Literacy and Numeracy Support

Literacy and Numeracy support in Lower School

Students who arrive at County in Yr 7 with a number of standardised scores for 84 or below will be will be placed onto a catch-up literacy programme.  These sessions will take place during Tutor Times so students do not have a narrower curriculum.  Students will be regularly assessed and may return to tutor later in Year 7 if they make sufficient progress.  Some students will occasionally come out of lessons for additional support but this is kept to a minimum and decided upon in a case by case basis.

Literacy and Numeracy support in Upper School

For those students who are on an alternative options pathway as a result of their learning needs, an ASDAN qualification is offered.  Each case is assessed on a child-by-child basis.  For other children, literacy and numeracy support will be delivered through a programme offered by Marshall and through the English and Maths Departments. 

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.

Oracy – 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 media, 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.