Literacy & Numeracy




At Darwen Vale, we believe in the importance of developing students’ reading, writing and communication skills through high expectations and regular daily practice. We have a whole school focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) and every teacher takes responsibility for literacy in their subject area. A consistent approach, time and the repetition of these key skills have a powerful effect on student progress. We provide opportunities for students to read within the school week and we encourage parents to support this at home.


In Year 7 and Year 8 all of our students take on the English mastery programme to help support the development of their literacy skills and a whole school ‘word of the week’ is used in an attempt to develop the richness of our students’ vocabulary.


All of our staff have received training on Alex Quigley’s ‘Closing the Vocabulary Gap’ and this is then transferred into our teacher’s daily practice as we attempt to create a language rich community.


We also ensure that nobody who joins Darwen Vale and has a reading age lower than their chronological age gets left behind. Using IDL as our starting point, we specifically target all of our students who have the lowest reading ages in the school. In addition to this, we provide a range of other interventions including small group teaching for our students needing additional literacy support, an exciting form time programme titled ‘Literacy Legends’ and the support of our English Academic Mentor who specifically works with students in English who are falling short of reaching their target grade.


The school community as a whole supports us in our expectations that students speak in Standard English, expressing themselves in full statements wherever possible. By working together as a learning community to build students’ literacy skills, we believe that students will have the necessary skills to be successful with their education at Darwen Vale and beyond.

For more information on any aspect of Literacy at Darwen Vale or the small group interventions, please contact:




Maths is fundamental to everyday life. It is essential in many aspects of life, culture, science and society; and a driving force for the world we live in.

For students to be successful in navigating everyday life, it is important that they are highly numerate.

Numeracy is placed at the heart of students’ personal development and forms an integral part of the form tutor programme at Darwen Vale. Each week, students will complete Numeracy Ninjas in form time, working their way through the Ninja belts.

We work with the scheme of work from White Rose Maths which ensures that the building blocks which allow students to be fluent in numeracy are in place before looking at high level concepts.

For students who need further support with their numeracy skills, additional interventions are put in place, including small group teaching.

For more information on Numeracy at Darwen Vale please contact:


Lauren Price, Assistant Principal for Mathematics

Shabana Latif, Assistant Director of Mathematics

Lauren Price

Assistant Principal for Maths

Shabana Latif

Assistant Director of Mathematics



Catch-Up Premium 2018 – 2019

The Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium is additional funding given to schools to support year 7 students who did not achieve at least the ‘expected standard’ in reading or Maths at the end of key stage 2 (KS2).

During the academic year 2017-2018 we received £11,118. The funding received for 2018-2019 is £14,493.


During the academic year 2017-2018 Darwen Vale High School used the premium for:

  • Staffing to allow for smaller sets for lower ability students in English and maths.

  • Additional literacy and reading provision including the IDL (Indirect Dyslexia Learning) programme and tutor reading.


In 2018 – 2019 we plan to use the funding in the following ways:

  • Foundation group in Year 7 and Year 8 – Introduce timetabled numeracy and literacy intervention sessions for all students in the foundation groups and Numeracy Ninjas in tutor time.

  • Intervention groups – focusing on improving areas of need such as SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs), memory and numeracy.

  • HLTA reading support through the IDL programme – Additional reading support sessions timetabled weekly to complete the IDL programme.