What pedagogical approaches are used to ensure high quality learning takes place?
In order to bridge the gap between research and practice, the English department utilises Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction.
- There are numerous ways to review previous learning, however within the English department we largely use knowledge recall quizzes and quotation recall to ensure links are made to prior learning. Quizzing is an effective way to promote long-term retention whilst being low stakes for pupils.
- To minimize the risk of cognitive overload, new material is presented in small steps with opportunity for student practice after each step. One of the ways in which we address this, especially when teaching longer texts is through asking lots of clarifying questions and allowing opportunities for written and verbal comprehension. Furthermore, students are consistently challenged through the teachers use of questioning. Within English lessons at Rudheath you would expect to see the following types of questions asked: factual questions, process questions, probing questions and tiered questions.
- Modelling is an essential aspect of effective teaching. Classroom practitioners recognize the value in using and deconstructing models to cognitively support and stretch our pupils. Within English you will also find effective student models are provided within feedback lessons to ensure students know what success looks like and can emulate themselves.
- Additionally, in his fifth principle of instruction, Rosenshine says that effective teachers use guided practice. In an English lesson at Rudheath, this could be seen in one of the following ways: summarising and guided practice) For example, if a teacher had read the opening chapter Of Of Mice and Men¸ they might invite the students to verbally summarise key moments within that chapter, taking responses from numerous students and then ask students to apply their knowledge by writing down their own summary into their exercise books. With regards to guided practice, lessons incorporate pre-prepared guided annotation sheets which allow for the teacher to guide students in their initial stage of practice, before gradually releasing responsibility from the students leading to independent practice.
- Within English lessons at Rudheath, this could be in the form of an extended piece of writing after extensive modelling, expert instruction and guided practice. Independent practice is absolutely vital for students to have an opportunity to apply their knowledge.
How are you teaching literacy through your subject?
Students must read a range of texts throughout KS3 and 4. The reading is often modelled and read aloud to ensure comprehension. GL assessment as well as the reading ages acquired from Literacy Assessment program to help ensure reading materials are challenging but also accessible. The texts chosen throughout our English curriculum offer a wide range of high-quality, challenging, classic literature and extended literary non-fiction. Students are given the opportunity to write accurately,
fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information. They are also taught to speak confidently, audibly and effectively, including through in class formative questioning and the use of re-casting sentences to ensure Standard English is being used. They are also given the opportunity to develop their oracy skills through the delivery of presentation and speech within the curriculum. Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary is explicitly within the curriculum through the study of word etymology through the use of the ‘Frayer’ model when introducing new vocabulary.
How do you ensure the needs are ALL learners are met?
The curriculum is designed and delivered to allow all learners needs to be met. Lessons use scaffolding to ensure students achieve the same challenging outcomes at the end of each learning sequence. Scaffolding used to ensure accessibility to all content is provided such as writing frames, sentence stems, tiered questioning and vocabulary banks.
Disadvantaged students are supported within the curriculum through a range of techniques such as; vocabulary being taught explicitly along with allocated vocabulary lessons in KS3 to close the vocabulary gap, reading tests are given once a half term to monitor reading ages and ensure literacy intervention is provided to students who need it. All lessons will also have texts read aloud to ensure pupils of all reading abilities can access the materials, to help close the reading gap.
Within the English department teachers teach to the top and scaffold activities to support students in achieving mastery of each concept. Through the use of high level modelling. Data from SMID as well as the SENCAR are used by all teachers within the department to inform planning and delivery of lessons. This information along with strategies identified by pupil profiles are used to inform classroom practices such as seating plans and resources bespoke to individual learners. Key groups such as SEND, vulnerable, gender, EAL will have any gaps identified through data analysis on a termly basis, so intervention can be provided.
Assessment and feedback
All lessons have formative assessment embedded through the use of knowledge recall drills, high level, cold calling and targeted questioning and all lessons end with a reflection task in order to consolidate students learning. This allows all class teachers to gauge students understanding through the use of low stake testing. Every two weeks an extensive piece of writing is marked and fed back to the class in a whole class feedback lesson. Students are provided the opportunity to improve their writing during this lesson through targeted feedback and the use of exemplar models, this is presented via a whole-class feedback sheet. All improvements made by students are done in green pen.
Progress and attainment data is collected three times a year from the exams sat in December, March and July. Exam questions are interleaved from the course content studied to date. Prior to assessment, students revisit and revise all material covered since the start of their course. Student’s receive question level feedback about the areas they need to improve and are given time to respond.
Interim assessments take place each half term and are alternated between reading and writing assessments. There are also spoken language assessment points during each half term where
students are asked to prepare speeches, presentations or participate in group discussion and debate.
Students have access to online learning platforms and each class teacher sets extra learning opportunities and monitors evidence of engagement.
KS3: Students should learn their 5 vocabulary words for the specific week, self-testing on the definition and spelling using “look cover check” method, writing out repeatedly to ensure retention. Students are also provided with a vocabulary worksheet which they must complete ahead of their vocabulary lesson. Students are strongly encouraged to read outside of English lessons and can access reading material through the “Independent Reading Booklet”. It is recommended that students read at least twice a week for 30 minutes.
KS4: Students are set weekly homework which includes revising areas of study that have been taught across the year. Students each have a Seneca log in to access quizzes and tasks related to their Literature texts and Language Papers studied at GCSE.
Y7 Homework is set once a week on a Tuesday. All other year groups are set on a Thursday. Students will have a week to complete their homework. The homework can be accessed both through MS Teams or a hard copy can be provided to ensure access for all.
What opportunities are offered to enrich the cultural capital of ALL learners?
Through exposing students to a wide range of diverse and canonical texts, students are provided with ample opportunities to develop their cultural capital. Furthermore, as a means of further enriching their cultural capital, students are also provided with an “Independent Reading Booklet” designed to foster a love of reading and broaden their horizons to the world of Literature- outside of the English classroom. For students who regularly and intensively engage with independent reading, students will be rewarded with bespoke English department prizes.
Furthermore, we are in the privileged position to offer an array of extra-curricular activities such as the newly launched “Media Club”. This club provides a platform for students to develop their knowledge of the wider world, critiquing recent news stories and practice their writing and editing skills (an essential aspect of being an English student).
Over the course of a student’s 5-year journey at Rudheath, they will be provided with the opportunity to attend numerous trips. To name a few, in KS3, students will experience a “Ghost Walk” to compliment their study of Horror Writing. We also offer the opportunity to see a dramatic interpretation of a Shakespeare play.
What is the subject offer for blended learning?
All learners will have access to an English Microsoft Teams where they will have access to resources, homework and be able to communicate with the class teacher and other pupils within
their group. If learners are absent from lessons for any period of time they will be able to access learning materials to maintain access to the curriculum.
In the eventuality of a lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions the department will take a blended approach to learning including a well-thought out cycle of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Provide frequent, clear explanation of new content, delivered by a teacher of through high-quality curriculum resources.
How do you ensure staff development in your curriculum area?
All teachers in the Rudheath English department see themselves as lifelong learners and continue to seek every opportunity to develop themselves. As Dylan William states ‘every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better’.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we are an evidence informed department, using recent educational research to inform everything that we do. We place enormous importance on staff development ensuring that teaching and learning is of the highest standard for the benefits of the young people in our community. Aside from access to the whole school CPD curriculum, English, at the beginning of every academic year, staff are provided with a subject knowledge audit which identifies department priorities for that year. A bespoke CPD package is then created and implemented to address department needs. Furthermore, staff have the opportunity to access a wide range of CPD which involves a PIXL subscription, Pocket Pedagogy morning sessions, and various online CPD materials readily available. Sharing good practice to improve learning and teaching is greatly encouraged informally and within department meetings.