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Accelerated Learning

The Mercia Commitment

All pupils have a right to a culturally rich education. This is the ultimate commitment of Mercia School teaching staff. We believe that pupils deserve the very best curriculum to support their understanding of the world and drive their passion for learning. For some pupils however, we are sympathetic to their needs and ensure that they are equipped enough to cope with our substantial curriculum. 

Our intention is very clear. Through Accelerated Learning, we are attempting to ensure that all Year 7 pupils to be numerate and literate by the end of Year 7. Additional support is available in Year 8 and Year 9. The interventions implemented are time framed and effectively tracked - they are all led by specialist teachers. No pupil is removed from a curriculum lesson for intervention, this is a huge advantage of our longer school day. We closely track the impact of intervention, with the aim being that pupils can start the following year at the desired level to continue to manage the school curriculum.

We are ambitious for all pupils

In English, we hold the ambition that all pupils will complete Year 7 either at or above their chronological reading age.

In Mathematics, we commit to those who we assess to have significant gaps in their numerical reasoning. In short, this means that they lack both automaticity with numbers (for example, taking more than 5 seconds to do simple calculations such as 11 – 2 or 5 + 6 or 3 x 5) and conceptual understanding (for example, not understanding what a fraction really is nor understanding our place value system).

Based on international evidence, we judge that these children would otherwise be at severe risk of not being able to access the rest of our mathematics curriculum as they move forward later into Year 7 and Year 8. The intervention will focus on ensuring that the ‘foundations’ of numeracy and mathematical reasoning are in place for every child so that they can access more complex topics such as algebra and shape.

In order to graduate from the school’s “Extra Maths” accelerated learning programme, we would need to assess that the child can now fully access Mercia’s mainstream curriculum and can ultimately look forward to the challenging GCSE, and even A level, content with a new degree of confidence.

What is Accelerated Learning?

Most accelerated programmes follow the Direct Instruction approach. Direct Instruction (DI) is a model for teaching that emphasises well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks. It is based on the theory that clear instruction eliminating misinterpretations can greatly improve and accelerate learning. Mercia Teachers make bespoke booklets based on core curriculum content and work with pupils on high level repetition and retention. This creates a firm foundation for pupils alongside the lesson content; to ensure pupils are supported in core knowledge.

In both English and maths:

  • Our ‘interventions’ are about accelerating progresses. We do not like ‘intervention’ as a term, it’s become overused in schools and is a one size fits all term for ‘extra.’
  • We fundamentally do not believe in ‘extra.’ More of the same can be soul destroying for pupils and rarely achieves the claimed impact.
  • Our accelerated programmes only occur after robust assessments. Staff will submit convincing and compelling data that clearly outlines pupil need and must subscribe to the view that one size does not fit all. Bespoke interventions/ teaching are expected. Efficiency is also key.
  • All acceleration programmes must be time limited with a criteria for success. Pupils cannot be endlessly withdrawn or targeted for ‘more.’
  • Balance and perspective will be overseen by SLT - as some pupils are at risk of too many accelerated programmes at one time. Any pupil time and demands made must be fair and considerate.
  • Acceleration programmes will be monitored by SLT for quality teaching and impact.
  • Data will be kept that records the success of interventions as part of ongoing dialogue with all teachers and pupils about effective teaching and learning. Assumptions cannot be made about progress, it must be evidenced in data.
  • Pupils in accelerated programmes must have informed parents, communication of need is key to ensure support for success. Parents are invited to the launch event and receive letter/ text communication.
  • Pupils in the first instance may be in programmes during Mastery Time, Assembly or Self-Study. We use the time available in the school day. In most instances, these programmes run in smaller groups.
  • Accelerated programmes in Y7 do not start until after Half Term 1, to ensure pupils are fully inducted into the school and school systems and to ensure we have enough pupil knowledge to ensure acceleration programmes are appropriate.
  • Timetable changes from Term2/3 may result in additional acceleration time available to work with small groups of pupils.