Minerva Learning Trust

Literacy & Numeracy


Word of the Week

Each Monday Period 1 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 Monday 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 Programme

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 forms – one form time per week is used to read a novel together with linked discussion around vocabulary, understanding 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 and vocabulary.

● 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. 
  • 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.

● A key focus for teaching and learning in school is also around reading and comprehension with all staff having received training on explicit teaching and comprehension and vocabulary strategies to support students in the classroom.

● 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.