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Primary Talk Accreditation Case Study – Grendon Primary School, Birmingham

Janet Newbold, Deputy Head Teacher and SENCO at Grendon Primary School spoke to us about the school’s experience in becoming accredited in I CAN’s Primary Talk programme and the ongoing positive impact it has had…

“After training on I CAN’s Primary Talk programme at supportive level we felt confident in the strategies we were implementing and decided to build further on the school’s progress by seeking Primary Talk Accreditation. The accreditation was a whole school initiative involving all staff (including lunchtime supervisors) in training and subsequent school development.

“Monitoring attainment across the school highlighted the need to prioritise speech, language and communication (SLC.) Primary Talk provided us with the starting point for developing staff knowledge and a language-rich environment throughout the school. Going through the process allowed us to take a step back from our practice and make judgements about what was working best for our children.

“The impact of the speech, language and communication focus was significant. Supportive strategies such as talk partners and other ways of structuring group work, non-verbal responses to questions and careful use of thinking time became embedded in everyday class teaching. We were able to reflect on the impact of these strategies on the children’s learning, including improving vocabulary, sentence construction and ‘talking for a purpose’.

“Our internal performance-monitoring judged teaching to be 100% good or better, with a third judged to be outstanding and our Primary Talk work provided us with the strategies to achieve this. Anecdotal evidence showed an increase in children’s confidence; our children said ‘if I’m struggling, he [teacher] gives me a good word’ and ‘this is the best school ever!’

“Through regular tracking of the children’s speaking and listening we have been able to show very good progress across KS1; from an extremely low starting point to approximately 85% of children in Year 6 achieving Level 4 or higher. Behaviour has improved and observations show that behaviour is at least good throughout the school.

“The results of the training and accreditation have been far-reaching, even beyond the classroom the impact has been really positive, with changes to the playground including; a friendship stop, the singing playground, a storytelling area and the peace garden.

“The Primary Talk accreditation process overall was good; it was useful in highlighting the areas that we wanted to improve, and in allowing us to say what we do well. It has also given us a vehicle for discussing our SLC work, which in the past might have been a little non-specific. The report we received following the accreditation was excellent and some of the recommendations made have already been included on our School Improvement Plan for next year; the process has greatly developed our practice.”

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