Literacy and numeracy

We know that for our students to be successful, they need to be highly literate and numerate and we place these skills as central to our curriculum. All students have a significant commitment of time to English and Maths as part of the curriculum throughout Key Stages 3 and 4, and our intent is that all students leave school with the skills necessary to achieve good qualifications in English and Maths, as these are the gateways to many of the opportunities that can follow.


Central to our teaching approach is a focus on literacy and reading. We support our entire curriculum with a high level of focus on reading because we know that literacy is vital to educational success and social mobility. We build this into our curriculum in several ways, such as through Library Lessons in Key Stage 3 English, the use of the Accelerated Reader and Bedrock Vocabulary programmes, twenty minutes of reading time per day with our weekly Drop Everything and Read strategy and an increase of the extended reading that students do in all of their lessons.

In addition to these wider strategies, we have supported our teachers and students with a strong focus on the skills of reading that they develop in each lesson. Working with advisors from our Local Authority, we have developed our PLANETS reading strategy, which teachers use when getting students to undertake reading in their lessons. These are the unspoken reading skills which enable students to decode challenging texts and make meaning out of them in ways which will support them in exams and beyond.

Our mentality at Colton Hills is that whilst we may teach different subjects, we are all teachers of reading.


At Colton Hills, we have a passion for mathematics that many of our students share, reflected in our strong and improving outcomes in this area. We build on a Key Stage 3 experience which is based on the Mathematics Mastery model, which uses manipulatives and other mathematical thinking strategies to get students to become confident in how maths works and curious about learning new skills.

We also want our students to know why mathematics is so important, and we have built this into our curriculum, too. We underpin our teaching with explanations of where these mathematical concepts are used in the real world, in employment and in all fields of human endeavour. We also give our students access to the cultural knowledge of how mathematical discoveries we made, so that they know that the story of maths is every bit as compelling as the stories elsewhere in the curriculum.

Our curriculum also involves a significant amount of cross-curricular mathematical work, in particular with our Science department, so that all students have a regular diet of experiences to secure key skills.