In all phases, a whole school approach to the teaching of literacy and numeracy across the curriculum is essential so that there is a shared and coherent vision across the school.
(Welsh Government, 2013, p.23).
Annex 1 of the Welsh Government’s Curriculum planning guidance (2013) contains key questions intended to support senior managers to develop action plans for implementation of the LNF. It presents the key message that:
Wherever possible all staff, including teaching and learning assistants (TLAs), should be supported and trained to ensure a cohesive approach to improving standards in literacy and numeracy (p.18).
The guidance emphasises the need to clearly identify in plans where support might be needed for:
- curriculum planning (i.e. understanding progression in literacy and numeracy skills)
- teachers’ own literacy and numeracy skills
and how this support might be provided (refer to Subtopic '4.8' within this topic).
It is clear that details about how processes will be monitored and evaluated in terms of teacher development and learner outcomes are central to any action plan.
Roles and responsibilities
Consider the roles and responsibilities defined in the Curriculum planning guidance (pp.23–26).
- Do what extent are you currently fulfilling these?
- To what degree are you taking ‘a central role in supporting the development of . . . numeracy’ (2013, p.23)?
- What actions or support do you need in order to ensure that this can happen?
- Could these actions or support be part of a whole-school approach?
Methodology for curriculum planning
Examine the ‘Methodology for curriculum planning’ in Annex 2 of the Curriculum planning guidance (pp.33–35). Consider who might take responsibility for each of the key issues to be addressed.
The following case studies illustrate how educational settings are currently responding to the challenge of implementing the LNF through a whole-school approach:
Case study 1: The University of South Wales: Initial Teacher Training
As part of its initial teacher training programme, the specialist lecturer for design and technology discusses the role of the curriculum coordinator in identify opportunities for developing literacy and numeracy skills in schemes of work and provides examples of how children’s numeracy skills can be progressively developed through a range of contexts within this particular subject area.
Trainees then discuss the value of developing a school subject portfolio (as part of a whole-school approach) to exemplify numeracy skill development and progression. Using the exemplification materials provided on the Learning Wales website as a guide, trainees provide their own commentaries on the work they have scrutinised. Appropriate next steps are debated and agreed.
Examine the learners’ work and commentaries provided by the trainees. Now consider what the benefits of such an approach might be.
What should the subject coordinator’s role be in working with other teachers? How could such practice be part of a whole-school approach to improve standards in numeracy?
Case study 2: Llantwit Major School: Developing a whole-school approach
The clips here show Kevin Francis, assistant headteacher, providing an overview of the secondary school’s approach to implementing the LNF and also how the school works with its feeder primary schools. Paul Fellows, the numeracy coordinator, talks about the cross-curricular numeracy skills audit and interventions for numeracy. Maria Martin, head of mathematics, explains delivery of numeracy at Key Stage 3.
Llantwit Major School held two full days of in-service training (INSET) to support the implementation of the LNF. The clip here shows part of an INSET session where procedural methods are being discussed.
Case study 3: Lliswerry Primary School: Embedding the LNF
Within this clip, the deputy head teacher of Lliswerry Primary School explains the school’s approach to embedding the LNF. She shares examples of their planning and how numeracy skills are being developed through a topic approach.
Now compare the approach of the secondary school and the primary school to the implementation of the LNF.
- Are ‘strategic’ planning processes and approaches evident here?
- How is ‘operational’ planning for implementation being managed?
Review how your school has approached the implementation of the LNF.
- How does it compare with Llantwit Major School or Lliswerry Primary School?
If the key to achieving sustainable growth and improvement in schools is the combination of effective short-term planning with clear targets, and longer-term strategic development (Davies et al, date unknown, p.12), it is important to consider how success can be measured.
Davies (date unknown, p.11) discusses the importance of developing strategic measures of success, as well as short-term success criteria (e.g. improved levels of attainment for a particular cohort of learners). He identifies the following possibilities.
- Collaborative cultures are established within and across schools.
- Staff are reflective practitioners who build professional learning communities.
- There is a ‘no blame culture’ where practitioners try out new things – they learn from failures, as well as successes, and learn from each other.
- Curriculum and learning pedagogy are seen as areas of ongoing change and development.
- Individuals in the school take responsibility for their roles – they take decisions, rather than having decisions forced upon them.
- Learning outcomes continue to improve as ‘deep learning’ improves the way in which staff and learners work at the learning challenges they are faced with.
What do you think of the strategic measures of success outline above? Do you think that these are in keeping with the aims of the National Literacy Programme (NLP) and the National Numeracy Programme (NNP)?
Has your school discussed ‘measures of success’ for the short-term, medium-term and longer-term as part of developing a whole-school approach to improving numeracy standards for all learners?
Davies, B., Davies, B.J. and Ellison, L. (date unknown) Success and Sustainability:
Developing the strategically-focused school. Nottingham: National College for School Leadership.
Welsh Government (2013). Curriculum planning guidance. Cardiff: Welsh Government.
Maths4Life Thinking Through Mathematics (external link) practical guide to establishing and managing the mathematics footprint in educational organisations and provides information for senior managers who are planning to improve mathematics achievement post-14 as part of a whole-organisational approach.