Literacy & Numeracy
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world” Ludwig Wittgenstein
Reading gives insights into the world, and into ourselves. Reading isn’t just decoding texts. Effective readers use a range of reading strategies. The gap between the word-rich and word-poor begins to widen long before the pupils reach us in secondary schools. Teachers must actively teach reading, demonstrating and instructing pupils, across all curriculum areas. Each subject area and each teacher has a responsibility for the literacy of students in three key areas: speaking and listening; writing; and reading. Unless we deliberately teach these skills, the gap will continue to get wider, especially when there is research suggesting that 30% of households in England have 3 or fewer books.
Improvements in reading at Ash Hill Academy are being developed through the use of systems such as Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster independent reading. The internet-based software assesses reading age, and suggests books that match pupils’ needs and interests. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books and earn AR points as they progress. A bespoke AR area has been created for the students of Years 7 and 8 where the students have access to reading material which is age and interest appropriate.
The academy has appointed a Literacy Lead who has developed resources for tutor times to raise the profile of whole school literacy. Tasks include class readers, Word of the Week and Register & Read. Literacy posters showcasing the books that teachers are reading are displayed on the doors of classrooms. Reading for pleasure is actively promoted with the students. Delta Academies Trust have also invested in GL assessments for all Year 7 and Year 8 students to be assessed to analyse reading ability.
“The only way you are going to have success, is to have a lot of failures first.” – Sergey Brin – Founder of Google
Numeracy is more than just the ability to do basic arithmetic. It is developing a confidence for problem solving using numbers and measures. Many children and adults alike fear being faced with numerical problems. We believe if we can instil a desire to achieve and a love of learning then there is no limit to what our pupils can achieve. After all, Thomas Edison once said “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
Students at Ash Hill Academy have access to over 900 video lessons and homeworks on Hegarty Maths. All video lessons are taught by Colin Hegarty (Teacher of the year award 2014, Global teacher top 50 2015) and range from basic numeracy up to grade 9 GCSE content. Over the last two Academic years, we have been delighted to see such a positive correlation between pupils GCSE progress and their time spent using Hegarty Maths. Ash Hill Academy also offers regular prizes to students who put the hard work into Hegarty Maths and the stars of the week are displayed in classrooms and corridors.
At Ash Hill Academy, we look to plug the gap instantly in KS3 between students who did not achieve the expected standard in Mathematics at KS2 and those who did. Any student who did not achieve the expected standard have a Passport Maths lesson on their timetable each week. By testing students at the start of the academic year, the maths department can monitor any gaps in students’ basic skills. During Passport Maths lessons, students will tackle only the skills they have struggled with, meaning each student has a learning experience that is bespoke to their needs.
We promote our love for Numeracy by encouraging students to compete nationally each year in UKMT (United Kingdom Mathematic Trust) competitions and have a specialist KS3 Academy Mathematics team that compete at events against other Delta Academies.