Lessons learned from Signature - welbni.org


Lessons learned from Signature,

Delivering social change


Outline of the day

9.30-10.00- Session 1- Background on the Signature project

Success story

10.00-10.30- Refreshments

10.30- 12.00- Session 2- Good practice-7 quality indicators

Interview about good practice

12.00-1.00- Lunch

1.00-1.30- Session 3- How to manage successful Intervention

1.30- 2.30-Session 4 – Lessons learned in Literacy and Numeracy

Practical ideas

2.30- 3.15- Session 5- Implications for your school

Final evaluation

Objectives for the course

To show the good practice of The OFMDFM

Signature project from primary and post-primary sectors

To share the strategies which have been most effective in raising pupil achievement in English and Maths at the expected levels of attainment

To use the experience of the Signature teachers to disseminate good practice to other teachers

In 2012 the OFMDFM announced a Delivering Social Change

Signature Project on improving literacy and numeracy. The aims of the Signature/ NISPLAN project have been :

• to increase the number of pupils in primary schools achieving at the expected level or above at the end of

Key Stage 2 in English, Mathematics and Irish;

• to increase the number of young people in post-primary schools, achieving a grade C or above in English and

Mathematics by the time they leave school, and

• to provide employment opportunities for 270 recently graduated teachers.

Ethos of intervention

Count, Read: Succeed messages

What is intervention?

Schools monitored pupils’ progress regularly and used this information to refine the planning of intervention.

 by the teacher as part of the programme

 by a coordinator to gain an overview of the progress made

 by a senior leader to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention

The 5 “things”

that the class or subject teachers will do to raise standards in literacy and numeracy are, in order:

1. provide high-quality teaching for all pupils;

2. address underachievement as soon as it emerges;

3. address continuing underachievement with support from other staff in the school;

4. address continuing underachievement with support from outside the school; and

5. meet the needs of pupils after a nonstatutory assessment through the SEN framework.

C,R:S, p33

OFMDFM Signature Project

Success of intervention

Collaborative Approaches

Intervention teachers worked closely with the class teachers to plan what should be taught and how , and were prepared to adapt the materials and approaches to meet the pupils’ needs.

Such approaches included concentrating on building pupils’ confidence , tackling common misunderstandings and providing opportunities for pupils to apply what they had learned.



needs deeper



Now what?



Background to Signature

Who is being trained?

Who is involved?

Who is leading/ managing it?

Outline of training

Overall messages from those involved

Teachers Appointed

225.4(FTE) – OFMDFM 32.4(FTE) – DE

2(FTE) – by schools

260.7(FTE) – Appointed Overall

300 individual teachers employed

208 – Seconded Teachers (1 days training)

73 – Centrally Recruited (5 days training)

Overall Data – From Website

3042 – Primary Pupils Supported o 1561 – Literacy o 1402 – Numeracy o 79 – Irish

6658 – Post Primary Pupils Supported o 3023 – English o 3635 – Mathematics

Post Primary CR Support 2013/14


Classes Supported


Pupils Supported


Teachers Supported


Primary CR Support 2013/14


Classes Supported


Pupils Supported


Teachers Supported


Overall CR Support 2013/14


Classes Supported Pupils Supported Teachers Supported

344 3072 259



60%+ 15

70%+ 11

Level 4



Literacy Level 4


60%+ 12

70%+ 11



Based on schools who provided results

6+ pupils – 94% Numeracy

6+ pupils – 86% Literacy

7+ pupils – 73% Numeracy

7+ pupils – 79% Literacy

Comments from Monitoring

“Discussions with class teachers have highlighted an increase in confidence for children when attempting numeracy work. Children are enthusiastic about the withdrawal lessons and always participate well. All children receiving intervention support have successfully been awarded a Level 4 in numeracy and so have achieved their target.”

Comments from Monitoring

“Establish greater contact with parents including face to face meetings with the parents of targeted pupils.”

“High level of participation from students during in-school sessions

Student, parent and teacher questionnaires carried out in January indicated marked improvement in student self-esteem and attitude towards learning and exams. Parent meeting provided valuable and positive feedback. Teacher records in regular English lessons indicate improved marks and anecdotal evidence from English teachers noted how much more positive students were about their

English. Improved controlled assessments, attendance at after school sessions are positive and students are actively seeking help and support, even out of normal lesson time.”

Comments from Monitoring

“Therefore after one full term (the second term) with the

Signature Project pupils I feel better equipped to express opinions on the work covered and discuss the level of progress of individual pupils. Initially, it was decided to raise the profile of reading within the cohort of pupils. I wished to make reading a regular, enjoyable experience which embraced a lifeskill element. The concept of reading in one's spare time became a pivotal aim. Reading became a time filler, a life skill and a hobby all in one. My sense of drive ensured that I convinced my pupils of the importance of the art of reading which could enrich their life experiences.

Trying to work with a spread of reading ability throughout the cohort provided direction and purpose.”

What works well

Close collaboration and team teaching with class teacher helped my inexperience

Good balance of withdrawal and team-teaching

Team-teaching to get to know the pupils initially and throughout the programme to gain an insight of how they are achieving in class

Pupils during withdrawal can concentrate more

Active strategies and practical approaches to problem solving

VAK approach

Class teacher introduced the learning. Small group tutorial helped the children to deepen their understanding

Personalised learning

What works well

Continuous assessment, reflection and evaluation

Daily challenges

Celebration and rewards

VCOP and super sentences

Sharing targets with pupils - provided children with ownership of their learning.

Safe environment led to ‘have a go ‘ attitude

Meetings for parents about how to support your child

Challenges overcome

Settling in to one or more new schools

Timetabling- for withdrawal and weekly meetings with teachers – especially when some of the teachers were part-time

Regularly meeting with groups - either being used for subbing or children being needed elsewhere

What to do in the afternoons (mornings is the best time for lit /num work.

P7 pupils did not have enough time to improve. Next year should be better

Behaviour of some children in the group

Challenges overcome

Knowing the standard of level 4 Worked closely with the teacher and used the guidance given

Lack of parental support

Wrong target group

School not knowing enough about the project

Realistic target-setting

Showing improvement. Used class tests and adapted CCEA tasks to track children


Perception of intervention

 use of ipads, practical work and small treats helped.

Attitude of boys and/or P7 pupils

Timetables had to be looked at and confidence/relationships developed

Success story

Tanya from St Matthew’s

Primary School, Belfast

Session 2

Quality indicators for successful


pupils parents

Collaboration &



Signature intervention teachers leadership


& evaluating planning


• Correctly identified,

• data used effectively,

• moved in and out of intervention, involved in their learning,

• setting targets.


• chosen well- either recruited by

WELB (CR), or appointed by their school on secondment (S) or to fill the Backfill post (BF)

• equipped to know what to do

• plan appropriately

• use a variety of strategies

• tailor intervention to suit pupils

• track their pupils’ progress.


• supportive of the aims of

Signature, at HOD level, at SMT/

Principal level and as teachertutor;

• set clear direction, plan intervention carefully and integrate the Signature teacher(s) into plan for school improvement

• promote the Signature intervention model as a legacy for the school.

planning • appropriate and flexible at all levels-

• classroom work is tailored and adapted

• timetables are suitable

• allowing for monitoring and evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the model used

• ongoing assessment is used throughout.


& evaluating

ACTION PLANS are detailed and real, recorded online and regularly reviewed and adjusted; school tracking and pupil targetsetting are used.


involved from the beginning and kept informed of progress.


Evaluate how far these indicators are evident in your school

Session 3

Interview with successful practitioner

Session 3

Interview with successful practitioner: managing Signature

Session 4

Lessons learned : successful intervention strategies for English and Maths

Good practice in English

Understanding the levels

Linking to teaching, assessment and tracking

Resources: VCOP, Pie Corbett, Literacy shed, Sue


Activities: super sentences, visualisation

Super Sentences

Seven ways to change a sentence:

Add words

Drop in chunks

Add at the beginning

Add at the end

Reorder or change words

Add a simile

Special effects

Super Sentences : eg. “The bird flew down the road.”

Add words

Drop in chunks eg ing/ed

Add at the beginning

Add at the end

Re order or change words

Add a simile

Special effects

The tiny bird flew down the busy road.

The bird, struggling against the wind, flew slowly down the road.

Struggling against the wind, the bird flew slowly down the road.

The bird flew down the road, its wings flapping slowly.

Down the M1 flew the small green parrot.

Screeching like a barn owl, the tiny bird flew down the road

Flapping furiously, the bird flew down the busy bypass.

Super Sentences (Activity) eg 2 “ The man ran into the shop with his dog.”

Add words

Drop in chunks eg ing/ed

Add at the beginning

Add at the end

Re order or change words

Add a simile

Special effects

Good practice in Maths

Understanding the levels

Session 5

Implications for your school

Any questions?

The Legacy of the project

… the true measurement of success (of Signature) will take me far beyond the

End of Key Stage. It will be judged in value added results, life forming habits that go beyond simple test scores. It is not just about their ability to use/develop important literacy skills across the curriculum. It is about continuing to use these skills and habits in real life situations. This in itself requires self-confidence and understanding. I am confident that this will happen for some of my pupils. Increasing this percentage is not only a personal goal but an overall aim shared by the school.

I am also confident that our End of Key Stage 2 results will improve next year and beyond. For the most part the work that continues on a daily basis has been worthwhile and enjoyable for all concerned. The challenge still remains,

“To work hard, express ourselves clearly, listen to others, to feel valued and thus to succeed”.

Barrie McGowan – Good Shepherd Primary School- ( taken from Year 1 Monitoring form)

Final evaluation