City of Peterborough Academy Literacy Strategy
At City of Peterborough Academy we believe that all teachers and support staff are teachers of literacy. We understand that issues with reading ability can limit access to the curriculum, which can lead to difficulties in adulthood. We acknowledge that having good levels of literacy can improve mental health, increase social and political engagement and enable students to achieve their academic potential.
Many students join City of Peterborough Academy below age-related reading ages and from disadvantaged backgrounds. The aim of our approach is to ensure all students, including our most able and fluent readers, are provided with opportunities to flourish.
Our literacy strategy is based on the recommendations from the ‘Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools’ guidance report released by the Education Endowment Foundation. We are also working in partnership with Words For All on specific literacy-focused projects.
There are three main elements to our strategy:
1: To have reading at the centre of learning across the curriculum
2: To have a student population of keen readers
3: To support struggling students with high-quality interventions
Aim 1: To have reading at the centre of learning across the curriculum
At City of Peterborough Academy, we recognise the importance of disciplinary literacy and empower department areas to take ownership of and responsibility for literacy in their subject areas. We do not view literacy as a ‘bolt-on’: instead, we consider literacy through the lens of each subject. Through our Faculty Improvement Plans, each faculty area outlines their key literacy priorities and strategies. Line management and assurance activities also probe leaders about literacy in their curriculum areas, and good practice is shared across the school. Disciplinary literacy is underpinned by whole-school priorities of explicit vocabulary teaching, developing comprehension skills and increased reading opportunities in lessons.
Aim 2: To have a student population of keen readers
Our library has already changed significantly over the past year, and we have further development and investment planned for this space. We believe that creating a calm and enticing environment, with books on a variety of topical issues and an array of genres, will support students in choosing to read. Our librarian provides guidance to students on books that are appropriate for students’ reading levels and interests. There continues to be significant investment in the range of books available to students, with texts including a selection tailored to weaker readers, recently released titles, non-fiction books, study guides and seminal world literature. Additionally, through our library we run a series of competitions and events throughout the year, such as writing book reviews, short stories and celebrating World Book Day.
We have implemented a Tutorial Reading Programme this year, in which our students read high-quality, engaging and topical texts with their tutor group. Students will read at least two novels in tutorial over the course of the academic year. Having the tutor model fluent reading will make the texts accessible to students, meaning they can focus on their comprehension of the text. The texts have been specifically chosen as a springboard for wider discussions that will build cultural capital.
We also recognise that we have a responsibility to continue to develop our strongest readers. Due to this, we have a reading club organised by our librarian for these students, in which seminal texts from the literary canon are explored.
Aim 3: To support struggling students with high-quality interventions
At City of Peterborough Academy, we have a high proportion of students that join us that are behind in their reading, and we take seriously our responsibility to support these students in closing this gap. We use NGRT testing to establish which students are struggling with their reading, and provide support suited to their area of need.
All students below a Standard Age Score of 100 receive support.
Students with a reading age of 85-99 access the Lexia intervention programme.
Students with a reading age of below 85 will have an SEN assessment that will determine the intervention to be implemented. These interventions include Reciprocal Reading, Reading Between the Lines and Beat Dyslexia. We also offer a programme for our new-to-English EAL students, called Flash Academy.
Students complete NGRT testing mid-way through and at the end of the academic year to review the effectiveness of interventions and to make changes where needed.