Literacy and Numeracy

What is literacy?

“the set of skills which allow an individual to engage fully in society and in learning, through the different forms of language and the range of texts, which society values and finds useful.”

Literacy across Learning

The government has made it clear that literacy is the responsibility of all members of a secondary school community, not just teachers of English:

Literacy enables pupils to access all other areas of the curriculum

If literacy elements (e.g. understanding of written texts, extended writing, working with others) play a part in any subject’s final assessments, preparation for that should be embedded within courses from S1 onwards

Literacy opens up opportunities for pupils to talk about their learning. Engaging in a metacognitive approach drives forward learning, no matter what the subject.

Creating literacy-rush environments is one way in which the attainment gap can be narrowed.

Reading skills and progression (from Education Scotland)

A continued focus on challenge and the development of higher-order reading skills will develop young people’s ability to think critically and be more analytical and evaluative when engaging with texts. This will ensure effective progression to the senior phase. There is also a need to ensure that young people engage with texts of appropriate complexity and challenge, particularly when developing higher-order reading skills. 3-18 Literacy and English Review.

Reading comprises of a complex blend of skills and young people in secondary classrooms can be at various stages in their acquisition of these skills. In order to make continuous progress throughout their secondary years, young people need frequent experiences of appropriately challenging and complex texts and tasks and activities that develop the full range of reading skills. A clear understanding of standards and expectations at each level in key reading is skills will support teachers across subject areas to plan learning of appropriate challenge. It will also enable them to identify next steps for learners to ensure young people make continuous progress in these skills. Progress and achievement within reading will be evidenced as children and young people achieve across these key themes:

• engaging with a broad range of increasingly complex texts, including Scottish and Scots texts

• developing and applying knowledge and understanding of language

• finding, using and organising information, including developing critical literacy skills

• use reading and listening strategies to understand, analyse and evaluate texts • creating texts of increasing complexity using more sophisticated language.

The full professional learning paper and progression framework for literacy and English can be accessed on the National Improvement Hub.

We aim to imbed the above, raising the profile of reading, coupled with the increased use of Literacy Across Learning Booklets across the breadth of the school. These will primarily be the key focus for literacy this coming year at Islay High School.


What is Numeracy?

Numeracy provides essential analytic, problem-solving and decision-making skills, including financial awareness. Being numerate helps us to function responsibly in everyday life and contribute effectively to society. It increases our opportunities within the world of work and establishes foundations which can be built upon through lifelong learning. Numeracy is not only a subset of mathematics; it is also a life skill which permeates and supports all areas of learning, allowing young people access to the wider curriculum.  Numeracy is at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence.


Numeracy Across Learning

Curriculum national guidance makes it explicit that every teacher should look for opportunities to develop young people's numeracy skills across all areas and at all levels of learning. This reflects the importance that the Scottish Government places on these crucial skills, which unlock learning in other areas of the curriculum and are therefore vital for success in learning, life and work in the modern world and workplace.


At Islay High School, numeracy contributes to and draws from many subjects and aspects of the curriculum. It is hoped that pupils can make links between these areas through the use of their numeracy log book, in which they record the numeracy skills encountered in the BGE.


To ensure consistency of approach and methods used, a “Guide to Numeracy & Algebra” handbook has been produced for the use of pupils, parents and staff.


Useful websites: