Nursery to Reception Transition Meeting, Wednesday, 14 th March, 8.30 am There will be an important meeting for Duckling parents on Wednesday, 14 th March, at 8.30am. This will be an introduction to how children are prepared for Reception over the summer term. We are hoping that all parents will be able to join us. Head of Studies goes academic… Modern Foreign Language Teaching As a modern linguist myself, I am always keen to read current thinking on its teaching and place in schools. Sarah Clark, our Modern Language subject leader, gave a presentation to the staff on this very subject at our weekly staff development meeting this week, and I thought it might be good to share a few thoughts with you. A recent report compiled by the British Council clearly confirms the views that all in that branch of teaching have been promoting for many years, on the benefits of learning a language: improvements in pupils’ confidence and understanding about the world cognitive benefits, including the application of grammar. listening and speaking skills extending pupils’ vocabulary general understanding of language cultural awareness National Curriculum guidelines are for teaching languages at Key Stage 2 for a minimum of 30 minutes a week. However, at Springmead we teach Reception to Year 5 for 30 minutes a week, whilst Year 6 receive 45 minutes and our nursery children have 15 minutes a week. In addition we offer different language taster sessions through lunchtime clubs; over recent years these have included German, Latin, Spanish and Japanese. As in all subjects, we assess each child’s learning in each French lesson; use this to inform our next lessons and so build progression, learning and development. Here are a few examples to show how our children have progressed from those early guided forays into exploring new language through to more developed and sophisticated and independent conversation skills. Whilst learning the French version of The Farmer’s in his Den, Reception children drew a picture to represent the different characters they’d met. Year 2 have demonstrated they can describe eye and hair colour. Year 6 are writing scripts for their café role-play presentations.
Thoughts from Penelope Millard, Year 5 Just before the October half term break, we were beyond delighted to welcome Penelope Millard back to Springmead. At the end of Year 4 Penelope had decided she wanted to experience a larger school in Frome. Her parents came in and we talked it through. We had all watched Penny grow from a quiet, little Duckling into a strong, confident and courageous individual, capable of weighing up the pros and cons and thinking critically, to come to a decision she felt was right for her. With a shared pride, but also sadness, we all felt very strongly that we had a duty to support her in her decision. After half a term back at Springmead, I asked Penny again why she decided to come back. In acknowledgement of Penelope Millard’s bravery to try something new, her confidence to challenge the status quo, and an ability to think for herself, with Penny’s permission I am sharing what she wrote. Why I came back to Springmead After the summer holidays I went to a different school in Frome. I was there for about a month before I decided I wanted to come back to Springmead. The first reason I came back to Springmead was because if you are good at a subject the teacher will spend time with you and make you work a bit harder. The teachers give us additional tasks and homework that challenges us and helps to make us even better in that subject. In the other school, I was put in the second lowest group for maths just because there was space for me. In most of my lessons, I didn’t find work that challenging and the teachers only focused on the people that found the work hard. The second reason I came back to Springmead is because the classes are quite well behaved and mature. At the other school the class was not very well behaved or mature. The third reason I came back to Springmead is because if someone does something naughty or silly the teachers don’t yell at us, instead the teachers help us to realise we weren’t behaving well. Normally we get embarrassed enough not to do it again. At the other school if someone does something naughty or silly the teachers just yelled at whoever did the naughty or silly thing. It doesn’t stop them, they just do it again later. I am not saying that there was nothing good about the bigger school because I did like some things about it such as: helping out on open evening, all my friends, all the equipment, my maths teacher, my tutor and the Year 5 playground. My final reason why I wanted to come back to Springmead was because I realised I have so many really nice, kind friends that are really funny and caring. I had friends at the other school, but they weren’t very kind to some of the other students and didn’t respect each other the way we do at Springmead. That is why I love Springmead. Shakespeare and Year 6 Parents of pupils may like to know that the school is entering an ISA Shakespeare competition, which involves pupils' recordings of Shakespeare monologues or the pupils' own work written in the style of a Shakespeare character. So, if you find them wandering about reciting "All the world's a stage", that's why! They'll have to be ready by the end of March. Peter Stone