Literacy and Drama

For World Book Day 2021, students enjoyed two virtual interactive stories. The first was performed by Kath, who wrote a story and made the props stimulating the imagination of students. The second was performed by James, who is also a musician. James performed his take on the Brothers Grimm tale the “Town Musicians of Bremen” using words, music and images.



At St. Joseph’s we believe that learning Literacy, or English, encompasses all aspects of communication. The definition of communication; receptive or expressive, oral, graphic, gestural or signed using Makaton, is the foundation on which all aspects of the student’s learning are built and the medium whereby other curriculum areas are experienced. In particular, Literacy offers students with learning difficulties the opportunities to:

  • Develop the ability to respond, to listen and to understand. Interact and communicate effectively with others in a range of social situations. Make choices, obtain information, question and be actively involved in decision making.
  • Develop creativity and imagination. Have access to a wide range of literature to enrich and broaden their experiences. The development of skills within this subject area is fundamental to the all-round development of our students. The success with which we use and interpret a range of signs, symbols, gestures, words and phrases has an effect upon how we interact and communicate with others, and the extent to which we are able to form relationships and exert some influence over our environment.
  • Underpinning the development of Literacy at St. Joseph’s is the recognition of cognitive development, the link between speech and language development and the acquisition of the four strands of English language: speaking, listening, reading and writing. There is also recognition that Literacy skills are essential for increasing access to the National Curriculum, and for wider participation within society.
  • Literacy at St. Joseph’s is tailored to take account of the needs of all students, and addresses the difficulties they have with the acquisition of English and communication.
  • The focus in teaching is on developing a student’s strengths, and to utilise these to help them tackle areas of weakness. Account is taken of each student’s learning style and close ties are kept with the Speech and Language Department to ensure each student has individual and achievable targets.
  • Attainment in Literacy is assessed using the modules of OCR* Life & Living Skills with a significant literacy content, at Entry 1 to 3.
  • More able students will take NCFE* Functional English assessments at Entry 1 to 3, and Level 1 and 2.
  • GCSE English can be offered if required.

*OCR – Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts

*NCFE – Northern Council for Further Education


Drama is a subject that encompasses many areas of the curriculum. It can increase self-esteem, self-assertiveness and help students to become more confident at interviews and in social interactions. It can also be used in role play for Citizenship and PSHE. It helps students to become more skilled at voicing their feelings and developing their imagination and communication skills.

Through the study of Drama, students gain a window on the world. They are given opportunities to see how other people in other cultures react to a variety of situations. It helps them to see beyond themselves and encourages exploration. It helps to develop speech, including voice projection and improvisation and it also helps to develop both fine and gross motor skills. Drama ties-in with Media, where students make films, both stop-motion animation and live-action, celebrated annually in our own ‘Oscars’ ceremony.

It can bring to life the past and the natural world and therefore provide a focus for History, Geography, Science and English. It can bring students and staff together. Through performance students can develop their presentation skills and use them effectively in core subjects. Students who have difficulty in finding a presence within the school community can feel they have a role and become more confident.