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Our Y12 Historians had a great taster day at yesterday. They look part in lectures and debates, and got to speak to current UCL Humanities students.


The HCACP Summer Carnival pulls into town on Tues 16th July. Join us for an afternoon of performance and celebration. Doors open 5pm. Tix £3 adult £2 concession.


Motivational speaker David McQueen visited HCACP yesterday to give Year 10 students valuable advice and top tips in preparation for their upcoming mock exams.


A real 'Who done it' for our junior detectives taking notes and forensic samples at a simulated crime scene today at HCACP with consultancy.


Year 7 and Year 8 had the amazing BRIT school sixth form students in today leading their first dance workshop ready for the BRIT festival in July. The girls worked so hard and loved learning some new dance moves.


The HCACP Summer Carnival pulls into town on Tues 16th July. Join us for an afternoon of performance and celebration. Doors open 5pm. Tix £3 adult £2 concession.


The fabulous Peter Long has kindly donated money raised with Beautiful Croydon calendar to purchase an upgraded set of tenor pans for the Academy. Students were so excited to play the beautiful sounding instruments.


Watch the semi final here live at approximately 15.45. Good luck to the team!!!


👏👏👏👏 Huge well done to our girls’ team - have made the national semi final in Nottingham!


After three days of challenging hiking and navigation in Sussex, three teams have their DofE Silver Practice Expedition completed!


Reflecting on a day's hiking around Bewl Water on the DofE Silver Practice Expedition.


Day two scenes on the DofE Silver Practice Expedition


Fantastic work today by the sports leaders at today’s Primary sports day. You were an absolute credit to the Academy.


Congratulations to Thye-Lakh! Has not missed a day off school since year7!


Great half term trip to .


The HCACP newsletter for May 2024 is now available from


The HCACP Instrumental Concert is tomorrow at 4.30pm. An hour of recitals and exemplary musical acumen.


Two absolute superstars right here 👇🥇🤩! Have loved seeing their musicianship go from strength to strength and confidence grow. What a fantastic achievement passing Grade 6 vocal exam in Y11🥳. Huge congrats to Kira also for the Grade 8 Distinction 👏.


Congratulations to our talented students who took singing exams this half term.  Grace and Kumasi for passing their Grade 6 singing exams with a merit and huge congratulations to Kira for achieving a Distinction in her Grade 8 exam.


HCACP students were lucky enough to participate in literacy rhythm workshops with Ollie from .  It was great fun connecting syllables and rhythms together with some body percussion.

Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

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Literacy enriches a person’s life and enhances their life chances. It is essential that our students develop proficient literacy skills in order to gain the knowledge, confidence and motivation to be successful in their learning.

The responsibility to develop students’ literacy skills lies with the entire staff body, parents and carers. It is through this collective effort that students will be able to access learning across the curriculum.

Our aim is to foster a love of reading and develop enquiring minds that both think and question critically. A priority focus is to improve the ability of our students to write extended prose which demonstrates their skills of reason and argument in a clear and coherent manner.

Developing vocabulary

Bedrock logoResearch has shown there is a direct link between a student’s vocabulary size and their academic achievement. Children with a wider vocabulary make faster progress at school, in further education and beyond. Narrow vocabularies affect directly students’ grades.

Disciplinary literacy emphasises ways of knowing and communicating knowledge within a subject discipline. It helps students understand how language works in different subject areas and supports their understanding of how vocabulary is used, how question phrasing will shape the answer expected, and how to interpret the written and graphic materials used for learning.

What are vocabulary tiers?

At Harris City Academy Crystal Palace there is a focus on developing pupils’ ‘Tier 2’ and ‘Tier 3’ (Beck and McKeown). There are countless words in the English language and it is difficult for teachers to know which ones to teach! Beck and McKeown identified how words have “different levels of utility”. They created three tiers, with each tier characterising a different type of word.

  • Tier 1 words. These are words that pupils pick up naturally, for example nouns such as ‘clock’ or basic verbs like ‘running’. These words do not need teaching explicitly.
  • Tier 2 words. These are ambitious vocabulary words that learners will come across in a variety of contexts, for example reading a variety of texts or listening to a speech, but will not hear in everyday conversations. Tier two words might include: ‘analyse’, ‘emerge’, ‘peculiar’ and ‘context’.
  • Tier 3 words. These are subject specific words which are integral to teaching a specific subject. These are made explicit in lessons and pupils are encouraged to use the language of a ‘mathematician’ or a ‘geographer’ in their writing and speaking.

Teachers guide pupils through reading complex and challenging texts by isolating Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary to support them in accessing complex material and embed the use of more sophisticated vocabulary in not only their reading but oracy and writing skills too.

Teachers are supported through a professional learning programme to help pupils read, write and communicate effectively in their subject. As part of departmental curriculum planning teachers and subject leaders consider which words and phrases to teach.

Alongside explicit teaching in lessons our pupils develop their disciplinary literacy through an online programme – ‘Bedrock’.

Bedrock learning

All pupils in years 7-9 use an online vocabulary programme called Bedrock to help them become word-aware and as a tool to improve their vocabulary to help address the word gap. The programme allows students to access both non-fiction and fiction texts to improve their reading skills and learn new vocabulary that will enhance the way they read, speak and write across all of their subjects.

As students’ progress through the Bedrock curriculum, they will study hundreds of new words.

You can log in to Bedrock at

When students first log in they will be asked to complete an alpha test. This must be completed on their own as it means that the programme is designed around them. Logins are provided by your child’s English teacher.

Literacy intervention

Students' reading ages and abilities are identified through NGRT testing which is carried out every 6 months. Where pupils are falling below their expected reading age they will receive additional support and or intervention to help them catch up with their chronological reading age.

In addition to NGRT, all students complete the Lucid Exact Screener which looks for further possible literacy/language needs and access arrangements as it provides indicators regarding the students’ skill levels in literal comprehension, vocabulary, inference and analysis. Students with below age-expected levels for reading comprehension are allocated literacy catch up provision. We use the Hackney Literacy Trust Programme, and this is taught by the SENCO. Students with specific difficulties at word level and/or with a dyslexia diagnosis have designated support with the Specialist Dyslexia Teacher.

Students who need additional but not specialised support are placed on the Lexia® PowerUp Literacy® programme, which is in addition to the support they are given in lessons. Lexia Power Up Literacy is a computer-based program that tailors instruction to their specific needs. The activities in PowerUp support and build on our English language and arts curriculum, focusing on three areas essential to becoming a proficient reader: word study, grammar, and comprehension. Our specially trained Teaching Assistant team support pupils with the programme and use the additional support materials with pupils when they need additional support to access the next level of the PowerUp programme. Pupils are expected to attend at least two sessions per week in school and complete one session at home.

World Book Day1Reading

Pupils in years 7 – 10 have dedicated DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time at the start of the day to read with their Form Tutor. Pupils have the opportunity to share and discuss what they are reading with their Tutor. Tutors share their favourite books with their class and have posters in their classroom to share what they are reading.

There is a dedicated library where pupils can borrow a range of current fiction and non-fiction books, with regular new publications added every term.

Online library

Our online library can be accessed here where you can download PDF copies of many books. You can select from a range of books aimed at Key Stage 4 & 5.

For access to digital books at home and audiobooks you can try these websites:

  • Project Gutenberg - good for classics.
  • – free (30 days) audible books for all ages.
  • Have a look at World Book Day’s World of Stories, where you can listen to audiobooks of some of your favourite books.
  • Literacy Trust: The Book of Hopes. Completely free for all children and families, the extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators, including Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Greg James and Chris Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon, Axel Scheffler, Francesca Simon and Jacqueline Wilson.
  • Literacy Trust: Virtual School Library
  • Time Edge is a digital magazine that teachers you about current events. All of the content is written by the editors of the world famous publications TIME and TIME For Kids. You'll need to submit your email address to access the magazine.


At Harris City Academy Crystal Palace, pupils learn effective communication skills which allows them to communicate key ideas and opinions in a range of contexts.

There is a subject-specific focus on using academic language and vocabulary to support pupils to become ‘experts’ in that subject. Teachers plan opportunities where students can listen sensitively and respectively to others’ ideas

Pupils are encouraged to become experts at speaking through a variety of enrichment clubs such as Debating Club and participating in discussion through a variety of different forums, such as the Student Council.

Debating Club is a successful enrichment where pupils are taught how to speak on the public platform and master the skill of thinking and speaking on their feet. Pupils often have the opportunity to compete against other Harris Academies through Federation-wide competitions.

Reading and literacy rewards

LiteracyHarris City Academy Crystal Palace students are encouraged to read a range of different types of literature. As part of the termly Success Passport, we make a range of age-appropriate book suggestions. Students must read three books, chosen from six categories, to fulfil the reading success criteria. The categories are:

  • Diverse author celebration 
  • An American text
  • A non-fiction text about how things are made, or a part of the world students know little about
  • A 19th century classic
  • An autobiography
  • A novel about humanity and society