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Poole Grammar SEN case study

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					Case study for Leading Practice publication


School name: Poole Grammar School
School contact and email: Sue Hancock e: HancockS@poolegrammar.com


 Brief school context
 Poole Grammar School (PGS) is a selective boys’ school, taking approximately the top 16% based on
 NFER cognitive ability tests (CATs). Tracking underperformance at all levels has been a keen focus for
 many years, supported by a comprehensive intervention policy. Our data-rich analyses have often
 shown a trend in low performance in Literacy amongst many of our gifted mathematicians. Historical
 evidence over the last four years has shown that up to 25% of boys would not have ‘passed’ the
 entrance exam if their scores had been judged solely on their literacy performances: Their aggregate
 score and high performance in the Maths paper are the reasons for their successful entry. Further
 investigation of performances in KS2 English has supported this diagnosis. Many of these gifted
 mathematicians have scored poorly in their writing and / or reading papers. In addition, teacher
 assessments in speaking and listening are often low. In contrast, these pupils have scored top level 5s
 in their KS2 Maths papers. (This area of analysis needs further research). As a specialist school for
 Maths and ICT, high achievers in these subjects need to be encouraged and accommodated in order to
 fulfil our Mission for the SSAT. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that Literacy impacts on the
 whole curriculum and these gifted students need to be supported in these areas, too.




 What are we trying to achieve?
 The question we asked ourselves was ‘Why do some boys, with highly developed mathematical
 cognitive skills, experience difficulties in a literacy learning environment?’

 A team was set up to research the above. This team would, in the first instance, consist of the
 following:

        The AST in Maths
        The SEN Diagnostic Expert


 The project was managed by our AST Maths and overviewed by the Assistant Head (assessment and
 Progress). The research project involved the following:

        Identification of boys in Year 8, 2008 who achieved high performances in Maths in the entrance
         test, but poor performances in Literacy.
        Cross-reference these pupils with their performances at KS2 in Maths and English
        Analyse the data at KS2 to ascertain whether or not there are any further anomalies.
        Consult with form tutors and subject staff to gain further insight into the emotional behaviour

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        and academic performances of the identified pupils
     Set up an interview with these pupils with our SEN diagnostic expert to establish whether or not
        there are any obvious learning difficulties which may be impeding progress, e.g. dyslexia /
        dyspraxia
     Visit a partner school which takes pupils with special needs (Montacute Beacon School for SEN
        pupils) to discuss teaching / learning strategies
     As many of the pupils in this research project may have autistic tendencies, another area to
        consider would be to set up a visit / observation / consult expert teachers at an autistic
        specialist school to discuss teaching and learning strategies specific to autistic children
     Identify learning strategies used by these pupils in maths and observe / track the learning
        processes of the pilot group of pupils across the curriculum.
The expectation was that the project would guide us in developing effective strategies which teachers
may be able to develop for students and therefore help improve Literacy skills across the whole
curriculum.




What did we do? Identify up to 5 key actions.
THE SAMPLE

10 boys were selected for this survey. The criteria used were their performance at KS2 Maths and their
Entrance Exam scores compared to their Entrance Exam English performances. In essence, those
students who are very good at Mathematics but who have a lower level of Literacy skill in comparison.

There were several students who fit into this category and were receiving AEN support.

We asked an Educational Psychologist discussed the survey with their parents and interviewed each
student. The information was used for guidance during lesson observations. Throughout the project
students, parents and carers were regularly consulted through pupil discussion, and parental
consultation

What difference did we make? What was the impact?
   Did we meet our objectives?
    Yes. The group was tested at KS3 and all made at least 1.5 levels progress at KS3. With the
    exception of one, there was parity between both reading and writing scores and their scores were
    in line with the cohort. It was especially rewarding to note how well they did in the writing section.

   Impact on pupils – achievement and participation
    Two of these students have won National Poetry prizes (2010) and were invited to read out their
    poems at the opening of our new Learning Resource Centre in front of VIPs and the famous Oscar
    winner Julian Fellowes, DL.

   Impact on partner schools
    Our strategies have been shared with both partner schools and 6 other grammar schools. Also,

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   support has been given in many local schools.




In September 2009 we held a CPD event for school staff the aim being to discuss the findings from the
project and decide how we could begin to embed new strategies to support to support weak literacy
skills in lessons across the whole school.



Why students who are able in maths but poorer in literacy find language based lessons difficult:



       Too much information has to be processed/held in short-term memory at once and the student
        becomes cognitively overloaded and is unable to process the learning
       There is no set process/clear methods/stages to follow which leads to confusion
       Language based subjects are subjective there is no definite right/wrong answer
       The meaning of language changes and the student may not always ‘see’ the intended meaning
       Implied meaning/opinion is difficult to understand
       Expanding/embellishing is hard often they can only write very briefly and are not able to ‘pad’
        out with extra words
       They have difficulty translating their ideas into words
       The wording of questions often makes it difficult for them to understand what they are being
        asked
       Examples are difficult to follow
       The small number of questions in exams means that they have to do well in each question


Although able students may have developed effective learning strategies in maths, they are not likely to
be able to automatically transfer these or adopt compensatory strategies in other subjects.

General strategies to support in lessons



   1. Allow adequate processing time/don’t expect students to process more than one thing at once
      – allow time for questions, discussion and reflection, don’t expect a student to listen and make
      notes at the same time, stop students from carrying on working whilst the class are giving
      feedback from an activity.


   2. Reduce the literacy content of lessons, particularly reading and note taking from text books,
      include more practical activities and role play.


   3. Include a range of short activities in lessons and use visual timers for activities.


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4. Include group/partnered work – as this can help with the generation of ideas.


5. Allow students to give verbal presentations – encourage the use of summary cards when giving
   presentations and allow them time to rehearse before speaking.


6. Support verbal teaching explanations with visual examples.
7. Display key vocabulary in the classroom with pictures together with examples of use in an easily
   understandable everyday context.


8. Explain new vocabulary by linking it with everyday terms and contextualise it with examples
   from everyday life.


9. Provide a structure/method that can be followed, for example for essay writing/poem analysis,
   and display this in the classroom with several examples.


10. Reduce information to a summary table with key themes and supporting words and display this
    in the classroom.


11. Review previous learning and explain how this links to current lesson.


12. Be explicit about what they are supposed to learn from a lesson/activity.


13. Fully discuss work that has subtle, inferred details.


14. Work explicitly on how simple ideas can be expanded and developed and use lots of examples.


15. Unpick difficult ‘questions’ and identify key points – and then ask students to reword the
    questions in simpler terms.


16. Allow students to formulate their own questions.


17. Explicitly teach essay writing skills – ideally starting with simple, everyday content.


18. Encourage students to verbalise and write down explanations – this skill will need to be
    supported by discussing verbal explanations and also how they can best be recorded in words


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     using lots of different examples and contexts.


19. Teach students how to identity key facts from texts, ensure they understand what makes
    something a key fact and why, use lots of examples.


20. Potentially difficult texts should be verbally summarized and the key points discussed before
    reading, this will help improve access to the text and subsequent understanding.


21. When summarizing text read, verbally discuss first and then ask students to summarize with
    closed books.


22. Allow students to make notes on texts/stories/poems directly on to copies of the text, it is much
    easier if they can see what their notes link to.


23. Use direct and open questioning – (often students with literacy problems will avoid
    contributing).
24. Get students to respond using whiteboards to ensure that all have to contribute.


25. Used paired discussion so all are involved.


26. For board work – space writing well – use colour/boxes for different aspects of a topic.


27. If using handouts produce them with small well-spaced sections of text, using bullet points,
    diagrams and pictures. Use an arial or similar font, in at least a size 12.


28. Break down literacy topics into smaller chunks, for example, using writing to argue:


    To work on 1 technique of writing to argue at a time, such as, a counter argument.
    As a class brainstorm topics that are relevant to the students’ everyday lives and discuss
     potential arguments.
    Brainstorm a bank of vocabulary.
    In groups work on presenting an argument (including counter argument)
    Groups to then present their arguments verbally and the class debate.
    Each group then discusses how their argument could best be presented in writing and 1 boy acts
     as a scribe for the group.
    The work is typed on a laptop and printed so that all in the group have a copy and there is no
     need for copying up work.




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                                                      Home

                                Home is the place where the real world dies
                                        and the imaginary takes its
                                                   place,
                                  Where anything can be anything, can be
                                     anything with just the flick of the
                                                 wrist,
                        Where the impossible can be possible in the blink of an eye.



              Home is where I can be at peace when the world is hissing and cussing at me,
             Where the beat of a bird’s wings can be a symphony or a cacophony, it’s up to me,
                     Where I can stay no questions asked, when turmoil is attacking
                                                    me,



                                   When nothing affects me and I am still,
                                   I find my home surrounded by willows,
                              When waifs and souls of the damned harass me,
                                      I may run to the home in my mind,
                             When I don’t understand what they want me to do,
                                I flee to my home to escape the real world.



               The little island that sits ringed in willows with only a few stones leading away.
                              This is the home in my mind where I may do as I will.

                                                     Tom


Home
Home is where you can sit down, undefended,
Where all is peaceful,
Where you couldn’t care less about the outside world.


Home is where other people accept you, for who you
Really are,
Where comfort and security are in abundance,
Where love is right around the corner,
Where you can accept safety.


When the rain gets you down it will provide its shelter,
When you have nowhere else to go,
Home is where everything is simple.


      Case study template Oct 2010
The small room at the front of my house where
Everything is warm and inviting,
The room that is perfect in every way,
The room is me,
And it is where I like to be.

Charlie Oldman




      Case study template Oct 2010

				
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