Headteacher of Pocklington Infant School, Dr Lynn Bartram, has led her school’s implementation and regular use of Chatta with a clear focus on helping support teaching and learning priorities.
“Pupils were struggling to formulate quality sentences orally and then capture that in written form,” explains Lynn, who leads the school with an inclusive and ambitious ethos with high expectations for all pupils.
Staff have taken to using Chatta quickly and easily which has helped develop consistently strong practice in modelling, scaffolding and talk-based teaching and the development of oracy skills and vocabulary use.
‘Immediate Positive Response’
Lynn was pleased with the immediate positive response from staff at the school and the way Chatta fitted seamlessly with their teaching without impacting on workload. Lynn says, “When teachers saw the pupils’ engagement with Chatta they realised the benefits. Children are engaged in Chatta lessons. All children including SEND / PP engage. Teachers have recognised that Chatta can support learning beyond just English and have used it in RE/Science etc.”
Chatta is used by teachers and teaching assistants at Pocklington Infants School. Emotional Learning Support Assistant, Mel Saltmer, has used Chatta extensively in her work with children and pioneered an impactful and innovative ‘Pupil Voice’ project which she and Lynn designed.
‘Children Feel Empowered and Excited’
Mel saw the benefits of Chatta immediately. She explains, “The research behind Chatta and seeing it in action in another school inspired me to become involved. For me the use of Chatta in the classroom is great and where I feel that it has made a huge difference is giving SEND children a voice in their learning. Children feel empowered and excited when they use Chatta. Pupils who are struggling writers can compose an oral sentence, ‘magpie’ ideas from peers and use these to improve their own oral skills.”
‘Improvement in Written Work’
Mel is impressed with pupils’ written work and also the way families have found Chatta valuable. “Chatta is used across a range of subjects to support children’s oracy and to improve pupils’ vocabulary. This has led to an improvement in pupils’ written work. We have also used Chatta to capture SEND Pupil Voice – making their voice truly heard at review meetings. Parents have found this to be particularly helpful.”
‘Difference was Amazing’
Mel says Chatta is effective and successful at Pocklington Infants School and is impressed with the “ease of use; the way children can use it independently, its accessibility to all, and the way it combines visual and oral modelling.” The impact is rapid and progress is obvious. “As part of the Pupil Voice project we were able to share two recordings of an SEND child, one at the beginning of Year 2 and one at the end describing how he was supported in school – the difference in his confidence, sentence structure and clarity was amazing,” Mel explains.
‘An Integral Part of our Toolkit’
Lynn is committed to supporting staff, pupils and families through Chatta, saying, “As an infant school speech, language and communication development are foundational skills; Chatta has a really strong place in our toolkit to support pupils in meeting the Early Learning Goals in Communication & Language and the KS1 English objectives. Chatta provides SEND children a true voice and empowers them. I see it as an integral part of our toolkit – we will continue to invest in teacher training and have the expectation that staff use Chatta to support communication and language skills.”
Mel continues to work with children to support their progress and the Pupil Voice project is something that has attracted the interest of several other schools. Mel and Lynn have designed Chatta templates which are available in the Chatta software making it easy for teachers and teaching assistants to access everything they need to implement the project. Mel recommends Chatta and says, “I would encourage teachers to give Chatta a go and see how it opens up opportunities for all children to develop their oracy and written skills.”