Literacy and Numeracy

At St Cuthbert's Catholic High School we address Literacy in a cross-curricular way driven by the Learning Lead for Literacy and the English Department following the guidelines established in our whole school Literacy policy.

How Literacy is being addressed across St Cuthbert's Catholic High School

All staff have attended INSET training on Literacy, Oracy, Reading, Marking for Literacy and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar to support this drive over the last 5 years and we continue to focus on these aspects.

Oracy and the need to promote confidence in Spoken English is addressed in schemes of learning. These are monitored regularly and indeed Oracy was the focus of a recent school Learning Walk.

Creating a Reading Culture is very much at the forefront of our whole school ethos. Year 7 in particular benefit from the many advantages of the Accelerated Reader scheme which promotes a love of books and reading as well as, at the same time, continually testing and monitoring understanding of vocabulary, character, setting and theme.  For the less able readers we have a mentoring system in place whereby a team of Year 11 students (our “Literacy Leaders”) link up with Year 7 students during morning registration to help them with their reading. The school LRB (Library) is a hub of activity as a learning resource base, opening its doors for reading, both before and after school as well as at lunchtime, for students keen to get on with their reading.

Students carry around with them a “vocabulary and spelling” book to record examples of new vocabulary and to write down words they misspell in all subject areas.  In addition, Year 7 students have been provided with a “Guide to Literacy“ which they are encouraged to use at all times. During Form Period, Year 7 form tutors regularly read to their forms while the students follow the text – an example of a well-established practice of improving their literacy.  All staff have been supplied with a guide to spelling, punctuation and grammar to help them with this.

All teachers work to a whole school policy of “marking for literacy” whereby written work is marked not only for its content but also for its accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar. There is an annual audit/scrutiny of exercise books to monitor this and every Curriculum Leader must look for this when undertaking their regular work scrutiny.

Finally, there is a strong link between Key Stage 2 and 3 in terms of the national agenda and its focus on improving students’ understanding and application of spelling, punctuation and grammar.  The Learning Lead for  Literacy has attended INSET designed for primary schools, has been to visit feeder primary schools and has represented the English Department at the KS2/3 conferences where SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) has become a focus. The explicit teaching of SPAG has now become a major focus in English at Key Stage 3 with the introduction of Grammar Skills for Writing into the Schemes of Learning.

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