Literacy is a fundamental set of skills that is essential for learning in every single subject across Saint Bede’s but also for use throughout everyday life.
Screening and InterventionAt Saint Bede’s Catholic High School, we recognise the importance of literacy skills as they are vital for success, not just across the school, but throughout daily life. As such, each subject is committed to ensuring that literacy skills are taught and supported within every subject.
When entering the school in Year 7, students complete a number of screening assessments. These include: spelling age tests, reading age tests and a Literacy MOT. The results of these are used to identify those students who require intervention and support from the Learning Support department as well as indicating those who need specific support from their teachers.
In Years 8-11, the spelling age test is repeated as is the Literacy MOT so that students are constantly aware of their strengths as well as areas which they need to improve to continue to progress in their work.
At the start of the year, all students complete a dictation exercise where they are read a section of text and asked to write it down using appropriate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Once this is completed, their English teacher completes a writing MOT sheet for each student which assesses their level of ability in specified areas. From this sheet, students are asked to select one target which they will work on in order to improve their written work. It is expected that students will work on at least, one target per half-term. This target should be written at the start of all of their work in all subjects so that teachers can use this when marking their work. When teachers or a student feels they have met their target, they must show this proof to their English teacher (initially) who will note their progress on their MOT sheet and set a new target with the student.
MOT sheets for reading and spoken English will be introduced after allowing a significant period of time for students to work on their initial written target.
Intervention strategies will be deployed for those who are highlighted as needing literacy support and will be delivered through the Learning Support department and English staff. This intervention may involve (based upon need): targeted one-to-one/small group intervention with a member of the Learning Support department; an extra allotted period of English specifically for developing literacy skill and/or targeted support delivered through the teacher based on specific areas of need.
The Key Areas
Literacy teaching at the school is separated into three broad categories: reading, writing and spoken English and each subject provides opportunities for students to practise and improve their skills in these areas through day to day teaching.
As a school we are committed to promoting wide ranging independent reading. Every student participates once a week in ERIC (Everybody Reading In Class) time, which has an allotted slot in form time. Students receive a sticker weekly for completion of ERIC time which leads to a credit on their ‘Rewards Card’. During this time, students have 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to read appropriate material of their choosing whether it be using a book or through their device.
In order to encourage this love of reading, English teachers will provide each student at Key Stage 3 with a ‘reading challenge’ booklet. The booklet asks students to read a range of texts and complete designated tasks as a record of their reading achievements. There are six tasks which are compulsory for all students (one per half term) and a number of additional challenges which students can complete to earn themselves extra points. The reading challenge booklets are facilitated by the English Department but should be used at home and across the school where appropriate opportunities are given.
At Key Stage 4, GCSE courses, especially in English demand a wide range of reading as part of the courses, therefore a challenge booklet is not issued automatically. However, it is expected that students follow ERIC and undertake independent reading at home. Suggested reads can be found on the following websites, but staff are also happy to give their own recommendations also:
A number of free books, including some that are considered classics, are available at:
Students from Saint Bede’s have participated and continue to participate in ‘The Lancashire Book of the Year’ awards. These awards allow students from the school to read and comment upon a wide selection of young adult fiction and participate in electing the book which is worthy of the title, ‘Lancashire Book of the Year’.
Reading is also supported through the SLC which allows students to access a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Students can use the SLC before and after school, as well as during breaks and lunch.
All students are given opportunities to use written communication schools in all subjects. Writing is practised in all subjects and students receive guidance on how to write clearly and accurately in the appropriate form for their purpose.
In English, students follow the ‘Caterpillar’ approach to writing which allows students the opportunity to evaluate successful types of writing, define a success criteria, plan a piece of writing in chunks ensuring that they meet the ‘success criteria’, before writing their piece and proof reading and editing their work, again in line with the success criteria given.
Creative writing by students, in and outside of lessons is encouraged and shared throughout the school.
Spoken English is key to success across the curriculum as a whole. By being able to communicate their ideas clearly and in a positive way, students open a dialogue for learning. In all subjects, opportunities for pair, small group and large group discussions are given and allow students to practise not only their speaking skills but also active listening skills also.
Students are given opportunities to speak in front of audiences for a real purpose as well as being prepared to give formal presentations, particularly in Key Stage 4.
In previous years, students from the school have been involved in and won the ‘Rotary Club Public Speaking Competition’ in the local area.
Our students regularly interact with parents and member of the public and are often commended on their clarity and confidence when doing so.