What we do
At Budehaven we believe that all teachers are teachers of Literacy. We have a coordinated, whole-school approach to the systematic teaching of Literacy:
Each year, across all subjects, ages and stages, we will focus students’ attention on an agreed set of Literacy targets. The target skills will be on prominent display in every classroom and teachers will refer to these in the course of their teaching. At the start of each academic year, we target aspects of presentation and basic accuracy. As the year progresses, our subject teams also select Literacy foci essential for progression and actively teach the knowledge and skills required in lessons.
The Written Style Guide 2014-15. This document was issued to every student in Years 7-11 in December of 2014. Students are expected to carry this booklet in their school bags and and make frequent reference to it both in lessons and when completing work at home.**
Across the curriculum your child will encounter several Non-fiction Text Types and their Conventions. Where there are Literacy demands, your child will be taught how to meet them in order to support their achievement; for example, a teacher of Science might share a model evaluation with the class and unpick the features of it before asking students to write their own; a teacher of History might provide the class with a set of ‘connectives’, or discourse markers, to enable students to link ideas in a formal essay.
At the start of Year 7, 8, 9 (gateway to GCSE) and 11 (to identify intervention needs), we screen student ability in reading comprehension. Years 7 and 8 are re-tested in April in order that we can keep a close eye on progress. This allows us to generate reading age scores, which all teachers can access. This allows teachers to select reading material that is appropriately challenging to the ability of the students in their classes. In all subject areas, students can expect to be asked to read aloud where appropriate and teachers will check comprehension through careful questioning. Where a child is reading significantly below their chronological age, we will look to put in additional support, which might include a referral to our SENDCo for further diagnostic testing, or other kinds of support.
Marking and Feedback
Our teachers use a common marking format when marking to ensure that we are providing consistent, regular feedback to our students on Literacy. You can use these links to view: Marking for Literacy and Marking for Literacy- electronic version. For a second year, we have also chosen to use a common exercise book across all curricular subjects. The new work book has allocated sections for students to record key words, key learning, and questions. We are very excited about the impact that our school work book is having on the quality of dialogue between teachers and students this year. Increasingly, we are asking students to spend time in lessons on ‘DIT’. This stands for ‘Dedicated Improvement Time’. In this time, students are directed to reflect on the feedback they have had, making corrections to their written accuracy as well as their subject specific responses.
Reading for Pleasure
At Budehaven, the English Department, in conjunction with the Library, takes responsibility for promoting Reading for Pleasure. When students join us in Year 7, they are issued with Library cards which they can use to borrow books immediately using either the traditional method of booking out, or our digitised automated check-out post. All students benefit from a Library induction lesson with Linda Jones, Library and Study Skills Co-ordinator. All students in Years 7-11 are expected to bring a private reading book to English lessons as they will be given 10 minutes at the start of each session to read privately. Students in Years 7-9 are also expected to bring a private reading book to tutor time each morning. Students are allowed to read on devices such as Kindles, or iPads, but we ask that students do not use mobile phones for reading in classrooms as this is very difficult to monitor! Throughout the school year, students are able to dip into themed Library promotions (such as the Carnegie Award shadowing group), and the English Department will draw whole-school attention to important events on the literary calendar, such as National Poetry Day in October, and the World Book Day . Students will also be encouraged to enter competitions to help develop their literacy, such as the BBC Radio 2 ‘500 words’ competition supported by the English Department in conjunction with the Library. At the end of the year, students can opt into a range of reading-related activities as part of Activities Week- such as Reading on the Beach, or Imagine Poetry.
Literacy Support and Intervention
Before students join us in Year 7, using the information provided to us by our feeder primary schools and as part of the Bude Schools Trust, we identify our ‘Catch-up’ students. These are the students who did not achieve the expected levels in English and/or Maths. Those students in need of catch-up English are taught in our PaCE group (see below) and those in need of additional help in Maths benefit from the support of a specialist Higher Level Teaching Assistant, who offers small group intervention. In consultation with the Leaders of Learning for English and Maths and our Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo), a member of the Senior Leadership Team will identify personalised ways in which students might be best supported to strengthen their basic skills. One such way is through our very successful Reading and Writing Challenge, where Sixth Form mentors are trained to offer one-to-one support to selected students, targeting skill gaps.
Personal and Curriculum Enhancement group (PaCE)
Each year, around 25 Year 7 students (across two groups) are offered intensive Literacy support through a Phonics programme (we use Read, Write Inc alongside a differentiated mainstream English curriculum). Students following this support package will access Geography and History as well as English and we have seen very encouraging progress in reading ages from students who have been part of the Year 7 PaCE classes. They will study a thematic curriculum taught by subject specialists, specially planned to meet their needs and to develop their Literacy skills. In Year 8, students will re-join their peer group in mainstream lessons, however, those still in need from additional support will be withdrawn from one English lesson and one tutor session per fortnight to work on the Literacy Progress Units with a specialist Higher Level Teaching Assistant (these units target Level 4). Students will continue to access this support until they are assessed at a secure Level 4 in English.
If you have concerns
Some of the most common concerns expressed by parents about the Literacy of their children include: weak spelling, poor handwriting and reading reluctance. If you have concerns surrounding these aspects of your child’s Literacy then it is best in the first instance to consult with your child’s English teacher. They may be able to allay your concerns, but if they share them, they will be able to discuss with you ways that your child can be further supported in the classroom and direct you to resources that you can use at home. If you are concerned about your child’s Literacy to the extent that you suspect dyslexia, or another learning difficulty, then you can again contact your child’s English teacher to ask that your child is referred to our SENDCo (Evelyn Kyne) who will be able to organise the appropriate screening or testing.
How you can support your child
Please browse the rest of this site for resources that can help you to support your child with the development of their Literacy skills. In particular, the ‘Students’ section contains links to websites where your child can play online games, or download worksheets, and the ‘Lit Box’ area features resources developed in school for use in lessons across the curriculum.
*New for 2014-15*: SAM Learning. Your child has a login to SAM Learning, where they can access online learning resources for most curricular subjects. You can support your child to make improvements in particular areas of Literacy by helping them to identify the practice questions and tests most appropriate to their needs. Exercises cover KS2, KS3 and KS4, so there is something for all abilities!
The Book Trust has some excellent resources to help you if you want to encourage a love of reading in your teenager.
Again, The Book Trust has some very engaging resources that your child will enjoy if they are already a very keen and able writer. If your child struggles with writing then there is some very helpful advice here on how you can help at home.