Powerful Knowledge in English
Our content rich curriculum provides students with the ‘powerful knowledge’ required for them to thrive in their studies but also in their life beyond school. Our curriculum is carefully sequenced by intelligent backward planning based upon the ‘powerful knowledge’ we expect all of our students to achieve, whilst also being underpinned by breadth, depth and challenge. We focus on teaching a range of carefully selected key skills, across each year group, which will ensure we are exposing students to the richness of Literature and Language whilst also revisiting key concepts at deeper levels.
1. To acquire an innate awareness of the ‘writer at work’ and how the writer has consciously constructed a text in order to create meaning.
2. To acquire a control over both written and spoken language, so that students can discover the power it has in the wider world.
3. To develop an understanding of the world around them and how they are connected to it.
A collaborative approach underpins our curriculum, where staff are given the flexibility to organise the module content as they see fit for their groups, with a ‘Suggested Approach’ and shared resources available as a starting point.
KS3: Our content rich curriculum is designed to progressively help students master a number of key skills throughout Key Stage 3. Text diversity is a central pillar of our curriculum design, with students being exposed to a variety of books and genres, which reflect different worldwide views. The entire literary canon is studied throughout Key Stage 3, with a range of challenging and contextually appropriate texts read from the outset. Not only do we study Shakespeare every year, we challenge, stretch and engage students by reading whole novels/plays rather than extracts. In year seven, students study Animal Farm, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 928 Miles from Home, a novel from a local author which supports the whole school curriculum pillars of diversity, good citizenship and respect. In year eight we build on the strong foundations of literature studied in year seven and expose students to more contextually relevant themes: Stone Cold, Much Ado About Nothing and Refugee Boy are studied in year eight. Finally, in year nine we study the culturally significant Of Mice and Men, Blood Brothers and Romeo and Juliet. Working in conjunction with the whole school approach to reading and firmly embedding Accelerated Reader into our curriculum we are confident we will foster, amongst our students, a lifelong love of Literature. The curriculum content is sequenced by intelligent, and discrete, backward planning from GCSE. We focus on exposing students to the richness of the curriculum and ensuring key concepts are revisited at deeper levels. Whilst students are thoroughly prepared for any checkpoints, we also ensure this never cuts into learning time with the broadness of the curriculum being our key priority.
KS4: In Year Ten, we ensure students have a solid grounding of plot, character and theme. There will be an emphasis on the co-teachability of the two courses, where students will initially be taught the skills necessary for the Language exam via the Literature texts. In Year 11, there will be more of a focus on working in exam conditions, particularly in relation to stamina when producing sustained responses to exam questions. Formalised mock
examinations take place frequently throughout the year, with the exact number varying depending on the needs of the cohort. Throughout Key Stage Four, students continue to build on their existing analytical skill, developed in Key Stage 3, and respond to a range of topical issues throughout the year. They master the skills of independent writing by regularly being expected to produce sustained pieces of work. For our most able students, ‘Knowledge Booklets’ underpin the study of GCSE Literature and equip students with the vocabulary needed to deal with dense and thought provoking texts. Throughout the GCSE course we aim to improve student retention of knowledge; build student confidence ahead of assessments and ensure students are equipped with the stamina to achieve in their GCSE exams and the wider world.
KS5: At Key Stage 5, we focus on developing breadth and responding critically to a variety of texts, which span the literary canon. We ensure we develop curious, critical and independent learners by providing opportunities for students to pursue their own areas of interest and develop personal and independent learning skills.
Diversity, good citizenship and respect
Students are offered a wide variety of opportunities and experiences that enrich their understanding of the world around them and how they are connected to it. These include:
-Theatre trips and ‘in-house’ performances, which help to develop a broader understanding of texts beyond their pages.
-Creative writing competitions across the Key Stages, include the ‘500 words’ short story competition
-University Library visits
-Literacy events throughout the year. For example, the Spelling Bee event, Reading Evening, Gifted Reader clubs etc
-External speakers to bring the texts alive
-Year 10 TED talks in line with the Spoken Language component of the English Language GCSE
-Involvement of the Senior Leadership Team (pitches, letters, articles)
– Debate club