WriteOnline Success Story

Mountfields Lodge School

Ros Henshaw

Mountfields Lodge School

We have been introducing WriteOnline at Mountfields since January 2010, and I have no hesitation at all in recommending it. WriteOnline is not just a program for pupils with special needs; we have encouraged all Year 5 and 6 classes to use this program, particularly in the planning of their weekly Big Write. We even have some of our year 3 and 4 children using it! All the children have a password so that they can use it at home as well as at school.

WriteOnline is really user-friendly for both teachers and pupils. I did a presentation in classes to show pupils and staff how the software works, and it has taken off from there with many of our SEN pupils.

We are encouraging our pupils to use WriteOnline right across the curriculum. I have demonstrated to teachers how our pupils can use it preparing for Literacy tasks. It is particularly a great way to support them in planning and producing longer pieces of work.

We have also found it really useful for helping children with reading difficulties in Maths. Teachers can paste worded problems into WriteOnline, and then pupils are able to listen to the problem using WriteOnline's speech feedback tool. This allows them to concentrate on the maths, rather than trying to decipher the text. It is a great tool for helping pupils with poor reading skills to access text that they were previously unable to, whether this be in literacy, maths, or any other subject!

WriteOnline is particularly good for helping students with special needs to achieve success, because it enables them to work much more independently.

WriteOnline is particularly good for helping students with special needs to achieve success, because it enables them to work much more independently. What's more, the support doesn't end when they leave the classroom. There are two girls at the school with reading and writing difficulties who have met up at the weekends at each other's houses to use WriteOnline for story writing. They have made such great progress with their literacy skills, and are so enthusiastic too!

We are really trying to make the most of all the different support tools that WriteOnline offers. We have been using the speech feedback to great effect with some of our year 3's and 4's to improve their grammar and punctuation skills. We paste a piece of text into WriteOnline without any punctuation and then ask the students to listen to the speech feedback and punctuate the document. They really begin to get the idea about where the commas and full stops go; this is where the speech really comes into its own for us.

Teachers and parents are particularly impressed with the Wordbar tool. We download the free Wordbars from LearningGrids, but we find that it is particularly motivating for the children if we create our own Wordbars, tailored to their particular interests. This is a great way to motivate struggling writers in particular. WorkSpace, WriteOnline's mind mapping tool, has also proved a big hit with our pupils, and it is so useful for them to be able to transfer their completed mind-map into their document to support as they write.

We have two volunteers in school, who work individually with some of our special needs pupils. This allows these pupils to quickly get to a standard where they are happy to use WriteOnline independently both at home and at school. One of these pupils has previously been a reluctant writer. By using WriteOnline, he has become more enthusiastic about literacy. He has also been confident enough to demonstrate this program to peers in his class.

In addition to my role as the SENCO at Mountfields, I am often asked to go into other schools to support individual students with additional learning needs. I am always recommending WriteOnline! It is such a fantastic tool.