Literacy & Numeracy

Literacy and Numeracy are fundamental to our ethos at Don Valley Academy. We aim to ‘Change lives through belief and collaboration, with a constant focus on literacy and numeracy’.


Upon entry in Year 7, students with the lowest literacy skills will receive extra time for literacy support through the Diamonds programme. These pupils follow the discreet Fresh Start phonics scheme to support and develop their skills throughout the year. All Year 7 and 8 students are assessed for their reading ability via the GL NGRT platform in the autumn and spring terms to determine those that require intervention.  Selected Year 9 students, based on previous reading data, are also assessed and provided intervention, if required.  Intervention programmes include Fresh Start phonics, Toe-by-Toe, and Reading Plus.

All Key Stage 3 students also receive an independent, routes, reading book and individual access to MyON, the school’s digital library. Students have dedicated independent reading time within school, but students are also asked to spend 20 minutes each evening reading. This will allow them to complete recall on their books proven to raise reading ages.

Whole school provision includes the Word of the Week where pupils are encouraged to know the meaning and how the root word can link to others, helping to increase the vocabulary of all pupils. Also, there is a termly focus on accuracy within their writing, with handwriting intervention provided for those that have issues with legibility.

Finally, the whole English curriculum is underpinned by the theories of Reading Reconsidered by Doug Lemov. This theory ensures that pupils are reading challenging texts and focusses on a close reading of these texts. This then leads to an understanding of the precise meaning of the text. Some of the texts we study include: Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, Boy by Roald Dahl, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Supreme Lie by Geraldine McCaughrean, and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.


Every child at Don Valley Academy has access to Sparx, an online program, on which students are set specific tasks to complete every week for home learning. In addition, Hegarty Maths can be used by any student at any point in time to support with areas of mathematical weakness. After school enrichment sessions and lunch time support clubs are available for any students who cannot access this provision at home.

As an academy we run variety of numeracy tasks run weekly during tutor time and hold numeracy-based events and assemblies during certain weeks of the year.

For those students who fall behind in their age-related expectations in mathematics there are several support mechanisms in place including numeracy catch up VMG groups and small group tuition during maths lessons.