Director of Primary Education, The White Horse Federation
Having first seen both Lindsay and Christine speak at the NACE conference in 2016,
our subject leads were so inspired that we were really keen to secure their guidance / expertise in MAT wide themes that had arisen.
They worked with us over the course of 4 sessions starting in 2017 and
at all times their advice / resources / responses were rooted in the most up to date research always coupled with practical ideas that teachers could take away and implement immediately but with strategies to implement for longer term, sustainable change back in their settings.
I could wax lyrical about all their training sessions but of particular note was the session on Vocabulary Acquisition which – by outlining a clear strategy- has had a significant impact in all our schools especially those with a higher proportion of EAL students.
In essence, what shines through is their ability to keep what young learners need to make the curriculum meaningful and give teachers the strategies to enable this.
Headteacher at Cleves Junior School, Weybridge
I have turned to Lindsay and Chris to guide school improvement work and to support staff development time and time again and every time they have delivered. Having led schools that range from outstanding to requiring rapid improvement I can tell you that Chris and Lindsay always have something valuable to offer.
Chris and Lindsay bring a wealth of knowledge and great enthusiasm for literacy. They are almost obsessive in their interest in literacy and determination to share great practice.
Chris and Lindsay bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to schools. They are rigorous when evaluating school practice, identify next steps for improvement but best of all can work alongside staff to bring rapid improvement.
Time and time again staff have described their training sessions and support as inspirational. Chris and Lindsay have a way of getting teachers to reflect on their own practice, feel positive about their teaching but still find ways to improve.
Although we are a high achieving school with results we are proud of, Chris and Lindsay have helped us identify some important next steps and new ways to develop pupils writing further.
LTSA Teaching School LeadNQT/SLE/CPD/ITT Kingston
Chris and Lindsay have delivered over the last three years and continue to deliver a programme of English CPD for Latchmere Teaching School Alliance.
The evaluations for their courses are overwhelmingly positive with a 100% success rate for impact on teachers’ practice in their own classrooms and on their schools as a whole.
In particular, courses on greater depth writing across KS2 and vocabulary acquisition have been requested with Chris and Lindsay using their expert knowledge to deliver this content effectively.
Headteacher of Thames Ditton Infant School, The Ember Learning Trust
Chris and Lindsay have led key professional development INSETs for staff across the Ember Learning Trust, a co-operative trust of 5 and then 6 schools, over the last year.
The first ones focussed on KS2 grammar session and EYFS & KS1 writing which took a broad approach, looking at the key skills and aspects of writing and what contributes to eventual success by age 7. The most recent one focussed on phonic and spelling development from EYFS to year 6.
Chris and Lindsay are expert in their field and inspire through their delivery, engaging and challenging all staff. This has led to strong developments in these areas across the schools as a result.
We would certainly wish to provide further opportunity for our staff to further develop as a result of their training.
Headteacher of Thames Ditton Junior School, The Ember Learning Trust
Christine led a two-hour twilight session on grammar earlier in the year with our group of schools within the Ember Learning Trust – a group of six primary schools in north-east Surrey.
It can be difficult to inspire a group of teachers after a full day’s work, especially on the subject of grammar, but it was very well received by all of those taking part with lots of practical ideas to implement in the classroom. Lindsay led a similar session later in the year focusing on the teaching of spelling, which again enthused our teachers. We will definitely invite them back to work with our staff again.
Headteacher of Burlington Junior School, Kingston
Lindsay has led reading, spelling and writing training at Burlington Junior School over the years. His training is excellent, staff always look forward to his INSET sessions and enthusiastically implement Lindsay’s ideas once back in the classroom.Lindsay has also supported staff with English planning, the teaching of guided reading and managing independent tasks within those sessions, and carried out a reading audit within the school to assist with our school development plan. His advice and support is highly valued and appreciated and he is already booked to work with Burlington Juniors and other local schools in our cluster next term, which we know will be highly beneficial and developmental for all the staff.
Headteacher of St Richard’s Primary School, Richmond
Over the past few years we have used both Christine and Lindsay to support improvement in our school.
Christine supported us in thinking about extending our pupils in the light of the new Curriculum. Her INSETs focused on Teaching and Learning and supporting high attaining pupils. Staff found her very approachable and down to earth but were inspired by her enthusiasm and the range of suggestions and resources she sign-posted them to.
Her sessions supported improvements by pointing teachers in the direction of some relevant research and challenging teachers to deepen pupils thinking, consider lateral thinking and think about meta-cognition. We looked at what Mastery means and this set the foundation for thinking about how to broaden our teaching.
More recently Lindsay and Christine have jointly led moderation sessions with a local cluster of schools. At these sessions they made sure that teachers were not only moderating but where thinking about next steps for supporting their pupils to make even more progress. Again they were realistic in their expectations of teachers whilst challenging them to keep improving.
I am happy to recommend them to work with your federation and imagine that they could deliver excellent conference presentations as well as in school improvement sessions.
Headteacher of Burlington InfantSchool, Kingston
As an outstanding school, we are always keen to continually develop our practice and offer high quality CPD for our staff.
Chris and Lindsay have been instrumental in ensuring the very best outcomes for our children in Literacy over the years. We learn something new and consolidate best practice with every visit. Their training is always focused, well researched, practical, and inspirational.
Over the past 5 years, Lindsay has delivered bespoke training in Literacy with our teachers, Literacy Leaders and our parents. The impact of Lindsay’s work has helped us to reflect on our own practice and strengthen reading at our school. Reading continues to be a strength and we are now consistently above national and Kingston at the end of KS1.
Chris carried out an intensive piece of work at Burlington over the course of a year, supporting the school through the introduction of a new KS1 curriculum and assessment without levels. The school was very well supported at a time of uncertainty and change.
Chris also delivered a number of insets including one on developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ school. This has now become part of the ethos at Burlington and we are very proud of our children who look forward to learning from their ‘good mistakes’ every day.
I cannot recommend Chris and Lindsay enough.
Inspector for Literacy, Kingston-upon-Thames
Senior School Improvement Partner
Testimonial: Lindsay Pickton and Christine Chen
As line manager and colleague to Lindsay and Christine for most of my twelve years as Inspector for Literacy in Kingston-upon-Thames, I am a strong advocate for their continuing work to raise standards of literacy in our schools.
During more than forty years in education as teacher, headteacher, inspector and advisor I found both Chris and Lindsay were the most able, committed and engaging advisors with whom I had the privilege to work.
Their high expectations were reflected in creative and challenging strategies for engaging the most able. Their use of active, participatory approaches to promote deeper understanding of text, sentence and word level for all pupils is consistently impressive. They recognise the key links between good writing and reading in developing pupils’ formal literacy skills and confidence in speaking.
No less important, the high quality of advice and support Chris and Lindsay give teachers is accessible, motivating and underpinned by sophisticated understanding of the assessment systems pupils and teachers are required to undertake in their day-to-day work.
Chris and Lindsay understand how to build capacity for literacy improvement at both whole school and individual level. Their creative thinking and organizational skills are exceptional and widely acknowledged by teachers and headteachers with whom they have worked over time.
Cathy Clarke (OBE for services to education)
Senior School Improvement Advisor, Achieving for Children
I have worked with Lindsay and Chris on and off for the last 16 years. They have supported many aspects of literacy and curriculum development in both the schools of which I was Head Teacher.
Lindsay has worked with our whole staff, first through delivering extended training on teaching and preparing children to write. Our pupils had very low levels of language and experience. They were not natural readers, nor did they come from homes in which they were exposed to conversation or cultural experiences. He took our staff – from support staff to senior staff – through the writing process, from text immersion through drama, to drafting and redrafting.
His training was always practical, accessible to all, but more importantly inspirational.In the drama element he took time to demonstrate how to lift the level of the drama and focus pupils on details and then the related language which they might then use within their own writing. And they did!
Similarly, both he and Chris trained our staff in shared writing – modelling to them as if in a lesson. Again this had huge impact in terms of staff confidence, motivation and skill. They then worked alongside individual staff to consolidate and further build confidence. With the emphasis we needed to have on language development, we have asked them to make much of the work text based. With them, we have researched, explored and then trained staff on how to use excerpts/texts to explore meaning, inference, the nuances of author intent and choice of language with children. We also asked Lindsay to work with staff whose grammar was not on the level needed to ensure they provided good and correct models to our children. Adults were cautious and uneasy about this, but he immediately put them at ease, while not compromising the expectation that this was non- negotiable.
Another scope of their work for us was to support moderation and assessment of both reading and writing and ensuring staff learned how to accurately identify the things which would best help each of their pupils improve. This was invaluable and while lifting the skill level of our staff was integral to accelerating progress and ensuring pupils learned securely.
Supporting pupils to achieve greater depth has been a challenge for us and our staff; again, this has been supported by using literature, modelling and helping staff to see how to conference pupils, how to model to them illustratively made huge impact.
Chris has done much work with us on the wider curriculum, our intent, our planning skills referring to research as she did. Staff have found this so useful and recently I know her input was commended in an OFSTED inspection.
Both Lindsay and Chris are research and process driven; they are intent on ensuring our staff leave them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach the elements successfully.
Their training is quite inspirational and very effective.I have recommended them to many other schools, all of whom have reported favourably on the engaging approach, the knowledge, and skill each brings.
Headteacher of Grand Avenue Primary School, Kingston
We had been struggling with how to keep the children’s enthusiasm and joy for writing alive whilst ensuring the requirements for punctuation and grammar are fully understood and applied as well as the need for vocabulary and spelling to be used accurately.
So, in September this year, Christine and Lindsay led an INSET with KS2 staff on Teaching Writing to Greater Depth.
They gave us practical and enjoyable ways and games to teach and reinforce grammatical skills but more importantly, they took us through how to choose great texts for models for writing as the vehicle to help children develop their author’s craft. As a result, pupil voice tells us that the majority of children love writing and the quality across KS2 has started to show significant improvement. And somewhat unexpectedly, the children’s enthusiasm for reading has also risen.
Both Christine and Lindsay have supported us in many ways over the years, including working with year groups to identify and unpick misconceptions and ‘sticking points’ and then supporting planning and next steps. They have also helped us to detail KPIs for the non-statutory years groups and signposted us to good texts for children and books for staff.
Headteacher of Ravenstone Primary School, Wandsworth
Lindsay has helped transform our approach to writing.Through his carefully planned INSET days and follow on staff meetings, Lindsay empowered our staff to design a curriculum that has led to our children achieving better than they ever have before.
St Edmunds Catholic Primary School, Twickenham
Chris supported our Lower Key Stage 2 with both planning and delivery. She helped teachers to identify what makes greater depth writers as well as providing opportunities through planning and up-levelling work to ensure children were given opportunities to practice and rehearse their writing.
Follow up staff meetings with both Chris and Lindsay ensured that all staff support children to be the best writers they can, celebrating the wonderful work they produce.
The impact has been for staff to recognise the good work they are doing but also to re-energise them in their day to day practice.