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Impact17th March 2024

One school’s experience with English Mastery

Ark Curriculum Plus is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to supporting teachers in providing consistent, high-quality education to all students. English Mastery is one of their curriculum programmes.

At Barton Hill our children mainly come from the three streets that are most needy in Torquay. We are in the top 3 percent for deprivation in the country, with up to 50 percent on Pupil Premium and up to 70 percent when you include the working poor. Our school sees itself as being the engine of opportunity for these children.

Samantha Smith Principal, Barton Hill Academy

Barton Hill Academy is a primary school in Torquay, Devon. Principal Samantha Smith explains how Mastery curriculums from Ark Curriculum Plus have transformed the school…

“When I joined two years ago, the school had high ambition but not always the tools to deliver that ambition. What I felt was needed was curriculum that provided clarity and structure, drawing on the best possible pedagogy around how to teach literacy. I chose English Mastery, having taught with Mathematics Mastery for eight years at a previous school. Over that time, we saw a 15 percent increase in our outcomes. It was extraordinary.

“After one year with English Mastery, we can see the difference in children’s books and how they’re talking about reading. They’re raving to us about how much they love the books. More children are reading at greater depth compared to a year ago, up to 10 percent more children per year group. I’m so passionate about driving them to that level of greater depth. When children can read at more advanced levels, they can succeed at secondary school. Their life becomes an open book. Last year Ofsted fed back to us that:

Reading is a leading light of this school’s curriculum. The school has carefully selected the books pupils will study, from Early Years to Year 6. This means that pupils read a rich range of texts that they may not otherwise experience. Pupils learn to read through a systematic and rigorous approach.

“We teach with Mastery curriculums across English, Geography, History, Science and Maths. I have confidence in the curriculums because I can see the designers are experts in how children learn. You know that you’re working with a product that’s going to make a difference.”

More on Ark Curriculum Plus

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