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Understanding written language opens a world of information, imagination and enjoyment.  Being skilled readers and writers allows students to explore new subjects and reach their potential to grow as individuals.  

The National Literacy Trust tells us that students who struggle with reading are at a disadvantage in their GCSE exams and at every stage of their lives.  

Here are some ways we aim to improve and stretch our students’ literacy skills to improve their overall outcomes. 

Years 7-9 fortnightly lessons

All students in Years 7-9 have a dedicated library lesson every other week. During these lessons, they are given a variety of short tasks to help work on: 

  • spelling 
  • enjoying reading 
  • understanding texts 
  • creative writing 

Special events and initiatives

We celebrate notable literacy-based dates throughout the school calendar, including National Poetry Day and World Book Day. 

In our English department, we offer a reading bingo initiative. This is unique across every year group and runs alongside the topics studied in lessons throughout the year.   

Extra-curricular clubs such as book clubs, competitive writing clubs, and wider world English clubs allow students to explore reading and writing outside of the English curriculum. 

We promote local and national creative writing competitions, such as the John Fielding Prize, Young Writers and Rotary, encouraging students to express themselves, experiment with words and showcase their writing. 

Star tests

Every term, we assess all our Year 7-9 students’ reading progress to ensure we are stretching their capabilities without losing their enjoyment of reading. The star tests also allow us to identify students who would benefit from extra support to improve their reading, for example, our Reading Buddies scheme and phonics intervention programmes. The Reading Buddies programme sees younger students in Years 7, 8 and 9, who staff in our English department feel could benefit from reading with an older ‘buddy’ to improve their literacy and confidence with texts, assigned a Reading Buddy volunteer from Dallam Sixth Form. For 30 minutes a week, students meet with their buddies. 

5-point plans

To ensure our teaching staff can best deliver our literacy vision, we have created specific plans to support our students in improving their reading, writing, and speaking skills. 

If you would like more information about literacy at Dallam School, please contact Miss Maple, Literacy and Phonics lead at  

Dallam School Branding
Dallam School
Milnthorpe, Cumbria, LA7 7DD
Mr Steven Henneberry
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