Our vision for our English curriculum
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum builds upon the knowledge and skills developed in KS2. We aspire to foster a love of reading and to provide opportunities that enable students to access the written word in complex and challenging texts. Key to developing students’ literacy and therefore their ability to communicate effectively in writing, is mastery of grammar. We take a systematic approach to the teaching of grammar focusing on grammatical structures at word and sentence level to promote students’ confidence in recognising and applying these structures independently. We explicitly teach vocabulary and promote students’ development of sophisticated “tier 2” vocabulary throughout the key stage to build the complex active vocabulary that will prepare our students for the demands of key stage 4.
Oracy and the ability to communicate effectively in discussion is fundamental to English and essential to the development of students as individuals - able to express themselves and form their own opinions; it is also vital to their development as articulate communicators. Allied to this development of our students as individuals we also aspire to promote their ability to work independently and through spaced and interleaved learning, a pedagogy that develops mastery and incorporates regular assessment, we aim to give them the skills, knowledge and attributesthat will help them succeed at GCSE and beyond.
Read a wide range of varied challenging texts including Shakespeare and 19th century texts.
Develop the ability to read for pleasure and independently.
Develop their understanding of different nuances of sophisticated (tier 2) vocabularyand use this to explain the effects of language and linguistic devices and structures.
Realise the necessity of developing their vocab and actively engage in this.
Identify writers’ attitudes and viewpoints and compare different perspectives in different texts.
Understand how context creates meaning in texts.
Write fiction and non-fiction: explain their own point of view and use language to describe and/or narrate a story.
To recognise and use a full range of sentence structures.
An awareness of tone, style and stylistic features.
Engage students in both dialogue and public speaking in informal and formal contexts.
To engage in reading a greater range of fictional genres and complex non-fiction texts that present challenging points of view.
To increase their understanding of the nuances of sophisticated (tier 2) vocabulary and use this to explain the effects of language and linguistic devices.
To exercise increased independence in their vocabulary acquisition use and show increased independence to actively engage in this.
To be able to explain in increasing detail writers’ attitudes and viewpoints and compare different perspectives in different texts.
To understand how different contexts, historical, personal and thematic, create meaning in a wide range of texts.
To develop their ability to write fiction and non-fiction: explain their own point of view with greater impact and control how language is used for effect, adapting the conventions of genre when describing and narrating a story.
To use a full range of sentence structure confidently in order to create effects and to engage the reader.
To develop subtlety in their application of tone and stylistic features particularly in the development of a formal, critical style of exploratory analysis.
To develop their confidence in the skills of dialogue and public speaking in a formal context.
We split the English Language and Literature GCSE courses so from the summer term of year 9 students focus exclusively on the Literature GCSE in preparation for taking their final examinations in that subject in the summer term of year 10. We then focus on the English Language syllabus, beginning with the Spoken Word Endorsement assessment sometime in June and culminating in the terminal exams in the following June in year 11.
We assess understanding and progress each lesson through speaking and listening using class discussion, participation in question & answer, responses on mini white boards and monitored group talk. Written work is marked regularly - we aim to mark books at least once a week. We focus on the six assessment objectives defined by Ofqual: reading to identify information, make inferences, compare ideas and analyse language as well as context; writing that is effective, and accurate, for a range of purposes and in a variety of contexts. As well as assessments embedded in our schemes of learning, we also use the KS3 assessments created by AQA to prepare students for the AQA GCSE syllabus they follow in KS4.
In KS4, assessment continues as outlined above however as the new Literature syllabus leads to a closed book exam - meaning students need to work from memory rather than take the text to be examined into the exam room with them as was the case previously, we put a lot of emphasis on students learning and retaining information that will be vital to their success in exams. Students are expected to learn key ideas and quotations to use in the various potential exam responses that will be demanded of them - this means we assess students recall and home based revision closely from the summer term in year 9 on.