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Primary Schools & Modern Foreign Languages: The New Curriculum

Education in England

The British school system, governed primarily by the Department for Education and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, made some changes to the curriculum that took effect in September. These changes are geared towards making modern foreign languages compulsory and providing continuous learning experiences throughout the students’ years in school.


Reasons to study modern foreign languages

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A bit of a background for non-UK teachers

The UK education system is divided into 3 parts: Early Years, including ages 3 to 4; Primary, ages 4 to 11, and Secondary, including ages 11 to 18. These are referred to as key stages. At the present time, children are required to attend school until the age of 17, but, beginning in the school year of 2015, that age will be raised to 18.

In addition to this change, a decision has been made that the study of Modern Foreign Languages  is now compulsory for all primary school children, as of September 2014. This is causing concern among some teaching professionals, however the change benefits the students greatly.

Modern Foreign Languages in Key Stage 2

What is the aim of the Modern Foreign Languages curriculum? According to a document published by the Department of Education, it should “foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world.” It also endeavours to make students think, write and speak in other languages for practical purposes of communication.

Ultimately, it should encourage pupils to continue further language study, enabling them to study and eventually work in foreign countries. Students should be able to communicate in speech and writing, on routine and practical matters, and the brain’s capability to learn languages to fluency level starts to deteriorate at age 12. Teaching modern languages before this age should lay the foundation for further, advanced language study at Key Stage 3.

Teaching modern foreign languages has a global impact.

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Modern Foreign Languages in Key Stage 3

Modern Foreign Language teachers in this stage should build on the foundation laid in earlier years, with a deeper understanding of grammar and tense usage. Pupils will learn to communicate on a level beyond their immediate needs, in order to discuss various topics with greater accuracy. The aim in continued modern foreign language teaching is to maintain regular practice, attain fluency, and hopefully encourage further study.

Competing in a Global Job Market

The first major study of language skills placed English teenagers at the bottom of the heap on a variety of levels, including reading, listening and writing in a foreign language. This is the main impetus for the government’s decision to change the curriculum. Education Minister has stated that fluency in a second language will make English students competitive in an increasingly global market, pointing out that Mandarin, in particular, is the language of the future, spoken by hundreds of millions in the world’s largest economy.

French, German, and Spanish will be emphasised, as well as Latin and ancient Greek, on which much of the English language is based. This means that there will be more foreign language teaching roles available across the UK.

Foreign languages aren't just for primary school students.

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Public Support, but Teacher Concerns

85% of people surveyed have expressed strong support for the new curriculum, many citing the belief that sending graduates out into the work force with a foreign language is crucial for the economic growth of the country, as well as for the student’s personal growth.

Some Teachers, on the other hand, are not quite as enthusiastic. According to a report from the British Council and CfBT Trust, many schools feel they are not equipped to meet the requirements of the new curriculum. While schools are largely in favour of the concept, there is a belief among some MFL teachers that they will be unable to deliver the curriculum to its full potential.

Another issue is the perceived lack of cohesion between primary and secondary teaching levels. Nearly half of primary schools report little or no contact between their secondary counterparts.

It remains to be seen in this new school year how successful schools and teachers will be at implementing the new curriculum. One thing, however, is clear: if England wants to compete in the global job market, this change is inevitable.

Are you a Modern Foreign Language Primary Teacher in London affected by the change in the UK teaching curriculum? Visit the Language Show Live this weekend 17-19 October to seek advice and resources to help with the new curriculum.

Teaching Ideas for the New Term

The new term is just around the corner, to bring you out of your summer lull. If you are starting in a new school, or have a supply teaching role lined up, you may well be feeling a bit nervous. Here are some of our preparation and teaching ideas to get you ready for the new academic year:

 

Establishing control

Maintaining discipline in the classroom can often be an uphill struggle, and it’s essential if your teaching is to have any effect at all. So on day one, make a strong, positive impression and you will have set yourself up for the rest of the term.

Start by paying attention to yourself. The health and self-confidence tips that work in everyday life apply to teaching too. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep on the last night of the holidays. In the morning, organise yourself in good time so that you don’t feel rushed, eat breakfast, and put on working clothes that make you feel good about yourself. If you are calm, relaxed and confident, this mood will carry over to your students.

Some of your pupils will be nervous; some will be bored. It is your job to bring a positive atmosphere into the classroom, putting them at ease while motivating them at the same time. Remind yourself why you love to teach your subject, and convey that love. Be fun, friendly and firm.

Keep their attention

Keeping your lessons fresh in the context of the often repetitive and restrictive national curriculum can be a challenge. Remember what inspires you yourself about the subject, and look for leeway in the curriculum to use your creativity. For example, relate set texts in English to modern popular stories and music, to demonstrate how classical authors’ literary techniques are still in use today.

Begin each lesson with a firm plan. Students will work best if they always have a goal in mind, and if you yourself never lose momentum or seem at a loss. We found this great article here from the TES as an example of how to teach Shakespeare creatively.

Vary your methods

Some students thrive on reading and writing as forms of learning, but there are many others who do not. Experiment with the three different types of learning: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Auditory learners, for example, will benefit from using music as a learning aid. This technique is particularly effective in teaching languages, where singing songs can help students memorise key words and phrases wholesale.

If you want to read more about different types of learning, we found this article particularly useful.

 

During breaks

As a school teacher, you are likely to have various duties beyond teaching itself. Maintaining discipline while ‘on duty’ in the playground or the lunch queue can be challenging. Encourage your faculty to take measures such as staggering lunch breaks to give children better access to playground equipment, increasing staff:student ratio during breaks, and ensuring that a senior faculty member is always on the duty roster, which can all help to take the pressure off individual staff and make problems less likely. As an individual, maintaining a visible presence while on duty can encourage good behaviour among students and will prevent many incidents from ever developing.

Pastoral care

Teachers have a duty of care towards their students, and, as trusted adult figures, are an important port of call in times of distress. If you find the idea of managing pupils’ problems daunting, prepare by reading up on the skills involved. Techniques such as active listening, which involves appearing attentive and noting details, can be invaluable. Remember that the most important aspect of pastoral care is often not your ability to provide a solution, but to listen and offer validation. Remember pupils’ names and what is likely to be on their minds, and check in with them without prompting, which will encourage them to confide.

These techniques should help you prepare to enter the new term as both a strong teacher of knowledge and a supportive pastoral and authority figure.

Our Favourite Education Quotations

World Class Teachers are now on Pinterest!

We’ve recently opened a Pinterest account and seen lots of inspirational teachers out there. Pinterest is a great (and free!) way for you to collect and save your favourite images from around the web.
There are so many great teaching and education accounts on Pinterest, and we want to provide our teachers with some resources of our own. One of the most popular that has stood out to us, are the many quotations about education, teaching, and lifelong learning.
As a teacher, you can often forget how important you are in shaping and changing the way children see the world. Education and teaching are privileges that should be cherished. As a supply teaching agency, World Class Teachers are committed to valuing the role of supply teachers, and understand how vital a part they play in the British education system.
With this in mind, here are three of our favourite sayings and quotations about education. We decided to make some images for our favourite education quotes! We hope they inspire you as and spur you on in your teaching career!

education quote from nelson mandela

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You might go to work thinking you don’t make a huge difference, but teachers are central to opening young people’s minds and encouraging life-long learning. Education empowers people!

love teaching education quote

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We really love this quotation: although it may sound trite, a real passion for teaching and your chosen subject is a magical combination in the classroom.

play + reserach education quote

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It’s all too easy to be bogged down in classroom objectives, paperwork, and exams. Play and learning creatively can help break up the monotony of text book learning,

We are trying to add to our collection Pinterest boards, and are always on the look-out for new teaching resources and education inspiration. If you have any suggestions on what kind of teaching resources you would find useful, from lesson planning tools, to subject and topic-based classroom planning material, just let us know!

 

You can check out World Class Teacher’s Pinterest boards here.

National Supply Teacher Week

Meet Sharon Wood: Founder of National Supply Teacher Week This week (16-22 June 2014) marks National Supply Teacher Week: a week dedicated to celebrating, recognising, and showing our support to supply teachers. As partners of the Week, World Class Teachers have already made a pledge outlining our commitment to the aims of the week. Who better then to interview for our blog than Sharon Wood, supply teacher and founder of National Supply Teacher Week:

  1. What inspired you to start National Supply Teacher week?

In 2005 whilst on supply myself, I set up a support forum for supply teachers, and the same issues crop up now as they did back then!  For all I try and help any supply teacher who contacts me, I wanted to do something more… more long-term I suppose.  Before I started my own forum, I used to frequent another, and so for nearly 12 years now I’ve been hearing about the plight of supply teachers: all too often feeling over-looked and under-valued.  It didn’t seem enough to me any more to simply reply to each teacher who contacted me individually, it wasn’t getting anyone any further forward. I felt if nothing was done, I’d be answering the same questions, hearing the same tales, another 12 years from now.  It’s not all negative, I do hear so many success stories, and stories from supply teachers who love their teaching work, but these wins weren’t being celebrated enough either!

  1. Have you had a positive response?

Last year, and again this year, I have been truly humbled by the response it has received.  There have been a few knock-backs along the way, which I was expecting, but that has made me even more determined to make sure that National Supply Teacher Week positively affects each and every supply teacher.

  1. What are the biggest challenges facing supply teachers in the UK?

I would say – out of school: financial uncertainty, job security (due to the vulnerable position supply teachers are in) and access to quality CPD. In school: access to technology (please give the supply teachers passwords for the laptop!), and lack of communication from schools about specific needs of children.

  1. What makes a great supply teacher?

Enthusiasm, professionalism, keen improvisation skills, confidence and charm!

  1. Lastly, any tips you would give to supply teachers looking for their next position?

Communicate honestly and openly with your recruitment consultant.  The more they know about you, the better they can place you!  And communicate with them frequently.  Keep *you* in the forefront of their minds.  Not so much that you become an irritant, but enough that when the perfect appointment crops up in that fabulous school down the road from you, they’ll know who to call!   If you would like to find out more, you can follow Sharon on Twitter @SupplyTeacherUK.

World Class Sport: Mixed Touch Rugby in London

Love sport, friendly competition, and good old team repartee?

Then World Class Teachers needs you!

Throughout spring and summer, we support our very own mixed touch rugby team in the London In2Touch and O2 touch competitions. Games are usually held at King George Park in Wandsworth or on Clapham Common on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening (depending on the League).

The level of play ranges from social to intermediate, so if you can throw/catch a ball and run around a bit give Amy in the office a call! We are currently looking for subs for our Tuesday team, but you can also just come along to enjoy the sunshine and cheer on your fellow teachers!

Links to info and game updates will be posted on our Facebook page throughout the tournament. World Class T-shirts and post-match drinks are also provided, along with the witty banter and the chance to meet other teachers and TA’s in London.

Last year the World Class Rugby team finished 4th in the competition overall – a fantastic job we say. But, by all means, if you think you can help us do even better get in touch!

 

World Class Teachers Mixed Touch Rugby Team 2014

 

NSPCC Online Survey – Teachers, We Need Your Help!

The NSPCC (the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) are conducting a policy and research project with the aim to improve the ways in which they can offer vital support to abused and neglected children.

As teachers, who work with children on a daily basis, you are the prime target audience to assist with this survey and so we would like to ask that as many of our World Class Teachers take part as possible. By offering your thoughts and ideas for this important cause, you could be helping to enhance the lives of children all over the UK.

The deadline for completion is Friday 30th May 2014, so please take a moment to respond and share with as many teachers as you can.

Details of the NSPCC Survey

NSPCC Logo

Supporting and developing early responses to child neglect in health and education services in England: Teachers
Stage two: short NSPCC online survey

This ongoing NSPCC project seeks to learn more about, and find ways to support, universal health and education services in identifying and responding to child neglect at an early stage.

To reach this goal, we have been talking to health and education professionals from across England about their experiences and ideas.  The first stage of the project was a number of discussion groups with teachers, GPs, EY practitioners, school nurses, midwives and health visitors.

*This second stage is an online, England-wide survey of these professionals, including teachers.* 

This survey will help us learn from you about best practice and possible opportunities, so we can develop concrete policy recommendations that will improve outcomes for children experiencing neglect.

Please complete the survey if you are a head teacher, deputy head, SENCO, teacher or learning support staff, working in an infant, primary, junior or secondary school. Click on the link below, or paste it into your browser. It will take around 15-20 minutes to complete.

https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=140015921869

Please also circulate the link as widely as possible to all the teachers you can reach.

Please complete the survey by Friday 30th May, 2014.

Teaching Key Stage 1 & 2 in the UK

Britain’s National Curriculum is generally split into four Key Stages, with primary school comprising Key Stages 1 and 2. The two stages help young students develop basic but important skills through a wide range of subjects.

Teaching in the primary school sector can be an incredibly rewarding experience, requiring you to help shape and open the minds of young pupils in their early stages of formal education. As an aspiring Key Stage 1 and 2 teacher, it is important that you have a good understanding of the UK’s primary school system structure and whether you are suited to the general approach for this teaching age.

The Key Stage System Explained

Key Stages were incorporated into the British education system with the enactment of the 1988 Education Reform Act, which also created the national curriculum. The four Key Stages break up primary and secondary school into sections defined by age, whereby each provides the next level designed to enhance and assess pupils’ learning skills. As aforementioned, primary school encompasses Key Stages 1 and 2; KS1 students are mostly aged between 5 and 7 (Years 1 and 2), and those aged 7 to 11 fall into the KS2 category (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6).

The differences between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

Key Stage 1 and 2 share almost the same curriculum elements, with English, Mathematics and Science as core subjects. Through Key Stage 1, the English subject is designed to help pupils work towards being able to read reasonably quickly and puzzle out any new words that they encounter for themselves. They are also taught how to write in complete sentences. In Mathematics, the focus is usually on being able to count, read and write numerals up to 100 and write in words up to the 20th digit. Students are also helped to understand the concepts of ‘more’ and ‘less’ (addition and subtraction), especially on a number line. Key Stage 1 Science aims to develop the learner’s inquisitiveness and observation skills. It also requires students to be able to identify and classify certain things, in addition to collecting data.

The Key Stage 2 English curriculum, which spans a larger portion of the child’s life, helps students to progress from reading with a focus on comprehension to reading to grasp overall concepts through age-appropriate literature. Pupils’ writing skills at this stage are expected to evolve from being able to write well-punctuated and structured sentences to having the ability to express their ideas clearly across a wide range of subjects. In mathematics, the curriculum is structured to enable them to perform long division and multiplication calculations by Year 6. This stage also sees students go from learning purely observable concepts through the Science subject to understanding more complex and abstract concepts.

Are you suited to teaching KS 1 & 2?

Primary school teachers are expected to have the skills to teach in all subjects in the set curriculum and have a basic understanding of the material covered for the Key Stage they plan to teach. Outgoing, personable individuals thrive as primary school teachers as this profession requires a high level of communication with both pupils and parents. A good sense of humour and patience in abundance will also place you in good stead to enter this profession.

World Class Teachers Primary Teaching Requirements

As a teaching recruitment agency, we match candidates who have already begun their careers in teaching with a range of school vacancies across London.

Therefore we require our UK primary school teaching candidates to possess at minimum:

–       A Bachelor of Education or Primary PGCE, with QTS

–       A valid passport and visa which allows you to work in the UK

–       Experience in teaching the UK curriculum, or a curriculum which is very similar

If you want to find out more about our Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, and combined primary teaching jobs across London, visit the respective pages on the website or call us to speak to a World Class consultant.

Alternatively, you can find information on routes into teaching on the National Career Service website.

London’s Best Food Markets

Everybody needs to eat, but in London it’s not just a necessity – it’s a passion! If you’re a real foodie, you’ll love the spectacular array of cuisines available in the hundreds of restaurants and bistros all over the city. But where London really shines is its vast selection of different food markets, filled with tantalising aromas and vibrant colours from every corner of the globe. Regardless of whether you are buying your day-to-day groceries or simply looking for a tasty meal while you’re out exploring, you’ll be hard pressed not to find at least one stall that catches your attention.

borough market

Borough Market

Located close to London Bridge on Borough High Street, this market contains sells everything from fresh groceries including bread, meat, vegetables, fish and cheese, to fully prepared and delicious smelling foods. There are plenty of boutique food and drink stalls, with every culinary delight you could ever wish for from around the globe! If you fancy a snack, you’ll see everything from Spanish to Arabic cuisine, with plenty of local, British and seasonal produce thrown in too.

Exmouth Market

Another great market where you can eat for under £5. Exmouth market is between Farringdon Road and Roscommon Street in the Farringdon area of London. French pastries, Mexican tacos, Indian curries and Moroccan tagines are all on offer here, so you can take your pick depending on what tantalizes your taste-buds on that particular day. This market is so popular that some of the permanent restaurants in the area set up their own market stalls offering a sample of the dishes from their menus.

Leadenhall Market

If you’re interested in olden times, head to this Victorian market in the City of London. Flower stalls appear alongside stalls selling fresh foods (such as cheese, meat and fruit) and, as a covered market rather than a street market, it is ideal for days when the weather isn’t too great. The market building is home to several pubs and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat, but you will inevitably pay more here than you would at a street market. Nevertheless, t’s well worth it for the architecture and atmosphere.

Berwick Street market

Berwick Street Market

Berwick Street Market is located in Soho and was established in 1830. During its sizeable history it has gained an excellent reputation for the quality of produce sold here – so much so that countless local chefs source ingredients for their restaurants from these stalls. Visitors attend this market both to stock up on groceries and to try some of the various foods served. Choose from Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, sandwiches, burgers or pizza. Again, you can expect change from a fiver for any of these dishes.

Whichever district of London you are teaching or living in, and whatever you feel like sampling while you are out and about, you’re bound to find a food market in London that will serve at least one thing you like.

Congratulations Team Keane!

Last Friday we sponsored Team Keane as they set off down the Thames to raise money for the Junior Rowing Project, an initiative which aims to give children from all backgrounds and of all abilities the chance to try their hand at rowing.

After the race we received word from one of the Ladies Eight who informed us the race was a huge success. Here’s what Louise had to say:

The row to Kingston was fantastic!  Here you can see us, waiting for the Richmond lock to fully rise, whilst I made a quick phone call!

Team Keane Ladies

It took us 2 1/2 hours and was magical – surprisingly silent, apart from the gentle lapping of (mostly in-time) blades as we meandered past Syon House, Pink Lodge, Richmond and Petersham, squeezed into Teddington lock (very tight) and rowed quickly past the slightly daunting Teddington weir.

Not sure of the full sum raised yet but lots of good PR for Team Keane, thanks to Annie at World Class Teachers’ and some money for much needed new equipment for Junior rowing projects.

Thank you to those of you who were able to offer your support.

Louise
Xxx

We think the ladies did a fantastic job and we’re very proud of their achievement!

If you’d like to know more about Team Keane’s Sculling School as part of the Junior Rowing Project, visit the Team Keane website at http://www.teamkeane.com/ and follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook. You can also read our previous blog post about the Ladies Eight fundraising event to find out exactly what the challenge entailed…

The Junior Rowing Project and Team Keane Ladies Eight

TeamKeaneWorld Class Teachers are proud to sponsor Team Keane in a fundraising event for their Junior Rowing Project this Friday 28th March. If you’re not busy tomorrow, head to the banks of the Thames to cheer on the Ladies Eight as they propel themselves down the 8 mile course – all the way from Chiswick through Teddington Lock to the finish line in Kingston!

All funds raised during the three hour challenge will go towards the Junior Rowing Project, so if you’re feeling generous please text: WECK01 £2/£5/£10 to 70070 to donate and support Hounslow’s children access rowing!

Who are Team Keane and what is the Junior Rowing Project?

Team Keane is a charity organisation which offers specialised rowing coaching with the aim of making rowing an accessible sport and form of exercise for young people. In particular, they have been working closely with schools in the Hounslow area to provide courses where school funding is limited, and hope to expand their facilities to welcome children of all levels and abilities in the future. Ultimately, the charity strives to give young people from all walks of life a chance to row on the river.

Here is a word from Paul Keane, founder of Team Keane:

Our Junior Rowing Project is a programme we are running for local schools to bring the pupils down to the boathouse, and have an introduction to the sport.

Recently I have been working with local schools in the London Borough of Hounslow and long term will be looking to develop this so that all the schools in Hounslow can have an opportunity to come down and row. I would like to further this with special needs and disability groups and are currently in talks with the borough to develop the facility to do this.

Our junior Rowing Project offer a unique opportunity for pupils to just come down and give it a go, we would like to establish a regatta in the summer term where all the local schools can attend and offer the pupils a chance to race as their school in tub/recreational equipment, which is not currently being provided for in the London Boroughs. I am the Team Manager for Hounslow for the London Youth Games which is a voluntary role and we are currently raising funds so there is an opportunity for the kids to come down and practice together and get the chance to pursue the sport further.

These funds will enable our club Team Keane Sculling School to secure well needed resources, so that this project can grow and continue to be a success.

We wish Team Keane all the best for Friday and congratulate them on their wonderful work enabling young people to experience the joys of rowing.

For further information please contact Paul Keane on 07810 553989 or email paul@teamkeane.com