October 11, 2013
Raising Attainment in the Three Rs
Whilst drinking my morning coffee earlier this week, I came across a report that suggested children from low income families who are falling behind in the three Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic), already have their life chances determined at the age of seven. I found this extremely hard to digest.
According to the report, more than 1 in 4 seven-year-old pupils who receive school meals in the city are failing to reach the expected standard in reading. Additionally, the latest Department for Education figures say that just over a third are not reaching the expected level in writing, while almost a quarter are not achieving it in maths.
Save the Children also warned that failing to harness the potential of the poorest children could cost the economy billions of pounds. The charity said by the age of seven, nearly 80 percent of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has already been determined. The first two years that a child is at school is a crucial window for closing the attainment gap, according to its new report, Too Young to Fail.
Whilst reading all of this, the lovely Bradford-based Fearnville Primary School sprung into mind. We have worked with them lately on Online Safety and Cyber-Bullying projects, and more recently on Dance Africa.
Mr Cassidy, class teacher at Fearnville, is always on the lookout for new id ways he can link such creative work with literacy. Here are just a few examples of what he has asked his class to do:
- Persuasive letter writing to parents, inviting them to their final performance (and outlining reasons why they shouldn’t miss out!)
- The design and creation of E-Safety posters to stick up in the classroom.
- Stories about children who came across a problem or a dilemma whilst on the internet, and how they overcame that issue.
- Thank you letters to One Day (we always love thank you letters!)
- Explanation texts and instructions on what they learnt during their Dance Africa workshop.
These small and simple activities take the momentum of a creative activity and leverage it to engage children. Not only that, but such writing tasks also provide excellent follow-up work for in the classroom, after interactive learning has taken place.