Working in Improvement Service
Reading in secondary schools: Ofsted, research and Rooted in Reading
The draft framework for school inspection September 2011
When evaluating the achievement of pupils, inspectors will consider:
the extent to which pupils develop a range of skills well, including communication, reading
and writing and mathematical skills and how well they apply these across the curriculum
the standards attained by pupils by the time they leave the school, including their standards
in reading, writing and mathematics
When evaluating the quality of teaching in the school, inspectors will consider:
how well teaching enables pupils to develop skills in reading, writing, communication and
‘Making English real’ – creating independent learners in English: The Peele Community
College Ofsted October 2011
In addition, the Local Authority provided training and produced a suite of materials to support
students’ independent reading, including a range of well-produced booklets to encourage reading
inside and beyond school, such as a Key Stage 2 to 3 transition booklet and a sixth form wider
reading booklet. There is also a ‘Personal Reading Diary’ that aims to support students’ reading
skills, such as explaining the writer’s purpose, linking text to a wider social and cultural
background, and explaining why writers choose to shape their work in particular ways. Another
booklet, the ‘Reading Passport’, encourages students to read a whole range of different texts and
to reflect on them in relatively simple ways. The suite of booklets supports reading at all levels from
Key Stage 2 and they are focused on encouraging students to read independently and to reflect on
what they have read and improve their reading skills.
Criteria for English Survey Visits Ofsted 2010
Outstanding They are very keen readers and show a mature understanding of a wide range of
challenging texts, both traditional and contemporary.
Good They enjoy reading a wide range of texts and can talk and write with
understanding about them.
Satisfactory They usually enjoy reading the texts introduced by teachers in school but need
support to understand more complex texts and rarely choose to extend their
Inadequate They do not choose to read for pleasure and show limited understanding when
talking about their reading.
Quality of teaching
Outstanding They have a detailed knowledge of texts and use this well to extend pupils’
Good Teachers share their understanding of a wide range of classic and contemporary
texts and use this to stimulate pupils’ wider, independent reading.
The curriculum in English
Outstanding Independent learning and wide reading are very well promoted
Good Independent study and wider reading are well integrated into schemes of work.
Working in Partnership with
Excellence in English Ofsted May 2011
The curriculum in each of these schools gave a high profile to reading for pleasure. International
comparisons indicate that although most pupils in English schools are competent in their reading at
secondary school age, their interest and commitment decline substantially. Schools that take the
business of reading for pleasure seriously, where teachers read, talk with enthusiasm and
recommend books, and where provision for reading is planned carefully, are more likely to succeed
with their pupils’ reading. This success was seen in the survey schools, both in good test results
and an enthusiasm for reading beyond the classroom.
Removing Barriers to Literacy Ofsted January 2011
Another highly successful secondary school raised standards in reading by having a designated
weekly reading session for the whole school.
As a result of monitoring, the most successful secondary schools visited had made incremental
changes to meet individuals’ needs more effectively. These changes included the following:
introducing additional dedicated library lessons or reading time
ensuring that all Year 7 students had a reading book and that personal reading took place
at specified times, for example, at tutor time.
English at the Crossroads Ofsted June 2009
Ofsted’s previous report on English found that ‘many pupils are reading less widely for pleasure
than previously’. This was supported by the findings of an international reading survey which
showed that enjoyment amongst pupils in England was poor when compared with many other
countries, and had declined since 2001.
At secondary level, the approach to independent reading remained largely unaltered since the
previous English report. At best, specific plans to develop students’ independent reading were
confined to Year 7. Some schools persevered with ‘library lessons’ where the students read
silently. These sessions rarely included time to discuss or promote books and other written
material and therefore did not help to develop a reading community within the school.
Although the schools visited routinely exhorted pupils to read widely, only the best gave this
enough curriculum time or used it to promote and monitor pupils’ wider reading outside school.
Mapping the interrelationships of reading enjoyment, attitudes, behaviour and attainment.
National Literacy Trust 2011