Literacy Statement for the Sir Herbert Leon Academy

‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world’

Ludwig Wittgenstein.

All teachers are teachers of literacy. Literacy is the teaching of reading, writing and articulation in all subjects and the responsibility of all subject staff as outlined in the Teaching Standards. The staff of The Sir Herbert Leon Academy are committed to developing literacy skills in all of our students, in the belief that it will support their learning and raise standards of attainment, improving self-esteem and confidence in our students because:

■students need vocabulary, expression and the ability to express their ideas with accuracy and control

■reading helps us to learn from sources beyond our immediate experience and give students a greater understanding of the world around them

■writing helps us to communicate with sustained and ordered thought

■language helps us to reflect and evaluate the things we do, to respond to the things others have said, written or done

■responding to higher order questions encourages the development of thinking skills and enquiry and requires good articulation

■improving literacy can have an impact on students’ self-esteem, on their motivation and behaviour. It allows them to learn independently. It is empowering and gives them equality in their opportunities in life.

Speaking and Listening

We will teach students to use language precisely and coherently. They should be able to listen to others and to respond and build on their ideas and views constructively.

We will model good talk in the classroom and develop student articulation in our lessons to teach students how to participate orally in groups and in the whole class, using talk to develop and clarify ideas, identifying the main points to arise from a discussion, listening for a specific purpose and to learn through questioning and evaluation.

We need our students to be able to explore and share ideas through their confident and controlled use of accurate Standard English.


We aim to give students a level of literacy that will enable them to cope with the increasing demands of their subjects in terms of specific skills, knowledge and understanding. This applies particularly in the area of reading especially as texts become more demanding each year. The Literacy Co-ordinator will support all faculties to develop reading strategies within each subject and particularly in the area of non-fiction reading. Faculty Literacy Champions will help provide examples of Reading strategies that can be used within their individual Faculty.

We encourage and develop a love of Reading through the Library, with Accelerated Reader, by promoting reading for pleasure through competitions, Book Festivals and hosting regular Author events.


Each department will teach students how to write in ways that are special to that department’s subject needs, using common strategies and conventions across the curriculum. The text types a student will encounter across the curriculum are mainly non-fiction such as:

■information; ■instruction; ■persuasion;

■discursive writing; ■recount; ■explanation;

■analysis; ■evaluation; ■formal essay.

The Literacy Co-ordinator and Faculty Literacy Champions will resource strategies such as writing frames, key vocabulary, sentence starters and vocabulary to assist in the teaching of these text types, as well as the sharing of good practice.


Each department will:

■identify and display key vocabulary including Word of the Week.

■revise key vocabulary as needed to keep current with topics per subject

■teach agreed learning strategies which will help students to learn subject spelling and explore terminology

■concentrate on the marking of high-frequency and key subject words taking into account the differing abilities of students

■test or revise high frequency words regularly. Key vocabulary is to be revised annually by Faculty Literacy Champions and the Literacy Co-ordinator.