Literacy and Numeracy Policy

2013 – 2016


This policy has been developed to be a living document that will address the literacy needs of our students. The initiative is a product of a collaborative approach between the literacy committee, teaching staff and the wider school community including parents and Board of Management. It is a response to the growing need to encourage our students to read more for investigative and entertainment purposes. It is also a response to the realisation that there are significant challenges to participation in reading exercises whether or formal or informal due to the growing influence of computer gaming and the decline in the purchasing of books amongst a myriad of other challenges. 

The success of this process hinges upon the need to increase awareness among all teachers across all subject disciplines of the importance of reading and other literacy skills and of analysing the literacy needs particular to their subject. In this context it is vital to remember that literacy is not just about reading and writing but includes the capacity to read, understand and critically appreciate various forms of communication including:

•Spoken language

•Printed Text

•Broadcast Media

•Digital Media


In order to achieve the aims of this policy, the following elements of teaching and learning will be prioritised and targeted at First and Second year students and expanded to other year groups: 

•Professional development for teachers

•Focus on developing and implementing a range of reading strategies and skills

•Provide specific individualised instruction

•Follow up in subject classrooms

•Regular use of assessment

•Provide frequent opportunities for practice in reading and writing

•Regular use of IT 


The Literacy Working Group:

The literacy working group in the school is comprised of the following members:

1) Dan Parkinson - Co-ordinator                                       

2) Rene Ralph - SEN Co-ordinator

3) Rosina McBreen - Subject Teacher & Librarian

4) Cora Russell - Subject Teacher                                    

5) Paul Hyland - Subject Teacher 

6) Mairéad Defelly - Subject Teacher 

7) Michael Shanahan - Subject Teacher   

8) Fr Richard Byrne - Principal                                    


The Literacy Working Group will be responsible for:

•Developing and implementing a plan for a whole school approach to literacy development, encompassing teacher development, short-term interventions and a school wide enrichment.

•Establishing a schedule/calendar for literacy development. 

•Putting in place structures to monitor, evaluate and review the literacy development plan in action.

•Driving and activating the school literacy development plan, focusing particularly on first and second year students and on developing a whole school aspect. 

•It will be the role of the literacy committee to implement and drive the plan and to liaise with the subject departments & teachers as well as the learning support teachers.


For the success of a school-wide literacy approach that caters for all of the learners there needs to be a whole school commitment to literacy. This requires:

•The development of shared goals and vision of the staff around literacy and

•The communication of those goals in a systematic way. 


The following underlying elements are required to achieve this:

 •Time for staff to discuss issues and develop a whole school policy of literacy. This time will be made available as part of the Croke Park Agreement.

•A whole school acceptance and understanding of what should be the school's short term literacy aim. 

•Creating a reading ethos in the school.

•Devising and implementing a literacy plan for each subject area.

•A review of teaching methodologies which do not support literacy aims and objectives.


Literacy Initiatives:

We will strive to  put in place a development plan which encompasses short term interventions and classroom strategies and which fosters a reading culture throughout the school. We aim to involve all subject teachers in adopting specific techniques in teaching and developing the literacy demands of their subject area. This will allow for subject-specific learning to take place more effectively while at the same time improving literacy levels.

The committee will aim to expend the Literacy Initiatives incrementally throughout the school. While many initiatives will be considered it has been decided that in Academic year 2013-2014 the following will be introduced:

•Each first and second year class will have one library class per team. Class tutors will liaise with the librarian to ensure that every boy familiarises himself with this important resource.

•First year homework reports in October and March will include a field where teachers give their assessment of each student’s literacy competence. Results will be collated and monitored.

•TY will roll out the Read a Book programme to all classes in TY. Students will submit a book report on one novel each term. 

•A Drop Everything and Read initiative (DEAR) is to be introcuced one day each term starting from October 2013. All students and teachers will spend a forty minute period reading a book (Readers/Kindles are to be allowed). The committee will measure and monitor the number of students complying with DEAR from term to term.

•Testing of first years reading age will be carried out in February/March each year. Results will be compared to their assessments of one year previously. Implementation and correction of the testing will be rotated amongst faculties on an annual basis.

•All Faculties are to include a Literacy and Numeracy element in their Faculty policy document.

•Each class is to use a specific copy for vocabulary/glossary/keywords. These terms will serve as a template for a proposed Literacy section in the school homework journal. From September 2014 their will be a specific Keyword section in the school homework journal.