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Ofsted Good Rating


Leaders have successfully prioritised reading across the school.  They ensure that pupils access a range of diverse, high-quality texts.






We recognise that reading is the ‘master skill of school’ (Quigley) and thus we must dedicate time and effort to its cultivation if our students are to flourish and be successful.

At The Sutton Academy we believe that:​

  • Every student should read every day.​
  • Every teacher should impart knowledge through reading.​
  • Students will learn more about themselves and the world around them through reading. ​
  • We should carefully select what our students read, so that they are exposed to the best of what has been thought and said. 
  • Each student should be supported with their reading so that they read for pleasure when at school and at home.  ​
Reading ‘Waves’
Wave Cohort Strategy
1 Reading Ages on or above chronological age Quality First Teaching​ (see below)
2 Amber Power Up
3 Y7 Reading RED COHORT All of the above and Literacy Intervention (Fast Forward Programme)
A Reading Culture

At TSA we are taking steps towards embedding a culture of reading where the significance of reading is reflected by the integral role it plays in each subject and every lesson.​We’re not interested in gimmicks or the superficial promotion of reading; we want reading to feature appropriately and effectively within lessons and for it to become part of the fabric of the school.

Reading within the curriculum

All subjects are now utilising opportunities to read within their subjects where appropriate. The CPD (detailed below) programme will support colleagues and Middle Leaders to be better equipped to identify appropriate opportunities to read within lessons.  

Reading within the curriculum example: mathematics

‘In mathematics we have incorporated reading into lessons in two ways: as a method of developing cultural capital and awareness of the real-life applications of the mathematics being taught, and to develop revision techniques by introducing ‘steps to success’ which students read and use to revise key skills that they are taught. The way reading occurs now in maths is useful and with purpose, rather than being a superficial ‘bolt on’ that we’re trying to shoe-horn in.’ - Emily Parker, Faculty Leader

The Sutton Academy Canon

As a school community, we don’t want to shy away from difficult or challenging topics.  Our students deserve to be empowered and feel reassured that they can discuss issues which affect them both personally and in their academic endeavours. A set of core recommended texts has been assembled after extensive research and discussion. These books, now part of the TSA Canon, have been chosen to enable issues to be explored, difficult conversations to take place, and to dispel myths and common misconceptions on the part of young people about growing up in adult society.

The Canon is designed in layers – so as to reinforce that all reading in our school community is linked back to the curriculum and a necessary part of student development.  The layers are as follows:

Books used within the English curriculum.


To promote clarity amongst students and parents as well as demonstrating a clear rationale for the texts studied from KS3-5.

Ready to Learn readers.


Read to students by form tutors in Ready to Learn time.  There are opportunities for discussion, reflection, and consideration of challenging themes.

Reading interventions.


Led by various staff across the Academy – including the Director of Literacy during Ready to Learn time.

Secondary linked texts.


Texts recommended by subject specialists as excellent links back to the curriculum being studied.  These provide the opportunity for further study.

Our ultimate goal is to provide 100% access to all the recommended texts either electronically or physically.  Students from disadvantaged backgrounds will not be excluded from the opportunity to engage with these texts.  Parents will be able to access summaries of the texts as well as supportive guidance on how to approach them, and the issues they raise with their children.

‘Windows and Mirrors’

This reading philosophy has been heavily influenced by the work of Emily Style and her theory of “windows” and “mirrors”.  Style asserts that texts should be selected which provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their own place / status in society as well as broadening their horizons and enabling them to consider what life is like in other places, cultures, and situations.  The context of our Academy in St Helens, provides both challenges and opportunities.  Our reading provision is designed to give students access to a diverse diet of texts from many cultures representing a variety of cultural and social issues. We feel it essential to provide our students with texts which will enable them to see beyond the boundaries of their own community and explore facets of others which they may have never before considered.  As a consequence, we have invested heavily in texts such as Hussey’s “Outrage” (2021) and “Black and British” by Olusoga (2020).