Next Steps Event - Thursday 25th April 5pm-7pm



Whilst there may be discrete English lessons timetabled in most classrooms, the development of literacy knowledge and skills is part of every aspect of what we do at Manor Green College. Our absolute priority is providing opportunities for all of our young people to succeed in improving their functional literacy skills so that they are able to access their next steps – be that the next year group, the next key stage, the next educational placement, or for life outside the college doors. We aim to do this using a variety of strategies which promote student engagement and enjoyment, whilst providing a structure and predictability which many of our young people require.



Across the four pathways, a number of strategies are implemented to facilitate the development of both receptive and expressive language skills. You can find out more about ‘Communication’ specifically by clicking here.

Reading for both pleasure and for functional purposes is a priority within the English subject plan. We aim for students to have exposure to a wide range of high quality texts on a regular basis, which broaden and strengthen their understanding of the world around them, which deal with challenging and current themes, and in which they can see themselves represented. This is done through the carefully selected use of texts from the Power of Reading scheme curated by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and the frequently updated Reading Corners which are present in each classroom. We subscribe to the Schools Library Service, through which we are able to exchange up to 300 books per year, which allows us to keep the range of books on offer fresh and varied.

All students who require support to develop basic reading skills (decoding) receive Phonics intervention which is tailored to their needs. We use Twinkl Phonics as our Systematic Synthetic Phonics scheme (SSP), to provide the structure and progression of phonic knowledge and skills. Through this approach, students work from identifying environmental sounds, exploring rhythm and rhyme and orally blending and segmenting (Level 1) to making connections between the letters they see on the page and the sounds they hear in speech (Grapheme:Phoneme Correspondence). Sounds are broken down into Levels 2-6 based on the regularity of their spellings and the frequency of their use in the English language, and students learn how to both write the words they can say, and say the words they see on a page. This highly-structured and systematic approach is endorsed by the Department for Education and is recognised as being the most effective way for all young people to learn to read, including those with SEND (‘The Reading Framework’, July 2023).


As part of the Twinkl Phonics programme, students have access to an online library of phonetically decodable texts called ‘Rhino Readers’ which are typically used to reinforce the teaching of sounds which may have occurred in discrete phonics sessions. Where students need additional or alternative reading materials, books from the PhonicBooks scheme are used, and these have ben mapped against the Twinkl Phonics levels to maintain fidelity to the SSP.

In addition to this, students in some pathways develop their reading fluency and comprehension skills through regular Guided Reading sessions, in small groups according to their current attainment levels. These sessions typically use texts which are more challenging than a student might be able to engage with independently, but with support and guidance from an adult they work on skills such as retrieval, inference, questioning, prediction and visualisation.

In some pathways, students use Colourful Semantics to develop their understanding of characters and their actions, as well as building their knowledge of how to construct simple sentences using the colour-coded building blocks of ‘Who?’ (Orange), ‘What doing?’ (Yellow), ‘What?’ (Green) and ‘Where?’ (Blue), amongst others as appropriate to the level of the students.


Through a range of tailored approaches to the development of receptive and expressive language skills, all students have access to engaging, motivating and purposeful learning opportunities, not just in English but across the curriculum. Our emphasis on developing functional literacy skills is reinforced through QUEST sessions, where students are able to implement strategies and develop skills in real-life contexts with guidance and support, as necessary. Students make excellent progress year-on-year so that they leave us with the confidence and ability to manage a wide range of situations with increasing independence.

As students move from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4, many embark on an Entry Level curriculum which not only continues to develop functional skills, but also stretches and challenges our young people to use literacy for a variety of purposes. In the 2023 cohort, 80% of Year 11s in the relevant pathways went on to achieve an Entry Level qualification in English, and 100% of our Year 14 leavers achieved an Entry Level qualification in Life and Living Skills.

The work in which our students participate across all areas of the curriculum prepare them well for their next steps, and our close links with local FE colleges affirms that our young people go on to enjoy continued success and make sustained progress, building on the solid foundations set in their time at Manor Green College.

Giving students access to high-quality authors, tied in with national and international events where appropriate, develops a love of reading across the college and fosters an interest in the world in which our students live. It's important to us that all cultures, backgrounds, lifestyles and abilities are represented in the books we read so that students can relate to stories and can celebrate the successes of all people.
Each term, the English lead selects an Author of the Term, or a set of recommended reads, which highlight high quality, engaging and enjoyable texts for our young people. In this example, with books recommended by Book Trust, there is guidance provided to aid staff in delivering sessions using a range of texts.