Learning to Learn agenda
We were part of a national project on Creating and Leading Learning Primary Schools in 2007 – 2008 within our local Confederation of schools, in partnership with the London Institute of Education and a training and consultancy team from Surrey.
Through this work we have established a culture in Meath School of empowering pupils to be engaged in their learning, to be independent learners, to self evaluate and improve their learning which has had a direct impact on the progress of pupils. Staff were challenged to find ways to effectively communicate to children the learning outcomes and success criteria of a lesson, to support pupil self evaluation. Observations and OFSTED feedback identify that there is a strong culture of active, independent learning within the school and pupils progress outstandingly well, both academically and personally.
The Learning to Learn initiative has continued as a key development in the school with a focus on developing the use of questioning by staff, how this provokes thinking and how thinking can be supported for children with SLCN.
Literacy, Language and Communication Research Practitioner Network (LiLaC)
Meath School is closely involved with LiLaC, which provides workshops and opportunities for researchers and practitioners working with pupils with SLCN to network and work together to promote best practice. Jean Wilson (Head of Therapy) jointly organises these with Dr Courtenay Frazier Norbury RCUK Fellow in Cognitive Science at Royal Holloway College and Mandy Grist, Professional Advisor for I CAN.
Personal Social Learning Behaviours Checklist
As we developed the culture of empowering pupils to be effective learners the school was aware that there were no measures of pupil progress in their learning behaviours which would quantify the excellent progress our learners make in these behaviours over time. A small working group of key school staff and an external post graduate student developed a checklist of learning behaviours which are being used to measure progress over time and also to identify specific individual targets to be worked on for each pupil. Meath is currently working with another special school to trial the use of the checklist.
All our stakeholders –staff, parents/carers, governors, local authorities and OFSTED inspectors need to be given clear measures of how well individual pupils progress at Meath School. Teachers gather baseline information within 2 weeks of a pupils starting at Meath and targets are set on an annual basis. When a pupil leaves Meath School, attainment on entry is compared to their attainment on exit.
Meath School has established measures of outstanding, good and satisfactory progress which have been judged by OFSTED to be challenging expectations of progress. A graph to show progress from entry to exit is sent to parents, the pupil’s next school and the local authority.
Meath School has also begun to use CASPA (Comparison and Analysis of Special Pupil Attainment), an online data system to compare the progress of our pupils to other children with SLCN in the UK.
Within the SLT department, individual speech and language targets are set each year for each pupil at Annual Review and short term targets are set each term for all pupils. Progress is measured using an agreed system of outcome measurement for therapy objective and targets as well as standardised assessments. In addition, speech and language therapists use a repeatable task to assess functional use of language when the pupil enters the school and when they leave. This is in addition to measures of progress on standardised assessments.
Word Finding Research Project
In 2011 the Speech and Language Therapy department carried out a randomised control trial to look at the effectiveness of the therapy approach we use to support pupils with word finding difficulties. This project was carried out with support from Tim Pring, Director of Research at City University. The results clearly indicated that this therapy approach is effective.