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.
Our English Language curriculum recognises the fundamental importance for all students of Communication skills. Everything we teach references our commitment to the development of the ability of each individual to communicate confidently and effectively.
We teach through three main strands:
Functional / Technical Skills
Comprehension and Understanding
Throughout the school, these areas are constantly re-visited to scaffold individual learning through consolidation, re-enforcement and the opportunity to practise in non-pressurised environments. Metacognition, that is, an individual's self-awareness around learning, and the ability to take ownership for one's own learning, is a key part of our philosophy. We use specific tools such as 'The Thinking Space' and 'The Memory Box' to strengthen opportunities for self-reflection and self-development. the concept of proof reading as a positive learning skill is discussed and incorporated into lessons as an intrinsic part of any task.
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.
Understanding of grammatical structures, punctuation, vocabulary development, information finding, application of spelling patterns, particular use of language techniques and writing styles is explored through a range of learning experiences. We work with students to develop the necessary functional and technical skills in order for them to successfully follow the GCSE English Language course.
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.
The development of reading considers the importance of becoming increasingly aware of the written word in a variety of literary contexts. By encouraging awareness, our students become connected to an ever-widening 'world of words' and their meaning. This awareness deepens understanding of explicit and implicit information - vital for comprehension skills and the ability to r'read between the lines'.
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.
'The principle goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.'
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.
English Language Curriculum Outline
Here is a general outline of the type of texts studied at our school. Please note that this is principally a guide and is subject to change.