As a Primary School pupil growing up in the North East in the 1970s I have vivid memories of taking my spellings home in a Golden Virginia tobacco tin, of sitting at a desk where I was always in danger of the lid crushing my fingers, the distant threat of the cane and perhaps more importantly the utter respect my Grandparents had for Teachers. “There is Mrs …. My Grandmother would say, she is a Teacher.”
Times have changed, maybe for the better and maybe not so. My fingers are still intact, the tobacco tin never poisoned me and yes I can spell. The skills learnt in dodging the cane still serve me well today and despite the massive rise in digital devices those writing skills I learnt in Mrs Quigley’s class have been used daily for the whole of my life.
Those happy memories were stirred this morning when reading, on my iPhone in bed this morning, the article below on the BBC website about a the need for Reception Teachers to
§ ensure that when children are learning to write, resources are suitable for their stage of development
§ ensure they are taught correct pencil grip and how to sit correctly at a table
§ attach greater importance to the teaching of numbers and counting, recognising small numbers of items, comparing numbers and solving problems
§ provide frequent opportunities for children to practise and consolidate their skills
So I ask myself is this a return to the traditional values of my own Primary School days, or indeed is it just an opportunity to emphasise that in Independent Education these values have never been lost. At Castle House School we start with the basic skills and work forwards from there. Core skills in writing, reading, presentation, manners and respect underpin our ethos. Standards are very high, teaching groups are small, the focus on getting the fundamentals in place underpins all that we do. Why not come and take a look for yourself and see what your child is missing out on. Ofsted does not need to tell us what to do here, we are doing it already!
Ian Sterling is currently Head of Lyncroft House Preparatory School in Cannock, but is already working closely with Castle House School, Newport where he takes over as Head from January 2018 . For further details contact Castle House School 01952 567600 or visit our website www.castlehousesechool.co.uk