Literacy at wbca

At the heart of West Bromwich Collegiate Academy lies a profound commitment to fostering a love of learning. We firmly believe that nurturing a passion for knowledge is a cornerstone of student success and personal growth. This belief is not only reflected in our curriculum but is ingrained in the very essence of our school’s culture. Whether it’s through innovative teaching methods, our dedicated library or supportive interventions, it is our mission to inspire in our students a genuine and enduring enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge and reading 

wbca library

West Bromwich Collegiate Academy’s library is a dedicated space designed to foster a love of learning. Our library serves as a valuable resource for students, providing access to an extensive collection of fiction and non-fiction books, reading programmes, and educational resources. We have invested in a fully qualified full-time Librarian, Mrs Parkes, who has transformed the space into a rich haven for learning, personal development and enrichment. With an emphasis on encouraging curiosity, critical thinking, and academic growth, students have the opportunity to explore a diverse array of materials, engage with interactive learning tools, and access information to enhance their understanding of various subjects. The library serves as an integral part of West Bromwich Collegiate Academy’s commitment to promoting a lifelong appreciation for learning and knowledge. 

Each student is able to access the library’s catalogue from their Academy devices and from home. From here, they can check the availability of books, reserve books they are interested in and write book reviews.  

Various clubs and opportunities take place throughout the week in the library, including:

  • Books and Biscuits – this is an opportunity for staff and students to get together and have an informal book chat.
  • Poetry by Heart – this is a nationwide event which led to our students participating in their national competition last year.
  • Study Sessions
  • Taskmaster Club – this is designed to encourage critical thought, teamwork and problem solving outside the classroom environment. 
  • Homework Club – this is facilitated for students several times a week.

We have many eager and fully trained Student Librarians who work diligently during breaks and lunchtimes to support our Librarian with the smooth running of the library and uphold of its ethos. Throughout the year, we also celebrate a diverse range of events, from Black History Month to Pride Month, National Poetry Day and World Book Day. There is never a dull moment. Displays are interactive and updated regularly to continue to engage and encourage students to read and explore further opportunities.

With the library being open to all students during break time, lunch and after school, it is an incredibly popular environment for students and staff to share knowledge, engage in discussions and cultivate a community of inquisitive minds. This reinforces WBCA’s commitment to nurturing a love of learning and reading at every opportunity. 

Key Stage 3

In Year 7, our approach to literacy instruction is both comprehensive and engaging. As part of our Literacy 4 Life curriculum, students benefit from a multifaceted learning experience. Library lessons are integrated into our Year 7 L4L curriculum once per fortnight, providing students with the opportunity to explore the world of literature and expand their reading horizons. These sessions not only foster a love of reading but also encourage critical thinking and analysis. 

Furthermore, our whole class reading sessions, held weekly, are a fundamental component of our literacy program. During these sessions, students are presented with texts related to their current thematic unit. Here, they delve into the intricacies of word meaning, develop their comprehension skills, and learn to extract evidence from the text to support their interpretations. This approach not only strengthens their reading abilities but also equips them with the valuable skills required for effective communication and analysis in various subjects. Throughout the Literacy 4 Life Curriculum, key texts have been chosen as the focus for Big Reads and Big Writes.  

In Year 8, our approach to literacy education remains robust and dynamic. During form time once a week, students engage in library sessions aimed at promoting reading for pleasure. This provides them with the opportunity to exchange books and discover new literary worlds, further nurturing their love for reading. Simultaneously, Literacy 4 Life is enriched with vocabulary sheets that are thoughtfully linked to each theme, allowing students to systematically enhance their Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary as they explore different subjects. 

Moreover, for our more advanced students, we offer a unique avenue for deeper knowledge acquisition. Through the wider context documents, they gain access to additional reading materials that enable them to delve into the themes at a greater depth, building a richer contextual understanding. This approach not only hones their language and comprehension skills but also cultivates an inquisitive spirit and encourages independent learning.  

In Year 9, our commitment to fostering literacy skills continues to evolve. Within the curriculum, library sessions are thoughtfully integrated into Year 9 English lessons once per fortnight. These sessions serve as a valuable opportunity for students to explore the world of literature and expand their reading horizons within the context of their English studies. 

Additionally, our Literacy 4 Life (L4L) program is enriched with vocabulary sheets that are specifically linked to each thematic unit, empowering students to systematically enhance their vocabulary as they delve into various topics. Moreover, for our more advanced students, we provide access to wider context documents, offering a pathway to deeper contextual understanding within each theme. This approach not only sharpens their language and comprehension skills but also encourages them to take an active role in their own learning.  

Key Stage 4

In Key Stage 4, students continue to enjoy regular access to the school library, providing them with a haven for research, quiet study, and exploration. In addition to a diverse collection of literature, the library also houses disciplinary texts that cater to their specific subject areas, further facilitating in-depth learning and research. Moreover, the integration of Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary within their subjects ensures that students not only have access to a broad array of academic language but also the tools they need to effectively communicate and excel in their chosen fields of study. This comprehensive approach to learning in Key Stage 4 underscores our commitment to providing students with the resources and support they require to thrive academically and prepare for their future endeavours. 

Additional reading programmes

Students in year 7, 8 and 9 use the Accelerated Reader Programme to encourage reading for pleasure. This enables them to select and read a book of their choosing appropriate to their reading ability, quiz their understanding of the text, and for teachers to receive analysis of students’ results which can be used to set goals, monitor students’ continued progress, and inform planning. Once a term, students sit the STAR reading test which gives them a ZPD range that correlates with the range of books they should choose from the library, in order to be appropriately challenged. 

MyOn is a digital literacy platform that offers a vast library of e-books and resources to support reading and learning. Year 7, 8, and 9 students can use MyOn as an interactive tool to enhance their reading skills and foster a love for literature. It provides a wide selection of age-appropriate books and materials, allowing students to choose reading material that aligns with their interests and reading levels. 

Literacy Interventions

Students at West Bromwich Collegiate Academy benefit from additional support through the Abigail Steele Phonics program, a targeted initiative designed to cater to those students who were initially identified through GL English and NGRT baseline assessments. These students have since participated in a phonics screening assessment, enabling our dedicated staff to provide tailored support for enhancing their phonemic skills, particularly in the areas of blending and segmenting words. The Abigail Steele Phonics program aims to empower students with the foundational skills needed to become confident readers and proficient communicators. By addressing the specific needs of each student, we ensure that no one is left behind in their educational journey, reinforcing our commitment to providing a well-rounded and inclusive learning environment at WBCA.  

WBCA also caters to students who have been identified through GL English and NGRT baseline assessments but do not require phonics intervention. For these students, we offer the Lexia intervention program, which focuses on further enhancing their word study, grammar, and comprehension skills. Lexia is an invaluable resource that assists students in strengthening their reading and language proficiency. Through personalised learning paths, it adapts to individual student needs, offering a tailored approach to skill development. This initiative ensures that every student at WBCA receives the specialised support necessary to excel in their literacy journey, promoting a well-rounded and comprehensive educational experience for all. For years 7 and 8, this takes place twice a week during form time sessions, whereas year 9, 10 and 11 have designated English lessons where Lexia will take place for students within particular groups. 

From initial GL English baseline assessment results, a group of identified year 7 students have been paired with more able readers in year 9 for peer reading. This takes place once per week during form time, where year 9 students listen and support readers to develop their fluency and understanding of the text.