Short courses


Grow at Key Stage 3 (KS3): Improving Literacy for Low Attaining Students

  • 21 hours
  • 3 days


This three-day course will help you develop effective ways to improve literacy for low attaining students at key stage 3 (KS3).

It covers literacy assessment, reading and comprehension, working on words, and writing, including talk for writing and guiding writing. 

You'll be able to apply the knowledge you gain about literacy teaching to whole class teaching.

The course is based on Growth in Reading, Oracy and Writing (GROW@KS3 Literacy), a school-based literacy programme for secondary school students in Year 7 and 8 whose literacy skills are below age-related expectations.

This course is run by the International Literacy Centre at IOE, UCL's faculty of education and society.

Who this course is for

The course is aimed at:

  • key stage 3 (KS3) teachers
  • special education needs coordinators (SENCOs)
  • librarians
  • higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs)

Course content

The course will support you with:

  • understanding theories of literacy development for older students
  • formative assessment techniques
  • appropriate selection of levelled, high-interest text
  • using oracy to underpin reading and writing skills
  • developing strategies to build on the reciprocity of reading and writing
  • the writing process, including high-impact work on grammar and text structure
  • critical reflection and responsive teaching
  • evaluation and reporting using standardised assessments

Entry requirements

You'll need to be a professional in the education sector working with KS3 students. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you'll have:  

  • gained an understanding of literacy development for older students
  • learnt formative assessment techniques
  • developed strategic activity across reading, oracy, writing with critical reflection and responsive teaching
  • gained a deeper understanding of specific learning needs of struggling learners of secondary age


Course team

Helen Morris

Helen Morris

Helen is a National Leader in the International Literacy Centre at UCL. She has experience as a teacher, special educational needs and disabilities co-ordinator (SENDCo), and literacy co-ordinator. She currently supervises student research and leads teaching on the Literacy Development module of the MA in Literacy Learning and Literacy Difficulties at UCL. She's a co-developer of GROW@KS3 and conducted the initial research which underpins the design of the intervention. Helen is passionate about the potential of literacy to change lives and offers professional learning which is both practical and underpinned with relevant theory and evidence.

Learner reviews

"This has been very challenging PD: that is great. It has involved the active processing of new ideas, information and skills."

"Really pleased with the whole three days; it's given me a great deal of confidence…I hope we get great results…!"

"The accompanying materials are excellent and will repay careful post-course reading. Superb course, very well presented."

"Really focused and specific intervention, tailored to students' individual needs - relevant and real."

Course information last modified: 7 Jan 2022, 08:51