Re: Changes to the teaching of spelling.
Learning to spell is a highly complex business. Some children learn to spell effortlessly – most get there in the end, but too many find the process of learning to spell arduous, painstaking and, sadly, boring. The Friday spelling test may be great for those who can already spell, but for others it makes for a scary Friday morning. Most children get most spellings right on the day, but forget them when coming to use them in future work, others just get them wrong. For these reasons, it is necessary to have an approach that meets the needs of all children and allows them to develop their skills at an appropriate rate, in order that they can happily spell common words accurately and develop a range of strategies to tackle more complex words with confidence.
Studies have shown that sending home a list of words to learn, in preparation for a weekly test, is not the most effective way for most children to learn and many children (although they may have performed well) have forgotten these words just a few hours after the test. As a result, effective immediately, we will be changing our approach to teaching spelling.
From today, teachers will no longer set weekly spelling tests. Instead, the time used to set the wordlist and then test them will now be used to teach spelling: to play word games and undertake spelling investigations, to identify rules and patterns and identify common exception words too.
Spelling must be made fun, enjoyable and interesting. Children only really become good at spelling by practising over and over again and this is best done in fun and interesting ways.
Each class will have a spelling focus for the half term, in-line with the national curriculum. To support home-learning, we will be sending home a half-termly letter with details of the spelling focus, the related rules and words that link to that rule. For children in key-stage one, the focus will link to the phonics phase that they are working within.
I will be asking the school council, in a few weeks, to gather the opinions of children on the changes but would also welcome feedback from parents. Should you have any questions, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
With best wishes,