The effect of Civitas Schools on the lives of the children is noticeable in the short-term, and in the long-term it is incalculable. Week-after-week we speak to parents who say they have noticed a marked difference in their child’s ability, attitude and confidence since they started attending our classes.
As well as helping to boost the knowledge, skills and opportunities for all the pupils, there are individual children who make such drastic progress at the classes that it gives them a whole new outlook on education.
Eight-year-old Hamza was one of our outstanding pupils in the past year. When he first joined the Freeman Family Supplementary School last summer, his reading ability did not register on the reading test scale - it was below the level of a five-year-old. After six months of attending the weekly classes and the Summer School, he has come on in leaps and bounds. His reading age is now seven years and six months – still ten months behind his actual age, but a huge and on-going improvement. Crucially, as a result of his progress, Hamza is much more confident and happier in his work.
Most of our schools cater for primary pupils but parents in the King’s Cross area have repeatedly asked us to start classes for older children. We were able to do so last year, opening classes for 12-to-14-years-olds near St Pancras Station. We aim to really challenge them with rigorous lessons in a wider range of subjects. Topics include history, philosophy, classics, as well as traditional maths and literature. In addition to knowledge-based lessons, we encourage the pupils to develop their analytical, investigative and speaking skills through discussion, essay writing and debate.
We had already seen the positive impact of advanced classes in pupils from our Sanaton Saturday School in Bethnal Green. The pupils at these classes are doing extremely well in their studies and are achieving excellent exam results. We are now helping Sanaton pupils gain valuable work experience and apply to top universities. One of our original pupils, Rajen Paul, achieved straight A-grades at GCSE and A-level and was recently offered a place to read Law at LSE. He will be the first person in his family to go to university and has a very bright future ahead of him.
Our pupils take the Interactive Computerised Assessment System (InCAS) test developed by the University of Durham's highly regarded Curriculum Evaluation Management Centre. InCAS provides us with an independent, evidence-based report of each child’s development. The children take the test on an annual basis to measure their improvement and highlight any particular areas of concern.
Children wear headphones to listen to instructions and questions, as well as reading them on the laptop screen. They select the answer from a multiple choice. The test is adaptive, it responds to children’s answers at each step and questions become increasingly challenging as the child chooses correct answers.
InCAS focuses on four key learning areas: reading, spelling, general maths and mental arithmetic. For each component of the test, results are presented as an ability age, comparable to the child's actual age. Over the course of a year, we expect children to improve in each subject by eighteen months. Many of our pupils exceed this benchmark.
The children from our Nomura Saturday School near King’s Cross recently took the InCAS test for the second time, exactly one year on. The average increase in reading age was 18 months and the average increase in maths age was 24 months - in just one year. Some new pupils have since joined the classes who are working at much lower levels but we expect we'll be able to help them to progress just as dramatically over the next year.
Click here to see example InCAS results from one our King’s Cross pupils whose reading age increased by over two years and her mental arithmetic age increased by one year and nine months in the course of one year.