Literacy & Numeracy
Literacy and numeracy are fundamental to our ethos at Don Valley Academy. We aim to ‘Change lives through belief and collaboration, with a constant focus on literacy and numeracy’.
Upon entry in Year 7, students with the lowest literacy skills will receive extra time for literacy support through the Diamonds programme. These pupils follow the discreet Fresh Start phonics scheme to support and develop their skills throughout the year.
Students who are not chosen for the Diamond programme, but need to improve their reading age, are placed in a VMG specifically for literacy and reading. Within this VMG they will follow the Reciprocal Reading initiative by reading The Goldfish Boy. From trial data this is proven to accelerate reading ability. Year 7 students will also take part in the Accelerated Reader programme which is embedded at Don Valley. Students will have time within school for this, but students are also asked to spend 20 minutes each evening reading. This will allow them to complete quizzes on their books proven to raise reading ages. Year 8 also follow this programme to give consistency and develop their love of reading. There is also a Diamonds group within year 8. This group of students are supported by following a Reciprocal Reading scheme with the text, Boy 87.
Whole school provision includes the Word of the Week where pupils are encouraged to know the meaning and how the root word can link to others, helping to increase the vocabulary of all pupils. Also, there is a termly focus on accuracy within their writing. All VMGs take part in a DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) activity where they will read a short story and complete some simple tasks for understanding.
Finally, the whole English curriculum is underpinned by the theories of Reading Reconsidered by Doug Lemov. This theory ensures that pupils are reading challenging texts and focusses on a close reading of these texts. This then leads to an understanding of the precise meaning of the text. The texts we study include: Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, Boy by Roald Dahl, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Every child at Don Valley Academy has access to Hegarty Maths, an online programme, on which students are set specific tasks to complete every week for home learning. In addition, Hegarty Maths can be used by any student at any point in time to support with areas of mathematical weakness. After school enrichment sessions and lunch time support clubs are available for any students who cannot access this provision at home.
As an academy we run variety of numeracy tasks run weekly during VMG time and hold numeracy-based events and assemblies during certain weeks of the year.
For those students who fall behind in their age-related expectations in mathematics there are several support mechanisms in place including numeracy catch up VMG groups and small group tuition during maths lessons.