Literacy at Arthur Mellows Village College:
‘Young people who leave school without good literacy skills are held back at every stage of life. Their outcomes are poorer on almost every measure, from health and wellbeing to employment and finance’ (Education Endowment Foundation, 2020)
At Arthur Mellows Village College, we recognise the importance of our responsibility to ensure that our students leave school with good literacy skills, so that their achievements are richer and well met.
Literacy impacts self-esteem, motivation, behaviour, and academic attainment. We aim to always promote high standards and expectations, of literacy across our curriculum and beyond the classroom, where we have specific programmes to actively ensure the success of all our students.
Arthur Mellows Village College believes that the acquisition and application of literacy skills is the foundation of all learning across all Key Stages and that it is the responsibility of all staff to improve the communication and language skills of all learners. Unfortunately, external data suggest that our students are entering the Academy with depressed levels of literacy which is increasing year on year hence we are committed to enhancing and embedding literacy across the curriculum by:
- Having a lead Literacy/EAL Co-Ordinator leading on and overseeing on various literacy strategies in the College on a whole school perspective.
- Following the structure of the National Curriculum.
- All students, on entering the College are base lined tested: CATS, standardised spelling and reading tests. Based on these scores, nurture classes are identified and taught in small groups, by trained nurture mentor/teacher to enable very specialist and bespoke strategies for these students.
- Students reading ages in Years 7 and 8 are monitored and updated termly. This information is then made available to all teachers, allowing them to make more informed decisions about the needs of their class. The reading ages are also made available to parents as well, who can remain informed of their child’s reading age and therefore support our literacy drive in the College.
- Ensuring that all learners enjoy literacy by enriching the curriculum with visits and visitors coming to the school.
- All Key Stages are taught explicitly grammar and writing in lessons.
- Monitoring teaching and learning to provide personalised feedback to bring about improvement and celebrate success.
- All students during Form time, have a timetable of enriched literacy activities, with Years 7 and 8 having one to two mornings a week dedicated to reading with their Form Tutor. (DEAR- an initiative known as Drop everything and read) Key Stage 4 students use Seneca Learning which improves their literacy skills by re-reading previously taught content and then answering questions so they can revisit and rehearse information
- Implementing and embedding common vocabulary via WOW words during Form Tutor time. Our WOW’s are cross curricular words in order to embed vocabulary that students will come across to and need in daily school life and beyond.
- The Accelerated Reader programme is used to track students reading in Years 7 and 8 Timetabled lessons are allocated once a fortnight in the library to allow students to read books at the appropriate reading age level, which will further extend and improve their reading ability. Once the book has been completed, a reading comprehension test will be undertaken to check their understanding of their reading. A select number of Year 9 students also use this as part of their literacy support lessons.
- All Year 7, 8 and 9 students have also access to MyOn, which is an online library where students have access to reading books based on their chosen interests and appropriate reading age. All families are made aware of this provision, by communicating directly with parents.
- An after-school reading club is offered to students twice a week, who have been identified as needing further reading support. This is a peer mentoring guided reading programme, led by Sixth Form students and overseen by trained staff.
- The library and the role of the librarian is considered pivotal in encouraging students to enjoy reading and to challenge themselves with unfamiliar literature. To that end, all Year Groups have a dedicated library day, during their non-contact time. This creates a calm, welcoming atmosphere where students can explore their love of reading.
- Extra Curricular clubs offered during non-contact time, with Literacy, speaking and listening being an integral part of these clubs: Sci-fi: ‘the weird, the wonderful, the unexplained’, Lingo: Club: code breaking through languages, Film club, History club, Business and Biscuits etc.
- Weekly staff/adult reading book club in the library.
- Literacy enriched trips: such as Harry Potter, Drama An Inspector Calls, Battlefields, Science live Biology, Physics, Chemistry etc.
- A Kindle breakfast reading club is offered by the Inclusion department twice a week to those students with additional needs.
- All Schemes of Learning include key vocabulary and part of assessing the impact of learning will include types of writing which will be scaffolded to teach appropriate literacy skills.
- Literacy set homework set by Head of Department once every half term.
- All Heads of Department looking at vocabulary associated with exam terminology and including it as part of their starters.
- All teachers have a poster displaying their favourite/recommended book. Associated quizzes and competitions promote lively discussions about books/reading to develop a culture of literacy.
- Summer reading challenge, quizzes, library reading lists available to each Year Group, literacy competitions, delivered by the librarian and Heads of Year during the school academic year.
- Wednesday morning briefings to provide CPD and ideas to staff about literacy tasks in all curriculum areas.