Et Patati Patata - Inspection de l'Ecole du Samedi FLAM - Check out our mentor's witness sta
Mentor’s witness statement
Name of Supplementary School: Et Patati Patata
When and where did you visit? Visited 10th March 2018
Present - Head teacher, 7 teachers, admin assistant, parents with youngest group of children.
Which classes did you observe?
Early session KS 26 girls and 2 boys with 2 teachers and 5 boys and 4 girls with 2 teachers in one classroom. Started with joint session, Head Teacher reading story (Le Petit Prince) and then groups moved on to work on worksheets at different levels. The older group had worksheets pasted into their exercise books, while the younger group had sheets alone and teachers read aloud to help them. Teachers and assistants moved around the room asking questions to check understanding (“Who is the narrator?” “Where did he land?”) and children answered all in target language. Tables had collections of pens, pencils and colours for children to use. There was considerable interaction and teachers and assistants gave clear explanations and gave key vocabulary on the whiteboard. The group moved on to colouring the worksheets and lined up for class changeover at 10.30. Behaviour was excellent with quiet co-operation, and safe handovers of children to parents.
Second session Key stage 1 2 boys and 5 girls at one table, 4 girls and 1 boy at another. They listened to a story, answered questions and were given similar very close and sympathetic support with their work. Then the whole group joined in a song, played on a CD. The speed was just a little fast for these young children but they joined enthusiastically in the chorus. In another room 8 girls were working with 2 teachers on a traditional story, listening to a CD on which the book was read expressively with sound effects, and looking at one copy of the book which was a little small for all to see, so the teacher took it round to show pictures to them all. Both teachers asked questions to check understanding, and gave simple translations into English as necessary. Attention was good, given that the class is very young and the book was very small.
In an Art room 2 pupils, one boy and one girl, in KS3, were working from text books with a teacher. Next door the head teacher was working with a very young group, all accompanied by their parents, who were sitting on the floor listening to a nursery book about the sounds that animals make. They came up to point at items in the book and to listen to the sounds that the book made when parts were pressed. They moved on to look at pictures of the letter H for hibou, listen to a song, and then moved to tables to colour in worksheets of an owl, with the letter H. There was considerable variation in skills in this group, with some colouring with good control within shapes and others making marks. All were helped by their parents.
Describe the overall learning environment, both physical and classroom management
The school meets in mainstream school premises and there is a good relationship with the staff and site manager. They are on the second floor and there is good security. Other groups using the premises do not have access to their area. The entrance through the playground can be dangerous with many parents from different groups arriving by car but parents all have to accompany their children right to the classroom door. The school is negotiating to have the site manager on duty in the playground to improve safety. The classrooms are light and spacious and the children use furniture of a suitable size. They are extremely well behaved, and teachers are constantly attending to them and supervising and interacting with them. This means that they are constantly busy, and engaged, and expectations of behavior are high. Where groups share a space, they do not disturb one another. In the corridors and classrooms, there are displays of French books and learning materials, and children are encouraged to buy plastic folders and exercise books from a standard supplier. There is good, flexible space for songs, games and art activities as well as storytelling and more formal skills and overall there is an excellent environment for learning.
Describe what you saw of teaching, recording of progress and achievement, and (4) resources
There was an impressive and engaging pattern of lessons through story, song, use of CDs and colourful reading books, art materials, and worksheets pasted into exercise books so that they would be valued and not lost. The range of activities, timings, and level of activity were generally well judged for the age of children involved. Some of the recorded material was clearly intended for speakers of French as a first language, and it might have been a little fast for some children who are growing up bilingual. The high level of additional support from teaching assistants and parents, and occasional translation, was beneficial. The two male teachers were especially good at checking understanding and using English to support their class. In the portfolio I saw samples of tests, and the exercise books and folders that children were using were marked and had stickers with Bravo! for good work. There is a wealth of resources for young children, which can be borrowed and used at home.
What planning, evaluation (including consultation with parents and pupils) and community engagement takes place?
Parents of younger children are involved in the school and informal feedback is given as they deliver and collect their children. Feedback from parents is generally very positive and they are pleased with the well ordered environment and extra stimulation for their children. There is some concern that older children move on to other extra curricular activities and the school has recently made contact with other francophone groups nearby to consider how to address this. There are additional activities and summer schemes and extremely enjoyable end of term events at which children perform for their parents and each other and demonstrate what they have learned. The atmosphere in one I attended in March 2017 to present their Silver Quality Framework Award was delightful, with children well prepared and confident in their performances, and parents extremely appreciative of the work of their teachers.
What management structures are in place, how are staff supported in their work?
The school is independent having been supported by FLAM in its first year to help it get established. There is still a very good relationship with FLAM and training is provided, with further support in terms of curriculum guidance from the French government. The Head of the school gets feedback from teachers who report on the lessons they have taught.
Policies and procedures
As the witness to practice in the supplementary school you are confirming that the procedures on paper are adequate and appropriate for the setting you have visited. You should also give your impression of the safety of children on the premises, and the sustainability of the school.
Procedures are appropriate for the setting and have been well planned. The school is safe and numbers and numbers of classes have increased.