Literacy & Numeracy Support

Literacy and Numeracy support in Lower School

All children who arrive at County in Yr 7 with a reading age of below the legacy NC level 4 (now known as 'not yet ready for secondary school') will be placed onto a catch-up literacy programme.  These sessions will take place during MFL curriculum time, where the children will be withdrawn from all 5 of their French lessons.  Children will be regularly assessed and may return to their French lessons later in Year 7 if they make sufficient progress.  It is presumed, however, that they will spend the full year in literacy support, returning to MFL in Year 8 in order to study Spanish for 4 periods per fortnight.  Our research shows us that Spanish is easier for the children to access than French.

Literacy and Numeracy support in Upper School

For those students who are on an alternative options pathway as a result of their learning needs (see above), additional literacy and numeracy support will be delivered on a child-by-child basis.  For other children, literacy and numeracy support will be delivered through the 1:1 programme lead by Mark Baines, Assistant Headteacher.  The curriculum will also provide for some students to be withdrawn from RE lessons so that they can receive extra support for literacy and numeracy.

Literacy is at the heart of all teaching and learning at GCS. Our students are highly articulate and they are encouraged to express their views, both spoken and written, in a wide variety of curriculum contexts. Every lesson/sequence of lessons provides the students with a multitude of opportunities for demonstrating their literacy skills in a range of ways. These ways fall under the following five broad categories:

Listening Skills – all of the teaching is centred around the use of discussion; thus it is vital that students and teachers become active and careful listeners. The difference between hearing and listening is key to this; students are taught from the start of their time at GCS that they improve their learning by responding to and developing upon the ideas of others. Teachers encourage the use of ‘hands down’, especially in the early stages of discussions, to ensure that students have to listen to their peers and their contributions should be in the form of a response to what has been said before. The teacher takes the role of chairing the discussion, intervening only to refocus and address misconceptions.

Speaking Skills – students are provided with numerous opportunities to speak and it is an expectation that all students should respond. The role of the teacher is to plan the discussion in such a way that students feel comfortable making contributions. Although the majority of students at GCS are confident and articulate, it is important that the less vocal students are provided with a safe and supportive environment in order to overcome their reticence. The relationships between students and teachers are fostered to allow this to happen.

Reading Skills – in an increasingly media obsessed age, we must all recognise the wide diversity of potential texts that students may be exposed to; thus teachers seek to embrace and utilise technology rather than ban it from our classrooms. It is also relevant in a school where such high regard is given to the creative element of learning, that we should recognise that reading is not confined to the written word and that students are given opportunities to read other texts such as emedia, music and art.

Writing Skills – writing is part of a process, only to be attempted once the previous three stages have been completed. Students discuss and evaluate real life examples of work before attempting their own. Ideas and concepts are explored verbally before they are committed to paper (or computer screen). Editing and improving is a further stage of this process and students are given opportunities to peer and self assess in order to improve their own work. Again, the atmosphere which allows them to feel comfortable with this process can only come from the teacher.

Subject Specific Language – accurate and coherent literacy skills must employ appropriate terminology and language. Teachers use subject specific vocabulary to all students and encourage them to use it in their discussions and written work. Additionally, appropriate register and tone for specific tasks are determined and utilised.

By seeing literacy as a series of linked activities, rather than a single discrete entity, teachers aim to encourage all our students to become active and critical self learners; to be curious and enquiring; to develop the skills of analysis, synthesis and review which prepares them for the world beyond education and to see real and practical links between subject areas.