Curriculum Intent: English
Quality of Education: The English Curriculum at RSA
At RSA all learners develop a range of skills through studying the three main areas of the English curriculum: reading, writing and speaking and listening. The curriculum is sequenced over KS3 and KS4 to develop the key knowledge, concepts and skills needed to prepare learners for GCSE, A-level and beyond. The fully inclusive English Curriculum provides opportunities for enrichment including a range of different out of class experiences and trips which link to the programme of study. Students are also invited to participate in extracurricular clubs linked to the curriculum, to equip learners with the knowledge and cultural capital to become educated citizens. The Curriculum reaches out to the local primary schools through impact sessions, where a love of learning and Literature is being fostered and encouraged. The curriculum is spiral to ensure that as students’ progress through the different years, they build upon and develop skills they have been taught as they progress onto more difficult texts and concepts. The curriculum is broad and balanced with a focus on fostering an appreciation of critical theory and literature as a conscious construct.
Mastery of English is achieved through analysis and evaluation of a range of fiction and non-fiction texts with an opportunity to study A-level extracts in preparation for GCSE and their future studies. The schemes of work all focus heavily on developing reading skills.
The overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
In order to achieve the aims of the English Curriculum intent, the following strands are implemented:
- Curriculum model
KS3 – English is taught over 8 hours per cycle
KS4 – English is taught over 9 hours per cycle
Built in to our study of texts and novels, students in Key Stage 3 will have a dedicated reading lesson where they will be given the opportunity to read independently for pleasure. Students will receive guidance when selecting books to read and will be encouraged to read a wide variety of texts. They will also be given the opportunity to reflect on demonstrate their understanding of what they have read. New vocabulary around reading will be introduced to students and students will be encouraged to use this when reflecting on what they have read.
Students who do not meet the expected standard of literacy during KS2 receive one-to-one or small group intervention where they complete intensive reading intervention using a reading comprehension and grammar catch-up programme.
- Sequencing of knowledge
To build scholarship and ambition, a 5 year spiral curriculum is in place which builds on key the facts, concepts and skills learners need to develop between years 7 to year 11. Each year students study at least two texts including a modern text, pre 19th century and Shakespeare/a play.
- Meeting learners needs
- Schemes of learning are made up of lessons with differentiated levels of outcomes
- Teachers teach to the top and scaffold activities to support students in achieving mastery of each concept
- Lessons are fully differentiated to meet each learners needs and are well supported by learning environments that offer both support and challenge
The current year 7 cohort entered below average for their ability to analyse authorial intent. This is why a significant amount of curriculum time is devoted to developing inference skills and practising a range of methods to use, embed and paraphrase evidence from the text in addition to examining the effect of the writer’s methods on the reader.
- ADDRESSING THE CURRICULUM
- Students develop an appreciation and love of reading, and read increasingly challenging material independently through reading a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including in particular whole books, short stories, poems and plays with a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors. The range will include high-quality works from English literature, both pre-1914 and contemporary, including prose, poetry and drama, Shakespeare (two plays) and seminal world literature
- Students are taught to choose and read books independently for challenge, interest and enjoyment.
- The spiral curriculum ensures students understand increasingly challenging texts through learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries
- Students learn to make inferences and refer to evidence in the text, knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension.
- They learn to read critically through knowing how language, including figurative language, vocabulary choice, grammar, text structure and organisational features, presents meaning , studying setting, plot, and characterisation, and the effects of these.
- They build an understanding of how the work of dramatists is communicated effectively through performance and how alternative staging allows for different interpretations of a play making critical comparisons across texts studying a range of authors, including at least two authors in depth each year.
- Pupils are taught to write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including: well-structured formal expository and narrative essays stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing notes and polished scripts for talks and presentations
- They study a range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, and personal and formal letters, summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail, applying their growing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and text structure to their writing and selecting the appropriate form
- Students practice drawing on their knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices from their reading and listening to enhance the impact of their writing. They plan, draft, edit and proof-read through, considering how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended, amending the vocabulary, grammar and structure of their writing to improve its coherence and overall effectiveness
- Pupils are taught to consolidate and build on their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, studying the effectiveness and impact of the grammatical features of the texts they read, drawing on new vocabulary and grammatical constructions from their reading and listening, and using these consciously in their writing and speech to achieve particular effects.
- Pupils are taught to speak confidently and effectively, including using Standard English confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, classroom discussion, giving short speeches and participating in formal debates and structured discussions
- Assessment and feedback- assessments must validate the curriculum intent
- 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.
- Learners take part in knowledge drills during starter activities and have extended homework which are marked and assessed each half term.
- Each half term, learners receive WWW and EBI feedback on assessed pieces which they respond to. They also have opportunity for guided self and peer assessment to help further progress over time.
- Students have access to online learning platforms and each class teacher sets extra learning opportunities and monitors evidence of engagement every Friday with KS4 classes.
High standards in education are monitored through half termly curriculum reviews, which consult with progress data to develop intervention strategies and are triangulated against lesson observations, work scrutiny, staff and learner voice.
- Staff development
All English staff are expected to make a positive contribution to departmental developments and to stay well read about current pedagogies and practices to support excellence in teaching and learning with and maintain a strong sense of scholarship. Staff development and ambition is supported through engagement with AQA training resources, writing programmes, writing competitions and enrichment opportunities.
Impact of the English curriculum is measured through data produced at each key assessment point and through external assessments. The quality of work produced is of consistently high quality and results are in line with national average.