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“The school’s focus on reading is having a positive impact. Leaders have developed strategies to improve pupils’ reading skills.” Ofsted Report - September 2022

Every young person deserves access to an outstanding education. One that challenges, inspires, and grows them as individuals. One that nurtures a love of learning and empowers students to achieve their best. At Thomas Aveling School we ensure all students have the tools to be fully equipped for their future lives. We aim to create independent, creative, and confident individuals by focusing on key literacy skills in reading and writing to prepare our students, ready for the world ahead, and resilient to the challenges they face.

“Reading, writing, speaking and listening, are at the heart of every subject in secondary school. Focusing time and resources on improving reading and writing skills will have positive knock-on effects elsewhere, whether that’s being able to break down scientific vocabulary or structure a history essay.”  Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation.

Literacy includes the word-level skills of word reading and spelling and the text-level skills of reading comprehension and writing composition. These skills are involved in virtually all everyday activities. At Thomas Aveling School, we recognise that literacy skills are both general and subject specific, therefore professional development training and support is given to all staff in every subject to teach pupils how to read, write and communicate effectively in preparation for life.

There are specific language skills, such as grammar, punctuation, conventions, and spelling that are important in all areas of writing. A proficient writer needs a broad range of experience and skill to take on any particular task to appeal to an audience.



Our aim is to close the reading and writing gap.

“Reading is important. If you know how to read, then the whole world opens up to you.” Barack Obama


Use the basic reading strategies below:

Listen to your child read the books they bring home from school.

Pause, Prompt and Praise:

PAUSE to help them work out the new words.

PROMPT by using letter names and their sounds.

PRAISE them for trying whether they are right or wrong.

It is important to use as many clues as possible to help your child when they encounter difficulty.

Make reading a regular routine at home.




Top tips to support reading at home -

“Books are uniquely portable magic.” Stephen King


  • Children have the basic human right to read.

  • Children have the right to access texts in print and digital formats.

  • Children have the right to choose what they read.


  • Children have the right to read texts that mirror their experiences and languages, provide windows into the lives of others, and open doors into our diverse world.


  • Children have the right to read for pleasure. 

  • Children have the right to supportive reading environments with knowledgeable literacy partners.

  • Children have the right to extended time set aside for reading. 

  • Children have the right to share what they learn through reading by collaborating with others locally and globally. 


  • Children have the right to read as a springboard for other forms of communication, such as writing, speaking, and visually representing.


  • Children have the right to benefit from the financial and material resources of governments, agencies, and organizations that support reading and reading instruction. 


  • Embed key literacy strategies in a robust, consistent approach across all subjects at Thomas Aveling School.


  • Use subject specific vocabulary in lessons to enhance and promote students’ literacy levels.

  • Support students through scaffolding.

  • Challenge students to decode and process texts.

  • Reading for pleasure takes place during form time with the Reading Ambassadors to develop a love for reading.

  • Competitions are undertaken throughout the year to promote and motivate students to read regularly.

  • Trips to the theatre, museum, university, etc. are part of our enrichment to build the students’ cultural experiences.

  • Author visits support our students through the numerous workshops and discussions to encourage them to achieve more. 

  • Literacy merits and postcards promote a positive reading ethos through our rewards system.

  • Using Accelerated Reader and Lexplore to give students significantly greater choices in levelled books and quizzes, and immediate feedback on their reading skills progress.

  • Parent drop-in clinic for reading – guidance available to advise and support parents help their children at home.

“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J.K. Rowling


Reading for pleasure improves writing and comprehension skills and has been proven to help performance in exams as well as being a lifelong source of enjoyment. The list is not intended to be prescriptive, and you may choose other books under the guidance of your teachers, but it is hoped you will pick writers who are challenging and who will expand your experience, under­standing and enjoyment of the written word.











Writing tasks in secondary schools, such as essay writing, can be intellectually demanding and a complex process. It is no surprise that some pupils can struggle to get to grips with the complex skills expected of them and therefore, teachers provide explicit instructions, high-quality modelling and intervention strategies to support all pupils achieve their full potential. At Thomas Aveling, we ensure that the curriculum is adapted to develop pupils’ competence in transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing in all subjects.

Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcriptional skills: spelling quickly and accurately.  To ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary school, the English department has invested in the Monster phonics program to support pupils who are struggling readers and writers. Specially trained teachers deliver the program to the key stage 3 language and literacy classes. Further to this, pupils in key stage 3 have two Writing Mastery lessons every fortnight. The process of writing also involves effective composition.  Our pupils are given the opportunity to interact with real authors and ask them questions about their writing styles. The authors help build confidence in the pupils. Writing requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Subject specific vocabulary is used in context to support pupils in their class work, homework, assessments and non-exam assessments. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, speedy handwriting. At Thomas Aveling the SEND department provides targeted active support in the form of hand-writing booklets and 1:2:1 teaching assistant support for pupils who need to practise letter formation and develop fine motor skills.  Reading helps pupils gain knowledge, which leads to better writing, whilst writing can deepen pupils’ understanding of ideas.


  • Develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing by:

    • writing narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional)

    • writing about real events

    • writing poetry

    • writing for different purposes

  • Consider what pupils are going to write before beginning by:

    • planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about

    • writing down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary

    • encapsulating what they want to say, sentence by sentence

  • Make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by:

    • evaluating their writing with the teacher and other pupils

    • re-reading to check that their writing makes sense and that verbs to indicate time are used correctly and consistently, including verbs in the continuous form

    • proofreading to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation (for example, ends of sentences punctuated correctly)

  • Reading aloud what pupils have written with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.



‘Talk’ matters because of its impact on all aspects of learning. Staff at Thomas Aveling provide opportunities for subject specific structured talk - ‘accountable talk’, including key academic language and metacognitive reflections. These strategies support pupils by modelling high quality talk and a variety of vocabulary that pupils hear and speak for developing their understanding for reading and writing. Teachers ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills, which enables all pupils to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the spoken language requirements. Pupils are able to adapt, create and sustain a range of roles, including responding appropriately to others. They have opportunities to improvise, devise and script talk for debates or assemblies or class/examination presentations and for a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to speaking and listening activities.



  • Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.

  • Ask relevant questions to extend understanding and knowledge.

  • Use relevant strategies to build on subject specific vocabulary.

  • Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.

  • Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.

  • Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments.

  • Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining, and exploring ideas.

  • Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English Language.

  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play/improvisations, assemblies, and debates.

  • Gain, maintain and sustain the interest of the listener(s).

  • Consider and evaluate different viewpoints, and build on the contributions of others.

  • Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication in different contexts.


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