It is crucial that students leave the school with the appropriate literacy levels to enable them to progress into employment, apprenticeships or Further Education. Considering this, we aim to ensure literacy is at the heart of the school day.
We have a bespoke literacy focus for each week, usually linked to the focus of the month e.g. using correct grammar. The foci are displayed in every classroom, and teaching staff are encouraged to reference these within their teaching. In English, pupils will complete a starter activity on the specific focus for that week in at least one lesson.
Key vocabulary and terminology mats
All departments have subject specific VCOP pyramid mats to support pupils with their use of key vocabulary, useful connectives, sentence openers and varied punctuation. They also have more general sentence starter and connective mats to encourage writing. In addition to this, classrooms display subject-specific terminology, key vocabulary and verbs such as ‘identify’ and ‘analyse’.
The school marking and assessment policy also supports literacy. We use an active marketing system where pupils are directed to respond to their own marking and make corrections to their spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Pupils are encouraged to read challenging texts and resources in all subjects across the curriculum. Where appropriate we maximise opportunities for pupils to read aloud as well as having guided reading time.
‘Drop everything and read’
During tutorial time, students will have at least half an hour each week for independent reading time.
Students’ reading ages and comprehension levels are tested throughout the year using New Group Reading Tests (NGRT). For those pupils who show a considerably lower reading age than the national average will be offered support with reading with the ARROW intervention programme, which works individually with students, and encourages them to hear their errors and repeat them to improve cognitive understanding.
We believe that the skills of reading should also be practised and supported outside of school. There are lots of materials on the internet which can help with this.
Numeracy is essential to everyday life and work, from grocery shopping to getting a mortgage to reading a wage slip. Numeracy is essential to employment, apprenticeships or Further Education and day to day living. So our mission is to ensure all students are numerate. We will do this by ensuring numeracy is delivered in interesting, creative and easily understood ways.
Numeracy learning strategies
Numeracy should be part of the everyday learning environment. So we have a bespoke numeracy focus for each week, covering fundamental skills such as multiplying and dividing, working with percentages and using ratios. These will be displayed in each classroom and teaching staff are encouraged to reference these during their teaching.
Numeracy should be a key focus in maths classes. So in maths students will complete a starter activity each lesson that is split into increasing levels of difficulty, so everyone has a challenge. The numeracy focus for the week, will be the topic of one starter activity.
Numeracy shouldn’t be taught in isolation, students should understand it is important across subjects. The numeracy requirements for all vocational subjects and science will be directly taught in maths classes. This is done using cross curricular examples such as using ratios for understanding a gear box in a car or for understanding child to staff ratio in a crèche.
Numeracy is a preparation for life. So in maths classes we use examples such as working out interest on a mortgage or comparing the price of trainers on sale.
Extra support is available in dedicated slots after school for students to go over topics until they feel more comfortable with them. These are designed to give students more one to one time. This time is also used to help students practise using their calculator as well.
Dedicated, in class reflection time
We use self-assessment to help students improve their own learning and take more ownership of their work. We also use peer feedback to ensure students learn to identify mistakes in other people’s work and therefore reinforce their own understanding of numeracy.
In maths students are asked to reflect on their progress in learning and identify ways to improve with the support of their learning coach.
There are lots of free resources for improving numeracy online.