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Literacy & Numeracy across the Curriculum

Reading Across the Curriculum at Oak Bank School; As a SEND school, our approach to reading responds to the individual needs of each pupil, whilst offering a consistent approach to instilling a love of reading across the curriculum.

Our vision is that pupils will experience reading across all subjects at their level and will have more access to reading activities across the school, encouraging a positive culture towards reading. Our approach is a ‘whole school’ approach as opposed to just one subject so that we have a larger impact and remove any negative stigmas associated with reading that they may have developed due to their fear of reading or failure to have kept up with their peers.

What Works for Children and Young People with Literacy difficulties? 

Pupils who have SEND do not learn in the same way. For example, they may be visual, auditory, verbal or kinaesthetic learners and we need to adapt to meet the individual pupil needs. Our approach therefore has to be multi sensory whilst also keeping consistency in terms of the way we use phonics and the way we inspire a love of reading to every individual.  This may mean that we begin with simple visuals where pupils are encouraged to put words to them, with a key focus on expanding our language. Often pupils arrive with a very limited vocabulary and we need to model reading and vocabulary, whilst encouraging them to question what words mean and how we can use them.

As a school we pride ourselves on the relationships we develop with the pupils, taking a holistic approach to learning. Initially we will assess pupils to discover where their difficulties are; This could be through an initial baseline assessment or referral to one of the educational psychologists to look at additional diagnoses. This information is then shared across the school, with regular reading guidance, reading data from testing, training on approaches to phonics as well as sharing good practice.  Our preferred Programme is SoundsWrite because it has proven the most successful, particularly with our non-readers and the training is very thorough in helping staff understand how to use phonics effectively. 

Not all pupils begin in KS2, but if they do, we take a very similar approach. The KS2 pupils are taught in a supportive environment with less movement around the school. Reading is embedded in this environment in a similar way to the whole school to support that transition between key stages in their approaches to reading. Similarly our Acorn House that houses some of our ASD pupils who do not cope in the main school and BSW pupils who are taught in a smaller supportive environment, adopt a similar approach. All areas are actively involved in every competition and reading proposal and are very much involved and part of our reading intent. Although the school has separate departments, we come together through our vision of reading. We have also made sure that pupils have access to a wide breadth of reading materials that are culturally diverse and inclusive. We have a LBGTQ+ selection and have embedded more culturally diverse texts into the schemes of work.

We use such a wide breadth of resources and are always discovering others. However we aim to be consistent in our approach to the way we use phonics, decoding and retrieval methods. To ensure this, we have regular training and supportive workshops to discuss pupils and their needs. Key Workers for example may support their keychild with resources that interest them and share this knowledge as well as feedback given from those who conduct regular assessments in schools.Our chosen phonics programme is Soundswrite.

To promote reading across the school and instil a love of reading, staff have developed reading areas in every classroom; books and other reading materials have been purchased to meet specific interests or requests and whole school competitions take place termly e.g. using the reading tab on behaviour watch, the winners receive prizes as well as the department who has encouraged the most reading. Pupils are also given books as rewards and this has increased the appreciation of books across the school. We celebrate every milestone at Oak Bank and do not just reward the best readers. We use our ASPIRE values to reward adaptability, social skills, problem solving, independence, respect and expression.

Pupils are encouraged through our holistic approach to accept differences and to be supportive or sensitive to pupils who are unable to read. Pupils generally accept that we all have strengths and weaknesses; Something we have developed and instilled in the Culture of the school.

Of course there are often challenges to reading, especially when pupils have previously had a negative experience of reading or are unable to read at all. Staff work hard to encourage their hobbies and interests through reading, find out what they are sensitive too and where they feel most comfortable. Staff model reading in class, we encourage shared reading for those that can and give individualised support or focussed interventions across all subjects. In English there are intervention groups for those pupils who find reading challenging and reading is promoted across the curriculum as a way to develop the pupils’ access to more of the curriculum.

Soundswrite Phonics Program: Oak Bank uses the Soundswrite programme to support phonics in learning to read. Soundswrite uses evidence-informed training for educators to teach reading and spelling effectively.

There are many phonics schemes and resources out there, but Sounds-Write focuses first and foremost on developing teacher knowledge. Drawing on well-established theories of learning and teaching, Sounds-Write empowers educators with the knowledge and confidence to forge a brighter future for their students.

By equipping education professionals with superior literacy teaching capabilities, they have it in their hands to shape a generation of children’s futures according to the latest innovations in teaching and child development.

Numeracy Across the Curriculum at Oak Bank School; As a SEND school, our approach to Numeracy is to support and encourage pupils to explore fundamental skills in number processes.

Our vision is that pupils will experience opportunities to develop numeracy skills across all subject areas to support fundamental skills that develop their life skills. This will include four key focus areas; measuring, estimating, time and money. 

As a school working with pupils with SEND we acknowledge that not all pupils will learn and develop in the same way. For example they may learn core numeracy skills through play, active tasks, thinking tasks or interactive games. Our approach therefore may be multi sensory and cross disciplined dependent on the subject and pupil need. We want to embed an interest and enthusiasm for literacy in imaginative and innovative ways.

As a school we pride ourselves on the relationships we develop with the pupils, taking a holistic approach to learning. The Maths team assess pupils using the Renaissance programme, topic assessment and in key stage 2 and 3, the intervention team use the Sandwell Early Numeracy assessment. We want to set high expectations for our pupils so that we raise attainment with a whole school approach.

Additionally, as a whole school, we promote numeracy through weekly Kahoot challenges on a Friday and through a central whole school interactive board. This board incorporates various challenges, competitions  and humour to engage pupils and to view numeracy as a fun and central aspect to our school curriculum, promoted by all staff regardless of subject specialism.

Our vision for whole school numeracy is to incorporate key skills into our lesson planning, complementing our original schemes of work with termly key focusses. These can be incorporated into class in a variety of ways. For example, if the  focus is on time, pupils may complete a starter activity on reading the time or setting a time schedule or in English the focus may be on time vocabulary. The purpose for this is to get the pupils thinking about number processes and concepts, problem solving, working collaboratively, using data to make informed decisions and thinking or applying Maths to other subject areas.

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