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Developing Literacy & Reading

At the core of FAN

At FAN, we are committed to ensuring a high standard of literacy for all our students, consequently Literacy and reading are at the core of every subject. All staff promote Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening basic skills as well as those more technical skills as appropriate to the specific needs of their subject.

Our extensive Intervention Programme is carefully implemented to ensure that students across all abilities are supported to gain the literacy skills they need to access the curriculum and be prepared for the world outside our Academy.

At KS3 there is targeted support for one small, low-ability group in each year in order to teach key subject skills but with an emphasis on improving literacy in English, Maths, Science and Humanities. This continues in English, Maths and Science at KS4. In Year 7 English this group also follows an adapted curriculum, working on the ‘Read, Write, Inc. Fresh Start’ programme to aid catch up of basic phonics, reading and literacy skills to then develop greater confidence in reading, writing and speaking and listening.

In addition to this are regular, intensive morning intervention sessions during Registration time, with a focus on improving a specific skill: basic phonics recognition; reading for meaning; guided reading; handwriting; EAL support; dyslexia support and Touch Typing.

Reading

Our students are encouraged to read for pleasure and all Year 7 and Year 8 students have structured library lessons once per fortnight to develop independent reading. At KS3 half of every taught English unit focuses on reading: a full novel, a play, a collection of poetry or a variety of themed non-fiction texts.

With FAN Library, we also run a Carnegie Award Shadowing Group, who read and discuss the books on the Carnegie shortlist and vote for their favourite.

Writing

Writing is an integral part of all that we do at FAN and students are encouraged to take responsibility for the quality of their written English. Our school-wide marking policy requires all staff to identify key errors in assessments and assist students in correcting and improving their spelling, punctuation and grammar.

In English lessons the emphasis is on planning, editing and proofreading their writing independently, alongside the teaching of various techniques required for different styles of writing. Other departments then focus on enhancing those techniques required for their subject-specific writing, including such features as using connectives and applying relevant structural features, to develop the written style and skill needed for both coursework and terminal examinations.

KS3 students are enthusiastic about our own FAN version of the BBC’s 500 Word competition and we have a lunchtime writing club, Write Now!, to develop students’ writing skills as well as encouraging creativity and freedom of imaginative writing. All students are also actively encouraged to get involved and write articles for our regular FAN newsletters alongside a small team of budding reporters.

Speaking and Listening

At FAN all our staff recognise the importance of effective oral communication and the skills of effective listening.

All subjects plan activities that develop speaking and listening skills, as well as integrating them with reading and writing. Activities include in-class debates and topic-based presentations alongside day-to-day group discussions and responses to teachers’ challenging and directed questioning.

In association with our library and other TEN schools we run trips to see authors wherever possible and host visiting authors and journalists for students in all three Key Stages to learn from those who are successful in their craft.

We are pleased to say that our Literacy Intervention Policy meant that “disadvantaged” students continued to make better progress in English in the 2015 results than “non-disadvantaged” with both groups achieving above national average results in English.