Basic Skills 2013-2014
Ysgol Bryn Castell
A Guide to Basic Skills support at YBC
What is Basic Skills?
Basic Skills is defined by the Welsh Government (2009) as ‘the ability to read, write and speak in English or Welsh and to use Maths, at a level necessary to function and progress both in work and in society.’
Basic Skills Cymru is the Welsh Government's strategy to help children and adults in Wales who struggle with basic literacy and numeracy.
The basic skills strategy is underpinned by the following fundamental aims:
Why do we need Basic Skills?
Basic Skills - Referral Criteria
One to One Literacy Referrals
All pupils are tested using Accelerated Reader, which determines a reading age and Single Word Spelling Test which establishes a spelling age. All results are entered into the school’s Basic Skills Database. Those pupils in the lowest cohort with a reading age of <8.05 are referred for extra one to one basic skills support and those selected receive Rapid Reading interventions twice a week, where possible. Most of these pupils also access Toe by Toe in their pastoral classes with support workers and some access Lexion, a computer-based programme for stimulating and training people with language related learning disorders, dyslexia or aphasia and includes focus on phonological awareness, letter-sound correspondence, syllable and morpheme segmentation and blending etc. Lexion sessions are supported by the school’s Speech and Language Therapist. Those with phonological awareness difficulties are also engaged in the Beat Dyslexia programme sessions, as well as Rapid Reading as of September 2013.
Some pupils are referred as a result of staff members raising concerns and suggesting pupils they feel could benefit from one to one support. Such referrals are backed up by the data which suggests that extra support is necessary.
The majority of pupils in KS2 and KS3 and all Post 16 pupils have been BKSB assessed by the basic skills worker. These assessments have provided a Numeracy BKSB level for each pupil over the past year. As of September 2013, the Local Authority requires all pupils from Year 5 to Year 9 to complete BKSB English and Maths assessments.
The main baseline assessment used to identify Maths referrals is MaLT testing which provides a maths age for each pupil. Those in the lowest cohort as shown on the database with a maths age of <8.05, are considered priority and selected for additional support where they receive mainly Rapid Maths intervention and or support within some of their Maths lessons. BKSB resources and elements of other relevant materials provided by the Maths Department and otherwise, are also used to address mathematical misconceptions with each pupil, if and when necessary.
Pupils receiving additional support for both literacy and numeracy are retested and reassessed at a later date to measure progress and identify if there is still a need for one to one interventions to take place. The database is re-sorted into lowest and highest cohorts following reassessment and those pupils in the lowest either continue or begin to access one to one basic skills support and interventions.
Some pupils in the middle cohorts may be selected for support as they have potential to progress further with extra support and intervention.
Literacy and Language (LAL) Groups
A number of pupils at YBC have been identified to take part in LAL group sessions that have been put in place as a result of very little movement in their reading ages over the past 2 academic years. As of September 2013, these groups are withdrawn from English lessons, twice a week, where they currently receive Rapid Reading and Beat Dyslexia interventions with Kayleigh Cattell (Basic Skills) and Lisa Chapman (Speech and Language Therapist).
These sessions also provide opportunity for pupils to take part in other relevant literacy games and activities in a bid to improve their Literacy and Language skills. This term, lower school groups have been working to improve their knowledge, understanding and use of vocabulary. Selected words for these vocabulary activities can often be found within the High Frequency word lists which the pupils are assessed on each year and more recently words from the Rapid Reading Programme have been selected for use within language based activities.
Post 16 pupils are currently working through the Beat Dyslexia programme whilst working towards completing OCN’s in Punctuation and Grammar.
Sessions mostly take place in a separate learning area in Ceri Finneral’s English class during English lessons and in the IT Suite for Post 16 groups.