14 High Street, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8DD
Press release, 3 July 2013
THE PUPIL PREMIUM –
GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDED
14 High Street, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 8DD
Press release, 3 July 2013
THE PUPIL PREMIUM –
GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDED
For many years now researchers have looked into how and what we learn is affected by our cultural background. One of the methods they have used to look at these affects is to compare the reading comprehension of students from different cultural background when exposed to the same passage. What they have found is that students from different backgrounds recall different things even though the text is the same.
Margaret Steffenson et al have undertaken considerable research in this area. In “A cross-cultural perspective on reading comprehension” they describe how they asked 20 American and 19 Indian students to read and answer questions about two descriptive passages on the topic of weddings. All the students were given the same two reading passages, which were equally complex and of the same length. Both passages described a wedding but one was set in India and the other in America. They then asked them to recall what they had read. Their findings were as follows:
What this demonstrated was that culture affects what is coded and what is stored in memory. It also determines the ease or difficulty with which certain materials are read.
Steffenson et al went further and also looked at whether the ideas in the passages were elaborated on or distorted by both sets of readers and found that when they were recalling culturally familiar content they tended to elaborate by filling in gaps, deducing outcomes and making inferences. However, when they were recalling unfamiliar events they tended to distort the evidence. The following examples to illustrate these points:
In another study, this time led by Ralph Reynolds, in which Steffenson and her colleagues also took part, called “Cultural schema and reading comprehension” they asked White and Black 8th grade students to read a passage on ‘sounding’ or ‘playing the dozens’, which was a form of ritual insult found mainly within the Black community. Black students read the passage and interpreted is as being about verbal play because they were culturally familiar with the practice, whereas White students tended to interpret is as being about physical aggression. The evidence from this study shows how cultural schemata can influence how reading passages can be interpreted.
These are just two examples of the significant amount of research which has been undertaken in this area. What this and other research demonstrates is how subjects understand more of a text based on their own respective culture than that of the others. The reasons for misconstruing and distorting the factual context of the passages was because they were trying to fit the text into their own cultural framework not the framework of the target culture and as a result they were less successful in understanding the passage from the other culture.
The examples above are illustrative of the issues that teachers and practitioners should be aware of when interpreting reading comprehension scores of minority ethnic and EAL students in their classrooms. The Steffenson studies demonstrate the need for teachers to use pre-teaching activities to activate prior knowledge (in the case above, the schema of a wedding ceremony) and to actively engage students so that they become familiar with the diverse cultural norms and nuances evident in the text. In many cases the text pupils are exposed to in school won't necessarily be as culturally nuanced as those mentioned in the above research. However, even texts that seem to be 'culture free' may have aspects that require careful consideration to ensure that all students are able to engage with them on a level playing field, whether this is for cultural or linguistic reasons. There are well known pre, during and after reading activities that teachers can build into their teaching, so that EAL and minority ethnic pupils can proactively engage with texts. These strategies will also benefit pupils who are eligible for free school meals and require assistance to improve their reading.
Future blog postings will focus on some of these pre, post and during reading activities. In the meantime, if you would like either training or coaching in this area, please note that we at Equitable Education have considerable expertise of working with teachers and Literacy co-ordinators to develop both whole school and classroom strategies to raise the attainment of EAL and minority ethnic pupils in reading. We work with both primary and secondary schools.. Contact us by e-mailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the contact form page above to discuss your particular school needs. We look forward to hearing from you.
I have recently had the pleasure to become acquainted with Dr James S. Brown. Dr Brown is a Canadian who has over 40 year’s career in education in a variety of senior roles, including working in England. His research interest and expertise is in improving education, especially for those disadvantaged by existing educational systems. He has undertaken intensive research into the issue of the underachievement of boys and has published a book entitled “Rescuing our Underachieving Sons”, which provides an in depth analysis of the underlying issues based on intensive research and his own experience in education in both Canada and the England. His book also provides suggested strategies parents and the education system as a whole can deploy to raise boys achievement.
Dr Brown has also written three smaller booklets, based on his research and book. His second booklet entitled ‘How the education system can help boys to become achievers in school” is available to download here and covers the 4 major characteristics that tend to be common amongst achievers such as:
1. They come from more stimulating environments, where parents speak and read to them more,
2. They receive more support and encouragement from parents, teachers and society in general,
3. They have high self-esteem and more confidence in their abilities.
4. They work harder, not only because of their need to achieve, but also because they like what they are doing and are more engaged by it.
The booklet provides detailed information on each of these four characteristics, as well as suggested ways in which parents can support their sons to become achievers.
Dr Brown has kindly provided the booklet for readers of Equitable Education’s blog free of charge to download. Our thanks go to Dr Brown for generously sharing his research with us. We hope this will support colleagues in improving educational outcomes for boys in their schools.
Yesterday, I was visited by my four year old nephew. As most four year old he is still at an age where he is curious about his surroundings. He was fascinated by the magnets I have stuck to my fridge. Most of them have been collected as souvenirs whilst on holidays abroad. He went through the magnets and wanted to know which country they were from. He was particularly taken by this one similar to the picture below bought from Marrakech which had the Arabic alphabet colourfully displayed.
I asked him if he could read any of the letters. He was able to read out a few at the beginning - Alif for the ‘a’ sound and Baa for the ‘b’ sound and then tuned to me and said in a serious tone, ‘ You do know though Aunty, you can’t speak Panjabi at school. You have to speak English…’ I asked him why that was the case and he replied, ’You just have to speak English’. Now, I wasn’t surprised by this statement, as I myself many years ago had gone through similar experiences as a bilingual child and knew instinctively that my language was something that was not valued at school and that there was no room for it to be used within the classroom context. That was many years ago and was indicative of the times. Indeed, it was quite common for children to make fun and ridicule any languages other than English being spoken. They obviously weren’t aware of the hours of endless fun you could have by ‘code switching’ or making your own unique language up by mixing the languages, so that it was only understood by speakers of both languages.
Due to my own interest in languages and multilingualism in a particular, I decided that I would ensure that my own children would be fluent in their mother tongue Panjabi and become proficient in Urdu (written in the Perso- Arabic script, hence my nephews comments on the Arabic Alphabet) because of the valuable role that it plays as a Lingua Franca  across the Indian subcontinent, not mentioning its popularity across the world for many reasons, including its prevalence in Bollywood movies many of whom use Urdu and Hindi. I therefore, made a conscious effort to give my children the opportunity to learn both languages in a natural way as possible, ensuring that they had a wide range of bilingual books at their disposal to reinforce the use of both Panjabi and Urdu within the family. What I found surprising, especially in the case of my son, who is now 15 years old was that within a term of going to Reception, more or less the same age as my nephew, he refused to speak in any language other than English. Now as it happens, both my children and now my nephew go to the same school. The school is a larger than average primary school, with very low levels of FSM and approximately 12.5 % of EAL pupils. They generally provide a good education and in their own way promote diversity, certainly more than when I was at school but despite this the effect on my nephew was the same as it has been for me and my children. The net result of this is that potential bilingual or even multilingual children are gradually undergoing ‘language loss’. This phenomenon is occurring across many settled communities. At best children and young people growing up are only able to develop receptive skills in languages used within the community but are not able to use these skills productively as English becomes the dominant languages which is increasingly used in all domains.
This anecdotal story illustrates the powerful monolingual message which continues to play a dominant role in England today. Ironically, this is in strong contrast to the message given by politicians and the media which states that communities choose NOT to speak English. I don’t think I have ever come across anyone who has resisted the need nor discounted the importance of learning English. It is disingenuous to talk about settled communities not speaking English, especially when extensive research from different parts of the world show that many communities suffer language loss within a generation as in the case in personal example given above. Indeed, a language survey undertaken by www.ethnicpolitics.org shows how English is now used by more bilingual communities within the home context too. In their initial survey which was undertaken in 1997, 56% of the minority ethnic members surveyed stated that they used English at home compared to 44% who stated they did not. There were of course underlying differences for the various different communities. By 2010 the responses to the same survey showed that this trend has completely reversed with 64% of minority ethnic members now stating that they used English at home compared to 36% who said they did not, with these significant changes having taken place over a period of just 13 years.
Furthermore, the critics who like making a fuss about the learning of English choose to ignore the fact that the 2011 Census showed that of the 51,005,610 English population taking part in the census (residents aged three and over) 46,936,780 of them had English as their main language. For the remaining 4,068,830 for whom English was not their main language, 3,224,830 spoke English either very well or well, with a further 709,862 stating they could not speak English well. Only a small proportion of the overall population, a mere 133,983 stated that they could not speak English. 
More importantly for me the issue is that you don’t just have to know one language. It is possible to be proficient in more than one language without it being detrimental to learning, which sadly was the WRONG view perpetuated in the days when I was growing up. Indeed, there are many benefits that accrue from being bilingual, notwithstanding the cognitive benefits which teachers could use to aid learning in the classroom. We really do need to ensure that our schools are more supportive of the learning of languages, both Modern Foreign languages and ‘community languages’. Sadly, the new proposed MFL national curriculum proposes a hierarchy of status for languages in which the languages spoken by many of our settled communities are not recognised at all. This is just plain wrong and it is such omissions in practice and policy which so powerfully give the message to all children, whether monolingual or not that languages other than English are not important, unless of course they happen to be on the ‘list’ which then are reserved for the elite few who are deemed capable of studying languages. It’s about time we started valuing all languages, so that we move away from the deficit approach that is common in England and build upon the rich linguistic capital that exists within our communities.
Just as a final note to ponder. We could take a broader view of many of these so called ‘community languages’ which are spoken by millions of people in the world. Take for example the three Indo-Aryan languages mentioned in this posting, which I like many others of my generation, are lucky to have as part of our linguistic capital – Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi. These three languages are mutually intelligible. According to the total number of speakers for these languages in 2007, there were 295 million speakers of Hindi, 96 million of Panjabi and 66 million of Urdu in the world. If you add these three languages together you come to a grand total of 457 million speakers, which is the equivalent of 6.89 % of the world’s population. In the same year, the total number of speakers of English was 365 million or 5.52% of the world population. Not so much of ‘community languages’ after all, when you take a wider global perspective.
This should certainly give us food for thought as we are increasingly required to navigate in a globalised world, where the language competencies that are required are more varied and which mean that we cannot continue to be solely reliant on English is a dominant language. It's time for us to wake up and embrace the fact that over half of the world’s population is bilingual and it is the norm across all social groups and ages and many of the languages that could be used naturally by our children are gradually being taken away at a loss to them and society as a whole.
 The use of Panjabi, Urdu and Arabic within Pakistani heritage community is not explored here but will be covered in another posting later, as well as the relationship between Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi.
 Source Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census Proficiency in English, local authorities in England and Wales (Excel spreadsheet) http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/search/index.html?newquery=english+language+use
 Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers
The potential for Teaching Schools and a school led system to make the workforce more representative of its local pupil population.
A few days ago the DfE published its annual School Workforce in England Report. This report provides a wealth of information on the size and characteristics of the school workforce working in schools and academies, including ethnicity profiles of staff. As I have both a personal and professional interest in matters pertaining to equality and diversity, I read the report with interest to take stock of the current situation with regards to the make up of our school workforce.
This year’s data highlighted the stark realities facing the English education system, whereby the profession remains overwhelmingly white at a time when the pupil population is becoming increasingly diverse. Statistics from the report show that 94.4% of Heads of publically funded schools are from a ‘White British’ background. However, considering the fact that this means the remaining 5.6% ‘ethnic minority’ category also includes 1.8% of Heads from ‘Any other white background’ and 1.3% from ‘White Irish’ background, the figures are even more alarming if you look at the ‘non-white’ representation of Heads which stands at a paltry 2.5%. The situation regarding teachers is a little better with 88.4% of teachers coming from ‘White British’ backgrounds overall, but again the figures drop considerably when looking at just ‘non-white’ teachers, which represent only 6.7% of the teaching workforce. This is an increase of 0.3% on last year. Behind this headline data, the report also shows that there are higher percentages of minority ethnic teachers and senior leaders in the London region, highlighting considerable regional disparities too.
I was disappointed with these figures, so decided to take a longer view of the situation rather than judging the improvements over one year. I therefore went through each annual ‘School Workforce’ report and was able to go back as far as 2004, when the first set of disaggregated data became available. I also wanted to look at what was happening in our schools in relation to the pupil population and was able to get the figures for the minority ethnic pupil profile from the annual ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ reports for the same period. My findings are presented in the graph below, which plots the percentage of England’s minority ethnic pupil profile separately by Primary and Secondary phase from 2004 to present, along with both its minority ethnic (green line) and ‘non-white’ (purple line) teacher profile over the same period.
DfE: Schools, Pupils and their characteristics, Statistical First Release for individual years 2004 -2012
DfE: School Workforce in England, Statistical First Releases for individual years 2004-2012
The graph doesn’t need much commentary because the visual representation tells the tale quite vividly. What these figures reveal is that the percentages of minority ethnic and ‘non-white’ teachers have increased more or less every year leading to an overall 2% gain over this period. However, as can be seen in the graph these increases are occurring at a painfully slow rate. Certainly during the past eight years the percentage of minority ethnic pupils has increased at a faster rate, so that the gaps are widening considerably year on year and will continue to do so unless some decisive action is undertaken.
For many years in England there has been a recognition and understanding by policy makers of the many benefits which can accrue from having a school workforce which is reflective of its pupil population. It has also been recognised that minority ethnic teachers can play an important role in ensuring that all pupils get a more balanced view of society and as far back as 1985, when I first entered the teaching profession, The Swann Report and later the Cantle Report in 2001, highlighted the need to ensure that the teaching ethos of each school reflected the different cultures of the communities served by society and that the lack of ethnic minority teachers in schools needed urgent attention. The now abolished Teacher Development Agency (TDA) oversaw a number of initiatives through which Initial Teacher Training (ITT) institutions were actively encouraged to recruit and retain minority ethnic staff in schools. The National College similarly has led a number of initiatives to encourage better representation of minority ethnic teachers to progress to senior leadership levels, such as the Equal Access to Promotion (EAP) and Investing in Diversity (IiD) Programmes. During this time there have also been a number of important reports commissioned to look in depth at the disparities that exist and the reasons for this, such as joint report by NASUWT and NCSL entitled ‘The leadership aspirations and careers of black and ethnic minority teachers’ undertaken by The University of Manchester. This report along with several others provides useful information to ascertain the issues and possible ways forward for interested parties, although generally there is a dearth of research in this area both in England and internationally.
This issue is not only pertinent to England as many countries across the world are also grappling with similar issues to varying degree of success. An OECD report called ‘Educating Teachers for Diversity: Meeting the Challenge’ in 2010, explores the concepts underlying diversity in various contexts across the world and the challenges involved in creating an evidence base to guide policy makers. This report focuses on two key areas:
· Preparing all teachers for meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse pupil population and
· Ensuring the school workforce is representative of the pupil population
It urges schools and education systems to ‘treat diversity as a source of potential growth rather than an inherent hindrance to student performance………’ and argues for a paradigm shift from homogeneity, to heterogeneity and finally to diversity by moving along a continuum, whereby difference is not acknowledged under homogeneity, differences are seen as a challenge to be dealt with under heterogeneity, to difference seen as an asset and opportunity under diversity. In England, the challenge for us is to move from heterogeneity to diversity and accelerate our efforts in in this endeavour.
With the rapidly changing education system within England, it seems that the current developing autonomous school system led by Teaching School Alliances and their partners could provide an opportunity to embrace these issues by ensuring that decisive action is taken at a local and regional level to make the school workforce more representative of the pupil and communities they serve. Teaching Schools have been given the remit of recruiting and retaining the best teachers and leaders and providing high quality Continuous Professional Development (CPD) opportunities for staff at all levels of career progression. They also have a remit to focus on succession planning issues. The National College Teaching School handbook in the section ‘Diversifying School Leadership’ gives clear pointers for serious consideration. Dependent on the understanding and expertise of diversity matters within individual Teaching School Alliances, which may or may not be a current area of strength, there is the powerful potential of taking forward what has already worked well by successful ITT institutions in this area and ensuring this is embedded in newer programmes such as Schools Direct, which are increasingly being delivered locally by schools. It also provides an opportunity to carefully look at the existing programmes being delivered through Teaching Schools to ensure that action is taken to recruit and retain minority ethnic teachers and where gaps in provision are evident, bespoke solutions are developed.
With careful analysis of local needs in relation to diversity matters there is the unique possibility for each Teaching School Alliance to develop a clear and cogent strategy of building on the existing best but also innovating to fill existing gaps, so that there is acceleration in percentages of ethnic minority teachers and Senior Leaders at local and regional level, in line with the paradigm shift argued for within the OECD report. This would enable England to become a world leader in this area for other countries to emulate.
The ‘gender effect’ is a matter of concern not only for England but many countries around the world. As a result, gender and educational attainment continues to be the focus of research. Initially the focus was on ‘girls’ underachievement’ in the 1970’s but since the 1990’s, however, the discourse has shifted significantly to focus on ‘boys’ underachievement.’
This issue regularly preoccupies the minds of many politicians and parts of the media, and from time to time it gives way to a moral panic. However, in terms of inequalities in education it is worth remembering that class has over five times the effect and ethnicity has twice the effect compared to gender. [i] That is not to say that that the effect of gender is not still significant but it should be considered within this context. The actual issues affecting inequalities in education can be quite complex and to gain a better understanding of these issues it is important to look at how class, ethnicity and gender come together to interplay on educational outcomes. It is recommended that senior leadership teams and staff in school look holistically at the needs of their particular pupils and groups of pupils who are currently underachieving before developing strategies to address these needs. It is also worth remembering that there are more variations within the overaching groups of ethnic minority and pupils eligible for free school meals, as there are between them too, largely because groups are not homogeneous and have a wide variety of needs.
This fascination with the ‘gender effect’ has resulted in many myths and misconceptions being perpetuated. For colleagues interested in addressing gender inequalities Equitable Education has produced the following Infographic exploding 12 myths and misconceptions commonly associated with gender. The Infographic has been based on the publication called ‘Education and Gender – Mythbusters. Addressing Gender and Achievement: Myths and Realities’ produced by the DCSF in 2009 and written by Gemma Moss, Becky Francis and Christine Skelton.
[i] Gillborn D & Mirza H (2000), ‘Educational Inequality: Mapping Race, Gender and Class. A Synthesis of Research’. Ofsted London
The realities to these myths are outlined below:
The original publication ‘Education and Gender – Mythbusters. Addressing Gender and Achievement: Myths and Realities’ produced by the DCSF in 2009 and written by Gemma Moss, Becky Francis and Christine Skelton it is available here in PDF format for you to download. It includes further information, along with research evidence to back up these assertions.
We shall be coming back to this topic in future postings, so do visit our blog regularly to keep updated. In the meantime, should you require specialist advice and support in addressing educational inequalities in.your school, please do contact us at Equitable Education by e-mailing us on email@example.com
If you would like a PDF version of our Infographic to use in your school, please get in touch with us by using the e-mail above. We look forward to hearing from you.
Recent research by Professor Sandra McNally et al at the London School of Economics has discredited the negative popular view perpetuated by the media, that pupils with English as an additional language drive down standards for pupils for whom English is a first language. Newspaper articles, especially around the time of the EU enlargement frequently used negative headlines to highlight this myth – ‘English is the foreign language for 40 % of primary school pupils’ - Daily Mail, November 2007 'No place at school if you’re British' - Daily Express, October 2006 or 'More Catholic schools needed to cope with East European influx' - Independent 22/6/ 07. This is not accounting for the negative rhetoric used then and now by politicians too.
The research entitled ‘Non-native speakers of English in the classroom: What are the effects on pupil performance?’ by Charlotte Geay, Sandra Mc Nally, Shqiponja Telhaj, was published by the Centre for the Economics of Education at LSE in March 2012. The researchers highlighted the fact that the number of EAL learners has more or less doubled over the past fifteen years from approximately half a million to the present 1 million of EAL pupils in schools in 2012. The key focus of their research was ‘Does it matter for the educational attainment of ‘native English speakers’ at the end of primary school?’
The researchers used data from the National Pupil data base, which is the census of all pupils in state schools from 2012 -2009 and linked this to school level data sets. The Census data provides information on a range of factors such as EAL, ethnicity, gender, Free School Meal eligibility, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, as well as prior attainment. These factors are often called pupil characteristics. They were also able to look in depth at school level data such as the school type, the size of the school, how many of the pupils were from disadvantaged backgrounds, pupil – teacher ratios and the amount of funding it receives etc. Much of this data nowadays for individual schools is in the public domain and is readily available on the DfE performance tables, which are available here.
Using this information they carried out two pieces of research focusing on KS 2 SATS which are exams that all pupils have to take in Year 6 and marks the end of primary schooling in England.
The two key areas they looked at were the following:
1. What was the association between the percentage of non–native speakers in Year 6 and KS attainment of native speakers of English, taking into account detailed characteristics of pupils.
2. Whether schools that had an increase of white non-native speakers as a result of EU enlargement had a change in attainment of native English in speakers, compared to other schools.
Their findings were as follows:
“There is a negative association between the percentage of non-native speakers and attainment of native speakers of English if we do not control for anything else”. Now this if is very important because of factors such as disadvantage which is measured by the proxy indicator of eligibility for free school meals (FSM). The researchers highlight that 15 % of non EAL speakers are eligible for FSM, compared to 18 % for white EAL learners and 28 % non –white EAL learners. Therefore, when minimal controls are put in to take account of these various characteristics “ …….this negative association goes away” . This is as a result of the fact that EAL pupils or non-native English speakers on average go to more disadvantaged schools.
They conclude……….’ negative association in the raw data between the percentage of non-native speakers and the educational attainment of native English speakers is easily removed – even by controlling for very limited characteristics of native English speakers. The negative correlation can be explained by sorting of non-native speakers into schools with less desirable characteristics. Under certain assumptions, the strategies used in this paper can be used to make an inference about causal effects. Both strategies suggest that negative effects can be ruled out. This is not surprising in the light of positive selection of first and second immigrants to the UK in terms of their educational attainment, although it does refute perceptions (in the media) that the increase in students who do not speak English as a first language is detrimental to the education of native English speakers.
The result also makes sense in the context of other research about ethnic minorities in England. Dustmann, Machin and Schonberg  show that most ethnic minority groups progress through primary school at a faster rate than white British students (as measured by the increase in attainment between age 7 and 11) and that improvements in the proficiency of the English language is likely to be the most important contributing factor. Thus it seems likely that most primary-aged students catch up in English proficiency at a rate such that they do not impede the progress of their native-speaking peers.”
Should you wish to watch Sandra McNally giving an overview of the research report, a short video clip is available here courtesy of Cambridge Assessment.
A full copy of the report is available here.
 Dustmann, C., S. Machin and U. Schonberg, (2010), Educational Achievement and Ethnicity in Compulsory Schooling. Economic Journal, 120(546): F272-F297
A recent report ‘The state of the nation–demand and supply of language skills in the UK’ by Teresa Tinsley for the British Academy, provides a wealth of valuable information on the current state of languages in the UK. In one section focusing on language provision in schools, the report highlights how the situation with regards to studying a foreign language in schools in England has changed quite rapidly over the last few years. Currently, 92% of Primary schools in England offer languages to their pupils compared to only 56% in 2007. This percentage has grown quite considerably as a result of the National Languages Strategy. In comparison, in Secondary which traditionally used to be the place where pupils were first expected to learn languages, the situation has declined quite considerably. Although learning a language is still compulsory at Key Stage 3 for pupils in maintained schools, the numbers in Key Stage 4 have dropped quite rapidly following the announcement in 2004 that studying a foreign language was optional. The consequence of this decision has been that in 2011 only 43% of secondary aged pupils studied a modern language at Key Stage 4 compared to 78% in 2001. Furthermore, the stark reality is that only 14% of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) obtained a good GCSE pass in a foreign language compared to 31% of all state school pupils.
In addition, it is also worth noting that there are approximately 1 million pupils in schools in England for whom English is an additional language. The School Level Annual School Census (SLASC) 2011 reveals over 360 different languages are spoken by our children and young pupils. That equates to 17.5% of the primary school aged population and 12.9% of secondary. The term English as an additional language covers a wide range of pupils from those who are new to English to those children who speak English alongside other languages that are spoken in the home or community environment.
Although, there is no doubt that English is a globally dominant language and benefits readily accrue to those who are proficient it in, it should be noted that being monolingual is not the norm as over half of the world’s population is bilingual. Sadly, even today there are many myths associated with bilingualism, particularly in countries where monilingualism is still the norm. This can get in the way of understanding that bilingualism is an asset and that it should be promoted in a classroom and school context rather than being seen as a ‘problem’ that gets in the way of learning. In England, there is no reason why children cannot learn English alongside other languages and have high levels of competency across all four language skills of speaking, listening, reading in both. We strongly feel that more could be done to promote the learning of languages – both as a foreign language in school and for children who speak another language at home and within the community. The benefits for children and young people developing a high level of proficiency in two or more languages are many and backed by research.
We at Equitable Education have selected an infographic on the benefits of bilingualism for teachers to use. This infographic present a lot of useful facts in a visually attractive way. It can be used for discussion with other professionals within school so that a better understanding of the benefits of bilingualism, based on academic research is gained or to positively promote the learning of languages to all pupils. It can also be used as part of a display or as a stimulus to get your pupils to produce their own by using one of the many infographic tools that are now available. This would allow you to custom make your own infographic to fit your own local circumstances. Equitable Education will be producing an infographic on bilingualism based on the context in England over the coming few weeks, so keep a look out for it. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this one we have specially selected for you below, courtesy of voxy.com.
Source ‘The state of the nation –demand and supply of language skills in the UK by Teresa Tinsley for the British Academy, February 2013.
Click here to enlarge image.
A short while ago, I attended a meeting with colleagues at the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University to discuss proposals for working with schools in disadvantaged areas to improve reading. Using the research findings from the EEF Toolkit developed by CEM, which found that peer tutoring was one of the top three strategies to improve learning, we are looking at ways in which we could use both cross–aged peer tutoring and parental engagement (another strategy recognised by the Toolkit) to raise standards in reading in a sustainable way.
Durham University is already working on a Shared Maths peer tutoring programme across four Local Authorities (LA). The Shared Maths project is being funded by Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and it is a cross–aged peer tutoring programme involving Year 5’s working as tutors and Year 3’s as tutees. Pupils work together for 20 minutes a week, over a period of 16 weeks to solve mathematical problems. Together, they use a variety of strategies based on real life situations to gain a deep understanding of the mathematical problem and reach an answer to this problem. Altogether, there are nearly 100 schools across the four LA’s involved in the Shared Maths project which commenced in 2012 and will continue to be delivered over the next few years. Each LA has a local co-ordinator who works with schools in their area to provide initial CPD and follow up training to teachers taking part, along with on-going tailored support to schools throughout the duration of their involvement. InCAS, which is a diagnostic, computer-adaptive assessment tool, is being used to provide an objective measure of attainment and inform personalised learning of pupils involved in the project. Bristol University is providing an external evaluation of the Shared Maths Project.
The benefits of the cross–aged peer tutoring work are cited as the following:
· “Cross-age peer tutoring in maths has consistently been found to raise attainment with gains for both tutors and tutees.
· On top of the attainment gains there are social and emotional benefits to being involved in peer tutoring:
· Participating in a peer tutoring programme can improve attitudes both to maths and to school generally.
· Peer tutoring can increase motivation and confidence in maths.
· Working with a partner using the peer tutoring technique develops pupils’ interpersonal skills as well as improving social, communication and teamwork skills.
· Peer tutoring can increase social relationships within schools particularly for people who find it difficult to make friends”.
Source Durham University www.sharedmaths.org website.
Recognising the above benefits of peer tutoring, we are hoping to extend the Shared Maths Project by piloting a small scale project with 6 primary schools to deliver peer-tutoring with a focus on improving reading for 10 weeks and then extending the same techniques to parents, so that target pupils continue to read within the home environment. This should allow for the development of a holistic approach to reading within the family context, with opportunities for families to read reciprocally, using other languages if these are spoken within the home environment.
The evidence base for peer learning is extensive, with Professor Keith Topping being a leading expert in the field. Professor Topping who is the Director of the Centre for Peer Learning at Dundee University and who was a lead member of the Fife Peer Learning Project, is working with Dr Andy Wiggins, and other colleagues from CEM and I on this project.
Whilst I was at CEM, I had the opportunity to meet with Stuart Kime. Stuart has been part of the team along with Professor Robert Coe, Camilla Nevill, & Robbie Coleman, who have produced the newly released The DIY Evaluation Guide (January 2013) to accompany the refreshed Sutton Trust - EEF The Teaching and Learning Toolkit
Stuart and colleagues are particularly interested in receiving feedback and hearing from colleagues in schools who have used The DIY Evaluation Guide. Stuart can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit. London: Education Endowment Foundation by Higgins, S., Katsipataki, M., Kokotsaki, D., Coleman, R., Major, L.E., & Coe, R. (2013).
Further posting on this blog will provide updates on developments in relation to using peer-tutoring to raise standards of achievement in reading.
In the meantime, interested colleagues may wish to visit the newly refreshed EEF Toolkit pages. The Toolkit is a live resource which will be updated on a regular basis as findings from EEF-funded projects and other high-quality research become available. The sceenshot above only shows the top seven strategies. When you visit the EEF website you will see 30 topics outlined, including 8 new topics which are summarised for average impact on attainment, along with strength of the evidence and their cost. Each one of the topics also has a video case studies and improved links to further reading and providers of professional development via The Teacher Development Trust's GoodCPDGuide.
DO YOU HAVE A PUPIL PREMIUM POLICY? IF NOT, YOU CAN GET A FREE MODEL PUPIL PREMIUM POLICY TEMPLATE AND GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOLS, COURTESY OF EQUITABLE EDUCATION.
Equitable Education has produced a Model Pupil Premium Policy Template and accompanying guidance for schools to use. Both are available free for schools to download from the Guardian Teacher Network. Click here for the Model Policy Template and here for the accompanying guidance.
The Pupil Premium Policy and guidance have been written to support schools to produce a policy of their own. The policy enables all colleagues in a school community to be clear as to how this additional funding is to be used to reduce inequalities, what their role is in narrowing the gaps for disadvantaged pupils and how the school will demonstrate impact. The supporting guidance assists schools in tailoring the policy to meet the needs of their particular pupils. It also pulls all the latest research and tools they can use together in one place for ease of use saving time and effort.
The Pupil Premium Policy Template on the Guardian Teacher Network is a PDF. Should schools require a Word version to make it easier for them to produce their own, this is available on request from Equitable Education on email@example.com for a copy.
Equitable Education provides workshops for schools and their governing bodies to facilitate the production of their own Pupil Premium Policy, using all the latest evidence based research of ‘what works’ and evaluation tools that are available to use. We can support you in personalising the workshop, so that it is tailor made to meet the particular needs of your pupils eligible for free schools meals. Please get in contact with Sameena Choudry on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the needs of your school and how we can support you in ensuring maximum impact in using your Pupil Premium effectively in narrowing the gaps for your disadvantaged pupils.
For further information on the Pupil Premium and what you as a school needs to meet the Ofsted and Pupil Premium Grant requirements, please read the blog posting below.
Equitable Education's blog keeps you updated with the latest news and developments in closing the gaps in education. We regularly share best practice materials and case studies of proven strategies to close the education gaps, along with the latest research from the UK and internationally.