We encourage our students to enjoy a wide range of literature, learning to read for pure enjoyment as well as knowledge. We believe that children’s literature ranks amongst the best in the world. It offers adventure, inspiration, humour, insight and understanding and hours of pleasure. It also contributes enormously to children’s confidence in spelling, grammar and effective self-expression. Our focus on literacy is driven by the English department, (whose success in GCSE English Literature is unparalleled), but pervades all lessons, including tutor time, where there is a session devoted to group reading or silent reading. Our staff include literacy elements in all lessons, and are themselves given the opportunity to read for pleasure and to share their enjoyment with their students.
Our Learning Resources Centre is a well-stocked, airy and attractive venue in which to spend time reading, whether that is traditionally curled up on a comfortable seat with a book, using a reading App on one of our bank of iPads, scanning a newspaper or using the Internet for research. We run a reading scheme where older students help and support younger students with their reading; intervention groups for students with lower literacy levels on entry to school enable all students to access the written word.
The ability to speak coherently, effectively and persuasively is even more important in this world of text-talk and rapid sound-bite communication. In lessons, students are given time to think before answering, and given the structure to produce well-balanced arguments and convincing opinions. Staff actively encourage conversations with students when they are on duty, and take a keen interest in what students think and feel. We have an outstanding record both locally and nationally in debating, particularly with the Rotary Club’s Youth Speaks Award. We take part in political debating competitions, encourage public speaking through our Student Voice group, and our drama department is extremely strong, promoting confidence in delivery and expression.