Submitted by Natasha Ttoffali, Head Teacher at Park Primary School, Newham
At Park, CAT days occur when the class teachers have their planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA). At Park, PPA is 1 day in 10 and therefore the children have their CAT Day 1 day per fortnight. On CAT Day, the children are taught by specialist teachers in their field.
The children rotate through three subjects in three parts of the day.
CAT subjects for YR to Y6 are:
- Drama and Performance Poetry- teaching teamwork, interdependency, confidence, memory for recital, use of one’s voice, performance and presentation skills etc
- Thinking Through Texts – a Park generated curriculum area which hones creativity and empathy through the use of high-quality texts (usually thematic picture books). Children will discuss themes etc and will create an outcome that may be written, recorded or made.
- Spanish and Musical Appreciation – children will learn to appreciate language creatively and to experiment with it. Through musical appreciation, they will explore genre and culture.
Dog Days occur in the alternate week to CAT week. Dog Day is the day where children are taught by the three different teachers in the year group for a third of the day. Dog Day is part of our provision so that:
- Teachers have the opportunity to be with other children for a part of their working
fortnight, allowing relationships to be built across the year group;
- Children have the chance to be with teachers other than their own (and the CAT teachers)
so that they get to build relationships and be with a range of adults; this is important for
there to be multiple opportunities to find adults who can see their ‘light’;
- Teachers have the chance to be a master of a particular subject area; to be the ‘specialist’
in that field;
- Teachers get to see the difference in the classes ‘make up’ and thus will be better placed
when team planning so that planning reflects the needs of all learners in all 3 classes;
- The children start to appreciate that their behaviour and learning behaviour needs to be
consistent even if the expectations of the teachers/ their personalities are different;
- It actively supports children through their transition points at every stage; they are better
prepared for building multiple relationships.
Our experience, to date relating to the impact of CAT and Dog Days is:
- improved relationships across the year group;
- increased understanding of each class’s nuances;
- improved planning which is increasingly bespoke due to deep understanding of the entire cohort’s needs;
- a perception of ‘specialism’ which leads to increased facilitator confidence and credibility.