The Purbeck School Literacy Promise

At The Purbeck School, we have the highest expectations with regard to literacy.
In our work as teachers we:

Embed an understanding of key subject terminology (Tier 3 vocabulary) within our schemes of learning and lessons;

Help students to decipher, and learn, key Tier 2 words;

Employ seven common disciplinary literacy reading strategies across all subject teaching in the curriculum;

Promote regular reading and an increase in cultural capital through our whole school daily tutor time reading programme;

Ensure that all students in key stage three have a reading book with them in school and promote use of our school library;

Promote oral literacy in lessons through high expectations of student talk including our ‘say it again better’ strategy;

Provide teacher training for all staff on effective strategies for supporting literacy.


The Purbeck School Literacy Strategy 

The Purbeck School Tutor Time Reading Programme

The development of literacy skills across all curriculum areas is vital. Effective Literacy across the curriculum will not only develop pupils’ ability to:

  • Write for a variety of purposes and audiences, collect information, organise ideas and write accurately to demonstrate their subject expertise.
  • Access information and read with understanding and comprehension.
  • Speak and listen effectively, across a range of contexts, developing their ability to negotiate, hypothesise, present information and extend and clarify their ideas and thinking.

It will also have an impact on their self- esteem, motivation and ability to work independently.

We are aware that some students start their education at The Purbeck School with literacy levels that are below the national average. We therefore believe that in order to equip our pupils with the necessary transferable skills, and for them to be fully literate in the 21st century, literacy must be at the heart of the school’s core values.

Here are just eight reasons why reading regularly will benefit an individual:

  1. Mental stimulation
    Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind.
  2. Stress reduction
    A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.
  3. Knowledge
    Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.
  4. Vocabulary expansion
    This goes with the above topic: the more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary.
  5. Memory improvement
    Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilising moods.
  6. Stronger analytical thinking skills
    Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work!
  7. Improved focus and concentration
    In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day.
  8. Better writing skills
    This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing.

Strategy Overview:

Knowledge Organisers: In KS3, student spelling and understanding of subject specific terminology is supported through the use of knowledge organisers in home learning. Where students are identified, through school tracking systems, as having difficulty in obtaining desired scores in knowledge organiser quizzes, we provide after school support sessions to assist students with their revision.

Home Learning: In year 7, 8 and 9, students are expected to read for pleasure for 20 minutes or more each evening. This is signed by parents and checked by their English teachers.

Library lessons: All students in year 7 are given a full library induction at the start of the academic year. There is a library lesson once a cycle for all year seven students in the autumn term.

Reading in tutor times: All students in KS3 and KS4 are read to, every afternoon tutor time, by their tutor. The tutor group select a novel from a reading canon of classic, popular and BAME fictions.

Each student is provided with their own individual reading pack which contains a copy of their tutor group novel, a reading ruler for students with SPLD, or a book mark to support students track the information as it is read to them.

Personalised Literacy Pathway: The Aim High / DSEN departments utilises a ‘Personalised Literacy Pathway’ which covers a range 4 literacy interventions which are designed to improve students’ reading ages and decoding skills. Students participate in this pathway if they are identified as having low prior attainment, reading ages below their chronological age or may be off track in English lessons.

Excel in English: The English Department offers additional English lessons for students who we think will benefit from studying one less subject in KS3. Excel in English is taught by their classroom teacher and students review the core skills which are linked to their GCSE English Language exam.

English Studies: When students select their GCSE options, English studies may be offered as an alternative to one additional subject. By opting for English Studies, students are provided with 5 additional English lessons per cycle. Students learn and revise key content that is required for their English Language and English Literature GCSE.

Assessment Policies:  Each department will identify what they are doing to promote effective literacy of students as part of subject assessment policies which will be checked through department work scrutiny.

Promotion of reading:
Through world book day and other high profile events, reading is promoted throughout the school with initiatives ‘drop everything and read’ and cross departmental work to create children’s literature.

Addressing staff literacy: Where issues with staff literacy are identified, such as use of the apostrophe, whole staff training and workshops are used to support staff with their own literacy needs.

CPD package: The Purbeck School further supporting literacy across the curriculum through our 2020-2021 CPD programme. Staff are attending focussed literacy sessions which are aimed at introducing a range of reading and writing strategies which can be embedded into everyday learning.

Stuck for your next book? See useful websites at the bottom of this page!

The following websites give great tips for different ages. Many of the titles are available in the school library, your local library, or may be available cheaply on websites such as Amazon books.

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