Portland Academy
Literacy Policy
Date of policy: March 2015
Date to be reviewed: February 2017
Person responsible: Elaine Dixon
Guiding Principle
Learning and Curriculum
The provision of the highest quality teaching is of paramount importance. Pupils need to
experience a wide range of motivating and challenging, well-pitched learning opportunities.
Teacher expertise will identify barriers to learning and plan ways to overcome these. There
is a belief that all pupils can succeed whatever their individual circumstances.
The Literacy Curriculum is designed to give pupils experience of all aspects of Literacy
through as many different means as possible, depending on each pupils’ ability to access
subject content and individuals’ learning preferences. All pupils will be given opportunities to
experience a wide range of literacy activities with access to the rich and diverse texts, ideas
and images that literacy brings to our lives. As literacy pervades everything we do, it is
essential that it is a key part of the curriculum, taught in both discrete lessons and
throughout other lessons. All pupils will be involved in the development of all literacy skills at
their own level, including reading, writing, speaking and listening and drama.
Curriculum content
The literacy Curriculum at Portland Academy is based around
A rolling programme of English and communication content for the secondary department
Personalised learning plans and specific sensory based curriculum for pupils at Pathway 1.
Within the 6th Form Department there is a focus on teaching Literacy at a functional level so
as to prepare our students for life after school. Literacy is taught in both discreet lessons
and throughout other lessons as well as during creative and work experience opportunities
for those who are able to access these. The emphasis throughout is on confidence building,
developing communication skills and reading and writing using age appropriate resources.
Students work towards achieving accreditation which is relevant to their level of ability.
Speaking and Listening
Language is not restricted to verbal expression and comprehension. We encourage
our pupils to communicate their needs as effectively as possible; with the support of
the Speech and Language Therapists pupils follow an individualised programme
implemented across the curriculum. Pupils have access to and are encouraged to use a
variety of communication systems such as; Makaton, PECs (Picture Exchange
Communication System) objects of reference, and communication aids e.g. VOCA (Voice
Output Communication Aid). Pupils who are able to are supported to develop spoken
language skills and are encouraged to in a variety of ways. (See Communication Policy)
Reading is interpreted as any activity any that leads to the derivation of meaning from visual
or tactile representations. For example; real objects, photos and symbols are used widely
throughout school to give all pupils access to reading strategies to enable pupils to progress
include; phonics and whole word recognition. We aim to promote the enjoyment of reading
and love of stories for pupils of all ages and abilities. Within discrete English lessons we use
carefully chosen books relevant to the age and ability of the pupils. We ensure pupil’s
understanding when reading at all levels by questioning in an appropriate way. Sensory
stories use a multi-sensory approach to involve and engage our pupils. Teachers
differentiate texts so that they are suitable for the whole class.
Writing may be interpreted as any activity that communicates and records events and
experiences, information, thoughts and feelings. Pupils may use photographs, symbols, ICT
aids, or the written word for this purpose. Handwriting skills are developed when
appropriate; pupils are encouraged to use an appropriate grip and form letters correctly.
When it is appropriate pupils are taught to write independently using techniques such as
their phonic knowledge and personalised dictionaries to spell words. They are taught basic
grammar and are given the opportunity to write for a variety of purposes and for different
audiences; for example a letter or an imaginative story.
Due to the diverse needs of our pupils, the curriculum needs to be flexible and individualised
enough to be accessed by all, whilst still providing a structured approach to the subject in
line with government documentation. It is essential that, along with reading and writing
there is a focus on communication through the literacy curriculum, an area key to the
development of our pupils’ interactions with others and their environment. As for all
subjects, literacy is differentiated to be accessible for all pupils through all stages, from
planning to delivery. Appropriate resources are provided and produced to enable access to
literacy by all pupils, whatever developmental level they are working within.
Planning for Literacy is taken from a template produced by teachers from four Hertfordshire
SLD schools. This is used as a starting point from which objectives can be drawn and
coverage checked. The literacy curriculum should show coverage of the full range of literacy
areas for each pupil across a year.
Literacy planning is covers three levels: long, medium and short term.
lanning is currently in the format of a 3 year rolling programme for key stages
3 and 4
ensure the long term plans are being followed ensuring a breadth of coverage. These plans
include differentiated objectives for each pupil and the learning they will experience to work
towards these objectives.
the lesson, noting whether this fits with the medium term plans and individual pupil targets.
Delivery of Literacy
The delivery of literacy to groups and individuals across school will vary widely depending on
pupils’ preferred learning style. Some pupils may require visual support to enable them to
access the auditory information being given, whereas others may require a full multi-sensory
approach to gain meaning from the topic being taught. As part of their Literacy, pupils’
ability to respond to their experiences and contribute to the group should be paramount,
with methods being taught in a structured way during these sessions. Some pupils may
prefer to communicate using different body parts, with some operating communication aids
in this way. Some may choose to offer pictures or symbols or to use sign language to show
their understanding or make choices. This speaking and listening element of Literacy should
be taught in discrete lessons and across the curriculum to encourage two-way
communication and foster a literary environment focussed around pupil response and
Literacy throughout the curriculum
As literacy pervades everything we do, it is essential that it is a key part of the curriculum
and as such taught not only in discrete lessons but throughout all lessons and daily routines.
All teachers are required to include literacy levels for each pupil in their planning. This
information enables teachers to plan appropriate subject activities at the correct literacy
levels for their pupils. The development of pupils’ literacy skills should be central to many
lessons and a fundamental aspect of the school day.
All classrooms support the acquisition of literacy skills (pictures, symbols or the written
word), through their displays, labelling of cupboards, resources and with a variety of printed
Assessment and objective setting
The majority of pupils at Portland are working at P-Levels/Milestones or early National
Curriculum levels, with many pupils learning through a multi-sensory approach to access and
respond to literacy activities. Individual pupil assessment is completed on a daily, half termly and annual basis by class teachers through lesson evaluations, assessment against
priority targets, evaluation of medium term plans, photographic assessments, annual review
reports and assessment against PIVATS/Milestones six times per year. All progress is
monitored against each pupil’s own developmental progress and individual objectives are
incorporated into class planning. After the collection of all PIVATS/Milestones scores, schoolwide data is produced and analysed allowing the Literacy Leader to identify pupils who may
be underachieving and put plans in place to support them.
Where appropriate students in key stage 4 and 5 work towards the following differentiated
Edexcel Functional Skills at Entry Level in Speaking and Listening, Reading and
English Units from OCR Cambridge Progression Entry Level Certificate.
Units from ASDAN Personal Progress.
School is well resourced and resources are available to teach many literacy topics to groups
of pupils with a broad range of learning needs. There are central resources such as reading
schemes, planning resource books and sensory story resources. Individual teachers also
produce class and pupil-specific resources to enable all pupils in a group to access a
particular text or topic. An on-going audit of resources is overseen by the Literacy leader to
ensure that resources are still appropriate to the topics being taught and the changing
needs of pupils. This is done through liaison with teachers, evaluation of planning and
specific audits.
The role of the Literacy representative
The Literacy Leader across the secondary department is Elaine Dixon. Judith Knox is the
Literacy leader across the 6th form
They are responsible for securing high standards and quality through:ving Literacy across the academy.
This will include keeping up to date with current changes in the Literacy curriculum and
using this knowledge to inform practice across the Academy.
Monitoring and evaluation
Literacy Leaders will use the process of self- evaluation to keep records of work completed
relating to the subject improvement plan.
Termly monitoring of medium term planning will take place.
Termly moderation of pupils levels will take place and work from this will be collated
Monitoring of specific pieces of work will take place in staff meetings
Annual monitoring of pupil progress will occur using PIVAT data, Milestone data and
information from accreditation
Documents to be read alongside this policy
Teaching and Learning Policy
Quality Assurance of Teaching and Learning
Marking Policy
Communication Policy
Assessment, recording and reporting pupil progress policy