Success stories

The Stour Academy Trust

The Stour Academy Trust

I taught Year 6 when I first moved to Lansdowne Primary School. The cohort of children I had, displayed a vast range of abilities and barriers towards writing independently. In the upper KS2 especially, the writing gap was continuing to widen at a rapid pace; the children were below their age-related expectations, with many struggling to keep up. Within the cohort, there were high proportions of children who had undiagnosed dyslexic traits and other literacy barriers.

We put a range of strategies in place to try and improve writing, but nothing seemed to work. I had used Clicker in my previous school so I decided to contact Crick Software and initiate a trial across Years 5 and 6. I knew that Clicker could be differentiated easily and would increase the standard of independence in writing - I was excited to see the impact it would have!

Over time, we saw huge, positive effects on the quality and independence of our struggling writers. I invited specialist teachers from our local area into our classrooms for an objective opinion on our writing delivery and outcomes with Clicker – and it was a success!

I presented the idea of implementing Clicker across every school in our trust to our CEO, Rachael Howell. She loved the idea and could see the positive impact that it was having on our most vulnerable writers.

As a result, we rolled Clicker out across our 8 schools!

One of the biggest successes that the use of Clicker had evidenced was that it allowed teachers to see and capture moments of a child demonstrating their true ability, which often would be missed by the use of just pen and paper.

The time required in lessons for pupils to produce writing which was independent and not overly scaffolded was increasing, which was causing a strain on our teachers and TAs to cater for this level of need. I did a comparison of lessons where Clicker was not embedded and lessons where Clicker was fully implemented. We analysed the amount of time that it took for pupils to complete their work in both lessons and compared the level of independence in doing so. We also looked at pictures of children’s work when Clicker was being used and when it wasn’t…

The difference in the quality of work was amazing when the children, who used Clicker, had the appropriate targeted support.

Here is an example:

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At the beginning of the year, one of our year 6 children was struggling to produce an age-expected, independent piece of writing (see left picture). Over the course of 4 months, we used Clicker to vary his support, and target his specific learning needs. As a result of this bespoke targeted support, we saw a drastic improvement in his writing (right picture). As the quality and independence improved, we were able to remove elements of support to further promote and extend his writing independence and confidence. Using Clicker progressed and accelerated his writing outcomes more than could have been possible with a class of 30.

Across our schools, we use Clicker to support writing in curriculum tasks on a day-to-day basis. This includes using Sentence Sets and Connect Sets which ensure that we are supporting our learners with prioritised skills, such as accurate sentence composition. We build Clicker Sentence Sets and include appropriate vocabulary so that the children are always building accurate connections as they continue to progress in their writing skills. We edit our Sentence Sets to make sure we are always able to move the learning of our children forward.

Since using Clicker, our pupils believe that they can succeed in writing – their overall outcomes and progress has accelerated, and we have had successful internal and district moderations whilst using the program. Our feedback from external professionals have reinforced that Clicker is an inclusive tool and one that has truly supported our children’s writing and overall independence.

Rachel’s top tips for implementing Clicker:

  • Provide the children with headphones so they can easily listen back to and edit their work.

  • Celebrate Clicker in assemblies.

  • Host training workshops for parents.

  • In-house training for staff and TAs - share best practice, examples of work and resources to help save crucial planning time.

  • The team at Crick Software is hugely supportive with implementing the program, so get in touch if you have any questions!