For the past two Saturday mornings, 32 Year 5 primary school children from our local partner primary schools have come to Emanuel to participate in the Ascent programme.

Ascent is for children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are failing to meet national standards in the core subjects of literacy and maths. Developed in collaboration with staff at our partner schools, Ascent aims to enable pupils to catch up on vital work they have missed through lockdowns and then to solidify their basic knowledge and skills and build their confidence.

Taught by Emanuel staff and supported by an enthusiastic cohort of Sixth Form and Year 10 volunteers, each Saturday morning is comprised of booster curriculum-linked sessions in mathematics and literacy supplemented by interactive, fun hands-on science sessions and co-curricular lessons (Drama, Art and Sport). Science has been particularly popular; week 1 featured Bunsen Burners which are always a sure-fire hit and Week 2 included owl pellet dissection. After cries of ‘Ooh, that’s disgusting!’, the pupils loved the session with many taking their bony discoveries home with them, with clear instructions to wash their hands, of course!

The Ascent programme will run on nine Saturday mornings at Emanuel in the summer term with an additional two-day session at the end of our term before the state schools break up for the summer holidays. Children have loved the sessions so far with a parent commenting last week that Ascent is all her son can talk about.

Lisa Irwin (Deputy Development & Community Partnerships Director)