At the end of August, a little over a year after giving birth, Jessica Ennis triumphantly claimed gold at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing. She is a mama, a machine and unsurprisingly, a role model to many.

For the second time in as many years, students across Years 7-13 celebrated International Literacy Day in the form of a drop-down suite of activities at the start of their morning lessons. Staff introduced topics such as the growing prevalence of emoji in communication, the range of registers in different spoken contexts, the relevance of Mandarin in our global village, the difference between logic and imagination and finally, the merits of having a positive role model.

Mrs Lea, Whole School Literacy and Numeracy Coordinator, writes: “It was a conscious decision to part from the focus on reading and writing when it comes to assumptions about literacy. We are preparing students for the reality of the world outside our Academy gates and the ability to ‘read the world’ is increasingly a necessary one.”

Our students learnt to count to ten in Mandarin using auditory and kinaesthetic styles – we recognise how widely the language is used in the business world and want to both capitalise on the merits of bilingualism and credit our MFL directorate for tirelessly pushing the communication agenda. Staff report having held fascinating discussions about why it’s important to think carefully about how young people express themselves – in both a spoken and written format. Watching a TedEx presentation on facial emotiveness encouraged students to consider how they manipulate emoji when they send messages to family and friends. We live in an ever-evolving world and we’re moving with the times; communication and its link with technology isn’t just a trend.

An area of interest is the response to discussion of role models and mentors. A wealth of students articulated clear criteria for qualifying as a role model. Amongst them, they must ‘stand up for what they believe in, must be ambitious, brave, demonstrate perseverance and be emotionally strong and caring’. A number of students may not have a role model and this is very much worth investing time and energies looking into. In a society where mugs printed with the message ‘You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce’ are commonplace and Angelina Jolie is respected for her humanitarian efforts, Winsford Academy is dedicated to supporting students in the quest to find an inspirational individual as a compass in their life. Many thanks to Mrs Edwards for sending feedback specific to that activity.

Thank you to staff and students for supporting the messages of today – next on the whole-school horizon is the Academy’s first-ever cultural numeracy day. More to follow shortly.

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