By Sabra Butt and David Fisher
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Whole-school literacy improvement at Kings Langley School
By Sabra Butt and David FisherVisit school
- Clear implementation plan with centralised monitoring
- Create a culture around recognition and celebration of learners’ achievements
- Consistency is key!
Following the positive feedback from other local schools, the team at Kings Langley School decided to implement Bedrock for their whole cohort, from Year 7 to Year 13. Sabra Butt, Learning Area Leader of Communications, shares her experience with implementing the Bedrock Learning curriculum, as well as key reasons behind her school’s success.
Sabra initially outlined the impact of Bedrock on learners at her school at the start of their Bedrock journey.
The impact of Bedrock can clearly be seen among our Year 13s. Those learners haven’t sat an exam since Year 10 and are not familiar with exam skills. They don’t necessarily have the vocabulary to express themselves in the most sophisticated and perceptive manner when writing and talking.
We also have a lot of success with our more vulnerable groups such as Pupil Premium (PP) and SEND learners who really appreciate the engaging nature of the programme, as well as the consistent accountability and how easy it is to see their progress.
Here are three reasons for the whole-school literacy improvement success at Kings Langley School:
1. Implementing a clear plan with centralised monitoring
After careful consideration of our school’s infrastructure and learners’ timetables, we decided to implement Bedrock lessons as a dedicated homework task. It is then monitored centrally via the English department. This makes the Bedrock curriculum a subject in its own sense.
Thanks to being centrally monitored, learners come to me for help signing on and instructions for homework assignments, rather than their teachers. This ensures communication is consistent for all learners, allowing them to make the best use of the Bedrock curriculum.
2. Creating a culture around recognising and celebrating learners’ achievements
We’ve received great support from the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), especially in our recognition programme. Progress in English is usually better seen over time instead of instantly, which can be hard to measure. When there are suitable opportunities to motivate and celebrate learners’ successes, our SLT fully supports those initiatives. Our headteacher also spends time talking to learners and embedding the Tier 2 vocabulary into our assemblies and other communications.
Bedrock reports, such as the class engagement analysis, give us an overall view of learners’ progress weekly. Based on this actionable data, there is a weekly message to all staff about the highest-performing learner. This learner is included in our newsletter and other school-wide announcements. Social media is another channel we use to communicate about learners’ achievement. We make sure to tag Bedrock so learners’ achievements can be shared.
Every two weeks, I send out “I heard a Wispa” certificate to learners who earned the most points for each year group, which have been very well received. These small prizes all add up and make a real difference to learners’ motivation.
As well as this, learners enter a Bedrock Star competition every half term with voucher prizes, which has helped raise the profile of Bedrock among more cynical learners significantly. At the end of the last term, we awarded the highest performing learners from every year group and whole-school with voucher prizes.
3. Consistency is key!
To ensure all learners make the best use of Bedrock, we send a reminder every two days on how to log in and complete their Bedrock lessons for the week. We remind learners of any ongoing competitions and previous prize-winners to encourage engagement.This has been very successful so far and they have been engaging with it.
Another aspect of consistency I’m working on is consistency within the classroom. Different teachers integrate Bedrock reminders into their schedule in different ways. My plan is to learn from best practice at other Bedrock schools and experiment to see what works best at Kings Langley.
I'm also working with staff and middle leaders on creating a buzz around Bedrock across all subject areas (not just English!). Following a CPD I led on adding subject-specific curricula to Bedrock Mapper, subject leaders have already started planning it into their curriculum and homework for next year.
To ensure stakeholder buy-in, a number of Bedrock parent events have been hosted to ensure they understand and champion the programme. The key phrase "Have you done your Bedrock?" among parents suggests that Bedrock is becoming part of the fabric and ethos of the school.
Looking forward to the future…
(insights from both Sabra Butt and Headteacher David Fisher, who later joined the conversation)
Bedrock is now a whole-school strategy in the school development plan and thus is fully supported and backed by the Headteacher and SLT. Our school is in the early phases of implementing Bedrock, but we’ve definitely seen the improvement in oracy at our school. We would like to further this improvement across all subjects.
One of our priorities includes utilising Bedrock to go beyond improving writing skills. We want to use Bedrock to improve learners’ speaking skills also, achieving more parity between the vocabulary learners’ use in both forms.
We also aim to have every curriculum mapped on Bedrock Mapper to help with Tier 3 vocabulary acquisition, retention and usage.
Additionally, we hope to learn from other Bedrock schools’ success stories. We look forward to keeping up the momentum with Bedrock.
To summarise, here are three ways to harness the power of Bedrock and improve literacy at your school:
- Implementing a clear plan with centralised monitoring to ensure successful implementation
- Creating a culture around recognition and celebration of learners’ achievements to encourage learners’ engagement
- Consistency is key across all aspects of communications about Bedrock!
Disclaimer: This case study is a summary of the conversation among Bedrock’s Head of Engagement Alex Randle, Kings Langley School's Learning Area Leader of Communications Sabra Butt and Headteacher David Fisher. We have tried our best to maintain the factual content of this conversation. If you’d like to access the full version of this discussion, please contact us and we’d be happy to share.