This month our Star School is Meadowside Community Primary School!
We spoke with Assistant Headteacher, Alan, and Key Stage 2 teacher, Conor, who coordinate the Lexia program across the school. Read on to find out how they have engaged both staff and students in Lexia and the impact this is having on their progress.
How is Lexia used in your school?
Alan: Lexia pupils come in to school 20 minutes earlier in the morning to complete their Lexia time. This gives them a chance to settle down and get ready for the day. We have also started to fold Lexia time into the afternoons, particularly to support any interventions that take place at this time.
We use a range of different ways to identify students for Lexia use in school. In pupil progress meetings, we ask the teachers to rank their children from 1 to 30 and we’re focusing on the children that are just below where they need to be to really give them that boost.
We use a combination of these teacher judgments and standardised tests to paint the whole picture. This approach helps us identify any children that would seem just below or those that are technically age-related but need a bit more confidence and a bit more practice.
From the children’s point of view, this allows us to address those little nagging misconceptions that children have that could be preventing them achieving everything they possibly can.
Describe the impact that Lexia has had on your pupils. Have you noticed a positive change in their motivation to succeed in literacy?
Conor: I think the main thing is their motivation. They enjoy doing it and they’re wanting to get those certificates. They want to succeed.
For example, in my class there is a girl that, when completing Lexia at home, her Mum came in and said she was sat with her and was concerned about how accurately she was working on the program. So, I was able to show this pupil the myLexia report and address the low accuracy that displayed on the reports. That’s given her much more of a boost. She’s asked today to sit outside where it was nice and quiet so that she could really focus on working accurately.
Alan: One thing that came out of our Annual Training last week was that we were talking about the way we celebrate Lexia in the school. We had gone down the route of focusing on how many minutes children are doing and celebrating them coming in early. Now, the way we want to do it moving forward is celebrate the number of units they do and give certificates out on that basis, displaying them on a leader board. This is a way we can use the data to improve what we do to make the impact even better.
How have you used rewards to motivate and celebrate success on the Lexia program?
Conor: We have a display in the Key Stage 2 corridor where we put up a set of shelves to display the certificates and a graph showing the usage of each class to encourage a bit of competition between the classes.
We are finding that a lot of the competition is between the staff wanting to beat the other classes and then that drives them to motivate the children. We found that works well to increase the staff buy-in. It’s getting them motivated and then they are telling the children; “Right, we need to beat Year 5! We’ve got to beat their usage!” That helps a lot as well.
How useful have you found the myLexia reports in terms of demonstrating progression and informing planning?
Alan: Last week, we had a chance to go through some more of the reports in our Annual Training. We couldn’t believe how detailed some of the individual reports are for the children. That is something we would like to focus on more.
We have some members of staff that are logging on to Lexia frequently, but our next step is to really make all staff aware of the potential of the myLexia reports. We want all teachers to really utilise it to its full potential.
Conor: We have also started using it for the intervention groups. We’d look at the areas that have been flagged up for the children and would be able to identify a few children that need a specific skill so we can teach to that group specifically. It allows us to have more dynamic groups in terms of being more focused on the specific needs of those children.
I think the level of detail in the myLexia reports is ridiculous in a good way! There is so much potential beyond just looking at usage and units gained. We can really show the children what they’re achieving as well and explain it to them. I think that’s going have a lot of impact on pupil’s self-efficacy and their awareness of what they need to improve on, especially for older pupils.
How have you expanded Lexia into home-use? How have parents responded?
Conor: Generally, parental engagement is really good. They have to bring their children in early for them to complete Lexia, and most do. We had good home use before Covid, and we were able to utilise it during the lockdown as well. We have quite a few children that do log in consistently at home and want to increase their minutes. When we first launched it, we sent home the letters and the explanation of how to use it for the parents, so they were well informed.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Alan: I think the most beneficial thing for us is that children can use it independently and that it is tailor made for their needs, which is exactly what every school’s looking for, really. We can also use it in a group situation, we can use it as an intervention, and we can fill gaps with it.
It’s a powerful tool to have and we want to make sure we get the most out of it. That’s why we’re always looking to enhance what we’re doing rather than just plod along.
Conor: I think that one of the reasons why it’s been successful here is that it’s easy. That’s one of the most fundamental things. It’s easy for staff to manage. It’s easy for staff to roll out and for the children to do their work independently. Logging in is not a complicated process. It’s self-explanatory for the children.
I think that’s one of the most fundamental things, is it’s easy. If something is easy to do, you’re going to keep doing it and it’s not going to fall aside when something gets a bit difficult. I think it’s very beneficial that it is a very simple tool to use that’s very effective.
What feedback have you had from your Lexia pupils?
Alan: When I’m in the classroom working with the children, you can see that they do love it. They are really engaged with it. They are wanting to get their minutes up and complete those units. So, it’s always positive.
It can sometimes be a challenge to get the kids through the door early but the fact that they do is testament to how much they really do like Lexia. They see the benefit of doing it and they enjoy doing it.
Conor: It’s often the children that are dragging their parents in early because they want to do Lexia! They have a real drive to do it!
A huge thank you to Alan and Conor for taking time out of their day to speak to us. Well done for implementing the program so well across school and effectively engaging students with reading!