Literacy is central to all we do and enables students and adults to access all aspects of the curriculum and life in general. Our most important aim at Ash Hill is to improve and accelerate the literacy skills of all our students at all levels. The help of adults is crucial in this respect and we regularly encourage parents and siblings to help at home through the provision of materials via our website and also through a raft of free revision guides and resources in particular at KS4, as students approach their final examinations.


Reading is the most important aspect of Literacy and parents and role model adults can do so much to encourage the crucial requirement of ‘reading for pleasure.’   Clark and Rumbold (2006) identify several main areas of the benefits to reading for pleasure:

- It improves reading attainment and writing ability

- Widens text comprehension and understanding of grammar

- Accelerates breadth of vocabulary

- Brings about positive reading attitudes

- Inspires greater self-confidence as a reader

- Provides pleasure in reading in later life

- Significantly improves general knowledge

- Results in better understanding of other cultures

- Encourages community participation and offers a greater insight into human nature and decision making

Further crucial statistics about 'reading for pleasure' indicate:

- 16 year olds who choose to read books for pleasure outside of school are more likely to secure managerial or professional jobs in later life

- In England and Northern Ireland the average hourly wage of workers with the highest levels of literacy is 94% higher than for workers who have the lowest levels of literacy

- There is a difference in reading performance equivalent to just over a year's schooling between young people who never read for enjoyment and those who read for up to 30 minutes per day

- Children who read books often at age 10 and more than once a week at age 16, gain higher results in Maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly

Although students leave primary schools with fairly good reading skills, the new 1-9 bands curriculum requires so much more than this. Students are now expected to access very complicated texts and ideas, particularly in English Literature and Humanities as well as a variety of other subject areas.

How can I help my child with reading at secondary school?

- Encourage your child to read for the highly recommended 30 minutes per day!

- Buy them reputable magazines in areas that interest them. Magazines such as 'How it Works' and 'Digital photography' are excellent. Newspapers are also helpful!

- Ensure your child is using the full range of free GCSE revision guides, provided by Ash Hill Academy, as part of their extended Y11 study

- Ask questions about the text: Why? How? What might happen next?

- Visit a library or book shop to inspire varied reading

- Encourage your child to go to book signings. We book famous children's authors whenever possible, to help inspire our students to read.


Accurate writing is essential to secure and more importantly keep a job! Students should always strive for accurate expression. Every piece of work should be checked for basic errors and also for opportunities to improve expression and develop ideas. Wherever possible, as someone to proof read your work and suggest improvements.

Check that all sentences have been properly completed. Missing capital letters and full stops is embarrassing!

Use ambitious vocabulary - imaginative extended noun phrases rock!

The accuracy of writing is often spoilt by a quite small number of regular errors that can be quickly elminited - if attention is given to them. The most common ten errors that Yorkshire students tend to make are listed below. Other counties' ten errors are as frequent, but slightly different due to variations in their accents and dialects.

Top Ten Errors:

Written accuracy - top ten errors

Was and Were

There, They're and Their

Using It's and Its

Apostrophe of possession

Using contractions

Two, To and Too

Where, Were and Wear

The infamous 'comma splice'

Plurals - y and ies

Here and Hear


Far too many students are still put off writing through fears that their spelling is poor and that they can't improve it. This is a complete myth! It just takes regular attention and practise.

The Dirty Thirty list attached identifies commonly misspelt words which many people struggle with.

Dirty Thirty Spellings

More importantly still, current GCSE students need to know and apply increasingly 'specialist vocabulary'. Students are required to use 'specialist vocabulary' in English Language and English Literature, to achieve from bands 3-9!

Specialist vocabulary list

We are also publishing spelling lists for the Y7 - Y9 English schemes of work which are strongly linked to homework:

Y7 - A Christmas Carol spellings

Y8 - Stone Cold spellings middle/higher

Y8 - Gothic Spellings higher

Y9 - Genre spellings

Y10 - A Christmas Carol spellings

Y10 - Poetry Spellings

Y10 - Romeo and Juliet spellings

Study Guides Provided to Year 11 - Cohort 2017:

Please note that all of Year 11 have received 3-4 revision guides/workbooks each. A list of these is attached below.

Study guides provided to all Y11 students.