English Curriculum Statement
Our curriculum is underpinned by our core values;
In the English department, our intent is to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening of all our students. We aim to foster an appreciation of literature and life-long learning in the students, developing their literacy skills. We encourage all our students to take an active part in their learning journey.
The curriculum is built to give all learners the very best opportunity to succeed academically and to build the skills of communication, analysis and understanding. Students are given the opportunity to explore a range of texts (from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries). The curriculum is structured around key movements from literature as well as the chance to explore a range of voices from through the ages and around the world. They are given support to read texts critically. It is the intent of the curriculum to build the students’ confidence and reading ability.
The curriculum has numerous opportunities for extended writing. Students are taught to write accurately for a range of audiences and purposes. The students must write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately, in order for their ideas to be understood. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught both implicit and explicitly throughout the Key Stages. The curriculum is designed so that the student can use their reading skills to feed into their writing skills. Their acquisition of a wide vocabulary (which can only be gained by reading) is an important component in writing well. It is the intent of the curriculum to encourage writing for pleasure and with clarity and accuracy.
The aim of the literature curriculum builds-on and adds-to the skills of reading and writing, with the added attractions of high-quality and challenging literature (including classical mythology, the romantic movement and gothic writing). The texts are challenging but accessible for all students and offer a wide range of opportunities for exploration and opinion. We consciously select writers, texts and literary examples that exemplify the protected characteristics to ensure that all members of our school community are represented through the English curriculum.
In the reading of these literary texts, students develop the four key skills for a life-long appreciation of literature- critical reading, inferential comprehension, evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, grammatical and structural features, and drawing comparisons between texts. These skills are embedded in the literature curriculum.
In writing, the students must be accurate in spelling, grammar and punctuation but the curriculum is also designed to encourage writing effectively about literature for a range of purposes. This includes the skills of selecting and emphasising key points and quotations from the text and describing, summarising and arguing. It is the intent of the curriculum to teach these skills both implicitly and explicitly.
It is the intent of both the language and literature curriculums, that speaking and listening plays an active part in the development of the student’s skills. Speaking English is vital in the curriculum. The students are given opportunities to expresses sophisticated ideas information or feelings; both curriculums give them occasions to do that.
Listening is pivotal before the student responds; the curriculum has opportunities for the teacher to use listening activities to allow the students to respond perceptively and elaborate with further ideas and information.
Secure developments and achievements…
Prepare students for “life beyond Pewsey Vale”
Promote active community involvement
Planning Documentation - Term 2
Planning Documentation - Term 3
Planning Documentation - Term 4
Our transition unit from KS2 to KS3 is centred on ‘Beowulf’- one of the most important and famous pieces of Old English literature. The work should be challenging but achievable, it serves as a springboard into creative tasks and discussions about how the language has changed.
The KS3 into KS4 transition has a much more ‘trickle down’ approach. The ‘fundamentals’ year includes all of the key skills required for GCSE writing and reading and texts that offer a similar challenge to those faced at GCSE. It is a bridging year, which builds on skills from years seven and eight and allows them to be suitably challenged for GCSE.
Through nurture provision (Individual needs)
Students in English are grouped according to their ability. We take the students prior ability data from primary school and use this alongside their current attainment in school to place them in the correct ability group. All lessons however have a range of abilities, so scaffolding and support for individual needs are catered for through careful differentiation.
There are some additional Literacy support intervention sessions run through the SEND team in school. This work aims to support the learning in English lessons by overlearning key concepts or texts or going over basic skills such as phonics, spelling and more simple comprehension. Reading is supported through this team, and also through Guided Literacy lessons in the library.
The department offers revision and intervention sessions after school, designed to improve the understanding and progress of learners as they work towards final exams. There is targeted support for those learners in Key Stage four with individual needs. The aim here is to aid organisation for the specific papers as well as clear teaching to support learning and confidence as we work towards terminal exams.
At Key Stage Four, there are theatre visits (if available) to see the texts that are being studied, the ‘Poetry Live’ trip occurs biennially.
At Key Stage Three, there have been trips to ‘Harry Potter World’, visits from authors (including Stewart Ross) and visits to the Marlborough literature festival (the reading group saw David Walliams and the year eights, Sarah Singleton). There are opportunities for the students to be involved with all things reading and writing across this Key Stage.
Through teaching, learning and assessment
The broad and balanced English curriculum at Key Stage Three is essential in driving up achievement. The English curriculum builds on skills from Key Stage Two and develops into high-level skills at Key Stage Four. Year nine is the ‘fundamentals’ year which acts as a bridge between the two. The teaching of the assessment objectives is explicit at GCSE.
The students learn through a series of units that ‘mirror’ the GCSE areas of study (i.e. Shakespeare, a piece of nineteenth-century fiction and poetry from the canon). This way the students are familiar but not too familiar with the areas of study. The assessments are linked to the units studied.
Through promoting literacy
Promoting Literacy is a key factor of learning in English. Alongside English lessons, we have a dedicated Guided Literacy lesson where students are encouraged to read for pleasure. This year, we have added spelling tests for Key Stage Three students with the aim of improving the number of accurately spelt words with our lower school students. These words are often ‘Tier 2’ language, so targets narrowing the word gap for disadvantaged learners.
In English lessons, we use Key Words, literacy mats and of course promote accurate use of language, devices and structure for target audience in all forms. Marking of spelling and grammar mistakes are a priority
Each subject has a copy of the school’s literacy strategy both in the front of the student’s books and also as a learning mat on desks. This is given to support the accurate use of subject-specific spelling and correct use of grammar and punctuation. The subject-specific word listed on each document are ‘Tier 3’ language. The aim of this document is to provide learners with a format that is familiar but developed for the lesson they are in at the time. Spellings of keywords are corrected when work is deep marked. A literacy target is given. Both are addressed during DIRT sessions where learners are asked to improve their work in a dedicated section of any given lesson. Students are encouraged to read aloud in lessons and to grapple with difficult texts.
Homework is attached to each unit at Key Stage three and is monitored. Each unit has a range of homework tasks, which aims to enhance the learning. Each piece is linked to the topic overviews, and is used to develop and practice reading and writing skills. It is also to encourage independent thought and learning.
In the GCSE years, the homework is also attached to each unit and is designed not only to reinforce the skills, but to stretch and challenge the student’s learning. It links very closely to what has been taught in class and is used to recall, retrieve and enhance topics from the lessons. It also encourages independent thought but the emphasis is on the texts and their related skills.
The impact of the departmental curriculum is measured through several means:
Outcomes for students at GCSE in Y11
Progress and attainment data for current year groups
Enjoyment and engagement in lessons
Engagement in enrichment activities