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. Identified students are further screened to create an individual reading profile that covers motivation, decoding, fluency and comprehension. The results of this profile are shared with relevant staff and parents/carers. This communication includes next steps guidance.
- High Quality Intervention for struggling readers.
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
- Embedding the explicit teaching of vocabulary within lessons.
The explicit teaching of vocabulary, as part of a teacher’s planning and delivery, is a key focus across the school. Staff are trained on how to select and instruct high utility vocabulary. They are supported with strategies to secure student ownership of the key vocabulary which can help unlock and consolidate learning over time within their particular subject domain.
- Bringing reading into lessons across the curriculum.
Teachers are being supported with strategies on how to plan and deliver accountable reading within lessons. This is so that students of all ability can be supported to confidently decode accurately and fluently with comprehension across subject domains.
- Promoting a love of reading across the school.
Our ambitious aim is to have a school where all students regularly read for pleasure. We have created a fluid implementation plan to implement, monitor and sustain our journey towards this aim. This plan includes:
- Quiet Reading within Key Stage 3 Tutor groups for at least 30 minutes a week
- Regular support for students who have been identified as disengaged readers.
- Regular rewards for engaged readers; this includes the awarding of Kindles to ‘Star Readers’.
- To further support our ambitious goals, a post-Covid relaunch of the school library space along with other whole-school student led initiatives.
- Further planned reading promotions and initiatives to help staff and parents ensure that all of our students are reading regularly for pleasure.