St Mary and St Margaret’s CE Primary School, Birmingham

Chosen combination: NTS Assessments + MARK + Shine Reading Skills and Shine Maths


The team at St Mary and St Margaret’s CE Primary first used Shine Reading Skills and Shine Maths in the autumn term of 2020 after their pupils sat the NTS Assessments summer papers as a baseline in September 2020 (they had been unable to sit them in the summer due to school closures). Having uploaded their NTS Assessments scores to MARK (our free online assessment and reporting tool), Shine enabled them to pull targeted intervention reports at individual pupil and group level. By clicking on the links in these reports, they were taken to targeted reading and maths interventions needed for those who had not reached ‘expected’ in the required areas of learning.

The headteacher and two of the teaching assistants involved in delivering the interventions have given the following feedback.

The Shine reports highlighted the children who we expected would need them. Having the learning resources there and ready to use for each targeted intervention definitely saved planning and preparation time.

We used the interventions with groups of 4 to 6 children and found them very easy to apply. Everything is there for you and you can pick it up as needed. There’s a really good range of activities and lots of games in the maths learning sequences. The children really enjoyed it and were asking “when can we do it again?” The rest of the class saw what the intervention group were doing and asked if they could do it too!

The scripts supplied as part of the Shine Reading Skills intervention activities provided really helpful guidance about what to look for and which questions to ask – even for an experienced teacher, it was handy to have. The actual materials are great. We can see that the modelling software would be really useful if you’ve got a computer nearby.

We found that pupils in Years 3 to 5 were really engaged with the Shine Reading Skills interventions. There was lots of discussion about language and struggling readers gained more confidence: they started off nervous but then were coming to group excited. We also liked that the non-fiction texts were linked. I’d say that they all gained in confidence – I could see all of the reading groups making progress.

In year 6, the Shine Reading Skills learning sequences were challenging for our ‘working towards’ group – probably the questions more so than the texts – but then the National Tests are more challenging. We chose to still give some support to the children in completing the independent tasks, but they had learned from previous sessions and were able to be more independent than they might have been without the initial input.

The Shine Maths intervention reports grouped some boys who were normally very quiet – it showed how low some were and the number activities took them back to basics. It gave them more confidence which then transferred to the classroom. These children, some of whom were normally disengaged, were asking to take the activities home.

The majority of children did well in the quizzes following the Shine Maths learning sequences and they helped to identify those that needed further help. The children enjoyed the quizzes and were keen to know how they did. Our Year 2 pupils sat NTS Assessments in September and December and the group had all improved in ‘number’, which was the intervention we carried out with them. One pupil in particular made considerable progress which has helped his confidence in the classroom.

We know that tests are important when determining where the children are at, and Shine really complements this. It helps us to target interventions afterwards without it taking lots of time to analyse the data. Shine is an easy tool to pick up and is full of good materials. It helps the children to gain confidence in their skills and we could see the difference between the first intervention lesson –when some were too worried to put up their hand – to the final session, with hands going up all the time.

Closing thoughts

The Headteacher

“NTS Assessments are important when determining where children are at, and Shine helps us to really target interventions afterwards without it taking a lot of our time to analyse the data. They’re good materials - very clear for people to pick up and use and there’s a proper step-by-step approach that works for TAs as well as for teachers.”

Teaching Assistant

“I’d recommend Shine. It’s easy to use and engages the children. I can see the difference in confidence from the first intervention lesson (when they were too worried to put up their hand) compared to the end (when hands were going up all the time). I find that if children struggle in maths they think it’s boring and hard, but the games and activities make the maths fun. If the children start to enjoy it, they learn better. The different style games don’t take all my time to plan and engage them to the point that they can’t wait to do it again.”

Teaching Assistant

“Shine is an easy tool to pick up. It’s quick, simple and has given pupils the confidence to come into the classroom and answer questions with increased confidence.”

Shine: Targeted Interventions for Primary Reading, GPS and Maths
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