Why choose the Primary Languages VLE network to build our school’s learning programme?
Over the last half term I have been asked this question by interested schools and colleagues.As a passionate primary and secondary language teacher I perfectly understand why there is a need to be certain about whether the VLE suits a particular school or cluster of schools. Our transition KS2- KS3 VLEsharing clusters are working well too. Here is my response (with my teacher's hat on!)
The VLE offers flexibility and more than a SOW. Schools can "add in "or take out" options. The VLE is updated regularly as we find more options e.g. songs or activities that colleagues use. The blogs and network news can keep you informed about how other participating schools are using the materials and planning.Schools can share ways to celebrate culture and how they have adapted resources or used ideas as a platform to develop their own unique whole school or class learning.The cross curricular units can be used as "additional" or "instead of" units.
New areas are being added regularly - watch out for the "Story Chest" section. Plus the subject coordinator tools are being updated and adapted as we find out about current effective ways schools are using these. We also are able to develop additional subject coordinator support as a positive response to colleagues’ requirements and suggestions.
Our associate teachers in the network (working in 40 schools) keep us informed as to what is and isn't working etc and how they have adapted key activities too! I think this makes the VLE a dynamic networking tool and gives schools the SOW to start off with and follow and also to grow with .This is why I often refer to the basic SOW as a "training manual". It is comprehensive but it isn't designed to have to be followed religiously if that doesn't suit your learning environment.It can be a marker in the sand and a central focus point for all your colleagues.
This year for example our assessment resources are growing as we understand more about what and how we can track and record and what schools realistically require to be able to do this. The VLE also offers schools the opportunity to upload their own materials, to supplement, enhance or work alongside the existing materials and resources and this creates for the subject coordinator a dynamic planning and sharing tool. The planning and sharing can become a four way virtual learning and sharing process between teachers, subject coordinators, network members and ourselves. Our transition clusters are working through the effectiveness of ther VLE for local school to school contact and virtual sharing and explorong progress between KS2 and KS3.
Was I certain a VLE would make such a difference? The honest answer was I didn't know. But now I can see its power and what a vehicle it is to allow us to support all our members virtually be they long distance or local members! I am excited by the Primary Languages VLE and its potential.
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