Over the past nine Saturday mornings, 28 Year 5 primary school children from our local partner primary schools have come to Emanuel to participate in the Ascent programme. The programme 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 Emanuel and Westminster City School Sixth form and Year 10 volunteers, each Saturday morning is comprised of booster curriculum-linked sessions in maths and literacy supplemented by interactive, fun hands-on science sessions and co-curricular lessons (Drama, Art and Sport). Science has been particularly popular including working with Bunsen burners; dissecting owl pellets; learning about chromatography; and creating circuits.

The Ascent programme has run for nine weeks at Emanuel this term with an additional two-day session scheduled for the 8th and 9th July. Children have thoroughly enjoyed the programme and have gained in confidence academically and, critically given the impact of school closures, socially, making new friends . Given the success of the programme, we plan to run it again next year.

Lisa Irwin (Deputy Development and Community Partnerships Director)