Literacy at Ellesmere is a wide and varied experience. From EYFS through to Post 16 the students will have the opportunity to engage with many different strategies and learning environments. Visual clues will be provided to all students through a variety of different ways including the use of Widgit, Colourful Semantics and PECs where appropriate.
Students will also have the supported guidance of a reading programme. The reading programmes at Ellesmere are generally in line with Letters and Sounds but further reading programmes are being established to target students who may have difficulties with phonics.
Students are taught thematically from EYFS to Year 9, encountering basic skills alongside sharing stories, poetry and developing verbal communication skills. As the students progress through the college, they begin studying an Entry Level qualification in Year 10 and conclude this in Year 11. In Post 16, the focus is very much on functional literacy; looking at literacy in the community, in the home and in the workplace.
Staff teaching numeracy at Ellesmere use a range of visual and kinaesthetic equipment and present students with practical problem-solving tasks.
We use Education City software for most groups and MyMaths for the older more able students. These allow teachers to set work and assess progress for each individual student and give students the opportunity to work independently and get immediate feedback on their understanding of topics.
Students are taught numeracy as a discrete subject from Year 3 onwards. In the Primary classes students stay in their class groups for numeracy, which are mixed age and ability. Most work is planned individually. In Year 7 students stay in mixed ability tutor groups. At the end of Year 7 we rearrange groups into ability groups. These groupings are flexible, changing over the years depending on individual student’s learning pace and progress. Post 16 students’ numeracy is aimed more at life skills: giving practice in the areas of numeracy that will be most important in their adult life.
Students’ progress through all the topics of the National Curriculum (NC) at a pace and level suited to their individual needs. Their work is assessed continuously and students are encouraged to assess their own and their peers’ work in class.
Most students in Year 10, Year 11 and Post 16 are working towards OCR Entry level certification. Some Year 10 and Year 11 students also prepare for foundation level GCSE.