Many children have really struggled over the past year with the disruption in face-to-face learning. Many have had difficulties accessing online learning consistently due to lack of access to a device and poor engagement with content remotely, whether online or paper-based. Our aim with our new Ascent programme is to help ‘close the gap’ for pupils within our local community who have been hardest hit by the school closures.

We will focus on Year 5 children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are failing to meet national standards in the core subjects of literacy and maths. We know there are considerable gaps in their knowledge that need to be addressed to provide a strong foundation for learning moving forward. Ascent, developed in collaboration with staff at our partner schools, will enable these pupils to catch up on vital work they have missed and then to solidify their basic knowledge and skills and build their confidence.

We will provide booster curriculum-linked sessions in core subjects supplemented by interactive, fun, hands-on science sessions and co-curricular lessons (Drama, Art and Sport). Ascent will run on nine Saturday mornings at Emanuel in the summer term. Lessons will be led by Emanuel staff and supported by Emanuel Sixth Form and Year 10 volunteers. We will run an additional two-day session at the end of our term before the state schools break up for the summer holidays.

The programme will be run in accordance with government guidelines. We are optimistic that we will be able to go ahead but if advice suggests otherwise, we will, of course, postpone.

In the coming years, Emanuel plans to launch ‘Emanuel Connect’ which will use a variety of initiatives to share our teaching and learning expertise with a wider audience. Its aim is to boost social mobility through education. The Ascent programme is our first targeted curriculum-sharing initiative.

We are currently seeking Sixth Form and Year 10 volunteers to help facilitate this programme. This is a great opportunity for boosting CVs and UCAS applications, as well as counting towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering requirement. Click here to find out more.

Lisa Irwin (Deputy Development and Community Partnerships Director)