A national literacy strategy for all: how can we ensure that the literacy classroom meets the needs of every child?
The Open University.
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This thesis sets out to investigate the issues surrounding the National Literacy Strategy within the inclusive classroom. In order to set the study within a context it was necessary to examine the development of the English National Curriculum that led to the strategy’s introduction into Primary Schools in England during 1998. In my role of Literacy Consultant I supported schools on the introduction of the NLS. One of these schools, which I shall call Northtown School, had been placed in ‘Special Measures’ following an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectors and this added another dimension to the research which surrounded a participant action research study within one classroom of the school. So called ‘failing’ schools only exist when they are identified by such inspections and I put forward a case against the criteria by which they are assessed.
The issues surrounding an inclusive classroom are central to my theme and I put forward a criticism of the National Literacy Strategy in its failure to address the speaking and listening skills with the authority necessary to ensure the needs of all children can be met. A Framework for Teaching sets out how teachers are to implement the National Literacy Strategy. The Framework is in essence hierarchical in nature and criterion reference, so seems to be at odds with the notion of a child-centred curriculum.
The analysis of the substantial data gathered at each cycle is crucial. The thesis attempts to consider any analysis from multiple perspectives, coming to a conclusion that although we cannot be certain that we have considered every aspect, for we may not have the necessary skills or knowledge, children’s difficulties occur at the interface between them and the classroom curriculum. Solutions are not found ‘within’ the children but at the child/curriculum interface.
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