“We believe literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen well. A literate person is able to communicate effectively with others and to understand written information.”

National Literacy Trust, 2016

Literacy is not just about spelling and punctuation. It is something that you do in all subjects, and something that you will need when you leave Toot Hill School in everyday life and in your careers.

As a student, you need to be able to engage with a variety of texts to challenge preconceptions and develop understanding beyond the personal and immediate, to reflect on what you have read and evaluate the information given.

Literacy is about experimenting with language and exploring different ways of discovering and shaping your own meaning through writing and spoken language.

Literacy is about being able to explain your ideas in depth.  In an increasingly globalised world, it is important that you are able to communicate with authority, and speak with confidence and clarity.

The National Curriculum demands that connections be made between each strand (reading, writing and speaking and listening) and across subjects, which calls for thought and understanding, for recall, selection and analysis of ideas and information, and for coherent, considered and convincing communication in speech and in writing.

It also indicates that all students should be encouraged to:

  • ‘make extended, independent contributions that develop ideas in depth’
  •  ‘make purposeful presentations that allow them to speak with authority on significant subjects’ 
  • ‘engage with texts that challenge preconceptions and develop understanding beyond the personal and immediate’
  • ‘experiment with language and explore different ways of discovering and shaping their own meanings’
  • ‘use writing as a means of reflecting on and exploring a range of views and perspectives on the world.’

Source: Improving literacy in secondary schools: a shared responsibility, April 2013

Literacy at Toot Hill School

At Toot Hill School we believe that delivering these skills and offering our students these opportunities across the curriculum will support student learning and raise standards across the curriculum because:

  • developing confidence with reading skills allows students to access information, understand questions and learn from sources beyond their immediate experience, in all subjects.
  • it will give them wider access to a vast range of vocabulary and expression to meet the rigour and demands of all subjects, including the ability to reflect and evaluate their own and others’ work
  • developing writing skills allows students to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and opinions in an ordered manner, in all subjects.
  • responding to higher order questioning encourages the development of thinking skills and enquiry.
  • improving literacy and learning can have a positive impact on students’ self-esteem, motivation and behaviour – it is empowering and allows them to learn independently.
  • strong literacy skills are a pre-requisite to achieving successful outcomes for students, not just during their time at school but throughout their lives. 

All subject areas will provide opportunities for all students to develop their literacy skills, within schemes of work and individual lessons. All students are required to utilise our whole school framework in order to take responsibility for the continued development of their own literacy skills.

Our PROUD initiative encourages pupils to take the utmost pride in their presentation across all subjects.

Our PARACHUTES initiative has been implemented to ensure all pupils can independently check their own written accuracy across all subjects so they understand the importance of accuracy, not just in English, but across the whole curriculum. Pupils have a PARACHUTEs target each term and must aim to improve on this throughout that term before choosing a new target. Staff also use PARACHUTES as a marking tool in order to offer feedback to students during their feedback and interaction with pupils via the literacy marking code (also indicated on the stickers).


Download literacy support resources in PDF format:

January 2020


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