We believe that age-expected proficiency in reading, writing and oracy is fundamental for the development of children; to be without these skills is to be marginalised and disadvantaged.
Furthermore, if students are going to ‘Be the Best They Can Be’, then it is also necessary for us to inspire students who are reading, writing and speaking at or above age-related expectations. This lays the groundwork for the high academic success which opens up wide and ambitious post-16 opportunities for our students.
Finally, a culture where a celebration of reading, writing and oracy sits at the heart of daily school life enables students to find personal growth and enjoyment. This helps enable them to ‘Be the Best They Can Be’ and make a positive difference to their communities.
To support and embed these ambitious goals over time, the school has developed a Literacy Policy and fluid Literacy Strategy. This work is underpinned by years of research including the Education Endowment Foundation’s ‘Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools’.
The current developmental Literacy foci of the school is five-fold:
- Standardised reading age testing of the whole cohort.
The whole school cohort sits standardised reading age tests every September and this data is shared across all staff.
- High Quality Intervention for struggling readers.
After a series of screening tests, appropriate students are given high quality one to one intervention using the ‘Thinking Reading©’ programme. This programme utilises:
- Linguistic Phonics
- Precision Teaching
- Applied Behaviour Analysis
- Direct Instruction
As this bespoke programme is further embedded, capacity will grow and further small group Direct Instruction interventions will be in place for the next academic year (2022-23)
- Embedding the explicit teaching of vocabulary within lessons.
The explicit teaching of vocabulary as part of planning and delivery is a key focus across the school. This includes staff being aware of how to select Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary (Beck, McKeown and Kucan) and how to teach in a way that moves towards student ownership.
- Bringing reading into lessons across the curriculum.
Teachers are being supported with strategies on how to plan for reading in lessons so that students of all ability can be pushed towards full comprehension and growing knowledge within each particular subject domain.
- Promoting a love of reading across the school.
Our ambitious aim is to have a school where all students regularly read for pleasure. Promotions to support this ongoing goal include:
- Quiet Reading within Key Stage 3 Tutor groups for at least 30 minutes a week
- A student Book Exchange that sits at the heart of the school
- A year 10 to year 7 peer reading promotion programme
- Half-termly kindles awarded to dedicated readers
- A ‘Book Clinic’ that supports students to find the right book for them
- In some tutor groups, whole class reading of the same novel