St Robert of Newminster Catholic School and Sixth Form College aims to ensure that all pupils, in all subject areas, are provided with opportunities to develop as competent readers, writers, speakers and listeners and develop their numerical competence. Literacy skills are taught directly in KS3 as part of the English curriculum; it is left to the discretion of teachers and support staff to judge when and how literacy and numeracy should be delivered elsewhere and also to decide on the specific skills that pupils in their care need to acquire to be successful.

Our approach to improving the quality of reading, writing, speaking, listening and numeracy focuses on three objectives:

  • Ensure that the essential skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening and numeracy are taught by teachers in all subject areas.
  • When appropriate, identify literacy and numerical errors in all subjects and encourage learners to correct them.
  • Encourage pupils to read a range of age and ability-appropriate material, independently and for pleasure.

We promote reading in Years 7 and 8 with our use of Accelerated Reader, a programme designed to track pupils’ reading ages and progress, and ensure that reading material is matched to reading age. A small number of SEND pupils in Year 9, nominated annually by the SENCO, also follow the programme. Form tutors and subject teachers are expected to encourage and support independent reading at every opportunity.

Year 7 lunchtime reading
All Year 7 pupils attend a timetabled 30-minute lunchtime reading session once a week beginning at 12.20pm. Reading sessions take place in English teaching groups and are supervised.

Monitoring reading progress
Pupil progress in Years 7 and 8 is monitored using data from Star Reading tests. Reading age data is shared with pupils in the form of a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) score, allowing pupils to select age-appropriate reading books from the library. This data is also shared with the school librarian so that the library can be suitably stocked.

Star Reading data is collected at four points in the academic year and reading progress is tracked using the Normed Referenced Standardised Score (NRSS). The average score is 100. Reading interventions take place with pupils achieving NRSS<85.

Reading Intervention
All pupils in Year 7 with a NRSS<85 are provided with a Year 12 reading mentor. Reading mentors are trained by the school Literacy Co-ordinator to read with pupils and guide them through a booklet of literacy activities. Mentoring takes place during lunchtime reading sessions for an initial period of 8 weeks. SEND pupils follow an adapted programme of one-to-one guided reading. Star Reading test data is used to monitor progress and add or remove pupils from the mentoring cohort. Pupils are required to have two reading books at all times.

Literacy Hour
All pupils in Key Stage 3 have a timetabled literacy lesson delivered as part of the English curriculum each week. This literacy hour is dedicated to the direct teaching of specific literacy skills and is co-ordinated by the Literacy Co-ordinator.

The literacy and numeracy catch-up premium gives schools additional funding to support year 7 pupils who did not achieve the expected standard in Reading or Maths at the end of key stage 2 (KS2).
Whilst literacy and numeracy activities are part of our transition programme and summer school, students’ literacy and numeracy skills are monitored during Year 7 and intervention is arranged for students who may not be progressing in line with their peers. Intervention may include:

  • Small group reading/numeracy intervention
  • 1 to 1 reading/numeracy
  • 6th form buddy for reading/numeracy
  • Targeted in class stretch and challenge opportunities

Key staff
Literacy Co-ordinator: Miss J Armstrong
L12: Mrs D Horrocks
Head of English Department: Mr J Brettell
SENDCO: Mrs R Hurst