Best Practice

A whole-school approach to improving literacy

Senior leadership English
Tackling the attainment gap between Pupil Premium pupils and their peers at King Edward VII College has been a key focus for staff, including the aim of improving literacy levels. Cathy Bhundia discusses their strategies.

King Edward VII serves the historic mining community of Coalville in Leicestershire. The area has suffered from the decline of British industry since the 1980s and while there is a sustained programme of local regeneration, we are still one of the most deprived areas in the county.

We have 1,000 students aged between 14 and 19 and, while the number eligible for free school meals is average, the performance of our Pupil Premium cohort is significantly below that of other students.

Within our 2012 GCSE results, there was a 33 per cent gap between the proportion of Pupil Premium students achieving the benchmark of five A* to Cs including English and maths and the comparable attainment of their peers. This was linked to a substantial proportion of students in years 10 and 11 having reading ages below their actual age and this was an issue I set out to tackle as part of my work on the Future Leaders programme.

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