Important news

Parent / Carers: The consultation on the proposal to bring Ark William Parker and Ark Helenswood together as one co-educational school has now launched. You can find out more information and give us your views by visiting the consultation website:

Extra-curricular activities: a new list of activities for this term can be found here.


Literacy at Ark William Parker begins in the English classroom but we recognise that we will have a higher impact on student progress if these skills are reinforced across the curriculum therefore literacy at Ark William Parker has been developed around these two key areas:

  • Ark William Parker’s Literacy Curriculum
  • Whole school literacy

Ark William Parker’s Literacy Curriculum

At Ark William Parker we are committed to closing the reading age gap by the end of Year 8 and therefore have a programme devised for students joining us with a less than chronological reading age.

Any student joining the Academy in KS3, with a less than chronological reading age, will enter into our literacy curriculum. This includes timetabled lessons, run by literacy specialists, that are designed to catch students up to not only a chronological reading age but also to provide them with a skill set that will enable them to be successful in their KS4 pathways and beyond.

Read Write Inc. Fresh Start is the reading programme used in Year 7. It is designed to teach children to read with greater confidence and fluency. It uses a phonic approach and is aimed at children, aged 9-13, who are below expected standards in reading and writing. Scholars are taught in smaller groups allowing for more one-to-one tutoring to guarantee progress and ensure that no student is left behind.

  • Gets students reading and writing fluently in 33 weeks
  • Uses rigorous assessment so every child is taught at the right level
  • Embeds all learning through partner practice

Following Year 7’s Fresh Start Programme, we also follow McGraw Hill’s SRA Corrective Reading programme in Years 8 and 9. This focuses around the acquisition of multisyllabic words and comprehension. The Literacy Curriculum at Ark William Parker looks to reinforce each of Ark’s six pillars, specifically depth before breadth, so that each student at Ark William Parker can tackle our challenging curriculum with confidence.

Precision Intervention

In addition to the timetabled lessons here at Ark William Parker we also use Precision Teaching. This is a teaching method used to accelerate progress particularly in word reading and spelling skills (although it is also used to increase children's proficiency in number facts).

Precision Teaching is very effective for children struggling to acquire automatic skills in learning letter sounds, recognising whole words and spelling. The principles of Precision Teaching match the good teaching principles recommended in Sir Jim Rose's report of June, 2009 Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties.

It is a model centred around short, sharp withdrawal that does not detract from the core learning of a subject. We use it with all students who have a reading age close to their chronological age but have been identified as needing some support in their accuracy when writing.

Whole school literacy

We have also identified three literacy foci that we believe are important to improve students’ reading and writing skills. These strategies will initially be taught in English lessons, but we also expect that these key areas feature in all lessons across the subject range to reinforce the need to develop transferrable skills in and around literacy. These strategies are to be used to support the literacy of all KS3 students.

Marking for Literacy

As a Mastery school students will receive grammar instruction in English lessons. We have also designed a marking for literacy component for the whole school literacy strategy. Staff across the curriculum must set and mark at least three pieces of extended writing per year.

Launching in September 2017-Vocabulary Instruction

By the age of three, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds have heard 30 million words less than their peers from less disadvantaged homes. The majority of the words that children from more culturally rich backgrounds will have heard will be those found less commonly in speech, and more often in books. At Ark William Parker we are committed to ensuring that each student is provided with the best possible life chances and this means ensuring that each student has a rich, extensive and ambitious range of vocabulary. We have devised a system for developing students’ vocabularies in lessons other than English. We have selected 20 words that teachers across the curriculum will teach to their scholars. Each subject teaches three of these words over the course of the academic year. All students receive instruction in all 20 of these words. We believe a common method and common language amongst staff will support students in their quest to perfect these key literacy skills.

Launching in September 2017-Summary Writing

Summary writing is an extremely useful skill and is now imperative for success in the new GCSE English specification. Therefore Ark William Parker students will be taught how to write a summary in English lessons early on in September. They will be told three strategies for summarising. These skills will be used to create a common language of teaching across the academy to ensure students revise the skills across the curriculum and consolidate this very necessary skill.