Willows High School, Cardiff

Please give a brief introduction to the school

A mixed High School in Cardiff  with 700 pupils from Years 7-11.

Anything special to mention with regards to the types of children in the school or the area where it is based?

There is a high percentage of free school meal pupils on the roll.

What is your role with the Screening for Schools project.

I am the School Librarian and run Dyslexia testing for all students, so was given this as part of my remit. I have been doing this for 2 years now.

What year groups were used for the screening?

In the first year, Years 7, 8 and 9 were tested. This year it was Year 7 (120  pupils) which took 1 week to do. It took approximately 3 minutes to test each pupil.

Which member of staff runs the testing?

I carry out the testing as part of my role.

What are the sort of issues with the pupils’ eyesight that has been picked up using the Screening for Schools equipment?

It mainly highlights pupils that are short sighted and also colour blindness both in boys and girls (I was surprised at the number of girls that were flagged up for colour blindness).

Is this an improvement in what you had in place previously? If so why or how?

17% of pupils tested were referred to an optician. Letters were sent to parents and these pupils will be retested in 2 years time. EAL students can be tested very easily too as there is no need to know the English language well in order to take part in the tests. This is really helpful.

It has made a big improvement to the school as previously we had not tested eyesight. It has already made a difference in class as teachers are aware that they need to move around 80 pupils to the front of the class and the sort of issues with eyesight these pupils have.

What has impressed you most about the Screening for Schools equipment and how it is used in your school?

The most impressive aspect of the equipment is how easy it is to use. It all comes in a box and the instructions are very clear.

What improvements would you be looking for to help make it better?

The most difficult part is getting the pupil data onto the system. A video explaining how this can be done would be most useful and also an online chat with someone would make a big difference to this area.

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?

Rating of ease of use  – 0 not easy – 10 – easiest

Box of contents
Rating: 10 100%
Testing
Rating: 10 100%
Setting up the database
Rating: 3 30%
Using the database
Rating: 7 70%

In using the database for recording the results – how have you found it to use? Easy/hard?

The database is relatively easy to use. Improvements –  A quick way of finding any failed screenings and then printing the letters en masse.

How helpful is it that the software produced pre-generated letters for the parents?

This is very helpful, but I was not aware that you can amend the letters, so another video on how this could be done would be most useful.

Have you had to make recommendations to parents for their children to visit the opticians as a direct result of being screened?

Out of 120 pupils tested this year – 20 (17%) were recommended visits to opticians. Last year it was between 20 and 30 in each year group tested (Years 7, 8 and 9).

Are you able to relate some interesting experiences (anonymised) which we can use in the case study?

A girl in an SEN class was given the test. She couldn’t read any of the letters during the test and was recommended a visit to the opticians. She attended an appointment and was issued glasses. This has lead to a big improvement in her behaviour since she has started to wear her glasses to school and can see clearly.

Would you recommend to other schools to screen their pupils using the Screening for Schools system?

Yes, 100% recommended, it has made a difference to Willows High School.

Can you think of a phrase or word to best describe its impact on your school?

Revolutionary – because we can ‘see’ their problems.

labelled diagram of human eye

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