Literacy 4 Life (L4L)


Literacy For Life

At Thorns Collegiate Academy we run the highly successful Literacy for Life Programme, which has been developed over the last 15 years at Shireland Collegiate Academy, the founding school of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust. 

Literacy 4 Life is a unique curriculum created for our Key Stage 3 students. It is taught through integrated themes and makes up the majority of the students’ curriculum. Our philosophy incorporates Competency-Based, Personalised and Flipped Learning. In order to facilitate accelerated learning, our curriculum uses technology to extend learning beyond the classroom.

Students who have completed this Key Stage 3 programme have shown excellent GCSE results over a sustained period and develop a skill profile which equips them to chieve their future studies and career. At its heart, Literacy for Life has 17 hours with the same teacher in Year 7, 13 hours with the same teacher in Year 8 and 5 hours with the same teacher in Year 9.

Why Do We Do This?

It has been nationally recognised that most students who come into secondary education experience a drop in their progress. This is because in most schools the strongest staff are put with Year 11 and Year 7 is no one’s priority. Starting a new school can be difficult for some students and if they are seeing 14 or 15 teachers it can be hard to settle. 

This is not the case at Thorns Collegiate Academy, where we have a dedicated team of Literacy for Life teachers. Each teacher is focussed on the students in their class, not just from an academic perspective but also getting to know the students and their families really well and forming a partnership which will really help students to progress.

Students have a dedicated classroom where they can store their work and feel comfortable as well as someone they can go to with any issues and who knows how they are performing across their subjects.


Our Literacy for Life programme consists of subjects taught through themes. A theme runs for between three and four weeks and has elements of all the subjects taught through it. Not every theme has the same amount of every subject as some may be more history or sciences focussed, but we cover they Key Stage 3 national Curriculum during years 7-9. You can discover more about the themes delivered each year at the bottom of this page.

In Year 7, Maths is taught via discreet Mathematics lessons but numeracy and problem-solving skills are also embedded within the themes as appropriate.

Literacy for Life is taught in mixed ability classes with different levels of support within the classroom for students who need to be stretched or who need more help. We look to produce work of real quality with opportunities for parents to see the work produced. 

The curriculum is technology-rich with each student having their own device and ICT skills are taught throughout all of the themes. We have a balance of written work and work on the devices as we are aware that students still need to be able to write fluently and accurately.

We assess students through a series of competencies, looking at both their academic progress and their development as people, equally important tracks to ensuring a well-rounded education. 

Click on the icons for more subject information.


Click on the icons for more subject information.

Autumn TermSubjects
Citizen Me
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
In Days of Old
Fairy Tales
Spring TermSubjects
Summer TermSubjects
Off With Your Head
Silent Movies

Year 7 Themes subject image

Click on the icons for more subject information.

Autumn TermSubjects
Pudding Lane
Grand Designs
Coming and Going
Spring TermSubjects
Da Vinci
Apps for Good 
Summer TermSubjects
Please Sir
Over the top

Year 8 Themes subject image

Click on the icons for more subject information.

Autumn TermSubjects
Whose Earth is it Anyway
Spring TermSubjects
World Study: Made in China
The Information Age
Summer TermSubjects
World Study: America: Land of the Free
World Study: Britain: A Living History

Year 9 Themes subject image

Meet Our L4L Team

Mr M Cusworth-Yafai

Assistant Principal for Literacy for Life

Mrs L O'Gorman

Director of L4L

Mrs S O'Neill

Director of L4L