365 days in my shoes Day 99


In the midst of putting together my mobile office and relocating, albeit temporarily, personal books and files etc…, I found myself looking at this.

The National Curriculum Primary Handbook


Still available for download here:-


I wonder how many of us looked at this just a few months before the general elections and, because of the outcome of said elections, put it back in the cupboard, or worse, binned it.

Having spent quite a lot of time on the new draft Primary Curriculum and not being very enamoured by it, I find myself turning to this document of February 2010.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation on the new draft, information shared through #SLTchat storify with the DfE, unions declaring a vote of no confidence in government policies for education and Mr Gove too, the ability to shape one’s own school curriculum is just around the corner.

I do wonder how much notice was taken of the 2010 document when putting together the new draft.

The primary handbook, although written over three years ago, includes far more learning about thinking and thinking about learning than the new daft one does. #carefulwordchoice

We weren’t really given a chance to give this curriculum the attention it deserved.

Sir Jim Rose


There will be so much from this 2010 curriculum framework we shall be able to mesh into our own school curricula.

I have worked in primary education for over 20 years in large schools from nursery to Y6. I love it all.

We have to get this curriculum right and it begins with EYFS.

The early years is one phase of learning which seems to change frequently.

EYFS has become so specialised. The curriculum is not focused on knowledge and content but developing children’s curiosity, desire to explore, investigate, invent, imitate and innovate. Why isn’t this followed through in the new draft curriculum?

Education both influences and reflects the values of our society, and the kind of society we want to be. It is therefore important to recognise a set of common aims, values and purposes that underpin the school curriculum and the work of schools.

The aims:-

Successful learners
Confident individuals
Responsible citizens


The values:-

Our relationships
Our society
Our environment


The purpose:-



This primary curriculum underpins essentials for learning and life before thinking about knowledge and content.

Essential skills:-

The essentials for learning and life describe the skills, attitudes and dispositions that children need to become well-rounded individuals and lifelong learners.

They include literacy, numeracy and ICT capability, learning and thinking skills, and personal, social and emotional skills.

These essentials focus very much on developing attitudes towards learning and living.







The design of the new curriculum prioritises these skills and offers teachers scope to teach them well.


The areas of learning capture the essential knowledge, key skills and understanding that children need to develop as they progress through their primary years.

There are six areas of learning:
■ Understanding the arts
■ Understanding English, communication and languages
■ Historical, geographical and social understanding
■ Mathematical understanding
■ Understanding physical development, health and wellbeing
■ Scientific and technological understanding

It is interesting that this 2010 curriculum seems to follow on from the thinking and learning based curriculum of the EYFS. Hallelujah!!!

The early years are vital to building a strong foundation however, literacy learning needs to continue throughout the years of primary and secondary schooling, and across all Key Learning Areas.

We just about get it right and then it is brushed under the carpet, left on the shelf to gather dust or archived on the national strategies website!

I love the fact that key skills focus on communication.

Key skills
The important skills and processes children need to develop in this distinct phase of education to prepare them for future learning. The four strands – investigate, create and develop, communicate and evaluate – are relevant to each area of learning and the essentials for learning and life.

Literacy is fundamental to the education outcomes and life opportunities of students and to the social and economic development of the community.

Literacy – is it a subject in its own right or is Literacy, like numeracy and ICT, not a separate learning area, but one which permeates all learning areas?

This is one of the key parts I want to drive in a curriculum for children.

English, communication and languages lie at the heart of our capacity to imagine, think and create and make a crucial contribution to children’s development as successful learners. Their developing use of language underpins children’s achievement across the curriculum and lays the foundations for active involvement in cultural life, society, work and lifelong learning.
English is a major world language and its secure and confident use opens up many possibilities. Learning and using languages enables children to engage with different cultures and societies and further develops their understanding of how languages work.
Literature in English is rich, varied and influential. It helps children to develop their imagination, see the world through the eyes of others and read and write for pleasure. This is where it’s up to us to ensure children have that love of learning, love of books, love of reading!

It is widely acknowledged that literacy is an essential life skill and that well- developed literacy skills improve students’ life chances, simply but powerfully observed that literacy is a skill that begets many other skills.

The fundamental skills of literacy are reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Since the emergence of visual and digital communication media, the traditional view of literacy has broadened and evolved. Viewing and representing are now recognised as key literacy skills. As well, reading and writing on the web make new and different demands on readers and writers from those of traditional texts.
The importance of literacy in a complex, contemporary society cannot be over- stated.

In the primary years, the emphasis for literacy learning falls largely within English, with the expectation that literacy will be applied and reinforced in all other learning areas. Most primary teachers focus on explicitly and systematically teaching literacy in daily literacy sessions and use the literacy session to incorporate other curriculum content to support students’ literacy learning.
In the secondary years, students need to develop and demonstrate increasingly sophisticated literacy capabilities. The teaching and learning of literacy is integral to the teaching and learning of subject knowledge and skills. In addition, each subject has its own literacy requirements which students need to master if they are to maximise their achievement in that subject.

In the primary handbook of 2010 the focus for understanding English, communication and languages focuses on:-

Essential knowledge
Children should build secure knowledge of the following:
a. how language is used to express, explore and share information, ideas, thoughts and feelings
b. the power of language and communication to engage people and influence their ideas
c. how creativity and imagination are essential to making new meanings, exploring and experimenting with language and creating effects
d. how languages work, their structures and conventions, variations in use and changes over time
e. how languages, literature and the media enable different ways of thinking and give access to ideas and experiences from different cultures and times.

Key skills
These are the skills that children need to learn to make progress: a. listen, read and view in order to understand and respond
b. discuss, debate and draft in order to develop and explore ideas, themes and viewpoints
c. speak,write and broadcast in order to present ideas and opinions
d. evaluate, analyse and critique in order to review, refine and comment
e. interact and collaborate in order to share understanding of what is said, read and communicated.

Cross-curricular studies
This area of learning should provide opportunities for:
a. children to develop and apply their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills
b. personal, emotional and social development
c. enhancing children’s understanding of English,communication and languages through making links to other areas of learning and to wider issues of interest and importance.

Breadth of learning
a. In speaking and listening children should:
1 develop and apply speaking and listening skills to suit a variety
of audiences and for different purposes
2 tell and listen to stories and explore ideas and opinions in both formal and informal contexts
3 express themselves creatively in improvisation, role play and other drama activities
4 use digital and visual media to support communication both face-to-face and remotely.

CHECK OUT POINT 4!!!!! Whoop whoop whoop

b. In reading children should:
1 read widely for pleasure
2 develop and apply their reading skills in order to become critical readers
3 engage with an extensive range of texts, including literature fromdifferenttimesandcultures, information and reference texts,literary non-fiction, media texts and online social and collaborative communications
4 work with writers, playwrights and poets in and beyond the classroom.

c. In writing children should:
1 learn to write for a variety of purposes, for a range of audiences8 and in a range of forms
2 develop their understanding of how writing is essential to thinking and learning and is enjoyable, creative and rewarding
3 explore writing using different media including web pages and multimodal formats in English and in other languages
d. By engaging with other languages, including, where appropriate, those used in their communities, children should:
1 look at the patterns, structures and origins of languages in order to understand how language works
2 listen to and join in with conversation in other languages and communicate about simple, everyday matters
3 understand how learning other languages can help them appreciate and understand other cultures as well as their own.

Not one single mention of SPaG!!!!

Four cornerstones of quality literacy teaching:


Balanced and integrated literacy teaching ensures that students are equipped with the full range of literacy capabilities they need when they are reading, writing, listening and speaking. It also ensures that the teaching of these literacy capabilities is embedded in real and authentic contexts.

Literacy teaching is balanced and integrated when teachers:
• develop students’ literacy capabilities across all four literacy resources:
code-breaking, meaning-making, text-using, text-analysing
• ensure that no one aspect of literacy is given precedence over the others
• make clear and direct links to the interdependence of the above four literacy resources with students
• create literacy contexts that are meaningful and provide authentic opportunities for students to practise, apply and expand their understandings and knowledge of how texts work
• demonstrate how new literacy learning can be used in a range of other contexts and learning areas.

Explicit and systematic teaching should not be confused with drill and practice or a return to authoritarian classrooms where teachers tell and test and where students memorise and regurgitate.
Explicit and systematic literacy teaching involves the deliberate explanation and demonstration of new learning. Failing to provide students with explicit and systematic teaching is to leave important literacy learning up to students to figure out for themselves, often resulting in frustration, disengagement and underachievement.
Literacy teaching is explicit and systematic when teachers:
• know exactly what students need to be taught based on assessment information and knowledge of curriculum expectations
• plan and sequence lessons to address student needs
• directly and intentionally teach the skills and strategies that students need to achieve curriculum outcomes.

Modelled, guided and independent teaching strategies can be used to assist students to practise, consolidate, transfer and apply literacy learning.

With EYFS and KS1 it is far more important to be implicit with terminology and key concepts. Children do not need to be exposed to this at this early stage. This comes across dry strongly through Pie Corbett’s Teaching Grammar Creatively through Talk for Writing.




Whole school approach to improving writing


Non- fiction writing


SPaG it’s Pie for dessert


Five a week


Five a week grammar terminology implicit and explicit


There is a need to build on each teacher’s repertoire of approaches to the teaching of literacy.
These should include a balance of skills approaches (including the systematic teaching of reading, writing, spelling and phonics skills), whole-language approaches (including the scaffolded and contextualised teaching of reading comprehension), genre approaches (including the explicit teaching of texts and grammar) and social-critical approaches
(including the purposeful teaching of critical literacy).

#literacychatuk discussed how we have an overview of English and literacy across the curriculum and in the curriculum – storify of that here. http://storify.com/agwilliams9/literacychat-8th-april?utm_campaign=&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_source=t.co&awesm=sfy.co_aGru&utm_content=storify-pingback

In planning and shaping a curriculum it is important we do not throw the baby out with the bath water.

I’m not going to worry about the new draft primary curriculum as it will be presented as a skeleton document that will act as an outline. How and what we tailor to meet our children’s learning needs will be over to us – what an opportunity!!!

The new draft does not emphasise talk, talk, talk enough for me. I know it’s what the skids in my current school need more than anything. They are not exposed to enough talk outside of school. Speech and language therapists work half a day at my school and some targets set are for parents – to look at their child when they are speaking to them and listening to them.

For me, an English and literacy curriculum must include a strong focus on communication and communicating. We enable children to develop their talk through talk for speaking, talk for reading, talk for writing etc… Implicit and explicit!

We can teach the grammar paet of this draft curric but we can be creative and this is where I’ll use what I know works. I am a true believer in Talk for Writing and will take what I know works in my current school to my new school in September.

Being creative and engaging begins with imitation which leads to innovation and then ultimately to invention.

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