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Literary competence is a crucial and essential skill of a successful learner. The effective teaching of literacy is every teacher's responsibility. Literacy is not a 'bolt-on' activity within a lesson but should be viewed as an integral part of teaching and learning. Every part of the lesson should be viewed as an opportunity to develop students' reading, writing, speaking and listening through subject specific content.
The following three areas are addressed by staff in their planning for pupil progress:
To summarise and help embed greater consistency in all classrooms, we have the mnemonic RINSE:
Read – Every day. Carry at least one reading book with you at all times.
Improve – Your writing. Expect to proof-read your work and respond to guidance and feedback to produce your highest quality work at all times. Learn the meaning of and how to spell an increasing number of key words.
Neat – Make your writing legible and quick. Take pride in your books, they are there as a record of your learning and are there to revise from.
Sentences – Practise talking and writing in full sentences.
Extend – Ask questions in all lessons to extend and consolidate your understanding.
In addition, as part of our Year 7 Literacy and Numeracy catch up programme, a range of Year 7 pupils are involved in the following initiatives: Rapid Plus – an accelerated reading programme for students not making 3 levels of progress in English; a paired reading scheme with sixth form students; and Lexia, a web based phonics programme. Selected students are also part of our handwriting programme in school and we have developed a new school library and learning centre for students to utilise.
The Whole School Literacy Policy details school practice and procedure.
Numeracy is a confidence and competence with numbers and measures. To be numerate, knowledge of the number system and a range of computational techniques and algorithms are needed and particularly an ability to solve problems involving numbers in a variety of contexts.
The mathematics department has one person whose responsibility is to lead on the development of numeracy across the curriculum. This person will lead the mathematics department in collaborating with other departments who deliver an aspect of numeracy as part of their curriculum and ensure common methods used in mathematics lessons are communicated to other departments so that they can use these methods also.
To summarise and help embed greater consistency in all classrooms, we have the mnemonic WAVES:
Working out – Show your working out. How did you get to your answer?
Approaches – What method should I use? Do I need to use the same approach as another subject?
Vocabulary – Have I used the correct term? Does it mean the same in both subjects?
Estimation – Is my answer realistic?
Scientific calculators – Have I got my scientific calculator? Have I used it alongside written methods?
In addition, as part of our Year 7 Literacy and Numeracy catch up programme, in mathematics staffing is adjusted so that Year 7 mathematics catch up groups have smaller class sizes in order to ensure that they make expected progress. Also, a weekly maths' puzzle of the week competition for all VTG and sixth form tutor groups to participate in runs throughout the year. Students in our Year 5 feeder primary schools are also invited to take part in the 'Journey into Mathematics' programme to prepare them for mathematics at secondary school level. A number of our students also take part in the UKMT Junior, Intermediate and Senior mathematics and team mathematics challenges.
The Whole School Numeracy Policy further details school practice and procedure.