School is situated in the village of Moore near Warrington. There are 201
pupils on roll, aged from five to 11, including eight pupils who attend the
special educational needs Resource Base within the school. Pupils who attend
the Resource Base all have statements of special educational need for moderate
learning difficulties and are allocated places by the local education
authority. Within the main school a further 16 pupils have been placed on the
school's special needs register. Very few pupils are from minority ethnic
backgrounds and all pupils speak English as their first language. The school's
catchment area is socially diverse with, overall, pupils' families'
socioeconomic circumstances being above average. Children enter reception with
levels of attainment that are broadly typical of children of this age.
The school was
awarded the Basic Skills Quality Mark in 2004, and Healthy Schools Award in
School, along with five other Halton primary schools, are concerned to improve
the quality of children's oral language - its fluency, variety and expression.
The concern is focused initially on boys' language and children with identified
special needs - for example, symptoms of autism, though the planning team
expects that the work will extend and benefit all children. It is felt that
children require a purpose and medium for their talk - something to talk about
and something that will encourage them to employ thoughtful and creative
We got a lot out of
this project, it was particularly valuable working with staff from other
With the artwork
children all discovered that they could succeed and gained confidence from
there being no right or wrong way of doing things.
In spite of the
original intention to use this creative activity as a stimulus for talk, the
teachers discovered when working on their creation that they didn't want to
talk whilst working. Any attempt by the
project tutors to intervene and question was unsuccessful for this reason. The same applied to the pupils who did not
want to talk whilst in the process of working.
However, a far more valuable and thoughtful talk was elicited during
reflection after the activity. For example: photographs were taken of the process of
children building their creation which were used as a prompt for the children
to discuss, for example, in what order they did things, or why did we do that
before etc. In this situation there was a better level of interaction between
the pupils and much less clamming up.
Many of the target
pupils (the less able pupils) were found to be kinaesthetic learners and this
sort of artwork appealed to them.
The project tutors
were great - lovely to work with. They
worked well as a team. They had no
preconceptions of what would happen which was good and made the project very
flexible. Thank you very much.
A representative of
Chester CPD visited the school following the project, viewed some of the
display and talked with some pupils about their work. The impression gained was
the techniques introduced to the staff
had been useful and had been adopted and adapted in the school
had reflected upon the implications of the enterprise for children's oral