Earlier this year, The Education Hub released a report titled, 'Now I don't know my ABC – the perilous state of literacy in Aotearoa New Zealand'. Their research raised concerns about literacy levels among New Zealand school children and suggested that nearly one in five 15-year-olds are not meeting the lowest reading benchmark.
At ACG Parnell College, we believe that the importance of teaching literacy and numeracy cannot be overstated, and we strive to ensure all our students perform to the highest standard in these crucial areas. Accordingly, our youngest primary learners are introduced to Mathematics and English lessons from their very first day with us.
Early literacy and numeracy are the building blocks of all future learning, and our primary students enjoy a broad academic programme with a strong emphasis on reading, writing and mathematics. Establishing these abilities from each student's earliest years is vital because, without this underlying educational core, they will be unable to achieve in the high-stakes examinations they face during secondary school.
As a result, our structured approach to teaching enables our students to build a strong foundation of essential numeracy and literacy skills, which they continue to develop as they advance through school. Our specialist teachers also regularly review and assess every student's progress to ensure they are fully equipped with the disciplinary knowledge and learning competencies they need to flourish.
ACG Parnell Assistant Principal Vee Beeton explains…
"Literacy and numeracy are fundamental foundational skills that prepare children for future success in school and beyond. These skills enable them to access the wider curriculum and become confident communicators and active participants in society."
The Cambridge curriculum underpins all learning at ACG Parnell, promoting an enquiry-based approach and developing students' self-assurance, creativity and intellectual engagement.
"Being a content-driven, structured curriculum, the Cambridge pathway delivers explicit teaching of foundational literacy and numeracy skills, providing students with the abilities they need to succeed, and providing a solid foundation on which they can build throughout their educational journey."
With eleven English periods and six Mathematics periods each week in Years 1 to 4 and nine English periods and six Mathematics periods in Years 5 and 6, students are given a variety of learning opportunities supported by clear and structured objectives. In addition, these classes lay the groundwork for developing soft skills such as self-regulation, reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and independent thinking.
At the same time, enthusiastic and passionate teachers ignite a love of learning, using their well-honed capabilities to ensure all students receive a strong start in literacy and numeracy.
"Not only must teachers know their curriculum, but they must know how their students learn and how to impart knowledge to them in meaningful, motivating and engaging ways. They need to be flexible and adaptable so that they can meet the needs of each of their students."
Keeping the lessons fun and engaging is pivotal to success.
"Teachers seek out enjoyable, creative activities that maintain learners' interest and provide age-appropriate experiences through various hands-on tasks and activities, including warm-up games, movement, music and song, educational games and digital technology (where appropriate)."
This unwavering commitment to excellence ensures every learner receives the tools and ongoing support required by each individual’s educational pathway. Specific year level benchmarks and regular assessments monitor students' academic progress, and a range of testing assesses the needs and strengths of each student. If a child finds literacy or numeracy a challenge, teachers plan individualised activities that support them in accessing their learning.
"Learning is scaffolded through one-on-one support and a structured teaching approach. The home-school-partnership plays an important role too, and teachers provide support and resources for parents to reinforce skills and concepts at home."
In fact, ACG Parnell College works closely with parents across all aspects of classroom life.
"We have a 'no surprises' policy and regularly keep parents informed of their child's progress through formal and informal channels, such as parent-teacher interviews, achievement conference days, formal written reports and electronic communication. Parents are welcomed into the classroom to discuss their child's learning with the teacher, and we can also provide them with additional resources to support learning at home."
This outstanding teacher support – teamed with a robust curriculum and a strong network of checkpoints – ensures ACG Parnell College students are ideally placed for optimal engagement, maximum enjoyment and ultimately, educational success.