Supporting Our Year 8 Students


Starting well…

Year 8 students will take part in the staggered return to school, affording them the opportunity to complete any one to one meetings with staff and academic mentoring sessions in order to ensure that they are ready to return to school. Year 8 will follow a reintegration transition programme that has been designed to look at routines, expectations, building relationships and developing cognitive function. 

  •  Assessing Needs

As our Year 8 students have missed a large chunk of their initial year of secondary education, we feel that year 8 students will require far more support in terms of re-establishing routines and expectations around learning at secondary school. In order to best meet the needs of our year 8 students, we understand the importance of collecting accurate data when pupils arrive to us in September as a way of measuring where they are at in terms of attainment and ability following a period of extended absence from school. All year 8 students  will therefore complete a series of baseline assessments for literacy and cognition alongside completing a more pastoral based assessment regarding wellbeing. This data will provide us with a secure, accurate and reliable foundation from which we can support each student an d their needs as they embark upon their year 8 journey. All assessments will be completed in Term 1, week 2 as part of the welcome and transition programme that has been designed to help our newest students settle into the routines here at Witton Park. 

  • Testing

Testing will be completed in school. All students will complete the same tests. Data and results will be shared with all year 8 teachers and academic mentors and any student identified as requiring additional academic support will be placed on an appropriate course of intervention or a set of classroom strategies will be used to best support learners and their needs.


  • Intervention

Targeted intervention for literacy has been made a key priority for year 8 students. We have a designated team, including a trained primary school teacher who will support students with low literacy levels or increased literacy needs following their extended absence from school. 

We will offer a range of bespoke intervention packages to students including, Read, Write, ink, Lexia, guided reading and writing and enhanced programmes from Accelerated reader.

Other packages to support student welfare have also been created in order to raise student self-esteem and confidence in the classroom. 


Lessons and Learning

  • Teachers

A highly skillful team of designated staff have been created to deliver the year 8 curriculum. As students have lost a significant chunk of their first year of secondary school, we have designed timetables, staffing and provision  and so to help address this gap. We are offering our year 8 students a pseudo primary school model – with students having fewer teachers and less movement around school in order to help them settle in and to allow them to build important relationships with their teachers following a time of uncertainty and inconsistency. Fewer teachers covering all lessons should mean that the tracking of progress and the identification of gaps in knowledge should be faster and more accurate.

  • MORE Principles

As a school we are committed to excellence in the classroom and quality first teaching is our priority and mission. We know children are resilient and we believe that with consistency, routine and high quality input, we know that all of our students will recover from the time lost in the classroom. To ensure high quality and excellence all of our lessons and learning experiences are based on the MORE principles which stand for:


Meeting the needs of all: in every lesson, every child’s needs will be met through excellent planning and responsive provision.

Magenta: The Magenta principles can be reduced down to a simple idea that lessons should be exciting, engaging and effective and if children are to understand new information they need to do something to it or with it. Getting students re-engaged in the learning process is an important way we are helping our students recover from their missed education. 

Oracy: Talk is central to learning in our school and language acquisition and developing pupils who are able to articulate their thoughts, ideas and opinions with clarity, accuracy and fluency is a top priority. Talk is taught in an explicit and structured way in lessons.

Reading: We have dedicated reading lessons in y7 to 9 and this is an indication of how committed we are as a school to promoting the value and importance of reading. As a school, in every subject we explicitly teach 6 key reading strategies, use an Active Reading approach and are dedicated to improving tier, 1,2,and 3 vocabulary.

Retention and Recall: Our curriculum and lessons are designed and sequenced to ensure that knowledge is in constant circulation. In order to help our students retain and recall information we use low stakes quizzes, diagnostic questions and activities that are high challenge and low threat in order to really maximise cognitive function and memory. 

Enrichment and Entitlement: One of the ways we make our lessons and learning experiences engaging is by enriching the lives of our students, exposing them to rich, diverse and powerful knowledge and by giving them opportunities to do things that they would otherwise never experience. Our commitment to the acquisition of cultural capital is in evidence in every one of our units of work across the school and it is something we believe changes the life chances of our children. 

  • Google Classroom and Remote Learning

“Provide immediate/high quality remote learning with a full curriculum offer:

We are fortunate enough to be a Google School and the use of chrome books means that we are able to transition from school to home learning with little disruption. If indeed we are expected to work at home, timetables will continue as normal with live lessons delivered via Google Meet and all work will be set on Google Classroom and the Learning Portal. The same principles of MORE will be applied to every remote lesson taught in order to ensure consistency of teaching and learning.


Curriculum: What is being taught?

  • Core Subjects

All core subjects are taught by subject specialists. Students will be grouped for 

Maths and Science lessons which will have a numeracy focus and English and Reading which will have a literacy focus. Lessons will be designed to address misconceptions, diagnose and plug gaps and build a strong foundation of knowledge in this curriculum area.


  • Creative Curriculum

The Creative curriculum is a multi-disciplinary offer which covers History, Geography, RE, Resilience and Reading. This curriculum is taught thematically and focuses on the critical executive functions, metacognition and schema. The aim is to build a broad knowledge base in which students are able to see explicitly the interconnectedness of several disciplines. This will be taught by one teacher and will enable staff to build strong relationships with students and hopefully be more able to support needs effectively. The creative curriculum will help maximize student progress and recovery by harnessing knowledge and skills from multi-disciplines allowing our students to accelerate their understanding of key topics and ideas from across the curriculum. The use of one main teacher also means that references to different subjects can be made with enabling knowledge and information to be in constant circulation. 


  • In order to make sure the curriculum is broad and balanced, students will also have discrete art lessons, MFL lessons and PE lessons  – all taught by subject specialists. 

Supported Recovery

  • Services for Students

One of the big ways we are supporting the wellbeing of our students as they try to re-integrate into full time education is the Services for Students. Students can self-refer, be referred by staff or can be referred by parents. If you feel that your child would benefit from some additional support – please contact school to request an assessment. Services are bespoke to the individual needs of a student and pupils are placed on a 4 week personalised programme to help them make a positive start back into education. 


  • Academic Mentoring 

One final way we hope to support our students is by the appointment of Academic mentors. Each Year 8 will have an Academic Mentor, Academic Mentoring sessions take place at the end of the day and these sessions will focus on:

  1. Academic DTT
  2. Study Skills
  3. Cognition 
  4. Wellbeing


Mentors will provide welfare support as well as academic support. Academic mentors are the first port of call if there are any issues, worries or concerns about your son or daughter’s progress in school.



  • In class support

All students who have an Educational, Health Care Plan (EHCP) or Individual Pupil Resource Agreement (IPRA) will have access to in class support where needed. Students on the SEN register will also receive some in class support from Teaching Assistants and teachers. All students on the SEN register regardless of stage have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which informs staff about individual needs and strategies to support them.

Any student highlighted by Year Manager as in need of support to settle back into school life will also receive targeted in class support from a Teaching Assistant, a member of the behaviour team or a member of staff specialising in mental health based on identified need.


  • Intervention

Following the testing completed in the first few weeks of term the data will be analysed and individual students targeted for intervention sessions in school based on their needs. These include LEXIA, IDL, Be Awesome and Read, Write Inc.


Above and Beyond

‘Words for All’ project – this year we will take part in the Words for all Project, a scheme that supports students who have spent time in care to be empowered by their use of language and access to language. This should be a transformative project for some of our more vulnerable students who may need extra support vocalising.

Micro-library, online library, access to Blackburn central library books and archive. As a school we have made a significant investment in reading provision. Micro libraries have been set up in each of the year group bubbles and students are invited to borrow books. Books that encourage students to both read for pleasure and support their studies are available.

Football Beyond Borders and Blackburn Rovers

This project reaches out to students in a hope to educate and inspire them. Please see the website for more information.