Teaching Reading Programme 2016-17
Key Stage 2 Reading outcomes in Bradford in 2016 were significantly below national averages. 57.7% of pupils achieved the expected standard and 12% were at greater depth. This compared to national averages of 71% and 25%, respectively.
Bradford has high proportions of disadvantaged pupils as well as those with English as an additional language (42.3% compared to the national average of 20.6%) and those who are new to English.
Exceed Teaching Schools were inundated with requests for support from local schools as some from further afield. The designated Teaching Schools, Copthorne and Horton Grange primary schools, plus Horton Park Primary School had strong outcomes, with expected standard outcomes of 88.7%, 92.9% and 98.3%, respectively.
English Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) shared their school’s approach to a range of aspects for the teaching of reading. This was followed up with classroom visits, in three schools, immediately after the SLE input.
The Alliance made the programme available to the schools that had approached the Teaching Schools for support as well as publicising its availability across the district.
The intention was to diminish the gap to the national average by improving the schools’ overall outcomes in Reading in the 2017 national tests. Schools provided teacher assessment data to demonstrate in-year impact; Key Stage 2 outcomes were then used to standardise the assessment of the programme’s impact.
Before the English subject leaders of the supported schools worked with the SLEs, an afternoon session for headteachers and subject leaders was delivered. This focused on the delivery model, each stakeholders responsibility and an overview of the ‘Assessment and Reporting Arrangements’ guidance for national tests. This was important to ensure their was buy-in and accountability from the supported schools.
We wanted to share schools’ effective practice and then to provide meaningful classroom-based exemplification of the practice being delivered across the school. Due to the close geographical proximity of the supporting schools, the Alliance was able to lead training between 08:00 and 09:30 over four focused event, each one-week apart. From 09:30-12:00, the delegates could visit two classrooms in different year groups in each of the three supporting schools.
The delivery model was quiet unique. Over two cohorts of the programme, the model was refined; starting earlier in the day and providing more freedom to choose the year groups delegates wished to visit. Subject leaders appreciated the guidance from the SLEs, seeing the range of approaches but unified by the consistency in rigour in delivering quality first teaching and interventions. Some schools used the same interventions, but some had over simplified their approach, moving away from the evidence-based practice that the intervention drew upon. The programme helped them to refocus their approaches.
The classroom visits allowed delegates to see the consistent whole-school approaches to teaching reading, guided reading, reading provision beyond the classroom and reading across the curriculum.
The sessions highlighted a greater need to explore the ARA in more depth. The Teaching Schools arranged for the Standards and Testing Agency to deliver a briefing in the city for school leaders to attend. In total, 230 delegates from 118 schools schools attended. The briefing was delivered three time in a day to enable as many leaders as possible to access the support.
Unvalidated 2017 pupil outcomes shows that the 30 schools that participated in Exceed SCITT and Teaching Schools’ ‘Teaching Reading’ programme increased their Key Stage 2 Reading ‘Working At Expected’ outcomes by an average of 13.8 percentage points, compared to a national average increase of 5, between 2016 and 2017 from 45.5% to 59.4%. For these schools, the gap to the national average for Reading reduced from 20.5% to 11.6%, a difference of 8.8 percent points. For the proportion of pupils ‘Working At Greater Depth’, the participating school increased their pupil outcomes by 6.2 percentage points, from 7.8% to 14%.
Some schools reported improvements in excess of 60% between 2016 and 2017.
Schools have continued to visit the supporting schools for support and guidance. SLE support is available for schools to commission. Schools’ practice in managing the delivery of national tests has changed and schools utilise the the opportunities the guidance provides. Schools maintain robust and rigorous access files to demonstrate the support for children during national tests is consistent with the guidance and everyday practice.
Further training on the development os access files in planned for the spring term of 2018. The impact of working with the Standards and Testing Agency continues to be built on. In January 2018, the STA are returning to Bradford to provide an update on the timescale for changes to national tests and to demonstrate the times-tables tests set to be introduced in the summer 2018. Ofsted will also contribute to this event, focusing on the broad and balanced curriculum.
The delivery model would be used again in the future. Efficiencies in the movement of delegates between schools would be applied. A dissemination event had been planned for the conclusion of the programme where schools would share their approaches to raising standards. Schools didn’t engage well with the element, to the frustration of those that understood the value of this. Going forward, the expectations for this element of the programme would be better developed for the initial meeting with headteachers and subject leaders.