Academic

P1040255-copy

At Heaton, all students are encouraged to work towards high academic standards that are appropriate for them as unique learners. Click each synopsis for more information:

English

Ensuring that all students continue to develop their strengths in literacy is critical to their ongoing success in education throughout their lives.
Students arrive at Heaton with a range of literacy skills and areas needing further development. Teachers in all classes teach to the specific needs of the students by teaching in a variety of ways – conferencing with individuals, modeling and teaching with small groups and instruction in class wide teaching sessions.

The “Reading to Learn” programme introduces students to a variety of reading comprehension strategies that are modeled and guidance is provided for practicing the strategies. These strategies assist students in:

  • gathering and understanding new information,
  • making personal connections with text,
  • evaluating the purpose of the writer,
  • furthering their knowledge of text types,
  • continuing to nurture an in-depth appreciation of the written word.

Students write for a variety of instructional, social and personal purposes to communicate experiences, ideas and information. Modeling and guidance is given by the class teacher to provide all students, at their appropriate levels, assistance in the various writing styles with which they need to be familiar.
Heaton staff make literacy links for students between reading and writing. This assists students in identifying and practicing skills from both subject areas.

Oral language forms a large portion of our everyday classroom programmes. Students are encouraged to actively participate in a wide variety of oral activities during the course of the school day. Students are taught to communicate effectively and confidently in both formal and informal oral situations using appropriate English.

Mathematics

All teachers at Heaton are trained in the Numeracy project, which focuses on developing students' understanding of numbers and their ability to solve problems.
Students may solve number problems by counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing or combinations of these. Students are encouraged to learn a range of different ways to solve problems and to choose the most appropriate one for each problem. This change in approach to mathematics education reflects changes in the world that impact on the mathematics that people need to know. Problem solving skills and an understanding of concepts are increasingly more important, rather than just the ability to follow rules for calculating.

Students also study the areas of algebra, statistics, geometry and measurement where they are encouraged  to think mathematically and become confident and comfortable with the mathematics they are using. Students are also given opportunties to integrate numeracy strategies into these strand applications.

Each year, a year 7 team and a year 8 team particpate in the Cantamaths competition. Students are also given the opportunity to sit external mathematics examinations.

Inquiry

Inquiry learning is a student-centred, active learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking and problem solving.

Every student needs these skills so all classes are involved in our school-wide inquiry learning programme.

The inquiry learning model takes advantage of students” natural curiosity. It requires well-developed questioning skills. It helps students to develop strategies and processes for collecting and evaluating information (information literacy).

Students immerse themselves in the topic, context or situation they are studying. The topic is one that is purposeful and meaningful to our students. They investigate the location, historical background, current situation and issues and problems associated with the topic. They become highly knowledgeable on the topic before beginning their own inquiry.

In the inquiry process students develop a key question that becomes the focus of their investigation.They develop subsidary questions, plan and carry out their research, come to some conclusions, share their conclusions with others and decide how they could make change happen.

Learning is planned as a sequential, investigative process, across the traditional learning areas rather than unrelated activities taught in isolation. Social studies, science and health are taught in our inquiry learning programmes.

Gifted and Talented

Special programmes are offered to any students who are achieving to a very high standard in a range of areas.
These groups may be organised to extend student learning while preparing for competitions within and outside the school. Outside tutors may also be organised for some programmes so that extra talents and skills can be identified.

The following gifted and talented programmes are offered at Heaton:

  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Chorale
  • Science
  • Leadership
  • Mathematics
  • Wearable Arts
  • Theatre Sports

Homework

All students are required to complete homework in order to encourage them to develop into independent learners.
Through homework, students have the opportunity to practice the skills needed to learn without the support of an adult, to be organized, to manage their time and to meet deadlines.  The homework policy is included in the newsletter in Term 1.

  • Students should be able to complete homework with minimal support from parents or caregivers.
  • Homework should take not longer than 45 minutes each night and be no more than 3 hours a week.
  • Homework activities are either a consolidation of learning already taught or preparation for future learning.
  • Homework activities may involve a task that is completed each day, for example spelling, reading, Mathletics, basic fact etc or be a longer project that is completed over several days.
  • A student’s teacher will regularly check that homework is completed.
  • Students will receive regular feedback form their teacher about the quality of their homework and the next learning steps.
  • On occasions specialist teachers may give homework to students.  The specialist teachers will notify the students’ class if this occurs.
  • If a student is unable to complete homework, they are encouraged to speak to their teacher about this or parents should contact their child’s teacher.
  • Students are encouraged to use their Heaton Diary and Google Calendar to help them to organize when homework will be completed.