Evidence of improvement in learners’ achievements, retention and progression
One learner worked on his spellings daily and reflected upon this on his PLP, where you can see an improvement in some spellings, including, for example, the word “finish, speaking and paint”. This focus on improvement wasn’t consistent, but progress was still demonstrated through his PLP and workbook. Early indications suggest that those involved with the phonics activities made good progress and were successful in terms of absorbing new reading and spelling strategies.
Another prisoner who benefitted from the resources was a young offender from a different construction workshop, who had not attended school, struggled with spelling and had dyslexia and ADHD (see Figure 10d-3).
The learner reflected:
“No-one has ever taught me how to break down words into syllables. I used to try and rush spelling to get it over with. Now that I take my time, it is coming along great.”
Case Study 1
A learner from the main construction department at HMP Durham, who is a challenging learner, made the following progress:
• completed a construction course at HMP Durham with some behavioural issues along the way
• engaged daily with vocational tutor to work on his spellings
• kept a record of work/progress within his workbook /PLP
• went on to a more academic course, Think Family, where he praised the previous vocational tutor’s support.
• He is now on a Changing Lives Programme working alongside the Shannon Trust daily to improve his spelling and reading.
Case Study 2
A learner within our catering workshop engaged in a series of 1:1 sessions with the instructor who used a phonics-based approach to spelling.
The learner identified spelling as a weakness and wanted to be able to correctly spell culinary terms, specifically some French words. He was very particular about his work and didn’t like spelling errors being corrected.
• agreed to implement a spelling log at the front of his portfolio
• enjoyed using a strength-based approach, marking either letters or graphemes within the word individually to encourage and motivate.
• responded well to the adaptation as it fitted with his individual needs and he was able to demonstrate improvement in the spelling of vocationally specific words.
As a result, the learner was much happier and he even began asking for correct spellings rather than guessing. The tutor would then employ the phonics-based approach to encourage him to identify the graphemes involved rather than simply ’telling him’, evidencing a change in practice.
The training also had a positive impact on the tutor, empowering her to ‘think outside the box’ as she felt more confident in approaching English within her vocational setting. She also gained the confidence to repeat the process with other learners, adapting for individual need and linking into ILP and class profiles to further document the support and progress of the learners.