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At Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys we are committed to developing the literacy skills of our students through a clear, consistent, whole school approach. Reading is a lifelong skill vital for independent learning and is therefore given the highest priority. Moreover, we understand that literacy is critical to learning across all subjects and a strong predictor of outcomes in later life. For this reason, we have formulated a process where all staff are fully committed to developing literacy as part of every lesson. Improving literacy skills and building vocabulary is essential to the growth of every student at Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys. Teachers of all subjects have been trained and are proficient in teaching students to read, write and communicate effectively across all of their subjects and in engaging with the world around them. We support pupils in obtaining and developing a deep understanding for challenging texts. To develop curiosity for the subjects we teach, for the rich history and diversity of our community, society, and other cultures in Britain and across the world.  

We recognise reading facilitates students in the acquisition of knowledge that in turn leads to improved writing, enhancing students’ aptitude for understanding of ideas. Our aim at the Poly is to support and develop our students to become knowledgeable and confident readers and writers who can use subject-specific terminology in the correct context with poise, whilst developing a passion for reading for pleasure. It is our intention to create, embed and promote a culture of reading within our school community. Some examples of our whole school events include author visits, Literacy Week and World Book Day activities.  

Our resolve is for all members of our school community to be able to use high quality day-to-day skills, in particular spoken and written vocabulary. All KS3 and KS4 students complete bespoke literacy activities during form time.  We aim to stretch our students by being involved in borough wide debate competitions and importantly, we are striving to ensure those students who have fallen behind can narrow the gap and catch up with their peers. Students of Year 7 and 8 receive one period of reading a week through an adapted English curriculum where their reading growth is tracked and monitored. There are targeted class interventions for students who are below reading utilising tracked data obtained by STAR throughout the year.  We also have targeted reading groups that build through phonics and dyslexia-friendly books that increase in challenge over time. 

Reading is a golden thread that runs through our curriculum. We have high expectations of all our students and work hard to create reading opportunities and experiences wherever possible. We recommend that students continue their learning at home, setting an expectation that students should share reading experiences on a weekly basis with an adult.  


Reading Age Assessment

All students in year 7 and 8 will complete a GL Assessment reading test at the start of the academic year.  This data is used by individual class teachers to target students for reading intervention and literacy support during lessons across the curriculum. 

Shared Reading

The English Curriculum is designed to have a shared reading lesson each week based on a set text.  Discussions and writing is planned, based around the selected text. Within these lessons, students have the opportunity to discuss new vocabulary and develop their skills of reading and fluency. Please see the English Curriculum Map for further details. 

Read Now

Read Now is an essential element of all lessons across all key stages in all subject areas, ensuring that students are actively reading and comprehending academic texts as well as the opportunity to Read Further which give students to read more challenging texts related to the subject. 

Reading Interventions

For those who arrive at Woolwich Poly with a lower reading age than their chronological age a range of interventions are put in place.  Additional intervention sessions in small groups will take place throughout the week, either before or after school, during the library reading period or being withdrawn lesson.   

There are several enrichment sessions students can take part in throughout the year such as debating, the borough Literacy quiz, poetry competitions and during Literacy Week we have The Book Bus and a visiting author.

tutor time literacy programme

We have a dedicated morning each week for a form time literacy programme with bespoke reading and vocabulary tasks that build over the course of Key Stage 3 and we are developing a programme for KS4.  This involves extracts from books that have been selected with the Poly Boys in mind and challenges them to increase their vocabulary as well as comprehension and discussion.  


Our school library is a popular hub where students come to discuss what they are reading or seek help for recommendations from our librarian on what to read next!  There is also an extensive collection of books to aid what the students are learning in class for students to use as research.  Students have the chance to use the library on a carousel during form time to ensure they always have a reading book to hand.  We have excellent Library Helpers from KS3 who help our librarian keep the library running effectively.   The library is also where our visiting authors are able to have Q&As with the students on all aspects of their work and being an author. 

Literacy Resources for Parents
Literacy Resources for Students


Contact Us

Hutchins Road
SE28 8AT