English – ethos and teaching

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Subject Leader Mr Ranson

English is in everything we do. Effective written and verbal communication contributes to success many aspects of everyday life. A quality education of English language provides us with key skills to be able to succeed as citizens in the modern world.

 

Curriculum intent

At Kilgarth we aim to enable all pupils to become confident readers, writers, speakers and listeners by encouraging individuals to communicate effectively, with expression and flair whilst making sense of an ever-changing world.

Through a carefully planned approach to innovative, inspiring and inclusive teaching and learning, we encourage our students to be independent, creative and accurate in their abilities to communicate effectively.

Our teaching methods incorporate spoken word, public speaking, classroom debates, classic and contemporary literature, current events and research topics guided by pupil’s individual personal interests. Differentiation of individual interests is key to developing a lifelong love of reading.

We understand that developing a passion Reading plays vital role in developing, refining and securing quality English language abilities. Therefore we ensure that classroom and individual texts are chosen to stimulate individual interests, whilst targeting understanding of culture, social and philosophical contexts.

 

Implementation

From year 7 we prioritise bridging gaps in knowledge and skills derived from the primary curriculum and building on these to promote a strong foundation of language and literacy. We engage pupils on a journey to develop a lifelong love of reading through systematic exposure to a wide range of carefully selected, high quality literature. Reading becomes a shared and sociable activity where the passion and enthusiasm of our staff becomes the contagion to ignite curiosity within our pupils. Reading must be brought to life through expression, conversation (including carefully planned questioning and classroom debates) and celebration. Pupils read aloud to their peers and our positive community of staff and pupils recognise and reward this.

We recognise the barriers students face with accessing challenging literature. Carefully planned teaching, learning and progression allows our pupils to explore and probe texts with confidence and a strong sense of self efficacy. Pupils are taught to analyse texts for literal and inferred information, leading to the expansion of vocabulary (including development of spelling and word recognition), summarising of key components, analysis of language and structure, analysis of perspective and evaluation of writers methods of communication in order to prepare pupils for GCSE English Language.

Here at Kilgarth we use a range of intervention strategies to target specific areas for development for individual pupils. We regularly review this in order to ensure accurate assessment. Classes are split into smaller groups to ensure that each pupil receives targeted lesson content and support based on their progress and abilities.

All pupils are provided with differentiated opportunities and activities to develop competence in three key areas:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and Listening

As our pupils progress through the English curriculum, they are carefully exposed to literature of increasing complexity (yet appropriately challenging) across the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries (fiction and non-fiction texts – as well as audio-visual and ICT based resources). We maintain the development of GCSE level skills whilst educating our pupils about the variance of culture and context to provide them with insight to think critically about topics to fuel progression in their writing.

The reading and analysis of language supports pupils written and verbal communication skills. Across all writing activities throughout the entire school, pupils are encouraged to deploy all of their communication skills as appropriate. Pupils are held accountable to high standards of accuracy, articulate and creative use of language, Standard English, ambitious use of vocabulary and punctuation that leads to an individual sense of flair. Confidence, accuracy and control are developed through providing pupils with opportunities to write for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Kilgarth School’s English curriculum is robust, systematic and progressive in order to ensure appropriate challenge, allowing our pupils to flourish, building a crucial set of life long skills.

We emphasise maximising a pupil’s existing strengths, promoting new skills, fostering independence as well as assisting pupils to share, expand and celebrate their knowledge alongside that of their peers.

 

Implementation

Key Stage 3

KS3 English is taught in Years 7 – 9 following the programmes of study of English in the National Curriculum.  Pupils study fictional and non-fictional texts from a wide range of authors across the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, alongside a variety of  alternative media texts and sources (internet, television, film, news) contextualised within schemes of work. Forms of transactional reading and writing are contextualised within fiction units of work and taught as separate non-fiction units of work throughout the Key stage.

From Y7, pupils are placed into set classes appropriate to ability levels where different texts are selected for either group as the vehicle to deliver targeted intervention to plug emerging gaps in knowledge, skills and understanding.

Additionally pupils engage in weekly core skills lessons which are designed to engage pupils with guided and independent reading activities and to help pupils refine the underlying skills needed to access and succeed in English (such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and sentence variations) with focus to preparation for Key stage 4 and GCSE level curricula).

In year 9, pupils start AQA Functional Skills Level 1 qualification. We use this as a way to facilitate the transition from KS3 to KS4, focussing on preparing pupils for GCSEs whilst attaining accreditation in the process.

 

Key Stage 4

In Years 10 and 11 a wide variety of texts are delivered in the forms extracts (in line with the format of AQA GCSE exam papers) in forms of fiction and non-fiction. Authors studied include (but are not limited to), William Golding, Charles Dickens and Suzanne Collins.  In addition, a variety of alternative media texts and sources are included (such as AQA Past paper materials, CGP GCSE English Language materials and current / relevant articles in the news and media). Forms of transactional reading and writing are contextualised within fiction units of work and taught as separate non-fiction units of work throughout the Key stage.

At KS4 it is our aim to enter all pupils for examinations in AQA GCSE English Language which includes 2 examination papers (Paper 1 – Explorations in creative reading and writing and Paper 2 – Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives), as well as a speaking and listening component.

Pupils continue to engage with core skills lessons (designed to engage pupils shared and independent activities and to help pupils refine the underlying skills needed to access and succeed in English) with an additional focus to developing exam technique and ensuring understanding of how they are assessed in order to develop and refine their skills.

 

English Department Ethos

The English Department at Kilgarth believes every pupil will benefit from a greater understanding of English language, literature and the culture past and modern society. The tools of effective communication are the vital keys for young people to express themselves with the confidence and imagination to unlock many doors to further learning experiences and their desired career pathways.