Literate writers

Education is about more than academic achievement and grades. Our role as educators is to ensure that students leave school equipped with the necessary skills to be successful in life beyond school. Our Hall Cross Learner initiative outlines what we perceive to be amongst the most important skills and traits our learners should hone in their time with us – one of those key traits being ‘literate’. We aim to ensure that literacy has an appropriate profile across the curriculum with departments outlining how it is targeted within their assessment and feedback policy and where opportunities for developing literacy are a feature of lesson delivery.


Disciplinary literacy

The Education Endowment Foundation lists investment in disciplinary literacy as the most impactful and cost effective way of driving up literacy standards within schools. This practice is a key part of our literacy strategy over the course of the next three years. Significant investment in CPD time, a collaborative group focussed upon literacy has this as a key outcome for the 2022/23 academic year, and investment in Bedrock Mapper to ensure this is something we effectively embed with students are clear indications of our commitment to driving up standards of literacy across the curriculum.


How do we invest in the development of ‘literate writers’?


Tier 3 vocabulary Departments across the academy utilise time in lessons for direct vocabulary instruction. This ensures students understand relevant subject specific (tier 3) vocabulary and are able to use it when explaining learned content in their writing.
Tier 2 vocabulary Development of the use of tier 2 vocabulary is a key focus across the academy. Up levelling vocabulary to ensure consistent understanding of relevant connectives and adjectives to communicate effectively through writing with teachers and examiners alike.
Etymology of words Closely related to tier 3 vocabulary, there is extensive research outlining that students are better placed to remember and use new vocabulary if they have a good understanding of the etymology of the word. Understanding prefixes, for example, micro – allows students to be able to comprehend texts more effectively when new words are encountered with these same affixes across the curriculum – e.g. microscopic, microphone, micrometre, microbe, microwave.
Written feedback Within department feedback policies there are expectations for the marking of writing. This ranges from a focus on subject specific (tier 3) vocabulary through to an extensive focus upon language and structure in English. All departments have a responsibility for applying a part of their feedback policy upon developing writing.
Oracy Through initiatives such as ‘Voice 21’ and ‘Let’s think in English’ the role of oracy in improving writing is developing across the academy. Decades of research has brought us to an understanding that ‘if you can say it, you can write it’. Promoting the ‘language rich’ classroom is a key focus across the academy – ensuring oracy is a priority for departments and the academy as a whole.
Planning Enabling students to plan, reflect, refine and redraft is a key component of developing effective writing. Students know the end points of each unit of work, they understand what they will be assessed on, and summative feedback allows them to build effectively to formative pieces of work.

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