11 December 2019
Three Enquire Learning Trust Schools were invited to join an Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) project based at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. The brief of the EEF is to find ways to narrow the gap between the education achievement of the least and most privileged children in England. Teachers from Easterside, Harrow Gate and Hardwick Green participated in an eight-day programme across 2 years led by CLPE. As well as the 8 days, tasks were set between each session. One of those tasks was to write a case study about a child, or a group of children in your class. Looking closely at an aspect of their literacy development.
Leigh Iles, from Hardwick Green, chose to focus upon two of her Y1 boys who really struggle with writing. Developing early writing is always a challenge, especially for boys. Leigh interviewed the two boys about how they felt about writing. Their responses to whether they liked writing were trenchant;
“No, it’s hard and it’s boring.”
Was one response, and the other child said;
“No, because it hurts me all the way up to here.” (Points to his arm)
Leigh recalled a piece of research she had read which asked the question; are your children physically ready to write? It suggested writing can be physically painful for some children. Knowing what she did about the boys, both about their dexterity and their gross motor skills, Leigh decided to develop a programme for them. Starting, as the research suggested, with their gross motor skills as a precursor to developing their dexterity and readiness to write.
Reading Leigh’s Case Study Report you can feel her excitement as the programme develops, the boys and others in her class she has involved in the programme begin to take pleasure in the act of writing and pride in what they are creating. She then moves on to describe how she has engaged with her colleagues in Early Years. Together they have developed a programme focused upon ensuring every child enters KS1 physically ready to write.