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. 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 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 focuses on three objectives:

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


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 including spelling, punctuation and grammar and is co-ordinated by the Literacy Co-ordinator. Once per half term, the literacy hour is delivered in the library and pupils are encouraged to browse the resources available and loan ability-appropriate books by our school librarian.


Reading for pleasure
We promote reading in Year 7 through our Tutor Reading Programme whereby pupils are read to by their tutors during morning registration on three occasions each week. Through this programme, pupils are exposed to a range of diverse, challenging texts including The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah and Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah. Beyond Year 7, all pupils must carry with them at least one personal reading book and tutors and subject teachers are expected to encourage and support independent reading at every opportunity.


Monitoring reading progress
Pupil progress in Years 7 and 8 is monitored using the New Group Reading Test (NGRT) from GL Assessment. This is a reading test which provides data on pupils’ knowledge of vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. NGRT data is collected at three points in the academic year and reading progress is tracked using the standardised age score (SAS).


Reading Intervention
Pupils identified for intervention in Year 7 and 8 are provided with a Year 12 reading mentor. Reading mentors are trained in reciprocal reading strategies and echo reading and work with groups of 4 pupils during one lunchtime per week for an initial period of 6 weeks. SEND pupils follow an adapted one-to-one programme with the school librarian or a learning support assistant. In Year 9, pupils identified for intervention complete the Lexonik Advance programme, a six-week course which trains learners to develop phonological awareness and make links between unknown words using common prefix, root word and suffix definitions.

For further detail on interventions including the previous allocation of Literacy and Numeracy Catch up premium click here.

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