Walking into Siskin Infant and Nursery School you soon appreciate that it lives up to the promises made by Head Teacher, Rose Smith, to the community it serves. It is a shining example of a happy, secure, well-managed, caring place. It provides an environment that is truly stimulating for both children and adults.
Serving an area where few homes have computers, ICT is a focus for Siskin School. The children are confident and enthusiastic users of ICT in the classrooms and the purpose-built ICT suite, of 7 RM machines. Lynn Nutland, ICT Manager, and her team, acknowledge that SuccessMaker has played an important part in this development.
Terry Harrison ICT Support Manager, a self-taught ICT enthusiast, co-ordinates SuccessMaker Enterprise as a Year 2 resource. She has been the driving force behind the use of SuccessMaker since it was installed 6 years ago. Each Year 2 child has a 20 minute ICT session each day, in small mixed ability groups, with Terry. At least three of these will be SuccessMaker sessions. All the children follow Maths Concepts and Skills and a reading course.
Although SuccessMaker is not used during literacy hour teachers do have small groups working on Maths Concepts and Skills during part of their numeracy hour, once the introductory work has been explained and set.
All the children start in September on Reading Readiness as Terry has found, through experience, that even the most literate youngsters need a boost after the long summer break. Some, of course, move very rapidly onto Initial Reading but also refresh their ICT skills and gain confidence as they complete a course.
High standards of behaviour and work are expected from all the children when they use SuccessMaker and that is what they deliver. Watching the enthusiasm and confidence of the Year 2 as they logged on and got straight on with their session is inspiring - no problems at Siskin with any child unable to spell their Username. For a few children who do have behavioural issues, extra SuccessMaker sessions have proved a positive reward for good behaviour.
Terry manages SuccessMaker in a way which integrates the work with the rest of the Year 2 curriculum. Her displays, showing the individual SuccessMaker achievements of the children, reflect the topic work Year 2 are following. On the wall a row of skulls contain the names of the children who have recently gained 100% scores in their SuccessMaker sessions. Nothing sinister here, the current topic is the Human Body!
The progress made by all the children is extremely encouraging. Some Year 2 students will very soon have completed and Terry intends to introduce them to Readers Workshop and First Adventures Bookshelf.
A recent OfSTED inspection was very positive about the way SuccessMaker Enterprise is being used at Siskin School and about the results achieved by the children. The inspectors suggested that the regular monitoring carried out by the staff could be strengthened by tracking individual National Curriculum levels. This is being made easier, for all the staff, by the new style course reports which contain NC levels alongside SuccessMaker levels and which are so much easier to read.
Terry is thrilled with the new version, SuccessMaker Enterprise. She is extremely impressed with the training she received from RM and the patient support offered by the SuccessMaker help team. The children love the immediate rewards from the feedback they get whilst working. The school is quick to add its own praise and rewards with certificates and the ultimate acknowledgement to have their names entered in the Head Teacher's excellence book.
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