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Literacy and Numeracy

At Ousedale, our vision is that all young people leave our school ready to succeed in life.  As effective learners they will acquire the character, experiences, knowledge, skills and qualifications which will enable them to thrive, and lead successful, happy lives.  We recognise that literacy – the ability to read, write and communicate effectively - and numeracy – the ability to understand and work with numbers - are essential foundations of effective learning and so we champion these in our curriculum. We are also aware of some of the challenges our pupils face in developing their literacy skills post pandemic and have adapted our curriculum accordingly.


A particular literacy focus, at the moment, is on developing pupils’ vocabulary as this underpins their ability to read and communicate successfully.  In all lessons, pupils focus on acquiring and using the key subject specific terms that enable learners to access and demonstrate their understanding of the different subjects they study. Additionally, pupils in Years 7 and 10, and all pupils with additional literacy needs, are supported in developing a broader and more sophisticated vocabulary that will help them to access the curriculum through their regular work on the Bedrock Learning programme.

Developing reading skills is another key focus and we achieve this in a number of ways.  Reading is a key focus of our transition programme and all year 6 pupils read and share their response to a core text as part of their induction. Additionally, all pupils in key stages 3 and 4 read together weekly with their form tutor as part of the Reading Spine initiative and a range of competitions are used to encourage pupils to read independently. Pupils with additional literacy needs have the opportunity to read regularly with an adult.

We have a close focus on reading in years 7 and 8, recognizing the challenges that the secondary curriculum can bring for weaker readers, in particular. All pupils take a Star reading test twice a year to identify their reading abilities and this information is shared with all class teachers so that they can adapt their resources and lessons appropriately.  In addition, English teachers use the detailed information provided about learners’ strengths and areas for development as readers to inform the planning of their reading lessons. Through the English curriculum, all year 7 and 8 pupils also engage in the Accelerated Reader programme, which helps them to choose appropriately challenging books to read and motivates and rewards regular reading through quizzing.

There are lots of things that parents can do at home to support their children in developing their vocabulary and reading skills:



  • Sit beside your child as they are completing their Bedrock Learning and help them to engage. 
  • Log on to your Bedrock Account and see what words your child is learning – use them and encourage your child to use them. 
  • Talk to you child about the new vocabulary they are learning. 
  • Encourage them and praise them when they use sophisticated and interesting vocabulary. 
  • Use a word of the day app and challenge each other to use the word as often as possible. 
  • Draw attention to new words you encounter and try to work out what they mean. 
  • Discuss current events – sport, celebrities, local and world issues 
  • Play word association games 
  • Listen to your child reading their accelerated reading book at home and talk to them about the book. 
  • Encourage regular reading at home – fiction, non-fiction, books, magazines etc 
  • Model reading yourself 
  • Download audio books for car journeys or to listen to at home. 
  • Encourage book swaps amongst friends 
  • Take your child to a library or book shop and encourage them to choose a new book. 
  • Ask your child to read aloud to you and or to talk to you about the book they are reading 

At Ousedale School, we aim to equip students with the ability to cope confidently with the mathematical demands of further education, employment and adult life.

The skills that they need to achieve this are:

  • Representing – selecting the mathematics and information required to solve a problem
  • Analysing – processing and using mathematics
  • Interpreting and communicating the results of the analysis

Across the curriculum, students should be able to:

  • apply their knowledge of number to both familiar and new circumstances and to use it in the solution of problems.
  • carry out basic calculations efficiently and accurately, either mentally or with pencil and paper as appropriate.
  • understand and use units of measurement of length, mass, capacity and time.
  • understand and use information presented in mathematical forms, including graphs, tables and charts.

In school we are developing common approaches for teaching these skills across the curriculum.

All staff are aware of opportunities for incorporating numeracy into their lessons, in order to build and consolidate the skills used in Maths lessons.

Weekly numeracy challenges will be used by form tutors in registration to develop problem solving and to allow students to apply their numeracy knowledge to different contexts.

In tutor time, Key Stage 3 students complete work on the  ‘Numeracy ninjas’ programme once a week practising mental strategies for calculations, times tables and key skills and so developing fluency with mental and written calculations. Students in Year 7 and 8 complete a functional skills numeracy unit; this focuses on transferable skills such as reading scales, estimating calculations, dealing with money and reading graphs and charts.

Key stage 4 students have a numeracy session once a week in tutor time. This encourages students to recap the knowledge and skills covered in their Maths lessons. Maths puzzles and games are also used to increase fluency and confidence when dealing with numbers.

At home, parents can help develop skills in the following areas:

Time: Use analogue and digital watches or clocks to tell the time, work out how long something will take or when it will finish, read timetables and calculate the number of days until an event.

Measure: Use scales in preparing meals, adjust recipes for different numbers of people, measuring lengths of rooms, furniture.

Money: Work out best buys when shopping, calculate reductions in sales, calculate and check change in shops, budget and record income and expenditure.

Estimating: Plan for activities such as calculating the number of rolls of paper or amount of paint required to decorate a room.

Calculating: Practise multiplication tables, complete the brain gym puzzles in newspapers, play countdown numbers games.

The following websites have more activities and ideas to support numeracy at home: son/daughter will be given the username and password for this website in their maths lessons)