At The Duston School we recognise that high standards in literacy are fundamental to our students’ success and well-being both at school and in life beyond. As such, we are working to embed the learning and teaching of literacy skills in all subjects, and to raise awareness of their importance among all members of our community.

‘Literacy’ encompasses competence and confidence in reading, writing, speaking and listening, spelling, and the use of vocabulary; in its widest sense it can be understood to represent the ability to function effectively in the wider world. We are committed to working with students and their parents / guardians to overcome any existing barriers to literacy and ensure that each child is equipped with a set of skills fit for the twenty-first century.

In order to do this we are implementing robust systems for tracking progress; gathering meaningful data on reading, for example, allows us to set appropriate targets for students and ensure that each child is both consolidating existing abilities and extending themselves. As a staff, we are aiming for a unified approach to literacy; subject teachers across the curriculum are constantly reviewing their practices to ensure that literacy development is foregrounded in lesson planning and delivery.  Each classroom in the school has a whiteboard dedicated to literacy, on which teachers record key words, demonstrate spellings, note literacy objectives and model sentence construction. You will even find literacy whiteboards in the Dance Studio and the PE changing rooms!

Each term will see a different area of literacy prioritised for development. This term it is the turn of spelling, and students and staff are making small but significant changes to the way they proof-read and mark work, with a resulting emphasis on spelling accuracy. Moreover, students are encouraged to care about their spelling and adopt good habits of checking and self-correction. Also creating a buzz is the AET Spelling Bee; Year 7’s top three spellers will compete against other academies in the national contest!

Through such initiatives we hope to promote the profile of literacy in the school. Quizzes, competitions and displays are helping to create a culture of reading for pleasure. We want our students to access their academic courses and to function in the world, but we also want them to discover the riches of the written and spoken word, and thus to enjoy the pleasures of reading, writing and communication.

For more information about literacy at The Duston School, please contact Miss K Shires at