Grange (Spelling)

Overview

School Setting

The Grange Junior School is bigger than the average sized primary school and provides full-time education for 275 pupils. It includes a 24 place unit for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. The proportion of pupils currently entitled to receive free school meals is above the average found nationally and the school benefits from local and national initiatives including Excellence in Cities and Education Action Zone. A significant number of pupils join the school other than at the normal point of entry. In the last Year 6 cohort, for example, more than 30 per cent of pupils were in this category. The proportion of pupils on the register for special educational needs, currently 37 per cent, is significantly higher than the national average, and the proportion of those with statements is very high compared with the national picture. In the most recent Year 6 cohort to take the national tests, for example, 16 per cent of pupils had statements of special educational needs.

By the age of 11, standards in speaking and listening are above average for pupils' age, and reading standards are similar to those found nationally. However, standards in writing are below average, and this means that overall standards in English fall short of those found nationally.

From Ofsted inspection report - November 2003


Background and rationale

Whilst progress has been made in writing across the school, the staff now feel that pupils' difficulties with spelling are inhibiting progress and affecting the quality and content of their writing. Being conscious of their spelling has an effect on the fluency and creativity of their work. The school has found that many pupils find it difficult to apply knowledge and skills learnt, to realistic writing activities. This project seeks to establish a consistent, though not common, approach to the teaching of spelling through the school - an approach that enables pupils to build their spelling year on year. The project will also acknowledge the need to involve parents in the development of their children's spelling skills.


Project Report

Commentary

The project has made approaches to spelling 'consistent throughout school' and the teachers have benefited from receiving the same input.

The sessions were very engaging.

The module tutor was well prepared and encouraged staff to develop their own ideas and strategies.


Implications

Pupils are using strategies more than they would have done previously.

The profile of spelling has been raised in the classroom.

Spelling displays have been put up in each classroom which is enabling the pupils to write with more independence and confidence.

Spelling is not an inhibitor anymore, pupils are now using words that they are unsure of how to spell rather than choosing a familiar word of which they know the correct spelling.

Spelling had not had a high profile and previously pupils were not willing to have a go, this has now improved.


Evaluation

Teachers are identifying positive aspects of spelling mistakes - for example if only a couple of letters are incorrect.

Research was provided regarding more able pupils which was found to be particularly useful.

Improving pupils' spelling has been linked to every teacher's performance management targets.


Evidence of impact

Teachers' planning - to teach different spelling strategies.

Children's use of spelling strategies.

Moderating children's work.