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Count, Read: Succeed. A Strategy to Improve Outcomes in Literacy and Numeracy. Aim. To highlight the key messages of Count, read: succeed. Contents. Overview of Count, read: succeed What it means for teachers, school leaders and education bodies What actions need to be taken.

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count read succeed

Count, Read:Succeed

AStrategy to

Improve Outcomes in

Literacy and Numeracy

  • To highlight the key messages of Count, read: succeed
  • Overview of Count, read: succeed
  • What it means for teachers, school leaders and education bodies
  • What actions need to be taken
overview development
Overview - Development
  • Consultation in June 2008
  • Broad support for approach
  • Some concern over targets
  • Need for greater clarity in language
  • New strategy launched 22 March 2011
overview of count read succeed
Overview of Count, read: succeed
  • High level strategy
  • Sets out roles for:
    • school leaders
    • teachers
    • education bodies
  • Defines literacy, numeracy, underachievement

Literacy is the ability to read and use written information and to write appropriately and legibly, taking account of different purposes, contexts, conventions and audiences. It involves the development of:

  • an integrated approach to the acquisition of talking, listening, reading and writing skills across the curriculum;
  • knowledge that allows a speaker, writer and reader to use language appropriate to different social situations;
  • formal and informal language across all areas of social interaction; and
  • the ability to read, understand and use information in multiple formats and platforms, including traditional print and on-screen material.

Numeracy is the ability to apply appropriate mathematical skills and knowledge in familiar and unfamiliar contexts and in a range of settings throughout life, including the workplace. It involves the development of:

  • an understanding of key mathematical concepts and their inter-connectedness;
  • appropriate reasoning and problem-solving skills;
  • the proficient and appropriate use of methods and procedures (formal and informal, mental and written); and
  • active participation in the exploration of mathematical ideas and models.
Underachievement is used to describe a situation where performance is below what is expected based on ability. It can apply at the level of an individual pupil or describe a class or school, or indeed a system.
Low achievement is different from underachievement. Low achievement is where a pupil is achieving to the full extent of her or his ability, but is well below average compared to her or his peers.
overview of count read succeed10
Overview of Count, read: succeed

Aligns 6 strands

  • Curriculum
  • Assessment
  • Role of teachers
  • Early intervention
  • Schools’ links with parents & communities
  • Sharing best practice
  • Literacy and numeracy at the heart of the curriculum
  • Cross-curricular skills of Communication and Using Mathematics
  • Assessment KS1 – 3 from 2012 against Levels of Progression
  • Sets expectation every child progresses a Level over the course of a Key Stage.
schools links
Schools’ links
  • Links with parents – encourage parents to support their children
  • Links with communities – support the work of the school
  • Schools will be supported to engage parents, particularly those that are “hard to reach”
  • Set for 2020
  • Milestones along the way
targets for 2020
Targets for 2020
  • Key Stage 2 – 90%+
  • Key Stage 3 – 85%+
  • 5+ GCSE A*-C inc English and maths – 70%+ overall;

65% for FSME

  • 5+ GCSE A*-C inc Gaeilge, English and maths (pupils in IM) – 70%+
  • At the centre of the strategy
  • Supported in early intervention
  • Sharing best practice
  • Clarity on
    • The importance of their professional judgement
    • Who helps them, and when
    • Role of phonics
    • (in post-primaries) Role of Heads of Maths, English and Irish in assessing Using Maths and Communication
  • High-quality teaching of all pupils
    • Work within school literacy and numeracy policy
    • Have high expectations for all pupils
    • Track and monitor pupils’ progress
  • Pupils learn in different ways
  • No single approach suits all pupils
  • No “silver bullet”

Teachers use their professional judgement

  • Variety of teaching strategies
  • Whole-class teaching
  • Co-operative small group work
  • Individual work
  • Differentiated where appropriate

“The key question each teacher must consider is whether or not every pupil is fulfilling her or his potential in literacy and numeracy. If the answer is “no” then that pupil is underachieving; the teacher needs to take action to address this and needs to be supported in doing so.”

  • “To identify underachievement teachers will draw on their professional judgement and the data they consider relevant. It is expected that teachers will mainly use existing assessment information already routinely collected or generated by the teacher or school. Teachers may of course seek additional data where they consider it necessary or useful.”
  • Emerging underachievement
    • Teacher decides on the appropriate support
    • Teacher sets targets and identifies actions
    • Time bound
    • From existing resources
  • Continuing underachievement (within school)
    • Pupil underachieving despite in-class support
    • Teacher seeks help from within the school
    • Targets set, time-bound actions taken
  • Help from
    • Coordinator for literacy, numeracy, SEN, newcomer or Traveller pupils
    • (in post-primaries) a Head of department or head of year
    • A mentor from within the school
    • pastoral support staff
    • The principal, vice-principal or a senior teacher
  • Continuing underachievement (with external help)

For help from ELBs/ESA

    • School must first take all reasonable steps to support the underachieving pupil
    • School must provide a record of support provided to the pupil to date, and evidence that targets are not being met
  • Support is provided to the teacher
  • School can also seek help from:
    • Other schools
    • Health professionals
  • After a non-statutory assessment
    • Teacher responsible for meeting the pupil’s needs
    • Teacher supported by school leadership
    • External support and resources can be identified by the non-statutory assessment
heads of english irish maths
Heads of English, Irish & maths
  • Given time and authority to:
    • Lead on identifying most effective pedagogy
    • Lead planning for literacy and numeracy involving teachers across the school
    • Promote sharing of best practice
heads of english irish maths31
Heads of English, Irish & maths
  • Given time and authority to:
    • Set targets and assess outcomes in literacy and numeracy
    • Supported by feedback from other departments as appropriate
  • Expect pupils to normally get A* - C in GCSE English and maths, and for Irish-medium, Gaeilge
school leaders
School leaders
  • Boards of Governors
  • Principals
  • Senior management teams
  • Co-ordinators
  • Heads of departments or years
school leaders33
School leaders
  • School development plan
  • Written whole-school policy on literacy and numeracy
  • Links to families and communities
  • Link the SDP and written literacy and numeracy policy to teachers’ development (including PRSD where appropriate)
  • Culture of accountability re literacy and numeracy
  • Ensure staff have high expectations of pupils
  • Ensure robust tracking and monitoring of pupils’ work
  • Culture of identifying and sharing good practice
  • Ensure the school has a broad and balanced approach to developing literacy and numeracy
  • In primary schools, ensure systematic phonics course.

“In developing early literacy skills, pupils need to acquire phonological awareness. Recognising that a broad and balanced approach to promote literacy is key, it is still important that pupils who have not yet full developed their phonological awareness receive a systematic and time-bound programme of high-quality phonics work.”


“A range of other strategies for developing literacy should also be deployed as appropriate and pupils who have successfully developed their phonological awareness should not be required to undertake phonics work if the teacher does not think it necessary or beneficial.”

  • All teachers are teachers of literacy and numeracy
  • Support teachers to ensure sufficient time is spent by pupils developing literacy and numeracy skills

A broad and balanced curriculum is essential to develop well-rounded and well-educated pupils. However, the development of literacy and numeracy skills is of such fundamental importance that teachers and schools will wish to draw on their professional judgement to assure themselves that all their pupils spend the necessary time developing these skills, including through cross-curricular approaches. This will be particularly important where pupils are underachieving and schools may need to prioritise work to develop literacy and numeracy.

  • Ensure time and authority for literacy and numeracy co-ordinators and heads of maths, English, and in IM schools, Irish, to lead planning and assessment throughout the school
  • System-wide focus on literacy and numeracy
  • All education bodies to emphasise this focus – ethos of achievement
  • Support schools in planning for literacy and numeracy
  • Accountability throughout education system
action plan 2011 15
Action Plan 2011-15
  • Covers budget period 2011-2015
  • Aim to deliver progress as per milestone targets.
  • Inspection of support provided to teachers and the implementation of the strategy in 2013/14 and 2015/16
action plan 2011 1544
Action Plan 2011-15
  • Implementation of support for teachers from
    • Pedagogies (from Sept 2011)
    • Support for teachers as per this strategy, from within school, and from ELBs (then ESA)
    • Schools need to be aware of their role in supporting teachers to address underachievement
action plan 2011 1545
Action Plan 2011-15
  • Teachers receive high quality support to help them raise standards of literacy and numeracy.
  • Teachers have access to curricular resources that have literacy and numeracy at their core.
  • Teachers have access to examples of best practice in raising literacy and numeracy standards.
  • Teachers get the right help at the right time to tackle underachievement.
School Governors are supported in fulfilling their role in raising standards in literacy and numeracy.
  • School leaders supported in leading the raising of standards in literacy and numeracy.
  • Teachers and school leaders can be satisfied as to the quality and relevance of the support available to them
Parents get help to support their children’s development of literacy and numeracy.
  • Pupils, parents and society are kept informed about standards of literacy and numeracy.
  • Resources are used as effectively as possible to support raising standards in literacy and numeracy.

Maths and English - Percentage of Year 12 students achieving (2001 – 2009)A*-C in both GCSEs

Source: RM Data Solutions


[1] Results from this academic year.

[2] The milestone target of 80% has already been exceeded and a new milestone target set.

[3] Milestone target revised up from 85%.

[4] The milestone target of 80% has already been exceeded and a new milestone target set.

[5] Milestone target revised up from 85%.

[6] Milestone target of 82% has been revised and a new milestone target set.

[7] Milestone target revised up from 86%.


[1] Results from this academic year.

[2] Milestone target of 80% has already been exceeded and a new milestone target set.

[3] Milestone target of 76% has already been exceeded and a new milestone target set.


[1] Results from this academic year.

[2] Milestone target of 55% has already been exceeded and a new milestone target set.


[1] Results from this academic year.

[2] If the criteria for entitlement to Free School Meals are changed, this target will be reconsidered.

[3] Milestone target of 30% has been revised and a new milestone target set.


Percentage of school leavers achieving at least 5+ GCSE (or equivalent) A*-C including English and Maths 2006 – 2009

Source: School Leavers Survey


Percentage of school leavers achieving at least 5+ GCSE (or equivalent) A*-C including English and Maths 2006 – 2009

Source: School Leavers Survey

Policy Context and Legislative Framework

1.1 The Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 (the 2003 Order) sets out the legislative framework for the development and implementation of the Common Funding Scheme.

1.2 The application of formula funding, and the delegation of financial and managerial responsibilities to Boards of Governors, are key elements in the Department’s overall policy to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools by:

a) enabling Boards of Governors and Principals to plan and use resources (including their most valuable resource, their staff) to maximum effect in accordance with their own needs and priorities; and

b) making schools more responsive to parents, pupils, the local community and employers.