Literacy and Oracy
Literacy is at the heart of the curriculum here at Bonus Pastor. We are committed to ensuring that all our students are not only strong and competent readers but also effective and persuasive communicators. This is why we aim to foster a love of reading and in doing so, allow all our students to become effective learners through the written word. The love of reading should not simply be consigned to the classroom but we believe that fostering the idea of reading for enjoyment will lead our students to explore for themselves the richness of the English Language, through Literature which extends far beyond the boundaries of the UK. Young adults who are well read have a clear advantage when it comes to establishing a foothold within the workplace.
Our underlying aim is to raise all levels of reading for all students across the whole school. Each student uses an online assessment tool for Reading, Listening and Phonics when they enter the school and any students falling below a standardised reading level are supported through a variety of strategies within the school. These include a Catch Up Programme – an initiative in which staff provide ‘one to one’ weekly reading sessions with individual students. Issues associated with language acquisition and phonics, where necessary, are addressed through regular contact. Capture points measure progress through the year and students can come off or re-join the programme where needed.
A log book is used to highlight complex words or vocabulary and to keep a record of progress. Students whose first language is not necessarily English (EAL) will also be offered extra reading support as they progress through the school.
Students are encouraged to read regularly and use the library. We have a library lesson built into the timetable for all students.
For our More Able cohort of students we identify then early on in their school journey so we can provide bespoke pathways into higher learning. We actively encourage them to engage in Public Speaking debates (Jack Petchey Award), Creative Writing Competitions (BBC 500 Word) and to keep their own writing journal of stories and poetry.
As a school, we are justifiably proud of our library which we believe to be one of the best- stocked school libraries in the borough. It is seen as the ‘heart of the school’ and all students are time-tabled for regular sessions in the Library – not only for reading but also for exploring and for seeking out books for themselves. Our professional Library Staff are always on hand to provide recommendations and students are allowed to have two books at any time to take home and read.
All our staff are committed to creating a learning climate where Literacy is at the fore. In the classroom, each subject department focuses on subject specific terms and vocabulary which helps to underpin the language which our students will need to access when they come to sit their GCSE’s. Added to this, we operate a reading initiative known as DEAR (Drop Everything and Read). We see this as crucial to the promotion of literacy; individual subject areas, particularly at key stage 3, have training which allows subjects to deliver content in a way that is focused on good skills of grammar and punctuation, thus preparing students for key stage 4 and GCSE where a high level of literacy is required.
Oracy: listening to the opinions of others and making your own point through reasoned Public Debate. This enables students to discover for themselves their own gifts in Rhetorical and Persuasive Language. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it has not been possible to have larger groups of students debating topics, however, small groups are encouraged to engage with oracy, enabling fluent communication. To go further, the college has worked with Voice 21, an education charity that provides help and guidance for the improvement of public speaking in schools and we have training programmes associated with this. The Lead Practitioner programme in College, an initiative aimed to promote cutting edge aspects of teaching and learning, has an ongoing focus on oracy in the classroom and this is continuing into 2021.
For more information, please email our Assistant Headteacher responsible for Literacy and Oracy, Mr J Young or Miss E Parkes our Literacy Across the Curriculum Lead at: