Pilot at key stage 3

6th October 2000 at 01:00
Brighton and Hove is one of 17 local authorities taking part in a national pilot that aims to transform teaching and learning at key stage 3. The literacy and numeracy strands began last term and work on science and the development of teaching and learning begins next January. In line with the national picture, Brighton and Hove pupils show a drop in motivation and performance at KS3 and all 10 of our secondary schools will participate in the pilot.

The National Literacy Strategy has provided clear, comprehensive objectives for Years 7-9, which teachers have broadly welcomed. English lessons should follow the recommended structure of starter, introduction, development and plenary. Schools will trial the structure this term.

Training teachers of other subjects starts soon and cross-curricular literacy training will take place in every pilot school. It is vital that all teachers, of whatever subject, regard literacy as their responsibility.

Teachers have some concerns about workload, especially planning. We plan t extend the collaboration between primary and secondary schools. Years 7-9 teachers will observe literacy hours in upper primary classes. Some schools will be experimenting with teacher exchanges. We owe it to the pupils to build on the success of the primary literacy strategy. No longer can valuable learning time be lost by "starting again" in Year 7.

There are parallels with the early days of the primary literacy strategy. Initial discussions centred on which texts to use and the complexities of lesson planning. Only later did debates about pedagogy surface - we have no tradition in this country of talking about how to teach.

After the first experiments with literacy hours, teachers were excited about pupil engagement and improved behaviour, and were adjusting their expectations of pupils upwards. They wanted to discuss teaching approaches. It is this kind of transformation that is just beginning at KS3.

Janet Tomlinson is assistant director of Education and Lifelong Learning, Brighton and Hove LEA

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