There is a key focus on raising literacy skills across the school so that students will be more able to engage with the rest of the curriculum and prepare them for the life skills they need to develop.
The English curriculum is regularly reviewed and seeks to promote reading for pleasure and information; confidence in speaking in front of an audience; listening to fellow learners and writing both creatively and using different genres.
Key Stage 2/3 pupils focus on alternate fiction and non- fiction topics each half term which can cover elements such as: poetry, story writing, speaking to persuade, a newspaper study, attending a Reading Café, myths and legends, writing instructions and reading specific authors. Pupils' work is regularly monitored and phonic intervention groups support some learners to access the curriculum. Theatre companies are invited in to enrich the cultural experience of pupils and youngsters enjoy celebrating World Book Day each year.
At Key Stage 4 all learners follow the Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts (OCR) Entry level English course. It is designed to be accessible, relevant and provide learners with recognition for their achievements. Entry Level English is targeted at learners who are following a course intended to lead to GCSE English but who are considered unlikely to reach Grade G at this stage. It does provide all pupils with an initial qualification in English.
Entry Level English comprises three internal assessment units. These encompass reading tasks that are set by OCR, and writing and speaking and listening tasks set by teachers with detailed guidance from OCR. All elements are marked by teachers. Activities have included writing about a holiday, conducting a telephone conversation and taking part in a group discussion.
For those who are more able, there is the option to follow either the OCR Functional Skills English programme in Year 11, or for some there is access to GCSE if appropriate. For GCSE English, there are examinations and controlled assessments that take place in Year 10 and Year 11. Topics include William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, war poetry by Wilfred Owen and ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck.
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