Bidbury Infant School

Talk Boost KS1 School Case Study: Bidbury Infant School, Hampshire

Tarnia Townshend, Deputy Headteacher

We have been running Talk Boost KS1 sessions in our school since 2012.  Since then, the majority of our teaching staff (9 Teachers and 11 Learning Support Assistants) have been trained to deliver Talk Boost KS1.  During each cohort’s three years at our school, approximately 40-50% of them will have undergone the Talk Boost KS1 intervention and the most vulnerable of each cohort (10-15%) will have completed it twice.

Talk Boost KS1 was great for us because as a school focussed on communication, we were missing an intervention programme – there just isn’t anything like it out there. The progress that all the children have made has been good – the impact on their confidence, conversational abilities like eye-contact and waiting to speak have all greatly improved.   The pupils from Year 2 who took part in the first Talk Boost KS1 group in Autumn 2012 made almost 12 months progress in their levels.  All of the group had a 7 year old reading age by Summer 2013 due to the focus on their speaking and listening.  When we first introduced Talk Boost KS1, 4% of our children in Reception (now Year 2) were at the national expectation for Communication, Language and Literacy.  At the end of this year, our Year 2 group 90-95% will achieve national expectations and above.

Throughout this year we have run seven Talk Boost KS1 groups across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.  All children make 9-12 months progress upon completion of the intervention which is still the highest rate of progress from any other intervention we have trialled.  Children with additional needs in communication usually repeat the program a second time and then also achieve 9-12 months progress.  This year staff have been utilising many of the strategies as a matter of course in their day to day teaching.  When we had OFSTED in January, comments were made regarding the vast improvement in sentence construction in Reception since they started in September.  It was also noted that this good foundation was being firmly embedded to support their communication and their writing skills by the time they reached Year 1 and Year 2.

Generally each year, 90-95% of children start at our school with below average levels of Communication Language and Literacy. This is now the end of our second year of using Talk Boost KS1 and it has become an essential intervention program to our school focus on improving communication skills for all of our children.  The key for a school like ours to be successful is to accelerate progress as much as possible.  The precision of the Talk Boost KS1 program enables us to focus the intervention on specific groups within each year group.  The children themselves love Talk Boost KS1 – they choose which activities to take back into the classroom and they really enjoy it. The children are the experts for the weekly classroom activities they really enjoy this and it builds their confidence.

After the initial time and investment, our school staff have found Talk Boost KS1 easy to implement and enjoyed using the resources. We will continue to use Talk Boost KS1 on a yearly basis so half our children, by the time they reach Year 2, will have gone through the intervention.  Over the last two years I have shared this program with many other schools and outside agencies all, without exception, have thought it was a carefully put together intervention which would be useful to their school