Literacy across the Curriculum

It is our aim that every student at Wheatley Park will be supported to be confidently literate, so that they can fully engage with and enjoy our broad and rich curriculum.

There are two key areas on which we intend to focus in the coming year (2020 - 21) in the third year of a longer, three-year plan to build a deep understanding of literacy amongst the staff and students of the school. For the coming academic year, these are:

Improve teacher expertise in the direct instruction of vocabulary

It has convincingly argued that the attainment gap between vulnerable students and their more privileged peers is in large part a ‘vocabulary gap.’ It follows then that teachers have a moral obligation to support students to improve their vocabulary if they are to improve their chances of success. In particular, Tier 2 (formal, sophisticated) and Tier 3 (subject-specific) words, which become so important not only for success in public exams, but also for leading a better-informed and more fulfilling life.

For this reason, the following strategies are in place to support vocabulary teaching:

  • As part of our curriculum development, subject knowledge organisers or equivalent documents specify Tier 2 and Tier 3 words that all students are expected to learn each term
  • Teachers have been trained how to teach new words, drawing on research into effective vocabulary instruction
  • Students will be able to try out their new vocabulary verbally, and in short written form, before applying it in extended written answers
  • Teachers will challenge students’ vocabulary choices to ensure that using precise, sophisticated vocabulary is a regular feature of teaching and learning

If you would like any help with planning for vocabulary instruction, please contact the English team.

Supporting a Love of Reading

In the coming year, we will continue to build on the significant improvements to the library facilities at Wheatley Park, supported by a range of initiatives that aim to inspire a love of reading in our students. We have:

  • Doubled the size of the school library in the John Milton Centre
  • Invested in the Accelerated Reader programme
  • Ensured key staff have sufficient time to be trained in the programme
  • Timetabled library lessons for all students in Key Stage 3 once per fortnight
  • Ensured these are supported, after the launch of Accelerated Reader, by regular reading in every English lesson

In this way, we will begin to systematically measure each student’s progress in reading as they move up the school, and to use our growing expertise to recommend books that will both appeal to and broaden their interests. If you would like any help recommending books to students, please contact our Librarian, or a member of the English team.