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At Kingsmead, we are committed to developing the literacy skills of all our students. Literacy skills are central to the development of learning, personal and social development and lifelong learning. This gives students the opportunity to contribute to the development of a successful life, where they can appreciate, enjoy, understand, evaluate, discuss, and make informed choices and decisions.

Disciplinary literacy is an approach to improving literacy across the curriculum. We recognise that literacy skills are both general and subject specific, and students are taught how to read, write and communicate effectively in all different subjects.

The Academic Curriculum fosters deep learning that leads to excellent achievement and is designed to meet the needs of our pupils by design. It has three main characteristics: it is Knowledge-based, it is Literacy-focused, and it is Pupil-centered.

It is our aim that each of our students will leave our school with strong literacy skills that will empower them to shape their future and in line with our motto, to give them access to a university degree or a professional career.  

Click here to see the Academic Curriculum

The Just Reading Curriculum 

The Just Reading programme is delivered in tutor time, where Form tutors read aloud to their tutees 3 times a week. All students have a copy of the book they are being read to and follow by reading as they listen to the teacher.

These are the aims of the Just Reading curriculum:

  • Improving students’ reading ages and supporting them accessing the full curriculum.
  • Building students’ cultural capital and vocabulary knowledge.
  • Exposing students to a variety of rich and challenging texts, and to a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres.
  • Complementing the implementation of the Character Curriculum.
  • Developing a love of reading, breaking the ‘I don’t like reading – I am not a reader – I don’t like reading’ cycle.

The novels that form our Just Reading Curriculum have been carefully considered and selected, are age appropriate. They are often titles that have been selected for young adults’ literary awards and they include student and staff recommendations. The reading canon reflects and celebrates the diversity of our staff and students and is fully inclusive of our school’s community. 

Please click here to see the Just Reading Learning Journey

Literacy Interventions

A proportion of our students have significant gaps in literacy development due to individual SEND diagnosis, lack of early years language and communication development or gaps in education. A reading age below a student’s chronological age is still the greatest barrier to our belief that every child - no matter what their background - should be able to either enter a higher education path or take the next step that leads them into a career they are committed to and have chosen from a position of understanding.

Reading age data at Kingsmead suggests that …. Year group

Percentage of students whose reading age = or > than their chronological age – February 24









In order to support these students the following intervention programmes are in place.

ReadingWise Online Phonics intervention

Students in years 7 and 8 whose reading age is significantly below age-expectations or whose NGRtest flagged phonics gaps attend ReadingWise Decoding intervention 3 times a week. Using a broad range of innovative techniques, ReadingWise provides students with a ground-breaking literacy intervention programme with amazing results. Using algorithms, online sessions adapt to each learner’s ability, delivering appropriate content to optimise learning and progression through the programme. A government-funded study found that ReadingWise improves a pupil’s reading age 78% faster than usual classes.

Lexia Power – Up Students in years 7 to 10 whose reading age is below age-expectations attend Lexia intervention twice a week. Utilising Lexia’s highly personalised, blended learning model, PowerUp has been carefully designed to primarily target secondary-aged pupils who lack the basic reading, academic vocabulary, and comprehension skills necessary to fully access and engage in the secondary curriculum. PowerUp literacy immerses students in an age-appropriate learning experience that is tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Students, who have engaged with Lexia at Kingsmead have, on average, increased their reading age by 1.1 years in 6 months.

Just Reading in smaller groups Students with SEND who need to improve their reading ages are invited to smaller Just Reading groups 3 times a week. This is to develop their communication skills and confidence in a more nurturing environment. These groups are led by a Student Support Teacher with a clear focus on collaborative reading and comprehension work.

Please click here to see the Literacy Intervention Flowchart