Learning by Stage not Age - Strand Organisation
Almost a year ago, myself and the Head Teacher reflected on how well we were meeting the needs of our Key Stage 2 pupils, particularly in Literacy and Numeracy. Whilst there have been a great many advances in moving the learning forward for our pupils, there was still more to do.
Several ideas were discussed, some of which were quite radical and may yet make their way into the school's organisation. However we were captivated by one idea that I put forward to look at vertically organising pupils, considering their attainment rather than simply age. "Stage, not age" being in the forefront of my mind meant that we were looking at identifying pupils of similar abilities and grouping them as such.
- Raise attainment of pupils, working across all levels.
Enable pupils to make greater progress in each term.
- Ensure quality first teaching could be achieved by all.
- Ensure pupils continued to enjoy and be excited by learning.
We began by sharing the concept with the Senior Leadership Team initially to gather views and opinions and to highlight any immediate issues that might need discussing before sharing with the whole team. It's important that the plan isn't flawed before it gets off the ground.
We also discussed the vocabulary used to identify the groups of learners. We didn't want the project to reflect 'streaming' or 'setting' as these terms typically support the notion that higher sets is better. We wanted children who were in Strand 4 to feel just as successful as those in Strand 1, Getting the vocabulary right is critical. We thought about the vocabulary for class bases, 'home bases' was suggested, although disregarded because of the association to the DIY superstore chain! As the project unfolded, new vocabulary emerged and one teacher refers to her strand as the lumeracy (literacy / numeracy) group.
Once shared with the whole teaching staff, they were 100% behind the idea and were willing to commit to the additional staff meeting sessions that we needed to get the organisation right. We committed to
Since Numeracy has been a significant focus for the school, we have looked to group children who are working at a similar level. Of course there
We evaluated the outcomes of this pilot year carefully throughout, gathering views from pupils, parents, teachers and learning support assistants.
During the first few weeks of the project, we established another outcome; improved behaviour and focus on learning.
We also knew, we simply couldn't do this without bringing staff onboard and working together, not least because it meant a significant amount of work needed to be undertaken by staff in order to achieve our aims.