In English, the key skills being taught are Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening.
Reading Skills: The pupils learn to look beyond a baseline reading of a text and delve deeper into the meanings within the words. They learn to infer the implicit meanings within a text, a skill crucial to studying English literature in Key Stage 4 and 5.
Writing Skills: The pupils learn to structure writing effectively and also to be conscious of the audience receiving the text and the purpose of the text. By doing this, they also learn how to use appropriate vocabulary that is fit for the task at hand. These writing skills are crucial for English Language studies at Key Stage 4.
Speaking and Listening Skills: During speaking and listening tasks, pupils are encouraged to increase their confidence with public speaking, to use role play to explore ideas and to work effectively in group tasks which require cooperation. These skills are taught explicitly and support our school policy on standing up to contribute. We emphasise to students how important these skills are, not only for their educational journey, but also for developing key life skills for the world of work.
All students’ work in English is done in booklets, which finish with a formal assessment. The work for the term is laid out in each booklet in a clear and logical structure, with a precise focus on what is being assessed for each task. This helps pupils to focus on particular skills and to develop these to improve their own work. They do a series of practice activities before the final assessment.
The pupils are formally assessed at end of each term six times a year. These assessments are designed to test the learning done over the course of the term. They are graded with National Curriculum levels and used to track progress and set personal targets for each individual pupil.
We prefer a dynamic and inclusive approach to teaching, with the pupil being encouraged to do more than the teacher. The key to pupils engaging fully with English is to ensure that the content appeals to the different types of learners in the room. It is imperative that the pupils are immersed in a positive, safe and fun learning environment.
Booklets are differentiated for different ability groups and delivery varies according to this as well. More able pupils are given more autonomy, choices about how to approach tasks and more complex texts and stimulus materials. In particular, there is a strong focus on higher level analytical skills as these are essential to GCSE and A’ Level success. Less able pupils are helped to access the material in a variety of ways, including personalised booklets for students with low literacy levels. The delivery is adjusted to suit those who prefer visual or kinaesthetic approaches to learning.
To develop their reading skills, Year 7 study a range of texts including novels, poetry and a range of non-fiction and use these as both stimulus for their own work and to develop their reading skills of inference and analysis. They also do independent reading as part of their studies. To develop their writing skills, the schemes of learning give them the opportunity to write in a wide range of forms, including recount writing, stories, plays and a range of non-fiction.
The Year 8 programme builds on the model from Year 7 but with increasing difficulty in terms of the texts studied. Once again texts serve as a source of stimulus for students’ own writing. The range studied now includes media and social media texts and pupils develop a more sophisticated understanding of writing for context, audience and purpose. The year 8 programme has a strong focus on the structural features of writing skills and the precise skills of analysis needed for a wide range of texts. The skills developed echo what they will need to be successful at GCSE and beyond.
Parents can support learning in English by encouraging reading in the household; a love of reading not only develops the imagination but also widens the vocabulary and supports spelling. This applies to any texts, not just novels, and can include non-fiction and even websites.
For more information about the English curriculum, please contact Miss E Ozenbrook - firstname.lastname@example.org