Tile Cross Academy recognises that age-appropriate literacy and numeracy skills are an essential foundation both to accessing the curriculum and life opportunities. Initial assessment on arrival at Tile Cross, leads to some children being identified as having significant Maths and English weaknesses. These pupils may be taught in our Skills School.
If pupils are not able to read to an age-appropriate level and fluency or if they do not have age-appropriate numeracy skills there is an inherent barrier to accessing the rest of the Key Stage 3 curriculum. Furthermore, these pupils will be further disadvantaged through their Secondary Education as a result.
Our Skills School ‘catches’ these vulnerable students, in our context, who are significantly below age-related expectation. Many of these pupils have also missed phonics teaching at a primary level. Our students follow an intensive approach to English and Maths in order to address these gaps. As part of our Skills School English provision, pupils are assessed for phonics needs and placed in an appropriate Read Write Inc. Fresh Start Phonics group. Having identified gaps in learning from KS2 Question Level Analysis and our own assessment, pupils are provided with the opportunities to learn the mathematical knowledge and skills necessary to catch up with their peers.
Pupils in the Skills School still receive a varied curriculum diet, in order to provide an experience of the full curriculum; however we recognise that until the gap is closed pupils will not be able to fully access the whole curriculum.
Our Skills School students’ progress is carefully tracked to monitor their progress, enabling us to support transition back to mainstream and early identification of SEN. Our ongoing ambition is that pupils graduate from our Skills School to access the benefits of both our full curriculum and the life benefits of improved English and Maths Skills.