Their fate rests in all our hands

22nd August 2008 at 01:00

I'm moving to a new classroom this year. It's not a bad blank canvas, as classrooms go, but I stand in the room with all the anxiety and excitement of someone moving into a new house. A year down the line, what memories will have been carved out in here? What high or low points will have punctuated the passing of terms to come?

As I begin to move the desks around, trying to find the arrangement that will put my stamp on this space, I ponder the class that are to live in this room with me. It's not just a new classroom for me this year; I'm changing year groups too. Next year's class will be a Year 6 class; the class of 2009. What is waiting for them?

What's waiting for them and me, of course, are Sats. Even as I type the word, a thunderclap goes off in my mind, accompanied by the menacing laugh of "those who must be impressed". But you know what? I'm not that worried. Gone are the days when Sats are only an issue for Year 6. Every year, whichever year group I am teaching, I feel a responsibility for the end- of-key-stage Sats, doing anything I practically can during the year to support the learning of Year 6. And it's not just me; all my colleagues want to make sure that Year 6 teachers feel supported and part of an "in this together" culture. When the results come in, we celebrate as a whole staff the successes of our pupils. All of this is important for the ethos of the staffroom.

Even more important than feeling like we're all in it together is believing that all teachers, irrespective of which year group they are teaching, play a part in the journey towards what is hopefully our pupils' crowning achievement.

We had an amazing staff meeting a year or so ago that really brought this home. It was the beginning of a new year and we all got into groups to analyse a KS2 maths question. Each group had representatives from every phase of the school and each teacher had to explain how their teaching paved the way for Year 6 pupils' ability to answer the question. It was brilliant. Foundation teachers explained how their lessons on the vocabulary of comparison played their part; and KS1 teachers explained how they taught younger pupils to approach written questions. We all felt involved but, more importantly, we realised we were involved.

My Year 6 class, as they come to me, have been invested in by so many teachers, giving them pieces of a puzzle that we can now take pleasure in putting together. I get the chance to drive the final leg of this journey and it's exciting to take the wheel.

The final year of primary school does have its pressures, for pupils and teachers alike, but this is nothing new. It has always been a distinctive year for all involved and I will be working with my team to make the year as memorable and individual as the classroom I am preparing for my class.

As I put up the photographs of each pupil on the wall, I remember that they will never have this year again. Like teachers everywhere, I need to remember that the fate of these learners is not in the hands of external marking agencies or targets; it is passed to me to handle with as much care as the reception teachers taking in the class of 2015. Are you ready? Get set .

Do you fancy yourself as one of our classroom columnists? Contribute to this slot (maximum 600 words).

Peter Greaves, Deputy head of a primary school in the East Midlands.


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