‘English, communication and language lie at the heart of our capacity to imagine, think and create and make a crucial contribution to children’s development as successful learners. Their developing use of language underpins children’s achievements across the curriculum and lays the foundation for active involvement in cultural life, society, work and lifelong learning.’ (curriculum.qcda.gov.uk)
Pupils at Elms Bank have statements for their special needs. The majority of pupils are working at levels well below the national average for their age in English. Therefore, the English Department aspires to deliver the subject in ways that meet the individual needs of all our young people in a creative and engaging environment.
Our overall intent is to enable all pupils to achieve to the best of their ability within a supportive, creative and engaging learning environment. We aim to teach them skills within a broad and balanced curriculum, within meaningful contexts, to prepare them for their adult lives in the wider world and to improve their life opportunities. Schemes of Work are created to develop pupils’ abilities in Communication, Oracy, Reading and Writing.
- To develop pupils’ skills in speaking and listening, and provide them with the skills to express themselves and become effective communicators at home, school and in the wider community
- To make ‘every child a reader’ and provide opportunities for them to develop a love of books, while recognising the value of reading for pleasure
- To provide opportunities for pupils to engage in a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts and access print in real-life contexts in preparation for their adult lives, e.g. newspapers, instructions, emails and letters
- To develop pupils’ understanding of the written word (purpose, audience and form) and their ability to become confident communicators in the written word, including ICT
English is taught four times a week, for pupils in Key Stages 3 & 4. In Key Stage 5, pupils are taught English twice a week as well as within the context of their vocational training, developing skills in reading, writing and spoken language, in preparation for their adult lives.
Schemes of work are written and created to meet the specific needs and range of abilities of our pupils. This includes pathways for our pupils with Complex Needs, pupils within our Specialist Provision, Nurture, Explore and Inspire pathways.
Complex Needs and pupils working at P-Levels:
- AQA Unit Awards
- ASDAN PPQ Units
Nurture and Explore Pathway
- BTEC Entry Level Certificate in English
- Functional Skills in English - Entry Levels 1-2
- Functional Skills in English - Entry Level 3
- Functional Skills in English - Level 1
- GCSE – English Language
The English Department provide additional opportunities for pupils to develop their skills in reading, writing and spoken language through activities which include:
- Weekly Library Club / Homework Club
- Weekly Film Club
- Speaking to a large audience in the authority’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day
- Readers for school events, e.g. annual Christmas Carol Concert and Awards’ Evening
- Trips to the theatre
The English Department have literacy intervention programmes under the guidance of the English Coordinator and English teachers. Pupils are supported to develop:
- Their knowledge of phonics (using varied programmes to suit their individual needs; including toe by toe/ Read Write Inc Phonics literacy programme);
- a bank of words they can read as sight words; including common exception words;
- Their skills in reading and comprehension;
- Their handwriting and spellings.
Pupils who receive intervention include those pupils who receive Pupil Premium and/or LAC, along with pupils who are at risk of not meeting their predicted targets.
The English Department takes pride in providing opportunities to include and support all pupils, regardless of their social or academic background. This is acknowledged, for example, through differentiation within lessons and the provision of resources to support individual needs. Pupils who receive Pupil Premium are able to access additional support through our intervention programme.
Spiritual development- in English involves students exploring the implicit meanings of literary texts. They are encouraged to empathise with characters facing problematic life situations, as well as addressing issues including racism and discrimination, for example ‘the kiss’ between Kate Barlow and Sam in the book Holes. Novels and texts have been carefully selected so that students not only engage with the ideas but the emotional journey of the characters involved. Various texts and associated themes are studied cross-curricular to enable students to reflect and enhance their emotional understanding of events through history that have impacted on our lives today. For example, students look at ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ as part of the R.E. scheme of work on Judaism. And, in Drama, Students in Year 8 reflect on events during WWII through the novel ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ as they experience life as an evacuee through role-play.
Moral development - involves students being encouraged to analyse characters in our selected texts and to take part in discussions about characters and the dilemmas and decisions they are faced with. We believe this helps to encourage independent thinking skills to support their journey into adulthood as they discuss right versus wrong and the motivations and impact of certain decisions on themselves and others; for example, George’s decision at the end of the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’.
Social development- supports the development of the Spoken Language aspect of the National Curriculum. For example, as students explore different texts, they are encouraged to take part in group discussions while analysing characters and themes and to share their point of view while listening to those of others. Through these discussions students develop respect and learn to value others’ ideas, beliefs and backgrounds. They develop the ability to respond to others constructively and sensitively. Students are exposed to texts that explore issues within the smaller and wider community, both nationally and internationally and the impact of these on them and others; for example the famous speech by Martin Luther King, ‘I have a dream’.
Cultural development- involves engaging with texts from other cultures in order to expand students’ exposure and awareness of other backgrounds. Students explore the viewpoints and attitudes of those from other cultures as well as their own, developing a sensitive awareness of the motivations and contextual features of other viewpoints. Through a variety of media, including poetry, plays and non-fiction texts, students are encouraged to empathise with the feelings and experiences of others in order to develop their understanding of other people’s attitudes, ideas and behaviour.
Students have the opportunity to write CVs; explore the role of writer, poet, and journalist. There are opportunities to produce the advertising material and written programmes that support the whole school annual production.