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Model School Primary School, Northland Rd, County Londonderry

Literacy

RATIONALE

The school believes that literacy affects and determines the quality of life for each individual.  This realisation puts language at the centre of all we do as advocates for better educational, social and moral standards.  Literacy is an area that requires support and promotion at all stages of human growth and development.

Language makes and shapes meanings.  Its more effective use should ensure greater empowerment for the user so that thought processes are enhanced and the more appropriate communication skills which result ensure improved understandings and better informed and efficient decision-making and problem-solving.

The challenges of the new millennium must be embraced.  There are new technologies and new literacies in all aspects of our lives.  Access to knowledge and information is essential and we need to move beyond basic literacy skills if we are to be critical and discriminating in our response to the wide range of media and technological messages which surround us.

 

DEFINITION

Literacy may be defined as a set of skills that enable the individual to listen, talk, read and write.  These skills are innate and personal but the language user will always be interfacing with other individuals – which extends the definition to a set of practices which are socially and culturally embedded and determined.

Literacy is a continuum with a range of levels of progression and attainment.  These levels will be determined by the changing needs of the society and the individual within it.  Therefore, we must expect to have a wide range of skills that will enable oral communication, access to a wide range of genre and written forms, s well as critical and discerning competence in our interactions with media and digital texts.

 

PRINCIPLES

The development of literacy is a basic human right – an entitlement of all learners and therefore the responsibility of all teachers.

Our understanding of literacy incorporates speaking, listening, reading and writing for specific purposes in different contexts. These elements of language are interdependent and integral to all learning across the curriculum and beyond.

Literacy is fundamental to personal and social development, to lifelong learning and an improved quality of life.

The ability to think creative and critically is interdependent with the development of cogent and coherent literacy skills.

Literacy takes many forms – our understanding extends beyond basic decoding to critical reflection and understanding how language works.

In addition to communication, effective language should encourage interest and pleasure in language in all its forms.

Within the school there is a whole-school holistic approach to literacy which embeds a co-ordinated and collaborative effort to support the development of literacy in all of our pupils.

 

THE PROMOTION of LITERACY

To support and deliver best practice in the promotion on of literacy we will:

  • create a positive and pro-active literacy culture within the school;
  • determine and set literacy targets;
  • promote a policy of partnership and cross subject collegiality;
  • liaise with external agencies;
  • identify issues which require clarification;
  • seeking advice, support and training for staff in the promotion of literacy skills in their subject area;
  • promoting awareness of a structured literacy framework;
  • secure and make effective use of resources;
  • develop links with other agencies;
  • develop early intervention strategies;
  • work closely with colleagues and parents to support SEN pupils;
  • promote a range of practical teaching strategies based on whole class, group or individual teaching;
  • developing a range of different initiatives to support the promotion of literacy;
  • identify and disseminate good practice;
  • address underachievement, in particular among boys;
  • promoting the appropriate use of ICT as medium for the development of literacy skills;
  • encourage and facilitate parental/pupil involvement.

 

WHOLE SCHOOL LITERACY POLICY and THE “REVISED” CURRICULUM

 

The introduction of the Revised Curriculum has helped all of us to define more explicitly what teaching and learning is about in today’s world and it has also highlighted the importance of literacy at the heart of learning.

The statutory requirement on all teachers to address the Cross-Curricular Skill of Communication in their schemes of work and to participate in the development and assessment of it has undoubtedly given greater profile to literacy issues. 

However, I am confident that we can move forward with these changes and continue with the good work which together we have undertaken over the years.  I would suggest that for example, that much of the literacy training we have had over the years with its emphasis on active strategies for modelled, shared, guided and independent language work was preparing the ground for what was to follow!

Our literacy policy subscribes to and seeks to promote the ethos, aims and objectives of the Revised Curriculum at KS3 and KS4 and to meet all of our statutory requirements.