As a core subject we understand that English Language is fundamental to a child’s academic development as it is linked to all areas of the curriculum. Subsequently rather than overload the timetable with English Language lessons to the exclusion of other subjects we ensure that English Language is taught as an integral component of all subjects as well as through dedicated English lessons.
Our English curriculum has been designed to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum whilst incorporating the school’s academic approach. This means developing the essential skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening with an emphasis upon self awareness, self development, understanding context and making connections with their everyday lives and the wider world.
Self-Expression through Writing
Writing skills initially focus on helping pupils to write in a clear print style before any attempts are made to develop cursive writing skills. This ensures that pupil’s writing is eligible from the beginning rather than teaching cursive from the outset which can result in some pupils developing an unreadable cursive scrawl. Whilst building up grammatical skills, punctuation and spelling pupils are encouraged to develop self-expression in their writing and an appreciation of other people’s and culture’s perspectives.
Self-Awareness through Reading
The importance of reading cannot be underestimated. Aside from providing us with the basic skills to function effectively in our world, reading provides us with an extraordinary insight into the inner worlds of others, and by extension ourselves, whilst opening our minds to the greater outer world. Given how crucial this growing awareness is for the pupil’s personal, social and academic development it is vital that English Language lessons engage and inspire pupils. To foster this we teach English through actively engaging pupils in class discussions where everyone has the opportunity to communicate and listen. To ensure that lessons remain relevant we help pupils to appreciate the shared universal human voice that can be found in all texts – whether they are reading the words of someone from the past or from today, from the other side of the world or from our locality. We use mostly whole texts rather than extracts and teach historical and cultural background so that pupils can appreciate context.
In a world increasingly bombarded with ‘alternative facts’, ‘fake’ news and propaganda we understand the importance of helping all children to explore, evaluate and challenge ideas and assumptions, to read between the lines, evaluate evidence, detect bias and think for themselves. The study of English Language through all text mediums is fundamental to teaching these skills.
All Students have a Voice through Speaking & Listening
Speaking and listening are an integral part of all subjects as well as a key component of English Language. With small classes that are discussion driven every student has a voice at our school, in every lesson, every day. This benefits our students in so many ways. It means that they feel heard, appreciated and valued. It helps students develop their ideas, their critical thinking and self-awareness. It also makes students feel more engaged in lessons. They become part of the learning process
When everyone has a voice the students inevitably listen to the voices of others. This exposes them to different ideas, perceptions and beliefs. It helps them appreciate differences and similarities. It also helps students develop respect for others and to understand that a significant part of the learning process involves an engagement with others.