Please give a brief introduction to the school
Millfield L.E.A.D. Academy is a relatively small primary school with 430 pupils from Reception to Year 6.
Anything special to mention with regards to the types of children in the school or the area where it is based?
It is funded as a County school, located on the edge of a city, with limited funds and similar issues to an inner-city primary.
What is your role with the Screening for Schools project.
I am the Business Manager and I was introduced to the screening project by a parent who is a manager for Specsavers. They offered to help set up the screening programme within our school.
What year groups were used for the screening?
In 2016 the whole school was tested which took 6-8 weeks.
Which member of staff runs the testing?
At the beginning of the project it was with the parent and the first aider. Now it is the first aider and we plan to retest the whole school in the Autumn term 2017. I feel that it works best when there are two people involved in the testing.
What are the sort of issues with the pupils’ eyesight that has been picked up using the Screening for Schools equipment?
We found issues with pupils’ eyesight and sent off letters to parents encouraging them to visit the opticians immediately after the test was taken. Quite a few pupils returned to school with glasses.
Is this an improvement in what you had in place previously? If so why or how?
Between 10-15% of the pupils tested were recommended a visit to the opticians and this is something that would not have been picked up previously. I am of the opinion that is an important step forward in helping the children. The importance of running the test is that it provided the school with the prompt for parents to visit the opticians.
Children that were having problems reading are now wearing glasses and we have noticed a big improvement in the school.
What has impressed you most about the Screening for Schools equipment and how it is used in your school?
It is straightforward and easy to use. It is also not scary for children and is friendly and easy for them to understand what to do. The glasses provided lasted well and replacements were easily given via the support web page which comes as part of the project.
What improvements would you be looking for to help make it better?
Maybe linking with the local shops or in Specsavers setting up an Education team who help schools setup and run the tests.
How easy/hard is it to use? Is there a need for training or is it something that can be easily picked up when you get the kit and read the instructions?
Putting in the data was not difficult for us. Obtaining parental permission can be a big issue for projects of this sort. The solution is to ask the parents to opt out of this. So we told parents that we were going to run these tests and if they did not wish their child to do so they could opt out. Few parents took this option. This is useful for schools to know about.
In using the database for recording the results – how have you found it to use? Easy/hard?
It wasn’t too difficult to use after a some practice.
How helpful is it that the software produced pre-generated letters for the parents?
This is ESSENTIAL, if these were not part of the package it would not have been used. Schools like ours have very little time for additional administration and anything that can save time is important. We found these great and needed the minimum amount of work and resources to send out to parents.
Have you had to make recommendations to parents for their children to visit the opticians as a direct result of being screened?
Out of 430 pupils between 45 – 60 were asked to visit an optician. These are significant numbers.
Are you able to relate some interesting experiences (anonymised) which we can use in the case study?
No specifics but it was the sight of a row of children sitting together as they waited to be tested and the excitement generated and the little conversations while sitting there that will live long in the memory of those who witnessed it during those 6-8 weeks in 2016.
Would you recommend to other schools to screen their pupils using the Screening for Schools system?
Highly recommended, but understand it needs staffing resources.
Can you think of a phrase or word to best describe its impact on your school?
It did ‘open our eyes’ that there are young people that need further optical investigation.