St. Katharine’s Knockholt CEPS, Kent

| January 10, 2012 | 3 Comments 

What fun! A whirlwind “Come-on!-Ready!-Let’s-cover-everything-and-more-in-a-day” day at St. Katharine’s Knockholt CEPS, Knockholt, in Kent.

And, was everybody up for it? They most certainly were! Children, and staff, flew with all of the challenges, and opportunities, we threw at them. Well done all.

Thank you, to Sarah Jane Tormey, headteacher, and Ellie Lake-Emly, for organising our visit today, and hosting visiting colleagues from neighbouring schools.

We started the day with a joyous exploration, in a magical virtual setting, with the children from Key Stage 1. Laughter, and knowing smiles, mixed with some full on chatter and discussion. This flowed into some imaginative, and inventive writing, and drawing, before we travelled even further.

After a quick break, we took the children from Key Stage 2 on a journey through a completely different world.


Thank you to Tom Ball from Shoreham Village School for recording his reflections on the mornings lessons:

As I sat in new surroundings with the faint sound of the sea breeze and the image of a cliff prominent in my eye-line, I wondered what magical wand Mr Rylands would be waving in order to inspire a set of Year 1 and 2 children to learn. True, the equipment is impressive and the use of the landscapes were a great starting point for any lesson. But it was not this alone that was to be the special ingredient that I was expecting it to be. Mr Rylands nature with the children was unique and wholly refreshing. A friend, but with respect, he had the children laughing, smiling and most importantly listening to his every word. His enthusiasm knew no bounds, and his willingness to at times look ‘a little bit like a plumb’ enabled pupils to feel relaxed and enjoy their experience. Clauses, verbs, adverbs, the literacy targets were being ticked off almost minute-by-minute. Were the children aware of this? Not in the slightest! And it is that which is his charm. By the end, children were behaving almost perfectly without one stern word being used and had all far improved speaking, listening and description skills. After break, it was KS2 time and again I was left with doubts, How could Mr Rylands ‘entertaining’ style fit in with a more mature audience. But his adaptability was clear for all to see and once again, within two minutes the children were enthralled and well aware that this lesson was going to be fun (and educational)! The title of the course I attended today was ‘Inspiring to write’, On a personal level, Mr Rylands did far more than just that, he inspired me to teach.

Further thanks to Mark Platts from Otford Primary School for listing some observations here:

Key Stage 1 Lessons

Get all the children involved straight away – talking in plenty of varied voices.  Capture the children’s minds without telling them to be quiet etc.  Be entertaining – know when to stop.  Plenty of praise for the whole class, no criticism.

Plenty of open questions to draw the children in… What could be up there?  Value all contributions…

Plenty of drawing response partner work, allowing the children to build their own ideas in their heads.

No description of the setting as a game – it’s a place to explore that we can journey together.

Encourage the children to formulate clearly the ideas in their mind so they can answer pacily… no “erms” etc.

The great thing about the lesson is the fact the children want to explore the setting and the teacher wants to explore it with them, but it builds upon their ideas.

Chidlren to act out the verb/adverb phrases for kinaesthetic learning eg walk briskly.

No learning objectives seem to make the learning incidental although the teacher has clear understanding of what they will learn.

Real life texts are used in conjunction with Myst as a way to link reading and the computer game.

Key Stage 2 Lesson

Again – open questions that draw the children in… a classroom with humour is a learning classroom

Teacher input – using visual stimuli coupled with real life items, again

Children are encouraged to get into writing – and whilst they are settling in the teacher brings them back to listen and reiterate the writing task and point out there are no right or wrong ways of tackling the problem.

Tips modelled

– children can copy provided they embellish these ideas;

-read an example of a quality piece of work from the children

– Rip out the “I” s and “my”s and replace. Eg the sand beneath my feet becomes “ the sand beneath tired feet”

-Children read their own writing one after the other.  Plenty of ripples of applause

Roleplay can be gained from imagining you are a character in the game – hot seat etc.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (3)

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  1. Gini Barker says:

    What a brilliant day. So much to take in and so many ideas to take away and to use, not just the ICT but general classroom management and inspiration. Can’t wait to “play” and put into my own teaching.

  2. Ellie Lake-Emly says:

    Another super training day from Tim – I’m privileged that this was my second, and if anything, more inspiring than the first. Perhaps it was seeing Tim’s magic work on children from my own school; perhaps seeing non-writers gain confidence word by word, idea by idea; perhaps because I hadn’t truly taken on board the impressive effects that delving so deep into the children’s thoughts can have on their speaking and listening; maybe it was the mind-boggling array of ICT programs and other strategies that were ‘dripped in’ to use…… I can’t quite put my finger on it – but I was certainly left with a feeling that I too can do this – and I owe it to myself and my pupils to give it a damn good go and revv up the fun another notch!

  3. Dawn Jerwood says:

    I can only reiterate what Tom said… it was a magical and inspiring day for children and staff alike. Albeit a ‘virtual’ world, I can’t wait to take my children on a journey there again and develop their creativity further. The afternoon session was informative and at times mind-blowing, but I now feel well-equipped to experiment and put some of the ideas into practise. Thank you Tim.

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