We place an extremely high Value on the importance of strong literacy skills for all our pupils. Reading, writing and communication skills are crucial in ensuring success with all curriculum areas but also in our pupil’s lives beyond school life. Should students choose further education or decide to join the work place, a secure usage of literacy skills is required for both. For this reason we have formulated a whole school approach where the whole staff is fully committed to developing literacy as part of every lesson.
The Communication Charter
The Communication Charter has been developed to ensure that pupils are competent readers, writers, speakers and listeners in order to reach their full academic potential. The charter is referred to across all subject areas as literacy teaching is the responsibility of every teacher in every curriculum area. By following the Communication Charter we believe that literacy standards will improve and will lead to improved attainment in all subject areas.
The English department will teach literacy intrinsically but every teacher will develop and improve the quality if literacy by providing good models and opportunities for pupils to practice reading, writing speaking and listening in planned and focused ways.
Hillside Loves Reading
#Hillside Loves Reading is our twice termly reading day. Every department in school has a reading focus in their lesson on this day. Pupils are encouraged to read a wide variety of materials from novels and poetry to academic research and newspaper articles. Pupils develop an understanding that reading is an important element of their learning underpinned by the belief that Reading is Power. We promote reading for pleasure and silent reading is a form time literacy activity in year 7 and 8, pupils are encouraged to borrow books from our well stocked library and tutor groups are provided with class reading boxes. Pupils are given a wide range of texts to read that reflect the demands of each curriculum subject and those needed when they become adults in the wider community. Each pupil is expected to reading a book for pleasure in their spare time. We will ensure that reading skills and strategies are reinforced through teacher modelling and providing extra practice during lessons. Pupils are encouraged to read aloud, fluently and with expression, where necessary pupils will be supported by the teacher providing a good model as well as partnered and paired reading strategies to improve competency levels.
The WOW Zone
Every teacher is a teacher of literacy. Every classroom displays literacy support such as key words, spelling rules and examples of punctuation. In addition teachers have embedded our whole school writing focus in their lessons called The WOW (Working On Writing) Zone. This whole school writing initiative gives pupils the time in lessons to focus on developing their writing. Pupils will be given support form their teachers to structure their work, are expected to work in silence, use the best subject specific vocabulary that they can and to aim to produce an excellent piece of writing.
Writing and Feedback
Our aim is to create an explicit focus on literacy in order to develop each pupil’s ability to communicate clearly and accurately. To further support literacy development the whole school feedback policy includes a feedback for literacy element. When pupil’s receive feedback from their teachers their work is checked for literacy errors. Teachers take a “find and fix” approach so that pupils have to find the error and correct the mistake themselves. The line where the error occurs is highlighted by the teacher using literacy feedback codes. Every teacher will correct spellings mistakes in line with the school feedback policy, giving strategies to help pupils improve. All KS3 pupils are tested for spelling accuracy and spellings and handwriting practice sheets are given as independent learning as it is vital that handwriting is clear and legible.
For the presentation of written work pupils must:
Write using only blue or black ink.
Write the date in full e.g. Monday 10th June 2019
Title every piece of work using approproiate initial capital letters.
Underline the date and title using a ruler.
Use a pencil and ruler to draw diagrams, graphs, maps etc.
Proof read their work to check for mistakes.
Please support these expectations at home, when pupils are completing independent learning.
Speaking and Listening
Teachers recognise the importance of oracy to improve learning. Pupils are encouraged and expected to:
Speak clearly, audibly and with confidence.
Adapt language to a widening variety of demands which include using the grammar and vocabulary of Standard English.
Use full sentences when speaking.
Baseline Testing and Intervention
Pupils deemed to be “not Secondary ready” for English will be targeted for extra literacy support. All staff will be given detailed information on the literacy levels of this focus group. All pupils on entry complete the Access Group Reading Test in order for us to establish the reading age of our pupils. This helps the school to identify the needs of all pupils of all abilities so that we can support each pupil as appropriate. Pupils will be tested again later in the academic year so that we can ensure that all pupils are making the expected progress.
Where pupils require extra support with basic literacy skills, we have created a formalised programme in order to develop specific Literacy skills:
Reading enrichment activities and additional support is delivered where necessary. Specialist intervention using the Lexia Core 5 programme is provided in to pupils in small group groups focusing on phonics, decoding and basic comprehension skills.
Specialist teachers and teaching assistants are trained to deliver Read, Write, Inc. an intensive reading programme that improves pupils reading skills.
It is crucial that parents / guardians and the school work closely together to support and develop literacy skills of our pupils. Pupils and their families are supported to build literacy in their everyday life. This could be actively listening to your child read on a regular basis, or asking them to read at home with a young sibling.
At Hillside we believe that good literacy is fundamental to every aspect of our pupils lives. What ever the future may hold for our pupils they will need to have good literacy and communication skills. Skills that we are working to achieve across the curriculum.
“ A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.” Sasha Salmina