Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Ofsted-Recognised Reading Development Strategy at Landau Forte Academy, Amington

Landau Forte Academy Amington, Staffordshire, England

Landau Forte Academy Amington, a part of Landau Forte Charitable Trust, has been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2010. In the summer of 2022, the school received a ‘Good’ Ofsted inspection report. Within the report, the inspector made the following observations about the school’s reading development strategy:

“There are well-planned opportunities for pupils to develop their literacy skills across the curriculum. Pupils who struggle with reading, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, are helped to improve through targeted support. Effective strategies support pupils’ learning, such as breaking learning down into smaller chunks and pre-teaching key vocabulary. This supports all pupils to achieve well.”

Following this fantastic inspection report, we got in touch with the Faculty Head of English, Fran, who explains the crucial role that Star Reading assessments plays in ensuring all students at Landau Forte Academy Amington have proficient reading skills to access the wider curriculum, as recognised by Ofsted.

Fran explains:

Prepared for the Inspection

“Had we not had the Star reading assessment data during the inspection, we’d have been much less prepared for our Literacy meeting with the lead Inspector.”

The second day of our Ofsted inspection was entirely focused on literacy, where the inspector spent two or three hours examining our literacy provision and learning. Had we not had the Star reading assessment data during the inspection, we’d have been much less prepared for our meeting with the lead Inspector. For example, we were asked how we know where our students are with their reading progress, and I was asked really specifically, “who are our weakest readers in school” and the inspector wanted to see a list of them.

Thanks to the Star Reading assessments we carried out that term, we could provide the inspector with a list of all pupils highlighting those reading above and below their age-related benchmark. Similarly, ahead of the inspection, in anticipation of these requests, I spoke with all leaders, teaching and support staff who were equipped with the Star Reading Assessment data about the fact that we have data to identify our ‘outliers’, students who had high targets for attainment but needed some support with reading as the Star Reading assessments showed they were working below benchmark.

Reliable Data that is now Invaluable

“Having progress data and corresponding learning strategies is amazing for our intervention team; we can link suggested skills to individual students’ learning plans.”

I really like the Star Reading assessment data. I think it’s quite easy for staff unfamiliar with Star Assessments to navigate. There are lots of different metrics in Star Reading to measure student progress. But we certainly refer to the reading ages; for non-English subject staff, this metric is quite helpful to identify what level students are working at , which then allows them to employ strategies to differentiate reading resources and to ensure the needs of all students are met, in lessons, during Tutor Time and beyond.

The data from Star Reading assessments always marry up to what we expect each student to be achieving. And, as I said before, it’s crucial to keep an eye on those outliers working in the top set to keep them engaged and on track with reading to support their academic potential. With Star Reading assessment data, there’s no way we’ll let them slip off.

Renaissance – Sample Student Diagnostic Report

Regarding the data, the diagnostic report from Star Reading includes intervention strategies for each pupil or group. Having progress data and corresponding learning strategies is amazing for our intervention team; we can link suggested skills to individual students’ learning plans and refer them to the SEND team if needed. Therefore, the diagnostic and screening report is really valuable for us.

“Literacy is Everybody’s Responsibility”

“The inspector was very focused on seeing all teachers supporting literacy across the school, not just English teachers and thankfully, with Star Reading assessment data, we were able to comply.”

At Landau Forte Academy Amington, we believe that literacy is everybody’s responsibility. The inspector wanted to spend two to three hours just on literacy on the second day of our inspection. We were so glad that we used Star Reading assessment data to prepare in advance. We routinely use Star Reading data and our Literacy Coordinator Sasha Houlston uses the data to inform all staff of the headlines of student progress in terms of averages for each cohort compared to the national average, all of which looked really positive.

Similarly, we informed leaders and staff in advance of the individual students that are behind national averages. We reiterated to the inspector that all staff understand that it is our collective duty and responsibility to bring all students up to the national average; otherwise, they’re already at a disadvantage.

Using the capacity of our full-time librarian, we wanted to ensure that Star Reading assessment data is shared with all staff going forward and everyone understands what the reports are showing them. Our ultimate goal is to provide a common language of literacy attainment is being spoken throughout the school . In addition, our investment as a school in a Whole-school Literacy Coordinator, Librarian, new library space and Literacy curriculum during Personal Tutor Time really places students’ Literacy at the forefront of all we do in school.

Renaissance – Sample Screening Report

In the short-term, we are sharing critical information with staff, such as reading ages that teachers now allocate to their seating plans and additional training on how to refer to and use Star Reading assessment data to support classroom learning. As a school, if we’re unaware of reading ages and haven’t got reading strategies in place, we feel that lack of clarity impedes students.

On the inspection day, the inspector wanted a science lesson and asked to see one of the lowest readers. The science teacher was equipped with that class’s Star Reading assessment data. Therefore, they knew the types of reading support and strategies the student needed. The inspector was very focused on seeing all teachers supporting literacy across the school, not just English teachers and thankfully, with Star Reading assessment data, we were able to comply.

Landau Forte Academy Amington has opened a brand new library with a full-time librarian. They hope future generations of students will be able to instinctively find texts suitable for their reading ability and interest with Accelerated Reader ZPD book labels throughout the library . The new library gives students the opportunity to explore a range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, and to take them home.

Click here to find out how your school can utilise Star Reading assessments to prepare for your next Ofsted inspection.


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