Why we start with spe­cial­ist teach­ers


Why have sub­ject teach­ers start­ing from Year 1 and not a class teacher? Mark Laf­featy of Down­ham Prepara­tory School and Montes­sori Nurs­ery ex­plains

Some schools have a teacher who teaches their class for all of their lessons, oc­ca­sion­ally with the ad­di­tion of a peri­patetic mu­sic teacher or a sports coach. But at Down­ham, from Year 1 we have teach­ers who spe­cialise in their sub­ject. We be­lieve they have greater knowl­edge, en­thu­si­asm and a pas­sion for the sub­ject which is ev­i­dent in the qual­ity of their teach­ing.

We have a staff meet­ing ev­ery week and we dis­cuss the chil­dren and any prob­lems they may have; aca­demic, so­cial or med­i­cal. The con­tri­bu­tion and dif­fer­ent ar­eas of ex­per­tise of all the staff, is ex­tremely valu­able when plan­ning an in­ter­ven­tion.

Ev­ery mem­ber of staff knows all of the chil­dren and works closely in a team to re­solve any is­sues. Teach­ers su­per­vise the chil­dren at play­times and it is very im­por­tant that they should know them all well.

If we agree that a child needs ad­di­tional help, all the staff who teach the child will help to write a sup­port plan. Equally if a child is aca­dem­i­cally gifted, we en­sure that all teach­ers set them chal­lenges that are suited to their abil­ity.

A child who does not re­ceive help and ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port will of­ten be­come naughty. A very bright child who is not chal­lenged and given in­ter­est­ing tasks, will be­come bored and of­ten be­have in a dis­rup­tive man­ner. By en­sur­ing that all teach­ers have an in-depth knowl­edge of how to help each child, no mat­ter what their strengths and weak­nesses are, we make sure that ev­ery child reaches their max­i­mum po­ten­tial.

This con­tent was supplied by Down­ham Prepara­tory School and Montes­sori Nurs­ery.

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