Addressing Underachievement (Primary)

Jarlath McElholm

Sacred Heart Primary School, Tattyreagh

Key Messages

  • Identify pupils that are struggling with literacy as early as possible. Early intervention is extremely important.

  • Training Classroom Assistants in phonographics/Sounds-Write/Reading partnership etc is an affordable way to address underachievement and is beneficial not only for the pupil but also the member of staff.

  • The impact of addressing underachievement early on through the support of Classroom Assistants trained in phonographics and Reading Partnership allows pupils to achieve to their maximum potential.

  • Deployment of a trained Classroom Assistant also allows the underachieving pupil much more frequent our case 20 mins daily (as opposed to a 1 hour weekly session with Peripatetic teachers from EA) until such times as the phonics programme is complete.

  • Be clear which programme is of more benefit to the children. The 2 programmes we employed are quite specific and aimed at different learners with different needs.

Jarlath's Top Tips

  • Look at personnel in the school that may be willing to get additional training in addressing underachievement.

  • Get parents on board; with Reading Partnership in particular, reassure them that this is additional support not the recognition of a learning difficulty...some may be taken by surprise that this is considered “necessary” when in actual fact it is a short-term programme to improve standards of those identified as having greater potential.

  • Keep Classroom Assistants or whoever has supported those pupils who were identified as underachieving up to date on the progress of pupils that they have supported in earlier years. Keep Classroom Assistants abreast of their pupils individual stats before, during and after their programme is completed.

  • Show appreciation to the Classroom Assistants for taking in the additional training and providing this necessary support. They are enabling the child to get the individual support he/she needs so be sure to celebrate the Classroom Assistants input into the success stories.

To Recap

  • What have you tried or are currently doing to address underachievement in your class/es?

  • With ever-expanding waiting times for Ed Psych assessments and subsequent support services are all key personnel being used to the best of their abilities?