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At KES, we recognise the importance of our responsibility to ensure that our students leave our school with good literacy skills, so that their achievements are richer and well met.

‘Young people who leave school without good literacy skills are held back at every stage of life. Their outcomes are poorer on almost every measure, from health and wellbeing, to employment and finance.’ (Education Endowment Foundation, 2020)'.

Literacy impacts self-esteem, motivation, behaviour and academic attainment.

We aim to always promote high standards and expectations of literacy across our curriculum and beyond the classroom, where we have specific programmes to actively ensure the success of all of our students.

  • Please find a copy of our Whole School Literacy Policy in the policy section
  • For more information about how to support your child with their reading at home, please read the leaflet below
  • To encourage an enthusiastic KES Reader, please make use of the reading challenge grid below

Programmes and Expectations

Our students are encouraged to strive for the best standards of written accuracy that they can achieve. Students are expected to take pride in their written work and presentation. It is important for students to understand that we write and speak in many different situations in our lives- even within the course of a single day, and that each situation requires a different set of expectations and standards. 

We are committed to consistently using a structured approach to teaching and modelling writing strategies that develop students’ fluency, accuracy and voice, which is based on explicit instructional methodology from the ‘Writing Revolution’ by Dr J. Hochmann. We also have a structured approach to teaching reading strategies, based on the reciprocal reader use of questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting that helps to improve reading comprehension. We teach unfamiliar vocabulary to students and explore meanings and nuances of language (including tier 2 and 3 vocabulary), whilst also actively encouraging students to use this within their own verbal and written communication.

KES Read

Creating a whole school reading ethos at KES is a vital part of our curriculum. Fostering a love of reading, focusing on improving literacy and fluency of reading, whilst also exposing students to a variety of texts and subject matter they may not otherwise encounter are all at the heart of our KES read programme. We expect students in all years 7 to 11 to complete 25 minutes of reading each school day. This consists of a member of staff reading a novel to the students as they follow along with a copy of the book. Each year group has a selection of books to choose from, creating our reading canons- which you can find copies of below.

‘One of the biggest benefits of reading aloud is that students are exposed to and come to know what the artful syntax in beautiful sentences – varied, rich ornate sentences – sounds like.’ (Doug Lemov, Reading Reconsidered.)  

Children as old as 15 or more benefit from being read to but as parents we tend to stop once our children become independent readers.  Reading aloud is an opportunity to model more complex and advanced texts that pupils might not otherwise read.


Delivered in KES Read time on a Wednesday for all students and staff, DEAR (drop everything and read) is a 25 min session dedicated to pursuing reading for pleasure. Students are expected to attend the session with their current reading book, and they spend the session reading, alongside their form tutor. Daily reading has been demonstrated to impact students’ reading ages to such a degree that there is an increase seen in their grades across every area of the curriculum. This is why we also encourage students at KES to read at home for 20 minutes per day. We are also working with the University of Bedfordshire on a project to look at the impact of audiobooks.

Tutor Time: Root Word of the Week

Our literacy skills are what allow us to make sense of the world around us and to join in with the debates and discussions that matter to us. To understand and join in, we need to possess language for real life (or cultural capital). Students take part in Root Word of the Week, which extends their vocabulary and allows them to look at the etymology of words to support with the decoding of language. Exploration of root words and understanding how prefixes and suffixes build up language can also improve spelling. 

Developing Oracy

We are consistently providing opportunities for high quality talk in the classroom and tutor time that are planned and deliberate, and based on strategies from oracy specialists like Voice 21. We take part in the Jack Petchy Speak Out Challenge for Year 10, Year 7-9 we run a speaking competition and workshop day called KES Voices, we are planning No Pen Days, to promote oracy in lessons and other events such as Spelling Bees, Showcase events and debating meets.

The six strategies that we are focusing on to build an outstanding reading school are:

Supporting Staff Teaching the Reading Curriculum Engaging Parents Developing our Reading Environment Targeting Resources Celebrating Reading
Equipping staff with the skills and knowledge they need to teach children to be accomplished and keen readers Making use of every opportunity the curriculum offers to teach KES students to become life-long readers Harnessing the enthusiasm of KES parents to ensure the culture of reading developed by our school extends into the home Understanding the role of the physical environment including our school library, books in classrooms, and visual displays that can play in teaching students to be readers Using a wide range of different reading material to teach our students to become avid readers Involving all parts of the KES community in special events to raise the profile of reading and engaging our students, staff and parents