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Hele's School

Hele's School

Hele's School A great place to learn. A great place to grow.


All Hele’s staff are aware of the importance of ensuring our learners are effective communicators, and we take every opportunity to guide and enthuse learners with a love of the English language in all its forms. 

Our commitment to improving literacy is outlined in our Literacy SOP (Standard Operating Procedures), which can be downloaded below.

Please click on the tabs below to browse the selection of literacy strategies which are part of every student’s day-to-day life at Hele’s School. If you require any further information regarding our literacy programme please contact Mr Fonseca (Assistant Principal) at



Staff encourage students to read widely and frequently, promoting extensive reading of both fiction and non-fiction texts that are written in a wide range of styles and for a variety of purposes.

Our curriculum provides opportunities for all students to broaden their subject, historical and cultural knowledge through wider reading. At KS3 this is delivered through Forensic Reading, while GCSE and Post 16 students are provided with wider reading lists.  

Core subject vocabulary is explicitly taught in all lessons and available to all students via knowledge organisers

Our School Library

Our Library is open to students before school, during break and lunchtime and after school. The Library is also used regularly by class teachers to encourage students to read for research. As well as an excellent range of books and e-books, which is regularly updated, students have access to computers and a range of online sources that the school is registered to use, including Issues Online and the Newspapers for Schools News Library website. All Year 7 students have a dedicated ‘Library Lesson’ twice a term as part of their English curriculum and older students are given ‘refresher’ sessions to help them make effective use of the library.

The new fresh re-design for the School Library is very appealing to staff and students alike. There is a welcoming feel on arrival in an open plan setting. Comfortable seating is arranged throughout the ground floor and creative use of moveable shelving allows our students to browse freely for books to satisfy their reading interests. More comfortable seating is a very welcome addition to the mezzanine floor level, particularly during lunch break when small groups like to gather to read factual books like the ever-popular Guinness Book of World Records.

The Study Area upstairs is light and airy and an ideal place to concentrate on independent study. It also has 15 laptops available for student use, a flexible resource for our school community.

Subject Specific Wider Reading

Wider reading and research play a vital role in consolidating and reinforcing deeper learning. Our teachers supply carefully chosen reading material (fiction or non-fiction) which extends and enriches learning in their subject area.

Some suggestions for texts have included:

  • Novels with thematic links to the subject
  • Research articles
  • Magazine/newspaper articles which focus on subject-related issues

Post 16 teachers have also created a recommended reading list for current and prospective students. Details of the suggested texts can be found here.

E-Books & the E-Reader project

The School Library offers access to the Library Service for Schools e-book platform, managed by Wheelers. The link here will take you to the site. Please contact Ms Wolf in the School Library to be given a unique login. Each e-book is on loan for two weeks and will automatically expire after this time, though there is also an option to extend the loan period by renewing it. Currently, the choice of books is not huge, but it will grow as more students make use of this exciting alternative to paper books.

E-books are also available through the City of Plymouth’s Library Service and staff and students with a public library card are strongly encouraged to try this option. The public library e-book website can be found here. To contact our nearest public library please ring 01752 305630 or email and the staff will help set up a PIN to let you gain access to an excellent range of e-books.

The School Library E-Reader project has the use of 17 tablets donated to Hele’s School by The Rotarians. We use e-reader technology to overcome barriers to reading enjoyment with selected groups of year 7 and year 8 students. E-readers allow the reader to quickly find out a word’s meaning without disrupting the flow of reading. This helps with developing a broad vocabulary and helps to improve fluency of reading. E-readers also allow the reader to change text size, background colour and font, according to the needs of the reader.


Our staff take every opportunity to develop the students’ written skills.

We ensure that students are given the opportunity to write in a variety of styles and for a range of purposes and have frequent opportunities to write at length. 

Appropriate scaffolding and modelling strategies are used to ensure students understand how to produce effective written work, and we develop students’ disciplinary vocabulary through the explicit teaching of subject terminology and keywords.

In addition to this, one English lesson per fortnight is dedicated to developing students writing skills in year 7.


We use a range of strategies to encourage students to practice wider communication skills which also support writing.

For example, all Hele’s School staff have been trained to use appropriate cooperative learning structures to provide a scaffold for writing. We also focus on tactfully correcting errors in spoken language through verbal feedback strategies.

Finally, we are passionate about providing opportunities for students to present their work through a range of methods (cooperative learning structures, oral presentations etc.) 

Debating Society

The debating society was started in 2015 as a vehicle for our students to express themselves, find their unique voice and become effective orators. We meet each Wednesday and are an eclectic bunch of year 8-13s. We use the Mace style of debating, which is quite formal but can still lead to some exciting and interesting debates.

We compete in the English-speaking Union’s national debating competition and reached the regional finals last year. We have one-off workshops with expert debaters and will be working with the University of Plymouth’s debating team shortly.

Being part of the debating society enables pupils to explore the thorny issues which affect their day-to-day lives and wider matters of social importance. They develop excellent argument skills and become accomplished public speakers; skills which will serve them well in the world outside of school.



Full details of our literacy intervention strategies can be found in our Catch-up Plan