Best practice in the reading and writing of pupils aged 7 to 14 ... - Estyn

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Best practice in the reading and writing of pupils aged 7 to 14 ... - Estyn

Curriculum planningBest practice in the reading and writing of pupils aged 7 to 14 yearsApril 200840 Over the past 10 years, the quality of curriculum planning for teaching Welsh andEnglish in key stages 2 and 3 has improved in most primary and secondary schools.Local authorities have produced useful guidance materials. Government initiatives toimprove literacy and the use of a range of commercial resources have helped staff topay close attention to the knowledge, understanding and skills that pupils shouldacquire.41 The greatest improvements in curriculum planning have been in:• the more detailed, coherent plans that meet the requirements of the NationalCurriculum;• clearer teaching objectives and more explicit learning outcomes for pupils attext, sentence and word levels; andincreasing challenge in reading and writing tasks so that pupils are able todevelop and refine their literacy skills.42 Some of these aspects are illustrated in case studies 1 and 2 in Appendix 1.43 Most schools give greater priority to reading and responding to literary texts,particularly fiction, and do not give enough attention to the skills of reading andwriting non-literary material. This shortcoming in planning and provision isparticularly marked in secondary schools.44 In a small minority of primary and secondary schools, there are shortcomings incurriculum planning for Welsh and English. These shortcomings include:• unclear teaching intentions and work that is repetitive and uninteresting so thatpupils are not engaged enough to help them to attain high standards;• not enough account taken of the literacy skills pupils learn in each year groupand stage, which hinders progression in their learning;• work that is not matched well enough to pupils’ learning needs; and• a lack of attention to poetry as a literary form so that few poems and writingabout poetry are covered each year.45 In a minority of Welsh-medium primary schools, planning does not take enoughaccount of the particular learning needs of pupils who do not speak Welsh as a firstlanguage fluently.46 The communication skills of reading and writing develop most successfully in primaryand secondary schools when pupils develop and use them as part of learning in allareas of the curriculum. Over recent years, most schools have amended their14

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