Heald Place Primary School, Manchester has been using Lexia for much of this academic year. In a school of 630 with 60% FSM and almost all pupils coming from minority ethnic backgrounds, Lexia was introduced to provide scalable personalised learning for large numbers who arrive in school with little or no reading ability.
‘After evaluating the Lexia program, we realised its potential as a tool to reach all pupils who required literacy support. My responsibility as Lexia Coordinator was to ensure fidelity of implementation. I began by organising an onsite training session where teachers and LSAs were given the basics in getting started. Part of this session allowed us to discuss rollout and ensure the best practice goal of regular and consistent usage was achieved.
We took a staged approach to its implementation, starting with a priority group of 50 pupils. Not wanting to bite off more than we could chew, commencing with a manageable group allowed us to learn the ‘ins and outs’ of the program but also develop routines. Staff were made fully aware that regular usage was key to Lexia’s success and this was a priority if reading gains were to be made. Much of Lexia was delivered during guided reading sessions. Lexia Monitors were appointed to set up laptops over break time to ensure everything was ready for the sessions.
Over the rollout period and looking ahead, the online reporting system allows me to support colleagues in achieving usage goals. In addition, I can identify pupils who require extra support, but also acknowledge successes by printing certificates which are presented in weekly assemblies. Certificates are also displayed around the school. As Lexia Coordinator, I use part of my Management time to login and check on how things are going. This ‘light touch’ weekly approach has certainly helped ensure fidelity of implementation and supported the team in their use of Lexia. By offering this regular support I have noticed staff are now much more inclined to login independently to access the data they require.
After just a few weeks into rollout we were seeing some very positive results. Pupils were engaged, motivated and making rapid progress. Colleagues were very pleased with the system and were asking for more pupils to be added. This early success made phasing in an additional 50 pupils much easier. It also justified spending money on extra equipment such as headphones.
Currently we have just over 100 pupils using Lexia. Our plans are to extend usage to additional groups through allowing home access. Shortly, we will be holding a workshop for parents to learn more about the program and how to use it to assist their children over weekends and holiday periods.
In many respects, it’s still early days but in the relatively short period of time we have been using Lexia, it has made an enormous impact on our pupils’ learning and life chances. At the beginning of the year we had serious concerns about how were going to get these children to age related expectations. Now, many are well beyond expected levels. I can only say it is astonishing in terms of the gains they have made. For example, one boy, aged 10 started Lexia at a Year 3 level of work. Within 5 months he is now reading at what would be expected in Year 6. Pupils are really proud of their progress and are motivated by their success. Staff have noted more confidence in pupils’ reading in class and they feel they are now much more aware of individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, helping them plan ahead. It has certainly helped us accelerate learning and has answered the question – ‘How can I enable this child to be achieving Age Related Expectations?’
Looking back, I feel that the phased approach to rollout certainly helped as things were kept at a manageable level as we learned the program ourselves. A quality rather than quantity approach ensured buy-in from both staff and pupils. We now feel far more confident than we did at the beginning of the year in achieving our literacy goals’.