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  • PRIMARY ENGLISH COURSES 2016-17

    Read here about high quality primary English training led by experienced providers with great track records. All courses have been trialled and reviewed, and cost £150 per day. Courses take place at a venue close to the A3 just north of  Guildford. See www.surreynetwork.com for reviews  agendas, map and presenters. List of courses follows…   […]


  • TESTING TIMES

    Have we become so allergic to tests that we are compressing practice into an unhelpfully late and short window?  It is taken as read in English primary schools that preparing pupils for tests is an unwelcome but necessary evil.  For children, we worry about pressure and demoralisation. For ourselves, we worry about the way results […]


  • STRANGE FRUITS: The KS2 results

    The statistical first release of KS2 results is full of warnings about the impossibility of comparing results between this year and last year. The content and standard have changed and no-one will be surprised that the results have gone down considerably.  Six years into Conservative rule, it would be handy to measure its success with […]



  • EXEMPLIFICATION MATERIALS FOR WRITING (FEBRUARY 2016)

    In case you missed it, the exemplification of standards for writing at the end of KS1 and KS2 was published on the Standards and Testing Agency website earlier this month. Brace yourself. It is not a happy reading experience. What you get Case studies are presented for each level: working towards, working at and working […]


  • PREPARING PUPILS FOR ENGLISH TESTS

    With thanks to teachers in Norfolk and Newham who contributed to this list. Practice tests Flush out: Strategies for getting to the right answer How to appraise the paper for distribution of marks and time Timekeeping issues Gaps in knowledge Procedural issues e.g. crossing out Effective checking Familiarise pupils with: The format of the test […]


  • UNEQUAL PROGRESS

    The new progress measure expects less of the less able It is, at first glance, a great idea to adjust expectations for different abilities so that children compete with others who share the same starting point.  Those who arrived in the key stage doing exceptionally well now compete with similar high-fliers to hit new highs […]


  • THE NEW KEY STAGE 1 PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTORS

    First, the good news:  The descriptors are brief, clear and manageable. They are much more helpful than the draft mega-lists we saw last year with all their inconsistencies and foibles.  They will be useful touchstones at the end of Year 2. The replacement descriptors will be easy to use because they list specific and observable […]


  • KEY STAGE 3 – Ofsted’s new report

    KEY STAGE 3 – Ofsted’s new report

    Everyone who teaches in secondary should read this report. It illustrates in bleak terms how KS3 has become the Cinderella stage of education, sandwiched between the narrow imperatives of Years 6 and 11. Typically, Ofsted have used a coy question mark in the report title: Key Stage 3: the wasted years?  They really shouldn’t have […]


  • IDEAS FOR TEACHING THE SPOKEN LANGUAGE OBJECTIVES

    SPOKEN LANGUAGE OBJECTIVE 1: Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers  Later objectives refer to questions, debates and collaboration, so the skills intended here are quite basic.  Most of the suggestions below are about making pupils aware of the conventions of classroom talk.  Most of them can be reinforced by acknowledging positive behaviour: ‘Timothy, […]