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Respect is at the heart of everything we do at Newham PRUs. To engage our students, some of who have disengaged with education or may be reluctant readers, we aim to create an environment where our students feel safe and respected. Our Literacy Strategy seeks to empower students to communicate, using every day and academic language.

Our aim is to ensure our learners make continued progress during their time with us. It is identified through assessment that up to 70% of students at Newham PRUs have ‘hidden’ speech, Language or Communication difficulties that have thus far not been supported.

At Newham PRUs, the Literacy Co-ordinator, Special Educational Needs Coordinator and Speech and Language Therapist work closely with all staff to ensure that we provide communication friendly environments that widen participation and enrich learning.

We work to support our students develop their literacy skills. This includes them being able to make informed choices about the type of language they use in a variety of different contexts and situations. This applies to reading, writing, speaking & listening within the school and out in the wider community.    

All new KS3 & KS4 students who arrive at Newham PRUs are given baseline assessments using the standardised Access Reading Test. This tests individual students’ ability in literal and inferred comprehension, vocabulary and analysis. In addition to this students complete a checklist for processing difficulties such as dyslexia, and undertake Speech, Language & Communication assessments that help to identify any deficits in:-

  • Understanding of spoken language and verbal reasoning
  • Understanding and use of vocabulary
  • Sentence Structure & narrative
  • Social Interaction

For those students who have a standardised scores less than 90 in their Access Reading Test, additional assessments are carried out to test for phonic knowledge. Those with additional needs to develop their phonics are enrolled onto the Ruth Misken Fresh Start Programme. This is a catch up phonics intervention. Students will be taken out of their lessons to receive a 1 to 1 supported intervention which targets their specific area of need.

All students whether born here in the UK or elsewhere, are regarded as having EAL status (even if they are fluent in the English language) if the main language in the family home is not English. We carry out an EAL survey for all new students to ascertain if they have EAL status or not. If they are new to English they will be assessed using Flash Academy. The outcome of these assessments will inform decisions around whether they will receive a personalised EAL intervention including 1-1 interventions and in class support.

As a result of the assessments and screenings we carry out during student admissions, we are able to gain a deeper understanding of the individual literacy, communication and EAL needs of our students.

A personal literacy profile is created for all new students, and these are shared with all staff to support with learning in the classroom. The literacy profile contains recommendations and strategies that will help each young person overcome any barriers they may have to learning. It will also be included in our ‘Assess - Plan – Do – Review’ cycle.

Our targeted interventions include:- Ruth Misken Fresh Start

Flash Academy EAL

Literacy Trust Skills Academy

Cambridge Essential Grammar

Literacy Trust Game Changers

Word Aware

Phoebe Thorne. Literacy Coordinator. Phoebe.thorne@tunmarsh.newham.sch.