A group of 14 Dutch academics from the University of Groningen, and the Primary schools; CBS de Hoeksteen, CBS de Heerdstee, CBS de Wegwijzer, CBS de Kleine Wereld, KBS de Bisschop Bekkersschool, OBS de Ploeg,visited Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Southend on Sea on the 26th April.
The Dutch group is working on an SFA Primary school reading project in The Netherlands. The twist is that they are teaching them to read Dutch, not English! Translating and adapting SFA materials is an enormous task they are getting to grips with and the titles of the Roots Shared Stories shown below are definitely intriguing. The project is still small, but growing. In 2014/15, only one class was using SFA now that has expanded to 10 classes of children across six schools.
Sacred Heart was an excellent school for the visitors to observe because they introduced SFA in September 2013 and achieve outstanding results. Their most recent Ofsted inspection report, published on the 4th April, continued to rate them as ‘Good’ and praised the impact of the school’s ‘high focus on English’. There was also mention of the excellent attitudes to learning, standards and the fact that attainment was ‘well above the national average’.
The visitors were fascinated to see how even the youngest children at Sacred Heart happily work to learn reading and writing skills while working and making progress at the appropriate level for them. In The Netherlands children don’t start formal learning until they are 6 years old. It was a very constructive day, which prompted searching questions and admiration for the excellent practice observed. Many thanks to the whole staff at Sacred Heart for the warmth of their welcome and generosity in sharing their good practice. The excellent lunch was also greatly appreciated!
The photograph below shows the very happy Dutch visitors with some of the staff from Sacred Heart, including the Headteacher Sally Nutman 3rd from the right.