Teachers from around the county took part in training to develop grammar, punctuation and spelling skills in primary students. It received very positive feedback and was described by one of the participants as ‘one of the best courses’ that she had attended.
The training was delivered by Advanced Skills Teacher, Eleanor Power, who provided theory, practical exercises and opportunities for the teachers to interact and share ideas. The session, entitled ‘Getting to grips with grammar’ was developed by AQA to prepare primary teachers for new grammar, spelling and punctuation tests which are being introduced for Year 6 students later this year.
Eleanor, who teaches in Nottinghamshire, is an experienced literacy professional, having been a lead teacher for the ‘Every Child A Writer’ scheme. She also works closely with AQA writing, developing and teaching professional development courses. She said: ‘We examined the implications of the new tests as we need to make sure that the correct vocabulary is embedded and the subject knowledge of teachers is where it needs to be. It is ensuring that everybody knows what kind of vocabulary, in terms of word classes and categorisation, that they need to teach the children because the sample material only came out in December and the tests are in May. It is ensuring that everyone’s subject knowledge is where it needs to be.’
Mathew Atkins from Oakley Vale said ‘I found it very useful to get all the technical vocabulary in place in my own mind to then pass on. There were good examples to back up the teaching and opportunities to carry out tasks as well. It will be relevant to my classroom practice.’
Sally Swift from Woodford CE Primary School: ‘The course itself was very useful. There were lots of ideas to implement in the classroom and lots of useful resources.’
Her colleague Anne Malpas added: ‘The course was well structured, Eleanor knew her subject very well. It was very friendly and welcoming.’
Helen Green from Kettering Science Academy said: ‘It has been really informative. Eleanor’s knowledge is fantastic. People were very open, we discussed everything, resources were great and there were lots of ideas to implement in the classroom. You were able to develop your own knowledge and understanding further, which is crucial with the new grammar tests coming in. I and four colleagues are also undertaking the Middle Leadership Development Programme at Brooke Weston and have chosen to look more closely at grammar and punctuation across our school, so this course will reinforce and cross-reference the work that we are carrying out for that, as well as influence my teaching. That was one of the best courses I have attended for a long time.’