Minerva Learning Trust

Literacy & Numeracy

Quality First Teaching

A key teaching and learning priority, literacy in all forms - reading, writing and speaking - form the basis of many of our classroom practices. All staff receive ongoing training around literacy supporting oracy, reading, writing, comprehension and vocabulary in the classroom through quality first teaching. Daily, non-negotiable, classroom literacy provision includes:


 Targeted questioning strategies promoting extended answers and confidence in oral responses (Cold Call, Say it again better, No opt out, Think, pair, share)

 Opportunities for discussion, paired and group work built into planning

 Seating plans used to support paired talk and peer support around all aspects of literacy

Reading (including vocabulary and comprehension)

 ‘Reading to Learn’ points included in MTP (Y7/8 – English, Humanities, Science)

 Language for Learning focus – teaching key vocabulary in all lessons

 Classroom environments designed to support Tier 3 vocabulary; displays and key words

 Knowledge Organisers – focus on key vocabulary and definition of key Terms. Homework focused on retrieval around disciplinary language

 Command language and strategies taught explicitly as part of exam preparation

 ARTI reading tests calendared bi-annually for all year groups; information shared on SIMS/MINT as standardised scores and used to inform planning


 Extended writing opportunities included across the curriculum

 Scaffolding to support extended writing non-negotiable in all lessons; including use of writing frames/structures, sentence starters and visualisers to model extended writing and annotation

 Live Marking used to support extended writing and provide responsive teaching

Research led ‘literacy’ focused whole school pilots – 21.22

 Voice 21 Pilot Project – promoting oracy in the curriculum and classroom (Start Sept 21)

 Cross-curricular reading comprehension pilot – explicit teaching of ‘expert’ reading strategies (Y7/8 – English, Humanities, Science)

Additional Literacy Provision

Word of the Week

Each week in form time KS3 students are introduced to the ‘Word of the Week’. This is word selected from a list of Tier 2 vocabulary – high frequency words that often occur in mature language situations such as adult conversations and literature. Words that are essential for students to be able to access the curriculum and exam questions effectively. Each week these words are introduced, their definitions explained and similar and different words explored. This ‘word of week’ is also extended as part of a literacy from time once per week when students are given opportunities to use the word as part of discussion activities and record the word and its meaning into their planners. Throughout the week we encourage teachers to use the word with students as often as they can in lessons and reward students who use them in discussion or writing with achievement points. Word of the week aims to give all students the opportunity to gain a firm understanding the of the vocabulary they need to be successful in school and beyond.

Reading based Intervention

At SHS we recognise the importance of reading and comprehension skills in order to successfully access the Year 7 – 11 curriculums. With this in mind we currently offer the following interventions and initiatives to support reading and comprehension across school:

● Guided Reading for all Y7 - 9 forms – one form time per week is used to read a novel together with linked discussion around vocabulary and comprehension of people, places and situations. The project aims to develop student’s understanding of the wider world, foster positive attitudes to reading and increase confidence in comprehension, vocabulary and reading fluency.

● All students reading and comprehension ability are tested twice per year from Y7-10 using the ARTI reading test. Subsequently student reading ages are shared with all staff and used to inform lesson planning and student interventions.

● Reading interventions are in place for all students below age related expectations in the form of the following:

• Reading leaders - 2 form times per week identified Y7/8 students read for 20 minutes with our older Y9/10 students. These sessions focus on improving student confidence around vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

• 1:1 Guided reading – Trained community volunteers work 1:1 with targeted students 3 times per week around reading fluency, decoding, vocabulary and comprehension.

• Lexia – Targeted students from Y7-10 spend 2 form times per week accessing our Lexia Programme. This is an IT based programme which allows students to practise skills around reading and comprehension, working through a personalised programme based on individual strengths and weaknesses. Lexia is also able to be accessed by students at home.

• Alternative Learning Pathway – In year 7 and 8 we offer some students an alternative learning pathway to support them with improving reading and reading comprehension skills. Students receive additional lessons during the week focused on reading, phonics and vocabulary in place of MFL and Humanities lessons. Student progress is assessed termly, with students transitioning back into the normal curriculum when reading comprehension gaps are closed.

• Vocabulary Improvement Programme – this programme is delivered as a 1:1 provision for targeted students.

• Exam Access Arrangements – Students are assessed for access arrangements for exams and appropriate literacy provision put in place for identified students; these can include extra time, readers and scribes. Targeted students are identified in all year groups and appropriate access arrangements used throughout assessments in Years 7 – 9 so they become ‘normal’ ways of working.


We use enrichment opportunities throughout school to promote reading and raise the profile of reading for pleasure. We are in the process of updating our library to ensure that all students have access to reading materials that suits their abilities and interests. Across the year we celebrate National Reading events such as World Book Day and promote reading by modelling and displaying positive staff attitudes to reading. We have introduced new book clubs and reading enrichment opportunities across school.

Our new student council will have a key part to play in encouraging reading across the school and are currently developing opportunities students to celebrate and get involved in reading projects with others.


Form Time

As part of the form time programme there are a series of session on numeracy which involve calculating with time and money among other key skills needed in every day life.

Alternative Learning Pathway  

In year 7 and 8 we offer some students an alternative learning pathway to support them with improving their numeracy skills and to close any gaps they may have to enable them to fully access the curriculum.

Financial Literacy

As part of a form time rotation Y10 students spend a block of time studying maths. As part of this they have been using resources made available to schools by Martin Lewis to access some work on financial literacy, preparing them for life post-school.

Students will encounter numeracy and maths skills across many of the subjects they study in school, which gives them the opportunity to use skills they have learnt in maths in different contexts.