whiteboards
for your reading. As they award
their mark, they must provide
feedback just like the judges
on TV, commenting on what
you did well and how you
could improve. It’s a good idea
to create the success criteria
with the class before you
read the passage. Features to
include could be your use of
phrasing; how you attend to
the punctuation; whether your
pace is too fast or too slow;
how you use intonation and
expression to give meaning
to the text. You could even
include elements of reading
aloud to an audience such as
volume, facial expressions and
eye contact with the audience.
Once your class is familiar
with giving feedback on your
reading, they should repeat the
Copy reading
Read a short passage or poem
to the class, demonstrating
luent reading, expression
and attention to punctuation,
and so on. Discuss your
reading by talking about any
tricky words or phrases and
providing their meanings.
Also look carefully at the
punctuation, pointing out
how it afects your delivery.
Ask the children to take
turns rereading the text
to a partner. If any of the
children get stuck on a word,
Expression: A combination of intonation, phrasing
and pace that shows the reader understands what they
are reading.
Intonation: The tone or pitch of reading which shows
understanding of the words, phrases and context of
the writing.
Pace: The speed of reading. Readers sometimes need to
vary the pace within a passage to convey, for example,
falling and rising action.
Phrasing: Reading groups or phrases of words as units
of meaning rather than reading word by word. Phrasing
also involves paying attention to punctuation to
maintain the sense of a text.
“Encouraging children to read
expressively in their heads cannot
be underestimated as an approach” reading and marks out of
activity with a reading partner
or in a small group in order to
evaluate each other’s reading
luency. Once the children are
familiar with this approach, it
makes a valuable independent
activity for inclusion in the
guided reading carousel.
Choral reading
Choral reading is a strategy
where groups or the whole
class read together. Poems
and texts with rhythm or
rhyme work particularly well
for this approach. It often
helps to read the passage to
the children irst so they have
a model but you don’t have
to do this. You can vary the
approaches to suit your class
and to maintain interest so
that, for example, each group
takes turns to read a verse of
a poem, section or paragraph
of a text. This approach works
well in whole-class reading
lessons as a way to ensure
all children participate in a
non-threatening way.
their partner should help
them to read it. Then, for
additional practice with the
tricky word, they should read
the whole sentence or line
again before continuing with
the reading. This repeated
reading approach to dealing
with tricky words is an
efective way of improving
sight vocabulary, accuracy
and pace.
Echo reading
You are the best model
of luent reading in the
class. Read a sentence or a
line of a poem and ask the
class to read it back to you
in exactly the same way.
Echo reading is a shorter,
but similar approach to
copy reading – the diference
being that it focuses on one
line rather than a passage.
Just like copy reading,
you can combine this
approach with other
strategies such as choral
learn how to read text aloud
themselves. It also has
ten. Echo reading is a useful
strategy for teaching phrasing, the beneit of enabling the
children to hear texts that
pace and expression.
may be beyond their own
reading ability and that
Recorded reading
contain vocabulary and
Allow the children to make
concepts that they may
an audio or visual recording
otherwise not experience.
of their reading so they can
And don’t forget, you are
play it back and hear what
best model of reading
their reading sounds like.
This is a great opportunity for luency in your class. TP
self-evaluation and could also
be saved for assessment.
You could encourage
children to use the success
criteria from marks out of ten
to make their self-evaluation
comments. Recorded reading
is another efective strategy
to include in your guided
reading carousel.
And of course… make time
to read to your class for
pleasure. When you read aloud
to your class, you bring text
alive through your phrasing,
characterisation and pace.
By listening to you
read aloud,
your class
Rachel Clarke
is the director
of Primary
Education. She
trains teachers
all over the
UK and beyond and is the
author of Reading Detectives
and Writing Mechanics, both
available from Collins.
www.teachwire.net | 69
Explore learning wi th
Play with words and the power of persuasion with this
Dr Seuss-inspired teaching plan for KS1
TM & © 2020 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved
reen Eggs and Ham
from Dr Seuss has
been a irm favourite
with children and
adults for nearly 60 years – and
with good reason; it’s ideal for a
shared reading experience and
building on it. Young learners
can talk about the book, express
opinions and take part in
activities, exploring the idea
of persuasion through drama,
drawing and creative writing.
With that in mind, we’ve put
together the following plan to
make the most of the learning
opportunities ofered by the
famous words and pictures.
Getting started:
Share Green Eggs and Ham,
giving children plenty of time
to enjoy the experience, relect
and respond. Ask questions:
How does the Grouch
(wearing the black hat)
feel about Sam-I-Am at the
beginning of the book? How
can you tell? How does he feel
by the end of the book? Find
pictures and words to back up
your answers.
How do you feel when
someone is trying to make you
do something? What if you
really don’t want to do it?
In a large, clear space, use
your body to show how you feel.
What expression do you have?
How do you stand and move?
Talk about the word
“persuade”. What does it mean?
Has anyone persuaded you to
do something recently? What
did they say or do to change
your mind? What happened as
a result?
How does Sam-I-Am
persuade the Grouch to eat
green eggs and ham? What
works and what doesn’t? Look
for evidence in the book and
talk about it.
In pairs, pretend to be
Sam-I-Am persuading the
Grouch to try green eggs and
ham. You could look at the
pictures and use them to help
you roleplay a scene from the
book, or you could use your
imaginations to invent new
scenes. Swap roles, if you want
to, so that everyone gets a turn
at persuading the Grouch!
When you’re ready, show
your favourite scene to the
whole class. What worked well?
How did it feel to be the Grouch?
Sam-I-Am? Which was easiest?
Which did you enjoy most?
The Grouch eventually
says ‘yes’ to Sam-I-Am. Why
does he give in, do you think?
Are there times when you
shouldn’t do something, even
though someone wants you
to do it? When should ‘no’
mean ‘no’?
Persuasive posters
Use Downloadable Activity
Sheet 1 (see Free online
downloads) to create a poster
or advert persuading people
to do something. It could be
something sensible – picking
up litter, crossing the road
carefully – or it could be
something funny, like eating
strange food!
www.teachwire.net | 71
Trying something
completely new
that challenges you? Perhaps
a particular activity, going
to a new place...
Look at the sequence of spreads
Imagine having a crowd of
showing the Grouch agreeing to
Dr Seuss characters cheering
try green eggs and ham. There
you on. What would they say
are four, starting with Sam and
to encourage you? What could
the Grouch in the water (“Sam!
you say to other people who are
If you will let me be, I will try
trying something new?
them. You will see.”) and ending
Decide to try one new food
with them walking up the hill
or activity, or meet another kind
(“So I will eat them in a box.
of challenge. Write about what
And I will eat them with a fox.”)
you’re going to do, and why.
Working as a class, choose
someone to be the Grouch
Making a promise
and someone to be Sam-I-Am.
Inspired by Dr Seuss, illustrate
The other children will be the
additional characters in the water. your work with characters
saying encouraging things.
Copy the body postures,
gestures and facial expressions Using your best handwriting,
write a one-sentence resolution
in Dr Seuss’s illustrations to
on Downloadable Activity
create four freeze-frames.
Help children by drawing their Sheet 2 to remind you of
your promise. There’s also a
attention to details, asking
downloadable certiicate you
questions and supporting
can present to children when
their decision-making. Once
they accomplish their challenge!
everyone is happy with each
freeze-frame, take a photo to
Writing like
record it – then look at your
photos and compare them with Dr Seuss
the pictures in the book.
Dr Seuss’s stories are great fun
Can we tell how the Grouch to read. What makes them so
is feeling in each spread? Come enjoyable? Talk about what you
up with words to describe his
like, and why!
emotions: for example, ‘tired’,
Become writing and story
‘reluctant’, ‘worried’, ‘doubtful’, detectives – revisit the story
‘surprised’, ‘delighted’, etc.
looking for rhyme, repetition,
Look at the picture showing jokes, great words and other
the Grouch discovering that
ways Dr Seuss makes the story
he likes green eggs and ham.
come alive.
Read the words aloud together,
Dr Seuss thought traditional
making it obvious how happy
reading books were boring, so
the Grouch is.
he set out to write a really great
Turn the page and observe
story using no more than 250
the characters coming out of
simple words. He wrote The
the water. They look happy
Cat in the Hat! Then somebody
and supportive! What are they
challenged him to write a book
saying, do you think? As a class, using only 50 words, so he wrote
come up with suggestions,
Green Eggs and Ham. Write a
choose your favourites and add simple story using a very limited
speech bubbles to the picture
range of words. You could use
using sticky notes.
50, like Dr Seuss, or set a lower
Talk about your experiences limit. Remember that you can
with food. What’s your favourite use individual words more than
food? Have you ever tried
once, as Dr Seuss did in Green
something you didn’t want to
Eggs and Ham.
eat? What happened last time
Alternatively, you could
you ate something new? What’s write a story with a very low
the oddest thing you’ve ever
total word count – for example,
eaten? What helps you try new
no more than 50 words all
things, and what stops you?
together. Stories like this are
Could you be like the
sometimes called Flash Fiction.
Grouch and give something new Can you make your story
a try? You could eat something interesting, even though it isn’t
you’ve never tried before. Or
very long? It can be a good idea
maybe there’s something else
to explore your ideas irst by
72 | www.teachwire.net
telling them
to someone else,
drawing them or acting
them out. List the words you
use to keep track of them!
practise speaking
clearly together as a group.
Can your children learn any
of the responses by heart?
Share and display
When you’re happy with your
Could you perform the book
inished story, write it on
for another class?
Downloadable Activity Sheet 3 so
Cook eggs and ham in two
you have a version you can share separate pans, adding a little green
with others, or put on display!
food colouring to one of them. Can
you tell the diference between
green eggs and ham and ordinary
eggs and ham in a blind taste test?
the lesson
Does it make any diference when
It’s great fun joining in with
you can see the colours?
the Grouch’s responses to
Write about what you’ve
Sam-I-Am! Re-read the book
done, what happened and
together, inviting children to
what you thought about
join in every time the Grouch
responds. Be expressive and
your experience. TP
Free online resources
Download resources to help you
deliver this lesson from
This is to celebrate that on .............
you tried.......................................................
Sam-I-Am would be proud.
has persuaded
me to try...
only fifty words.
Eggs and Ham using
Dr Seuss wrote Green
VERY short story, too?
Can you write a very,
Part 1 - powers of
KS1 Lesson Pack
of persuasion
Play with words and the powerteaching plan.
with this Dr. Seuss inspired
What they’ll learn
taking part
about the book and
Eggs and Ham, talking
By reading Green
children will…
in these activities,
on it
experience and build
• Enjoy a shared reading
and listen/
the way it’s written,
about the text and
• Express their opinions of others
respond to the opinions
and discover
the Grouch’s feelings
to gain insight into
• Use text and pictures
how they change
creative writing
drama, drawing and
of persuasion through
• Explore the idea
word count
with a very limited
• Write their own story
have their achievement
• Be inspired to try
Getting started
enjoy the
plenty of time to
and Ham, giving children
Share Green Eggs
and respond. Ask
experience, reflect
one right
of questions that have
be lots of
about this book?
• What did you like
answer, or could there
• Did you laugh?
you of
do you think?
• Did this book remind
• What made it funny,
anything else you’ve
you like best? Why?
• Which picture do
• Who would you recommend
and why?
questions about
Eggs and Ham to,
• Do you have any
in your class
this book? Can anyone
they the kind
answer them? Are
would they say to
cheering you on. What
of Dr Seuss characters
something new?
Imagine having a crowd
people who are trying
could you say to other
encourage you? What
Write about what
another kind of challenge.
food or activity, or meet
Decide to try one new
How many words
you’re going to do, and
feel about
(wearing the black hat)
How does the Grouch
of the book? How can
Sam-I-Am at the beginning
by the end of the book?
tell? How does he feel
to back up your answers.
pictures and words
make you do
someone is trying to
How do you feel when
do it?
really don’t want to
something? What if you
use your body to show
In a large, clear space,
you stand and
do you have? How do
feel. What expression
Activity 2 - making
has persuaded
me to try...
it mean? Has
“persuade”. What does
do to change
Talk about the word
What did they say or
to do something recently?
anyone persuaded you
as a result?
your mind? What happened
ham? What works and
to eat green eggs and
persuade the Grouch
How does Sam-I-Am
and talk about it.
for evidence in the book
what doesn’t? Look
eggs and ham.
the Grouch to try green
Sam-I-Am persuading
from the
In pairs, pretend to be
you roleplay a scene
pictures and
roles, if you want
You could look at the
invent new scenes. Swap
your imaginations to
book, or you could use
the Grouch!
gets a turn at persuading
to, so that everyone
class. What
favourite scene to the whole
When you’re ready, show your
to be the Grouch? Sam-I-Am?
worked well? How did it feel
enjoy most?
was easiest? Which did you
do you think? Are
Why does he give in,
says “yes” to Sam-I-Am.
wants you to do
The Grouch eventually
even though someone
shouldn’t do something,
there times when you
mean “no”?
it? When should “no”
e posters
Activity 1 - persuasiv
create a poster or advert
Activity Sheet 1 to
Use Downloadable
could be something
to do something. It
persuading people
carefully – or it could
litter, crossing the road
sensible – picking up
like eating strange food!
be something funny,
This is to celebrate that on .............................
ou tried..................................................................
for the very irst time! Sam-I-Am
would be proud.
did YOU use?
a promise
with characters
illustrate your work
Inspired by Dr Seuss,
handwriting, write
things. Using your best
saying encouraging
Sheet 2
on Downloadable Activity
one-sentence resolution
to remind you of your
certificate you can present
There’s also a downloadable
accomplish their challenge!
children when they
Part 3 - Writing like
Dr Seuss
great fun to read. What
Dr Seuss’s stories are
Talk about what you
them so enjoyable?
and why!
the story
story detectives – revisit
Become writing and
jokes, great words and
looking for rhyme, repetition,
makes the story come
other ways Dr Seuss
books were boring,
Dr Seuss thought
no more
a really great story using
so he set out to write
the Hat!
He wrote The Cat in
than 250 simple words.
him to write a book
Then somebody challenged
wrote Green Eggs and
only 50 words, so he
You could
very limited range of words.
Write a simple story using a lower limit. Remember that you can
use 50, like Dr Seuss, or set once, as Dr Seuss did in Green Eggs
use individual words more than
and Ham.
– for example, no
low total word count
write a story with a very
called Flash Fiction.
Alternatively, you could
like this are sometimes
all together. Stories
be a good
more than 50 words
it isn’t very long? It can
interesting, even though
drawing them or acting
Can you make your story
them to someone else,
ideas first by telling
idea to explore your
of them!
you use to keep track
them out. List the words
Finding the
Language is the bedrock of learning and we need to ensure
that our practice prioritises language so young children can
access the curriculum and succeed
t is well known that the
quality and quantity of
talk that children receive
before school is varied. In
its 0-5 study in the UK, LuCiD
found that this ranged from
43,926 words to 7,239 words
per day in diferent families.
This relects the indings of
similar research in suggesting
that the amount of language a
child has heard before the age
of ive directly afects the size
of their vocabulary and the rate
at which they can process new
language. This study and others
have linked poor early language
skills to lifelong academic,
social and income disparities.
The consensus is that low
levels of vocabulary are not
only a barrier to children
becoming luent readers as
it hinders comprehension,
enjoyment and luency, but
academic success and social
mobility are also afected.
This picture tells us that
understanding early language
is crucial. We need to be
able to help children who
come to school with lower
language levels develop a
wider vocabulary quickly.
We know that the vocabulary
divide widens over time if it
is not addressed, so primary
educators need to make sure
they develop approaches
that teach vocabulary
systematically as well as
opportunistically. In doing so
we can lessen the word divide.
To do this successfully
74 | www.teachwire.net
we need to understand how to
develop language with children
in Nursery, Reception and KS1
as a core part of the English
curriculum. Language is the
bedrock of learning.
How should we
teach language?
We use language to describe
our world and experiences.
Teaching words alone doesn’t
close the word gap, nor does
teaching vocabulary out
of context. What’s more, if
our children do not have a
robust spoken vocabulary and
understanding of how language
works at a fundamental level
then new words, especially
‘enriched’ or ‘academic’ words,
will not have a place to stick
to. Vocabulary interventions
may initially show impact but
this will wash out if the new
vocabulary isn’t useful or used.
This is why I believe we need
to teach language and not just
words and we need to move
away from prioritising ‘wow’
words or lists of words and
move towards something more
rooted in context, experiences
and talk. The strategies I
suggest are not quick ixes
and they require a connected
approach across your school,
but I believe if you choose the
language you teach well, then it
will have an impact for the rest
of a child’s life.
Which language
do we choose?
Not all words are created equal.
Three tiers help us understand
the purpose of the diferent
language that we all need.
Tier one language is the
everyday spoken language
that we use. Children learn
these words through their
conversations and interactions
with adults and each other.
Tier two words are found in
books and have a high utility but
are not often found in everyday
speech. These words could
well challenge children when
they read them, and they may
ind it diicult to slot all these
words into their pre-existing
vocabulary. These are the ones
that we need to teach children
because they have the greatest
impact on their understanding
of what they read and write.
Tier three words are
low-frequency technical words
linked to speciic subjects. You
would teach these words as they
are needed and when they are
likely to be used several times.
Teaching these words out of
context has a low utility as they
will not be used frequently
enough to be truly learnt.
As we can see from the
research I have already
outlined, many children in
EYFS and even KS1 will need
additional support with tier one
language. This is the foundation
for any other language learning.
Take a simple word like
‘tree’, which is deinitely a tier
one word. Think about all the
other tier one words that we
associate with tree: leaf, trunk,
branch, nuts, blossom, insects,
fruit, roots.
If we know about ‘leaves’
on a tree then we can learn
about how some leaves are
evergreen (tier two) and some
are deciduous (tier three). If we
know about leaves, we can think
about how the tree makes its
food and how photosynthesis
(tier three) happens. Without
a strong understanding of
tree and the other words
that surround it, we cannot
access the new language in tier
two and three. But what can
primary teachers do to develop
a strong foundation?
Make word webs
Taking time to surround
each word with the language
associated with it will grow
further context for children,
helping to develop a robust
vocabulary. Word webs are
an efective way to develop
depth as well as a breadth of
understanding. In other words,
it is not only important to know
lots of words, but in order to
connect to each other, the
understanding of the words
needs to be strong. These
semantic word webs can
expand with the class as they
learn more, growing with
their knowledge.
Meet the same
word in many
In order to make new
language stick, young learners
need to meet the same
word many times and, most
importantly, to meet it in
many diferent contexts. By
doing this, children see how
the word alters in meaning
based on the sentence, phrase
and context.
Teachers should take time
to get to know new language,
and always introduce it in
context. Quality picture
books and non-iction are
great places to look. It is also
important to choose words
from all of the word classes,
not just adjectives. Nouns and
verbs are the most important
word classes to convey
meaning, and don’t forget
the impact of pronouns and
prepositions too.
Three words a week
explored properly will be
more meaningful than
ten words barely taught,
so remember to limit the
amount of words you choose!
Finally, remember that
just because a word is familiar
to you doesn’t mean it is to
the children. A simple word
in a new context can cause
diiculty for pupils.
l Read the passage or sentence containing the new word to
the children.
l Always say the new word to the children so they can
pronounce it correctly.
l Give children a simple deinition of the word that they can
easily relate to.
l Use actions and your voice to help bear out the meaning of
the new word.
l Find other examples of the new word in diferent contexts.
Talk about how the word is being used.
l Keep a list of the words you have taught the children and
connect to them again and again over the year.
Another way to go deeper with words is to make links to their
collocations, words that are often paired with a word, or often
come up in phrases and sentences with a word.
For example, collocations for dark could be: dark
and light, dark and stormy, dark night, dark woods, dark
thoughts, dark mood, tall, dark and handsome.
Understanding which words are used alongside a word
can help to give us a deeper understanding of how that
word works in context. This impacts children’s reading
comprehension and writing.
Children who are not native English speakers particularly
beneit from learning about collocations.
Make time to create collocations with the new words you
explore by adding new words to word webs and discussing
where these words it in with what they already know.
For example, should dark go into the word web for space,
colour or time – or all three?
Lingering with language and taking the time to know
words deeply will help our children master meaning.
With a good grasp of how to manipulate language, we
can develop the skills needed to choose the right word to
say what we think, to write what we mean and to describe
our experiences.
So move away from wow words and think about creating
a connected web of language.
With over
20 years’
in teaching,
training and
Charlotte Raby is a consultant
for the DfE, associate member
of the Primary English Hubs
Council and lead lecturer at
Essex and Thames Primary
SCITT. She also leads the HEI
partnership with the Open
University Research Rich
www.teachwire.net | 75
We’ve teamed up with Puin to bring author Robin Stevens directly
into your classroom – via a free podcast and downloadable resources
ancy a virtual visit from a bestselling
children’s writer? Luckily for you,
mystery writer Robin Stevens is ready
and waiting to share her thoughts, ideas
and inspirations with your budding wordsmiths,
via our new literacy podcast. The experience
doesn’t end there either; we’ve created some
amazing free teaching resources to download at
plazoom.com, so you can continue your reading
adventure in the classroom.
An important aspect of great story writing
is planning a plot. This is something children at
primary school can find tricky – a story becomes
a list of things that happen to the main character,
rather than a real story with a beginning, middle
and end. In this episode, Robin focuses on the
planning, editing and redrafting process for her
murdery mystery series, Murder Most Unladylike.
Robin St even s
76 | www.teachwire.net
Search for ‘Author in your Classroom’
podcast wherever you listen to podcasts
Play it in your classroom in one go, or in
seven to ten minutes chunks
Pause the recording to talk about the
points being raised
How to
download the
“Looking at a blank page is one of my least favourite things to do. The
phrase that always comes into my head when I see one is, ‘You can't edit a
blank page’, which someone very wise told me. I've really held onto that.”
2 T H E F I RS T D R A F T C A N B E T R I C K Y
“I ind the actual writing of the irst draft quite diicult. It always feels so thin
and like I'm not conveying the depth of emotions, the depth of description, that
I want to. It takes until the second or third draft to really feel like the book on
the page is the way it is in my head.”
Share a it with
your cla
Wr itin g
Wri ting
Tea che
r Not es
d by
Robin St
a Plot
Planning t story writing is planning a-plot.
a story
find tricky
aspe ct of
scho ol can
the main
An impo rtant
at prim ary
happ en to
child ren
thing s that
is something up being a list of
a begin ning,
y? How do
tive with
tive agenc
y end
can easil
a real narra
e of the detec
is in charg
rathe r than
a great
’s comp arison
e to plan• Which of the girls
chara cter,
does Daisy
the chanc
n? What
will have
and end.
es and Watso
r Robin Steveyou know
“It’s about training yourself to focus in on an idea and knowing that it doesn't
matter which idea you choose – just choose one and go with it. The irst draft
doesn't have to be the inspired one. I did not know that when I was at school.
I thought you had to write the perfect thing, then hand it in and that was
that. It's only much later that I've learnt the value of editing.”
Sherl ock
myste ry
ing seque
en to
ing from
• Who are
and Hazel
In this teach
the childr
ylike series
t her
story, learn
about her
class. Ask
r Most Unlad
tell you
ation abou
their own
2 with the
s inform
plot for
s one, episo
r of the Murde
ns share
rPoin t Slide
st (serie
or do you
ing autho
Share Powe at how Robin Steve ation directly
room podca
award -winn
r ‘show s,
nce -4.
Your Class
the autho
carefu lly
the seque
Autho r In
out that
she tell you
she says
sectio n of
from the
becau se
ing with chara cters. Does
says? Draw
uce each
Extra cts
Chine se
ct the learn
to introd
what Hazel
Hazel is
to infer
ple, we know ock Holm es?’).
one) are
are a great
(for exam
air of
se Sherl
tial, but
the classr
not tells’
of a Chine
beyon d
aren’ t essen
to inven
‘whoe ver
ens in the
to work
are going
writin g happ
en that they
story. Ask
5. Tell childr for their myste ry
chara cter/s
up their
their chara
k incl ude
to think
to share
Sheet 1
This pac
en time
wall as you
Plann ing
give childr
a worki ng
there .
1, 2 and
done this,
creat ing
> Powe rPoin
chara cters
extra cts
you are
they have
class. If
6. Once
2 and 3
Unlad ylike
exam ples
> Murd er
with the
ylike audio
share some
Most Unlad
you could
> Murd er
& a vict
2 and 3
a crim e
sheets 1,
break at
sett ing,
, up to the
> Plann ing
e librar y
ion 2: A
at 10:58
st that
> Work ing
the podca
g. Allow
ns,n of
at settin
writi ng
Play the
looki ng
> Story
t the prom
bitly /AIY
16:03 .
with the
ing abou
ode at
er, think
t Slide 3
this epis
r pod cast 2. Share Powe rPoin to talk with a partn settin gs for their
. If
Liste n to
get you
some time ing some possi ble
reve r you
fit with their idea to set their
or whe
and devis
needs to
a good
on the slide that the settin g
t not be
ght 2020
lboy, it migh
Remi nd
is a schoo
for exam
their detec
ask them
class and
a space ship,
settin g.
story on
4 with the
to their
suppo rt
rPoin t Slide
victim s linked
group and
share Powe
3. Next,
crime s and a partn er or small
d their ideas
en can recor
of some
ideas with
. The childr
share their
they can
their ideas
to refine
each other
Sheet 2.
reso lutio
Plann ing
clue s and
, up
3: Susp
at 17:33
Sess ion
st that starts
the podca
1. Play the
with ROBI
Most Unlady
“I used to be one of those kids who would start of with
a great idea and write three chapters, but then I'd
get bored – not because it wasn't a good story, but
because I hadn't planned it. I didn't know what was
going to happen. Nowadays I need a backbone plan
and a very careful plan of the crime.”
Our downloadable teaching sequence
makes use of extracts from Robin’s
book Murder Most Unladylike. For
enjoyment and understanding, you
can’t beat reading the whole book.
Here’s what our reviewer had to say…
“The fir
st draft “I plan ve
ry log
“I love puttingdoesn’t have to be
words together
’ one.”
that sound right.”
Sheet 3
Use the
table below
What happe
ns at the
and Clue
list your
and plan
how do
they and
Who are
know the
end of the
story ? Who
the clues
that incrim
Clue that
inate them.
makes them
, how did
the crime
a suspect
they do it,
and how
Did they
the crime
did the detec
ive know
“It’s alw
who is le theqpe
u rson s ask
“If it’s not enha
g ast likel estions to
ss it’s the boy;
the plot, it’s just
ok be
tter.” ake a
dead words – evenisifmost lik
they’re beautiful.”
To accompany the podcast,
teaching experts at Plazoom
have created free resources that
you can use to develop your
pupils’ writing. The teaching
pack includes lesson plans,
a Powerpoint, teacher notes
and activity sheets.
In this teaching sequence, children
will have the chance to plan a great
plot for their own murder mystery,
including picking a setting,
devising a detective, planting
suspects and clues and resolving
the crime at the end.
Illustrations and type © ninataradesign.com
It’s far too easy to describe this
story of murder and sleuthing in
a 1930s girls’ boarding school as
‘Agatha Christie meets Enid Blyton’;
yes, author Robin Stevens is clearly inspired by
those writers, amongst others – but there’s a glorious
alchemy at work here in the way she blends her
influences, creating something that is simultaneously
recognisable and totally original.
Puin Schools is curated by the
children's publisher Puin. You'll
ind video resources, book lists
and ideas to bring stories to life at
www.teachwire.net | 77
78 | www.teachwire.net
Published by Walker
Studio, 2018
Explore learning opportunities among the sparse, lyrical prose, stunning
landscapes and naturalistic vignettes courtesy of David Almond and Levi Pinfold
e woke her early. ‘Bring your
fiddle,’ he said. The day was
dawning. Into the valley they
The Dam tells the story of a pilgrimage:
a journey to the heart of an abandoned
community in a remote Northumbrian
valley where a dam is being constructed.
“This will be gone, and this will be
washed away… and these can never live
here again...” a father says to his daughter,
as they make their way to a deserted village.
“Play for all that are gone and for all that are
still to come…”
Pulling boards off doors and windows,
they play in every house. Their music
dances around the rooms and across the
roofs, away into a landscape poised for
change. Time passes and the waters rise,
and many things are drowned and lost.
But other things are born and made – a
beautiful lake and more besides. The Dam
is a book about one particular place and
time, but loss and change are everywhere.
What has gone lives on inside our
memories, and if we let it, hope will
always lead the way.
The story at the heart of this book is
true. A dam was built to create the Kielder
Water reservoir. A village was flooded to
make way for it, and early one morning
a father and daughter really did play and
sing in every house. That girl was Kathryn
Tickell. She grew up to become one of the
UK’s most respected folk musicians, and
nearly 40 years after it happened, she and
her father shared their story with writer
David Almond.
“I had this shiver up my spine,” said
David, talking about their conversation,
“and I just knew it had to be a book. For
them, it was something that happened
long ago, but to an outsider like me,
it had this wonderful, almost mythic
proportion to it.” So he wrote a story of his
own – words that he describes as “musical
notes in the landscape of the illustration”
– and award-winning illustrator Levi
Pinfold painted pictures that gave those
words a place to dance.
“People ask whether you know what
the illustrations are going to be like,” said
David, “but you have no idea. You have a
vague concept in your mind, but when you
work with someone like Levi, he gives you
something so much more. And you say – oh
yes! That’s what it needs to look like...”
The Dam won the 2019 Teach Primary
KS1 Book Award and has been nominated
for others, including the 2020 CILIP Kate
Greenaway Medal.
The Italian translation of the book (La
Diga) won the Premio Letteratura Ragazzi
for the best children’s poetry book of
2019, and also the Andersen Prize for best
illustrated book.
www.teachwire.net | 79
Sharing and talking
about The Dam
Before reading, talk about change.
What has changed in your lives? What
is changing now? How does this make
you feel? Does change involve loss?
How can we help ourselves embrace
the possibilities of change?
Share the book, making sure
everyone can see the pictures. Some are
tiny so you might want to project the
spreads onto a screen or use multiple
copies. Make time to talk about your
reactions and responses. What did you
like about this book? How did it make
you feel? Did it raise questions? Bring
back memories? Make you imagine
something? How would you describe
this book? What makes it interesting
for older readers?
It’s rare for a picture book to be
inspired by an engineering project.
Can you think of other picture books
inspired by unusual subject matter or
real-life stories?
What does this book tell us about the
dam and its impact? Read the text and
examine the pictures to gather evidence.
Which outcomes were positive and which
negative? List them. Is it possible to say
whether building the dam was a good thing
or a bad thing? Can some things be both?
Pretend you’re living in the village
before the dam was built. What is your life
like? What do you think about the dam?
What will you miss when you have to
leave? What would you like to tell the dam
builders? Could you stop them? How?
Imagine you’re one of the people
building the dam. What will you tell the
villagers who are losing their homes? How
will you persuade them to back your plan?
Roleplay conversations between a villager
and a dam builder – where are you? How
and why did you meet? – or nominate a TV
reporter to interview both sides. Extend by
devising short dramas.
Ask half your class to write an impartial
newspaper report about the controversy
while the other half writes a biased opinion
piece. Share and discuss. When do we need
facts and when do we need opinions? Can
we please everyone? What helps us make
good decisions about challenging issues?
What gets in the way?
Is there an issue in school or locally that
divides opinion? Could the ideas you’ve
explored during this activity help you
make progress?
Take it further
What does the word ‘wilderness’ mean to
you? Talk about the wild open spaces in
this book. How are they similar to places
you know, and how do they difer?
Where are the UK’s wildest places?
Find them on a map. How far is it from
your school to Kielder Water? Find
out about the Forestry Commission,
the National Parks Service and other
organisations caring for wild places.
80 | www.teachwire.net
Can you go somewhere wild? It
doesn’t have to be a Northumbrian
valley – there are pockets of
wildness almost everywhere! Sit
quietly in your wild place, watching
and listening. Write notes or draw
pictures about what you can hear,
smell, feel and see. Look carefully,
look closely – some of the wild things
could be very small…
Take photos of your wild place and
print, leaving wide borders. Inspired
Feel the music
“Archie Dagg the piper played here. And
Gracie Gray, she of the gorgeous voice…
Will Taylor and his lovely violin. The
piccolo of Billy Ballantine.”
What does this book tell us about
music? How is it depicted? Listen to
samples of traditional music from
different places, times and cultures and
talk about your responses. Does anyone
play, sing or listen to traditional music?
Pool your knowledge and experiences.
Invite traditional musicians to share their
music and show you their instruments.
What could David Almond mean when
he says “the music is inside us... it flows
through all the dams in us”? Listen to music
by your ield notes, memories and
imaginations, ill the borders in the
wildest or most interesting ways you
can devise.
writing descriptively about your wild
• space
and what you noticed in it;
drawing a map of an imaginary wild
• place
and writing an adventure
story set there;
writing about what happened
• when
you visited the abandoned
village in this book.
If you liked
this book try…
v The Greenling by Levi Pin
v The Django by Levi Pin
David Almond,
v My Da
illustrated by Polly Dunb
nne Schwarz,
v Town is by the Sea
illustrated by Syd
and write about how it makes you feel.
Learn a traditional circle dance, then write
instructions on how to perform it and give
them to another class. Can they follow
your instructions successfully?
This book tells the story of some really
big changes. What changes in this book,
and why? What happens because of
those changes?
Write a story about something that
changes. Read your stories aloud and
discuss. Has everyone picked the same
theme? How many different kinds of
change have you explored?
Looking at the
natural world
Examine Levi Pinfold’s vignettes. What do
you notice about their subjects and the way
Civil engineers “design, create and
connect up the world around us. They
help make our villages, towns and cities
work for the people that live there”
Where is your nearest dam
or reservoir? What kind of civil
engineering projects are happening
in your area? How has your town or
landscape been afected by such
projects in the past? Find out what has
been constructed and why. If possible,
visit a site to learn more.
the length and structure of his sentences,
his use of repetition and anything else you
notice about this text.
Develop an outline for a very short
story about an outing you remember.
Concentrate on the main events,
emotions and observations – draw
diagrams to help you decide what to
include and what to omit. Write and
rewrite your text, aiming for language
that sings when read aloud. When you’re
they’re drawn? How are they arranged on the happy, divide your text into sections, one
for each spread of a picture book.
pages? What effect does this give?
Swap texts with someone and illustrate
Create observational drawings of plants
their story. If you like, you could borrow a
or other natural objects using black, grey
visual idea from Levi Pinfold to develop in
and white pencils, charcoal and pastels.
your artwork: limited colour palette, close
Print thumbnail-sized photocopies of your
observational drawing, dramatic landscapes
artwork and use to explore a variety of
and viewpoints and multiple vignettes. TP
multiple-image layouts. Once you’re happy
with your design, stick the vignettes in place
to create a double-page spread.
Hone your text
In fewer than 350 words this picture book
explores complex ideas using direct and
appealing language, evokes memories and
makes an impact. What has David Almond
included, and what has he omitted? Does he
tell us everything, or does he leave gaps? What
do the pictures say that the words don’t?
Read the text aloud. Can you feel the
rhythms? Talk about David’s choice of words,
There’s a lot of water in the Kielder
reservoir – about 200 billion litres,
in fact!
Is it possible to understand numbers
like this? Try to express them in ways
that make sense – books like How Many
Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti and
Yancey Labat might help.
Explore the capacity of diferently
shaped and sized containers.
Research the capacity of real-world
objects – a bathtub holds about
300 litres; an Olympic-sized pool
about 2,500,000 litres. How many
More information
For a Kathryn Tickell playlist,
visit soundcloud.com/
Find out about Kielder Water
at visitkielder.com
Read a conversation with
David Almond about The
Dam at castofthousands.
litres of water would be needed to ill
your bedroom? Multiply the length,
breadth and height of the room in
centimetres, then divide by 1,000 to
get the capacity in litres.
Why do we need water? How much do
we need, and what happens if we drink
water that isn’t safe? Find out about the
water cycle and why we should conserve
water. Design a poster telling people how
to reduce water consumption.
Kielder reservoir is managed by
Northumbrian Water. Where does your
water come from? How does your water
company make it safe to drink?
www.teachwire.net | 81
We review five brand new titles that your class will love
Julian is a Mermaid
Supercats vs
Maximus Fang
The Bat Book
by Jessica Love
by Gwyneth Rees
by Charlotte Milner
(£6.99, Walker)
(£5.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
(£12.99, DK)
While riding the subway home with
his Nana one day, Julian notices three
women spectacularly dressed up. Their
hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses
end in fishtails, and their joy fills the
train carriage. When Julian gets home,
daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all
he can think about is dressing up just like
the ladies and making his own fabulous
mermaid costume. But what will Nana
think about the mess he makes – and
even more importantly, what will she
think about how Julian sees himself?
Mesmerising and full of heart, this is a
story about self-confidence and love, and
a radiant celebration of individuality.
This delightful book was the winner
in the Reception category of the 2019
Teach Primary Book Awards. Judge
Connie Glynn commented: “The story
and the illustrations are full of colour
and kindness, a perfect antidote to all the
worries and fears in the world.”. HM
Imagine cats with superpowers – that’s
what Tagg and Sugarfoot have developed
and now they’ve been recruited
for a special mission by TopazTop
Cat. They’ve just heard that an evil
supervillain is back in town and that
can only mean one thing – he is going to
break his partner in crime out of prison
and finish one last devious job. The
super cats have to stop the baddies. In
order to get more information, Tagg and
Sugarfoot need to infiltrate the infamous
band of Hit Cats. They are going to need
all their wits – and superpowers – about
them. This new series from Gwyneth
Rees will appeal to fans of Holly Webb
and Alex T. Smith, and of course those
who enjoy animal stories with plenty
of action. The illustrations by Becka
Moor help really bring the characters
to life and complement the narrative
effectively. Cats in capes – what more
could you want? JS
Take an amazing journey through the
upside-down world of bats. Written and
illustrated by Charlotte Milner, bright,
bold and beautiful pictures accompany
fascinating facts about these furry flying
mammals and their importance to the
world we live in. From the way they fly,
to how they communicate with each
other, how they hunt, and why they
sleep upside-down, each of the world’s
1,300 types of bat is unique and utterly
fascinating. Bats are also important to the
environment – as well as gobbling up pests
and spreading seeds through the forests,
they pollinate over 500 different species
of plants throughout the world, including
some of our favourite fruits, such as
mangoes and bananas. This is a fact-filled
and fun follow-up to Milner’s The Bee
Book and The Sea Book, teaching young
animal lovers about why bats matter,
why they are declining and what we can
do to help. JS
82 | www.teachwire.net
Meet the
This Classic Text Reading Comprehension
resource from Plazoom will help to
ensure children are prepared when
they encounter more stretching
vocabulary. It’s a great value pack that
bundles together eight units covering
24 diferent classic texts, all of which are
matched to questions that develop key
reading skills
such as inference
and retrieval.
Clas sic
Text Rea
Th e Ju
Com preh
ng le Bo
by Rud
Class ic
ensi on
by H.G .
Wel ls
ng in the
warm eveni
of a very
up from
o’cloc k
r Wolf woke and sprea d out
It was seven when Fathe
yawn ed,
himse lf,
of the sleep
Seeon ee
scratc hed other to get rid
day’s rest,
Classic Text Reading
one after
his paws
ed across
in their
nose dropp
feelin g
shone into
big grey
with her
and the
Wolf lay
‘Augrh !’
ling cubs,
Mothe r
all lived.
ing, squea
was going
where they
four tumbl
and he
of the cave
again’ ;
a bushy
to hunt
the mouth
w with
‘it is time
go with
little shado
Father Wolf,
when a
‘Good luck white teeth
downh ill
whine d:
to spring
old and
luck and
the thresh
forget the
s; and good
crosse d
may never
of the Wolve
that they
O Chief
wolve s
go with
and the
in this world.
icker –
hungr y
the Dish-l
about makin
Tabaq ui,
pieces of
becau se
It was the
rags and
Tabaq ui
despis e
and eating
of India
telling tales,
misch ief,
le Ma n
The strange
r came early
in Februa
through a
ry, one wintry
biting wind
and a driving
snowfa ll
of the year,
snow, the
over the down,
Brambl ehurst
walking from
railway station
black portma
, and carryin
nteau in his
g a little
thickly gloved
He was wrappe
d up from
head to foot,
soft felt hat
and the brim
hid every
inch of his
of his
his nose;
face but the
the snow
shiny tip
had piled
and chest,
itself against
and added
his shoulde
a white crest
carried. He
to the burden
staggere d
into the “Coach
dead than
and Horses”
alive, and
flung his
he cried, “in
portman teau
the name
down. “A
of human
He stamped
charity! A
and shook
room and
a fire!”
snow from
bar, and followed
off himself
Mrs. Hall
in the
into her guest
his bargain
. And with
parlour to
that much
introdu ction,
that and a
Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Caroll
Classic Text
| Page 1
Classic Text
Reading Compreh
ension Mat
Pack | Page
There was a table set out under a tree in front of the
house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea
at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep,
and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their
elbows on it, and talking over its head.
‘Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,’ thought Alice; ‘only, as
it’s asleep, I suppose it doesn’t mind.’
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded
together at one corner of it: ‘No room! No room!’ they cried out
when they saw Alice coming. ‘There’s PLENTY of room!’ said Alice
indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of
the table.
‘Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but
tea. ‘I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked.
Classic Text Reading Comprehension Mat Pack | Page 1
copyright 2019
Queen of Darkness
Text Read
Th e Inv isib
d Kip ling
Empire’s End
– A Roman Story
by Tony Bradman
by Leila Rasheed
(£5.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
(£6.99, Scholastic)
Young Rhianna is relieved when Queen
Boudica takes her and her sister in when
their parents die. However, there seems to
be a darkness in the powerful queen that’s
waiting to be unleashed, and the Romans
are set to suffer for their crimes against
her and her sister. There’s a bloody battle
coming – and a terrible aftermath. This
gripping story set in the most exciting
period of the Roman era in Britain will
help bring KS2 history to life, and is sure
to appeal to fans of historical adventure.
Flashbacks provide dramatic stories set
in key moments from history, and offer
opportunities for introducing children to
various historical topics. Those familiar
with the work of Tony Bradman won’t
be disappointed by this latest offering,
written in the same compelling style as his
other books in historic settings, such as
Revolt Against the Romans, Attack of the
Vikings and Winter of the Wolves. Highly
recommended. JS
When Camilla, a young North African
girl travels, with her mother and father
from Leptis Magna to Rome in 207AD,
she believes she is going to the centre of
the world. But just a few months later,
the little family is dispatched to the very
edge of it: Britannica. Tragedy strikes
and, left alone with the empress while
her father travels north, Camilla has
to navigate the tricky world of secrets
and danger in this cold place she must
now call home. This is the latest in
Scholastic’s Voices series, reflecting
authentic, unsung stories of our past.
Empire’s End is a heart-stopping
adventure based on real historical
events. Author Leila Rasheed takes
the reader back to a dangerous and
intriguing time in Britain, and the book
is a must-read for young historians.
A fine addition to the series that
also includes Now or Never, Diver’s
Daughter and Son of the Circus. JS
What inspired
you to tell the
story of Camilla?
Growing up in
North Africa, I was
lucky to be able to
visit magniicent
Roman ruins that made the past
seem alive and real to me. As a
British-Asian abroad, however,
I was what some people call a
‘third culture kid’: a foreigner
everywhere. That was part of the
inspiration for Camilla. She is an
ordinary girl, but she is swept up
in extraordinary events that carry
her across the Empire. Camilla
thinks her world will last forever,
but as we all know, big things can
change fast…
How did you research the book?
I visited Pompeii, Herculaneum
and Chedworth Roman Villa and
read books about Roman Britain
and Leptis Magna. I also read a
biography of Galen, a famous
Roman doctor, who inspired the
character of Camilla’s father.
The Romans didn’t really take a
scientiic approach to medicine,
so there were some very bizarre
‘cures’ out there! Another
fascinating detail I discovered
was that Roman philosophers
classiied Christians as atheists
because they did not worship
the Roman gods. I wanted to
give a realistic idea of the way
Romans thought.
What lessons from Camilla’s
story are relevant to primary
pupils today?
I suppose the lessons are that
Britain has been a multicultural
place since long before England
existed, that home is where you
make it, and that roots have
to start somewhere: why not
with you?
How do you hope teachers will
use the book?
At the end of the book there’s a
kind of ‘time twist’ where I hope
readers, if they have engaged with
Camilla’s story, get a point of view
that makes them see museums in
a new light. So I think it would be
great if teachers used it together
with a museum visit, or with the
‘museum in a box’ service that
some museums ofer.
www.teachwire.net | 83
ABRSM’s Classical 100
Find just the right music for all kinds of class sizes,
lessons and activities
ABRSM’s Classical 100
is a free website that helps you ind
just the right music for all kinds of
class sizes, lessons and activities.
There are pieces for listening
to and learning about music,
storytelling, dancing, exploring
sounds and more.
ABRSM built this resource to
make it easy for teachers to
choose core classical music
repertoire, without having to
search for it online; it’s all in one
place. “It’s a really user-friendly
resource for teachers. I love the
selection of pieces, they’re really
well thought out!” Jane Harris, Y6
primary school teacher.
Each activity includes a helpful
guide and all the resources you
need to use within your class. Even
if you’re not too conident with
music, you can still bring music
into your classroom. You can
listen to a recording of each piece,
while sharing and exploring the
story behind the music. The list
of pieces is dynamic, allowing you
to sort the repertoire by mood,
instrument, tempo or period.
Classical 100 is made by ABRSM,
so you can trust this to be a great
start to engaging your pupils
with music. Musical pieces range
from the energetic Bernstein’s
Mambo – which is great for PE,
movement, dance, etc – to the
tranquil Barber’s Adagio for
Strings for calm classrooms after
lunch breaks.
Classical 100 can
be used to meet the
National Curriculum’s
KS1 Attainment
Target: “to listen with
concentration and
understanding to a
range of high-quality live
and recorded music”. It
can be used to meet
some of the First-level
outcomes of Curriculum
for Excellence, as an
appropriate resource,
particularly for EXA
1-19a. In addition, it can
also be used to meet a
range of the Expressive
Arts experiences and
outcomes from Early to
Second level, particularly
for EXA 0-18a,
EXA 1-18a, EXA 2-18a.
ABRSM is the UK’s largest
music education body.
As a registered charity,
we make signiicant
donations towards music
education initiatives
around the world.
Ultimately pupils develop their
own personal interests, tastes
and talents.
To learn more sign up now,
for free, at classical100.org
It’s a free resource! As
long as you have a reliable
internet connection, every
teacher in your school can
access Classical 100.
Every teacher, member
of the SLT and TA in your
school can register as a
Classical 100 user, not just
your music specialist.
High-quality recordings
were provided by Decca
and Classic FM.
sessions on Classical 100,
so you can learn how to
use the resource in your
school: abrsm.org/inset
www.teachwire.net | 85
How can ‘non-musician’ teachers deliver
music successfully in a primary school?
Four key factors in planning your music
curriculum to satisfy an Ofsted deep dive
Time to get
Here’s why primary schools need to
make space for music in an (admittedly
overcrowded) curriculum
Ukelele activities from ictional hero
Tom Gates’s latest foray into music
usic works so
well at primary
level because
it’s made up
of elements
in which children are already
competent when they start school.
Before each us was born we were
already in a world coloured by
rhythm – our mother’s heartbeat,
the rhythm of her walking or
running, the pulses of her speech.
Don’t miss our maths special next
issue, on sale 17th April
86 | www.teachwire.net
Babies as young as six months
respond to musical pulse by
moving to it, more or less, in rhythm.
If you are a parent or have experience
of very young children, you’ll have
seen the delighted way a baby shakes
her head or waves her hands to music
with a good beat. So there is also a
connection between external rhythm
and physical movement, which you’ll
know because you’ve been in a club
or stadium or other music venue and
felt irresistibly driven to join in to the
music on stage with your own body.
Your method of silencing a
noisy class may well be to clap a
rhythm that children have to clap
back to you, so you’re already on the
tone of voice. Infants prefer this
over other styles of singing”. So
children already have a warm
connection with the singing
human voice, and, like spoken
language, when they’re small
they don’t have to learn to do it
formally; they just imitate.
road. But you could be doing
short, mind-sharpening and
pleasurable rhythm activities
with more positive associations:
start the morning with a
five-minute rhythm game such
as Andrea Pyne’s ‘Don’t clap
this one back’ (a version of
Simon Says).
The teacher claps a range
of rhythms, no more than
four beats long, using hands,
body, voice, even floor, and the
children copy the rhythms.
However, if they hear in any
form the rhythm ‘don’t clap
this one back’, they don’t clap it
back. Every time someone claps
the rhythm when they aren’t
supposed to, the teacher gets a
point. If no one claps when they
hear ‘don’t clap this one back’
the children get a point.
Rhythm also fits so
naturally with the rest of the
curriculum: it exists in PE
(gymnastics) and of course in
both dance and music, where
you could work with drums or
other untuned percussion; in
maths or visual arts it might
translate as repeating patterns;
in english it could be metre
in poetry or the rhythms of
speech; in science the seasons
as rhythms of nature; in nature
also the rhythm of bird wings
in flight, or insects at work; in
physics the pattern of sound
waves. As a creative teacher
you will find other ways of
extending its possibilities. And
a whole-school focus could end
up with a grand foot-tapping
sharing assembly or, more
ambitiously, the theme for an
end-of-term school show.
Babies also respond positively
to pitch, which is what tunes
are made from: scientist Dr
Laurel Trainor’s research has
found that caregivers around
the world “sing to infants in
a way that differs from most
other kinds of singing – usually
in a conversational style, with a
lot of repetition, high in pitch,
slow in tempo, and in a loving
Singing is the easiest way to
develop this innate sense of and
response to pitch, so even if as
adults we may feel we have lost
the skill, we did all have it and
it’s definitely recoverable. My
advice to teachers who want to
sing in the classroom but are just
a bit afraid would be this: as busy
as you are, do something for
yourself – go and join a choir.
Community choirs are
everywhere now and the
feedback I get from teachers who
do take that step is, firstly and
perhaps most importantly, two
hours a week singing in a group
has huge personal benefits. After
a singing session, you’ve aerated
your blood and that oxygenated
blood is in your brain; you feel
alert, relaxed and ready to face
whatever comes next. And if
you do, a seven-year-old will
too. So why not regularly start
some morning or afternoon
sessions with a song, which, if
you’ve joined that choir, could
be something you’ve already
learned and feel confident with.
Or you can find this kind of
material online in places such as
musicmark.org.uk (for example,
the Songs of Home resources),
or singup.org.
Rhythm and pitch, the basic
elements, are available to all.
Perhaps you’re more ambitious
and would like to offer your
class experiences and skills that
require more specialist input.
You may be lucky enough to
have a music teacher on site but
if not, I would always say first
do an audit of your families and
the school community to see if
there’s anyone else who might
have these competencies and
who would be willing to share
them: someone who could start
a guitar club or accompany
singing on the keyboard or
piano, someone who plays in a
brass or jazz band who might
do some introductory sessions
on the trumpet. And then,
having lit the spark, there are
the myriad music organisations
you can turn to: the local music
education hub or performing
companies, be it orchestras,
choirs, drumming groups or
even opera companies.
You might be surprised to
find out what they can offer
you, both in terms of CPD,
instrumental tuition and
music education programmes,
sometimes at no or little cost to
the hard-pressed school budget.
You may have to be proactive
here: pick up on marketing
materials arriving in school
such as the BBC’s Ten Pieces
scheme, or contact local music
organisations to see what they
can offer you.
The local primary school
in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, decided
to look to the Britten-Pears
Foundation (BPF) for help with
delivering aspects of the music
The BPF is located on the
site of the home of the 20th
century composer Benjamin
Britten and his partner, the
singer Peter Pears, and the
composer’s atmospheric house
and garden, as well as his
archive, can be visited.
The school and the
BPF together developed an
innovative and flourishing
programme that linked music
into other curriculum areas such
as history, art and science, and is
delivered by the BPF’s Learning
curator – a great example of
creative collaboration.
Musical journey
So, start simple, with a daily
dose of rhythm and pitch, which
will make everyone ready for
learning, and then, with the
support that’s already out there,
take off on the musical journey
that’s right for your school. You
won’t regret it. TP
Kenyon is the
author of The
Arts in Primary
life, colour and culture into
the curriculum (£15.99,
Bloomsbury Education).
www.teachwire.net | 87
The truth about primary music
I am often asked, ‘How can untrained, unconident,
‘non-specialist’, ‘non-musician’ teachers deliver music
successfully in a primary school?’
y answer to the
question above
is simple. They
probably can’t,
and probably shouldn’t. Sorry.
But never say never. The
good news is that there is no
reason at all that these teachers
can’t be equipped with the
fundamentals they need to
succeed – by which point they
are no longer ‘non-specialist
and non-musical’. The schools
minister claims to value
training and believes “the most
efective teaching methods
should be pursued” and that we
should ensure music lessons
are of “high quality”. So why
isn’t this happening?
It amazes me that a
government advocating a
‘knowledge-rich’ education,
with a schools minister who
supposedly wants every
child to leave primary school
able to read music, can
continue to tolerate a system
88 | www.teachwire.net
that often wilfully fails to
provide teachers, even music
specialists, with what they need
to deliver this in our primaries.
Many schools are aware of
their musical shortcomings,
and rely on the music
services to provide specialist
tuition through whole-class
ensemble tuition. However,
while peripatetic teachers
are undoubtedly highly
knowledgeable in music, and
often skilled in one-to-one
tuition, teaching a class full
of restless seven-year-olds
without the classroom teacher’s
skills in classroom and
behaviour management,
or the right
might also
be a struggle for them (I speak
from past experience). The
same applies to those trained
as secondary music teachers
– many feel unconident
teaching in Early Years settings,
for example, and often ask
children to run before they
can walk (again, I speak from
personal experience). It is also
very diicult when you have
precious little contact time with
the children and you are spread
incredibly thinly across several
schools. Many good teachers
tire of the peripatetic life and
move on to other jobs. Despite
this, some WCET provision is
superb, but even then, it should
be an augmentation to regular
curriculum music, rather
than a replacement for it, and
there should be opportunities
to continue lessons, not just
‘half a term of trumpets in
Y4’. Developing musicianship
in the long term requires a
‘little and often’ and ‘practice
makes perfect’ approach. If we
only taught timetables for ten
minutes on a Friday and never
followed it up, we wouldn’t
expect luency. This can be the
problem with even the most
knowledgeable and brilliant
primary music specialist – if
they only see the class for 30
minutes per week in a part-time
role, they are going to need
the support of class
teachers to follow
up the work. With
deep dives from
Ofsted, in music,
schools must
show that: “Teachers have good
knowledge of the subject(s) and
courses they teach. Leaders
provide efective support for
those teaching outside their
main areas of expertise.”
So, whatever curriculum
model and pedagogy we are
using, a whole-school, carefully
sequenced approach is essential
for any subject to succeed.
Without specialist input, this
will be diicult.
What makes a
We may deine the ideal
‘primary music specialist’
as someone well-trained,
experienced and qualiied
in musical pedagogy and
development aimed speciically
at two- to 11-year-olds. You
do not have to be a virtuoso
musician to be this person, just
knowledgeable in how to teach
the basics to large groups of
children. Sadly, such people are
a dying breed. Outside of the
PGCE system, certiied CPD is
available in approaches such as
Kodály, Dalcroze and Orf, and
other Early Years approaches.
Various providers are very
welcoming to beginners, and a
growing number of people are
obtaining professional skills
and knowledge in this way.
If you are a music
coordinator of any level of
experience, such courses are
invaluable. However, schools
do not always allow music
coordinators to develop in this
way and often, frustratingly,
chop and change their music
coordinators every year, stiling
any long-term development.
CPD can also be expensive for
the school or the individual.
People can’t always get away
to summer and spring courses
for a week, or even a weekend.
If the school doesn’t take
responsibility, even the best
approach can be inefective.
If we accept that good
music teaching requires
strong subject knowledge,
age-appropriate pedagogy
and a classroom teacher’s
skills in managing a class, we
can see how few people (even
some ‘music specialists’)
are appropriately trained to
give children the best music
education possible.
At Feversham, we are
working on a model whereby
class teachers can deliver
the day-to-day curriculum
with support from a subject
leader/specialist (me)
who can cater training as
much as possible to their
speciic needs, before
stepping back and letting
them do a brilliant job,
empowered with the subject
knowledge, conidence,
pedagogy, planning, tools
and workarounds where
necessary. Some of the best
lessons I have seen have
been delivered by generalist
class teachers. In EYFS
and KS1 we have been very
successful in bringing about
a self-suicient model
where the need for specialist
support is minimal and
the curriculum is delivered
conidently by class teachers.
So I was incredibly excited
when I irst heard about
Lindsay Ibbotson’s work on
similar premises a few years
ago, which is just now bearing
fruition – First Thing Music. In
partnership with Tees Valley
Music Service and the British
Kodály Academy, they have
trained 60 music coordinators
in primary schools in the
foundations of the Kodály
approach. By supporting these
teachers in their own schools,
the approach is now starting
to embed across the North
East. With the right kind of
support and development,
classroom teachers in KS1 can
deliver music brilliantly. With
the support of primary music
specialists, spreading their
knowledge in partnership with
hubs, MATS and Arts Council
bridging organisations, schools
can become self-suicient in
delivering high quality music
lessons. EBOR academies have
a similar partnership with the
Voices Foundation. This can
happen all over the country.
This is what our funding should
be focused on.
Plate spinning
If schools manage to make
outstanding musical progress
in EYFS/KS1, what happens
at UKS2, when spinning many
musical plates, alongside
preparations for SATS, makes
life tricky for the class teacher?
With the musical material
and knowledge getting
complex for children
after as much as ive
years of musical
where a higher
level of
is needed, how can
non-specialists thrive? I
don’t think anyone quite
has the deinitive answer to
this, and many would make
strong arguments for the need
of someone who is both a
specialist musician and primary
music educator, especially
in UKS2 (secondary schools
may be able to provide this
in partnerships, or music
coordinators may be developed
over the long term).
However, let’s look at
the good news – in KS1, with
the right specialist support
and frameworks, schools
can permanently embed
highly efective, high-quality,
wonderfully sequenced musical
education at low cost. The First
Thing project was successful
after around 25 hours of
training classroom teachers.
Similar work could provide the
foundations in ITT.
The school’s minister
must know that a model music
curriculum on its own will
not be successful unless those
delivering it are trained –
after all, it was Mr Gibb who
said that “the deep subject
knowledge of teachers is vital
to the successful delivery of
the curriculum”. It is therefore
my hope that the DfE will put
its policies where its mouth
is and support both ITT and
programmes of in-school CPD
training with signiicant funding
to enable the long-term musical
development of curriculum,
leaders, staf and pupils in
primary schools.
This will provide children
with solid musical foundations
and empower teachers who had
previously thought themselves
unmusical, as they become true
music specialists of their own
realm. TP
Rotheram is a
music teacher
at Feversham
Bradford, who
made the top
50 shortlist for the $1 million
Global Teacher Prize.
www.teachwire.net | 89
How to show
Plan your music curriculum to satisfy an Ofsted deep dive
by taking these four key factors into account
e’re now two
terms into the
‘new’ Ofsted
framework, and schools are
gradually getting to grips
with the idea of a ‘deep dive’ –
a thorough investigation of
all aspects of a particular
subject area, including its
design (intent), delivery
(implementation) and
assessment (impact).
Whether you’re using a
bought-in music scheme
or creating your own from
scratch, you are going to
need a comprehensive
curriculum plan to discuss in
a deep dive inspection. To
draw that up
you need to take into account
four key factors.
opportunities to sing ‘topic
songs’ and nothing else. As
you can see from the list
above, the national
curriculum for music
The national curriculum
for music at KS1 & KS2 covers: has much more
l singing;
content than just
l playing tuned and
singing, so in
order to fulfil its
untuned instruments;
l listening to recorded and
requirements –
live music;
and satisfy a
l composing and improvising
deep dive –
(using the interrelated
schools need to
dimensions of music);
make sure they are
l understanding music history;
covering all these elements
l understanding notation.
within their curriculum.
Occasionally, I encounter
In my experience, where some something even more
schools struggle is to move the worrying – a music curriculum
music curriculum beyond
constructed solely around
singing – particularly if they
listening. In extreme cases
adhere to a topic-based
this listening is confined to
curriculum, where
assemblies and registration
music lessons times. Not only can this not
become a
be counted as part of the
series of
curriculum, but it also means
that pupils do not develop
their critical appraisal skills
by having the opportunity to
analyse or respond to the
music. Again, looking at the
list above, this is clearly
inadequate in terms
of a curriculum, and would
raise serious questions in a
deep-dive situation.
This clearly links to Ofsted’s
idea of ‘cultural capital’: “the
essential knowledge that pupils
need to be educated citizens,
introducing them to the best
that has been thought and said
and helping to engender an
appreciation of human
creativity and achievement”.
In order to ensure that our
curriculum satisfies both of the
above, we need to ensure that
we are exploring a broad range
of musical styles, including
some that could be said to be
‘high art’ or ‘the best that has
been thought and said’. The
latter does not necessarily mean
classical music! The film music
of John Williams, the songs of
The national curriculum
The Beatles, the jazz music of
for music at KS1 and KS2
Miles Davis and the musicals of
requires pupils to: “perform,
Sondheim could all be classed as
listen to, review and evaluate
being the very best of their
music across a range of
respective genres and therefore
historical periods, genres, styles worthy of study in their own
and traditions, including the
right, as well as adding
works of the great composers
considerably to our pupils’
and musicians”.
cultural capital.
www.teachwire.net | 91
curriculum. Instead, the
content of the curriculum is
based on what ‘fits’ with the
topic, and the order in which
the topics appear does not take
into account the logical
little and progression of musical skills.
Clearly, at the topic planning
Schools that stage there needs to be careful
consideration of the content
use block
of the music curriculum,
timetabling for
and the sequence in which
pupils acquire and develop
timetabling a regular
The national
musical skills.
curriculum for music at KS1 &
Another common mistake
KS2 does not provide any
with sequencing often occurs
structural advice for curriculum
when schools buy in wholea result. They may also fail to
design beyond the end of key
class instrumental programmes
stage expectations. This is not
from their local music
exactly helpful for those subject
education hub, or a private
leaders who are not confident
equivalent blocked time does not provider. These programmes
about music themselves!
balance well with the amount of (for historical reasons to do
Music education experts
with the original pilot schemes)
time spent on other subjects.
often warn against the idea of
are often targeted at Y4.
separating out the different
However, if the school has no
skills of performing, creating
‘specialist’ teacher in Y5
The national curriculum
and listening, as several studies
are their staff
for music at KS1 and KS2 does
have shown that musical
expected to continue the
progress is better and musical
sequence of learning so that
understanding greater when all advice for curriculum design
children are progressing from
beyond the end of key stage
of these elements are taught in
expectations. To make matters what they learnt from a
an integrated way. This means
specialist in Y4?
that schools whose curriculum is worse, music educators
Clearly, either the Y5 and
themselves often cannot
split into ‘units’ of performing,
teachers need additional
agree on the ‘correct’
composing and listening may
or more specialist
sequencing of learning,
want to have a rethink to bring
provision is needed in these
their curriculum in line with
years, or the
the issue of reading notation!
best practice.
For many schools adopting a
Another issue that any
specialist will point out is music topic-based approach to
learning, there is no real
is a skills-based subject and
sequence to their music
therefore needs to be practised
programme needs to move over
to Y6! When we talk about
sequencing, it is important to
remember that the
development of musical skill is
not linear. Music education
experts generally all subscribe
to the idea of a spiral
curriculum, where basic skills
are revisited in greater depth
and at greater levels of
complexity as a child develops.
If your curriculum is divided
into units such as ‘pulse’, ‘pitch’,
‘rhythm’ and so on, it’s
important to recognise that you
cannot just do these things once
and then assume that the pupil
has ‘learnt’ that and doesn’t
need any future input. In fact,
they will need to return to these
concepts many times as they
develop as musicians.
While schools may view the
deep-dive process as yet
another rod to beat them with,
on the plus side it does allow
them to reimagine their music
curriculum to ensure they are
following best practice, which
can only be a good thing!
And here’s a word to the wise
if you’re tempted to leave the
whole thing alone, banking on
the fact that Ofsted inspectors
are just as scared of music as
you are: the deep-dive training
that Ofsted gave its inspectors
when the new framework came
in used music as its exemplar, so
it’s possible that this subject
might be higher on the hit list
than you think! TP
Dr Elizabeth
Stafford is
director of
Music Education
Solutions and
senior lecturer
in music business
and professional studies at Leeds
College of Music.
92 | www.teachwire.net
From page to
The author of the popular Tom Gates series of books shares some
activities from the titular hero’s latest foray into the world of music
he Tom Gates series
has gained enormous
popularity with
children ages six to 12.
The enthusiasm from young
readers will no doubt have
made the Tom Gates world
familiar to parents and primary
school teachers alike. The
series follows the adventures
of Tom, with his music passion
for music as a backbone
throughout. The original
songs and lyrics that
accompany the books have
been a popular addition for
specific subject or emotion.
Once completed, pupils can
then be encouraged to get up
and perform in front of the
class, using the app for a
backing track.
Teaching the material from
the Tom Gates Music Book
does not need to be done solely
by music teachers, although
they may have preferred
approaches and methods.
The following music lesson
plan, with three suggested
activities for ukulele, can be
taught by classroom teachers
“Learning music is the
experience, not the result”
children, and now, six of
the best songs have been
transcribed for learning
and teaching.
The Tom Gates Music
Book is interactive and
provides transcriptions for
ukulele, recorder, guitar,
vocals and drums. Backed up
with illustrations and tips and
tricks, the material is easy for
children to learn.
The book comes with
an accompanying app, in
which you play back songs
and remove the lead vocals
or individual instruments
as desired. This is a great
classroom resource that can
be used in lesson time without
needing instruments – for
example, assigning an activity
for classmates to write their
own lyrics based around a
94 | www.teachwire.net
without prior experience of
learning an instrument or
playing music.
Why ukulele?
Ukulele has replaced
traditional classroom
recorder learning in recent
years. It’s ease of use, sound
and aesthetics have made it
a popular instrument with
children. Encouraging pupils
to participate with music
from an early age is a great
way to build on confidence
and further an understanding
of communication and
expression. Ukulele has
proved to be a great tool for
learners of all ages to get
into music.
This suggested lesson
plan can be used broadly as
a template for incorporating
other instruments and
singing alike.
Intro and prep
Taking a little time for
preparation is key to teaching
music ensemble. There may
be up to 30 pupils in a class, so
it’s a good idea to familiarise
yourself with the chord
positions and songs you would
like to teach.
Prior to the lesson, take a
little time to learn the chords
for the song that you have
decided upon. All the songs
that accompany the Tom Gates
music book are very easy and
contain no more than three or
four different chord positions.
Spending 15 minutes learning
chord shapes and listening to
the song will make for a much
more fun and efficient lesson.
It’s a good idea to ensure
the Ukuleles are in tune prior
to handing out to pupils.
Ukuleles are tuned G-C-E-A,
and using a tuner is the most
simple and efficient way. If
you don’t have access to
a tuner then there are
plenty of resources
online to help.
Youtube tutorials
are a great way to
learn how to tune
a ukulele if you have
no previous experience.
Using a piano as reference
for tuning is also an efficient
Setting some basic
ground rules before noisy
ensemble activities can help
the lesson run a lot more
smoothly. Children will
feel compelled to strum
their instruments from the
beginning, so asking pupils to
only play when instructed can
save a lot of stress.
Clearing some space and
seating pupils in a semi-circle
is a good way to maintain a
communicative and visual
learning environment
throughout the lesson. As you
set up, you might like to play
the recording of the song for
pupils. This will help them get
an idea of what they are about
to learn.
Making sure pupils can see the
charts for the chords they are
(Ten minutes)
learning is essential. It’s a good
Start by introducing chord
idea to highlight the chord
positions for your chosen song. positions on the page that are
There will only be three or four needed and backing up any
chord shapes to learn, so this
extra instruction on
keeps things simple.
the whiteboard.
Demonstrate how to
play the chord positions
with your left hand, and
then execute with a single
strum on your right hand.
During the activity, feel
free to walk around and
help pupils with their
chord positions. Allow a
little time for learners
to get to grips with
each position. Then
it’s time to move
First activity
Second activity
(20 minutes)
Once pupils are familiar
with their chords, it’s time to
start teaching how to switch
between positions. Start by
writing the chord changes
up on the board, and then
relating it to the music on the
page. Learners should have an
understanding about which
chord to play in the right order.
It’s a good idea to ask
learners to take things slow
to begin with, then gradually
speed up their playing
once they feel a little more
confident. You might like
to pair up pupils, which
will encourage them to stay
involved with the activity,
and play off one another.
Halfway through the
activity, try and have all
the pupils in the class
Suggested resources to
accompany a ukulele lesson:
l Ukuleles (to be used
individually or shared by
l Copies of chord charts and
music from the book you
would like to teach.
l Music stands, ensuring that
pupils can comfortably read
the material, hands free.
l Access to the Tom Gates
music app, to play along to
the songs.
A whiteboard, used
to articulate further
understanding and extra
references of the class.
play in unison. For
many, this will be their
first try at playing music
with an ensemble, so it
may be a little wobbly
to begin with. After a
couple of run-throughs,
however, you will start
to hear a difference!
Third activity
(20 minutes)
By now, pupils should
feel confident with
switching slowly between
chord positions.
It’s time to run though
the song!
Singing the lyrics along
for reference can be the
guiding light for pupils who
don’t consider themselves
that musical.
Start by counting off the
song (one, two, three, four)
and then playing the chord
sequence, with singing, to
add a sense of structure.
You’ll notice that pupils will
be a little unsure to start off,
but the sound will build
gradually throughout.
You might like to work
on one section at a time,
or perhaps try playing the
whole thing throughout.
Playing along with the
recording is by no means
necessary, although this
can act as a great reward for
pupils’ hard work.
Learning music is the
experience, not the result.
Some pupils will get it
straight away, while some
will need a lot more time.
The important thing is that
the teaching environment is
relaxed, communicative and
The Tom Gates music
app provides all the songs
accompanying the book.
Dive in and have some
fun! TP
Liz Pichon
is the author
of The
Tom Gates
Music Book
www.teachwire.net | 95
Sound choices
The latest developments in music to hit the right note in the classroom
Sound of success
Musical adventures start with an Ocarina.
Infants perform familiar tunes recognisably;
and Juniors explore the world by playing
music from diferent times and places.
Your whole school can become musical
with these beautifully simple and ingenious
lutes. Just follow the child-friendly notation
and play, play, play. Ocarina Rainbow Starter
Boxes are ideal for whole-class music, so
pick up your class pack and free teaching
resources today. An Ocarina can take you
on a musical journey – wear one and play
it to discover the sweet sound of success.
Teaching was never so much fun!
Quality and inspiration
ABRSM is the UK’s largest music education
body, one of its largest music publishers and
the world’s leading provider of music exams,
holding over 650,000 assessments in more
than 90 countries every year. As a registered
charity, ABRSM also makes signiicant
donations towards music education initiatives
around the world. Our mission is to nurture
a love for music, and to inspire achievement
in it. At ABRSM, we believe that everyone,
wherever they’re from, should have access to
high-quality music-learning. abrsm.org
Just add children
Singing school
‘A Singing School is a Successful School’
(a primary school singing intervention
from Out of the Ark Music) has resulted in
a 10% increase in children’s conidence
and academic progress. In collaboration
with professor Susan Hallam MBE and
the Milton Keynes and Sheield Music
Hubs, Out of the Ark Music has conducted
a major research project into the most
efective ways of integrating music (and
singing in particular) into the school
curriculum, measuring the impact on a
range of outcomes, including wellbeing
and conidence, as well as academic
attainment across the general and music
curricula. outoftheark.com/
The award-winning School Musicals
Company, recent recipient of the Music
Teacher Awards For Excellence
‘Outstanding Musical Theatre/Drama
Resources’ award, has set about changing the
landscape of traditional school musicals.
Ofering editable scripts, complementary
abridged versions, extensive staging
guidelines and a wealth of production
information to make life as easy as possible
for busy teachers, the musicals are all
carefully crafted to engage, enthuse and
inspire young performers. With funny but
dramatic scripts, catchy, contemporary songs
and lines spread right through the cast, the
shows have been designed for multitasking
non-specialists and specialists alike.
Learn to the beat
The world leader in inclusive whole-class
and group ensemble playing, Drums for
Schools provides a complete solution
that combines top-quality instruments,
world-leading teaching resources and a
teaching and learning approach that can
be delivered by class teachers as well as
music specialists. There are teaching packs
for African Drumming, Brazilian Samba,
Caribbean Steel Pans, Indonesian Gamelan
and World Percussion and prices for
whole-class packs start at under £300.
The collaborative approach develops
pupils vital life skills as well as genuine
musicianship, and will invigorate teachers
and delight deep-diving Ofsted inspectors.
Contact Hilary Harris, 0115 931 4513,
07770 275182.
www.teachwire.net | 97
Bringing reading to life with the
Reading Planet Online Library
The Reading Planet Online Library is an exciting eBook
library that brings reading to life in the classroom. Featuring
hundreds of colourful fiction and non-fiction eBooks, audio
synchronisation and interactive quizzes, the Online Library
boosts the teaching of reading across the whole school. Teachers,
pupils and parents can access it anywhere, on any device making,
it ideal for independent, group and whole-class reading. At
just £275+VAT for a one-year subscription, the Reading Planet
Online Library is a great-value resource that transforms the
reading experience.
Find out more and sign up
for a free 30-day trial at
The Online Library provides
access to a wide range of
iction and non-iction, across
diferent genres. Whether you
need a modern adventure story
or a historical biography, a
classic retelling or a fact-illed
information guide, there’s an
eBook for all interests and
reading abilities.
Each eBook includes audio
synchronisation (KS1 only),
helping to bring stories to life
for young readers. Literacy
coordinator Hayley Footitt
says: “The children feel more
conident when they hear and
see the audio-synced text
being highlighted and
read out loud.”
Interactive quizzes are available
for each eBook, providing
a fun way of assessing
comprehension and vocabulary
skills, especially for wholeclass guided reading. Acting
headteacher Stephen Booth
says: “Rather than it being a
passive experience the children
come up to the whiteboard and
answer quizzes… It enhances
the shared reading experience.”
The Teacher Toolkit provides
easy-to-use tools such as
pens and text boxes to support
study of each eBook. English
lead Dani Rackley says: “The
children enjoy it as it makes the
Guided Reading session more
interactive – being able to
circle, draw on and annotate on
the text is useful.”
www.teachwire.net | 99
History, Maths
To read and
write years in
Roman numerals
l To understand
Roman numerals
in historical
l To know
about various
monarchs in
British history
l To
and derive
information from
given data
Learning how
the Romans
did numbers
Teaching children how to read
and write years in historic
numerals is a rich opportunity
for cross-curricular links,
says Julianne Britton
This lesson combines historical facts and research
with a mathematical understanding of how to
read and write Roman numerals. I first taught this
cross-curricular maths lesson as part of a topic
on the British monarchy, which also happened to
be during an Ofsted inspection! Pupils enjoyed
the lesson and Ofsted inspectors commented that
“making these relevant cross-curricular links
supports good progress in reading, writing and
mathematics”. This lesson is aimed at upper KS2, as
children require some prior knowledge of Roman
numerals before teaching this lesson.
To start the lesson, each
child should be given
a card with a different
number (between 1 and
50) written in Roman
numerals. Children will
then identify what number
they have been given and
should work together
to line themselves up in
ascending order. Once
the children are happy
that they are all stood in the correct place, ask them to
hold up their card and shout out their number. This is a
great activity to get the children moving while assessing
their prior knowledge of Roman numerals. It is also easily
differentiated as you can distribute ‘easier’ numbers to
the lower-ability pupils.
102 | www.teachwire.net
Recap what Roman numerals
are, explaining the historical
context. Which numbers do
the children already know? Do
they have any easy methods
for remembering certain
numbers, eg C for cent (100)?
Where might we still see Roman
numerals today? Give out
various books and images and
ask children to work together
to find places where Roman
numerals are still used, eg
clocks, after monarchs’ names,
buildings, gravestones, film/tv
credits, etc. They should write
these down on a group mind
map then share with the rest of
the class. Explain how to read
and write Roman numerals
correctly and have a go at
reading and writing different
years as a class.
Explain that while they
practise reading and writing
years in Roman numerals,
they will be focusing on the
British monarchy. They will
be finding out more about
different kings and queens.
Children will be completing
various tables of years related
to a range of British monarchs
– for example, birth year, death
year and coronation year. Some
children will simply read the
Roman numerals and write
the corresponding years in
figures, or vice versa, while
other more able children will
need to do their own research
“Which numbers do children
already know? Ask them if EXTENDING
there are any rules we should THE LESSON
remember when reading or Children can write their
birth dates in Roman
writing Roman numerals” own
numerals, which could
to find additional significant
dates and write them in Roman
numerals. For this, you can
give them access to books or
the internet.
Children can use the birth and
death dates to find out the age of
each monarch when they died.
They will also be able to work
out the age of each monarch
when they took the throne. This
is an opportunity to practise
written or mental subtraction.
Ask children to choose one
of the monarchs from their
worksheet and create a short
fact file. Provide them with an
example to show the type of
information they could include.
then be used to create a
nice birthdays display for
the classroom.
l In English, children
could carry out further
research about an individual
monarch, making notes and
ultimately writing a short
biographical text.
l Continuing with the theme
of the British monarchy,
children could draw or paint
portraits of a chosen king or
queen in art. You could look
at a range of historical royal
portraits for inspiration.
l Using some of the
facts the children have
identiied in this lesson,
they could then go onto
produce a timeline of key
dates in the history of the
British monarchy.
Julianne Britton is a
qualified teacher and owner
of missbritton.co.uk where
she offers downloadable
teaching resources and
private tuition services.
Where might we see
Roman numerals today?
l How would we write
the year 2020 in Roman
l Which monarch has
had the longest reign?
l Which monarch
became ruler at the
youngest age?
www.teachwire.net | 103
l The vocabulary
for various family
members in French
l How to use
the correct word
for ‘my’
How to introduce
people using the
third person form
l How to apply
their knowledge of
English to decode
unfamiliar words
in French
Ma famille
en français
Teaching pupils how to talk
about their families in French
helps them with third-person
form, says Amanda Barton
A lot of MFL teaching in the early stages focuses on
using the first person only. Teaching your children
how to talk about their families – either their own
or a fictitious family – is a good way of getting them
to practise using the third-person form. They learn
how to say what various family members are called
– il s’appelle, elle s’appelle – and to practise using the
possessive adjective ‘my’, which is determined by the
gender of the noun, eg Mon père s’appelle Charlie. The
examples below are given in French but the activities
can be used with any language.
Tell the children they’re
going to practise being
language detectives. You
might want them to mime,
pretending to look through
a magnifying glass. Display
the two words that are the
focus of this lesson – ma
famille – and ask what they
mean. Can they suggest, in
English, which words they
think they will be learning
in French today? eg mum, brother, stepsister, grandma.
Show the class a list of family vocabulary in French either
on the whiteboard, or have individual words stuck to the
classroom walls so that pupils have to walk around. The
children work in pairs to decode the words and translate
them into English.
104 | www.teachwire.net
females together, with Voici
ma mère; Voici ma grand-mère;
Voici mon demi-frère; Voici
mon grand-père, etc. If you
are introducing a family that
is not your own, remember to
introduce yourself first with,
for example, Je m’appelle Lisa
Simpson. There are various
ready-made powerpoint
If you feel comfortable doing
presentations, including some
so, show pupils photos of
with pictures of the Simpsons,
members of your family,
at at lightbulblanguages.co.uk
introducing them with Voici
ma mère, Voici mon grand-père, under Family.
On the next showing, ask the
etc. Children are normally
children for a translation of
intrigued by seeing photos of
their teacher’s real (or maybe the words into English.
Ask pupils how you say ‘my’
partly real?) family, but if you
in French. Can they work out
are uncomfortable doing this
there are a number of fictional why you sometimes use ‘mon’
or celebrity families to choose and sometimes ‘ma’? Explain
that there are two genders in
from, such as the Simpsons
or the royal family. Instead of French, and that all nouns are
photos, you could use a puppet either masculine or feminine.
Play a game of ‘beat the
or soft toy family, if you can
teacher’. You introduce the
find enough of various sizes
family members one by one. If
and genders.
Introduce the images or soft you say each correctly, pupils
repeat after you. If you say it
toys, grouping the males and
“Tell the children
that they’re going
to practise being
language detectives.
You might want them
to mime, pretending to
look through a
magnifying glass”
incorrectly, pupils must stay
silent. You can make this into
a competition, awarding a
point to the class when they
are correct and a point to
yourself when the children get
it wrong.
On the next showing,
include the first names of the
individual family members:
Voici ma mère. Elle s’appelle…
Then ask ‘Comment s’appelle
father, brother or sister. Ask
them to decide on names for
their family. They can also
vary the family members
to include oncle, tante,
grand-mère, etc. Sing a song
to the tune of Big Ben’s
chimes. Pupils make up their
own names for their family;
they could choose from a
list of French names. They
can also vary the family
members. ‘Voici ma mère,
voici mon père, voici ma
soeur, voici mon frère; Elle
s’appelle… Il s’appelle… Elle
t’elle?’ and ask pupils to recall s’appelle… Il s’appelle…’
Children perform their
the names, prompting the
in front of the whole
answer ‘Elle s’appelle...’
You can then repeat the beat class or at an assembly.
the teacher game, making it
harder this time by including
create their own
the names, too.
family tree on a poster,
which can be included in a
classroom display.
Form pupils into ‘family’
The poster has the title ‘La
groups of four and ask each
Famille Barton/Simpson/
to pretend to be the mother,
Windsor’ and has a trunk
in the middle, with the
family members written in
French on the branches and
illustrated with pictures or
photos. Sticking some real
leaves to the poster looks
particularly good.
Dr Amanda Barton is a
freelance writer who has
taught MFL in primary and
secondary schools. She is
co-author of Teaching
Primary French and
Teaching Primary Spanish
Play a game of 'happy
families' in French, with
pupils making their own
simple sets of cards (four
family members in each
set) and then playing
in a group. This is good
for practising the verb
‘to have’ as pupils ask
each other As-tu la mere
Simpson? and answer
Oui, j’ai…, handing their
card over, or simply Non.
Start by modelling this
with a small group and
encourage the children
to use as much French
as possible by ofering
to those you can hear
using lots of target
language. You could even
appoint a target language
referee who patrols the
class and shows a red
card to anyone who
isn’t using French. The
Lightbulb Languages
website has a set of cards,
along with instructions
under ‘Family’ and headed
‘Le jeu de sept familles’.
Can pupils ind out
how to say 'I’m an only
child/ I have no brothers
or sisters?'
l Are there other words
for family members that
they haven’t learned yet,
eg cousin or godmother?
Can they ind these
words online or in a
www.teachwire.net | 105
English, Maths,
Science, PSHE
based around
the language of
l A sliding scale
of vocabulary to
how much of the
lesson or part of
the lesson they
have understood
Use language
structure for
This lesson gives EAL learners structures
for communicating what they have and
haven’t understood during all lessons –
and all parts of the lesson – say Caroline
Scott and Isabelle Bridger Eames
Self-assessment is a vital part of learning, allowing
children to take control over their learning. This
lesson will give EAL learners some language
structures that can be used in all lessons and all parts
of lessons to communicate what they have and haven’t
understood. Learners will use the vocabulary linked
to understanding and will be given a sliding scale
so they can communicate shades of understanding
of whole lessons or parts of lessons. Learners will
use the connection, activation, demonstration and
consolidation learning cycle to gain confidence and
embed this new vocabulary.
Tell children that they
will be learning phrases
and structures that
will be useful in all of
their lessons to let their
teachers and TAs know
what they can understand
and how much they
understand. They will be
given set phrases and
images to help them
communicate. They
will play games to demonstrate and consolidate their
learning. To further consolidate, the children will apply
the newly gained language structures and vocabulary to
additional images. The learners will be required to speak
and listen as part of this activity. Images are used and
are available to download (see Free online resources).
106 | www.teachwire.net
Next, introduce children to the
sliding scale image with the
ticks on it. Can the learners
match up the photos with the
sliding scale, showing where
on the scale they think the
images should sit? Learners
can do this in pairs, so that
Show pupils the four key images they can discuss their ideas.
Share the learners’ ideas and
(see Free online resources).
agree on where the images
These can be displayed on the
should sit on the sliding scale
whiteboard as well as from
and why (images and ticks
printed-off versions in front of
jpg). Draw out of the learners
them. The learners mimic the
the meanings of the ticks.
faces/postures that they see
Next, introduce to the
on the board. Brainstorm any
words/phrases that the children learners the key phrases: I
didn’t understand; I partly
associate with the pictures.
understand; I understand;
What do they think these
I understand really well.
images represent? Can they
Key phrases need to be
make a connection with any
introduced one at a time. Read
previous experiences or their
the phrases to the learners. Ask
home language? (These are a
them to repeat the sentences
vital part of language learning
too. Show each one to the
methodology, as it ensures
children. They read it/repeat
that learners understand
it. Then take it away. Can they
what you are about to teach –
still remember it? Repeat this
connection.) Share ideas.
“Children are given set
phrases and images to help EXTENDING
them communicate. They play THE LESSON
games to demonstrate and Children can play
of the card game
consolidate their learning” variations
as part of the consolidation
until you are happy that the
learners are comfortable reading
the phrases. Challenge them by
showing and hiding the phrases,
building the pace as you go along.
Ask the learners what
they notice about the phrases/
sentences. Which words are
repeated? Which words do they
know already? Again, can they
make a connection with any words
or phrases in their home language?
Mix up the images. Can the
children match the images to the
sliding scale again?
phase of learning:
One learner turns over
a card...
l If it shows an image,
the other learner says the
phrase that is associated
with the image...
l If a text card is turned
over, the other learner
makes the pose of the
image associated with
the text.
Free online resources
Download resources to help you deliver this
lesson from tinyurl.com/tpealsa
For the next activity, the children
still need to be in their pairs.
Each pair requires the images
(images.jpg) and the key phrases
(keyphrases.jpg). Let the learners
know that they will now play a
matching game with the images
and the key phrases. The children
take it in turns to turn over each
item and attempt to match up
the images with the key phrase,
as agreed earlier in the lesson.
Ensure the learners read each
phrase out as they turn each card
over. When they find a match,
they can keep that key phrase and
image. This is the ‘demonstration’
part of the lesson, where pupils
actively engage in speaking and
listening. See 'Extending the
lesson' for further variations on
card games.
Show the last three images
(consolidation 1, 2 and 3) on the
interactive white board. Ask
the learners to hold up and say
which phrase they think relates
to the pictures. Can they explain
why? Repeat for all three images.
Caroline Scott is a published
author, experienced teacher,
school leader, advisor and
creator of the Learning Village.
Isabelle Bridger Eames is an
author, experienced teacher
and adult trainer.
When could children
use the sliding scale?
l What is
l How can I use this
tool to best suit
my learning?
www.teachwire.net | 107
Come and See Us At
The Dyslexia Show 2020
NEC ‐ Birmingham 20‐21 March
For Expert Handwriting advice
Quality resources
We will be
launching our
new product at
the show!
Suitable for EYFS to adult ‐ Based on ability rather than age
Dyslexia and Dyspraxia friendly resources
07929 737444
108 | www.teachwire.net
Top of the class
Resources and activities to bring fresh inspiration to your classroom...
The power of drums
SATS preparation
Learning by Questions is the perfect SATs preparation resource. The multi
award-winning lesson planning, teaching and assessment tool can boost
pupil conidence and progress by more than 30% over an academic
year. LbQ contains over 65,000 high-quality curriculum questions, each delivering
personalised feedback to pupils as they answer. LbQ sessions are automatically marked,
so teachers can save on average one hour per lesson. Teachers view a live results matrix
highlighting how their class and pupils are performing, enabling them to intervene
swiftly to help those who need it and to correct misconceptions. Both teachers and
learners love LbQ! lbq.org/sats
Now delivering products nationally
– one-of events, upskill and training
programmes. You can now experience
the power of Drumba in your school
with fun-packed, cross-curricular music
and itness sessions while playing the
drums. Classes are suitable for up to
30-plus children at a time from KS1
upwards (always a little extra space
for teachers and support staf!). This
is a fantastic opportunity for sports/
health weeks to encourage and engage
children in an alternative activity to
traditional sports. Raise heart rate in
every session and leave your entire
school with a positive, lasting charge of
feel-good energy. drumba.co.uk
Autism support
MyWorld provides free information and
resources every month for teachers
and education professionals looking for
guidance in supporting students on the
autism spectrum. To an autistic student
in your class, a little bit of the right kind of
extra support could make all the diference.
MyWorld focuses on diferent themes each
month, giving you comprehensive access to
a vast array of real-world knowledge based
on irst-hand experience. Sign up now to help
make every student’s school experience as
positive and rewarding as possible.
Sports Premium
Timotay Playscapes creates
inspirational outdoor spaces for
schools and early years settings. To
support the Sports Premium initiative,
we have developed a proven range of
engaging products that will motivate
children and increase participation
in sports and help to reduce obesity.
Contact Timotay for your free guide
and free consultation.
Cadbury World ofers unique educational
experiences. With an assortment of
interactive chocolatey zones to explore
and a variety of fun and informative
curriculum-linked talks and workshops,
Cadbury World is the perfect day out for
school groups. There will be a relaxed
SEN session speciically for schools
on Wednesday 6th May at 10am,
beneicial for pupils with autism or SEN
needs who prefer a quieter and calmer
experience. School groups can also enjoy
a 30-minute workshop after the session.
www.teachwire.net | 109
A collection of science-based
exploratory activities from the
Primary Science Teaching Trust
l Semi-structured, informal activities
designed with simple, clear instructions
l Teacher-support materials and clear
set-up guide included
l Activities can be completed individually
or as groups
l Appropriately written for each target
audience to be able to engage with
Playground Science is a collection
of activities designed to allow
semi-structured exploration of ideas
around science, all based in contexts that
pupils are exposed to in their playtimes.
The magic is, you only need a handful of
physical resources to complement the
activities; the rest is mapped out for the
pupils and they are free to explore the topic
through guided activities.
The activities are informal, consisting
of simple instructions and a small amount
of equipment (not provided) to encourage
the children to explore the world around
them and to develop scientiic skills. By
using a semi-structured format, children
can follow the suggestions if they want,
but they also have the option to make
their own decisions about what to do,
fostering independence and heightening
responsibility. Pupils can engage
individually or as groups on the tasks.
There are two sets of Playground Science
bags available: one for children of around
four to seven, and another for those aged
around aged seven to 11.
Each set of Playground Science includes
ive coloured drawstring bags with space
on the front to add a bespoke label to the
bag (for example, with the topic, class
name, year group). You can place one of
the ive printed cards inside to guide the
children through the activity. Each card has
a set of initial ideas and questions on one
side, with a follow-up activity on the back.
The follow-up activities are designed
to encourage the children to work more
scientiically. The language used on the
cards is accessible to readers of the
targeted age group. Pupils I tried the
resource with were able to work through
each of the tasks with little hindrance due
to the clarity of instruction.
The instructions are also designed
consistently, using colours and dual coding
to build familiarity with the steps required,
further fostering good study skills.
Encouragingly, this shows that the people
who created these resources really know
the way students learn best.
Helpfully, also included is a
comprehensive teacher guide that
highlights the required equipment for each
activity and also notes the potential safety
factors that need to be considered for
students to safely complete the activities.
With regard to workload, there are no
additional teacher requirements – that’s
one of the factors that stood out for me
when looking at this product.
The quality of the resource allows for
exceptional learning and discovery and it
costs staf no time (besides counting out a
handful of physical resources).
3 Comprehensive instructions that
allow for independent exploration
3 Consistent format to build
conidence and familiarity
3 Encourage independent exploration
and self-eicacy
3 Require only minor input and
preparation from teachers
3 Perfect for group work and
one-to-one reading
you are looking for a way to keep
students learning during their
playtimes through discovery or you
are encouraging students to build
conidence and independence.
£24.99, pstt.org.uk/resources/curriculum-materials/playground-science
110 | www.teachwire.net
African Drum Kits
A comprehensive resource for creating
world music from Drums for Schools
Authentic and appealing instruments
A range of sets available to suit
different school sizes and budgets
l A comprehensive and coherent
package of resources
l No prior music skills or
training required
l Novice to performance-level
competence in one term
Drums for Schools is an award-winning,
specialist provider of instruments
and related teacher support. These
African Drum kits are part of a range of
school-friendly sets bringing music to the
classroom from around the world.
Even for experienced teachers, music
can be part of the curriculum that triggers
dread rather than inspiring joy. Too often,
music cupboards become a graveyard
of good intentions and squandered
budgets, stufed with random percussion
instruments and cheap xylophones that
are painfully out of tune.
From the moment you open the box,
however, these African drums are a
delight. For a start, they look and feel
beautiful. Authentically and responsibly
sourced, they are the real deal and I would
challenge anyone not to try one out the
moment they got it in their hands.
Perhaps more importantly, Drums for
Schools has taken the time to create a
coherent, comprehensive package that
makes it easy for the teacher to get the
most out of the kits. There are clear,
concise instruction books, complete
with lesson plans that guide you from
the very irst encounter through to
performance level within a term. This
includes showing you how to integrate
Percussion Buddies – lower cost
instruments designed to accompany the
main drums. You don’t even need any
formal training or the ability to read music;
I could see at a glance how to read the
grids on which each tune is notated.
There is strong online support, too.
Along with downloadable lesson plans,
there are audio and video clips so you
can see and hear not just what to do,
but also what you are aiming for. I was
pleasantly surprised to discover that a
fair portion of this content is free, so
you don’t feel like you’re being enticed
into a money-making monster.
For me, one of the beauties of this
package is that it can take a complete
novice to a sense of achievement
remarkably quickly. (I sometimes
wonder how anyone has the patience
to stick with the violin, for example,
long enough to get through the
scratchy-squeaky pain barrier.)
Music needs positive outcomes and
you can easily see how you would get
there with the whole class using
these resources.
I can also see how these kits could
help to create inclusive, enjoyable
lessons that bring the whole class
together while causing minimal stress
to the teacher. Now that must be
music to anyone’s ears.
3 The instruments and resources
inspire conidence in the teacher
3 Ofers a sense of achievement for
children of all abilities
3 The instruments are appealing and
3 Puts the joy back into music lessons
your music lessons have gone a bit lat
and you’re looking for inspiration to get
children really engaged.
Primary sets from £217. 0115 931 4513. www.drumsforschools.com
www.teachwire.net | 111
Safeguarding Software
A system that promises to make
safeguarding more rigorous and
less labour-intensive
l A fully integrated safeguarding recording
system for use in schools
l Designed and developed by safeguarding
specialists with backgrounds in education,
social care and policing
l Intuitive interface for secure and
efficient recording and monitoring of
safeguarding concerns
l Compatible with school management
systems and extensively customisable
MyConcern is a comprehensive, user-friendly
safeguarding system that lets everyone
working in schools efectively record, track
and report on safeguarding incidents.
First and foremost, it’s incredibly simple
to use. Users can generate an incident
report with accompanying details in a
matter of minutes and submit instantly,
with subsequent collation of data possible
within seconds. MyConcern’s browser-based
interface means that staf can access the
platform anywhere on-site or remotely,
whenever safeguarding concerns arise.
MyConcern can be conigured with tiered
access, giving Safeguarding Leads a full
overview, while allowing assigned ‘Trusted
Users’ to submit reports and access key
information. ‘Basic Users’ are restricted to
reporting incidents only – a useful feature for
non-teaching staf.
Incident reports can include comments
regarding locations, times, speciic details
and any actions taken in response. What
makes MyConcern clever is that each
incident is recorded as an event, rather than
a report concerning an individual, meaning
that multiple students can be attached to a
single incident without the need for duplicate
paperwork. It also means that those involved
but not necessarily the main focus of an
incident are still tracked, helping to paint
a much richer and more detailed picture
of what’s actually happening in school.
MyConcern’s ability to sync with school
management systems enables individual
student proiles to be generated and
added to the system automatically. The
proiles include a log of when, where and
how students might have been involved
in previous incidents, with the option to
export these as PDFs and even redact them
if they mention other students – a well
thought-through feature. Proiles can also
be lagged to indicate conditions such as
anxiety and ADHD.
The system ofers users peace of mind,
notifying them when their concern has been
actioned (while omitting the speciic actions
taken). There’s something to be said for
knowing that your reporting has prompted
a response.
Safeguarding Leads will ind the system’s
functionality to be phenomenal, thanks
to an interface that allows referrals to be
tracked, annual overview reports to be
produced in seconds and the designation
of diferent cases to diferent members of a
safeguarding team. As a teacher, it’s hugely
helpful to have this level of information
at my ingertips and be able to securely
share it without having to go through paper
iles. From a workload perspective, this
software has the potential to revolutionise
safeguarding practice in most schools.
✔ Eicient recording of incidents and
concerns at the touch of a button
✔ Useful for improving awareness and
eicacy of safeguarding among all staf
✔ Easy to follow data displays
✔ Straightforward collation of data that
can cover years within seconds
✔ Detailed individual student proiles
that can be easily and securely shared
with colleagues and outside agencies and
tracked through a student’s education
you are looking for a system to track
and report on safeguarding incidents
within your school, which can also reduce
levels of teacher workload and improve
all-round levels of safeguarding eiciency.
For more information, contact 0330 660 0757 or visit myconcern.co.uk/ed
112 | www.teachwire.net
HeadStart Primary –
Science Assessments
Science scaled score progress
tests and topic tests
Available in A4 spiral bound format
Digital versions of each test in black
and white and colour
l Complete with answer versions and
raw score/scaled score conversion charts
l Standardisation tables for each
topic test
l Great value for whole-school coverage
l Inspection copies available on free
The new Science Assessments from
HeadStart Primary have been skilfully written
to track pupil progress so teachers can get
underneath children’s understanding and
act on it. They also provide a useful subject
health check-up so you can report on the
wellbeing and standards of science across
the school.
What you see is what you get with
HeadStart, and you get everything. The
content coverage is superb as there are
questions from every section, nook and
cranny of the science curriculum so every
base is conidently attended to.
There are three scaled score progress
tests and the topic tests feature the same
or similar questions as the progress tests,
but they are organised to provide one test
per topic. The tests are photocopiable or can
be used in colour digitally on a whiteboard.
National Curriculum link grids are provided
to cross reference each question against
the objectives within the national curriculum
statutory requirements.
The tests themselves are especially
child-friendly, visually very appealing
and have a familiar feel to them so aren’t
intimidating. The layout of the questions and
the use of colour illustrations get top marks
and the content creation is tip-top too, and
expertly invites children to share what
they know.
Three underpinning concepts of
assessment are validity, reliability and
manageability and there is often tension
between them when trying to balance
them within any one assessment. However,
HeadStart Science Assessments manage
these well because they measure what they
set out to, they ofer consistency and they
can be administered without disruption.
The tests have been standardised to
produce scaled scores following extensive
school-based trials.
The true value of summative
assessments is how they can be used
formatively to promote learning and help
children upgrade their knowledge and
understanding to become better learners.
HeadStart’s Science Assessments can
be used to empower children as learners
and serve as powerful guidance to both
teachers and pupils about what needs to
be learned next. These tests are, therefore,
excellent diagnostic probes and can be used
for helping children build up their skills,
attitudes, concepts and knowledge.
HeadStart Primary has made a cracking
job of these assessments and for just £300
you can efortlessly set up progress tests
and topic tests for the whole school and
get on with the job of assessing learning
conidently through the year. They align
assessment with long-term learning.
✔ Fit-for-purpose tests for helping
teachers and children identify
weaknesses and misconceptions
✔ Help teachers and children adjust,
edit and tweak their teaching to areas
of greatest need
✔ Provide valuable information for
feedback and feedforward
✔ Clear instructions and easy to
✔ Encourage children to develop skills
of self-assessment
you are looking for tests that have
real managerial, communicative and
pedagogical power for understanding
the shape, texture and wellness of
science in your school.
www.teachwire.net | 113
1 2 T H I NG S
only experienced teachers know
You’ll never not panic
that you’ve forgotten
how to teach at the end
of the summer holidays
The colour of pen
you mark with
has never made
any diference
to the progress a
child makes
The exact
number of
raindrops on
the window
that equal
wet break
An NQT will search their soul for weeks if only half
of the class’s DT projects work; an experienced
teacher will consider that a pretty decent hit rate
A lesson plan is
a lot more like a wish
list than a script
It’s impossible to make it
through a leaver’s assembly
without crying
While it’s
important to be
well liked at school,
it’s especially
important to
be well liked by
the person who
holds the key to
the stationery
When teaching
electricity, ixing all
the lat batteries,
frayed wires and
broken crocodile clips
requires a teacher
to be more like an
octopus than an
Like spotting a snowlake in an avalanche, an experienced teacher
can pinpoint the ringleader of all the trouble on the playground
Nothing slams the
passage of time in
your face quite as
hard as bumping into
your ex-students
who are now,
114 | www.teachwire.net
If you keep those loom bands,
yo-yos, and cat’s cradles in
a box somewhere, they’ll all
come around again
No matter how many
times you receive a
“best teacher in the
world card”, they can
still ind a new way to
misspell teacher