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Our Star School for March is…

Pembridge Hall School, London!

We spoke to Mhairi Paton who runs Lexia sessions with the school’s Year 2 and 3 cohorts. She told us how they have engaged their Lexia pupils across the whole school and embedded the program into their school life.


Read the full interview below.

How did you first come across the Lexia program and what led to the school’s final decision to purchase?

We are a girls’ school and decided to purchase Lexia after we found that a lot of our girls were coming back after the Covid lockdown with quite big gaps in their learning.

We wanted to find a program that did not necessarily need to be teacher led but could be supportive to teachers. Our SENCO was recommended the program by another school who was already using it.

What do you feel makes Lexia stand apart from other reading skills software products on the market?

All of the teachers found it very user friendly and the kids were very engaged with it. Those were the two main things we were looking for. It really supported their learning but it was engaging enough not to feel like a formal lesson. Engagement was a big factor, especially as we are asking pupils to come in at 8:15am to complete their Lexia time. It’s got to be fun!

How is Lexia used in your school? Please provide details of your daily routine and how you ensure that you reach recommended usage as well as which pupils use the program in school.

We use data to select our Lexia cohort. The whole process is very data-driven so we work out which pupils across the year groups require the additional support. We have assessments every term so we can be fairly flexible. If one of the girls meets their age-related expectation, then we can take that pupil off the program and use the license with another pupil. However, I must say that when we told the parents we were taking them off of Lexia we found that the parents didn’t want them to stop because the girls were getting such a benefit from it! It was working so well, they wanted to keep it.

We run Lexia sessions first thing in the morning before school. We invite pupils to come in early 3 days each week to complete Lexia time. I set all the laptops up with their login cards so all the girls need to do is come in, put their headphones on and they’re off! At a minimum they complete 30 minutes each session but I can usually keep them a little longer before they go back to class and start the school day.

The program itself recommends the usage for them and I have found that if they are reaching those targets, it really does make the difference to their progress. You can really see the difference in progress between those that are coming in only once a week versus those that are consistently reaching their usage targets. We are also encouraging parents get pupils logging in to Lexia from home as well. This seems to be having an impact and it has a knock-on effect. Those that are logging in are getting certificates and praise, so it encourages the other girls to try and complete Lexia time at home too.

Describe the impact that Lexia has had on your pupils. Have you noticed a positive change in their motivation to succeed in literacy? Can you give an example of a Lexia success that sticks out to you?

I have definitely noticed how enthusiastic they have been with it. I have noticed a few occasions when a student might have struggled with something in class and once it pops up on their Lexia program, they have gotten the practice they needed to complete it successfully. The fact that they have then been able to go back to class and overcome those little challenges has been great!

We had a girl who was really struggling with question marks, so I decided to manually move her to that level on the Lexia program and set that as a task for her. In the weeks that followed, her class teacher had said that there had been an improvement in her work after completing the practice on Lexia Core5. When they later revisited the topic, they had found that clear progress has been made in this area in the long term too. It was great to hear that from the class teacher!

How have you used rewards to motivate and celebrate success on the Lexia program?

We have a whole school assembly where we share a number of awards for sports and academic success, so Lexia certificates are shared and presented then.

If the girls achieve a certificate while in a Lexia session, I make sure to print it immediately for them. This means that they get the instant gratification of their achievement. They are always very proud to go back to their class after the session to show off their certificate!

We have also found that the certificates are very helpful for parents too. The way in which they break down everything they have completed in their level has been valuable for parents to see.

I have seen the printable stickers in the Core5 Resource hub so my next step will be to print out some stickers to give out in the sessions.

We have found that they program provides the girls with lots of intrinsic motivation as well. A lot of the girls have picked up on the visuals along the bottom of the screen that tells them how many units they have completed. This element has really driven them to want to get the next level, especially when they can see that they only have one or two units left!

How useful have you found the myLexia reports in terms of demonstrating progression and informing planning?

They are so visual, so they have been very helpful. When we have been speaking with parents who may have had concerned about what they were gaining from these additional morning sessions, we have been able to print reports to show them exactly the skills they have been gaining over that time. It can really drive usage as well. We can clearly see a trend between those girls who are meeting their usage and the progress going up.

It has been great to share these reports with class teachers as well, I can simply print the reports and send a PDF which details everything a student has been learning. It’s been very handy to give the teachers that instant feedback.

What main piece of advice would you give to a school that was just getting started with Lexia?

My main tip would be to have everything set up for the Lexia session before the pupils come in. Particularly for younger pupils who can spend a bit longer logging in, having everything ready means that they can come straight in and get on with it! It really helps us to maximise the time they have on the program.

Another tip I would give is to share and celebrate every little bit of progress you are seeing. Getting that recognition in front of their class and the whole school has really given them a boost. There is a positive atmosphere in our Lexia sessions to the point where we have other pupils in school have been asking if they can join! For me, this just shows that they are really enjoying it and it is not just seen as an additional lesson. They’re seeing it as a fun session.

What feedback have you had from your Lexia pupils?

They absolutely love it! They get really excited about it. There are a few girls in school that I don’t tend to see at other times of the day but when I pass them walking around school, they are always keen to tell me how they have been getting on with Lexia and share their excitement for the next session.  Because it is a personalised program, we have also been able to complete sessions with multiple years at once, so they have formed friendships across year groups and become a little Lexia crew! It’s been lovely to see.

Do you have any additional comments on why you feel Lexia has been successful in your school?

I think for me, it is the independence that the girls have been able to have over their learning. Once they get into the flow and the routine of Lexia, there has been a big difference. They can clearly see and track their own learning which is really driving them to get to the next stage and progress even further.

I have also noticed an impact on their Digital Literacy skills. They are becoming much more familiar with logging into the computers and understanding how to navigate to the website or open and close a page. We don’t always get the chance in lower school to practice those skills so having them learn this on top of their literacy has been a bonus!

I think for a teacher, having 22 girls come in for an intervention session all at once could be quite overwhelming, but with Lexia, it is actually a joy! They can just come in, put their headphones on and they are all working on personalised, targeted work. That give me the time to monitor and make sure they are all supported.


Thank you, Mhairi for taking the time to speak with us!