Haysholm School is one of four ASN schools in North Ayrshire. It is a non-denominational school for pupils aged 5 – 18 with severe and complex additional support needs. Their catchment area extends to Largs and the Garnock Valley. The current role is 24, 15 primary aged pupils and 9 secondary aged pupils, all of whom have an Individualised Educational Programme (IEP).
The school vision is to provide learners with a happy and high quality learning and teaching environment to develop their strengths, skills and talents. Staff work in partnership with parents and partners to deliver a curriculum that enables learners to reach their full potential and to be as functionally independent as possible. It is their aim to ensure that all pupils are fully included, accepted and, where possible, can contribute to the community in which they live and learn.
Yvonne Gribben, the Head Teacher, was one of the first staff members in North Ayrshire to engage with Glow blogs and in session 2013 -14 established the Haysholm School website using a public Glow blog.
Yvonne wanted a website to engage with parents and share the pupils’ work in a way that would suit the busy lives of all those concerned with the school. Being a public blog, parents and carers can access it on the Internet at a time that suits them.
The blog became very popular and Yvonne decided that the next step was creating blogs for the classes to allow pupils to share their learning directly with their parents and carers.
Classroom assistants maintain these blogs and they are regularly updated with photos and text about pupils’ achievements.
Yvonne: “Haysholm School have been trialling Glow blogs as a way of recording learners’ journeys to map progression across the 4 contexts for learning. A sample of pupils were selected (one from each class) to trial this and their parents/carers invited to be trained in uploading evidence of wider achievements from home. Although in the very early stages, we can see that this is the way forward for documenting evidence of progression for our learners. As most of our learners are visual learners this is an excellent way of engaging them in looking at and raising their awareness of what they are learning and what their strengths are. It is a good focus for literacy and development of communication skills as well as working on the use of digital technology.”
Rosslyn Lee, the Glow Development Officer, worked one morning with the classroom assistants who work with four of the pupils. They set up and customised the blogs to reflect the personalities of the pupils and learned how to make posts and upload photos of the pupils.
A few months later, the parents of each child were invited in to a workshop with Rosslyn where the rationale behind the blogs was explained to them. They also logged into their child’s blog and learned how to make posts and upload photographs. This means that each of these four children can now have their achievements within and outwith school, recorded electronically.
The parents were very enthusiastic about the blogs and generated a lot of discussion about what could be uploaded into them. Rosslyn showed them how to create a photo gallery and talked about the possibility of linking to videos in the school’s Microsoft Video Channel.
This was originally a pilot with only four pupils, however the school have recently decided to proceed with individual blogs for all their learners next year as a way of recording evidence of successes and achievement.