Literacy Across the Curriculum
All staff are responsible for literacy across the curriculum. Staff have been trained in Disciplinary Reading which places reading skills at the forefront of all learning. Staff have a common toolkit to promote reading skills within their subject:
The English Secondary Reading Strategy (SRS) is delivered via English lessons, where all students are given access to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Students read and reread texts to find layers of meaning and increase understanding. Each text also focuses on a key theme (Big Question) to encourage our students’ personal development. Across the school, staff have also been trained on Disciplinary Reading (‘Tackling Texts’) so that they too can remove barriers to learning through a range of reading strategies.
Literacy and Reading Intervention
All students in Years 7 and 8 (and some in later years) are assessed using GL Assessment’s reading test https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/products/new-group-reading-test-ngrt .The assessment helps highlight which students require support with their reading. This support is provided in different ways depending on the need of each student. This could include an extra timetabled literacy intervention lesson, focusing on key literacy skills and comprehension and some students will receive additional reading time in the library.
Those students whose literacy skills need improvement are provided with extra support through bespoke, targeted intervention. This ensures that they still have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. We use the phonics-based Corrective Reading Programme (decoding), and Ruth Miskin’s Fresh Start for those in the lowest stanines, and then students move on to the Reading Plus programme to further develop their chronological reading age through improving their fluency, reading speed and comprehension skills.
Word of the Week introduces students to a range of new vocabulary that can be used across all subjects. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing. Vocabulary growth is directly related to school achievement.
Another whole school focus on literacy is our 7 Deadly Sins initiative. Each term, all staff are given a focus for common grammatical mistakes which are highlighted by staff and rectified by students within all subjects across the curriculum.
- Capital Letter
- Possessive Apostrophes
- Omissive Apostrophes
Reading for Pleasure
At The Vale Academy, we place reading at the heart of our curriculum. We want our students to be able to access the full curriculum offer by developing a reading programme that focuses on accuracy, automaticity (speed, fluency), prosody (expression, emphasis and tone) and a love of reading.
Students in years 7, 8 and 9 also read one of their Reading Routes books for the first five minutes of their tutor sessions, and for an extended 20 minutes once a week to show how reading is a cross-curricular focus (see Reading Routes tab for more information). In addition, all students in Years 7, 8 and 9 follow a library programme in their English lessons, which is designed to further encourage a love of reading by allowing students the opportunity to explore the diverse range of literature we have in our well-stocked library. Alongside this, we have devised a Library Programme which fosters review and summary writing skills so they can demonstrate an understanding of what they have read.
Oracy is a key focus across the Academy, and we aim to develop students’ speaking and listening skills, confidence, and ability to express ideas. Oracy tasks are embedded across tutor time activities and curriculum areas. Students are encouraged to respond using full sentences across the curriculum in both written and oral responses.
– model good oracy.
– challenge poor oracy.
– provide students with the language necessary for a high-level response.
– provide students with sentence starters to scaffold their responses, and display word walls to offer key subject vocabulary that our students can use to articulate their ideas.
Every student at The Vale Academy has access to either Sparx Maths (Years 7 – 9) or Hegarty Maths (Years 10 – 11) which are online programmes to support learning. Students are set specific tasks to complete every week as homework and a weekly report of completed Hegarty tasks is shared with parents/carers. Sparx Maths contacts parents/carers when a student fails to complete homework tasks. A Sparx and Hegarty Club also runs after school so all students can complete their homework with teacher support. At The Vale Academy, we look to quickly narrow the gap in KS3 between students who did not achieve the expected standard in Mathematics at KS2 with those who did. Any student who did not achieve the expected standard is taught Maths in a smaller class and is offered bespoke intervention to close any gaps in relation to students’ basic numeracy skills. The scheme of learning is also differentiated for students to ensure breadth of content whilst having a high focus on numeracy skills
All students – in the first week of the year – will complete a Delta baseline assessment; this information will guide setting and intervention programmes.
In year 7, students complete maths work (based on famous mathematicians) to help their retrieval of basic numeracy skills. If the student successfully passes the end of term exam, they will earn a badge to wear with pride on their lapels.
Students also complete an array of numeracy-based tasks on a week in tutor in years 7 – 9.