What is Mental Health?

In short it is the way we think and feel and our mental wellbeing. All of us vary in how we feel however those with mental health issues have more extreme feelings and the lows can be much longer.

Myths and Facts

MYTH   Mental health problems are rare
FACT   One in Four people will experience a mental health problem in the course of a year
MYTH  People with mental health problems never recover
FACT   With the right support most people with mental health problems get better
MYTH  People with depression could just “snap out of it” if they wanted to
FACT   People with depression have serious symptoms which aren’t in their control

Key Mental Health issues for young people

Anyone can have feelings of anxiety (affects 10%  of population at any one time)

I could never relax, I was always tense and wound up. It was hard to focus on anything else. I felt really shaky and strung out

Some of the symptoms are:

  • tense muscles, dry mouth, rapid heart beat
  • breathless, dizzy or faint
  • difficulty concentrating, sleeping, irritability, fear
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias, eg agoraphobia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder


Depression is common

“I just wanted to hide away and sleep and sleep. That was the easiest way to cope with my feelings”

 Common symptoms

  • Persistent sadness, tiredness, fatigue, loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest, difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety, tension, irrational worries, irritability
  • Undue feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts

Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia (1-2% of young adult women)
  • Bulimia (3 in 100 women at one time in their lives)
  • In school children up to 25% of those suffering are male

Main symptoms: Starvation, vomiting, abuse of laxatives/fluid tablets
Possible causes: social pressure; control; puberty; depression; 

“I really hate myself for what I am doing.  I binge and binge and then starve for days to compensate, but I don’t know how to get out of it. It’s become a way of life”


Psychosis is an umbrella term for when a person loses touch with reality. A person experiencing an episode of psychosis may be unable to follow a logical sequence of thoughts their ideas may be jumbled and make very little sense to others.
They may have “negative” as well as “positive” symptoms, eg lacking energy, concentration, emotion, appetite; self-neglecting
Mental illnesses include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychotic depression, schizo-affective disorder.

What to do?

  • Talk to your child and listen
  • Don't panic!
  • Treat as you would want to be treated 
  • Get Help

    • Talk to your GP and ask to be reffered to CAMHS
    • If urgent take your child to hospital
    • Contact the early intervention team link
    • Let the school know your concerns


Mental Health and Wellbeing

Like adults young people often struggle with mental health. This can range from 'feeling low' to anxiety, depression and eating disorders. At Hartsdown we are committed to helping our children to:

  • Promote an environment where mental health can be talked about and where those with mental health issues are not discriminated against.
  • Learn how to keep mentally healthy
  • Understand what mental health is and how to talk about it
  • Support our children in getting the help they need

To do this we:

  • Trained 15 members of staff in Mental Health First Aid. This is a recognised course to train staff in how to spot mental health issues and to be able to support children/adults in their mental health.
  • Trained all staff in how to talk about mental health and understand the primary issues
  • Do annual assemblies on Mental Health
  • Teach wellbeing through our SUMO program
  • Teach wellbeing in PSHE/RE
  • Provide resources for parents, children and staff to talk about mental health

Modern Foreign Languages


Modern Languages  (French and Spanish)

Head of Department



C.Williams,  S. Dawson



Year 7

Introductions, numbers, dates, birthdays

School subjects and opinions

My Family and character, pets,

Home and House

My town

Free time activities

Dia de los muertos

All students study Spanish. The Accelerated Pathways study French as well.


All four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are practised equally and assessed every 10 weeks.


We aim to develop confident speakers through use of target language.



Year 8

People and hobbies

My city


Making plans and inviting others


Students study French or Spanish depending on Pathway.


All four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are practised equally and assessed every 10 weeks.



Year 9

Social media

School life

Healthy eating

Home town

Future Plans

Students study French or Spanish depending on Pathway.


All four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are practised equally and assessed every 10 weeks, preparing students for GCSE study the following year.



KS4 Exam Board and spec

Edexcel GCSE Skills: Listening and Responding, Writing, Reading and Responding, Speaking

We believe languages should be accessible for all students. The new Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSEs (9–1) in French or Spanish have been developed to help students of all abilities progress and develop a passion for languages, through culturally engaging content.

It is a relevant, engaging and inspirational course of study that will enable  students to use the target language effectively, independently and creatively, so that they have a solid basis from which to progress to A Level or employment in areas as diverse as tourism, business, hospitality, teaching, interpreting in courts and many other areas of working life.

KS3 Resources

Dictionaries, iPads, interactive text book, language website subscriptions

KS4 Resources


Dictionaries, iPads, interactive text book, language website subscriptions

Maths Teacher

Responsible To:          Head of Mathematics

Location:                     Margate, Kent

Salary:                          MPS/UPS

Start Date:                  January 2020


This is an excellent opportunity for a newly qualified or experienced Mathematics Teacher with passion and enthusiasm to join our team at Hartsdown Academy. We are at a new phase of improvement and development and we are looking for passionate teachers to be part of this exciting journey.


The successful candidate will have high expectations of young people including a commitment to ensuring that they can achieve their full educational potential.  They will hold positive values and attitudes and adopt high standards of behaviour in their professional role.


In return we will offer you:

  • An exciting environment where you can really make a difference
  • Being part of a small local trust that is totally committed to its staff and children
  • Significant opportunities for CPD and development


Please apply via Kent Teach: https://www.kent-teach.com/Recruitment/Vacancy/VacancyDetails.aspx?VacancyId=74003


Deadline: 4th September 2019 12 noon

Interviews: 11th September 2019


Hartsdown Academy is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff to share this commitment.  The successful applicant will need to undertake a DBS Employment Check.

Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) 2018

This weekend saw 3 of our Year 11 students participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) 2018 with Margate Rotary Club.

The aim of this weekend was the encourage a vision to develop teamwork and leadership skills, in the hope for them to become future community professional and business leaders. Throughout the weekend, students worked, with excellence in representing Hartsdown through resilience on building confidence within themselves, building team spirit to encourage one another and discuss and establish characteristics of effective leadership – making the whole experience thoroughly enjoyable!

Well done to the Year 11 students for taking part in this experience and for representing Hartsdown Academy, creating a real vision for success and leadership!

Canterbury Christ Church University; Summer schools




Canterbury Christ Church University is holding their annual Summer Schools which are taking place in July and applications for these open on Monday 26th February. 

The first residential event will take place between Sunday 8th and Thursday 12th July 2018 at our Canterbury campus and is for year 10 boys only and they have 50 places available. The link attached will be open from 8am Monday. https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/outreach/forms/boys-8-12-summer-school-2018.aspx 

The second event will take place between Sunday 22nd and Thursday 26th July 2018 again at our Canterbury campus. This is a mixed summer school for year 10 students and we have 50 places available. The link attached will be open from 8am Monday. https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/outreach/forms/mixed-summer-school-2018.aspx


Those attending will stay in their newest accommodation at Petros Court, take part in a variety of activities both academic and socially and live like a student for the time they are with them. They will be fully supported by a large team of staff who will stay in the university accommodation also. All meals, drinks, activities and costs will be met by the university, but students will need to bring a small amount of spending money. Travel to and from the university is not provided, however, if this will be an issue they would not want it to be a reason for non-attendance so they can discuss alternative options for transport separately.

If your son or daughter is elibible for a place at the Summer school you will have been sent a letter with the details included in it.

If you have any questions, please email gipsonj@hartsdown.org. 

UCA Easter School

Year 10 or 11

If you are planning on going to college or University to study a creative subject then the University of Creative Arts (UCA) has an amazing Easter school running, so you can start building up your portfolio.

The Easter Schools will run from Tuesday 3 April – Friday 6 April across all of their campuses.

As a partner school, Hartsdown Academy has been guaranteed three spaces for our students.

To find our further information about UCA's Easter Schools, and to apply for a place on one of our campuses, please click here. 

If you decide to apply, please let Miss Gipson, Mrs Rigden or your teacher know.

Turner Gallery Project

Hartsdown students have been involved in a creative project with the Turner gallery. They have produced some amazing work.

Thanks to the gallery for the and Oliver Briggs for this amazing experience.


The local NCS (National Citizen Service) team spoke to Year 11 students on 14th December 2016about the opportunities that are open to them during the Summer holidays. Places are filling up fast, so if you have not signed up yet, you can do so on their website here:


What is NCS?

We’d like to tell you about a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity which your son or daughter can sign up to take part in this summer. National Citizen Service (NCS) is a government-backed, four-week programme which is supported by our school and takes place in the summer holidays. Students at the end of Year 11 and 12 have the opportunity to sign up and then will be placed in teams of 12-15 young people with their friends and other students from local schools and colleges.

Week 1: Adventure  – Outward bound residential to focus on team work, problem solving skills and getting out of their comfort zone

Week 2: Skills – A second residential to learn independent living skills and to learn about their local community

Week 3 and 4: Social Action – Work from a local community base to plan and implement a 30 hour community project that benefits both young people and society

Graduation – Celebrate their NCS achievements and be presented with a signed certificate from the Prime Minister.

Government support means the whole programme costs no more than £50 to take part in, with all meals and activities covered. There are also bursaries offered to those who need financial support and support is provided for young people with additional needs. The extra investment from government means a place on NCS is actually worth £1,300 per person.

NCS helps young people build their confidence and gain new skills for work and life while having fun and giving back to their community – the best possible springboard for their future. Whether they’re about to start sixth form or college, or preparing to enter the working world, signing up to NCS is one of the best decisions a teenager can make.

For more information, check out the NCS website www.ncsyes.co.uk

CPD Briefing: EAL



EAL teaching has its own distinctive pedagogy. It aims to teach English using the mainstream curriculum as the context. This involves developing specific resources which make the language of the curriculum accessible through, for example, increased use of visuals and scaffolding, while keeping the cognitive challenge and interest level high.


One of the most important aspects of effective teaching of EAL learners is the need to support and develop the child’s competence in the mother tongue alongside the learning of English. Linguists have concluded that we all have an innate ability to learn language and that the ‘surface features’ of all languages derive from a common underlying proficiency. This means that the knowledge developed in the first language can easily be transferred to the second or third languages. The pedagogical implications of this are that full bilingual education is the ideal and, where this is not possible, learning in the mother tongue needs to be encouraged and supported as much as possible.

Another important aspect of effective teaching of EAL is to pay attention to the links between language acquisition and cognitive and academic development, and understand the importance of providing work that is sufficiently challenging for all learners, both those who are new to English as well as more advanced EAL learners.




Five principles of good practice in EAL teaching and learning have been identified through research and endorsed by Ofsted.

Based on these principles, a number of key teaching strategies can be seen to be particularly helpful for EAL learners. Many, if not all, of these strategies are also useful for other groups of learners, e.g. learners with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, or for all learners.

The 5 principles with some key strategies are:

Activating prior knowledge in the learner

  • finding out what learners know about a topic through questioning
  • mind-mapping in pairs or small groups
  • use of first language
  • relevant curriculum taking account of learners’ cultural background
  • discovery tasks
  • KWL charts (what we Know, what we Want to know, what we have Learned).

Providing a rich context

  • maps
  • diagrams
  • tables and grids
  • graphs, charts and pictograms
  • timelines
  • flow charts
  • videos
  • computer graphics.

Encouraging learners to communicate in speech and writing

  • peer tutoring and coaching
  • collaborative learning activities
  • drama and role-play
  • questioning strategies (asking questions where detailed response is required, allowing sufficient waiting time before expecting an answer)
  • scaffolded writing activities (using writing frames, modelling, using notes, tables or planning boxes)
  • opportunities to rehearse language orally before writing.

Pointing out key features of English explicitly

  • drawing attention to specific grammatical forms used in texts or in speech
  • providing oral and written models
  • modelling and extending their use, providing opportunities to practise them
  • scaffolding speaking and writing through the use of speaking and writing frames
  • making links between specific features of English and the learners’ first language, or encouraging learners to do this.

Developing learners’ independence

  • providing opportunities to model and extend what has been taught
  • scanning texts to look at subheadings and diagrams prior to reading
  • note taking and note making.

And for advanced EAL learners:

  • focusing on key phrases rather than key words
  • encouraging learners to develop strategies to decode unfamiliar words, including using dictionaries (English and bilingual) and thesauri, asking a teacher, etc.
  • encouraging learners to make adventurous vocabulary choices in speech and writing.





Dictogloss is type of supported dictation that integrates the four skills of language learning. The principle of dictogloss is that the teacher reads a short, prepared topic-based text several times and the learners try to produce their own version as close to the original as possible. It can be used in a subject learning context at all levels. It is easy for the teacher to prepare and set up and is a very effective language learning tool as it requires learners to listen, talk, collaborate, take notes, redraft and present orally. 

Barrier games/ Information exchange 

These are activities where two or more learners can see/are given different information and they have to communicate it to each other. They are a useful way of providing an opportunity for speaking and listening for a real purpose. 

Bilingual dictionaries/translation software

The use of bilingual dictionaries and translation software can support EAL learners in using bilingual strategies to support access to the curriculum and build on their existing knowledge.

Collaborative activities

Collaborative activities provide an opportunity for exploratory talk as learners work together. They are a useful way of providing an opportunity for speaking and listening for a real purpose. 


Directed Activities Related to Text (DARTs) are activities which lead learners to interact with texts in a way which enhances understanding. They can be a valuable way of making the curriculum accessible to beginner EAL learners, and of checking understanding. 

Drama and role play

The use of drama and role play creates an opportunity for the EAL learner to hear good models of English in a meaningful context. Role play demonstrates how to use language in real life with a focus on communication. 


Flashcards are great for memorising, revising and consolidating vocabulary and concepts, and for stimulating discussion.  

Graphic organisers

Graphic organisers are a key way of encouraging EAL learners to organise their ideas and develop higher-order thinking skills and language functions. 

Introducing new vocabulary

How you introduce new vocabulary to an EAL learner requires careful consideration, to ensure that it is taught in context not in isolation. There should be a focus not only on key subject-specific vocabulary but also on the language forms and structures associated with particular curriculum areas. 

Jigsaw activities

Jigsaw activities are great for promoting interactive, collaborative group work, and provide an opportunity for purposeful communication with peers who can provide good language models. They encourage EAL learners to develop speaking and listening skills within the context of a curriculum topic. 

Language drills

Drilling is a way of memorising language by repeating it. It is an effective approach for learning new vocabulary or language structures. Through drilling, EAL learners internalise language and are more likely to be able to use it independently. 


Modelling appropriate language forms and structures for a particular task is very helpful to EAL learners. This often involves analysing the language demands of the task, providing a written model of the response you are expecting and pointing out key features of the language used in the model answer. 

Reading for meaning

Fluent readers use a range of strategies to decode and understand text. Many EAL learners have good literacy skills in their first language that they can build on in order to become fluent readers of English. Different teaching methods will be needed according to the learner’s level of literacy in their first language and how similar or different the written form of that language is to English. 

Scaffolding learning

EAL learners need activities to be scaffolded in a range of ways through the provision of linguistic and contextual support. Scaffolding activities can include providing enhanced visual support, graphic organisers, modelling, collaborative learning, speaking and writing frames or grouping EAL learners with supportive peers who can provide good models of English. 

Speaking and writing frames

Speaking and writing frames are useful scaffolding to enable EAL learners to structure their speaking and writing, to use new language forms and functions appropriately and consistently and eventually to speak and write independently using appropriate genres. 

Substitution tables

A substitution table is when a teacher provides a table giving model sentences with a range of choices for learners to select from, using a set pattern.These are a type of scaffolding resource which extend the speaking or writing of EAL learners. They are useful for encouraging learners to develop and extend speaking and listening skills within the context of a curriculum topic and can be used as a reinforcement of newly acquired language. 

Using ICT

ICT can be very powerful when used effectively with EAL learners. In particular using ICT with pairs or groups of learners engaged in language-focused collaborative tasks can promote exploratory talk as well as motivating and engaging learners. 

Using learners' first language ability

This supports access to the curriculum and the acquisition of additional languages. Bilingual strategies enable EAL learners to build on their existing knowledge and make it possible to increase the cognitive challenge of work undertaken. It is easier to understand concepts in your first language and transfer your knowledge to your second language.


Using resources with a lot of visual content provides context and access for EAL learners who need to make sense of new information and new language in order to learn. Visuals enable the language demands of a task to be reduced without reducing the cognitive demand. 




















Challenge all learners

Challenge all learners

Ensuring that the brightest pupils fulfil their potential goes straight to the heart of social mobility, of basic fairness and economic efficiency.’1

Image result for increasing challenge

A report published by Ofsted “The most able students, Are they doing as well as they should in our non-selective secondary schools?” – June 2013, focussed on the progress of high ability students in both selective and non-selective schools.

  • 65% of high ability students attending a non-selective school do not gain A/A* in Maths and English GCSE.
  • 27% of high ability students attending a non-selective school did not gain a B grade in Maths and English GCSE.

The gap continues to grow at Level 3 provision, and even further in applications and admissions to Russell group Universities. The report notes that “In too many lessons observed by inspectors, teaching is not supporting our highest attaining students to do well.”

The key findings through inspections were:

  • In many schools, expectations of what the most able students should achieve are too low.
  • Schools do not routinely give the same attention to the most able as they do to low-attaining students or those who struggle at school.
  • In over two fifths of the schools visited for the survey, students did not make the progress that they should, or that they were capable of, between the ages of 11 and 14. Students said that too much work was repetitive and undemanding in Key Stage 3. As a result, their progress faltered and their interest in school waned.
  • Students did not do the hard work and develop the resilience needed to perform at a higher level because more challenging tasks were not regularly demanded of them. The work was pitched at the middle and did not extend the most able.

If children are pushed to achieve this will:

  • Inspire and motivate them
  • Enable them to fulfil their potential
  • Maintain their engagement

Why does it matter?

It allows us to provide a differentiated curriculum with children aiming for their best. It ensures that all students are suitably engaged in their learning and hungry for improvement. Higher expectations are for the benefit of all: “a rising tide lifts all ships”.

What characteristics are seen in lessons where learners are challenged?

  • Teachers ask open ended questions and where necessary set open ended tasks  
  • Pupils are encouraged to develop higher order thinking skills (HOTS)  
  • Pupils are encouraged and given responsibility as leaders & facilitators
  • Teachers help pupils to develop skills which critique their own and others work
  • Pupils are encouraged to have a go and not fear mistakes
  • Teachers give expert guidance on what exemplar (eg A*) answers/responses look like; this approach is adopted for pupils across all groups
  • Pupils literacy skills are constantly tested orally, in writing and with reading
  • Teachers use specific techniques such as “SOLO” (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) (About SOLO taxonomy)
  • Teachers ‘flip the classroom’ so that pupils prepare work at home and arrive to lessons ready to apply their knowledge; this ensures no time is wasted
  • Pupils are encouraged to experiment
  • Feedback on pupils work makes it clear how to improve including next steps
  • Teachers make time in lessons to give this feedback



1. A Smithers, and P Robinson, Educating the highly able, Foreword by Sir Peter Lampl, Sutton Trust, 2012; www.suttontrust.com/research/educating-the-highly-able/.

CPD Briefing: Literacy & Numeracy

CPD Briefing: Literacy/Numeracy

To be able to increase progress in the curriculum, it is essential that we as teachers are teaching Literacy and Numeracy within all subject areas.  The question is, how do we achieve this?

For most teachers, we include Key words and pick up on spelling and grammar for literacy and for numeracy we try to include the use of data and use statistical. 




literacy picture


There is nothing new about the focus on whole-school literacy. As a headteacher commented in The Times Educational Supplement:

If you want a sure way to provoke a collective groan in your staffroom, announce that you are intending to hold a training day devoted to whole school literacy. ‘We did that five years ago!’ someone will shout.

At its most specific and practical, the term applies to a set of skills that have long been accepted as fundamental to education. The Department for Education is clear and emphatic – the curriculum should offer opportunities for pupils to:

  • ‘engage in specific activities that develop speaking and listening skills as well as activities that integrate speaking and listening with reading and writing’
  • ‘develop speaking and listening skills through work that makes cross-curricular links with other subjects’
  •  ‘develop reading skills through work that makes cross-curricular links with other subjects’
  • ‘develop writing skills through work that makes cross-curricular links with other subjects’
  • ‘work in sustained and practical ways, with writers where possible, to learn about the art, craft and discipline of writing’
  • ‘redraft their own work in the light of feedback. This could include self-evaluation using success criteria, recording and reviewing performances, target-setting and formal and informal use of peer assessment. Redrafting should be purposeful, moving beyond proofreading for errors to the reshaping of whole texts or parts of texts.’  (Ofsted)


‘Literacy’, however, is more than the mechanics of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The National Curriculum demands that connections be made between each strand and across subjects, which calls for thought and understanding, for recall, selection and analysis of ideas and information, and for coherent, considered and convincing communication in speech and in writing. All pupils should be encouraged to:

  • ‘make extended, independent contributions that develop ideas in depth’
  • ‘make purposeful presentations that allow them to speak with authority on significant subjects’
  • ‘engage with texts that challenge preconceptions and develop understanding beyond the personal and immediate’
  • ‘experiment with language and explore different ways of discovering and shaping their own meanings’
  • ‘use writing as a means of reflecting on and exploring a range of views and perspectives on the world.’ (Ofsted)

For example using the writing instruction below:-

writing instructions


‘What’s in it for departments?

  • Literacy supports learning. Pupils need vocabulary, expression and organisational control to cope with the cognitive demands of all subjects.
  • Writing helps us to sustain and order thought.
  • Better literacy leads to improved self-esteem, motivation and behaviour. It allows pupils to learn independently. It is empowering.
  • Better literacy raises pupils’ attainment in all subjects.’

book pictureFurther reading:-







numeracy picture

While most people have a reasonable understanding of what it means to be literate, one of the issues with numeracy is the many different definitions; it means different things to different people.

For some it is synonymous with mathematics, for others it is a subset of mathematics, while others will argue that numeracy lies only partly in mathematics and partly in many other disciplines. Some see numeracy skills simply as those needed to do a specific job (e.g. an engineer or a bricklayer, or for calculating invoices).

Many see numeracy as being essential for the ability to be a reflective learner (e.g. making sense of charts and information reported in the media).

Numeracy is a fundamental life skill that is needed in many ways – personal, leisure, social and work – in order for people to lead a confident and fulfilling life in school and beyond.


To raise standards in schools, numeracy needs to be seen as a practical capability that enables learners to apply their skills and knowledge to solve problems in a whole range of contexts across school and in real life.

Key messages

  • Numeracy is a basic life skill without which individuals will struggle in and beyond school
  • As a life skill, the description of numeracy goes beyond mere computation – it includes essential abilities such as solving problems, understanding and explaining the solutions, making decisions based on logical thinking and reasoning, and interpreting data, charts and diagrams
the essential in literacy


Belief or a ‘Growth Mind-Set’: US professor of psychology Carol Dweck states that it is our mind-set, not abilities or talent, which lead to success (Dweck, 2008).

In a fixed mind-set, people believe that their abilities can’t change. In a growth mind-set, people believe that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. They seek to learn from mistakes and embrace challenges. They have a can-do attitude.

To achieve growth, people must therefore believe that their maths abilities are not fixed, and feel confident that anyone can develop mathematical skill.

For teachers outside the mathematics department, how are we ensuring that we are using numeracy within our curriculum?

book picture Further reading:-



Dweck, Carol. 2008. “Mindset and Math/Science Achievement ". Teaching & Leadership: Managing for Effective Teachers and Leaders.