Moore (Art and Oracy)

Overview

School Setting

Moore Primary 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 2005.


Background and rationale

Moore Primary 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 language.


Project Report

Commentary

We got a lot out of this project, it was particularly valuable working with staff from other schools. 

With the artwork children all discovered that they could succeed and gained confidence from there being no right or wrong way of doing things. 


Implications

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.


Evaluation

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 that:

  • the techniques introduced to the staff had been useful and had been adopted and adapted in the school
  • staff had reflected upon the implications of the enterprise for children's oral language development.