The long-established Nelson English has been revamped for the post national literacy strategy, post-Curriculum 2000 generation. Aimed at key stage 2, and carefully cross-referenced to NLS objectives, this scheme is thorough, well designed and user-friendly.
There was for many years an anti-scheme camp in primary education. But, as with all resources, a scheme is only as good as the teacher using it: good scheme plus good teacher equals successful teaching; good scheme plus poor teacher equals unsuccessful teaching. There is now an increased readiness to accept that schemes have a part to play in a school's provision, not least in reducing planning time.
This scheme is being promoted as a "core programme" to "support" Curriculum 2000 and the NLS. You will need to make additional provision over and above what is ontained here.
One reservation is the number of copying exercises such as "Copy these sentences, adding the missing commas". This becomes as much a handwriting exercise as a grammar one, though the teacher's book notes that "you may wish to vary the quantity of material which your pupils copy out in the process of completing the activities". This message needs to be clear: objectives must be very focused.
The Copymaster Resource Book comprises separate word, sentence and text activities that can be used in the literacy hour, plus new Anthology Copymasters directly linked to the units in the pupils' books. The teacher's guide is comprehensive, and includes homework ideas to support the class-based exercises.
As the move to use the national literacy strategy more flexibly gathers pace, this scheme could have a useful part to play.
Kevin Harcombe Kevin Harcombe is head of Redlands primary school, Fareham, Hampshire