Pupils from Castle Academy and Stimpson Avenue Academy are giving up some of their Easter holidays in order to sharpen their English and Maths skills.

The two Northampton primary academies, both part of the EMLC Academy Trust, have arranged sessions for pupils to brush up on important topics in preparation for the 2016 SATs and their future secondary school education. Staff from both academies across the Trust family will work with the pupils during this week.

Lorna Beard, Principal at Castle Academy said, “It’s important to note that these sessions are not compulsory. We trialled the concept of a Year 6 intervention week last year – the feedback from parents and pupils was so positive that we have built on the success this year.  Parents can voluntarily sign their pupils up for as many of the days offered.  This is free to all pupils in the year group and covers the gaps in their learning, as well as relaxation and mindfulness activities.  We ensure that it is a fun week totally focused on the pupils.  They are treated to lunches each day and all events are made to ensure that the pupils know how important they are.  We know that the pupils enjoy these Super Learning Days because on the second day attendance rose and continued to rise across the week.”

Throughout the week the pupils will be undertaking sessions on key areas of reading, writing, maths and SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar), but the teaching methods are different to the usual school experience. The adult pupil ratio of 1:5 ensures personalised tuition and individualised attention.

Kim Kemp, Head of School at Stimpson Avenue Academy said, “Whilst some of these sessions cover the perennial tricky areas of the curriculum, we are also focussing the work on individuals and groups. Everyone, including adults, will have those words they continually get stuck on or the maths calculation they can never get their head around.  We’re hoping to address some of these.”

On Tuesday, the first day of the sessions, 60 pupils turned up to join in.  Their views of the extra support included the following:

  • “It’s great fun”
  • “Mr Gooden did some great singing and helped me to learn SPAG”
  • “Worthwhile and beneficial”
  • “It’s been really helpful”
  • “I couldn’t wait to come back for the second day”

Joan Mackness has been overseeing the sessions for EMLC Academy Trust. She said, “A real strength of the sessions has been working with pupils from across our two town schools in groups which reflect their secondary school placements.  These relationships will ease the transition which can be difficult for pupils.  Staff have worked really hard to build links across the two schools.  The activities have been excellent, thoroughly engaging and have created super learning experiences for our pupils.”

Staff at Hardingstone Academy, also part of the EMLC Academy Trust family, have put together similar learning experiences for their pupils. The Year 6 pupils are in school for six mornings across the Easter break with a focus on SPAG, Maths and Reading.  Once again the activities have been highly planned to complement the usual school curriculum.  Pupils have been engaged and motivated by innovative teaching and learning approaches.

Zoe McIntyre, Principal at Hardingstone Academy said, “We are delighted that so many of our pupils have been enthusiastic about attending these sessions. They have demonstrated a willingness to succeed and attending these sessions during their holiday time has shown that they have a commitment to learning, something that will enable them to be lifelong learners during their school years and beyond.”

Some of the pupil’s views of the extra support included the following:

  • “Working with an adult in small groups is helping us to understand things more easily.”
  • “It’s also great to get the goodies during our break time!”

Hardingstone Academy – photos

Hardingstone Easter booster 2

Hardingstone Easter booster 1

Castle & Simpson Avenue Academy – photos

        Castle & Stimpson Easter booster 2


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