Numeracy & Literacy


Literacy is not just focused on in English lessons at St Wilfrid’s Academy, it is a life skill which not only enables our students to access all aspects of the curriculum but to communicate and engage with the world around them. As it is such a vital skill we focus upon it in every subject and our aim is to improve the literacy skills of all our students at all levels.

How do we support students to improve their literacy at SWA?

  • Literacy starters at the beginning of lessons to focus on the most common errors.
  • Reading for 20 minutes, three times per week, following the accelerated reader programme.
  • 1:1 or small group interventions for reading, spelling or grammar.
  • Focused marking and improvement tasks based on the errors students make in class.
  • Use Literacy Planet to support their learning, with literacy-focused activities.


Written accuracy is vital: It is essential to recognise that it is unacceptable to continue to make the same errors year after year. Students will be given opportunities to write, re-draft and correct errors to develop their ability to write accurately.

How can written accuracy be improved?

  • Always strive for accurate expression. Every piece of work should be checked for basic errors and also for opportunities to improve expression and develop ideas. Where possible, ask someone to read over your work to help you to identify inaccuracies and challenge you to develop your ideas.
  • Check that sentences have been used properly (capital letter to start and punctuation at the end).
  • Choose vocabulary to convey precise meaning.
  • Spend time re-reading and checking for errors which you know you make. You teacher will assist you with this through written feedback when marking your work.

There are some common errors which lots of people seem to struggle with and our aim is to ensure that everyone is able to use the following list reliably which will dramatically improve the accuracy of written expression. It is important to learn the rules and apply them rather than simply guessing:

  • was/were
  • your/you’re
  • there/their/they’re
  • been/being
  • possessive apostrophe
  • its/it’s
  • sat/sitting
  • stood/standing
  • plural – ys and ies
  • contractions


Students often suffer with anxiety about spelling; it is one of the major barriers to confident writing, however it is a barrier that, with practice and patience, can be broken down to produce a confident communicator. Our aim is to promote the value of accurate spellings and the impact it can have on their writing.


Many children students arrive at St Wilfrid’s Academy with reading skills below their expected reading age. As reading is such a vital ‘life skill’ we aim to promote reading for pleasure as well as delivering a curriculum which requires students to be able to access increasingly more complex texts as a means of achieving qualifications in a variety of subject areas.

How can you support your child with their literacy?

  • Encourage them to read. If they struggle to engage with picking up a book encourage them to listen to audio books or to pick up a magazine instead.
  • Read with them. Ask questions about the text: Why? How? What might happen next?
  • Practise spellings with them- use look, cover, write, check. Test them. Download spelling apps to their phone to practise.
  • Encourage them to log on to Literacy Planet ( and complete the tasks which school have set for them and also to practise their personalised spellings. You child will have a log on for it but if you need help just ask your child’s English teacher.

Why is Numeracy so important? 

St Wilfrid’s Academy strongly supports the belief that good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health. We use Numeracy in every aspect of our life. From going shopping to decorating a room, to planning your personal finances to dieting. Numeracy is the ability to use maths in real life context. To make the best decisions in life we need to be numerate.

There is substantial evidence that low numeracy skills are associated with poor outcomes in employment, wages, health, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, school exclusions, truancy and crime.

St Wilfrid’s Academy continues to promote numeracy throughout the whole academy so every student and every staff member has the opportunity to develop their numeracy skills and build on their confidence.

We have a number of ongoing initiatives in place to encourage students to adopt a positive attitude towards maths and numeracy.

  • Numeracy and Literacy starters take place at the beginning of every lesson, these key skills enable students to break down barriers and promote learning in different environments.
  • Numeracy challenges and quizzes take place in form time on a Tuesday morning. Students are encouraged to work together as a team to complete the quiz and improve their score week by week.   
  • All students complete a numeracy audit on entry, which creates a detailed analysis of the numeracy gaps present for each student. This information is used to inform interventions, planning and key foci for numeracy form time and starters.
  • Numeracy is present in all subject areas across the curriculum. This gives students the opportunity to become confident at tackling maths in any context.
  • At St Wilfrid’s Academy we use the online learning platform Hegarty Maths. Students are given the opportunity to access the learning platform in lessons or as homework to consolidate learning and to enable students to challenge themselves further.