At Ormiston Denes Academy, we are working hard to promote our students’ literacy and ensure they all achieve to the very best of their ability. We believe all teachers are teachers of literacy. The key skills of reading, writing, and oral communication are what enable students to access all areas of the curriculum and wider society.

Our strategies for improving student literacy are drawn from the Education Endowment Foundation research base and best practice nationally (through OAT) and internationally. We are committed to systematically building our literacy provision from what research tells us work – not just the latest trend.


  • Every student leaves the school with the literacy skills to succeed in the future.
  • Those students who join the school not yet at age expected reading levels are supported in order to help them rapidly improve.
  • Every student leaves the school with the communication skills required to be successful in the next phase of education, their future careers and in wider society.

This will be achieved through

  • Our whole community modelling high-quality speaking and listening, reading and writing.
  • Literacy being fundamental and specific to every lesson.
  • Students being helped to lead their own learning.
  • Building on the core literacy skills developed in the primary key stages.

Vocabulary development

Knowing the meaning of words and having the ability to decode language is crucial for child development. Therefore, the acquisition and command of vocabulary is key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. Research shows that the larger a student’s vocabulary the better able to comprehend and infer meaning. We are committed as a school to broadening our students’ vocabulary and narrowing the word gap that inhibits their academic progress.

Through curriculum planning, we explicitly address students’ vocabulary needs through direct-instruction and it is a key focus in the classroom. The explicit teaching about words and their meaning is teacher-led. The school-wide process for teaching new vocabulary and thinking about it to form deep connections is as follows: read it, define it, draw it, use it, link it, deconstruct it and dig deeper.


We believe students are entitled to experience a wide range of reading texts during their time at the school and that reading is a vital aspect for academic and wider development of each student. Reading should be challenging for all reading abilities and it is the role and responsibility of all educators to be aware of how reading develops so we can better support students.

A key focus for the school through and post-lockdown has been the development of our reading intervention programme. This programme includes tailored phonics lessons (drawing from a DfE approved core synthetics phonics programme), the use of Lexia and the Catch Up Literacy supportive reading programme.

In the classroom, students will be exposed to a wide range of challenging non-fiction and fiction texts. In each lesson, teachers model reading fluently – whether that is a short mathematics problem or a longer science text, as we believe subject literacy is crucial for learning in subject disciplines and for improved attainment. Reading is seen by the whole school community as central to students’ being able to access their exams and show their understanding.

We place high value on reading widely and often students are encouraged to read books across a variety of genres. We have a library we are proud of with a range of interesting books for every learner and all abilities.

Please click here for the Read-Aloud Curriculum.


With the aim to support our students to develop their character, especially their confidence and behaviours for learning, we will have set our basic expectations for oracy – with a focus on courtesy and manners. All stakeholders are responsible for maintaining these expectations – every conversation is a chance to model the type of behaviours and spoken language we desire in our students/children.

The development of speech, language and communication starts at an early age and has a direct impact on children’s social and educational outcomes, health and wellbeing:

  • Children who do not have secure attachments will be less emotionally resilient and not be more able to make positive relationships;
  • Children who do not experience regular empathic listening from adults are less able to learn, to use life well, to concentrate, to enjoy relationships and to be kind to others.

We have a key role in bridging the gap between students’ ability to communicate – in school, with staff and each other for their academic achievement and in preparation for the wider world.

As an academy we set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge students and these expectations are rooted in mutual respect. We take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour both in classrooms and around the school and at all times treat students with dignity and as we would hope to be treated ourselves.

At all times in school, we use S.T.E.P.S, every time:

S – Sir or Miss
T – Thank You
E – Excuse Me
P – Please
S – Smile

We work actively through pastoral sessions, in form time, assemblies and our PSHE lessons to teach students the behaviours that we expect of them.


Being able to communicate effectively in writing is a key focus for the school this year. Opportunities for extended writing have been built into both the new KS3 and KS4 curriculum.

Latest News