At Cheam High School, we are committed to ensuring that our students have the vital communication skills that are needed to be successful in life. Communication skills are defined as writing, reading, vocabulary and oracy. This is achieved through our curriculum and in tutor time sessions.
At Cheam High School, we know that good written communication is vital for our students to be successful not just in examinations but in life beyond school. This includes content and the quality of written expression: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG).
All subjects have identified the key writing skills for their subject - e.g. evaluation, analysis, explanation - and the teaching of these skills is mapped out in the curriculum to ensure that students are prepared at GCSE and A-Level to write in the appropriate style for the subject.
The English department also focus on writing as a life skill to demonstrate where the command of the written word is needed beyond the classroom.
Cheam High School proudly celebrates reading and we aim to expose our students to a wide range of reading materials to help with academic success and to broaden our students’ cultural capital.
On a rotation, 25 hours across the school year are dedicated to reading through our Big Read initiative in years 7 – 10. With the exception of Games lessons, when a Big Read lesson falls, all classes will focus on reading for that lesson. Texts are chosen by departments to either complement the curriculum or to enhance cultural capital.
The English department also dedicate time each week to reading a more challenging text alongside their curriculum. Texts include: “Me and My Dad and the end of the Rainbow”, “October October”, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
In tutor time, all year groups spend time reading something related to the Thought of the Week as part of our PSHE programme. In Year 7 and 8, students also read the Growth Mindset texts: “You are Awesome” and “Dare to be You”.
Texts are read aloud by the teacher. We know that reading aloud a more challenging text by an expert reader has advantages for all students.
In Year 7 and 8, all students have a fortnightly library lesson dedicated to reading including developing reading fluency. Our library manager hosts events and competitions throughout the year to continue to raise engagement in reading.
At Cheam High School, we want our students to build a strong vocabulary bank.
The Word of the Week is explored in tutor time where students look at word class, etymology, word roots and definitions.
All subjects have identified the key vocabulary that they need students to understand in their subject and explicitly teach these words.
We aim to give our students the skills to be able to work out the meaning of new words that they come across in the materials that they read.
At Cheam High School, we recognize the importance of having strong oracy skills.
Whilst discussion and debate are at the heart of our curriculum across the subject areas and year groups, these skills are formalised at key points within our curriculum in Years 7 and 8 across English, Geography and History, and through our tutor time programme.
Using both formal and teacher assessment, students who need additional support with their communication skills will be given this opportunity throughout their time at Cheam High School. Examples of the support offered, although not an exhaustive list, include:
- Additional small group or one-to-one support with reading fluency during reading lessons
- Handwriting workshops
- Oracy intervention sessions
- Tutor time workshops to help with punctuation and grammar
- Spelling intervention sessions
All interventions are bespoke to the needs of the student and parents / carers will be informed of programmes that a student is invited to.