A guide to delivering outstanding vocabulary CPD

By Olivia Sumpter

06 Apr 2022

Teachers having a meeting about vocabulary CPD.

Are you giving whole-school literacy CPD the attention it deserves?

It has been a long-held belief that whole-school literacy falls under the remit of the ever-stretched English department. However, it seems that the tide is turning. Out of 45 teachers I asked, a whopping 80% agreed that literacy was a whole-school issue. There is no denying that clear and explicit vocabulary teaching and learning leads to improved reading and understanding, which, in turn, results in progress.

However, the real question is… are your staff fully equipped to address language deficits across the curriculum?

How a vocabulary improvement action plan can help your vocabulary CPD

Who will take the lead? Are your English department teaching vocabulary in a planned, well-structured way? If you are a literacy coordinator or a Teaching and Learning Lead reading this, it is likely up to you to steer the ship and generate excitement in this crucial area of pedagogy. In fact, we recommend a whole-school vocabulary improvement action plan to help your school navigate Ofsted’s framework. To ensure your plan is water-tight, base your action plan on our research-based “three Cs”:


A long list of words isn’t going to help your students. They need to be taught in a range of contexts. In line with Robert Marzano’s ‘multiple exposures’ – you need to create plenty of learning opportunities through interactive activities.


Again, the vocabulary you are teaching needs to be chosen deliberately. Are there words in SATs or GCSE papers that learners frequently misunderstand? What words would vastly improve your learners’ extended writing? Improve learners ’ GCSE progress across every subject by focusing on these words!

Whether you plan to teach words thematically or by varying degrees of difficulty, you must have a plan that is clear and easy to follow – keeping this plan as simple as possible is a sure-fire way to get teachers on board.


Your plan needs to positively impact learners’ learning experience. How will you show progress? When you are sat with the board of governors, what data will you produce to show impact? Clarity is key here.

A great way to combine these three C's in a consistent way is through the use of EdTech literacy solutions, such as Bedrock Learning. This saves you time producing a whole-school literacy plan.

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