The English Department has designed its curriculum on the premise that students should be taught to ‘play the whole game’ of English from Year 7. As far as possible they should carry out processes that mirror the work of professionals who read, write and orate for a living. The interesting thing about this is that no one is exempt from these processes or skills! A master of English does not become an ‘Englishian’ or an ‘Englicist’; masters of English are at the top of their chosen field whatever that may be. Lawyers read and dispute contracts; plumbers use and create manuals; estate agents cajole and persuade; the list goes on with parents perhaps having the greatest need of all to infer and negotiate. In short, we believe that a secure grounding in English extends far beyond the discreet academic subject – it prepares the way for our students’ success in adult life.
Reading: Understand the writer at work; interpret meaning from the writing of others
Writing: Be able to write convincingly for a range of audiences / purposes; communicate meaning effectively
Oracy: Be able to speak articulately, adapting language as appropriate for audience/purpose.
The KS3 English Curriculum at KAA has been devised by working back from the skills and knowledge required for achievement at the highest grades at A Level and GCSE. There is no formal requirement for pupils to be familiar with the different critical schools of thought at GCSE. There is, however, no doubt that by introducing literary criticism and the tenets of Feminism, Marxism and Structuralism before they are explicitly required by the exam board specifications, pupils locate their own interpretations and connections between texts within a broader conceptual framework.
Thus, the ‘flight path’ to GCSE for this skill/knowledge looks like this:
The English Department has mapped out the curriculum for Key Stage 3 and is structured following the principles of enquiry learning. In English, we tackle one fertile question per half-term with the exception of Summer 2 when the shorter term and revision for the End of Year examinations necessitates an enquiry of a different nature.
The overview of fertile questions for KS3 is as follows:
- In Year 7 this will take the form of a metacognitive fertile question – ‘What do successful students in English do differently?’ This will promote greater understanding of a student’s preferred learning styles, explicitly teach strategies for revision and promote the importance of long-term preparation for exams as opposed to ‘cramming’ sessions.
- In Year 8 the examination series will be expanded to include an extended essay response to a text studied earlier in the year; the ‘prepared reading’ component reflects the demand on students at GCSE. Summer 2 will thus incorporate a return to the FQ on the chosen text in addition to unseen preparation.
- In Year 9, the examination series will be expanded again to include examination on either a Shakespeare or assessment of writing in two different styles (creative and transactional). This decision is pending depending on final selection of examination board at GCSE and responses to first teaching of the new syllabus.
The curriculum map for year 7 is as follows (please click on the image to enlarge):
The curriculum map for year 8 is as follows (please click on the image to enlarge):
There are two 30 minute pieces of English homework set each week, the resources for which will be uploaded onto KAA Online. On occasions, it may be appropriate for the task to be set as one extended hour long piece but, in the interests of helping students organise their time, guidance will always be given about how to break this down into two 30 minute chunks.
In the interests of encouraging independent learning habits, some homework will take the form of a ‘FLIP’ activity whereby future learning depends on students having already completed work outside of the classroom.
How can I support my child?
Ensuring they are organised with the correct equipment, homework completed and a reading book in their bag is the first step. The following will also help:
- Encourage them to read over their work aloud and make corrections before submitting work to be marked. We are teaching them how to proof-read with precision in English and students have green pens to help them do this.
- Never throw away an old English book or piece of work. Encourage them to look back over targets and check what they need to do to improve.
- Read newspapers, websites, books, leaflets with them and discuss:
- 1) What is the purpose of the text?
- 2) What are the main points the text is trying to make?
- 3) What methods does the writer use to communicate their points? Are they effective and convincing?
- The following websites are particularly useful:
Mr Clayton – Director of English