English Curriculum Intent
The study of English stimulates engagement and enjoyment in the exploration and use of language. It builds on students’ experience of the world: giving them the tools to express feelings and ideas; engage with themes and issues and develop proficiency and expertise in the fundamental skills of reading, writing and spoken language. By developing their ability in these skills, students are empowered to engage more effectively in the wider curriculum and to function more effectively in society as a whole.
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”
– JK Rowling
The English curriculum provokes curiosity about the world by inspiring students to ask questions and open their minds to change, diversity, interactions, perceptions and representations of themselves and their place in society. Within lessons we foster a strong sense of British values and a holistic awareness of spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of the world around us. At times this is taught using a varied and representative range of literary texts; at other times, lessons incorporate current affairs and students’ own experiences of the world. Our aim is to instil students with a confidence in their use of language and an enjoyment and curiosity that encourages them to pursue the subject in extra-curricular activities, in further study at A-level and in their future careers.
In key stage 3, following guidance in the national curriculum, students have a wide range of learning experiences and challenges, underpinned by an ongoing process of developing key skills. The texts studied are wide-ranging and encompass a broad range of experiences and perspectives: fiction and non-fiction; authors from a range of periods and cultural backgrounds; poetry, prose and plays. English lessons also provide the opportunity for a range of spoken language (discussions, presentations and role playing) and writing activities, incorporating the full range of purposes, audiences, genres and modes. Homework is employed to extend the development of knowledge and skills, as well as fostering independent thinking and self-management. At half-termly intervals, assessments are embedded in the curriculum to provide summative information on progress, but primarily to provide formative information to enable students to improve, furthering the cycle of progress.
The development of character skills is also intrinsic to the English curriculum. Persistence is particularly valued and even incorporated into English progress ladders, with resilience and the ability to craft work over a period of time intrinsic to success in the subject and in adult life. The development of empathy is also an inherent part of the English curriculum, as students read texts with a range of different perspectives and experiences, furthering this insight and sensitivity with discussions, debates and writing from different viewpoints. Our active and immersive learning opportunities also prioritise the development of creativity, critical thinking, team work and independence. Overall, we understand that literacy skills provide the means of expressing personal identity, engaging with the wider world and functioning effectively in society. As such, the English curriculum is focused on empowering students with skills, knowledge and experiences. We aim not just to prepare students for external examinations, but to equip them with the essential tools for success in life and to enhance their enjoyment of language and literature.