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St Francis Xavier


At St Francis Xavier School, we believe we have a moral duty to ensure that our students have the ability to read with confidence and fluency, to enable them to achieve their full potential academically and in their future lives.

Access to a full-time education is every pupil’s right. However, poor reading ability is a factor that can significantly impact on pupils’ access to a wide range of subjects.

Pupils must be able to read for them to achieve academically. As pupils progress through an increasingly specialised curriculum, there is a growing need to ensure that pupils are trained to access the academic language and conventions of different subjects. Therefore, putting reading at the heart of the curriculum will support all pupils to be able to read well.



What does the research say about reading?

  • Reading for pleasure is important for educational purposes as well as benefitting personal development.
  • There is a positive link between attitudes towards reading and scoring well on assessments that have a strong basis in reading.
  • Reading for pleasure is an activity that has emotional and social consequences. Studies have found that just 6 minutes of reading a day can reduce stress levels by over 60%.

Reading is woven throughout our curriculum to provide pupils with the skills they need to effectively comprehend information, access learning and enjoy reading for pleasure.



Creating Fluent, Confident Readers

We have a whole-school approach to Disciplinary Literacy, with subject-specific reading skills mapped and planned to be explicitly taught, and greater use of challenging/academic texts within different curriculum areas.

All students in Key Stage 3 take part in the Accelerated Reader scheme, with fortnightly library lessons.

We have a whole-school supported reading approach which ensures:

  • Consistency across departments in how students are encouraged to read and comprehension is supported.
  • Visibility throughout school with posters and computer screen savers to encourage resilience and independence among our young people.

Whole School CPD is regularly provided on supporting weaker readers within lessons.



Closing the Reading Gap

Termly testing of reading ages in Key Stage 3, with continued tracking for weaker readers in Key Stage 4.

Students who are more than 2 years behind their biological age receive additional intervention to support them in closing this gap.

2-3 Years behind (or where identified by class teachers). Intervention may consist of:

  • Paired Reading in Y7&8 weekly with Year 9&10 students
  • 1:1 or small group guided reading with TA during Library Lessons
  • Selected students will participate in small group intervention lessons from the Lexonic Advance reading programme.

3 Years + behind (or where identified as having SEND contributing to this gap). Intervention may consist of:

  • Online package Reading to diagnose and close the automaticity and fluency gap
  • 1:1 or small group intervention with TA during form time
  • Small group withdrawal from lessons 3 times weekly for Lexonic Leap phonics/mechanics intervention.



Reading for Pleasure

  • Accelerated Reading encouraged and achievements celebrated through certificates, form competitions and house competitions.
  • Large investment in Library with experienced Librarian and regularly updated book collections
  • World Book Day celebrated across whole school, with activities within different departments
  • Sponsored Readathon in Year 7
  • Reading Newsletter for students and parents produced termly
  • Subject-specific book recommendations on display and available in Library


We are an Outstanding Readathon School

We are delighted with the feedback we have received from Read for Good, and to be awarded a certificate of achievement for being an Outstanding Readathon School. 

"One in two schools has run our Readathon at some point since they began in 1984, but only a handful in the country have embraced it like yours.  Your school's most recent Readathon raised £489 which brings your grand total raised to £6972 through a total of 6 Readathons since 1999.  This is a truly incredible achievement we believe should be celebrated, and we're delighted to enclose a certificate to mark your achievement and to showcase your commitment to reading for pleasure."