chapter  4
‘At Least They Were Laughing’: Assessment and the Functions of Children’s Language in Their ‘News’ Session
ByAnn Filer
Pages 20

The ‘news’ session in its various forms, whereby pupils show objects and tell the class about their out of school interests, events and activities is a ubiquitous feature of English primary schools. Pupil ownership of a non-curricular content has meant that it has been used widely in developing the confidence of pupils in their first few years of schooling in speaking before an audience of peers and their teacher, in listening and in asking and answering questions. With the advent of the National Curriculum in England and Wales and its associated assessment procedures (Department of Education and Science, 1989), the news session is, for the same reasons, now widely used in the assessment of young pupils’ speaking and listening skills. Indeed, informal observations indicate that, with the advent of assessment procedures in primary schools, variations on the news session are increasingly used for older pupils than has formerly been the case.