Literacy is featuring extremely highly in Ofsted inspections and reports now, with inspectors showing particular interest in reading across the curriculum and reading enjoyment. These are both issues that have been highlighted in a number of Ofsted publications over the last couple of years, in particular Moving English Forward, Reading, Writing and Communication (Literacy) and Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools: A Shared Responsibility.
I have recently checked out Ofsted’s grade descriptors in relation to literacy, to be found under various headings in the School Inspection Handbook. They are very interesting. Not all school staff are aware for example that a school is likely to be judged inadequate if inspectors judge pupils’ progress in literacy to be inadequate. Conversely, these are some of the grade descriptors for outstanding:
- There is excellent practice which ensures that all pupils have high levels of literacy appropriate to their age. (Pupils whose cognitive ability is such that their literacy skills are likely to be limited make excellent progress appropriate to their age and capabilities.)
- Pupils make rapid and sustained progress throughout year groups across many subjects, including English, and learn exceptionally well.
- Pupils read widely and often across all subjects.
- Pupils develop and apply a wide range of skills to great effect in reading, writing, communication.
- The teaching of reading, writing, communication is highly effective and cohesively planned and implemented across the curriculum.
- There are excellent policies which ensure that pupils have high levels of literacy, or pupils are making excellent progress in literacy.
Food for thought here for school leaders, teachers and librarians.