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Education Support Centre Courage | Pride | Resilience




The essential life-skill of literacy is at the core of everything we do at Chessbrook as we recognise that our young people need to be as literate as possible in order to fulfil their potential. To this end, we endeavour to exploit every opportunity to improve the literacy of the whole Chessbrook community, whether through the discrete curriculum or the wider life of Chessbrook.

Our daily Circle Time provides a fantastic opportunity in which to share both the written and spoken word in a relaxed setting; we frequently read together at these times. Through reading together in a relaxed environment, we aim to show our young people that reading can be an enjoyable activity as well as an essential skill.

We regularly introduce a new book with tasks that engage the students who can then borrow the book and read it at their own pace either at home or with their Personalised Learning Mentor. We hold a range of books (including large print and graphic novels) as well as an audible subscription to purchase audio books. We aim to show our students that reading can be an enjoyable activity as well as an essential skill.

We have recently completed a redevelopment of our communal and learning support libraries. We are also introducing a reading challenge, whereby the number of words read by students each week is calculated, with a prize awarded to the student who has read the highest number.

As part of the Assessment and Induction programme all students are given reading tests to ascertain their reading age, their single word reading and their comprehension ability. This information helps us to identify where additional support may be required.

We deliver three Key Stage 4 qualifications: iGCSE English Language, Functional Skills and NOCN Employablity Skills.

This term we have lots of exciting literacy activities that our students are taking part in. It is important to us that students not only improve their reading and literacy to support them in their studies and exams, but so that they feel confident in being able to communicate effectively in their adult life. 


Reading Circle Time


We have introduced a weekly reading session that takes place every Monday morning. For 15 minutes, students reads 1:1 with a member of staff. In celebration of (and to provide an awareness of) Black History Month, students are currently reading experiences and stories from the BAME community from a book called, The Good Immigrant.  Our next focus after the half term will be for all students to read a classic novel.


Other upcoming literacy initiatives:

  • Word of the week introduced to students and displayed in the literacy corridor
  • Students provided with the Metro newspaper, film and car subscription magazines to read every morning at breakfast
  • Caption Competition (add a caption/meme to an image - prize awarded for the most inventive response)
  • Literacy Faux Pas board created in circle time - introduces students to common grammatical errors
  • Halloween Fun! The English classrooms are dressed up to excite students who are studying Gothic Literature. Before half term we will be celebrating poetry through the theme of Halloween with all students at all key stages. 




Example of student work

A Short Story by Year 11 Student

Useful Links

iGCSE Specification Information

Youtube Link (The English Teacher)

BBC Bitesize Revision