September 8, 2022

Literacy Update

Jamie Towsey

Dear Families, Students and Community Members,

With Term 3 nearly at a close, we hope it has been a productive and fulfilling one for you all. As the first Term 3 we have had onsite since 2019, it has afforded us the opportunity to again run many of the programs which had to be adjusted over lockdown periods and for students to have greater connectedness to their curriculum and literacy learning.

WHOLE SCHOOL LITERACY FOCUS

As students have returned to school, we have reinvigorated our focus on a whole school approach to Writing. For students, this is a vital set of skills needed to reach both academic and personal success. The ability to express, reflect, argue, inform, analyse, entertain and educate through the written word affords them opportunities throughout their schooling and beyond. Staff across year levels and Learning Areas have been prioritising the practice and learning of Writing and aim to ensure all students are able to engage and improve in this. We have been following the 6 +1 Traits framework to support our teaching and learning of all subjects, lessons and assessments. The model recognises the need for explicit teaching of writing skills throughout the curriculum, enabling our students to spend more time writing across their classes and building their confidence and capacity.

NAPLAN

We have recently received our NAPLAN results, which gave us an insight into the progress our students have made in their Literacy, as well as in their Numeracy. This year the tests were completed digitally which provided greater flexibility and engagement for participants. All parents of students who participated in NAPLAN should be receiving their individual results over the next few weeks, if they have not done so already. If any concerns have arisen, please speak to your child’s teachers to clarify how these results relate at a classroom level. As a school, this data is invaluable in helping us to understand the specific needs of our students. As detailed above, our Literacy focus over the past 12-18 months has been on Writing and reconnecting students with these key skills.

The results reflected in the NAPLAN tests indicate that we have seen clear improvement in Writing, with many of our students across all bands showing improvement in these skills. Classroom teachers will be using this data to further understand and differentiate for the needs of our students at all levels. This data continues to be a valuable tool in our whole-school Literacy planning moving forward.

ENGLISH AND LITERACY ACTIVITIES 

We have been able to run a number of English and Literacy activities this term, most notably for this week’s English Learning Area week. Activities have included daily English-based quizzes and word puzzles, poetry and ‘redesign a book cover’ competitions (with winning submissions to be published in our school magazine) and lunchtime activities including bookmark making, film screenings of literary adaptations and our Spelling Bee! It has been lovely to see students re-engaging with onsite activities and we encourage all students to continue to do so.

We have also expanded our reading program at Year 7 this year, purchasing a diverse range of new books to engage readers at all levels and encourage a love of reading. These also include many books and resources for students with a range of literacy needs including high-low texts, short-form magazine texts and dyslexic-friendly texts. We hope to extend these resources into Years 8 and 9 next year as well.

Looking ahead, the end of the year is fast approaching and soon we will wish our Year 12 students good luck as they tackle their end of year exams and welcome our new cohorts into Head Start to begin the next phase of their learning journey. All students should be encouraged by the progress they have made this year and the resilience they have shown in order to readjust to the routines and rigours of a full school year.

Jamie Towsey 

Director of Literacy