English - Robert Clack School
The English department wanted long-term, meaningful change to vocabulary acquisition across the whole school, and therefore looked at the best approach to make vocabulary a sustained focus across all subjects, as opposed to just the English department. Instead of creating new schemes of work for particular subjects, staff looked at wider-scale, whole-school methods of both enriching staff knowledge of vocabulary.
Vocabulary was able to become a focus for the school through the creation of literacy representatives. This group has a nominated teacher from each department, they meet 6 times per year to discuss literacy, and for the past 4 years there has been a focus on vocabulary.
The successful use of literacy representatives has led to wider whole-school collaboration in regards to literacy as a whole, including vocabulary. This gathering of staff from a wide variety of departments has led to really productive discussions about vocabulary and the implementation of wider literacy policies across the school.
For example, in Year 4, the creation and promotion of FASE reading to support oral literacy and spoken vocabulary was made easier through the use of literacy representatives. Literacy representatives receive training and are able to disseminate this information to their departments in weekly departmental meetings. This use of literacy reps to collaborate and share best practice in regards to vocabulary has been a real success of the project. Giving non-specialist teachers an avenue to ask questions about vocabulary and literacy, share ideas, and collaborate has been essential in growing staff confidence towards tackling literacy and vocabulary across all three sites. Simultaneously, the English department also refined and enhanced the ‘word of the week’ programme. This meant gathering feedback from students and using this to create more incentives/ prizes associated with using the word. The impact of this ‘word of the week’ vocabulary initiative has expanded and grown to become a mainstay in the culture of the school. The promotion of the 'word of the week' in year group assemblies has made it a popular initiative with both staff and students, and will certainly live on beyond this program.