Sumithra Naidoo – Pedagogical leadership in literacy

A case study for Learning from the Middle.


I am a teacher at Finlayson Park School and I’ve been here for several years. I have a strong interest in literacy because I see the value of literacy in and out of school as well. I am aware that students struggle with literacy so when I was approached to be the literacy leader I was a little bit scared and not certain of what the role entailed, but as I immersed myself in my position I sort of grew in confidence and now I see myself as a strong literacy leader owing to the fact that I’m engaged in study outside of school studies. My strength and my knowledge of literacy is through further studies.

My role as a literacy leader is to support beginning teachers and new teachers to Finlayson Park School. I have a very nurturing approach towards new teachers because I was also a new teacher. I do a lot of in-class support for them; I monitor the programmes they run for their students. I support them within the classroom and outside as well. I run professional development; I show them how to do running records so I go right back to the beginning and I take them forward.

Our conversations are also based on data-analysis because my job is to look after schoolwide data, so I centre my discussions around what the data tells us and teachers find it very empowering because it’s evidence- based; they can see where the kids are at and where they should take them.

We have lots of incidental discussions as well. I feel that I can, and I’m in a position, to show the teachers where students should go and how powerful they are to these students and what a difference they can make.

Using this case study

  • In order to take up literacy leadership at the school Sumithra participated in out of school study. Find out what out of school study would help you improve your curriculum leadership skills, and think about ways in which you and your school could support your development in that area.
  • Sumithra uses a range of methods to assist other teachers improve what happens in the classroom. For example she goes back to beginning where necessary to help them. She uses data-analysis, and she runs professional learning sessions with them. What do your teachers need to know to make more of a difference for their students? Plan a programme for them, using your skills, to improve classroom practice at your school.

Tell a colleague | Back to top