Does intervention in spelling accelerate progress?
Rachael Hughes – Baden Powell and St. Peters Junior School
Throughout the course of this academic year (September 2017- July 2018), this study has taken place at Baden-Powell and St Peter’s Junior School within Year 6. The children were either children with low spelling attainment or ‘Pupil Premium’ or SEND. Those selected were children who were falling below progress targets so they needed to make accelerated progress in year 6.
The comparison group was created through use of data on like-for-like progress. As much as possible, the children were linked through similar backgrounds (including home-life, PP / non-PP and SEND). Tests were completed in the autumn term to ascertain a base-line, in the spring and then again during the summer term to compare the progress.
The intervention took place for an hour on a Wednesday and for 2 x 10 minute periods throughout the course of each week. The sessions were carried out by a ‘Higher Level Teaching Assistant’ who has significant training in spelling and phonic-based teaching. She also has extensive knowledge of the national curriculum spelling rules. Within the main Wednesday session the focus was on a generic rule that the children needed input on (for example: i before e except after c). During the other two short-burst sessions, the HLTA carried out personalised spelling pattern tuition on a 1:1 basis. The content of the subjective tuition was based on the work they had completed that week in their English books.
The school produced three 50 word spelling tests to be used in the autumn, spring and summer terms. The words were different each term but were based on the same rule / homophones. All of the words on the list came from the KS1 or KS2 objectives for spelling. All children across the year group completed the three tests. From the autumn test, my focus group and control group was arranged. In the summer term, the final test was completed.
The test showed that accelerated progress in spelling had been made by the majority of the test group. PP children made accelerated progress in their writing (which is dependent on their ability to spell). SEND children also made significant progress and, as a result, were much more reliable spellers in their day-to-day writing.
In the future, I intend to replicate interventions of this kind to enable the same data trends to continue. From a financial perspective, more time will be put into the timetabling of great practitioners to ensure that they can spend the above amount of time with the focus group. Next year I intend to broaden my reach with the intervention group to ensure that the ‘weaker’ students benefit within the whole of the year 6 cohort and not just my class.
Student voice: “I like going to spelling group because I can see that I am getting better.”
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