Burrowmoor is a popular, successful primary school situated in the rural market town of March. In 2012/13, we received pupil premium funding for 60 of our pupils.
One of the key things we wanted to work on was developing pupils’ writing skills – our main objective was for the children to make at least two levels of progress in line with the national average for FSM pupils – and of course for them to make accelerated progress wherever possible!
We chose Clicker to help us achieve this after going along to a free breakfast seminar Crick Software was running in our area. The school had bought earlier versions of Clicker in the past but not quite got to grips with it – however we were wowed by how easy to use the latest version looked and how quickly the Education Consultant demonstrating the software was able to make differentiated activities. We could see the potential for the program to make a significant difference in school.
Our pupils have not only become better writers, but more engaged and confident ones.
We have been really impressed with the impact Clicker has had on learning so far. For a start, the children are so much more motivated to sit down and write; we give them the choice between using Word or Clicker as their word processor, and they nearly always choose Clicker! Whenever they punctuate a sentence it is read back to them, which enables them to judge whether they made a mistake and amend their work accordingly. This and the other support measures we are able to put in place such as topic-specific words banks and writing frames have really increased the pupils’ confidence – they are taking ownership of their own work and handing in higher quality pieces of writing.
We use Clicker across the school and in practically every lesson. You can create activities on any subject, which means we can provide a consistent level of support across the curriculum. It’s important that the children are able to achieve the same level of writing success in science or history as they would in their literacy lessons. We are also able to really hone in on those key literacy skills. For example, we use VCOP in school (part of the Big Writing teaching approach, focussing on vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation) and with Clicker we can create colour-coded activities that enable pupils to more easily see which VCOP area a particular word relates to and enhances their ability to use these different elements correctly in their writing.
One of the big concerns when introducing a piece of software like Clicker throughout the school is whether or not people will actually use it! The free training materials Crick provides have been invaluable here – we had a whole-staff meeting to initially introduce everyone to the key features, but since then the staff have needed very little additional support. If they need a quick reminder they simply watch one of Crick’s 90-second training videos, and we have printed off the most important step-by-step guides they provide and have those on hand in each classroom. It was also very useful in the early days that teachers and TAs could use the software at home (home access comes with the site license) as this gave them the opportunity to practise making activities before using Clicker in their lessons.
Whether you have a pupil really struggling at the sentence level or a high achiever you want to push, Clicker can be tailored to provide them with the particular support they need, not only in literacy but across the curriculum, which makes it excellent value for money. Our pupils have not only become better writers, but more engaged and confident ones.