30 March 2021

Year 8 pupils at Priory are expanding their vocabulary thanks to Bedrock – and they are loving finding new ways to express themselves!   Bedrock is an interactive online vocabulary curriculum which was first introduced this time last year to our Year 9 pupils.  It was so successful in building students’ vocabulary that Priory chose to introduce it this year to Year 8 pupils. English teacher Mrs Elliott says the pupils are thriving: 

“Bedrock was set up by two teachers who saw the need to narrow the word gap that exists between different groups of children, thereby improving outcomes across the whole curriculum.  The objective is to introduce pupils to a wide range of Tier 2 vocabulary at a pace the pupils can cope with and via a system that adapts to their needs. 

“With Bedrock, pupils have to read quite substantial texts; key vocabulary will be highlighted and its meaning explained.  The words are then used in different contexts, so it really develops an understanding of the new vocabulary.  

“Pupils start with an Alpha test which ascertains the appropriate reading ‘block’ for that pupil.  They then complete a pre- and post-block test to allow both the pupils and the teachers to see how much improvement in their vocabulary they’ve achieved. 

“Many children go from around 60 per cent to 90 per cent.  This makes it easy to track their progress and motivating for the pupils to see their own improvements.  We recommend two lessons a week.  Each lesson is around 20 minutes, and they can do them in school or at home.  Following this structure, pupils will learn around 10 new words and their meanings a week.  

“The pupils are so enthusiastic. They are getting more used to Bedrock’s requirements now and they are seeing the benefits.”  

Chloe has completed the most lessons and spent the most time on Bedrock and says she is enjoying it:  

“I like learning words and improving my vocabulary. I carry out lessons at home and I am leading in points and progress at Priory.”  

Leon said: “It’s definitely increased my vocabulary; it is a good way of learning new words and understanding them. You read them, get the definition and then do a number of activities and then have a test about the words at the end.”  

Lily, who is the second highest on progress and points in Bedrock at Priory, added: "I have learnt a lot of new words, some of the words I have encountered before but some are new to me. It’s fun. I do it at home and in school.”  

Head of English, Mrs Gidden continued... "We've had Bedrock for a while and were previously using it as an intervention tool but now we have everyone in Year 8 using the software based on its successes when Mrs Elliott piloted it earlier this year. 

"The system asks pupils to study a series of online, topic based lessons. The topics cover everything from Alan Turing's Enigma Code to the Great Fire of London so they're curriculum-broad and culture-rich topics. 

"Priory really wants our pupils to have a great, usable vocabulary so they can access the world around them more easily. Bedrock has been proven to improve children's vocabulary exponentially compared to just following the curriculum alone without specific vocabulary teaching."

How's it 'gone down'? 

Pupils love Bedrock. The department expects each pupil to complete a minimum of two 'lessons' a week and whilst there is time to do one in our weekly 'Reading Hour' most of the work is done at home or in unstructured time. For each complete lesson pupils receive 25 points. The more points a pupil has, the higher on the leader board they go.  Although the holidays are approaching, Year 8 pupils will still be expected to do their two lessons a week. 

Bedrock has a parent portal and we'll issue details to Year 8 parents soon about how best to support your child with the application.  

This week's leader board legends are:

Chloe B in 8E2 with 323 points
Lily McM in 8E2 with 235 points
Oliver H in 8E2 with 119 points

This week, pupils have learned words such as annual, frontier, accomplish; frigid; citadel and voracious. 

We're so excited to watch our students progress with Bedrock! 

Tags: English