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Secondary School Literacy Research and Policy Guide

Added 21 Nov 2022 | Updated 01 Sep 23


About the Secondary Literacy Guide

The Secondary Literacy Research and Policy Guide aims to inform and support teachers, especially those who are leading and developing whole-school literacy.

Updated to cover 2022-2024, the information in this guide will help you to make informed, professional decisions about literacy development in your school, and shape sustainable literacy strategies.

By collating and summarising key points from recent research and policy developments the guide bridges the gap between evidence and practice. In particular, each section aligns with a key area of focus within our Literacy for Learning programme, highlighting subject disciplinary literacy to support teachers as they develop talking, listening, reading and writing in their subject areas. These areas of focus are further explored in the secondary continuing professional development courses we offer.

Literacy focus areas

The guide is divided in to sections that each address key literacy themes. Each section includes insights and further reading for relevant policy and research, plus a handy reference list of 'essentials' that allow you to assess your current practice, and highlight areas for development.

  1. Leading disciplinary literacy
  2. Reading for pleasure and wider reading
  3. Reading for learning
  4. Building vocabulary within the curriculum
  5. Wider writing and writing in subject disciplines
  6. Talk for learning (oracy)
  7. Managing literacy interventions
  8. Links to references and further reading

Core Literacy Toolkit

The Literacy Research and Policy Guide sits alongside our Annual Literacy Survey to support evaluation, reflection and ongoing strategic development of whole-school literacy. The toolkit can be built into your annual school-improvement cycle to provide a gateway to good practice that is informed by evidence, in line with policy and inspired by practical ideas. Explore our research themes and findings.

Our support for secondary schools is further extended through our annual Secondary School Conference (held in June) and a programme of secondary CPD training.

Sign up to participate in the Annual Literacy Survey

Registration for the 2023 Annual Literacy Survey is currently open to all schools. The survey helps us gather essential data on literacy behaviours and attitudes of children aged 5-18, and participating schools receive an individual report on basic findings. We are also running a teacher survey this year. Sign up to participate.

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