THIS IS THE ONLY COMPLETE SOLUTION FOR SPECIAL SCHOOLS AND SENCOS IN THE UK
THE SIX FACILITIES THAT PUT EARWIG HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE EVERY OTHER SEND ASSESSMENT SOFTWARE PACKAGE
THERE ARE OTHER PACKAGES THAT PROVIDE SOME OF THESE FEATURES. ONLY EARWIG PROVIDES ALL OF THEM – AND PROVIDES EACH ONE MORE ACCESSIBLY, ELEGANTLY AND EFFICIENTLY THAN ANY OTHER. EQUALLY IMPORTANT IS THE FACT THAT EARWIG IS BACKED UP BY FULL TECHNICAL AND PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT WHICH IS PERSONAL, HANDS-ON AND, WHERE NECESSARY, IN-SCHOOL.
EARWIG IS THE NEW KID ON THE SEN BLOCK. SO WE ARE CONSTANTLY DEVELOPING THE SOFTWARE AND FACILITIES, AT THE INSTIGATION OF OUR CLIENTS. IT’S A BIT LIKE HAVING YOUR OWN SET OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS – BUT A LOT CHEAPER!
1. THE KEY TO RELEVANT, VIVID TEACHING EVIDENCE – THE EARWIG TIMELINE
Even with a team in the classroom, special needs teachers need to be on alert at all times. They don’t have time to spend creating evidence records in the old-fashioned way. This means that this work is mostly done outside school hours.
The Earwig App makes capturing evidence easy and fast. Snap a photo, a video or a document and turn it into a useful record in seconds - or send it to Earwig where you can deal with it later.
Teachers can link each record to any specific objective or statement in any assessment framework, even objectives created specifically for one pupil.
Commentary can be typed or even dictated, and each record can contain as many images or documents, or as much video as you like. There is no limit. And because it all happens in the cloud, there are no images left on devices to stray outside the school.
So, what happens to these records? At any point a pupil, subject, topic or target timeline of the relevant evidence can be produced in one click containing all the records created by the staff. These are an elegant way to show the achievements of pupils, teachers and the school as a whole.
When making formative assessments, you can select any curriculum or target set and click on an objective to see exactly what evidence you have.
You can check on previous grades, make notes about assessment considerations and also track each child’s grade progress from term to term and year to year.
There are lots of other features to help you to see where the evidence gaps are, and to make sure that they are covered.
You can create similar records for the whole class, all in one go. You can even use the process to identify the next steps for each pupil and create individual lesson plans with a couple of clicks.
Earwig is full of features to help you enrich your evidence base, make accurate and clear assessment decisions and produce simple, elegant reports. You may not use them all, but the ones you do will make a big difference to your workload.
2. THE KEY TO AN EFFECTIVE FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT PROCESS – EARWIG TRACKING AND REPORTING
Implementing a formative assessment process for special needs pupils can add considerably to staff workloads, across the school. We split these into six activities. These are
- 1 creating and then reviewing evidence for each target for each pupil
- 2 making an accurate assessment using the most appropriate scale
- 3 setting expectations for each pupil
- 4 tracking each pupil’s assessments over time
- 5 analysing progress by pupil/class/cohort or other group
- 6 producing accurate and elegant pupil and group reports
All these tasks can be made so much easier with the right tools. Earwig has put in the hard work behind the scenes to make it all easy for even the most technophobic teachers.
Here are just a few of features that Earwig offers, as standard. Each of these has been added to the package at the request of and in consultation with one or more Earwig client schools.
Even if you only use some of them, any combination will help you to achieve a more professional output, more relaxed staff, better teaching and better outcomes for pupils.
- a Daily automatic synchronisation between Earwig and your school database. This means that you no longer need to update the system when changes occur, either during or at the end of the year. It is all automatic.
- b The ability to configure the grading, scores, colours and thresholds, for any framework, to make it fit each school’s pedagogy. You choose exactly how each scheme works for you.
- c Earwig tracks every small step taken by each child. Because progress for special children can be slow. Earwig’s built-in scoring system is designed to illustrate progress in small steps.
- d Tracking pupil grades across term and years, down to any level.
- e Analysing each pupil’s progress, at any level of detail.
- f Baselining. And comparing performance to baselines.
- g Setting teacher expectations for each pupil, for any subject, topic or other target set.
- h Enabling a wide variety of pupil report formats, if necessary, supported by evidence.
- i Providing one-click performance analysis, against all the conventional and special needs categories.
In addition, Earwig, is constantly developing new report styles and facilities in response to requests from schools.
We also provide in-school training and one-to-one online support to ensure that staff members know how to get the most from all these facilities. Each client school enjoys a free Annual Review Meetings in-school, with an Earwig expert, to ensure that the SLT and staff stay up to date and always have the latest curricula and assessment facilities available to them.
3. THE KEY TO PUPIL-CENTRED LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT - EDITABLE EHCP-BASED TARGETS
In the post-Rochford era, schools are encouraged to individualise their curricula and formative assessment targets for SEND pupils of all categories. This is particularly important at the lower age and ability ranges.
But this creates another laborious and time-consuming admin task for staff and also makes measuring and reporting on progress quite difficult.
Thankfully, Earwig have spent the last two years working with the leading special schools to build a fully editable EHCP-based objective setting and assessment module, to make it all easy, quick and beautifully presented.
Further to this, it is also possible to embed the new Engagement Model measures into each of the targets you create.
Setting up specific learning goals for each pupil with special needs has always been a good idea and this has received considerable impetus as a result of the Rochford Review and subsequent DfE pronouncements. The recommendation now is to move towards individualised sets of targets for any pupil with an Education, Health and Care Plan. This set of targets should, ideally, be based broadly on the long-term outcome objectives laid out in their EHCP. And progress for each child should be measured against these, rather than a fixed set of P-level statements.
In addition, special schools are now required to assess children working below P4 for engagement, as well as progress. The DfE guidance on this is laid out in the Standards and Testing Agency paper called The Engagement Model which is quite specific about what is required and also that it should be in place by September 2020.
This will unquestionably add further to teacher admin loads and detract from the main business of the care and development of children with SLD or PMLD. Our role is to make the job of the special needs teacher easier. Earwig have therefore produced a new framework which is specific to each pupil and based on their own EHCP objectives. It is editable by teachers, who set their own long, medium and short term objectives and evolve these over time as the pupil and EHCP objectives change.
Because these new targets and measures are all created in Earwig, the teachers and assistants can link their teaching evidence directly to the targets that they have written, using the Earwig app or online. The grading, tracking and reporting of these targets is therefore consistent with the other assessment frameworks used by the school.
Producing the individual pupil EHCP Annual Review Report for the local authority, throughout the year, also takes up a great deal of time and effort. This makes Earwig’s special local authority approved automated reports a godsend as they cut the admin time by at least 50%.
Finally, if you would prefer to use an alternative engagement measure, you can add MAPP, Engagement for Learning or any other engagement scheme to your EHCP-based targets for each child. Just get in touch with us to discuss how to do this.
The new Ofsted inspection framework specifically asks about which new measures have been implemented at the school to reduce staff stress. With Earwig, this question is easy to answer!
4. THE KEY TO ALL-ROUND ASSESSMENT FOR EACH PUPIL - MANY FRAMEWORKS - ONE PACKAGE
The first requirement of a modern assessment process for special needs is that it must be capable of handling all the different assessment schemes and target outcomes that special schools and their specialist staff and therapists are likely to want to create or use.
To achieve a rounded view of each child, schools use different assessment or monitoring frameworks. Usually, this means different processes or different software packages. Earwig, we believe, is the only facility that can accommodate all these frameworks within one system.
Earwig was built, from the start, to accommodate as many different forms of assessment structures as a school chooses to adopt. The Earwig SEND Assessment Platform currently features more than 100 different schemes for formative assessment, each with a huge variety of setup and grading options, and we are adding to these every week. They include:
- EHCP-based target sets, which can be individualised to each pupil.
- The new Engagement Model and variations, which can be stand-alone or embedded into other frameworks.
- A huge number of different specialist frameworks for:
- behavioural development
- cognitive skills
- functional skills
- occupational development
- personal development
- physical development
- Custom frameworks devised by the individual special school for their particular situation or pupil cohort.
- The EYFS framework and variations of this designed for SEN.
- P-Scales and PIVATS, which are still widely used.
- The new Pre-Key Stage 1 Standards for those working up to this level.
- Various versions of the national curriculum, from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4.
- Adult qualification courses like AQA and Open Awards.
- Other ‘All Through’ SEN frameworks covering the whole range, from Pre-formal to Formal right up to GCSE which have been designed to replace P-Scales across all age ranges.
Schools can view and test any number of these in Earwig before deciding which ones are appropriate for their pupils. Once the decision is made, Earwig will set the whole thing up for you – a big advantage. It is our job to get you equipped to do the best job for your pupils and to make sure that it works for your school.
Sometimes, this means evolving as you go along. So, it’s fortunate that Earwig allows you to add further curricula as things change, or to modify existing ones – another unusual and useful feature.
As an Earwig school, you can also allow therapists and agencies to add their own assessment schemes and summative test results into Earwig. This means that all your assessment data is in one place, with one consistent analytics package providing single-click elegant reporting for the SLT.
Your staff, therefore, only need to learn one software package for all the teaching evidence, assessment and reporting activity, right across the school.
5. THE KEY TO IMPROVED PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT – THE EARWIG PARENT DASHBOARD
The quality of parental engagement achieved by the school is a consideration in every full Ofsted inspection report.
This is for the very good reason that involving parents in each child’s learning is important in improving their motivation and providing a rounded picture of their development, whether they are high achievers or have multiple difficulties.
Many schools are nervous about strategies to increase parental involvement because parents can be very time consuming.
Earwig solves this by providing schools with a ready-made parent interface which provides each parent with a window into their child’s life at school, with no extra effort from the staff at all.
If appropriate, it even allows parents to create observations of their own and add these to the record of their child’s learning journey.
To achieve this, Earwig...
- a Provides parents with a personal login to the school’s secure account in the cloud, where they can see the records pertinent to their child. This gives them an almost real-time window into activity in the school and enables parents to feel more involved by giving them an opportunity to discuss school activity with their children and even to respond to the teacher about new things that the child is doing.
- b All children benefit from this additional interaction, but it is particularly valuable for children who, for any reason, have communication difficulties.
- c Some schools like to engage parents further by allowing them to record their own observations of achievements at home and add these to the evidence base for their child.
- d This last feature has an additional value. It can be used to provide therapists and other outside agencies involved with any pupils with special needs with a suitable place to access to that child’s current performance data even to add their own evidence and test results.
At the core of this is the principle that there should be one place where all those concerned with the welfare and progress of a child with special needs can come together (virtually) to share data, celebrate achievement and generally make sure that everyone is on the same page.
6. THE KEYS TO MINIMISING WORKLOAD - THE APP AND THE ANALYTIC ENGINE
Many Earwig schools are rated outstanding by Ofsted. In spite of the fact that most Outstanding schools inspected in 2019 were downgraded, no Earwig school has ever received an Ofsted downgrade. Needless to say, we are very keen for that record to continue in the light of the new Inspection Framework guidelines published last year.
One of the new questions added to the Inspectors list is ‘What have you done to reduce staff workloads?’.
There is a danger that, when you introduce new software and processes, output increases and workload stays the same. So we should like to highlight two areas where the time saving is so great that even an increase in output, staff will find themselves with more free time than they currently have.
The first time saver is the Earwig app. This has been demonstrated to cut the time that teachers take to record evidence by 50% to 60%. So, teacher can take more evidence, organise it much better and still have time left over of other more productive things. They can do it in the classroom or during a break. They key thing is that it is done quickly and accurately and the results are vivid and useful. Word-of-mouth evidence suggests that, on average, teachers save 45 minutes a week.
The other group in the school who really save a lot of time and effort are the SLT and anyone who is responsible for producing school or class performance analytics, or even pupil reports.
The Earwig analytical engine allows leaders to analyse the performance of any pupil cohort for any subject or curriculum and to produce whatever tables and charts are required, with a few clicks and the wealth of pupil report templates available means that every school can produce reports in just the format they like, with all the data already inserted, just waiting for teachers to add their little bits of wisdom to the page.
One vivid example of this is the EHCP Annual Review Report, which takes most of the work out of preparing for each child’s annual review, whenever in the year that takes place. When you have Earwig in place, your holidays really are holidays!
WHATEVER HAPPENS, YOU STAY IN FRONT
We don’t need to tell you that the assessment climate in special needs has been in a state of flux for years. Policy changes and ‘guidance’ documents from the DfE constantly move the goalposts.
No doubt, this is leading to better pedagogy and outcomes for pupils, but it still makes it very difficult for teachers and, particularly, school leaders to make sure that their school stays ahead of the game.
This is another reason why Earwig is so important for SEND educators. We deal directly with the DfE and keep our fingers on the pulse, continuously evolving the Earwig systems, processes and training, in consultation with the leading special school in the country, to make sure that you are always ahead of the game.
This means that, whatever policy or pedagogy changes may happen in future, Earwig will evolve to accommodate this. So you only need one software package across the school – for the foreseeable future. Once trained, staff can focus on teaching, rather than learning new processes.
Because Earwig is cloud-based, we can easily add facilities and change protocols to deal with new requirements from authorities or schools. Earwig is updated daily. So you are always running the latest version of the software without you ever having to run a system upgrade.
Here are a few examples of recently introduced features.
Measure progress against teacher-set expectations rather than against a complete framework.
Earwig pupil reports measure progress against teacher-set expectations, rather than monolithic framework totals, further individualising assessment and reporting.
Baselines can be set each year, to add to the data set and the Next Steps feature provides teacher with a single click lesson planner.
Apply the Engagement Model to any existing framework to bring it into line with the new DfE guidance.
The flexibility of Earwig and its consequent ability to respond to DfE ‘guidelines’ is well illustrated by the fact that Earwig schools can now add the Engagement Model to any of the existing assessment frameworks that they already use, without breaking step or having to set up complete new assessment processes.
Identify ‘Key’ and ‘Example’ records for inclusion in reports and for moderation.
Special schools take lots of evidence. So it’s handy to be able to identify key records, records suitable for moderation meetings, records with safeguarding relevance and those which require the attention of particular members of staff. Earwig records can also award Gold, Silver, Bronze and Well Done awards to pupils, to share with parents.
Produce a complete EHCP Annual Review Report for the Local Authority, with a couple of clicks, at any time of year.
A classic recent Earwig timesaver for any school with pupils on EHCPs. Now teachers can produce complete Annual Review reports, including grades, history, financials and Outcome relevance, with a few clicks. Of course, staff still have to add their commentaries, but this can save large amounts of admin time. Some local authorities have agreed that these reports are a complete substitute for their time consuming, manually completed forms.
HOW DO I MAKE THIS HAPPEN?
If you would like to talk to other schools, dealing with similar types of disability, which are already using the package we will be happy to put you in touch.
Contact Earwig for a free demonstration of the system. All special schools have unique sets of disabilities to deal with and methodologies for optimising pupil outcomes. So we work with you to configure a specific set of processes and progress measurement schemes which reflects your assessment strategy. We then monitor this with your SLT annually to evolve you’re the right implementation and training plan to keep your school ahead of the game – wherever the goalposts move in future.
The result is a professional and elegantly presented teaching evidence and assessment process for your whole school, from early years to adult learning. This enables staff to relax because they can
1. Reduce the time they spend on this aspect of the teacher’s workload
2. Improve the quality of evidence and reporting
3. Always stay abreast of changes in SEND pedagogy
This will help the school ensure that teaching outcomes for every child are better and more consistent and that the school is always ready for that phone call.