Best Practice

Three simple steps to whole-school literacy

Middle leadership English
The impact of Shaun McGuigan’s very simple literacy policy on his school and its students and teachers has been highlighted by Ofsted as an example of good practice. It is based on three fundamental premises, as he explains.


When Ofsted visited City Academy, Hackney in 2012, inspectors noted that, “the promotion of literacy skills across the curriculum is exemplary”, and that “students make good progress in lessons because teaching makes consistent links to the academy’s key literacy foci, such as the need for students to respond using full sentences, across all subjects”.

They were impressed with what they saw and returned twice within the same year as part of their survey on improving literacy in secondary schools. Published in spring 2013, the survey report – Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools – included a focus on the literacy policy that I had introduced at the school.

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