Firstly thank you to every school and individual who is part of the PLN network!
Time to review our network year from August 2015 to July 2016. What is the network? Well, Primary Languages Network has evolved from Janet Lloyd Network at the start of the academic year, in to a 170 plus strong network of primary and several secondary schools. It has been a bright, vibrant and busy year for us all! I thought I would look back at each calendar month and see just what focuses, challenges and activities stand out in the network year.
Let's start in August 2015 .......
In August last year some of us were busy setting up the new network VLE.
and completing the materials for whole school activities for European Day of Languages 2016 based on faces, expressions and emotions. You can read more about these ideas here in Faces in the crowd and Universal facial expresssions
September is always a hectic month and we welcomed our new associates Kate and later in the month Carol.The 14 associates have worked every week in 47 network schools this year and have had a huge and positive impact not only in the schools but also in the way we have been able to develop, tweak and reorganise materials and resources for the VLE and therefore all 170 network schools.You can find out more about these wonderful colleagues,who altogether teach over 6,500 children per week throughout the year and the skills and experience they bring to the primary language classroom here. "Power of a picture "
In 2015, the month of September was incredibly busy as we were rolling out our second year of DfE funded MFL CPD with WTSA. Our first sequence of local network meetings were taking place in 9 different venues in the local towns around Warrington. Local teachers and associates were developing training skills and all attendees from different schools had access via our demo VLE to sets of materials from the free local network meetings to use back in school whether they were network members. Take a look at "Teachers becoming trainers" and "Up and running roll out of the second year of the DfE project"
In October we began the year's work with SLT in KS3/4 to look at the obstacles and issues and how we could overcome these barriers to create a smoother transition between KS2 and KS3 and we launched the year's local transition group network meetings. KS2-KS3 strategic conumdrum.
We also set about looking carefully at what asssessment really looked like in network schools and how we could devise easy and effective ways to track and assess progress in the classes where the associates teach..Of course during the 1 to 1 consultancy that Claire and I delivered this year with subject coordinators in individual schools we looked at indiividual school's requirements too and established next steps for individual schools with the challenge of tracking and assessment .Every half term we have associate teacher twilight CPD and October's CPD was a marvellous meeting of minds, to discuss and share warts and all the assessment taking place in real PFL classrooms .Assessment- Put the flesh on the skeleton
Our aim was to have something tangible and practical to share with all network members at the end of the year .Kate was then able at the end of the year to deliver a really useful and well receieved workshop on assessment at the conference in June 2016
In November as part of the DfE Project we offered CPD for all schools in the North West with Vicky Cooke,who came across from the North East to the North West to deliver two sessions - an afternoon or a twilight- on reading skills .I found it really heartening to have both network and non-network members together sharing and considering target language reading skill approaches. At the conference in Summer 2016 we saw the impact for ourselves on one school, who wholeheartedly took on the development of reading skills in their school based on this CPD and Emilie was able to share the progress she had been making with effective reading skill development in her workshop too .
As a network we reflected on the tools we already offered on the VLE for reading development and in December Ana,Emilie and I began to develop our "Let's Read" tools from Y3 to Y6.So thank you Vicky! You can explore Vicky's ideas and suggestions here in the Let's Read CPD
In January I set about helping a school where the teacherd wanted simple wayss to link target language learning in to the school's creative curriculum programme. The network allows us to take challenges of one school and devise ideas that can be transferred to other schools and used in the same or different ways.Here is one of the ideas in a blog post , which some schools then used in April to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare. "Shakespeare Shadows". All the creative curriculum ideas we create, are stored and shared on the VLE in the Cross Curricular folder "Creative Curriculum". Meantime our second sequence of DfE Local Network Meetings were taking place led by the coordinator teachers based on the theme "Let's Get Physical" and materials and resources to explore nouns, adejctives, verbs and adverbs .
February and early March were a true delight! The observations of the associate teachers took place and it gave me a chance to review and share the good practice I saw in each and every lesson across KS1 and KS2 in three different target languages!
Emilie only reminded me yesterday how much she personally appreciated the valuable CPD just by being able to read the snapshot blog posts and see lessos she knows well and slightly different apporaches or techniques! You can read a summary of these snapshots here "Associate language teaching and effective progress"
In March the language community received notification from OfSted about their expectations for PFL and KS3 /4 MFL Via the VLe,email, social media we use Facebook ,Twitter and blog posts we were able to share and explore the guidance and information. Here is the report and commentary we shared with all network schools OfSted Guidance,Effective Provision with PLN Support .
April enabled the network to look at how languages are intrinsically linked .We celebrated 400 years of Shakespeare and Cervantes "Cervantes stories with talking tiles" a blog post inspired bya visit to Spain last October! Children and their teachers explored descriptive sentence writing about imaginary or true Shakespeare characters and our Facebook page allowed us to share this with the network and the wider primary languages community too!
In early Summer we released our new condensed and easy to use Ready Made French and Spanish for Y3 to Y6 and over Summer the German version will begin to take shape too.
It's been a Summer of opportunities to link language learning to special events from the Queen's birthday to the Euros and in June we just had to encourage our network schools to consider a touch of Welsh too!
June was conference time. 3 key note presenters and 6 workshops .Everyone of the presentations and workshops offered the 140 delegates the chance to reflect on effective progress and encouraged us all to prepare for a "sharper focus" on primary language learning in 2016-2017.
The snapshot observations in early Spring had informed me of good practice that we could highlight and share- drama with Kate P, talk,write and be creative with Joanne, links abroad with 3 local network schools and teaching and learning in KS1 with Sally.I have already mentioned Emilie and reading skills and Kate K's assessment workshops earlier in this post.
And now we are in July 2016 .Next year we welcome 6 new associate teachers and several of our associates take on new roles within the network .Claire will become your 1 to 1 consultancy coordinator and point of contact,Catherine will oversee and run the Primary Langauges Development Award for network mebers and Emilie will become the Associate Language Teacher Coordinator and first point of contact for associate teacher schools.
Finally this year, two days ago in Lancaster, it was one of those magical primary language learning moments for me! It was moment when I realised the positive impact of our support in a network school ,where non-specialists are taking all that we are sharing on the VLE and in the network CPD or PLN social media and creating their individual,successful and creative approach to primary language learning.Thank you Ryelands- the best way to round off the year for us all! Of course as a network we need to share the good practice I saw, so here is the post all about that "magical moment in primary language learning" which can be replicated and no doubt built upon in your own schools next year too!
Thank you to everyone involved in the network and have a really lovely Summer holiday!